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by Stephen Downes
May 16, 2007

E-Portfolios - the DNA of the Personal Learning Environment?
"The idea behind the e-Portfolio," writes Graham Attwell in this long discourse on PLEs, "is that students should be able to use their own tools for learning." What the PLE represents, then, is not some new tchnology that offers us another way to manage (or test) student learning, but rather the idea of (and maybe some technological support for) allowing students to take charge of their own learning. For example, to draw on Attwell's examples a bit, the process of reflection - exploring what they have done or achieved - involves the employment of cognitive tools (such as, say, 'articulating an opinion' or 'defending an opinion') as much as technological tools. The purpose of presenting the content isn't so that it can be evaluated by some authority but rather to place it in focus, in context, so it can be reflected on by the creator (and his or her peers). What defines a PLE, then, is purpose, and not merely function. Good paper, well worth reading. Graham Attwell, The Wales Wide Web May 16, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Learning Design and Open Source Teaching
The first part of this post is a very good summary of the concept of 'leaning design' (clip and save). James Dalziel then looks at the analogy of learning design as the (open) source code of teaching. But this then raises issues between Creative Commons, which is in a sense a limited open source, and open source proper. It's the same debate - whether we can call something 'open source' if it is licensed under a 'noncommercial' restriction. I see both sides of this debate. But there is another wrinkle. I'm not sure I'm comfortable with 'learning designs' per se being licensed at all. What's the difference between, say, 'business methods' and 'teaching methods'? Licensing these could be such a morass. James Dalziel, Terra Incognita - A Penn State World Campus Blog May 16, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Scratch Resources
Scratch is "a new programming language that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art -- and share your creations on the web. Scratch is designed to help young people (ages 8 and up) develop 21st century learning skills." Available from MIT's Media Lab, there are Mac and Windows downloads. They are working on a Linux version. This post from Quentin D'Souza links to a bunch of Scratch resources. Quentin D'Souza, Teaching May 16, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Not Another Account
A step in the right direction, maybe, allowing people to simply use their username to OpenID their way into a site. "this allows you to login and participate within EduSpaces using your existing account, as long as it is an OpenID provider." I've got to get OpenID code added to my site; if only the Perl implementation hadn't been so ridiculous (Perl programmers can be so annoyingly obscure sometimes). Dave Tosh, Weblog May 16, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

PLE Classification and Market Segmentation
Useful summary of two articles, one (Mark van Harmelen's Sixth IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies (ICALT'06) paper titled Personal Learning Environments) categorizing types of PLEs and the other (Ray Sim's my Framework for PLE in Corporations) outlining user functions for PLEs. It's interesting to note in passing how quickly the concept of the PLE has been industrialized. Ray Sims, Sims Learning Connections May 16, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Wii Love New Controls
I think this could be interesting: making the Wii work with Second Life. Maybe I should Wii-ify my website. You can read the archives by gesturing with your numchuk. Yeah, I can see it now. Stan Trevena, PacificRim Exchange May 16, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Exciting New Online Citation Generator
This is a service that lets you search for a resource you're citing, and then generates a citation in on e of the major formats, MLA, APA, or Chicago. Cites books, websites, newspaper articles, and more. As well, if the item isn't in their database, you can add it (this really enhances the services, in my view). A good business idea that will last until Microsoft copies it and embeds it in Word. ScooterDMan, KairosNews May 16, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Edublogging Just Got... Easier launches some help videos to make things easier. These are probably useful to anyone using a WordPress installation, an not only those who use Edublogs. James Farmer, incorporated subversion May 16, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Why I'M Not Worried About the Microsoft Patent Threats Against Linux
This is a common theme in the reactions. "The experts and evidence all suggest that Microsoft is all bark and no bite in this particular case." Look at it more closely: "[Linux] potentially, not definitely, infringes 283 untested patents, while not infringing a single court-validated patent." And Microsoft won't name the patents, because, as Linus Torvalds writes, "Naming them would make it either clear that Linux isn't infringing at all (which is quite possible, especially if the patents are bad), or would make it possible to avoid infringing by coding around whatever silly thing they claim." He adds, "Don't you think that if Microsoft actually had some really foolproof patent, they'd just tell us and go, 'nyaah, nyaah, nyaah!'" Finally, as Feldstein argues, "Microsoft would likely be counter-sued for infringement by some very big players if they really went after Linux." Michael Feldstein, e-Literate May 16, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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