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by Stephen Downes
May 9, 2007

IBM Executive Calls for Virtual Planet
According to this article, "Nick Donofrio, executive vice president, innovation and technology at IBM, hopes to encourage the creation of what he termed 'a virtual planet' where rival virtual worlds are more interlinked." This reminds me of the old days of Intermud. But this really only managed to accomplish cross-MUD communications. Packing your +50 Excalibur class sword from Frag-world DIKU to MediaMOO just wasn't on, really. Similar issues would exist in today's new commercial 3D worlds - could you bring clothing into Second Life from There? China Martens, PC World May 9, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

New Brain Plasticity Theory to Create a Population of Life-Long Learners
Overview (with some nice common sense examples) of neuroplasticity, the theory now becoming widely accepted that the brain, even adult brains, change structure in order to adapt to new realities. The link to an page in reference to Dr. Norman Doidge, author of "The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science," could more usefully have been to the online audio of the author's interview with CBC radio (requires Real Media, but there's also a link to an MP3 version). Richard Nantel, Weblog May 9, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Social Computing Forecasts
What would lead students to use web 2.0 technologies? Granted, "we aren't necessarily as up to speed with elearning as we might be, either in terms of technology tracking and adoption, or elearning pedagogy." But he have some idea of participation patterns, such as the 'one percent phenomenon' or the 'participation ladder' diagrammed here. Usweful post; many links. Tony Hirst, OUseful Info May 9, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Social Networking and Responsibility
The map of social networks reprinted in this post is totally worth passing along (it puts things, if you will, into perspective). Following a couple of Chronicle "social networking: threat or menace" posts the author arrives at two insights: first, that "Social networking sites are the equivalent of the city apartment building with the too-thin walls where everyone can hear what everyone else is saying" and second, "the older generations who are now in positions of power are not comfortable with this kind of openness." I think that if administrators could approach openness with something other than blind panic it would be found to be a beneficial development, one that helps us anticipate and address many issues that would otherwise go unresolved until they blew up. Dennis Coxe, Sailing by the Sound May 9, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Plans Announced to Create the Encyclopedia of Life
I'm not sure whether the world needs another encyclopedia, but this looks like an interesting project: "They plan to catalog and share information on all of the species of animals and will allow information on SIGHTINGS from 'amateurs.' Projected to take 300 million pages, 'The MacArthur and Sloan foundations have given a total $12.5 million to pay for the first 2 1/2 years of the massive effort, but it will be free and accessible to everyone.'" Vicki A. Davis, Cool Cat Teacher Blog May 9, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Why Go Global? or Learning for the Future!
I have in common with the authors of this site the opinion that "Our curriculum structure, school day structure and educational priorities are not preparing students for their future" and with it the thought that new learning technologies will be able to change this. What for me counts as what students need to learn, however, is different from the version presented here - things like "managing complexity" and "managing for results" seem to me to be more a misrepresentation of what is needed, while things like "risk taking" and "civic responsibility" are, in my view, mostly cliches. But if we are talking about what needs to be learned, instead of trotting out the traditional targets like trigonometry, then we are on the right track. Kim Cofino, always learning May 9, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

80% with a Second Life
This is the sort of thing I think is just ridiculous. According to the Gartner press release cited here by Dave Warlick, 80 percent of active internet users will "have a second life" by 2011 - that is, they will be participants in a virtual world. If they mean 'will have tried it once' then maybe there's an outside chance. But if they mean 'will be an active participant', then there is no chance. Like the 'five laws' for participating in virtual world they also offer, the statement is not grounded in reality. "Behind every avatar is a real person?" Ridiculous - have they never heard of bots? Dave Warlick, 2 Cents Worth May 9, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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