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by Stephen Downes
October 2, 2007

In the Heat of Mocking a Killing Bird
I struggle through Lanny Arvan's posts because he takes a very long time to get to the point (and sometimes never does). I know there's a lot going on in his thinking, but I don't always want all of it when he wants to say something. That said, sometimes the style works very well, at times when it's important to bring disparate threads together. And you can find the point in there, eventually, that in order to teach one thing using role playing with technology, "we have to be overtly about some other use of role playing with technology or some other use of the technology itself." The misdirection - what Larry Pausch described as the 'head fake' in his farewell lecture - is depicted as essential to the teaching of difficult social issues such as racism. Now this may be true - but the much more interesting question is why. This, I think has to do with learning being about experiencing, not telling, and it has to do with education being about what interests the student, not the teacher. I wish Lanny Arvan had explored these. But - in this case - I think it was rather more important that he took the circuitous route he does to get there. Because we need to understand the experience - he is learning too. And that, in its own way, is what today's newsletter is all about. Lanny Arvan, Lanny on Learning Technology October 2, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Debray On the Mediasphere
Interesting diagram describing three types of mediasphere: the logosphere (writing), the graphosphere (printing), and the videosphere (audio-visual). I, of course, have my own column, which I reproduce here (attach to the right of the other three columns:

Group ideal: pattern (network, community)
Figure of time: flow (the river)
Canonical generation: the next generation (signifying change)
Spiritual class: hackers (creators, programmers, writers, rebels)
Legitimating reference: The connected (because it's worth sharing)
Driving force: recognition (connectivism)
Status of the individual: Creator (to be followed)
Identifying myth: the meme (eg. One Red Paperclip)
Maxim for personal authority: 'it was recommended' (Amazon reviews, Google PageRank, etc)
Basis of Symbolic Authority: the wisdom of crowds (the emergent)
Subjective centre of gravity: the mind/brain (neural network)
John Connell, Weblog October 2, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , ] [Comment]

E-Learning Showcase
After listing new applications daily for a few months, Jane Hart is also listing e-learning 'solutions' that she has run across. This could be really interesting if it were run as a regular feature (though that said my experience from running the NAWeb Awards is that most e-learning is behind a login wall, safely hidden from critical eyes). Of course, if she were to post examples of e-learning on anything like a regular basis, she could well experience the application fatigue that is no doubt beginning to colour her Web 2.0 application perspective. When someone introduces a new product as "Yet another new launch. This one is an instructional video site. This is how they describe themselves..." can cynicism be far behind? Jane Hart, Jane's E-Learning Pick of the Day October 2, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Learning Signal
Harold Jarche links to a site called Learning Signal, a new aggregation site that ranks learning-related blogs. He quotes an email from the company: "The posts you're seeing listed on are not random. We're actually assigning a score on every post based on a math algorithm." My own experience running this kind of thing with Edu_RSS is that it's really easy to do for a few sites, really hard to do for a few hundred. Which may be why the Learning Signal home page is unresponsive. But lest I sound catty, let me say, this sort of service is definitely the way forward, even if, as Harold suggests, it ultimately needs the human touch to provide context. Harold Jarche, Weblog October 2, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Reflecting Upon the Difference
Tom Haskins - who writes that "Learning and forgetting are night and day opposites!" - reminds me of a theme I need to develop one day. Learning is not remembering. When Haskins writes "Learning is like clinging to something. Forgetting is like letting go" I think he is saying the opposite of what should be said. Learning, properly construed, is a lot more like 'letting go' than it is like clinging. Think of the 'expert' stage described by Dreyfus and Dreyfus. Think about the advice you read from time to time, about how performance is a matter of 'letting go' of your fears. Of 'becoming' the thing you're trying to do. Tom Haskins, growing changing learning creating October 2, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Blogger Play
57 channels and nothing on? Blogger's play feature will keep you entertained for hours (and how long before we get something that strings together short video clips like this - perhaps even in 'channels'. Susan Sedro, Adventures in Educational Blogging October 2, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Reality EduTV and Open Second Life
I had a fabulous time at the New Media Literacies in Learning Landscapes Conference in Charlottetown last Saturday. I have been very loosly associated with the online archiving project behind the conference (translation: Dave Cormier and I have chatted about it a few times and at one point filled a whiteboard full of notes). I think it's a great project, well worth doing. I have some really nice video from the conference - including Dave's presentation of OpenSim - that I need to process, but which I'll make available soon. Meanwhile we have Will Richardson's reflections. It's not really a post, but here are my notes about the tech used to produce this stuff, thanks to Jeff Lebow's presentation. Harold Jarche also posts about the conference. Will Richardson, Weblogg-Ed October 2, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , ] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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