December 12, 2005


Norm Friesen: Learning Object Metadata Editors, CanCore December 12, 2005
Norm Friesen writes, "Tools that support the creation of high-quality learning object metadata are indispensable to the successful implementation of the IEEE LOM standard... This document provides an overview of a number of these tools." Got tools? Send them a note. [Tags: Learning Objects, Metadata, Quality] [Comment]

James Farmer: Education & Blogs @ Les Blogs, Incorporated Subversion December 12, 2005
Ewan McIntosh, who launched last July, represented the edublogger community at the recent Les Blogs conference in Paris, his meanderings causing James Farmer to comment, "the total [and] blanket ignorance of what I might describe as the edublogosphere and of the broad and innovative uses of blogs in education over the last 5 years in these kind of forums does worry me." What has been happening is, of course, as Peter Ford describes it, "Educational blogging consultants seem to be springing up all over the place, some aiming for the guru-status of being paid for hot-air production about blogs and related technology that they never have used at the chalkface." Nothing against McIntosh, who was simply taking advantage of an opportunity (though his response to Farmer was, to my reading, unduly hostile). No, the organizers of such conferences (the BloggerCons were the same) are interested in the Mena Trotts and David Weinbergers of the world, and their interest in (and knowledge of) the world of blogging doesn't extend much beyond that obvious commercial bias. Anyhow, caveat emptor. [Tags: Web Logs] [Comment]

Randy Bush: FidoNet: Technology, Use, Tools, and History December 12, 2005
Because, in a few minutes, you'll want to refer to this article. "FidoNet is a point-to-point and store-and-forward email WAN which uses modems on the direct-dial telephone network." [Tags: Networks] [Comment]

Associated Press: Handhelds Go to School, Wired News December 12, 2005
Breathless story about the use of wireless mobile in schools. And (unlike the old Wired, which focused on content and community) this article misses the point: "I don't know if it's that they feel cool or they're just jazzed about the technology," Ross said. "But having some of those bells and whistles make the kind of information they really need to learn exciting." Sigh. Must be time for Christmas sales. Via Golden Swamp, which makes the point that the students' increasing use of wireless mobile is a good thing - and it is, oh, it is, but not because of the bells and whistles. More commentary from Tony Vincent. [Tags: Web Logs, Wireless, Cool, Schools, Portable Computers] [Comment]

Teemu Leinonen: Urinal as a Learning Object, FLOSSE Posse December 12, 2005
My own definition of a 'learning object' is very similar to this - actually, it is exactly this, with a slightly different emphasis: "Learning object is any entity, digital or non digital, that is used for learning, education or teaching." As I have argued before (via my infamous reused tissue example), what makes something a learning object is that it it is used to support learning, and the evidence of this is the educational metadata it acquires through use (as opposed to, say, the speculative metadata about possible uses generated by the object's original author (or publicist)). [Tags: Online Learning, Learning Objects, Metadata, Mergers and Takeovers] [Comment]

Tom Hoffman: Nothing Feels Good, ESchool News December 12, 2005
The main point of this oddly titled article is that "A lot of the anxiety we're seeing about is exactly, exactly the same fear and loathing of groups of teenagers that for decades has shut down teen dance clubs and the like all over the country." As an unreformed underground publisher and rabble rouser, this article not only speaks to me, it speaks for me. "Messageboard culture, punk rock, and zines." Thrash metal, Fidonet, Xerox warriors, guerilla media. Yeah, BBS me, I can take it! [Tags: Books and eBooks] [Comment]

Alec Couros: Public Domain Movie Torrents, Couros Blog December 12, 2005
Haven't been able to follow this up the way I wanted, but I'd like to pass it along before it becomes history. [Tags: ] [Comment]

Alan Levine: Throwing Stones at the Wiki Glass House, Cogdogblog December 12, 2005
I've been contributing to the discussion of this item, a commentary on Will Thalheimer's Are Wiki's Inherently Flawed? (a good blog, and added to my aggregator). Thalheimer's proposition, essentially, is that knowledge producing systems need to be managed. "The more our communication channels have validators who correct inaccuracies, the more we tend to move toward the truth." Levine asks, "what data, evidence is this assertion based upon?" He adds (oddly) that the wiki worked as designed; it was the people who were flawed. I'm not happy with either point of view. It's easy (but wrong) to generalize based on one or two cases, particularly when the evidence is otherwise overwhelming for the other point of view, specifically, that the aggregate opinion is more reliable than that of the individual expert. [Tags: Web Logs] [Comment]

Various authors: Online Rights Canada December 12, 2005
Recently launched: "Online Rights Canada (ORC) is a grassroots organization that promotes the public's interest in technology and information policy. We believe that Canadians should have a voice in copyright law, access to information, freedom from censorship, and other issues that we face in the digital world." [Tags: Canada, Copyright and Patent Issues] [Comment]

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Stephen Downes

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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