By Stephen Downes
May 16, 2005

CSTD Screencast
I'm at the Canadian Society for Training and Development Learning Innovations Symposium in Fredericton, New Brunswick. So what do you do when you went to the wrong room and missed a session. You take your microphone and Quickcam and walk around the room interviewing the booth operators. Yes, it's another screencast. This link is to a page with a Flash video - no controls, I lost the controls. I discovered that Swish, which I used to encode the screencast last week, wouldn't convert a file this long. After searching around for a bit, I found an application called Video to Flash Converter that took my 115 megabyte .wmv file and rendered it into a managable Flash file (but as I said, without controls). The video rocks and rolls, but there's some interesting content. I'm still not very good at this, but I'm getting better.

(p.s. you may ask: why would I put such undeniably bad content on my website? Because people need to know the process - it doesn't come out perfectly the first time, there's a learning curve, and even experts struggle with this stuff. You don't walk in just knowing how to do it, and it's important that people see this process, so they know that it's not just them). By Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, May 16, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Simulations, Computer Games and Pedagogy
My summary of Clark Aldrich's presentation at today's CSTD conference. The first part is a quick survey of current technologies and their place on the hype cycle. The second part looks at simulations, summarizing four major types and outlining six criteria. In fairness (because I criticize the lightness), conference organizers told me he was asked to do an introductory talk. Also, the paper he placed in the conference kit is much better (if I see it online I'll link to it; it's worth reading). By Stephen Downes (summary), Stephen's Web, May 16, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

New Communication and Information Technologies Emerging in the Workplace
Though the presenters made no effort to dazzle us with demos, I quite enjoyed this presentation, a rare behind the scenes look at the development and deployment of a person alized e-learning system for call centre employees at a major bank. Of course, you could never get away with a system like this - which interrupts your slow time with required q15-minute training sessions - in anything outside a command environment. Still, some of the concepts are transferrable and I thought the presentation was as useful for its glimpse inside banking culture as inside their e-learning system. This link is to my summary of the presentation. By Stephen Downes (summary), Stephen's Web, May 16, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

This is a very important development, probably the closest thing to the semantic social network I've seen, and absolutely the way forward. Study this item carefully. Outfoxed "uses your network of trusted friends and experts to help you find the good stuff and avoid the bad." In a nutshell, it captures evaluations and recommendations from your network of friends (which are stored in XM:L and harvested by your harvester). These recommendations are then used to annotate such things as Google searches, application lists and more (for good measure the author tosses in Phishing & spyware protection). There is a Matser's Thesis attached to the (free, open source) demonstration software. By Stan James, May, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Cute concept, and if you want a capusule set of links to the major concepts in blogging this is a great start page. By Someone, Littleoslo, May 15, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Microsoft Launches Toolbar With Windows Desktop Search Tool
Google is pushing a toolbar. Yahoo tried to install a toolbar when I installed the music service last week. ICQ tried to load a toolbar when I reinstalled the instant messaging client this morning. Now this. Many more toolbars and you won't be able to see the desktop. By John Tilak, Digital Media Europe News, May 16, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

eXe: the eLearning XHTML Editor
I haven't had a chance to test this, but I've been looking for something like this for a while. "The eLearning XHTML editor (eXe) is a web-based authoring environment designed to assist teachers and academics in the design, development and publishing of web-based learning and teaching materials without the need to become proficient in HTML, XML or complicated web-publishing applications. It can also be used by students for developing web content for presenting project reports etc." Via sachool-discuss. By Various Authors, University of Auckland, May, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Professorial Trend Spotter Predicts End of Written Word
This item is getting some circulation on the mailing lists. In his book "VIVO [Voice-In/Voice-Out: The Coming Age of Talking Computers," William Crossman argues that computers will interact verbally, eliminating the need for text and typing. On ITForum, however, Claude Amansi responds: "It took me under 2 minutes to read this article. If I had had to listen to it, it would have taken me much longer. So I don't think reading is doomed: it will remain much faster than listening, no matter what progresses tech makes. Not to mention re-reading one's notes." That's about my take as well. By Francine Brevetti, Inside Bay Area, May 11, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

i2010: Fostering European eLearning Content to Make Lisbon Target a Reality
This document, published by the European eLearning Industry Group (eLIG), is "intended to help European central and local governments, public authorities and content industry players to contribute to, and benefit from, the emerging global society of knowledge." This industry perspective calls for a "better balance" in public investments, supports copyright and licensing, supports "fair competition" based on public - private partnerships, open standards and personalization. PDF. By European eLearning Industry Group, May 16, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

ODRL V2.0 - Model Semantics
Susanne Guth announces the new ODRL model semantics draft. "It contains the new basic data model of ODRLv2 and gives some examples. The model semantics are detached [from] the syntax. However, ODRL syntax and core dictionary will follow." By Renato Iannella and Susanne Guth, ODRL, May 16, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2005 Stephen Downes
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