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by Stephen Downes
December 22, 2006

Have a Nice Holiday

Lights and Bridge, looking north into Gatineau from Ottawa.

No newsletter on Monday. Have a nice holiday and I'll see you again on Boxing Day. Stephen Downes, Flickr December 22, 2006 [Link] [Comment]

The 3 T's of Traveling: Taiwan, Taipei, and Thailand!
This post is worth the read for the set of reflections near the end. Some good insights into the direction of e-learning in Asia ("universities in Taiwan and Thailand are starting to offer Ph.D.'s in educational technology and learning sciences") though I wonder about the 'take the leadership role' type comments. What does he mean by 'leadership'? Biggest programs? Most students? Innovative technology? Something else? Curt Bonk, TravelinEdMan December 22, 2006 [Link] [Comment]

Students Construct Their Own Learning
Interesting item. Here's what I would like to key on: "Understanding is built by making connections between as many strands of knowledge as possible." This is significant. The idea is to encourage students to see these connections, to allow them to create their own understanding of reality ('construct' is, of course, the wrong word here). The components of this understanding form a network. The same principles that govern the organization of people (see the 'Bioteams' stuff) also govern the organization of ideas. Charles P. Nelson, Explorations in Learning December 22, 2006 [Link] [Comment]

eMerfge 2006
Proceedings from the eMerge 2006 online conference from South Africa I took part in earlier this year are now online. Various Authors, December 22, 2006 [Link] [Comment]

Re: I'm thrilled...
Hi Stephen - for you to publish under a PloS model may not make much sense - you have developed a platform from which to present your views, ideas, and theories. However, there are many others who, for various reasons - time being primary, have not adopted the open, transparent process you and I utilize. Many individuals - the ones in the trenches doing the actual work - don't have a podium from which to broadcast their views. So, while a PLoS model might be a step back from what you're doing now, it is a step forward for many others. Personally, I think the big value of the PLoS site is the ability to annotate, in context, the views and opinions of others, rather than simply including them at the end of the document. Like you, I also object to the fee. I would see a PLoS concept in learning and technology to be one of collaboratively taking care of our own community - i.e. that we are all responsible to tend our collective knowledge garden...especially if we want to increase access to others of less favorable economic climates. Take care George Siemens Anymouse, December 22, 2006 [Link] [Comment]

Top 100 List Still Fishy
The edublogosphere is in a tizzy about a Top 100 list of educational blogs that was posted last week and marketed with individual 'congratulations' letters to each of the bloggers so listed. Imagine! An upstart with no history in the edublogosphere coming up with a list of the top blogs. What's next, a newsletter and a conference? Christian Long demands that his link be removed (what, now we have constraints on linking?), Darren Kuropatwa asks, Why would Jimmy do this?, John Pederson creates wiki out of the list and says, "fix it." Stephanie Sandifer raises the question of transparency and blogging ethics. Dean Shareski quotes some Seinfeld. Miguel Guhlin ponders the nature of publicity and thinks about truth, trust and transparency. Every person starts somewhere. So what, may I ask, is Jimmy Atkinson's misdeed? Nothing, really - no ads, no commercialism, no payment-based linking. Is it just because he's not one of them? Meanwhile, Bryan Alexander remains neutral and points to some who react more positively: Cool Cat Teacher, Jon Yang, Alan Levine, NYC Educator. Christian Long, think:lab December 22, 2006 [Link] [Comment]

Teaching Hacks Wordpress Plugins
Useful list, if you use Wordpress, or are thinking of it. Quentin D'Souza, Teaching December 22, 2006 [Link] [Comment]

The Bioteaming Manifesto
Interesting paper describing the properties of successful teams - what the authors call 'bioteams' - based on network principles. My observations and comments are posted in my blog. Via Scott Leslie. Ken Thompson and Robin Good, Change This December 22, 2006 [Link] [Comment]

Google's Blogger Adds Privacy Options
Google's Blogger service has been struggling under the load (and a software upgrade and conversion) recently but it may be even more popular after adding privacy settings, allowing users to limit readership to their friends or even to just themselves. Associated Press, AP Wire December 22, 2006 [Link] [Comment]

Re: Design: Behaviorism Has Its Place
"stimulus response" is really a very poor description of behaviourism. A more appropriate description is adaptation of organism with environment. I didn't think anyone with an interest in behaviourism was that concerned with basic SR. SR is part of the mechanisms by which adaptation occurs. Its not the only mechanism. The point about behavioural science isn't whether its "true" - thats for religions, not science - but that it has genuinely useful predictive power within a certain scope, just like any other paradigms in psychology, or any other discipline. oh, and a better example than Vegas is the pokies in the hotel down the road. We know variable reinforcement schedules do work - it just isn't the whole story (or life would be very boring). But then, this is science generally - we still use Newton's laws, even though we know they only tell part of the story (relativity adds a bit more accuracy, quantum mechanics a bit more, and then the rest is chaos). I think you'd be hard pressed to find any psychologist who would deny the value of behavioural science or the accuracy of its experimental results. No more than you'd find a physicist who is a "Newton-denier". Of course, behaviourism as a *philosophy* (of human meaning, not as a philosphy of science) is a very different proposition, and the assertion that its been dead for 30 years may be more defensible. Anymouse, December 22, 2006 [Link] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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