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by Stephen Downes
July 6, 2007

Live Earth

Various Artists, Earth July 6, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Easy Peasy Rich Media - VoiceThreads
I love this. "Basically you upload photos (integration from flickr allows you to pull them directly from a set there, nice), and the flash editing interface allows you to add audio narration to images, which play back as a slideshow." Alan Levine looks at multiple uses for the service. Really nice post, one that goes way beyond "here's a neat application." Alan Levine, CogDogBlog July 6, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Capturing Offline Copies of YouTube Videos
Because you can't depend on Google to keep the videos online forever (or even through to next week). Wesley Fryer, Moving at the Speed of Creativity July 6, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Woodbury University Island Destroyed
Second Life administrators at Linden Labs have removed an island owned by Woodbury University in response to "incidents of grid attacks, racism and intolerance, persistent harassment of other residents, and crashing the Woodbury University region itself while testing their abusive scripts." As the authors write, "the question of 'ownership' of virtual land is brought into stark focus here. Will Woodbury write off its investment in virtual real estate? Will the Lindens refund all or part of their payments?"

See also this interview Woodbury University's Edward Clift who says, "Universities should be made aware that Linden Labs maintains global surveillance on all the activities of their student members and monitors them both on campus and off-site." See also Nobody Fugazi, who writes, "A lack of transparency in the Abuse Report system makes this very difficult to assess from a community standpoint."

Meanwhile, Mark Wallace writes, "I'm sure the uses were inappropriate, but the problem is that they were not being undertaken by the owners of the land... LL has shown some really poor judgment in the way they've handled the situation thus far." Yeah maybe. But when you look at the evidence and images displayed at Grid Grind (and more in the Second Life Times and also here), it's hard not to agree that "this was inevitable." More coverage from Virtual Worlds News.

On the other hand, check out this article, from a month ago: "Woodbury got it right. On the surface they have the 'campus' entity, but down below is the space for students... This has recharged my thoughts about the potential of Second Life. I think there is definitely an opportunity to offer compelling, interactive, creative environments for users, but it starts by leaving out all of our preconceived notions of 'libraries' and building something unique."

Of course, we have the Chronicle offering breathless coverage of the bad bad technology (they assigned two writers to it). "In the freewheeling virtual world Second Life, Woodbury has been deleted." Oh yes, the real world triumphs again! The Chronicle report is for subscribers only, but who needs it, with all this free (and fair-minded) coverage? Pixeleen Mistral, Second Life Herald July 6, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Dr. Mashup; or, Why Educators Should Learn to Stop Worrying and Love the Remix
Brian Lamb leads off the current issue of EDUCAUSE Review with a look at the mash-up - and demonstrates the form with an audio mashup (MP3) of his own. From the audio: "DRM is an arms race between the major corporations and 13-year olds in Finland. And the 13-year olds are winning." yeah. "Electronic transmission has already inspired a new concept of multiple-authorship responsibility in which the specific concepts of the composer, the performer, and, indeed, the consumer overlap. . . . In fact, implicit in electronic culture is an acceptance of the idea of multilevel participation in the creative process." Oh, that wasn't Brian Lamb either - that was Glenn Gould, 40 years ago. Brian Lamb, EDUCAUSE Review July 6, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Having Your Cake and Eating It: The E-Framework's Service-Oriented Approach to IT in Higher Education
"The soa [service oriented architecture] seeks to separate out the core functionalities needed by a number of different applications into a series of modular components, provided as loosely coupled services." So far so good. But then, "the functions or tasks need to be provided with an agreed-upon open interface, and the wider the agreement is on these tasks, the greater the market for such services and the lower the price." Um, hm. But then, "considerable time and effort of experienced and technically skilled people is needed to establish such agreements." Well, that's really going to favour the entities that can fund such people, isn't it? But I digress. This article describes, in very general outlines, the consequence of such work, the E-Framework. Bill Olivier, EDUCAUSE Review July 6, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Carlyle and the Search for Authority
"The authority of the hierarchical state was being challenged, and political discourse, like religious discourse, had begun to represent authority as vested in the individuals that conĀ­stituted the state rather than in monarchical hierarchy. ... Society was understood as a series of contracts among competing individuals inĀ­stead of a corporate body united as a single family." Sound familiar? No, it's not Web 2.0. Rather, these sentences describe the emergence of the modern capitalist economy, the subject of Thomas Carlyle's work in the 1800s. This book - and 49 others on different topics - have now been made available for free (on PDF, sadly) by The Ohio State University Press. Good for them. Let's see more of this. Because these books - even though out of print - are relevant to today's reader. Via Academic Commons. Chris R. Vanden Bossche, Ohio State University Press July 6, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Rolling the Dice
Backfence - an experiment in online local journalism that attracted $3 million in seed money and employed as many as 25 people - is closing down. It couldn't get the readership, and more importantly, it couldn't get the advertising dollars. What does this say about the future of grassroots local journalism - and more broadly, about user-driven initiatives in general. Well, first, if you're in them to make money, you're probably in them for the wrong reasons. There are, as we see in this article, various successful local journalism projects - but none of which would ever hope to recoup a $3 million investment. And second, in order to stay small, you need to get big - to create a chain (or a network?) of similar sites, to attract national news and national advertising. Because that's where the money is. Good article. Paul Farhi, American Journalism Review July 6, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

First Day at PloS
Well I'll congratulate Coturnix on his new job at the Public Library of Science (PLoS) and let him introduce the open access journal website and service to you. Bora Zivkovic, Blog Around the Clock July 6, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

The Magic Question for Learning and Instructional Design
Will Thalheimer says, "The most important question that instructional designers can ask is: 'What do learners need to be able to do, and in what situations do they need to do those things?'" I'm thinking that maybe the way to state the question is more like, "What do people need to know, and in what situations do they need to know it?" Will Thalheimer, Will at Work Learning July 6, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Open-Source Platforms for Education and Equalization
This is an interesting article that blends a consideration of the needs of people in less wealthy nations - based on experiences in Liberia - with the opportunities offered by things like the OLPC and the personal learning environment (PLE). "Can we stretch the concept of the PLE into an industrial-strength learning platform, costing precisely nothing to construct, offering a genuine depth and breadth of modularity and flexibility, and dependent for successful implementation only on the provision of the underlying connectivity, the wide distribution of access devices, and the level of engagement required to train teachers and learners in the use of the tools (not an aspect that should be underestimated, of course)." John Connell, Weblog July 6, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

The Neuroscience of Joyful Education
This is mostly good advice - my main concern is in the tendency to lump together neuroimaging and measurement of brain chemicals, EEG measurements, glucose or oxygen use and blood flow, positron emission tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging and more under the heading of 'brain based research', giving all such analyses equal credibility. When such studies are used to say things like "under stressful conditions information is blocked from entering the brain's areas of higher cognitive memory consolidation and storage" I think that there's a lot of interpretation going on. Just which of these electrical or chemical activities constitutes a unit of information? Not so clear. And while I think that memory is associative, as the author suggests ("Input from each individual sense (hearing, touch, taste, vision, smell) is delivered to these areas and then matched with previously stored related memories") it's not clear to me that it is the 'brain studies' cited here that tells us this. All of that said, despite my criticisms, I agree with almost all of the actual assertions here - just not the scientific dressing in which they are cloaked. Via PEN Weekly Newsblast. Judy Willis, ASCD July 6, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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