December 1, 2005


why the lucky stiff: Try Ruby December 1, 2005
This is an interesting way to step people through the steps needed to learn a new programming language, in this case, Ruby. Basically, a window in the browser acts as a Ruby interpreter: type some Ruby into it, and it does what it's instructed to do. [Tags: Ruby] [Comment]

Jo Sanders: Bibliography on Gender and Technology in Education, The Center for Women & Information Technology December 1, 2005
Could be useful, and I carry few enough resources on this topic: "The Bibliography on Gender and Technology in Education has been created by gender equity specialist Jo Sanders. Focusing primarily on information technology, the bibliography is comprehensive as of 2005 and draws on international research as well as intervention literature. It contains nearly 700 entries and is extensively annotated, key-worded, and searchable. Sanders compiled the bibliography for her 2005 review article, Gender and Technology: A Research Review." Via IT Forum. [Tags: Research] [Comment]

Robin Miller: A Recipe for Newspaper Survival in the Internet Age, Slashdot December 1, 2005
It's almost a cliche, but this advice to newspapers bears repeating: "Too many papers are losing tons of money because of the failure to integrate. Remember: you're in the news and information business - not the newspaper business." The advice occurs in the context of a widely touted Slashdot discussion on the future of news, and as usual, the advice applies equally well to those in our field, who ought to be reminded, perhaps, that "you're in the teaching and learning business, not the publishing or classroom or courses business." How does that cash out? The 'lessons' offer a good set of indicators. Such as, "No matter how much I or any other reporter or editor may know about a subject, some of the readers know more. What's more, if you give those readers an easy way to contribute their knowledge to a story, they will." Read carefully. Via Lost Remote. And some more discussion. [Tags: Web Logs] [Comment]

Various authors: Bloggers' FAQ - Student Blogging, Electronic Frontier Foundation December 1, 2005
From the website: "The Bloggers' FAQ on Student Blogging addresses legal issues arising from student blogging. It focuses on blogging by high school (and middle school) students, but also contains information for college students." [Tags: Online Learning, Web Logs, Schools] [Comment]

Various authors: R&D Funding in Atlantic Universities, Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission December 1, 2005
This report is likely to be of more regional interest, but its analysis of research funding in Atlantic Canada is worth reading, particularly from the perspective of less developed economies. Research in such an environment is different than in, say, central Canada, because there isn't the base of large corporate research. This means that the direction of research funding and research direction needs to be different. It should not depend as much on commercial and private sector research and development (see the chart on page 110). "The national approach to innovation will undoubtedly continue to focus on big science and big health projects. This approach, however, does not t with Atlantic Canada s post-secondary composition as even its largest universities often do not have the critical mass or research infrastructure to support such large-scale projects." (p. 112) My own view, and I reiterate it here, is that small research focused on developing new enterprises and spin-offs, rather than fostering collaboration with existing companies, would be of more value here. PDF, also available in French. [Tags: Canada, Project Based Learning, Research] [Comment]

Graham Wegner: E- Portfolio Professional Learning Conference, Teaching Generation Z December 1, 2005
Conference summary from the E- Portfolio Professional Learning Conference in Adelaide. Most of the post outlines a presentation from Helen Barrett, who introduced (!) attendees to blogs and podcasting (Graham Wegner writes, "I was amazed when Helen had to stop and explain what a blog was! There were high flying people from the upper levels of DECS here and they didn’t know what a blog was. And very few hands went up when she asked who knew what a podcast is!"). Summaries also of Paul Luke, who locks all his online content away (sheesh), and Jackie Miers, who has a nice e-portfolios site. [Tags: E-Portfolios, Web Logs, Podcasting] [Comment]

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Browse through the thousands of links in my knowledge base sorted according to topic category, author and publication.

Stephen Downes

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Stephen Downes

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National Research Council Canada


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I want and visualize and aspire toward a system of society and learning where each person is able to rise to his or her fullest potential without social or financial encumberance, where they may express themselves fully and without reservation through art, writing, athletics, invention, or even through their avocations or lifestyle.

Where they are able to form networks of meaningful and rewarding relationships with their peers, with people who share the same interests or hobbies, the same political or religious affiliations - or different interests or affiliations, as the case may be.

This to me is a society where knowledge and learning are public goods, freely created and shared, not hoarded or withheld in order to extract wealth or influence.

This is what I aspire toward, this is what I work toward. - Stephen Downes