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by Stephen Downes
March 28, 2007

EduRSS 0.2 Is Back
Edu-RSS is in operation once again, harvesting blogs and sending out pages and RSS feeds. Here is a list of the feeds harvested by Edu-RSS. I am now producing several output pages (and corresponding RSS feeds):

On this site, Edu_RSS runs several different lists:

(Click on the orange RSS icon in the address bar to get the RSS feed). Also related to this is the arrival, once again, of my Research Topics pages. These are also showing up as 'tags' on individual posts both in Edu_RSS and in this newsletter. I'm still working on that a bit - the topics will be displayed in categories some time in the future. And RSS feeds for the topics will be available again. Still some bugs in the system (especially in the auto-tagger). In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the way I've incorporated the Wikipedia content into the pages.

One thing to note. Edu_RSS, when it harvests, collects all the links cited in given posts. This will be used to track conversations and to rank pages. So far so good - but many feeds (especially WordPress feeds) only distribute short summaries of about 300 characters (Edu_RSS itself only retains 1000 characters, but only after analyzing the full content). I do not retrieve the original web page. So if you are distributing only a summary in your web page, the sites you link to are not being recorded. Just so you know. Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web March 28, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

ELI Conference - Haptic Force Feedback On Learning
This is pretty neat - an interface device (like a mouse, only much more complex) that not only lets you control objects on the screen, but which responds with resistance as appropriate. It's the same basic technology as rumble-sticks but with more fine-tuned responses that merely on-off and intensity. Jeff VanDrimmelen says there's no reason not to have one now, as they're becoming mainstream. Well, I guess I'd wait for some applications to actually develop the interface. And $300 is a bit much for a mouse with an attitude. Jeff VanDrimmelen, EDUCAUSE Connect March 28, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

LMS Pricing Trends (Installed Implementations)
According to this chart, prices have been dropping, especially at the lower number of users (a drop of 25 percent for 500 users). And I don't think the averages (like, say, $48K for 500 users) include the cost of open source LMSs like Moodle. Richard Nantel, Weblog March 28, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Social Networking As Professional Development
Links to Ning and in particular describes the Library 2.0 network created on Ning as well as the more recent Classroom 2.0 network. I look at that and say, well what, now, you own Classroom 2.0? See - I don't think it's a network if it belongs to someone, if it is created, if it is associated with a place. It's more like, what, a club or a group in such a circumstance. And that is the key difference between social networks such as Ning and the edublogosphere, and why Will Richardson probably learns much more from the latter than the former. Steve Hargadon, Infinite Thinking Machine March 28, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Why to Not Not Start a Startup
A very interesting read. The author is a (small) venture capitalist that provide (a tiny amount of) funding to potential startups. Many interesting bits. Including: "If you don't think you're smart enough to start a startup doing something technically difficult, just write enterprise software. Enterprise software companies aren't technology companies, they're sales companies, and sales depends mostly on effort." Via Simon Willison. Paul Graham, Website March 28, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

FlashMeeting - the YouTube of Videoconferencing?
It remains true that Flash is the best means to show video on the web (which is sad, when you think of it - because there are so many better alternatives, but the companies behind the standards could never agree on something everybody could use). The same may hold true of videoconferencing. "FlashMeeting is not a videoconference system in a traditional sense. The one that is speaking is actually always broadcasting her video and audio stream for other participants. All the participants may ask for turns and when you ???stop broadcasting" the turn moves automatically for the next in the list. In a teaching and learning setting this works very nicely." This page explains how to install Flash Play 9 (you need 8 or above for FlashMeeting) on Ubuntu Linux. Teemu Leinonen, FLOSSE Posse March 28, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Kathy Sierra, the Private Public and the Anonymous
There's way too much reaction to the Kathy Sierra post to attempt to capture, though this blog is doing a pretty good job. I have several reactions. First, the real problem - I reiterate - is a society (and an A-list blogosphere) that has long tolerated such behaviour. Where was Stop Cyberbullying when Juan Cole was getting death threats? Where was Safer Internet Day when those really vile posts on Ann Coulter were making the rounds? And second, as Dave Winer writes, the mob mentality is getting out of control. They are tramping around looking for scapegoats - ban anonymous posting, they write, or shut down or block these websites. As though that would solve the problem. It won't. The problem is that it is still socially acceptable to demean women, still socially acceptable to casually propose violent acts, still socially acceptable to engage in character assassination, and still socially acceptable to attack certain minorities (you read Rageboy and you realize that he still thinks it's OK). I agree with Scoble, "We have to fix this culture." But not just internet culture. Culture, generally. Dave Cormier, Dave's Educational Blog March 28, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

RSS Feeds Monetization Tools: A Mini-Guide
Advertising is slowly becoming more pervasive in the world of RSS syndication, which means the efforts to clamp down on syndication and sharing can't be far behind. This article lists a number of companies offering tools that create ads in RSS feeds. What the article doesn't mention is that feed readers (such as Blogline and Google reader) have started putting the number of subscribers into their browser information when they access your feed; this means that feed owners can look at their logs and add up the number of people subscribe to the feed. More here. Robin Good, Master New Media March 28, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Mobile Learning: The Next Step in Technology-Mediated Learning
"Learning," writes Ellen Wagner, "is a deeply personal act, best facilitated by relevant, reliable and engaging experiences, yet many teaching approaches still rely on more impersonal 'command and control' models that include an instructor in charge, specific goals to be met and criteria to be mastered." Mobile learning devices stand poised to change this, she writes. "With mobile technologies, training now accommodates people instead of people working to accommodate training." Well... except for the size thing. And the proprietary technology. There is a lot of opportunity for mobile learning, but it is not without its pitfalls. Ellen Wagner, Chief Learning Officer March 28, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Just Say No! A Few More Reasons for Universities to Foster Independent Mediated Voices
Some universities are caving to the RIAA's demands that they pass along information about student accounts - Purdue, for example, warned 40,000 students to "remove or at least partially disable any peer-to-peer file sharing software on their computers." On the other hand, some other universities - notably Nebraska and Maine - have had enough and are fighting back. As they should. Jim Groom, bavatuesdays March 28, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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