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by Stephen Downes
April 30, 2007

De-Schooling (or Re-Schooling) Society
I am feeling better but now hopelessly behind in my work with a flight to Bahrain looming. So, quickly: Graham Attwell expands on his deschooling remarks and comments, "Is this utopian? I do not think so. the development of PLEs is not a major impossibility - indeed we already have prototype applications - although more work needs to be done in the area of provision of services." Graham Attwell, The Wales Wide Web April 30, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Sizing Up the Opposition
Let me, at some risk, draw a connection between two separate threads. On the one hand, there is this series of posts discussing the creation of School 2.0 (or Education 2.0) groups on Ning. What is the motivation for this? there have been some emails flinging around - I haven't taken part in this exchange - where people are examining each other's motivations. People are trying very hard to be civil but it's clear there are some hard feelings. Why draw people from open and public discourse, some are asking, into private places like Ning networks? See Ed Tech Talk for a list of links and discussion, including an audio recording.

I think that there's a couple of things going on. On the one hand, there's the desire to build an audience by being the first to pick something popular. That explains (in my mind) a lot of the push behind other things, like Twitter and Second Life, each of which has spawned its own experts. But the other is that these businesses are very cleverly tapping into a latent conservatism - one that serves their own interests and helps people feel comfortable in familiar surroundings. This is the thread that is captured in Tom Haskin's discussion. "When we are in favor of any change, we encounter those who favor stability. In these situations, it's tempting to misjudge the opposition and fall for their deceptive tactics. It's even possible to 'bark at the decoy' and miss where the real resistance lies." Tom Haskins, growing changing learning creating April 30, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Wiki Pedagogy
OK, this is a completely new word for me: "palimpsests." Which means, "A manuscript, typically of papyrus or parchment, that has been written on more than once, with the earlier writing incompletely erased and often legible." It sounds like a wiki, doesn't it? And that's exactly the context in which the word is used, in this very comprehensive discussion of how wikis can be used to support learning. The text is not dense, as suggested by the elearningpost reference, but is actually broken up into quite easily digestible short paragraphs. Renee Fountain, dossiers technopedagogiques April 30, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Supreme Court Strikes a Major Blow for Patent Reform
This is very good news. In a nutshell, the Supreme Court has ruled that a broad and common-sense reading of the word 'obvious' should be used when considering whether a proposed patent is 'obvious'. This could reverse any number of patents, including the odious Blackboard patents (what could be more obvious than online courses?). More on the Supreme Court Ruling. Michael Feldstein, e-Literate April 30, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

Desire2Pod Cast 13: Nancy White
I haven't noticed Odeo audiocasts embedded in blog posts for a while (and had noticed that Odeo, which allows you to upload audio the way Flickr allows you to upload photos) was having read speed problems. This seems to be inversed - Flickr now seems to be throttling output (resulting in pages - that I see, at least - displaying only 6 thumbnail images out of a page of, say, 30) while Odeo seems to be loading smartly. Anyhow, Nancy White is always worth a listen. "In this 15-minute interview we learn about her background, her consulting specialties, and some of her thoughts about the keynote topic," Technologies for Communities of Practice. Barry Dahl, Desire2Blog April 30, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

MySpace&a Drunken Pirate's Fate: A Cautionary Tale or Hint of Things to Come?
There's obviously more to this than what we see on the surface, but what we see on the surface is pretty disturbing: "A MySpace photo of a teacher education candidate, Ms. Snyder, wearing a pirate hat while drinking from a plastic 'Mr. Goodbar' cup was reason enough for Millersville University (aka My'Ville) to deny her both an education degree and teaching certificate." She is accused of "promoting underage drinking." Which is ridiculous, of course, but she has obviously failed some sort of political purity test. Which is why this is disturbing. Christopher D. Sessums, Weblog April 30, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

One Laptop Per Child and the Commonwealth of Learning
Alastair Sweeny sends along some links, observing that students making their own wiki textbooks with free Wikispaces. here's a sample. Meanwhile, Seb Schmoller links to this item describing a program to develop wiki content for OLPC users. Seb Schmoller, Fortnightly Mailing April 30, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Broadband to Go Free in 2 Yrs Add to Clippings
Interesting news - according to this Indis Times report, the Indian government will provide free wireless broadband (2 megabit per second) across the country by 2008. In a similar story, the government of the province of Saskatchewan, Canada, is creating a free wireless network that will cover its four largest cities. Here in New Brunswick, of course, we have Fred-E Zone covering the capital city and even some parts beyond. But where is the Moncton initiative? The New Brunswick-wide initiative? The government of India knows how important this is - why doesn't the government in Moncton and New Brunswick? Joji Thomas Philip, India Times April 30, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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