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by Stephen Downes
September 3, 2007

OpenEd Week 1: Right to Education a Human Right?
If I could type better I would have offered my own thoughts on David Wiley's opening question in his Open Education course: "In your opinion, is the "right to education" a basic human right? Why or why not? In your opinion, is open *access* to free, high-quality educational opportunity sufficient, or is it necessary to *mandate* education through a certain age or level?" But my wrist is in a splint (and my knee is bruised and I have a black eye) as a result of a bicycle accident on Saturday. So I'll link to the responses offered by Jennifer Maddrell, Jim Groom, Brian Lamb, and some commentary from D'Arcy Norman that I especially agree with. Jennifer Maddrell, Designed to Inspire September 3, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Edublogs Blocked in China
OLDaily has not been blocked in China, to my knowledge, but it frequently sets off the filters in Australia, resulting in the email version being blocked from all of Queensland. Anyhow, Edublogs, the wonderful service offered by James Farmer, is blocked in China right now. If anyone can help him, why not drop him a line? James Farmer, incorporated subversion September 3, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

A Stale State of Tagging?
People started tagging and got all excited by the idea, and then tagging became associated with certain brands, and then all of a sudden there were 140 different tagging engines, all of which were of course incompatible with each other. The article concludes with an outline of what 'enterprise' needs, which is exactly the wrong way to go, because what makes tagging work - when it works at all - is that it transcends boundaries - exactly what enterprise doesn't do. What we need is interoperability and portability. Again. Still. Thomas Vander Wal, Weblog September 3, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

The Other Is a Cheaper Thing, but the Moths Get Into It.
What types of comments do people leave on blog posts, and what kind count as 'good' comments? The list in the post is incomplete, but the comments that follow (including a snippet of my own) offer a pretty good discussion. Artichoke, Weblog September 3, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Lifelong Learning and Human
Nothing in this document is false. And yet, this is a document I feel should be thoroughly repudiated. It is a description of 'human capital', defined as, "a combination of individuals' own innate talents and abilities and the skills and learning they acquire through education and training." Human capital does, we are told, provide a 'return'; "the returns to human capital can be understood in terms of the prosperity, both the individual's and that of the national economy." And "The years of formal education are crucial to human capital formation, and to ensuring that young people develop the skills and knowledge that will enable them to earn a living in later life." Yes, we could talk about human beings through the metaphor of assets and valuation. But we shouldn't, because it becomes far too tempting to think of them in those terms, to think that a company or a government 'owns' its human capital - in which it has, after all, invested. Via Jorge Goncalves. Brian Keeley, OECD September 3, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

In Their Own Words
In Their Own Words is not a bad publication, especially, but I really wish the authors and editors had managed to resist the cliches. Like the photographs of one person using a computer while three others look on (and compare the ones on pages 7 and 8 - they're just wrong). The "students' words" themselves, of course, are carefully edited and polished, and in the videos presented with them have theme music and narration, to make sure you get the point. And it was jarring to be confronted with a 20 megabyte .mov - I realized that the large and fast Flash videos have become standard for me. Some of the comments are right - for example, "Content is no longer 'fixed' and 'valued'. It is a starting point, something to interact with, to cut and paste, to adapt and remix." But the entire production looks and feels and reads like a lot of work went into making it non-threatening to educational officials. And those words, I would imagine, are not the students' at all. Many more resources here. Via JISC e-Learning Focus. Various Authors, JISC September 3, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Scratch One Up for Google Scholar
Terry Anderson summarizes a review of Google Scholar which says that though the service can retrieve lower quality articles, for all practical purposes it equals high-priced library e-searches. "This leads me to wonder," he writes, "if we have freely accessible, high quality indexing, a growing number of high quality peer reviewed journals and ubiquitous networking- do we really need commercial publishers anymore?" Terry Anderson, Virtual Canuck September 3, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , ] [Comment]

How Much Is That Standard in the Window, the One with the Lovely Tale?
More on the disputes surrounding efforts to make Microsoft's OOXML an ISO standard - "Groklaw says there has been more pressure by Microsoft in Denmark and there are rumours about irregularities in Norway and Hungary." I've seen similar stuff on other standard bodies; none of this is new, nor unique to ISO. Simon Wardley, Bits or pieces? September 3, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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