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by Stephen Downes
April 1, 2008

New Intute Subject Booklets
I went to the subjects I know, of course, Education and Philosophy. Philosophy first: I found myself disappointed in the listing, not so much because of the quality of the resources - I'm sure they're great - but because of the generality and blandness of the titles. There's no real grasp of the structure of the discipline, so we see, say, DOAJ (directory of open access journals) side by side with the Epistemology research guide. Professor A. C. Grayling (why him?) side by side with the Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. Education next. Same sort of criticism. An index that just links to other indices (along with an apparently random and very incomplete set of resources) isn't useful. Worse, it's not fun. Emma Place, Intute, April 1, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Emerging Trends in Serious Games and Virtual Worlds
The 'emerging trends' are serious games (I really hate that term) and virtual worlds. Readers will appreciate the chart listing definitions and terms describing games (because, you know, we have to at all costs avoid simply using the word 'game' because pointy-haired bosses might not like it). That said, Sara de Freitas identifies the significant trends: not that they are 'serious', but that they are social and immersive. Also, she hits precisely on the point where games challenge traditional learning: "In the end, it would seem as though learning becomes less about the ability to reproduce standardised components of learning, and more about allowing individuals to inform and design their own learning interactions and transactions." PDF. More from BECTA's third edition of Emerging technologies for learning. Sara de Freitas, BECTA, April 1, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Mobile, Wireless, Connected: Information Clouds and Learning
Mark van't Hooft looks at tools that allow us to stay connected and stay mobile, that place control in the users' hands, allowing for customization and personalization, and that allow us to be creative and have rich experiences through aggregating and sharing content. Educators, he writes, should focus on the learning opportunities created by such tools. " Instead of banning these tools and punishing those who try to use them for learning in formal settings, schools should take a serious look at learning more about the digital technologies so prevalent in many areas of our society today." PDF. More articles from BECTA's 2008 edition of Emerging technologies for learning. Mark van't Hooft, BECTA, April 1, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , ] [Comment]

Growing Up with Google: What It Means to Education
This paper is the usual list of how students take to technology in ways their parents didn't, followed by the usual observation that this doesn't mean that students are good at learning or managing information. The next section, though, is useful, talking about what, as a consequence, we should do. "Learners need skills that go far beyond reading, memorisation and communication. Educational institutions have an obligation to help students cultivate those skills that learners have the most difficulty attaining on their own. Skills such as judgment, synthesis, research, practice and negotiation." Oblinger also looks at the expansion of learning opportunities, peer production, and changing mental models. PDF. See more articles from BECTA's 2008 edition of Emerging technologies for learning. Diana Oblinger, BECTA, April 1, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Bell Wants to Choose Your Web Sites For You
Canada's internet is in crisis, although most people do not yet realize it. Both Bell Canada and Rogers Cable have made significant changes to service and there are widespread - and substantiated - charges that the providers are 'throttling' internet access, that is, deliberately slowing online services they disagree with. The services throttled are typically voice communications and video sites - not coincidentally, Bell is a telephone company while Rogers provides cable television. From this report: "Experts also say there is plenty of capacity left on the networks - a fact Bell admits to - so the traffic-shaping is being done merely to interfere with internet applications the companies see as threats to their own businesses." Michael Geist has written about this (not surprisingly) as has Rabble's Wayne MacPhail (disclosure: I donate financially to Rabble). Learn more about net neutrality and throttling in Canada. Justin Beach,, April 1, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Thought's Footing: A Theme in Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations
This is a review that rewards a careful reading. The author summarizes a new book of Wittgenstein's philosophy - Charles Travis's Thought's Footing: A Theme in Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations. The author gets straight to what's important in Wittgenstein: the relation between truth and meaning. Travis (accurately) sets Wittgenstein against Frege, who advanced a Semantic-Web-style their of meaning and truth. But "Travis's point is that Frege's way is illusory. There is no building everything in from the start." Reviewed by James C. Klagge, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, April 1, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Hey! Editors of Educational Researcher ...Get a FREAKING CLUE!!!!!
I have essentially the same reaction, and not just regarding this particular publication. "Why would educators choose, in this day and age, to participate in a system that does nothing but enrich publishers and locks down information? Why not license this work under Creative Commons? Why not follow the model of the Public Library of Science Journals? Or Open Access Journals?" Mark Oehlert, e-Clippings, April 1, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

What Now?
In what appears to be a classic case of antimarketing, Doug Noon decides to 'go with the flow' and join Twitter. This follows the Diigo stampede over the weekend, caused (as nearly as I can tell) by a single blogger sending a notice to a hundred of her friends (maybe not deliberately? I did warn that it tries to grab your contacts). Meanwhile, I've found the criticism of the new blogosphere, by Doug Belshaw, who adds discussion of Twitter is harmful in response to Noon. I like the distinction between outwards-facing and inwards-facing communications, but I want to modify it slightly: a technology like Twitter is, in my mind, 'inward facing' (image), because it reinforces communication with the group - 'running with the herd,' as I commented on Noon's post, while I tend to favour 'outward facing' communications, those that look outside the group. Mike Setfang also comments. Doug Noon, Borderland, April 1, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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