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by Stephen Downes
February 27, 2007

Second Life&Voice - It Will Happen!
They can't handle more than 38,000 people at a time, forcing them to kick 'non-paying' customers off the service at peak loads, but they're going to have voice chat integrated by June, 2007? You know, what this reminds me of is AOL's original strategy - advertising like crazy, offering a service that they couldn't sustain, then turning around and using the hype money to buy a real business, which in their case turned out to be Time-Warner.

Meanwhile, we have a competing virtual world called Outback Online coming onto the scene. And what will happen, of course, is exactly what happened with social networking (and so many other services - it's like the business community makes the same mistake over and over), a set of 3D virtual world silos each trying to attract a market share. We'll go througn several years of this and eventually an open source effort, maybe called Open3D or something like that, will create a single-identity distributed version. Brett Bixler, Penn State Virtual Worlds February 27, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

MED Online for Free
This is the sort of thing that makes the internet great (and which really rekindles my belief in free and open online resources). The entire Old English dictionary (with all the references, etc) has been made available for free online by the University of Michigan. Aueful! Eric Hoefler, Sicheii Yazhi February 27, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

Open Educational Resources Taking Off
Useful post on issues related to open educational resources (OERs) that also points the reader to the Open Learning Content Observatory Services (OLCOS) project that "aims at building an online information and observation centre for promoting the concept, production and usage of OER, in particular, open digital educational content (ODEC) in Europe." Graham Attwell, The Wales-Wide Web February 27, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

Blackboard Inter Partes Determination Published
The nice clear version: "The USPTO found 13 of Desire2Learn's 14 claims to raise substantial new questions of patentability." (Aside: it is interesting to note that the use of a tag, in this case 'edupatents', imposes a requirement on the part of the writer - hence Feldstein's note in this post. This is why I use regular expressions rather than tags - a regular expression captures the words that would notmally be used in a post, rather than requiring that the author use a word that doesn't even exist. The Blackboard patent page uses a regular expression, which is why I don't even need to think about it). Michael feldstein, e-Literate February 27, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

Connectivism: What's Happening With the Content
Abbreviated version of the presentation George Siemens gave at Mount Royal College in Calgary reiterating some of the major themes of connectivism. Slides plus audio, presented in Articulate. George Siemens, elearnspace February 27, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

Debating the "Brain Glitch" Theory
The interminable phonics debate (how did this get so politicized?) continues in ASCD's Educational leadership and carries over into this item in the ASCD Blog. The debate begins with neurologist Judy Willis criticizing claims that "neuroscience proves the necessity of intensive phonics instruction for students who struggle with reading." In particular, she points to the limits of neuroimaging technologies. And she questions whether the children being studied were actually rerading of whether they were merely reciting. The response suggests that Willis ognores decades of research showing that "to read, a child has to develop the insight that spoken words can be pulled apart into the elemental particles of speech." I'm more inclined to the view that learning to read is complex, including both elements of phonics and language structure or syntax. Anyhow, interesting articles, and this item is a good way to introduce the ASCD blog (don't miss the comments in this item). Laura Varlas, ASCD Blog February 27, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

Jerry Springer U.
This is pretty wild. A male student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill decides to break up with his girlfriend and invites her to 'The Pit', a meeting place on campus, for a "Valentine's day Surprise". Nothing unusual in that, but this guy advertised it on Facebook, and as many as 1,000 people showed up to record the breakup on video and hurl abuse at her. This article is a good account of the event and the phenomenon of online-initiated abuse in general, good because it doesn't automatically blame the internet but rather prompts us to ask what would make people think such behaviour is acceptable in the first place. Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed February 27, 2007 [Link] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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