December 5, 2005


Hannah Green, Personalisation and Digital Technologies, NESTA Futurelab December 5, 2005
Scott Wilson points to this document, somewhat akin to a manifesto ('tis the season) calling for a greater emphasis on personal learning. "The logic of education systems should be reversed so that the system conforms to the learner, rather than the learner to the system. This is the essence of personalisation. It demands a system capable of offering bespoke support for each individual in order to foster engaged and independent learners able to reach their full potential." Good stuff, and I support most of it, though I note (and this is a small criticism) that the authors can't quite let go of the reins, as evidenced by their suggestion that students take merely "joint responsibility" for learning choices and able only to "co-design" their own curriculum. When two people - one with power, and one without - are sharing "joint responsibility" and "co-design," the person without power is inevitably overruled by the person with power. Status quo. [Tags: Web Logs, Personalization] [Comment]

Jon Hoem with Ture Schwebs: Personal Publishing and Media Literacy December 5, 2005
"The importance of mastering basic digital skills is often emphasized, but it does not seem clear what these skills should include," write the authors. Often, we seen an emphasis on the tools. But "the information society favors those who are able to develop strategies to process large amounts of information and its relevance in different contexts." In addition, "An important skill will be the ability to reformulate information in order to meet personal needs." Short report, in PDF, but well worth a read, especially for the discussion of the relation between common knowledge and individual knowledge. "Large parts of the knowledge we acquire is connected to a wide, global network of interest." This, argue the authors, places an important emphasis on personal publishing as a way to integrate with that community. Scott Leslie comments, "I expect this paper to become one of the regularly cited as we move into the 'early majority' and onwards adopting these technologies and practices into their classrooms." [Tags: Networks] [Comment]

Various authors: The TrustDR Project December 5, 2005
From an email from Jackie Proven: "The main aims of this project are to explore the cultural, legal and technical issues that must be attended to in order to create legal agreements that can then be incorporated into a DRM system (please note that in the context of our project a system is not just about technical issues, but includes policies, protocols and perhaps most importantly cultural attitudes)." Not much on the site yet, just some news (no RSS) and some background documents. Still, this JISC-backed initiative may have sway in the future, so it bears watching (or would, if it had RSS). [Tags: Project Based Learning, Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC)] [Comment]

Unattributed: The MySpace Generation, Businessweek December 5, 2005
As this article notes, "Being online, being a Buzzer, is a way of life for Adams and 3,000-odd Dallas-area youth, just as it is for millions of young Americans across the country. And increasingly, social networks are their medium." More commentary from Will Richardson and Miguel Guhlin. Worth noting in this context is the increased commercialization of the online spaces used by students. Guhlin warns, appropriately, "we're making the same mistake again...the mistake of buying into big money companies' vision of our future. From iPods to whatever you can imagine, we're being locked into their content and their means of distribution." [Tags: Web Logs, United States, Networks] [Comment]

Terry Webster: Schools in Quandary over Bloggers, Dallas Fort Worth Star-Telegram December 5, 2005
The debates over student blogging continue to rage. This news article highlights the sensational: "A Birdville High School cheerleader was kicked off the freshman squad last month for having vulgar language in a Web log, or blog, she maintains on her home computer." But does the school's authority extend that far? "Unless students' free speech is disruptive to the classroom, they can't be punished for it," said Frank Colosi, an attorney for the Fort Worth ACLU. Miguel Guhlin has more here. And while student blogs may be accidents waiting to happen, he argues, we need to prepare students for them. [Tags: Online Learning, Web Logs, Schools] [Comment]

Jeff Lebow, Jeff Flynn, EdTech Mega-Brainstorm #14b, Ed Tech Talk December 5, 2005
I am sitting here listening to EdTech Mega-Brainstorm #14b which, after a brief discussion of PowerPoint ("PowerPoint is not a gateway drug, it just leads to more PowerPoint"), launched into a lengthy discussion of whether blogging ought to be required in class. The show's hosts, surprisingly (and in my view, wrongly), aregued that it should. "Our classrooms are standardization agents." Articulately arguing the other point of view was Barbara Sawhill (she comments on her blog, "You can't manage learning. You can manage your class notes, you can manage the bodies in your classroom - but you can't manage what (if anything) anyone learns."), who argued that students' learning needs and learning styles should be taken into account. If you listen to one podcast this week, listen to this one. MP3 of EdTech Mega-Brainstorm #14b. Also on Ed Tech Talk this week: an interview with edupodcasting pioneer Bob Sprankle and Bud the Teacher. [Tags: Online Learning, Web Logs, Learning Styles, Podcasting] [Comment]

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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