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by Stephen Downes
August 28, 2007

Clair Maple Memorial Address: Knowledge, Freedom, and the Purposes of Learning
There's a lot of presumption and rhetoric in this talk (which, as a titled address, is appropriate) but I want to draw attention to the core of the document, which is essentially the top half of page 9 (on the PDF), which asserts, "the new purpose of education is to create global citizens who can innovate and integrate in the face of complex new demands, who are satisfied and productive individuals and competent and responsible members of their local and global communities... to sustain our democracy and perpetuate freedom." This is supposed to characterize a "liberal" education, and in the next paragraph Milton is cited, as though to stress that point. But it's wrong on so many levels. It's wrong to thing that we can create 'citizens' the way we create Buicks, it's wrong to suppose that people should be 'global citizens' rather than representative of their distinctive histories, homes and cultures, it's wrong to suppose we can instill some sense of responsibility on them without their advice and consent, and it's wrong to suppose that freedom is something that can be created or given to a population at all. Our children aren't little instruments designed to live our our ideals for us; we have to do that ourselves, and let our children define their own values in their own good time, and their first - and only - responsibility will be to look at what we have created, and to determine whether any of it is worth keeping. And when I look at the world we are giving them, I'm hesitant to be so proud. Susanne Woods, EDUCAUSE Connect August 28, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

No Mr. PLoS, I Expect You to DIE!!!!
Controversy surrounds an organization called PRISM, or the Partnership for Research Integrity in Science and Medicine. Essentially, the organization is arguing that open access is undermining peer review, opening the door to government intervention and selective censorship, and introducing duplications and uncertainty. PRISM, which was established by The Executive Council of the Professional&Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers (AAP), is a fairly transparent attempt to discredit the open access movement through propaganda and misinformation. Of course, it would help is the critics of PRISM didn't hide behind pseudonyms like 'The Evil Monkey'. Peter Suber, who has both a real name and a great deal of credibility, collects a long list of blog responses, while Courtnix (another pseudonym at ScienceBlogs - come on people, let's see some names) lists a variety of responses. The Evil Monkey, Neurotopia August 28, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Whole Child On YouTube
The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) uses YouTube to promote a video on its new 'whole child' campaign. I like the message and the mosaic metaphor, but the five minute video strikes the wrong note with the quaveringannouncer's voice, the celestial choir in the background, and with a whole lot of nothing happening in the last two minutes. Via ASCD Blog. Various Authors, ASCD August 28, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Networks, Ecologies, and Curatorial Teaching
There has been an interesting discussion on the iDC list of new media as a form of curation rather than merely creation, especially contributions by Barbara Lattanzi and Pamela Jennings, and it is in this light that I read George Siemens on 'Curatorial Teaching'. "The joint model of network administrator and curator form the foundation of what education should be," he writes. "An expert (the curator) exists in the artifacts displayed, resources reviewed in class, concepts being discussed. But she's behind the scenes providing interpretation, direction, provocation, and yes, even guiding." I don't think it's that automatic and that all-embracing. There's an aspect of curation that stresses presentation, and to that degree it is similar to teaching. And there's an aspect of curation that stresses interpretation, and to that degree it is similar to learning. And it's the latter, I think, that's more interesting. With curation, we are presented with the opportunity to observe an expert strive for understanding within a field. The curator, quite properly, lets the exhibition speak for itself. The student learns by observing, not by following. George Siemens, Connectivism August 28, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

GPhone Confirmed?
I've had a few reports of a forthcoming 'GPhone', to be offered by Google, which would be based on Linux, include Google maps, and cost a lot less. I'm a bit sceptical, as it would be Google's first foray into hardware. Still, I cannot deny the importance of this angle: "Is the GPhone going to be a sub-$100 device that takes on the One Laptop Per Child project?" More, from Monkey Bites. Pete Cashmore, Mashable August 28, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Leveraging Multimedia for eLearning by Ruth Clark
Helge Scherlund links to and summarizes a PDF white paper on multimedia in e-learning authored by Ruth Clark for Adobe. The advice is pretty straight-forward, things like using graphics, things like keeping lessons short, and things like creating relevant practice-based interactions. The paper isn't interested in community and is mostly performance-focused. And the theory of learning offered - basically a description of encoding audio and visual perceptions in long and short term memory - is quaint and in some ways misleading. Finally, a note for bloggers: please don't use those 'SnapShots' popups over links. They are as annoying as anything, especially when you have a lot of links on your page. If I want to see what's behind a link, I'll click it. Helge Scherlund, Helge Scherlund's eLearning news blog August 28, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Web 2.0 and Policy
The email advert reads as follows: "Many of you will have seen the JISC-funded report by Tom Franklin and Mark van Harmelen on Web2.0 services and their implications for sharing elearning content, especially the implications for universities and colleges. We've now drafted a JISC response to the recommendations in this report..." The report, boiled down as recommendations, consists of a string of statements saying "JISC should fund such-and-such". The response is invariably "JISC is already funding such-and-such" or "JISC is considering it". It's not much of a response, especially when you consider that the authors consider Gilly Salmon's book E-moderating: The key to teaching and learning online to be an instance of "moderation (including peer moderation) and control of Web 2.0 content." Various Authors, JISC August 28, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

The Music Industry's Piracy Tune Gets Old
This article is a typical, slightly less on-sided than usual, back-to-school item about music industry lawsuits against students. It would not be worth mentioning, except perhaps as yet another example of misleading propaganda. But the comments in response to the article more than make up for it. Should anyone from the Globe and Mail actually read the comments, they would learn than the Canadian public is not fooled. And can the newspaper stop printing phony institute reports as though they were 'research'? "Really, who needs real data when you can invent data that supports your position, create legislation based on it, and spoon feed it from US Lobbyists to Canadian politicians who will pass it word for word?" Barrie McKenna, Globe and Mail August 28, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Journal of Visualized Experiments
JoVE. Cool. This peer reviewed online journal offers video and multimedia contributions. The focus is mostly on biology and related subjects. No word yet on whether there will be a paper edition for schools that eschew online media. Via Andy Pulman. Various Authors, Website August 28, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , ] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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