August 11, 2006


Stephen Downes[Edit][Delete]: Magdalene Islands, Half an Hour [Edit][Delete] August 11, 2006
[link: 3 Hits] During the last few days of my hiatus I collected the photos I had taken on the Magdalene Islands and created a nice video. I wasn't able to share it. At 750 megabytes, it did not even fit onto a CD-ROM (although I guess I could have put it on a DVD if I had felt like it). As an experiment, I posted it to Google Video (YouTube restricts videos to 100 meg and 10 minutes). It worked quite well; you'd never know it was such a big file, I'm pleased to say. It contains many images never posted to the web, so if you liked my photos you should like the video. [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Danny Buttler[Edit][Delete]: School Photos Digitally Fixed, Sydney herald Sun [Edit][Delete] August 11, 2006
[link: 3 Hits] Heh. Not even school photos are immune from Photoshop. [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Mark Wagner[Edit][Delete]: Thinking Worlds - Video Game Creation for Teachers and Students, Education, Technology and Life [Edit][Delete] August 11, 2006
[link: Hits] Interesting idea. "One driving idea behind the Thinking Worlds engine is to embedded thinking processes (or scaffolding for higher order thinking) into the game engine. Thinking Tasks can provide structure for inquiry or for activities such as comparing and contrasting. Facilitating student reflection is also important to them. The games capture data which can then be used to identify trouble areas - and then new scenarios can be designed to address those thinking skills." [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Charles Nelson[Edit][Delete]: Poverty, Attitude, and Complexity, Explorations in Learning [Edit][Delete] August 11, 2006
[link: Hits] Charles Nelson responds to my comments on the consideration of the impact of attitude on student success. And of course I would be the first to agree that student success is a complex matter and which can include attitude, especially as (as Nelson points out) attitude can be linked to poverty. He asks, "in 'priming our children for success,' shouldn't we consider attitude?" Sure. But not in such a way as to disregard the effect of poverty. "Neither should we excuse ourselves from attending to poverty's effects on learning and life." True. But it's more.

I met with a professor from the United States a couple of years ago when I was visiting in Wolfville, and he described for me a program which would help impoverished students. The program would provide computers for the kids, he said, provided they learned how to assemble them themselves and took a course on computer operations.

I will never forget the look on his face when I objected to the plan; it was as though I had stabbed him with a dagger, and I felt really badly. "But it's work for welfare," I objected. "And you're imposing it on kids." The students need to appreciate the computers and to learn about them, he said. I agree. But he was using their poverty as a lever to make them appreciate the computers and to learn how they work.

So, sure, focus on the attitude. But if attitude is something you're focusing on just because the students are impoverished, then consider that you too are are using their poverty against them. And that's what I am worried about. [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Michael Feldstein[Edit][Delete]: Is Prometheus a Big Problem for Blackboard?, E-Literate [Edit][Delete] August 11, 2006
[link: 10 Hits] Michael Feldstein asks, is Promethius a big problem for Blackboard? "Almost none of the prior art listed in the Wikipedia entry was in BlackboardâxTMs patent filing. ItâxTMs remarkable, really, since they are legally obligated to list any potential prior art of which they are aware at the time of filing."

Feldstein suggests that the flurry of anti-Blackboard patent posts will slow down, which is not surprising. This will be a slow business. It may or may not require, as Barry Dahl suggests, an overhaul of the patent system. Even then, I wonder whether justice in this or similar cases is merely purchased by the highest bidder, or whether sanity and fair play will prevail. I am sceptical.

Anyhow, Scott Leslie brings us the Canadian version of the patent, with the same ridiculous language, via Barry Dahl. I wonder what ti would take for me to patent some of the stuff I'm doing. Oh yeah. Money. [Tags: , , , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

: e-learning 2.0 - How Web Technologies Are Shaping Education, Read/Write Web [Edit][Delete] August 11, 2006
[link: Hits] Overview, with a British focus, on the impact of Web 2.0 on learning, including a look at blogging, podcasting, media sharing, and in Part 2 of the series, ELGG. [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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