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by Stephen Downes
December 14, 2007

Medellin, Colombia

Photos from Medellin are now available, as well as photos from EduCamp Colombia and my stopover in New York. Enjoy.

I'm still running behind in my coverage and may add an extra issue over the weekend to catch up on some good stuff. But for now, I'm going to listen to science radio.

Oh yeah, almost forgot. Moveable Type is going open source. Woo hoo! See also Miguel Guhlin on this. Stephen Downes, Flickr December 14, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

An Educational Technology Dead End?
An instructor, following a disappointing experience with Sakai, wonders whether the LMS isn't a dead end. As a wise faculty member once said to me, 'Faculty only learn one or two new technologies every two or three years--and adding an attachment to e-mail counts as two of those.' Why not try to slip a single-system solution into their lives as a single technology? The answer may be that course management systems can just as easily stifle learning as enable it." Leslie Madsen Brooks, BlogHer December 14, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

MPAA'S University Toolkit Hit with DMCA Takedown Notice After GPL Violation
I guess there's nothing new here, but it bears repeating that the publishing and motion picture industry values copyright protection only insofar as it benefits the publishing and motion picture industry. And it's had not to see the irony in the MPAA basing its anti-piracy toolkit on open source software. Meanwhile, Mark Luker and Michael Petricone respond forcefully to the depiction of "Piracy U" by Dan Glickman of the MPAA. "The focus on campus networks is simply misplaced. Eighty percent of college students live off campus. And of the thousands of infringement lawsuits filed by the RIAA, less than 5 percent target college students." cel4145, Kairosnews December 14, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , ] [Comment]

Netherlands Adopts Open-Source Software
Good for the Netherlands. "The Dutch government has set a soft deadline of April 2008 for its agencies to start using open-source software - freely distributed programs that anyone can modify - the Netherlands Economic Affairs Ministry said Thursday." Via Dave Warlick. Toby Sterling, Associated Press December 14, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

How to Improve the Teaching of Writing
I'm in general agreement with this post, both in the observation that the quality of writing in the teaching profession may be a problem, and also in the specific suggestions for its improvement in teachers and students. I am no formalist, goodness knows, but I do believe that there are good reasons for good writing, and that there are ways to become a better writer. Clarity and precision - whether in writing, art or athletics - are virtues, because they help you obtain your objectives. The principles of writing are intended, in the first instance, to foster clarity and precision. Michael Umphrey, Weblog December 14, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Downes On Kirschner
D-Ed Reckoning has posted a longish summary and criticism of my argument againt Kirshner. I have offered a longish reply. It's pretty interesting discussion (if I say so myself) and you might want to look at the reply for an account of the idea of 'inducing' learning in a student. KDeRosa, D-Ed Reckoning December 14, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Open Education and the Cape Town Declaration
The discussion concerning the Cape Town Declaration continues. This post summarizes some of the commentary (mostly of mine) on the unesco-oer list. See also Graham Attwell's earlier reactions (here too). Leigh Blackall also comments on the declaration and (mostly) the criticisms. See also his post on Ahrash Bissell. And also some of the interesting interactions between Wikiversity and Wikieducator. Also, Teemu Leinonen discusses the different kinds of "educational equalities" presupposed by different approaches to learning. He also asserts that CC-By-SA is THE license of the free/libre/open educational resources movement. Worth noting, then, that the Open yale courses are under a Creative Commons non-commercial license. Steve Lee comments. And via Peter Suber, this article from Eve Gray describes the process. Other links at Ed-Resources, including David Wiley's response to my criticisms. Graham Attwell, Pontydysgu December 14, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

A Child's View of the $100 Laptop
A 9-year-old reviews the XO computer from One Laptop Per Child (OLPC). "With no help from his Dad, he has learned far more about computers than he knew a couple of weeks ago, and the XO appears to be a more creative tool than the games consoles which occupy rather too much of his time." See also this commentary from Raj. Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC News December 14, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Moving aLOM
Good post from Wayne Hodgins on the future of metadata as he leaves the stewardship of Learning Object metadata (LOM) in the hands of Erik Duval. "While human generated metadata, especially the more "subjective" metadata elements, will always play an ever more critical role in the future, it will become the minority of the overall volume of metadata. Increasingly, metadata will be generated automatically." Wayne Hodgins, Off Course On Target December 14, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Google Responding to Wikipedia?
I think there's something really weird about Google's launching of the 'knol' (one unit of knowledge). On the one hand, it resembles a learning object in its granularity. But so does a Wikipedia article - and maybe, as George Siemens suggests, Google is afraid of Wikipedia. Because Google also attributes each 'knol' to a specific author. A lot like Citizendium. Well it's going to be a bit hard for the fameseekers to resist this one. But more to the point, it's surprising to see Google ignoring the lesson that created its huge empire in the first places: that many voices, not one expert voice, constitute authority. More from Liberal education today. George Siemens, elearnspace December 14, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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