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by Stephen Downes
May 19, 2008

Persevere: JSON Storage / Application Server
Cool. "The Persevere Server is an object storage engine and application server (running on Java/Rhino) that provides persistent data storage of dynamic JSON data in an interactive server side JavaScript environment." What does this mean? Here you have a data server that could provide live data to any number of different websites at the same time. So how long before somebody gets the bright idea of using such a server to deliver learning resources (aka learning objects) - like these badges - to a Javascript-based client application? Dion Almaer, Ajaxian, May 19, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

What Does It Mean to Be Digitally Literate?
You can get an Ed.D. for answering this question? Cool. George Siemens, elearnspace, May 19, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Facebook Blocks Google Friend Connect
Classic error. Will cost Facebook dearly in the long run, if the current policy is continued. Related: Dear Web Applications: Where Are My Files? Andy Powell, eFoundations, May 19, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Literacy Before Laptops
There is a lot to criticize about the OLPC project. But this isn't one: "Technology alone cannot lift people out of poverty, as the collapse of a well-meaning computer scheme shows." First of all, it hasn't collapsed (yet). Second, its supposed failure would show no such thing. Because, third, nobody supposes that the OLPC - or any other one-dimensional initiative - will lift people out of poverty. The Guardian's Andrew Brown, as the title suggests, advocates "literacy before Laptops". Fine. Supposing literacy will solve the problems he mentions, I ask this: how does he suppose literacy is to be achieved? With books? With teachers? Has he looked at the cost of books and teachers lately? No, the computer is the right answer here. Negroponte's mismanagement doesn't change that. Andrew Brown, The Guardian, May 19, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Chomsky, Universal Grammar, and the Cognisphere
I like it when someone takes an idea and runs with it. "Might not our brief foray into speech and gesture (to reference Leroi-Gourhan) by an incidental, evolutionary side-effect on our journey toward a more fully-realized, networked, techno-cognition/" Certainly it might, I would say. The video of Chomsky that begins this post is also worth viewing. Alex Reid, Digital Digs, May 19, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Keeping Learning Alive in Communities
My observation is that a community needs continual input in order to survive. Just like a physical-world community needs energy and resources, a virtual community needs content - information, news, opinions. Some few communities manage to get this input from their members (communities like Slashdot and Digg) but most require someone to be generating these resources on a regular basis. The EdNA Network Forum has been on life support since the moderators stopped moderating. And how many Ning communities have the dead shark problem? The problem is - it is very difficult to generate this input without ownership - which is why, for a community to succeed, it must be owned by its members. Genuinely owned, which (among other things) means it won't be arbitrarily shut down if it no longer meets some purpose. Janet Clarey, Brandon Hall Research, May 19, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Finally, Course Aggregation Made Easy
Jim Groom writes, "Henri Simeon's MuTags plugin and the $50 extension we bought from him gave UMW Blogs a RSS feed for each and every site wide tag." Well good. My site has done that for a while now. And it's free. When it's released. Which will be this week. No more dithereing - I have to get that code out this week. Jim Groom, bavatuesdays, May 19, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Creepy Treehouse
The term 'Creepy Treehouse' has caught some currency recently. Barbara Fister explains, "A creepy treehouse is a place built by scheming adults to lure in kids. Kids tend to sense there's something creepy about that treehouse and avoid it. Hence, a new definition: 'Any institutionally-created, operated, or controlled environment in which participants are lured in either by mimicking pre-existing open or naturally formed environments, or by force, through a system of punishments or rewards.'" Barbara Fister, ACRLog, May 19, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Pearson Presents: Learning to Change

This video has been blogged on numerous sites. And it is definitely worth the five minutes it takes to watch, partially because a lot of what it says rings true, and partially because it is produced by Pearson, which means it's being shown to the suit-and-tie set.

But it should be viewed critically. Chris Lehman writes "now we have another 'Did You Know" style video. But now, it's been made, not by a teacher trying to shake up a faculty, but by a multi-national corporation that has seen a 60% rise in stock price since 2003 and a product line that includes a district-wide web-based benchmark testing program... There are a lot of ideas in that video that I agree with, heck, if you parsed that video carefully, you'd find some powerful similarities between many of the ideas and the keynote speech I gave last week. But let's make sure we keep asking ourselves how these ideas are being presented and who is presenting them... What should worry us is that Pearson -- and many companies like them -- are ready to sell us the product that they swear will move us there. And I, for one, don't believe them." Unattributed, Pearson Education, May 19, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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