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by Stephen Downes
October 26, 2007

A Kaleidoscope of Futures: Reflections On the Reality of Virtual Learning

I am behind in my reading, a combination of poor bandwidth and conference conditions, so I may add an extra newsletter in the future. In the meantime, this is the link to my presentation Wednesday (video and slides), where I look at the relation between reality and online learning. You will also get to see me struggle with the backchannel, as the discussion taking place behind me sometimes completely flummoxed me. Fun fun fun. The image above is what Orange County looks like today - stifled in smoke. Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web October 26, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

Creating a C|Net for Education
News of 1105 Media's acquisition of Education Plaza, which promises to be the 'CNet of Educational Technology' (I quite like CNet and have linked to them a lot over the years) but more to the point is a commentary on our field: "Our market is just completely broken. It is vendor driven and vendor controlled (and this, unfortunately even extends to Web 2.0, where it is all about repurposing whatever falls from the sky). I've never seen such unilaterally disempowered customers. This is, to a certain extent, due to legal concerns about handling RFP's and bidding, but it really goes beyond that. People literally seem afraid that Microsoft will retailiate against them if they talk to loudly about alternatives. It is weird." Tom Hoffman, Tuttle SVC October 26, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

links to slides and talk, etc., from the AECT Conference, including Marc Prensky's slides. Also, see Trey Martindale's talk about open source tools. Various Authors, Website October 26, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Elearning Samples
A nice (and long) list of examples of e-learning (and it's instructive to look at some of the things here, such as RSS in Plain English, Homestand (about minor league baseball), or Airport Security, and compare them to what we thought 'learning objects' should be - no metadata, no 'wrappers' - no pedagogical properties per se - but great learning). Via Tony Karrer who adds even more examples. Cathy Moore, Making Change October 26, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

Clear and to the Point
Summary of a new book by Stephen Kosslyn, Chair of the Department of Psychology at Harvard University, Clear and to the point, which describes "8 psychological principles for compelling PowerPoint presentations." Readers may not know (but should) that Kosslyn's expertise is in the area of mental imagery - I read a lot of Kosslyn (and (totally misplaced) criticisms of him from Fodor and Pylyshyn) while I was studying in grad school. PowerPoint is all about imagery, so I think there's some good overlap here. The principles are at once common sense and insightful, and Clive Shepherd's summary worth reading in itself. Clive Shepherd, Clive on Learning October 26, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Blackboard's Dirty Laundry Comes Out in Patent Trial
Kudos to Michael Feldstein, who has been on top of the Blackboard patent case since the beginning, for offering continual and insightful reportage. Today we get news of some of the seamier side of the LMS wars: "Blackboard apparently sponsored a spy to go to the D2L user conference and report back on the events and even had an employee pose as a university employee (with a fake email address) to gain competitive information" and "while the public story around the patent is that they are protecting their intellectual property, the 'real' purpose was to 'contain and control' D2L. So the goal is to distract the #2 vendor in the LMS space with a costly lawsuit." Sad. And tawdry. Michael Feldstein, e-Literate October 26, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

Technorati Free Fall
Miguel Guhlin points to his falling ranking in Technorati, but I'm suspicious. One day last week I slipped more than 1000 places. Odd. Also odd is that the search page for Stephen Downes shows links that are 16, 28 and 44 days old - when we know that people have been writing about that topic more recently. So I think that Technorati is melting down - and there is perhaps an object lesson there, that centralized registries of blogs - or anything - is not the way to go. Miguel Guhlin, Around the Corner v2 October 26, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Friday 5: Newsletters for Teachers
I subscribe to many of these newsletters (more than 5 are listed) - they are a great source of information and articles, sort of a midway point between blogs and academic journals. Lucy Gray, A Teacher's Life October 26, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

School Computing Home Page
"A collaborative guide to information technology in K-12 schools that anyone can edit." Comprehensive resources for classroom use written by people who use them in the classroom. Various Authors, Wikia October 26, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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