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by Stephen Downes
January 16, 2008

E-Learning 2.0 Workshop (Stephen Downes)

It would be pretty hard to write a more comprehensive (and kind) summary of my workshop than this by Zaid Ali Alsagoff, who deserves by thanks for acting as my videographer and assistant during the strenuous two-day event. What I like about this post was that the lessons were 'meta' - not so much the bits about web 2.0 technology discussed during the session, but rather about the attitude and perspective on teaching their deployment represents. In my own mind, what we accomplished was best represented in two photos, this one at the beginning of the first day, where everything was ordered and proper, and this one near the end of the second day, where real learning was happening. Zaid Ali Alsagoff, ZaidLearn January 16, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

UStream Upgradesā€“Private TV!
I mentioned Ustream at my seminar here the other day and we played around quite a bit with live broadcasting (attracting 0 viewers - the reality of the new web). This post highlights some of the new additions to UStream that will make it a lot more attractive to educators - like the ability to password protect a UStream broadcast. Will Richardson, Weblogg-Ed January 16, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Our Economist Debate: Social Networks Do Have a Positive Impact On Education
Another of the ridiculous Economists debates is taking place and they've managed to con convince Ewan McIntosh to take part (hey Ewan, are you getting paid for this? How about some disclosure). For my part, the discussions by Will Richardson and danah boyd are more articulate and better informed. But this is the norm with the Economist debates, which are more about propagating a cult of 'experts' (who they, of course, publish) rather than discussion of any given issue. Goodness, look at the stern male hands making authoritative points, as depicted in the logo. The Economist is so far out of the discussion they don't even know what the discussion is. Ewan McIntosh, edublogs January 16, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Why Computers?
Tom Hoffman makes a great point that critics of the use of computers in schools should keep in mind. Responding to Teemu Leinonen, who suggests that "computers are good in education, but so are many other instruments from clay, paper and pen to hardware tools and musical instrument," Hoffman replies, "the schools that OLPC seeks to reach generally don't have the resources Teemu recommends, probably with limited supplies of paper and pencils, let alone art supplies and musical instruments." This in my mind is a key argument in favour of computers: in comparison with what they replace - everything from books to musical instruments to art supplies - computers are more cost effective. Tom Hoffman, Tuttle SVC January 16, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Online Flickr Photo Sharing in Plain English
I talked about Flickr quite a bit during my seminar here in Kuala Lumpur. Here is another in the series of 'plain English' videos, this on devoted to Flickr. Judy O'Connell, Hey Jude January 16, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Blog Commenting Systems: Disqus? Or Something Else?
Robin Good is testing Disquis, a system for managing blog comments. "Is it ok for your comments not to physically reside anymore on your server?" he asks. "Is it ok that all of the user-generated content coming in from the comments is un-indexable on my site, but fully indexable on Disqus?" Me, I have always felt that what should ahppen is that when you post a comment on my site, the text is stored back on your site. Robin Good, Master new Media January 16, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

I Think I Might Become an RDF Fan Boy (Again)
A few demonstrations can put the RDF sparkle back into someone's eyes, as we see here as Boris Mann, who is involved mostly with Drupal, looks at the work done in RDF by Atro Bendiken. You will want to have a look at the diagram in this post showing how different RDF standards are interlinked together. Good stuff. Mann writes, "I've felt that XML vs. RDF is (almost?) a religious war" because "pointy haired bosses (PHBs) have memorized that RDF == slow and complex, and XML == fast and ubiquitous." To a certain degree this is true, though. Take SPARQL, which is "a way to do queries across data at multiple sources, rather than having to rely on the aggregate-and-query-locally." This is essentially federated searching, and is not a good idea precisely because it's complex and slow. That said, nothing in RDF inhibits harvesting - I harvest RSS 1.0 all the time - and RDF should be seen as working alongside XML, not in competition with it. Boris Mann, Weblog January 16, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , ] [Comment]

The Merits of Merit Pay: Ten Tips On Pay-for-Performance Reform
The problem with 'pay for performance' schemes like the one discussed in this article is they have nothing to do with real accomplishment. I have always thought that 'pay for performance' for teachers should be based on something more meaningful and tangible than grades or test scores. Like, if a student becomes a doctor or a lawyer, the teacher should get a bonus. If the student becomes a rock star or another Bill Gates, it's like hitting the lottery. And of course, the teacher should be docked pay if the student becomes a criminal, takes up smoking, or dies as a result of a foolish accident. Laura McClure, Edutopia January 16, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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