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by Stephen Downes
February 5, 2008

iPod 1.0

What gets me about this "iPod version 1.0" is that it has two ear tubes. Why wasn't one enough? Because, apparently, you need to listen for airplanes in stereo. Dave, Shorpy February 5, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Learning and Knowing in Networks
George Siemens presents a paper to the ITForum crowd. They should like it (if they read it). He asks, "How do the practices of the educator change in networked environments, where information is readily accessible? How do we design learning when learners may adopt multiple paths and approaches to content and curriculum? How can we achieve centralized learning aims in decentralized environments?" The answer is nice and vague and gives educators and designers key roles: "teachers interact with learners and content in a different manner," as "master artists", say, or "network administrators" or "concierge" or "curator", all "blending the concept of educator expertise with learner construction." Instructional designers, meanwhile, "play an educational role of directing educators to tools and resources." It's not a bad paper - a lot better than most - but it suffers from the usual Siemens habit of wanting to put something for everyone (and something of everyone) in his work. George Siemens, Connectivism February 5, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Programming: The New Literacy
My take on this is "yes and no". Here's the proposition, which Doug Holton cites from Mark Prensky in Edutopia: "the single skill that will, above all others, distinguish a literate person is programming literacy, the ability to make digital technology do whatever, within the possible one wants it to do." Happily, I'm a pretty good programmer (ok, well, I know some programming) and I can say this: the basics have nothing uniquely to do with programming (it's all about logical structures (like if-then) and data structures (like entity relationships)) and actual programming is mostly very language (and hence, platform) specific. What this means is that programming, per se, will never be the foundational still. But there's a good case to be made that an understanding of logical and data structures will. Happily, these can be taught equally well in the contexts of media literacy, mathematics (in a redesigned curriculum), programming, art (and especially multimedia) and business management. Doug Holton, EdTechDev February 5, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Towards Reflective BlogTalk
Konrad Glogowski offers a nice set of 'ripple chart' worksheets to use in support of student blogging. The idea is to help students see the influence of their blog posts, and to see how others' blog posts influence them. "It's not enough to know how to grow a blog, to pick a topic and keep contributing to one's blog. Our students must also be aware of the class communities in which they learn." Konrad Glogowski, blog of proximal development February 5, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Downes Vs Wiley - Cato and Cicero Revisited
I can see why Martin Weller (in a fun post that I did enjoy) would classify me as the uncompromising Cato to David Wiley's Cicero. He says it himself: "Cato was the purist, unbending and uncompromising." Well sure. But looked at from another perspective, Wiley is unbending and I am the moderate one. For example, I think people should be free to declare their open resources 'non-commercial' (By-NC-SA) (as a majority of them do) if they wish, while Wiley, citing the incompatibility problem, says that they should all be the commercial-friendly By-SA. I say that declarations about open educational resources should contain language inclusive of personal and informal learners, while Wiley defends the Cape Town Declaration, which is written exclusively for the institutional world of teachers and students. I want free learning to be a possibility, and my fear is that he makes commercial learning a necessity. Let us not forget, after all, that it was Cicero who eventually spoke in defense of Caesar, dooming the Republic. Martin Weller, The Ed Techie February 5, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Is Prentice's Copyright Bill Born in the U.S.A.?
Some disturbing reporting from Michael Geist discussing the influence of the U.S. government on pending Canadian copyright legislation, and even more so, reports that a Canadian agency, the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA), is urging the U.S. government to step up the pressure. "The concern expressed by tens of thousands of Canadians is that calls for balance have not been heard," writes Geist, "drowned out by the vocal lobbying from the U.S. and well-connected lobby groups." Geist also documents some very misleading langauge from Microsoft on this issue. Michael Geist, Weblog February 5, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Better Than Free
Wired's Kevin Kelly makes some good points in this article discussing future business models. Copies of things are virtually free, he argues, and "when copies are free, you need to sell things which can not be copied." Things like what? He lists eight "uncopiable virtues" called "generatives": immediacy, personalization, interpretation, authenticity, accessibility, embodiment, patronage, and findability. It's a neat idea, but I think some of these categories are pushing it - 'copying' includes 'reproducable by algorithm' so some programmable things - like personalization - might not be generatives. More discussion from Doug Johnson, Michael Masnick, Peter Suber. Kevin Kelly, The Technium February 5, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

Bonk's 30-30 Rule: Questions for Higher Education Faculty Job Interviews
I had a nice conversation with Curtis J. Bonk today after he posted this set of lists for job interview prospects and interviewers. They were good lists, but as I commented in the dicussion thread, the first think he thought of was grants. This led to our conversing about how much you owe the employer and how much the employer owns you, which in turn led to a nice amendment to the piece. (I always appreciate these conversations and never have time for them, so I'm happy to have been able to converse with a number of people this week - even though it means I won't make my deliverables for tomorrow's RDG meeting). Curtis J. Bonk, TravelinEdMan February 5, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Transliteracy: Crossing Divides
This is something Seb sent me in December that looked interesting, and so it has been sitting in my inbox waiting for a chance to be read. Which was today. "This article defines transliteracy as 'the ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks.'" This article has nothing to do with the post on meaning as medium I wrote this morning (I wrote the post before viewing this article) but there is some obvious overlap. Sue Thomas, Chris Joseph, Jess Laccetti, Bruce Mason, Simon Mills, Simon Perril and Kate Pullinger, First Monday February 5, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

End Laptop Serfdom
"Personal technology should be a personal decision," writes the author. "It is time to end technology serfdom!" I've got to agree with that. And this is the best take I've seen on the state of television: "TV is not vulgar and prurient and dumb because the people who compose the audience are vulgar and dumb. Television is the way it is simply because people tend to be extremely similar in their vulgar and prurient and dumb interests and wildly different in their refined and aesthetic and noble interests." Espen Andersen, Ubiquity February 5, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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