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by Stephen Downes
June 2, 2007

For My First Guest...
Getting caught up - a special Saturday morning OLDaily. Enjoy. Meanwhile: what do I do in the evenings? Well, sometimes, I go to the local comedy club and watch this guy working on his act. Great stuff. Dean Shareski, Moving at the Speed of Creativity June 2, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Content Mixing Desk: WOOT!
Oh this is interesting - a 'slider' type control that allows users to control the amount of types of stories that are presented to them. Of course, like any slider, it allows only for a very rough characterization - you can't really work with more than a dozen sliders, which means I can choose more or les 'sports' but not more or less 'hockey' (not that this lets you chose for sports at all - it is devoted completely (and interestingly) to stories about your friends - their calendars, their notes, their photos, etc. Scott Wilson, Scott's Workblog June 2, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

What Does CBS Want with Last.Fm?
The answr to the question is obvious: audience. And for its advertisers, the viewing habits of audience. And for music publishers (or which it is one), control over what is available to audiences. Caroline McCarthy, CNet June 2, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Changing Literacies
Though we think of 'literacy' as being able to read, being literate is in fact much more than that. And the teaching of it requires that students not only have skill, but also accomplishment. "By publishing student work online, we allow them to gain a voice, to have an audience, to be confident producers of information in their own right among their peers, and before the globe." This is the third in a series being written by Clarence Fisher. Clarence Fisher, Remote Access June 2, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Personal Learning Knowledge Work Environment
Karyn Romeis coins the term 'lifewide learning' to capture the idea expressed in this post, that "I consider my office, my television set, my university classes, team development days, conversations with my far cleverer colleagues (both on and offline) to be a part of my PLE." For Tony Karrer, focused more on work than on life (why the separation between being a knowledge worker and being a weekend spelunker?) the idea becomes that "there should be no separation between my Personal Learning Environment (PLE), my Personal Knowledge Management system, and my day-to-day set of tools that enhance my knowledge worker productivity." Tony Karrer, eLearning Technology June 2, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

The No. 1 Graduate School of Education?
Without a whole lot of fanfare, online institutions like Capella University and Nova Southeastern have taken over the lead role in the production of education PhDs, easily outdistancing the Teachers College at Columbia University and other traditional institutions with large programs. Which goes mostly to show, I would say, that online learning scales where traditional learning doesn't. People, of course, will just assume that the method that products he fewest graduates will produce the highest quality; eventually, their quirks will be taken as definitive of higher quality, the way flaws in hand-woven fabrics denote higher quality in textiles. Which it's not, of course. Kevin Carey, Education Sector June 2, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

More OpenID, Free Will Discussions
A good back-and-forth about the relation between OpenID - and especially government or corporate issued OpenID - and personal choice and freedom. Specifically, writes the interlocutor, "I do sustain that issuing OpenIDs without asking takes away my freedom of choice." Not so. Issuing them and requiring that they be used takes away freedom of choice. If AOL prevents me from using my non-AOL OpenID, it takes away freedom of choice. If the government (or anyone else) requires that I use the government OpenID, it takes away freedom of choice. Via Michael Feldstein. Mark Wilcox, Virtual Identity Dialogue June 2, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Understandable Hypocrisy
I need to reserve some time for a longer response to Paul Capon's response to my criticisms of the CCL report. But for now, as a reaction to the methodology employed by the report (and endorsed my various EU and OECD organizations) I offer, as an outline, this post. It is a summary - an all-to-brief and possibly incomplete summary - of the sorts of errors these organizations make. My difficulty - and I easily confess it here - is that in such matters the scientific converges with the political. It is difficult to criticize such a report without seeming political even if the criticisms are exclusively scientific; and this is compounded is the bases for the methodology employed in the report are in fact political.

Anyhow, the criticisms, which are worth listing:

  • Believing that their expertise is more valuable than the knowledge of their subjects, and that they can avoid bias.
  • Seeking to mandate ideal behaviour or organisational strucuture.
  • Assuming an experiment will scale, or replicate in a different context.
  • Focusing on efficiency, not effectiveness; thinking of stability, rather than resilience.
  • Using outcome based targets for other than ordered systems in equilibrium states.
  • Using the wrong model of science for evidence. Evidence based policy is all well and good, but if your model of evidence requires provable outcomes in advance then your science model is locked into the last century.
  • Using hindsight rather than foresight.
The basis for these points (and you should read them in full in the original post) is "structured linear methods being applied to non-linear complex situations." As Dave Snowden comments in this post, very capable and competent professionals very easily fall back into these traps because they "have been trained for years in a particular approach to change." Dave Snowden, Cognitive Edge June 2, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Things You Really Need to Learn
I am still in Holland - I thought I would be going to Heerlen today but thanks to a gap in my reservation I remain in Den Bosch. I travel to Heerlen Sunday and speak Monday. Meanwhile, this is the Slideshare version of my presentation given here. It is an adaptation of my paper of the same name, integrating the 'things you really need to learn' with applications of new technology. I'll post a proper presentation page when I can export my audio from my iRiver. Stephen Downes, Slideshare June 1, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

How to Prevent Another Leonardo Da Vinci
Ah I like this. Listing through the seven ideas featured in the book "How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci", Kris ("Coffee-addicted, wanderlust-afflicted, existential teen writer/debater seeks an intellectual escape and the complete works of Voltaire. Static characters and stilted dialogue need not apply. Ratpack fan a plus.") demonstrates how to kill each one of them in contenporary classrooms, thus ensuring we never suffer through such insufferable genius again. Via David Truss. Kris, Wandering Ink. June 1, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Cool New Technology
Janet Clarey highlights a nifty new invention - a mouse you wear as a ring - and immediately finds the downside: "No more eating Cheetos while I work : ( " Janet Clarey, Weblog June 1, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Authors at Google: Cory Doctorow
Cory Doctorow talks about copyright to Google. Worth a view. Google, meanwhile, is launching Gears, an open source version of its productivity applications you can run on your own computer, without being online. Take that Microsoft! Doctorow writes, "I talked about how US trade policy had driven the US to abandon the tech sector and all the enterprises it supports in favor of a doomed plan to replace American industry with Police Academy sequels and Happy Meal toys." Via lucychii. Cory Doctorow, YouTube June 1, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , ] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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