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by Stephen Downes
October 4, 2007

Will Richardson Keynote Presentation at UPEI's New Media Institute
This, I guess, is the 'official' version of Will Richardson's talk last Saturday, as seen on I also recorded my own version while I was there, which I posted on my blog. Are two videos too many? No - for one thing, my own was practice for my own learning- I'm just sharing my 'homework' with you. For another, the two videos back each other up, can be used to create a single video, attest to the veracity of the recording, etc. Also available on video was the new media panel, which was a highlight for me. And Dave Cormier's presentation of Living Archives Project can also now be seen online. I have videos of both of those as well, which I'll be posting. Dave Cormier, Ed Tech Talk October 4, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Data and Metadata Reporting and Presentation Handbook
Someone from the Bank of Canada just sent me this URL bu email. This guide, from OECD, is "a single comprehensive reference set of international guidelines and recommendations for the reporting and presentation of statistical data and metadata." What's the significance? If you can get through the (to me, barely literate - I'll buy a definite article for $150, Alex) business English, it's this: "The second imperative driving the need for the development of data and metadata presentation and reporting standards refers to the requirement to minimise the reporting burden of national agencies in their provision of statistics and metadata to international organisations. Emphasis here is on the development of more efficient practices and processes for such reporting which are undertaken within the context of the range of processes and mechanisms described in Section 2.3.1 below such as bilateral exchange, data sharing, etc." What does that mean? In theory, this: if you put your organizational data into metadata format (ie., XML), then you only have to do it once; subsequent references need merely link to the original metadata. See especially the summary of recommendations, p. 19ff. Enrico Giovannini, OECD October 4, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

UC Berkeley YouTube Lectures
Probably the greatest thing about broadcasting videos of traditional university lectures on YouTube is that we might finally get past all the complaints about 'e-learning quality'. After people view this, what will they say about proper e-learning: "lectures spend a lot of time on local questions about homework, projects, scheduling and other workaday topics that will be of no interest to outside viewers." Now let me ask, what is it that makes a great education? Is it "questions about homework, projects, scheduling and other workaday topics?" See also the Inside Higher Ed article. More from TechCrunch, which notes, "the move by Berkeley is claimed to be a first by some, however some of the videos have been previously available elsewhere, including iTunes and Google Video; perhaps it's a first for YouTube." Joseph Hart, EduResources Weblog October 4, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

iPhone Turned Into Pocket-Sized Hacking Platform
I was having a conversation the other day with Rod about mitigating risk, and he made some comment about getting the lawyers to say there's no risk. "The lawyers will never say there's no risk," I said. "There's always a risk. And when there's a risk, they always advise that we take no action." And so organizations - especially government organizations - are scared into cowering before this threat or that threat, letting the scam artists run free. The same thing with security. We now hear that the iPhone could be "a perfect spying device" because hackers might use it to record and send video. Well, yeah, it could be used this way - but how many actually are being used this way? I heard from the lawyers the other day that open source might be considered "inducement to violate patents." Oh no, risk! How many cases based on that have ever taken place? Um, we'll get back to you. Sometimes the biggest risk is your own fear of risk. Via Educause. Lisa Vaas, eWeek October 4, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , , , ] [Comment]

Real Social Learning or "I Promise, I'M Not a Modernist, Really"
Iit still feels," writes Scott Leslie, "like we've got a long way to go to catch up with the learning that 4 people 'in flow' around the table can achieve." I think that's true - but I also reflect on how hard that is in real life (oh I know, some people are just social, they can start being 'in flow' like that at the drop of a hat, but for the rest of us, it's more involved). Scott Leslie, EdTechPost October 4, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

More On the $100... Uhm the $185... Er.. the XO Laptop
Bob Sprankle links to a NY Times article and video reviewing the XO laptop, as well as to the OLPC project's Buy 2 Get 1 page (well, ok, they call it the 'Give One, Get One' page). Bob Sprankle, Bit By Bit October 4, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Photo in the News: See-Through Frog Bred in Japan
A little off topic, but this is the most amazing (also the oddest) thing I've seen in a while. The see-through frog, of course, doesn't have to be dissected. But it does, I think, redefine 'nakedness', raising it to a whole new level. What happens when people can turn their skin off and on? Or when parents can opt for see-through babies? Is it OK to let someone see your lungs, but not your kidneys? There's a whole new ethic to be revealed here. Via Tracy Hamilton. Christine Dell'Amore, National Geographic News October 4, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Loading Up My New Mac
This would have been a useful list when I got my Mac. It's still a useful list, and I've had the Mac for a few months now. Alec Couros, Couros Blog October 4, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Is Text-Only Enough for Today's Students?
This sentence expresses why the rest of this post is worth reading: "I think we're too hung up on the technology and not realizing that we are experiencing an evolution in how humans communicate... Their voice, their graphics, their face, and their typed text all play a role in their future as a communicator in this electronic world." This is why I'm so interested in lolcats. Vicki A. Davis, Cool Cat Teacher Blog October 4, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

New, Free Miss America Browser Aims to Keep Kids Safe On the Internet
Um, what? " The browser permits access to 10,318 Web sites, all of which were prescreened and determined to be kid-friendly by the Miss America Organization and the Children's Educational Network, which developed the software for it." I wonder whether the now-famous Miss South Carolina video is on the list. Probably not. Which is partially why I think that, if they are going to create a list of 10,318 "safe" sites, the Miss America Organization website should not be on it. Associated Press, San Jose Mercury News October 4, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Random Censorship
I don't know whether I am blocked by the new filtering system described in this article (it's not named, and I have no way to check). But I do know that my site is filtered a lot, this based on the rejections I get from my newsletter emails. What interests me is that the list of pople in this post are (mostly) the people I have previously characterized as 'the Techlearn crowd', while those being censored are (mostly) not from the Techlearn crowd. Now - to be clear - I am absolutely not implying any collusion by the bloggers being named. But, that said, there is a consistency of message in those websites, which is being selectively filtered in. And - also to be clear - if this pattern holds then the filtering is not being used to protect children, but to indoctrinate them. Not random at all, but deliberate and calculated. Not good.

Related: more on this, including a funny 'Americans united against education' t-shirt. Also, this post from Doug Johnson: "Blocking Internet sites simply shows professional disrespect - your values are good, other educators are not. Smart people like you should know better." But also in play: this post from Alan Levine describing the unsavory links hidden in a 'free' poll site. Tim Stahmer, Assorted Stuff October 4, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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