By Stephen Downes
July 22, 2005

Where Can I Find Good Tech Articles
I have run a few posts critical of various authors and editors recently (including in this issue). I want to be clear that people shouldn't feel singled out when I do this - the articles selected are merely representative of a type of criticism I want to make, and not an indication that I think so-and-so is doing a bad job. Hey, sure, maybe I'm in no position to criticize. But I think it's relevant to sound a cautionary note, to urge people to read critically and to read widely, and to search for - and link to - quality writing, wherever it may be found. By Mike Zarro, Web Development Blog, July 22, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Globally Collaborative Experiential Learning
This article is the highlight from the July edition of the Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education. It describes the use of global grid simulations as an experiental teaching tool and in particular the Global University System (GUS). Some more detail would have been nice, but it's a good overview. Other articles in the journal include a description of communities of practice in an Arabic Culture and a list of articles in the Encyclopedia of Distance Learning. By Takeshi Utsumi, Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education, July, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Learning in an Online World
This report is unreadable online - a tiny type combined with double leading and two-column format in PDF makes it impossible. People purporting to tell us how to use ICT in learning and pedagogy should know better - unless theyt don't know better. Anyhow, after wrestling with it for an hour or so (instead of the ten minutes it should have taken) I found a document containing sweeping (and not always correct) generalizations and relatively few particulars. One wonders, for example, what information we gain from this: "Effective integration of ICT can transform pedagogies by empowering teachers to... make connections with learning goals and prior knowledge." (p.7) Huh? I don't want to use the 'fluff' word, but really: "Teachers discover a new potential for their work as they exploit the opportunities that using ICT in learning provides." (p.8) By Unattributed, Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs, July 20, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

E-learning for Target Learner Groups Youth
It has a publication date of March 31 but it showed up in the EdNA RSS feed on Wednesday. This report surveys major topics in learning for youth - the 'digital native', games, mobile learning, blogs. Some good content pointing clearly to the defects of traditional classroom instruction. That said, I found the selection of resources odd, and not simply because the report did not cite a single thing I've written on these topics. I can understand citing Prensky on the new learner, for example, but how does a summary of Oblinger's treatment make the cut? Robin Good is a good source for info on RSS, but his review of DU Reader isn't the article to cite. And is a short article by Will Richardson on blogs really what you want to depend on? I'd say nothing about selection but the author made a point of saying "only those (reports) with direct relevance were recorded on the database." (p.4) The result is a report that touches on the important topics but is overall a spotty treatment - referring, for example, to Tripod and Geocities as exemplars of DIY (page 15) is an example of this. PDF. By Kristine Peters, Australian Flexible Learning Framework, March 31, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Comments on REL patents, Third-Party Standards, and MPEG LA
A fascinating email sent by Steve Rowat to the ODRL-interest mailing list. Rowat first notes that he left the patent business because "I no longer felt morally justified in being part of an industry that routinely stole from, blocked, or in other ways interfered with inventors who legitimately owned their own creation." I have often expressed this view of the patent industry, but it is unusual to see an insider express it. He then looks at how closely ODRL should cooperate with MPEG-REL, noting it "may also be that bowing to such a demand - to pay for patents that are likely not valid to begin with - is opening the door to a much worse place; in the same way that giving in to kidnappers demands is, in the long-term, a bad idea." Yeah! By Steve Rowat, ODRL-interest, July 22, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Bill Gates' Guinea Pigs
So just what is the Gates Foundation doing with schools. This article describes the experience of one school, Mountlake Terrace High School near Seattle, which became five schools. Smaller schools - and that's the core of the rehabilitation program. The conversion is a lot of work, a lot of upheaval, and not clearly a success. Moreover, working with a large entity like the Gates Foundation brings its own issues. Thanks to Ben Watson for the link. By Bob Geballe, Seattle Weekly, July 20, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

This is a toy, of course, but Moviemaker is a fun toy and you can see your work in a matter of moments. I've created my own little movie which demonstrates Web 2.0 in a nutshell. In the same sense, you may have seen some of the output of Gnomz, a tool that lets yoiu create your own comics. Via Leigh Blackall. By Various Authors, D.Film, July, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Introducing IMS ePortfolio, Part 3: Binding
Following from the first two parts, which I posted here yesterday, Scott Wilson looks specifically at the XML binding in the IMS e-portfolio specification, describing its origins in two previous IMS specifications, Learner Information Package (LIP) and Content Packaging, and evaluating the spec on completeness, clarity and usability. By Scott Wilson, Scott's Workblog, July 22, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Before Every Child is Left Behind: How Epistemic Games Can Solve the Coming Crisis in Education
According to the authors, "Epistemic games of all kinds make it possible for students of all ages to learn by working as innovators. In playing epistemic games, students learn basic skills, to be sure. They learn the 'facts' and 'content' that we currently reward. But in epistemic games students learn facts and content in the context of innovative ways of thinking and working. They learn in a way that sticks, because they learn in the process of doing things that matter." The authors introduce the subject by means of a 'crisis' - the flattening of the world economy. I don't see it as a crisis at all, though I do agree that the education system is not (yet) responding well. Via elearnopedia. By David Williamson Shaffer and James Paul Gee, July, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

A Guide to Participating in an Open Source Software Community
Good guide, short, and which seems to be appropriate to joining (voluntary) online communities in general. By Stuart Yeates, OSS Watch, July 22, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Web 2.0 checklist 2.0
A checklist describing fundamental properties of web 2.0. Not everything it could be, and more description would be nice, but it offers an outline. From the same author, a link to a conversation tracker on BlogPulse. By Arnaud Leene, Hovering Above, July 21, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

This is pretty cool. NimJam allows people to collaborate to make music online. The big problem with jamming online is latency - there is a lag between what you play and what the other person hears. NimJam addresses this by extending the latency so it's a full interval, allowing the musicians to get back in synch. The software is free and open source; the music produced is Creative Commons. Via CC. By Various Authors, Cockos, July, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2005 Stephen Downes
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