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by Stephen Downes
May 12, 2008

Shaping Our Future: The Value, Form, and Function of a Large Scale Research Agenda
Terry Anderson presented the opening keynote at today's event, a conferencing that is attracting an increasingly diverse collection of Canadians - and numerous international visitors - on the future of Canadian e-learning research. Anderson's keynote is available as an Elluminate recording (you'll have to download and run the Java application, sorry). We were told his slides are online somewhere, but I have no idea where - maybe somebody will put a link on the presentation page. Anyhow, the thing of most value that I got from his talk was a presentation of Axel Brun on Produsage (originally Alvin Toffler's concept of the 'prosumer'). Brun is the beneficiary of recent publicity, though I think Anderson's slides predate Jenkins's interview. Terry Anderson, SCoPE, May 12, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

JavaScript Information Visualization Toolkit (JIT)
In case you need to make one of those network graphs that always really impress people: here's the Javascript toolkit you can use to do the job. (Still need to get a handle on the topic of Javascript libraries. Important, very important.) Nicolas Garcia Belmonte, noumena, May 12, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

That Word, Syndication, I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means
This issue comes up on a regular basis, but it's so obscure it's really hard to get people excited about it. But it's really important: it's the difference between (open) syndication networks, and (closed) federations. Why is this distinction important? In the case of syndication, data exchange is open and automatic. But in a federation, you must first negotiate a business relationship. This leads to the formation of cartels and closed markets. Which is exactly what you want to create if (for example) you want to force people to pay money for (what would otherwise be) free content. Jon Udell, Jon's Radio, May 12, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

What Mom Wanted for Mother's Day: Downgrade Me to XP!
"To say VISTA is unusable is an understatement. I set Mom up personally and as soon as I leave, sometime during the week it asks a question that she doesn't know how to answer and she's down again." Meanwhile, we read that Microsoft is moving to limit ultra low-cost PC notebooks to prevent their competing against more expensive systems. Vicki A. Davis, Cool Cat Teacher Blog, May 12, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

How Rude! Use Of WiFi Networks At Conferences
Well this is one of those issues where the 'generations' (I use the word very loosely) collide. I frequently give talks at networked conferences, and I always use my laptop when I'm in the audience. I don't mind if people surf while I'm talking; I don't get offended. People are busy these days, and when I'm talking to a hundred people I'm guaranteed to be telling some people stuff they already know and other people stuff they don't need to know. I can amuse the rest with fluff and funny stories and self-depreciating jokes, or I can provide the best material I can and let people pick and choose what parts of my talk they'll pay attention to. I figure, it's their dime, they can make the call. Brian Kelly, UK Web Focus, May 12, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Big Bureaucratic Pictures or Bottom Up Networks of Practice?
While we Canadians ponder the future of our research agenda in e-learning, we need to keep in mind that it's not all sunlight and roses in Europe and the United States. It is to me by no means clear that we ought to be emulating the practices of these two federations. Graham Attwell, Pontydysgu, May 12, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

Facebook Responds To MySpace With Facebook Connect
Basically, Facebook is making user identities and some attributes available to external applications. Here's their announcement. It's not clear what the details are. My own take is that Facebook - and Google, and MySpace - would rather set up an identity federation among themselves rather than allow a much more open system such as OpenID. There will be much discussion of these initiatives as they are launched. Michael Arrington, TechCrunch, May 12, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Be an Elearning Action Hero!
Cathy Moore offers us a nice slide show that explains how to structure training around action rather than information. Starting with the business goals, training designers should identify the actions that lead to those goals, and then create activities that help staff practice those behaviours. Only if information is needed to assist that practice should it be a part of the e-learning design. This accords with at least a part of my own view of learning, which is that learning is the result of practice, rather than the mere presentation of information. However, I have problems with the corporate e-learning paradigm. I would rather see objectives and actions selected by the learner, rather than by 'business objectives'. And I think that practice should occur within an environment that facilitates conversation and reflection. Cathy Moore, Making Change, May 12, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

FRBR and Time-Based Media, Part 2: Clips/Segments
(Part one is here.) I like the Turtle RDF syntax used in this example, the intent of which is to illustrate various was of describing the dependencies between various bits of time dependent media. It makes me pine what might be called RDEnglish (RDF in English). Pete Johnston, eFoundations, May 12, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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