August 15, 2006


Various Aliens[Edit][Delete]: All Signs Point to the Fox, The Fox Tales [Edit][Delete] August 15, 2006
[link: 1 Hits] I'm taking a break from the recent patent coverage and instead linking to this nice celebration of 200 million downloads for Firefox. Well done, folks. [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Graham Glass[Edit][Delete]: EDU 2.0 Early Beta Launched, Graham Glass, etc. [Edit][Delete] August 15, 2006
[link: 12 Hits] Something to look at: "Teachers: find and share educational materials, assemble courses, manage classes, set and grade assignments. Students: study at your own pace, find educational materials, participate in classes, submit assignments, track grades ...and this is just the beginning..." This early beta only supports Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 and above; others coming soon. [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Dave Cormier[Edit][Delete]: The Edubloggypodlearnonlinosphere - Are We a Field And If So..., August 15, 2006
[link: 12 Hits] Dave Cormier asked this question in reaction (in part) to a statement on Wikipedia to the effect that I am unremarkable - it's nothing personal, says Cormier, but if I'm not remarkable what does that say about the field as a whole? While I sat and pouted at the Wikipedia dis (doesn't being connected to Adam Curry count for anything?) Cormier set up an Ed Tech Talk segment in which I spent about 45 of a planned 5 minutes talking about propaganda and publicity pre- and post-2.0 style. And while I joke about the Wikipedia thing, I do think the remarks on the Ed Tech Talk show are well worth a listen. Remarkable, even. [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Mark Howie[Edit][Delete]: The Teaching of Grammar, (Re)writing English [Edit][Delete] August 15, 2006
[link: 1 Hits] I have long been puzzled by the divergence of grammar and logic, expecting (naively, I admit) that logical form and grammatical form would be isomorphic, so that something that is a proposition (such as the 'P' in 'P or Q') in one form would be classified the same way as the same proposition in a logically equivalent form (the 'P' in 'If not P then Q'). Alas, no.

Were I rewriting grammar texts (one of those long-term ambitions, which falls right after rewriting my 1995 guide to the logical fallacies) I would revise the rules to accord with the logic. The result would not be a different grammar - we'd still write and speak the same as we do now - but a different understanding of grammar. The original intent of grammar - clarity and precision - would be restored, and all would be right with the universe.

How naive I was. Writing in Australia, Wayne Sawyer describes how "'literacy' has become a code word for many things, including: allegiance to the Crown and Commonwealth; Protestant religious values; discipline and obedience to authority; mastery of British 'proper speech'; innate intellectual gifts; monocultural Anglo/Australian nationalism; scientific and technological competitiveness; mental and physical health and employability and job competence."

Sawyer strives, I think, to clearly explain why split infinitives ought not to always be avoided, and to usefully help us to ultimately understand why their prohibition has more in common with force than with logic. Via Jo McLeay. [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

: E-Learning Myths: Introduction, August 15, 2006
[link: 13 Hits] Norm Friesen has embarked on a project to expose a series of e-learning myths - a worthy project. But his first foray, an examination of the 'net gen myth', is flawed, as I explain here. [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Press Release[Edit][Delete]: Oracle and Unicon, Inc. Unveil Plans to Create Next-Generation Academic Enterprise Environment, Yahoo! [Edit][Delete] August 15, 2006
[link: Hits] This came out at the beginning of August but I've just seen it now. In a nutshell: Oracle is backing Sakai, the open source LMS. Now, if we think about that for a second, we have here a pretty clear and unambiguous response from Oracle to the Blackboard patent, which was unveiled just four days before this announcement. And that response - which is actually unprintable in this newsletter - is, I think, more eloquent than anything else I could say here. More from a much more recent Sakai press release. [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Marshall Clemens[Edit][Delete]: The Art of Complex Problem Solving, Idiagram [Edit][Delete] August 15, 2006
[link: Hits] This is a very good presentation of complex problems and how they are addressed. The designer effectively captures many aspects of complex problems and, most importantly, demonstrates how they are different from technical problems (and this is the basis of the argument against measuring instructors and schools by educational outcomes - it is effectively the treating of complex problems as technical problems).

The diagram emphasizes the role of visual imagery in the solving of complex problems, which is not surprising, as the author is an artist. However, it is important to stress that the process is one of pattern recognition, and not merely imagery. Not to sell imagery short - it is a powerful means of facilitating pattern recognition. But it is limited by dimensionality (notice though how nicely the artist moves us through several dimensions in this diagram). Patterns can be extra-dimensional. Consider, for example, the representation of 'will' and 'intent'. For this reason, it is important to remember that the diagram is a representation of a pattern, and not the pattern itself.

I also want to highlight one major correction that should be made to the diagram. The presumption is that there is a single path from the problem to the solution - the red line in the process diagram. This is represented with the single 'client' in the diagram, who presents a single message to the set of implementers. This allows the author to say that the problem is solved by "the emergent result of many coordinated actions". An emergent result, certainly. However, because the implementors are autonomous, they hear the communications of numerous 'clients' and base their actions on these multiple parallel models. [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Justin Pope[Edit][Delete]: Ads in Textbooks May Lower Prices, Associated Press [Edit][Delete] August 15, 2006
[link: Hits] The cost of textbooks - now estimated to be $US 900 per year, according to this article - is one thing. But placing advertisements in textbooks is not the answer. In addition to the advertising, "Students, or anyone else who fills out a five-minute survey, can download a PDF file of the book, which they can store on their hard drive and print." The coverage in this article is one-sided and in some cases deceptive - as, for example, in the statement of this falsehood: "so far, the model hasn't spread to college textbooks - partly for fear that faculty would consider ads undignified." It's not dignity that professors are worried about, it's the misleading credibility advertisers get when associated with taught material, and it's the inevitable influence of advertisers over content. Via University Business. [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Richard Waters[Edit][Delete]: Apple lays Legal Claim to The Word 'Pod', Financial Times [Edit][Delete] August 15, 2006
[link: Hits] Open the pod bay door, HAL. Somebody should explain the meaning of the word 'theft' to these corporations. The word 'pod' was a perfectly good word, usable by all, until Apple came along. And then the company simply snagged it out of the public domain and now claims it as its own. This is theft, no matter what the court says. [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

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

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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.

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