Stephen's Web

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by Stephen Downes
October 22, 2007

A Folk History of the Internet
I have landed in the Apocalypse, also known as Orange County, a place that is today full of smoke and fire and brimstone, wailing winds and howling banshees. I'm working on a video for the USQ conference and I am preparing for some talks here at the AECT conference. meanwhile, I'm told I should post the link to one of my ongoing projects, a people's history of the internet. I have been working on this at a low level for some time now. because what has always attracted me to the internet hasn't been the technology - which is mostly frustrating - or the business applications, but the very real people doing very real things. You can contribute to this if you would like; the intent is to eventually create a nice book out of the project. Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web October 22, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Information E/Revolution and A Vision of Students Today
Looking at the title of this post, and having in mind Tom Haskin's post on change, which I had just read, I bring to all who may want it (who, I admit, may be very few in number) a new word, based on the amalgam of those thoughts: ervolution - the endorsement of change, or change itself, as experienced by those who are not sure they want it. Usage: "Our company is going through an ervolution." The Marc Prensky version: "Children of the ervolution." Helen Keegan, Weblog October 22, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Top 100 User-Centered Blogs
As with any of these lists, the exact content can be some matter of dispute. From my perspective, I read one or two or three items from each section, which gives me a pretty good representation from each topic area. People who want to look more deeply into usability will want more than just the sample. Via Michael Feldstein. John P. Campbell and Diana G. Oblinger, EDUCAUSE October 22, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Motivational Monday: Samwise Gamgee's Wisdom
Worth citing: "Sam: I know now folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't. They kept going because they were holding on to something.
Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?
Sam: That there's some good in the world, Mr. Frodo, and it's worth fighting for." Vicki A. Davis, Cool Cat Teacher Blog October 22, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

" allows you to record PDF, Word, plain text, PowerPoint files, RSS news feeds, emails and web pages, and converts them to speech automatically." Useful. Via my own web site - thanks! Various Authors, Website October 22, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

In Search of Student-Generated Content in Online Education
The abstract sets it up nicely: "Enabling students to create their own educational content increases engagement, improves learning, and can result in products of lasting value. So why are effective examples of student-generated content in online education so hard to find?" the answer is that there are so few of them to find. "Asking the question 'why are there so few good examples of student-generated content?' is really asking the question 'why is educational practice so hard to change?'" PDF. Via DEOS. john Sener, e-mentor October 22, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

NRC: Better Value Than the Average Superhero
Promotional video for my own organization, the National Research Council (of Canada). OK, so the humour won't appeal to everyone. But I'll give props to the people who tried it anyways, and who put it up on YouTube for everyone to see. There's also a French version. It's rather more appealing than the typical press release web page - even when the page says that research from our institute, the Institute for Information Technology, "has helped Canadian high-tech firms earn almost a quarter of a billion dollars in estimated sales since 1990." But who can compete with a line like, "Jumping over buildings is nothing more than self-gratification?" Anyhow, all this is to say that I am proud to be, as the video says, part of an organization "that thinks of the public good first." Unattributed, National Research Council / YouTube October 22, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

Top 10 Reasons Why People BLOG and Don't
The summaries are not exactly accurate (the intent of my remark, for example, is not even close to 'because people will think you are lame') but the collection of 'reasons' culled from blog commentators is an interesting project. Maybe somebody should wikify this to gt the summaries accurate. Yulius Halim, Weblog October 22, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Libraries Shun Deals to Place Books On Web
Google and Microsoft have rece ntly launched some high-profile content scanning services. But a number of research libraries have been put off by the restrictions in those services. They are instead joining the open content alliance, which will scan materials for the public good, and not just the good of Google and Mircosoft. "There are two opposed pathways being mapped out," said Paul Duguid, an adjunct professor at the School of Information at the University of California, Berkeley. "One is shaped by commercial concerns, the other by a commitment to openness, and which one will win is not clear." Katie Hafner, New York Times October 22, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , ] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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