December 2, 2005


OnderwijsInnovatie Interview  
December 2, 2005 Two part interview conducted during the Open Source Software conference in Heerlen in November with the Open University's magazine OnderwijsInnovatie. Part One (2.7 meg), Part Two (2.6 meg). I talk about open learning and open source software and why these are important for the provision of a public education. The interview was conducted by Olga Teunis. [Comment]


Miguel Guhlin: What Harm Can a Blog Do?, Mousing Around December 2, 2005
A helpful look at the other side of the blog blocking debate as Miguel Guhlin reposts an entry by Nancy Willard (who is very well versed in this discussion) from WWWEDU. The post, basically, is a list of the things that can go wrong with school blogs, everything from bullying to defamation to copyright infringement. Like all powerful technologies, blogs have their less than harmless uses, and it is this that parents and teachers take into account when advocating for their control. Not that I think the correct response is to simply block them. But we should be sympathetic with the argument and its proponents. [Tags: Web Logs, Copyright and Patent Issues, Schools] [Comment]

Terry Barrett, Iain Mac Labhrainn and Helen Fallon, eds.: Handbook of Enquiry and Problem-based Learning: Irish Case Studies and International Perspectives, Centre of Excellence in learning and Teaching December 2, 2005
This comprehensive volume composed of about twenty individual essays not only offers a good grounding in enguiry and problem based learning but looks at them in practice, as each essay contains numerous examples and case studies. If you are interested in either approach to teaching and learning, then this volume is a must-read. Nice to see the free download and Creative Commons license, too. [Tags: Books and eBooks] [Comment]

Various authors: CSS Templates December 2, 2005
Nice page with templates you can download and use to crease columns, centered boxes, and the like on your website. Via Digg. [Tags: None] [Comment]

Terry Anderson: Educational Social Overlay Networks, Virtual Canuck December 2, 2005
Terry Anderson enters the blogosphere in a nice way with his Virtual Canuck eduBlogs weblog launching with a good post on educational social overlay networks. Anderson very nicely captures the alternative to mass syndication (such as technorati) that would, I think, work in an educational context: "These social overlay networks use web based technology to not merely connect people to information (as in a search for a music file) but more specifically to connect people to people." Via Scott Leslie. [Tags: Web Logs, Content Syndication, Networks, Technorati] [Comment]

Various authors: The Poetry Archive December 2, 2005
This site represents what online learning should aspire toward: it offers poetry, as read by the poets, for use in schools. What would make it better? MP3 recordings (instead of unusable Real Audio) that can be mashed with images and animations to add texture to videos. RSS feeds offering various types of listings, so people can get a poem a day, say, or list poems among other educational resources. But still, as they say, this is a good start. Via Ed-Tech Insider. Another good resource along the same lines is this archive of recordings. [Tags: Online Learning, Schools] [Comment]

Rogers Candenhead: Adam Curry Caught in Sticky Wiki, Workbench December 2, 2005
When I developed Ed Radio a couple of years ago, I was pretty pleased with it. What it did was to use Edu_RSS to scrape RSS feeds for MP3 audio links, then combine them into a single feed, so that when you clicked on the link the audio would start playing in your player. It was an obvious and important step in the development of podcasting, and that's why there is a reference to it in the Wikipedia entry about podcasting. I don't know whether it directly influenced Dave Winer and Adam Curry (I've long suspected Winer of reading this website, but he never cites my work in his blog), but it makes it clear that what became podcasting in the fall of 2004 was the result of many voices. Anyhow, it has come to light that Adam Curry has been revising the Wikipedia entry to, as this article says, "remove credit from other people and inflate his role in its creation." I am one of the people he removed. And so I find myself part of a minor web controversy. But look: people always believe they deserve credit, and sometimes they (and I include myself in this) believe they deserve more credit than is due. It is a tricky balance between establishing genuine credit and going overboard. Today, for example, I am asking what the role of mIDm is in the history of distributed authentication. It would be pretty easy to edit the wiki and write myself in; after all, mIDm pre-dates (by five days) OpenID. But would it be appropriate? Nobody wants their contributions to be lost. So I bear no ill-will toward Curry, and use this episode to caution people that the history of RSS and Web 2.0 and the rest is being written, not by the few stars trumpeted in the media, but by a cast of thousands. I am but one member of that cast, and so is Curry. And what we are building, together, along with everyone else building the internet, is the most amazing creation in human history - and that, in the end, is what matters. [Tags: Wikipedia, Web Logs, Web 2.0, Podcasting] [Comment]

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

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

Stephen Downes

About Me
Bio, photos, and assorted odds and ends.

You know, the ones that appear in refereed journals of Outstanding Rank.

Lectures, seminars, and keynotes in a wide variety of formats - everything from streaming video to rough notes.

All my articles, somewhere around 400 items dating from 1995.

Audio recordings of my talks recorded in MP3 format. A podcast feed is also available.

What I'm doing, where I'm doing it, and when.

A collection of my photographs. Suitable for downloading as desktop wallpaper.

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Stephen Downes

Copyright 2004 Stephen Downes
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