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by Stephen Downes
June 3, 2008

Abstraction Distraction

If you are trying to understand edupunk, this picture helps. "There is no real focal point; in fact, there's no real point to this picture at all, beyond just being a bit of a distraction, a pretty thing to look at, something where you might find your own pictures, images, memories, or criticisms." Karoli, odd time signatures, June 3, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

I liked this post on edupunk, even if the author is a student depicting he adults as somewhat out of their time and place. So punk belongs to youth now, hm? And the 'edupunks' are illegimately leaving students out of the discussion? Of course, there's Serena, who writes, "As a student, I *have* been part of the EDUPUNK discussion since it started." And she interviews six students who also feel involved. Via Sailing by the Sound. Meanwhile, it is "with no small amount of personal embarrassment" that Tuttle SVC addresses the topic. I think his best (and solely rlevant) comment is his last: "The discussions of the musical and political strands of punk has been a pleasant acknowledgment that there were garage bands before GarageBand, folk culture before participatory culture, and revolutionary ideas before 21st Century Skills." Also, I like this line (which is classic edupunk): "It was then that it hit these people. Blackboard was never a learning tool." Lindsea, Students 2.0, June 3, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Critical Theory: Ideology Critique and the Myths of E-Learning
Norm Friesen has an article published in Ubiquity. He first sketches aspects of critical theory - the subjects of emacipatory criticism are "ideological positions and arguments [that] are elevated to (false) principles of humanity... when they eliminate even the slightest hint of reflection or doubt." From this perspective, he then looks at the "myth of the knowledge economy." He writes, "beneath the simplicity of the slogans about the "knowledge economy" and its imperatives for educational change, lurk socio-economic developments that are fraught with contestation between economic classes and clashing political interests." Friesen wants us to understand technology "as a scene of struggle rather than as a destiny or fait accompli." See also Arun Kumar Tripathi's review of Andrew Feenberg' Critical Theory and Democratization of Technologies. Norm Friesen, Ubiquity, June 3, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

This is pretty neat. Do a search. A list of your selected artists shows up on the left. It also makes 'discoveries' for you; be sure to explore. A player shows up at the top right, and you can listen to your audio as Flash. An MP3 download link is also available. Meanwhile, in the bottom right, you are creating a playlist. Send the playlist friends by email or embed it in a blog post, like this:
And voila! My 1980s playlist (much less punk than you might imagine). (If you are reading the email version, the embed is not available due to email client restrictions - click on the title and see the web version). There are still some bugs with the interface, which looks a lot like RSS Writr. And still some speed issues. But it's great stuff. Various Authors, Website, June 3, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

The Prime Directives for an E-Portfolio
Good article from Ray Tolley - not sure when it was written - outlining the advantages of an e-portfolio. Advocates would do well to take note of the criteria: "It is not modelled on any particular curriculum delivery system nor content," for example, or "It is not a permanent repository of all of a user's files, rather a 'transit camp'." These conditions, I would say, give us good criteria for distinguishing between an actual e-portfolio system, and one of the fake systems erroneously called an 'e-portfolio' by some software vendor. From the same author: Who's Hijacking Our e-Portfolios?. Again, a recommended read. Ray Tolley, Website, June 3, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

ORE Specification and User Guide
From the Open Archives Initiative related project, Object Reuse and Exchange, announcement yesterday: "The beta version of the OAI-ORE specifications and implementation are released to the public on June 2, 2008. These documents describe a data model to introduce aggregations as resources with URIs on the web. They also detail the machine-readable descriptions of aggregations expressed in the popular Atom syndication format, in RDF/XML, and RDFa." The release press release (PDF) is also available. Various Authors, Object Reuse and Exchange, June 3, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Update: Blackboard Defends Patent, Files More Claims
Campus technology's coverage of the latest in the Blackboard patent debate. Nothing new, but the coverage is crisp and appears to be accurate. David Nagel, Campus Technology, June 3, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

The iPod Lecture Circuit
OK, there's a lot of good being done by programs like iTunes university, which makes things like Hubert Dreyfus's lectures available online. I've listened to them myself. But we need to keep in mind that direct personal audio like this is privileged mental space, and the influence of the speaker (or musician, or whatever) is significant. "It's like electronic schizophrenia... I can hear voices in my head, and it's Dreyfus." Which means we need to be careful about how we grant access to distributors of such content - if we keep it reserved for a certain elite (as has been the case with iTunes) then we are granting a source of power that will eventually be abused. PDF. Michelle Quinn, Los Angeles Times, June 3, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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