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by Stephen Downes
July 17, 2007

Edubloggers As Prisoners of the Nation State.
Artichoke revisits my critique of school 2.0 from a couple months ago (which makes me happy, because it went largely unremarked by the school 2.0 crowd). She writes, "If Illich could imagine a good education system - one that didn't need schools and classrooms in 1971, why do we keep pretending we need schools and classrooms to learn in 2007?" See also Teemu Arina's Serendipity 2.0: Missing Third Places of Learning, cited in the same article. Artichoke, Weblog July 17, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

HP and MIT Create Non-Profit Organization to Support Growing Community of DSpace Users
MIT and Hewlett-Packard are creating foundation for DSpace, the MIT brand of Open Archive Initiative (OAI) software. According to the HP press release, "Jointly developed by HP and the MIT Libraries beginning in 2002, today more than 200 projects worldwide are using the software to digitally capture, preserve and share their artifacts, documents, collections and research data." More from Peter Suber here, as he quotes Chronicle of Higher Education reporter Andrea Foster: "A foundering project to promote free digital archives of scholarship is getting new life." Foundering? Only in the Chronicle's blithered imagination. Press Release, HP - Business Wire July 17, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

JISC RepositoryNet
JISC has launched RepositoryNet to bring together four JISC-funded projects: Repositories Support Project; The Depot, a repository for UK researchers; Intute: Repository Search; Repositories Research Team. "The aim of JISC RepositoryNet is to help form an interoperable network of repositories. It will do this by providing UK universities and colleges with access to trusted and expert information about repositories and by supporting some key services that form building blocks for a network of repositories. By working together, sharing practice and implementing common standards, UK universities and colleges can help to improve access to research and learning and to manage and curate their output." Via Peter Suber. Briefing Paper, JISC July 17, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , , ] [Comment]

The MET School: Connections and Friendships
Ewan McIntosh introduces us to the MET School, "where no more than 120-150 kids are led in groups of 12-17 students by advisors. No 'teachers' in sight." Ewan McIntosh, July 17, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Correspondence On Digital Archives and ePortfolios
Helen Barrett receives an email from Mike Caulfield describing an Inverted LMS, which turns out to be the PLE, independently discovered. More here. She also gets a note from a graduate student, who writes, "I'm trending towards the view that the system we will end up with will use RSS to expose content, tags to organize it, and open ID to selectively share content with certain people." Yes, as people look at the potential of online technology, they begin reaching similar conclusions. Independently, autonomously. Helen Barrett, E-Portfolios for Learning July 17, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Interview with Morten Flate Paulsen
Interview with Morten Flate Paulsen that spans his work with the Distance Education Online Symposium (DEOS), his work on cooperation and collaboration, his views on videoconferencing, learning management systems and the MegaTrends project. PDF. Michael F. Shaughnessy and Susan M. Fulgham, Educational Technology July 17, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Testing An Experimental Universally Designed Learning Unit in a Graduate Level Online Teacher Education Course
I liked this paper partially because the survey size of 216 was substantially larger than most in our field (larger, for example, than the surveys of 24 and 38 in the same issue of JOLT) and partially because the authors were responsible enough to say "the sample size was too small to extrapolate too much from the results." Quite so. But they say, and I agree, that "having over 85% 'SJ' population within a sample of teachers" stands out. Now of course every time somebody mentions learning styles, someone else squawks that there is no evidential basis for learning styles. Will Thalheimer has even written, "I will give $1000 (US dollars) to the first person or group who can prove that taking learning styles into account in designing instruction can produce meaningful learning benefits."

I don't know whether this qualifies, but it seems to me there's something up when we see a study that shows almost all teachers matching a style described as:

  1. Focus on responsibility, study habits, teacher approval;
  2. learns through identifying and memorizing facts and procedures, through repetition and drill;
  3. prefers sequenced, step-by-step presentation of material;
  4. sees 'fundamentals' as most important - sees little value in abstractions and theoretical principles;
  5. prefers consistent, clearly defined procedures, order and structure; interested in what they and their classmates are 'supposed' to do;
  6. when asked to invent own procedures, or given vague directions, may become distressed and falter in their work;
  7. very detail-oriented, and interested in doing things 'the right way'; wants to know teacher preferences and expectations so they can conform to them exactly;
  8. craves membership in groups, especially if they involve instructor approval.
Melissa Engleman and Mary Schmidt, Journal of Online Learning and Teaching July 17, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

CREST+ Model: Writing Effective Online Discussion Questions
I think the acronym is a bit cutesy, but I like this discussion of question types and methodologies. We don't see a lot on question formation, but a good survey of recent work is provided in the introduction. As for the CREST+ model itself, it is mostly a taxonomy of question types. So far so good, but we want to be more probing. What do we do with different types of questions? What effects do they have? Questions don't merely query, they also frame discussions. They create some possibilities, eliminate others. What happens when these possibilities exceed the bounds of experience? Or constrain them? Lynn Akin and Diane Neal, Journal of Online Learning and Teaching July 17, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Questioning the Student Use of and Desire for Lecture Podcasts
The authors conclude, " Although iPods and other MP3 players are common with students, the use of audio files as an educational device is still debated and has not undergone rigorous pedagogical research." Well fine. Of course, they are surveying whether students at Duke - who have already paid the gazillions in tuition fees and are actually on campus - listen to lecture podcasts. And sometimes they do. But I just think this is researching the wrong thing. What I want to know is, what is the effectiveness of a podcast compared to, say, nothing. Because the people who really benefit from things like podcasts are not the people locked into the classroom in front of you but rather the people who are locked out. Laura A. Guertin,, Journal of Online Learning and Teaching July 17, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

20 Ways To Aggregate Your Social Networking Profiles
Nice list of websites that aggregate social profiles. "Social network aggregators is a relatively new breed of applications which try to consolidate all your various social networking profiles into one, with varying success. Let's check out 20 biggest competitors in this field." Stan Schroeder, Mashable July 17, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Open Library
The Open Library demo has launched. "What if there was a library which held every book? Not every book on sale, or every important book, or even every book in English, but simply every book-a key part of our planet's cultural legacy.... most importantly, such a library must be fully open. Not simply 'free to the people,' as the grand banner across the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh proclaims, but a product of the people: letting them create and curate its catalog, contribute to its content, participate in its governance, and have full, free access to its data. In an era where library data and Internet databases are being run by money-seeking companies behind closed doors, it's more important than ever to be open." Hear hear! Via Joho. Various Authors, Website July 17, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Greenhouse Grant for Virtual Worlds
As the PDF says, "Blackboard is funding a single $25,000 (USD) grant for initiatives that promote the integration of virtual worlds into teaching and learning." This of course follows the successful development of Sloodle (PDF White paper) which integrates the open source Moodle LMS with Second Life. See also the Blackboard Connections website. See also this email. Press Release, Blackboard July 17, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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