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by Stephen Downes
August 30, 2007

OpenSim - Open Source Multi User Blah Blah (Sl). Dave Is in Love.
"OpenSim is a BSD Licensed Open Source project to develop a functioning virtual worlds server platform capable of supporting multiple clients and servers in a heterogenous grid structure." And Dave Cormier is sold on it. "The folks at Second Life said they wouldn't accept my pre-teens. They said that the 'conversation we had no longer applied'. I now have to thank them for forcing me to go out and find the open sourced alternative." Dave Cormier, Dave's Educational Blog August 30, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Thoughts On (and Pics of) the Original Macintosh User Manual
How do you introduce something - like the mouse - that nobody has seen before? These instruction manuals from the first Macintosh computers give us some sense of it. "'Well, it's called a scroll bar… I know, let's use a drawing of a scroll!' Yes. Because people in the mid-80s were all about scrolls..." A fun read, beautifully illustrated. Peter Merholz, peterme August 30, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Anglia Ruskin Ultra-Sensitive About Ultralab?
I ran across Merlin John's website by way of this article reporting on some legal thuggery from Anglia Ruskin University. It looks like a good blog, but none of the RSS feeds are working. Stephen Powell, thoughts mostly about learning August 30, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Researchers Question School in High-Tech Age
A standard education-reform article citing Don Tapscott, every newspaper's favorite tech author. The usual stuff, but I want to focus on this (I know you've seen it before): "Dentists, doctors and other professionals asleep for 100 years would awake, he says, to a world where they would not recognize their jobs, much less perform them. But in education, a teacher could walk into a classroom after a century and get busy."

That's just not true. Doesn't anyone think about what conditions were like 100 years ago? This infamous Rules for Teachers document is probably fake, but things like electricity, school buses, indoor plumbing, and even textbooks would all have been considered new technology - if they were available at all. Teachers had to defend teaching impractical skills, like reading and writing, to a generation of children of illiterate parents. A contemporary teacher would be as flummoxed - and stymied - by the attitudes and expectations of Victorian society. Free public schooling was a brand new idea and innovations like subject-based teaching had just been introduced. Don't believe people who say schooling has never changed - it has changed more fundamentally than almost every other discipline. Dean Bennett, Globe and Mail August 30, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Theories and Models of and for Online Learning
This is a very odd paper, and in fact, is best viewed as six separate contributions from six separate authors working in a common library and information science environment. As a result, what we get are six separate theories, which are more ways of viewing online learning than they are reflective of trends in online learning. The theories all have a vaguely ecological - social network - community of practice flavour. I think people familiar with e-learning could go through the paper and find examples in practice and technologies of each of the theories, but I also think it would have been better if the authors had done that. Via Mark Oehlert. Caroline Haythornthwaite,, First Monday August 30, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Intro to QEDWiki
John Connell links to this engaging video introducing IBM's QEDWiki (Quick and Easily Done). What the video shows is how you can drag and drop various web services and applications into the editing area to create new mashups. More from IBM here and bundled with DB2. Oracle also has a bundle. QEDWiki is built on the Zend framework, a PHP environment that lets developers easily create maships and mashup engines. This review of Zend puts it into a spectrum with other PHP frameworks. iboyibm, YouTube / IBM August 30, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Beware These Six Lamest Social Networks
This article published in Wired has resulted in the Stop Cyberbullying network on Ning being, in Andy Carvin's words, "flooded with a number of new users who were vandalizing the community in extremely obnoxious ways." I don't know what it is about writers who fling misogynist derogatives about as though they are funny, but I do know that the editors who pass such material through to the publisher have sacrificed any sense of journalistic integrity. Again. Mathew Honan, Wired August 30, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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