By Stephen Downes
May 19, 2005

Choosing Open Source Solutions
Good article on the deployment of open source software in the university environment. I like the response to the question about the biggist problem with open source technology: "The main drawback is that open source software is usually free at the point of acquisition. While that might sound like it ought to be a benefit, it can be very confusing for institutions accustomed to paying an annual licence fee for software." Funny. By Christina Smart, JISC, May 17, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

A Lot to Chew On ....
Good post summarizing a presentation by Alan November (he has a blog, but it is infrequently updated - it doesn't even contain his own presentation). Part of what November says makes sense. "Kids have to learn how to think globally, to manage massive amounts of information and they have to be self-directed in their learning." But in places its a narrow view. As Kuropatwa comments, "Your $400US gets you 3 years of enriched schooling online, 24/7 whenever you want it. Alan said most kids work their way through this curriculum in 6 months! This isn't fair! Education isn't just for the rich!" Quite right. By Kuropatwa, A Difference, May 18, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Conference Blog - Towards a Learning Society
Maarten Cannaerts wriotes in to say that he is providing blog coverage of the European Commission e-learning conference, Towards a learning society, taking place today and tomorrow in Brussels. There's also a live conference webcast. By Maarten Cannaerts, May 19, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Podcasting: A New Voice on the Net
Introductory article on podcasting with links to examples, tools for creating podcasts, and tips on how to publicize your podcast. One place where I differ with the article: do spend the money for a decent microphone. By Michael Gowan, Tech Soup, May 13, 2005 May 13, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Introduction to elearning - Part 1
The content of George Siemens's presentation will be familiar to readers of his work, and the presentation delivers what it promises in the title. Designers will be interested in the tool he uses to present the material, Articulate Presenter, which creates Flash-based presentations (a demo version is available at the site). I found myself waiting impatiently for the next slide; I think the use of a system like this needs more visual elements and less audio than George provided. By George Siemens, elearnspace, May 18, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Reflections on Challenges to the Goal of Invisible Computing
At CSTD Tuesday I mentioned the 'disembodiment' argument posed to argue that computers inhibit social interaction. This article offers a restatement of that argument in the context of a discussion of ubiquitous computing as the grounds for a call for a new ethic of technology. By Arun Kumar Tripathi, Ubiquity, May, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

An educational podcasting discussion group has been started. "Teachers, educators and others share how you have used podcasting thus far, how you hope to use it soon, or any special projects that you envision using podcasting in a school setting." By Various Authors, Yahoo Groups, May, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Imagining the World: The Case for Non-Rendered Virtuality - the Role Play Simulation Model
A 'rendered' virtual environment is one in which the scene is generated dynamically by the computer, such as in Doom or Quake or in flight simulators. The author's argument in this paper is that rendering in educational games detracts from a focus on pedagogy and is, moreover, unnecessary. An equal suspension of belief and immersion into the experience can be obtained through static, non-rendered, environments - "For the same reason that the book is more often better than the movie, leaving room for imaginative elaboration rather than providing ready-made 3D imaging better enhances the illusion of cognitive presence in role-play simulations." Note that this paper is stored at a temporary URL. By Roni Linser and Albert Ip, May 18, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Beeb Shall Inherit the Earth
Article describing the war the BBC has embraced user generated content, and in so doing, has made itself an internet pioneer. The author describes it as an irony: "it takes a publicly-funded broadcaster from a cozy liberal democracy to teach America's lumbering, anti-competitive Hollywood dinosaurs what a real, competitive offering looks like." Irony, perhaps, from a certain point of view, but those accustomed to defending public broadcasting would find it more surprising to see such innovation coming from the private broadcasters and would be quick to point out, as I do here, that this sort of innovation demonstrates once again the value of a public broadcaster to society. By Cory Doctorow, Wired News, May 18, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2005 Stephen Downes
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