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by Stephen Downes
September 7, 2007

The Open Journal Format
I know that there has been no shortage of people trying their hand at online journal publication, and I don't expect I'm proposing a lot that's new here. Nonetheless, I sketch a model of a journal that I am considering, one that attempts to balance openness and academic integrity. Stephen Downes, Half an Hour September 7, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Corrupt Countries Were More Likely to Support the OOXML Document Format
Just a cautionary note, I guess. "During the voting process the reputation of ISO as a dependable technical standardization organization was questioned. For example, in Sweden a Microsoft representative was caught offering to recompense partners for voting yes to OOXML. Also a sudden interest from countries like Ivory Coast to the OOXML issue has been found suspicious." I like John Gruber's comment: "Microsoft is sort of like a comic book villian (e.g. Lex Luthor) - even when they appear to be acting respectably, it ends up they're up to something dastardly behind the scenes." Kai Puolamaki, Electronic Frontier Finland September 7, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

My Personal Learning Environment (PLE)
Interesting diagram of a personal learning network offered by David Delgado. He writes, in the explanation, "the learner chooses their own personal learning environment, taking whatever tools that help them to achieve their own goals. Different people have different ideas to build their own PLE." Quite so, and this is an important thing to keep in mind. The PLE, though it may seem sometimes to be described as though iot were an application, is in fact a suite of tools - and one that may vary for each user. If I talk about 'building a PLE application' (as I do from time to time) I am talking about building an application that can be either one of those tools, or a tool that helps me manage those tools. The main point here is (a) no one tool is 'the PLE', and (b) the main thing about a PLE is that the tools can communicate with each other. Harold Jarche draws on this and compares the idea to Mark Federman's Valence Theory of Organization: "An organization is thus defined as that complex, emergent entity which occurs when two or more people, or two or more organizations, or both, share multiple valences at various strengths, with various pervasiveness, among the component elements." Just so a PLE. David Delgado, Weblog September 7, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Managing Complex Adaptive Networks
Nice paper submitted in one of the comments on the other blog describing how a complex adaptive network can be managed to enable the communicating, developing and sharing of knowledge. In the course of the discussion, the author looks at the theories of Actor-networks, Foucault's Discourse, and Complex Adaptive Systems, which means that we're getting not just the technology of the systems but some understanding of (what I would call) the semantics behind them. The paper rewards a close reading. Take note especially of the outline of a 'complex system' in part 4. I'm less happy with the representation that results in terms of equity and capital, but I think that this is a matter of perspective rather than of any substantial disagreement. Take note of what I said yesterday: we think of money as especially important because it exists simultaneously in the real and the virtual realm, but we are quickly approaching a time when money is only one of many things that can have such a multifaceted (and therefore utile) existence. Roy Williams, learning-affordances September 7, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

If the headlines in all caps, it must be lolcats again. Cathy Moore posts a lolcats online course that has me rolling in the aisles. See also Cathy Moore on Poser, a way to make non-stock stock photos. Via Jeff Cobb. Cathy Moore, Making Change September 7, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Pots, Kettles, and Other Small Appliances of Like Appearance
More fall-out from Gary Stager's post. George Siemens writes, correctly, first, that we (edubloggers, web 2.0 types, and the rest) need to welcome criticism, and send, that we need to focus less on 'fighting the system' and more on crafting our alternative. He's right on both counts - though I will say that that's what we were doing before Stager decided to take a few uniformed and nasty pot-shots at us. Siemens compares Stager to Andrew Keen, who has parlayed rude and uninformed criticism into a tour of the talk show circuit. "He's the anti-voice to what is starting to look less like a trend and more like a revolution." Could be. Related: Tom Haskins writes about the LMS vs PLE debate and on changing the debate. George Siemens, Connectivism September 7, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Waiting for the Tipping Point: Why School Choice Is Proving to Be so Hard
PEN Weekly summarizes: "It is now clear that schools of choice present some challenges not adequately factored into the original equation. For example: (1) They are hard to run; (2) They are demanding places to teach and aren't for everyone; (3) They can't compete successfully with district-run schools unless they get as much money as their competition for pupils they educate; (4) They need to prove themselves on the same tests and other outcome measures as other schools; (5) They need strong, not weak, government oversight; (6) They do not automatically inspire districts to improve; and (7) They segment the market. Hindsight makes these conclusions obvious." Hindsight? My memory isn't so weak that I don't remember a lot of people saying these things in advance. But 'school choice' was promoted the way it was on political grounds, not on the basis of reason. You can have school choice - just look at Edmonton - but you can do it just to save money, bust unions, or raise your next generation of ideologically pure warriors. Paul T. Hill, Education Week September 7, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

How Should Teachers Be Graded?
The usual argument. My first reaction is to ask, why should teachers be graded, when nobody else is? And then I though - why don't we demand some leadership on this. Why not grade legislators, superintendents and institutional presidents? When we have a system for assessing these people on performance (not popularity! we all know you can simply buy your votes; it has to be objective, like measuring how many of their promises are kept, or how many of their public statements are true - I want every one of a leader's lies to cost him or her in the pocketbook, big time) then maybe we can talk about teachers. Don't start at the bottom, start at the top. Show accountability before you demand it. Stacy Teicher Khadaroo, Christian Science Monitor September 7, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

How the Social Web Came to Be (Part1)
Long slide show highlighting many of the major events in the history of the internet. Still waiting for Part 2, which should be interesting, since Part 1 takes us pretty much to the present day. A lot of good material. Trebor Scholz, September 7, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

News University
This is an interesting site. The courses vary from very short and informal - like the Be a Reporter game - to courses that are rather more in-depth and topical, like the covering water quality issues course. Many of the courses are free, though it looks like they're reserving an option to charge for enrollment. The course list includes live webinars are well as more traditional categories. The site is a few steps away from wheree they want to be, though, as I don't really get a sense of any community or RSS course feeds. There is a blog, though, which partially makes up for that. Various Authors, The Poynter Institute for Media Studies September 7, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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