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by Stephen Downes
April 30, 2008

The FWK Licensing Model
It was with a gasp of surprise that I read, "FWK textbooks will be licensed CC By-NC-SA Plus." Because, yes, I've been reading David Wiley to be saying that people should not be using the Creative Commons NC clause. I thought that that was a fair reading - but if not then I will happily recant. Now next we'll look at 'the plus': "The Plus in our CC By-NC-SA Plus will indeed be More Permissions - it will grant blanket permissions for anyone and everyone to make Commercial Use of FWK-published textbook materials in the context of the FWK Marketplace." I hesitate to say anything about 'closed marketplaces'... (I'm also curious to know how FWK got mentioned in the New York Times...) David Wiley, iterating toward openness, April 30, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Film School: To Spice Up Course Work, Professors Make Their Own Videos
The Chronicle discovers video, and imagines it to be professors recording their own videos. Not that I'm opposed to that, of course. It's just that the use of video in learning is so much more than professors recording video. Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 30, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Boring Is Good
To echo Harold Jarche: "Message to tool builders - you cannot be ubiquitous inside a walled garden." That is all. Harold Jarche, Weblog, April 30, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

My Workflow with Synergy
As mentioned before, ynergy is an application that allows you to control two computers from a single keyboard and mouse. I asked Christy Tucker to describe her workflow during an online conference with the tool, and this was her response. I think we'll be seeing more of this, and interesting variations on this theme, as people control more and more devices from a single interface. Christy Tucker, Experiencing E-Learning, April 30, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Connections Are Everything
Strictly speaking, the suggestion that "connections are everything" is incorrect. Connective knowledge is just one type of knowledge. I have in the past compared it to other types of knowledge as follows:

- qualitative knowledge - our perceptions and understandings about the sensory properties of things - colours, shapes, weights, tastes, and the like. "Qualitative knowledge" includes knowledge of relations (bigger than, closer than), etc.)
- quantitative knowledge - our perceptions and understandings about numbers of things, including simple counting, but also measurement, algebra, set theory, and ratios.
- connective knowledge - our perceptions and understandings about patterns and similarities that result from the connection of objects with each other, through association.

In society, our networks of connections instantiate the third type of knowledge, by creating patterns of information flow, which results in social knowledge (much of it implicit, as it is very difficult to be in a position to recognize such knowledge). Simply knowing who to call to get an answer to a question is a very basic instance of this, and it would be a disservice to say either that (a) other types of knowledge are unimportant, and (b) this type of knowledge is 'everything'. George Siemens, elearnspace, April 30, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Plain and Simple: They're Wrong
OK, while I am sympathetic with Darren Kuropatwa's point, I want to say that the teaching of mathematics is complex and that (therefore) no plain and simple argument is correct. So I would certainly disagree with this study, which says that concrete examples don't help students learn math. Because, as Kuropatwa says, applying math is a matter of pattern recognition, and this needs to be practiced to be learned. But, at the same time, students need to be able to understand formulae without concrete examples. They need to be able to think abstractly. Which in math, at least, means flinging some Xs and Ys around, even if it means blank stares for a bit. Finally, I want to note the irony of a person touting a single 80-person study as evidence for what does or does not work in a math curriculum. Such baseless claims do a disservice to our field in general, and should not be represented in the popular press as 'research'.

Just for the record, there are three major types of inference (not two):
- induction - consisting of an inference from a set or sequence of concrete instances to a generalization about such types of instances;
- deducation - consisting of an inference from a general statement about types of instances, to the nature of a particular instance in that series or set; and
- abduction - also known as 'inference to the best explanation', an inference from a current particular instance to a combination of a generalization and set of particular instances (for example: Robinson Crusoe sees a set of footprints in the sand and concludes, "There's somebody else on the island.")
Darren Kuropatwa, A Difference, April 30, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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