June 23, 2006


Stephen Downes[Edit][Delete]: Communities of Practice and Wrap-Up, Half an Hour [Edit][Delete] June 23, 2006
[link: 5 Hits] My blog notes from Day 2 of the Canadian Council on Learning conference. This second day was mostly a day of discussions, with the participants breaking into four groups (which in our case in turn broke into small groups). I've never been a fan of this group-and-report format, since it can be a way of filtering the views of the participants through a lens provided by the organizers - the 'reports back' never seem to carry the same sort of edge contained in the participants' actual views. Just my perspective.

Anyhow, what emerged for me as the major theme of the day was the generally anti-technology nature of the participants. My computer was one of two open during the conference. Still, several groups recommended the provision of tools (I mentioned JISC but that didn't make it to the plenary floor). I also felt many practitioners see themselves as offering services and bringing activism to the people, though some delegates did emphasize the need for people to manage their own learning and to organize themselves. So there's a bit of a generational change happening in the field, I think.

That said, I think the CCL has a challenge before it. There seems to be a disconnect between its approach and methodology - which is focused on, shall we say, measurable results and return on investment, and that of the practitioners, which is focused on, shall we say, social justice. And in the middle somewhere, with a technological edge, comes personal empowerment and informal learning. The fact of multiple agendas (and multiple methodologies) is inescapable - but is CCL ready to acccept that? [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Scott Wilson[Edit][Delete]: PLE Workshop 2006, del.icio.us [Edit][Delete] June 23, 2006
[link: 5 Hits] All the personal learning environment (PLE) position papers, posted on the web, indexed using del.icio.us. Nifty. [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Stephen Downes[Edit][Delete]: Picassa Web Album, June 23, 2006
[link: 5 Hits] I am testing the new Google Picassa Web Album service - Google's competition to Flickr. I have always really liked Picassa, and people will appreciate the nifty photo editing tools that are included. The web album isn't much of an imprivement on Flickr, though I appreciate the larger image size (I always felt Flickr could display the photos a lot better). [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

: Computer-Based Assessment in E-Learning, Journal of Technology, Learning, and Assessment [Edit][Delete] June 23, 2006
[link: 3 Hits] From the abstract: "This paper introduces a taxonomy or categorization of 28 innovative item types that may be useful in computer-based assessment... that fall somewhere between fully constrained responses... and fully constructed responses." I don't have a whole lot of use for taxonomies, but a lot of people like them. Me, I think of the discussion today, that could be paraphrased as, "We dealt with diversity by creating a common vocabulary." Yeah, that addresses diversity all right - by making everyone the same. [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Cory Bergman[Edit][Delete]: MySpace Tightens Security Measures, Lost Remote [Edit][Delete] June 23, 2006
[link: 4 Hits] More MySpace news - I'm sure you're all breathless. The big news is that MySpace users who are over 18 will now have to know the email or first and last name of any 14- to 15-year-old member they're trying to contact. It's actually a pretty good strategy if the danger to minors comes from strangers. No word on measures to protect minors from parents, their friends, or others in their immediate community - the largest sourcs of danger, by far. [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Andrew Donoghue[Edit][Delete]: Is $100 Laptop Project Flawed?, CNet News.Com [Edit][Delete]CNET News.com [Edit][Delete]CNet News.com [Edit][Delete]CNet news.Com [Edit][Delete] June 23, 2006
[link: 5 Hits] Some reaction (which feels like it was massaged by the author to create conflict) to the $100 lptop project on the part of Tony Roberts, chief executive and founder of U.K. charity Computer Aid International. According to the story, he says the $100 laptop program is "based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the history of the IT industry." Says Roberts, "They are looking to introduce a nonstandard, untested platform...which they will only sell to governments." The real story, in my view, is that MIT's relentless publicity has overshadowed other initiatives. Meanwhile, Computer Aid International has donated more than 70,000 refurbished computers to developing nations. [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

David Wiley[Edit][Delete]: eduCommons Namespace Problems..., Iterating Toward Openness [Edit][Delete]Iterating toward openness [Edit][Delete] June 23, 2006
[link: 14 Hits] David Wiley, who has overseen the eduCommons OpenCourseWare software project for many years now, is concerned about a recent Creative Commons Canada initiative using the same name. [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Andy Carvin[Edit][Delete]: Angus King: A Brief History of Maine's Laptop Program, June 23, 2006
[link: 5 Hits] We could have done without the Canadian joke, but I enjoyed this frank retrospective of the Main laptop project. "A reporter then asked a question we hadn't thought of - will the kids or the schools own the laptops? I had no idea. I could have said I don't know, but I blurted out, 'the kids.' Wrong answer. Huge political mistake. People hated the idea that the govt would give these tools to kids. Seventh graders became the most hated minority in the state." [Tags: , , , , , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

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.

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Stephen Downes

Copyright � 2006 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


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