November 15, 2006


George Siemens[Edit][Delete]: Connectivism: Learning Theory or Past Time for the Self-Amused?, Elearnspace [Edit][Delete]ELearnSpace [Edit][Delete] November 15, 2006
[link: 1 Hits] Asked to review George Siemens's paper on Conectivism, Bijdrage van Plon Verhagen from the University of Twente treats readers to a detailed criticism of the paper. The review prompted Siemens to write a (self-admitted) meandering reply. As Siemens (accurately) summarizes, "Verhagen's criticisms are broadly centered on three areas: 1. Is connectivism a learning theory or a pedagogy? 2. The principles advocated by connectivism are present in other learning theories as well. 3. Can learning reside in non-human appliances?"

Taking as his cue the third criticism, Siemens launches on a long discourse on epistemology. I wish he had taken more time and written a shorter paper (yeah - like I'm one to complain about this!) to more sharply identify just how it's a new theory about learning and not merely a new pedagogy. Still, it's a fun, if somewhat loosely organized, romp through the theory of knowledge. And I will reiterate what I think is Siemens most effective and pointed criticism of the response:

"I am curious as to the approach Verhagen (2006) utilized in reviewing the article. I sense it primarily consisted of reading the article and providing a reaction based on his experience in the learning technology space. Did he search online? Did he view or listen to presentations posted on elearnspace? Did he encounter Stephen Downes' (2005) article on Connective Knowledge? ... The error made in the review is precisely the reason why we need to explore connectivism as a learning theory: static, context-less, content-centric approaches to knowing and understanding are fraught with likelihood of misunderstanding. To write a review of the American political system of 2004, and treat it as if it were today's reality, fails to acknowledge the process to which all content is subject. This is the danger of product iconization as offered, or explored by prominent theories of learning, thus failing to acknowledge - explicitly - that ongoing changes obsolesce current knowledge." [Tags: , , , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Tim Bray, Obie Fernandez and Floyd Marinescu[Edit][Delete]: Tim Bray on Rails, REST, XML, Java, and More, InfoQ [Edit][Delete] November 15, 2006
[link: Hits] "If you look at WS* there are these huge universal schemas compressing thousands of pages of specifications, mostly cooked up in back rooms at IBM and Microsoft. Many of them are still unstable years into the project, and they are based on XML schema and WSDL, which are two of the ugliest, most broken and irritating specifications in the history of the universe." - Tim Bray [Tags: , , , , , , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Christian Long[Edit][Delete]: Welcome UVA Students!, think:lab [Edit][Delete] November 15, 2006
[link: 39 Hits] Christian Long is featuring 7 UVA students on his blog, an arranglement that has resulted in some cracking good content. From UVA 3: "The 5 senses are vital" From UVA 5: "We can continue to fill their brains with core information, or we can begin to help them think... ultimately learning doesn't distinguish between the two." From UVA 6: " The minute a student realizes, subconsciously or not, that their school does not 'practice what it preaches' they stop listening to its sermons." [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

John Cox[Edit][Delete]: Software Patent Ignites Firestorm in Higher Education, Network World [Edit][Delete] November 15, 2006
[link: Hits] Network World covers the Blackboard patent lawsuit. "It's a case in which the level of vitriol and vilification is making the long-running and now-settled patent battle between Research in Motion and NTP look like high tea at the Ritz. There are claims, counterclaims, a civil suit, an extraordinary demand from a higher education IT group and a mounting torrent of blog postings." Via Alfred Essa.

Also: "The latest legal move occurred Monday when federal District Court Judge Ron Clark, in the Eastern District of Texas, ruled that a Desire2Learn counterclaim could stand. D2L claims 'intentional misconduct' by Blackboard officials for 'failing to notify the Patent Office of prior art' - of ideas and inventions by others that could undermine the patent claims." Geez, no kidding - if you sit on IMS, and fail to mention that in your patent application, then there's room for some questioning, don't you think? [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Tony Hirst[Edit][Delete]: Online OPML Feed Management, OUseful Info [Edit][Delete] November 15, 2006
[link: 8 Hits] Link to a list of OPML managers. Because it's going to come up one day, and you'll need this link, and you'll remember that you can simply come back to this site, search for 'OPML', and find it. [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Wesley Fryer[Edit][Delete]: IP, the Information Age and YouTube, Moving at the Speed of Creativity [Edit][Delete] November 15, 2006
[link: Hits] This gets it exactly right: "We live in an era where people can publish at will. Relevance is and will increasingly be a function of digital accessibility. You want to be relevant? Give away your ideas. Want to become irrelevant? Create a walled garden that keeps out more people than it lets in. You'll be sure to limit your audience, and therefore reduce your relevance and potential impact on the world. Sharing ideas. It's what the Internet was founded for, and what it is still all about." [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Scott Gilbertson[Edit][Delete]: Getting Songs Off An iPod, Monkey Bites [Edit][Delete] November 15, 2006
[link: 1 Hits] If you are one of those people who thought your iPod was useful, and then discovered you can't get your songs off them, then these apps are for you: iPod Access and iPod Rip. I also read (but cannot verify) that you can get your songs off an iPod using MS Windows as follows: uninstall any iPod or iTunes software, plug your iPod in to the USB port, turn it on, open 'My Computer', open the 'iPod' directory, navigate iPod's internal directories, copy or move songs. I can confirm that this works both for my Creative Zen (RIP, battery) and my iRiver. Which is nice, because it means I have a 30 gig USB drive that I always carry with me. Think about that. [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Jay Matthews[Edit][Delete]: What Are the Best Education Blogs?, Washington Post [Edit][Delete] November 15, 2006
[link: 1 Hits] I'm sure Jay Matthews has a very different idea of what constitutes an 'education blog' than I do (could he imagine it being from overseas and talking about informal learning, for example?) but that's no reason why we shouldn't send him suggestions. Via elearnspace. [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Mark Wagner[Edit][Delete]: Establish Mission, Vision, Values, and Goals, Educational Technology and Life [Edit][Delete] November 15, 2006
[link: Hits] When talking about groups and networks recently I have commented a few times that the person who came up with the idea of the 'vision statement' ought to be thrown out the window. That's perhaps an over-reaction, but I still disagree with advice such as this: "In order for any large-scale or long-term change to be successful in an educational institution, the organization must have a sense of mission, or what DuFour and Eaker (1998) also called a shared 'sense of purpose'." I think managers are fooling themselves if they believe they can achieve this. Yes, staff may give lip service to the vision, but in the main, they have a very different view of their purpose in life than does the manager. Compare this: "This is not unlike the imperative of moral purpose that Fullan called for (in the breadth portion of this KAM)." How many people want their morality defined by their managers? Or even determined through some sort of group process of shared vision? Vision and morality - these are personal, and not the subject of some sort of subsumption to a corporate authority. Effective managers know this - and respect individual differences, rather than trying to get people to conform. [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

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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