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by Stephen Downes
July 19, 2007

CEGSA Day 1 Report
I am working late tonight - very late - as I will be speaking by videoconference to the CEGSA conference currently being hosted in Adelaide, Australia. Mike Seyfang offers this report from Day 1, including a summary of Gerry White's keynote. "Gerry finished his talk with a little 'report card' for our education system. If my kids brought home a report card like that I would kick myself up the arse for being a lousy parent." Um, hm. Graham Wegner also comments on the keynote. Mike Seyfang, Learning with the Fang July 19, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Photoshop of Horrors
Even as it sinks into insolvency, traditional media continues to press the case against new media. And the interminable debate continues. But as the most recent champion of traditional media, Andrew Keen, makes the rounds with the digerati, I am continually frustrated by the fact that the digerati won't state the knockdown argument: that traditional media is corrupt, and it is new media that is trustworthy. Of course, the digerati actually make their living from traditional media (look at their credits) so I guess they wouldn't. But I don't, and never will. So nothing stops me from observing that blatant bald-faced manipulation, such as the travesty described in this article, is commonplace. And not just that, but such manipulations of image and fact have had serious, long-term, and detrimental effects on society. And the thing is - I see numerous examples every single day! For example, also from today, the release and reporting of five year old Osama video as "new". Also, the description of a scientific study that doesn't exist. Or the smear campaign launched by an editor of the Daily Telegraph. Actually - that's just from this morning - I haven't done the evening rounds yet. Folks, in case you have missed it, traditional media is systematically and thoroughly corrupt, from the tabloid magazines to the corporate-owned newspapers to the advertorials to the product placements to payola placements. It is online media that can be trusted - not traditional media - because there are no privileged voices. Now unless somebody is actually going to take the argument to people like Keen and Gorman and others, can we all move on now? Moe, Jezebel July 19, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Resistant, Clueless, Indifferent, or Just Defensive?
Doug Noon links to a number of posts on the subject of teacher resistance to systematic change. Here's Terry Elliot: "I can tell you why it has been slow - the entrenched won't move until they see their front line has been breached and that further dithering with the Hindenberg's tea trays is quite futile. I also responded further to Sessums' thought provoking post." Meanwhile, nothing but silence from the School 2.0 crowd - many of who are gathered at the Building Learning Communities conference, where they talk about the role of the teacher, the "artificial by-product of contemporary institutions, created and reinforced by them in pursuit of their short-term ends." Doug Noon, Borderland July 19, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

ScienceDirect Available with Single Sign-On
OK, here's the post: "Publisher Elsevier has announced that its ScienceDirect service is now available through the UK Access Management Federation, so users will be able to log on with their institution's ID." Now the point that I want to make here is that this is proprietary sign-on, not single sign-on. And the use of the term 'single sign-on' to represent such proprietary solutions is wrong and misleading. Unattributed, Ferl July 19, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Thoughts On Research
George Siemens posts an article on research methodology. He cites something I wrote (in the blog post, but not the paper, which is a bit weird): "The best argument Jonassen can advance for his theory is to describe the theory; the question of fit is determined, over time, by the cumulative experiences of a multitude of practitioners against nebulous and undefined criteria." That's just the way the world is; pretending you can whip out a tape measure and reduce it to numbers doesn't change that. George Siemens, elearnspace July 19, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

100-Dollar Laptop Could Go Commercial by September
"One Laptop Per Child founder Nicholas Negroponte said this week during a speech in Geneva, Switzerland, that a retail version of the laptop may be commercially available in September 2007." Bruno Giussani, TEDBlog July 19, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Evidence-Based Learning
I guess my main problem with the concept of evidence-based learning is that it equates the concept of 'evidence' with 'measurement'. For example: "Evidence-Based Learning (EBL) requires us also to measure our own performance." I think that the emphasis on measurement has distorted the idea of 'evidence' (and empiricism in general). For example: my friend walks in through the door. How do I know my friend is here? Not by looking for certain qualities, like his height or his eye colour. Not by measuring anything - but by recognizing my friend. That's the problem with NCLB (which is not sound as a core concept). It supposes that learning is measured, rather than recognized. Will Thalheimer, Will at Work Learning July 19, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

ShareAlike, the Public Domain, and Privileging
David Wiley comes back with more discussion on open software licensing, expressing his argument this way: "So should we privilege people or content? For me, this is a very simple question. Content is simply a means to the end of supporting people's learning. Content is never the end in itself. The idea that we might privilege content over people is frightening to me." It's a nice argument with emotional appeal. But the use of the word 'privilege' is suspect. When we say that a person must obey the law, are we "privileging" content (the law) over people? No, of course not. The law is not simply 'content'. It - like a 'share alike' license - is the expression of some people of the intent to protect themselves, and society at large, against other people. Because companies like Disney can and do steal content from the public domain, 'modify' it, call it trademarked and copyright, and then sue people who attempt to use what they once used to own. As for the distraction of the 'developing world' argument near the end, the problem isn't how they can use our content, the problem is how we have used (and appropriated as our own) their content. David Wiley, iterating toward openness July 19, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Say Everything
I grew up in a small town. Everybody knew everything about everyone else. The internet is like that. So perhaps that's why I am less distressed than other people my age about sharing information about myself. This article looks at the phenomenon among young people. "It may be time to consider the possibility that young people who behave as if privacy doesn't exist are actually the sane people, not the insane ones... the idea of a truly private life is already an illusion. Every street in New York has a surveillance camera. Each time you swipe your debit card at Duane Reade or use your MetroCard, that transaction is tracked. Your employer owns your e-mails. The NSA owns your phone calls. Your life is being lived in public whether you choose to acknowledge it or not... it's the extreme caution of the earlier generation that's the narcissistic thing." Emily Nussbaum, New York July 19, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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