By Stephen Downes
August 4, 2005

Court Deals Blow to Dating-Service Spammer
It doesn't surprise me that spammers sued to prohibit spam filtering. I am a bit surprised that these spammers lost their lawsuit, even though their success would have rendered all university email addresses unusable. By Declan McCullagh, CNet News.com, August 3, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

EdNA Groups or the Open Network
Leigh Blackall takes on EdNA Groups, writing, "Its better if we use more global and reliable services I think... EdNA Moodle groups is diluting the impact that individuals could be having on the global conversation. Its keeping many in Australian education disengaged from the world beyond EdNA." I can get into EdNA Groups, but every time I go to read something, I'm prompted for an 'invitation key' that I don't have. I agree with Blackall: "The valuable time of teachers and educationalists would be better spent engaged with the open Network, learning the popular tools and understanding the nature of the Internet so that they may teach people how to learn in an open Network." By Leigh Blackall, Teach and Learn Online, August 3, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Laptop Institute 2005: In Retrospect
Sharon Peters offers the edublog Musings with little fanfare. While I spotted the blog via its post on critical thinking readers will want also to look at the extensive notes taken from the recent Laptop Institute conference. Go to the main page and scroll down for multiple listings. By Sharon Peters, Musings, July 20, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Web 2.0 Checklist 2.0
Yesterday afternoon I took part in one of the regular edTech podcasts being aired by the gang from Saskatchewan. During the podcast I mentioned this checklist for Web 2.0 that is being used to evaluate new applications. It's worth spelling out in full (revised for clarity):
- a service should be able to handle structured MicroContent
- the data should be primarily outside; a service should be processing MicroContent and not storing MicroContent
- for each MicroContent Item the user determines the usage license
- a service should have many feeds to which clients can subscribe and which mix and match the processed MicroContent in any way imaginable
- a service should allow its functionality to be integrated in other services
- a service should not only live on the network, but also allow tight integration with the desktop
- a user should not have to create a new identity for each service he or she wishes to use
- a user should be able traverse MicroContent space on the field level and decides for him or her self what is relevant.
Here is the checklist applied to a new service. Also mentioned in the podcast was this link about an online gym class. By Arnaud Leene, Microcontent Musings, July 21, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Merger Mania In and Around eLearning
Most edtech pundits (and not just Elliott Masie) have been predicting convergence in the industry. With three mergers in the space of a few days a new wave is upon us. The significance is captured in this question: "Are we finally getting to the point where educational content is merging with collaboration technologies which is merging with learner management infrastructure?" By Ben Watson, Learning Circuits Blog, August 3, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

I spent about an hour this morning touring this site, and my time was well rewarded. Laszlo is a rich and yet intuitive scripting language that allows website authors to create attractive and interactive websites using remote data (such as XML or database contents). If you are involved in course or resource design, do take a look at this application. Laszlo is open source, with compiled versions for Windows, Linux and Apple. Via Jeremy Hunsinger. By Various Authors, August 4, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

New Tools: Blogs, Podcasts and Virtual Classrooms
Readers will recall that I featured Bob Sprankle and his class in these pages back in May. Now they've hit the big time, being headlined in this New York Times article. To me, this is the essence of education: "I want to give these kids the tools to say, 'Hey, my voice is important in this world,' This blog helps me do that." Others, though, see value only in testing. "'If interactivity becomes the fundamental basis of the educational process, how do we judge merit?' asked Robbie McClintock, a learning technologies expert at Teachers College of Columbia University." Yeah, that's staying on top of priorities. By Ethan Todras-Whitehill, New York Times, August 3, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2005 Stephen Downes
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