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by Stephen Downes
May 5, 2008

Is MIT's science better than everyone else's? I don't know. But I have to say, their marketing department is leaps and bounds beyond anything else I can think of. And from the same publicity machine that brought us Media Lab, OLPC, OpenCourseWare and Henry Jenkins, we get iCue (in cooperation with NBC News): "Today, NBC News unveiled iCue (, a pioneering collaborative learning community informed by MIT research that incorporates gaming, discussion and video resources in a fun, safe, online environment. This free online platform is targeted to students and lifelong learners ages 13 and up and features patented technology to engage students in collective, problem-solving gaming oriented to core curriculum (U.S. History, Government and Politics and Language Arts)." The announcement came to be courtesy of Jodie Pozo-Olano, President, Sequoia PR, and the site itself is a delicious mix of multimedia, meant to be drunk in as much as to be played. Brilliant. Various Authors, Website, May 5, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ] [Comment]

Physics in Action
Daniel Lemire, Seb Paquet and I had a great chat today on the nature of networks and the question of whether clustering is necessary for synchronization (among other things). I said today "there's no such thing as the central cricket" (referring to Duncan Watts' example) and Lemire noted that there's no single heart cell that 'takes charge'. In a similar manner, here we have a classic example of synchronization that results simply from connection, without direction. There's nothing magic about it, and you don't need an organizer; as Glass notes, it is simply 'physics in action'. Graham Glass, Weblog, May 5, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Sanctity of Print
"Is requiring print resources a sacred cow that needs to be put out to pasture?" asks Dough Johnson. Yes it is, I would argue, which is why Wikipedia's recent elevation to prominence of print sources is so ridiculous. But do I agree with Tom Hoffman that we should "add the requirement that each citation include a sentence that argues for the authority of the source?" Well, yes - if you are citing the source as an authority. But I should say, this is a practice I discourage - the nature of the content itself should be its own authority; something does not become 'more true' if it's spoken by the right person. Doug Johnson, Blue Skunk Blog, May 5, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Body Language
I like the discussion of body language generators for games (and presumably avatars). But I question why this would have anything to do with 'serious games' specifically - especially when I note that the example illustration is from my favorite 'non-serious; game, Civilization, which has been using body language emulation for years now. Clark Aldrich, Style Guide for Serious Games and Simulations, May 5, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

The Blue Book: A Consumer Guide to Virtual Worlds
This is a very useful resource, not simply because it makes clear that 'virtual world' means much much more than 'Second Life', but also because of the glossary and categorization system that informs this list of 250 virtual worlds. Descriptions are brief (not surprisingly) and contain links to the world web site. The document is PDF, but you have to download a zip file and extract it. Via Liberal Education Today. Unattributed, Association of Virtual Worlds, May 5, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Learning Content Development System (LCDS) From Microsoft
Microsoft in the e-learning market. "The Learning Content Development System (LCDS) is a tool that enables you to create high quality, interactive, online courses. Virtually anyone can publish e-learning courses by completing the easy-to-use LCDS forms that seamlessly generate highly customized content, interactivities, quizzes, games, and assessments-as well as Silverlight-based animations, demos, and other multimedia." Jorge Goncalves, Learning Online Info, May 5, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , ] [Comment]

Inside a Belief System
We've seen this sort of circular process diagram a lot. But Tom Haskins comments that it's basically a closed system. "There is a single loop that congratulates itself for doing what it's designed to do. The positive feedback produced by the system indicates it's always time for more of the same components, sequence and outputs. The underlying premise goes unquestioned." Tom Haskins, growing changing learning creating, May 5, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Science2.0: It's Coming...
"Snowflake science," says Erik Duval, is beginning to ebcome mainstream. As reported this week, "A small but growing number of researchers (and not just the younger ones) have begun to carry out their work via the wide-open tools of Web 2.0. And although their efforts are still too scattered to be called a movement-yet-their experiences to date suggest that this kind of Web-based 'Science 2.0' is not only more collegial than traditional science but considerably more productive." Erik Duval, Weblog, May 5, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Open Access Directory
From Ed Resources: "The aims of the Open Access movement, the Open Software movement, and the Open Educational Resources movement overlap, with each movement influencing the others. This new Open Access Directory wiki should be a valuable asset for professionals in all three fields." Joseph Hart, Ed Resources, May 5, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

The Future of Web 2.0
Helen Barrett cites this paper as part of her presentation today at the e-Portfolio conference in Montreal (where I will be speaking first thing tomorrow). This article is a good - though brief - look at where e-portfolios are headed. "A real student-centered model would put the authority, or ownership, of that ePortfolio in the hands of the students: They could share evidence of their learning for review with peers, and offer that evidence to instructors for grading and credentialing." Mary Grush, Campus Technology, May 5, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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