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by Stephen Downes
June 11, 2008

Multiple Metaphors for Learning
Blog post linking to an article , Learning and organizations: towards cross-metaphor conversations, (apparently freely available for now) by Jacob Vakkayil in the academic journal Learning Inquiry. Vakkayil sketches a set of metaphors used to describe learning. The value of the article, I think, is that it clearly identifies these descriptions as metaphors. It's a good list, and the metaphors will certainly be familiar to readers of this newsletter. Vakkayil then looks at "the idea of disruptive devices... as aids to the effort of shattering the comfort zones of our preferred metaphors." These are, specifically: action orientation, sensitivity to discordance, and purposeful provocation (the 'edupunk' flutter comes to mind here). I think the idea of these metaphors is worth exploring more fully - and I think it's worth asking how much of the metaphorical language is literally descriptive (and not merely metaphor) of learning. Gary Woodill, Brandon Hall, June 11, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , , ] [Comment]

National E-Portfolio Symposium
This page links to a set of resources used for an e-portfolio workshop held today by - there's a number of audio recordings and PowerPoint presentations as well as some introductory documents. All in all, it's a pretty good starter kit if you are just beginning to get interested in the idea of e-portfolios. The Background Paper is a good place to start, and also provides readers with a look at e-portfolio use in Australia specifically. Via Garry Putland. Various Authors,, June 11, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Is Google Making Us Stupid?
Sigh. My response is very simple. I read constantly. I write constantly. I also work in images and multimedia. If Google is making me stupid, then I am forced to conclude that without Google I would have been some kind of super Einstein or something. Guy Billout, The Atlantic Monthly, June 11, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Opening Up the IMS
I have complained in the past about the lack of openness at IMS, and Michael Feldstein takes up the same cause from within the organization. "At one point," he writes, "I said, 'I know plenty of people in the ed tech community-good people, exactly the kind of people that we need to participate-who think that the IMS is some kind of secret society.' I got a fair few 'amens' from other participants, both publicly and privately." Well - yeah. And, I might add, IMS should be looking at more than simply its finances when deciding whether or not to be open. The standards it drafts and distributes would be substantially improved with wider community input (FWIW I spent a good part of my meeting yesterday afternoon with standards people in Canada making the same case for the same sort of openness on other bodies - like SCC and ISO and the like). Michael Feldstein, e-Literate, June 11, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

EduPunk? Please Tell Me This Is the Start and Not the End
Mark Oehlert doesn't want to let edupunk go. "We need something like the Watchmen, to lay bare in a graphic way, the controls and imperatives we operate under - not to rail against them per se but to begin to understand them so that we may exercise some of the levers of control ourselves - after all, we'd use the power for good, right?" Mark Oehlert, e-Clippings, June 11, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

E-Learning: an Oxymoron?
Jakob Nielsen writes, "I continue to believe in the linear, author-driven narrative for educational purposes. I just don't believe the Web is optimal for delivering this experience. Instead, let's praise old narrative forms like books and sitting around a flickering campfire - or its modern day counterpart, the PowerPoint projector - which have been around for 500 and 32,000 years, respectively... I continue to write books, and I continue to develop training seminars, because I believe these media are best for deep learning of new concepts." I think learning happens through numerous media, including web posts (which is why Nielsen writes his online column in the first place). And I think that people continue to write books and develop training seminars because that's where the money is, not because that's what produces the best learning. Clive Shepherd, Clive on Learning, June 11, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Is Web.3D Here?
Joe Clark reports, "There's a new plugin called ExitReality that turns *any* web site into a customizable 3-d social space. Pilot websites include Hardee's and Carl's Jr." I went to the plugin download site - you have to sign up (I did, so you don't have to) and only then do you discover it's Windows-only. See also Clark on open virtual spaces. Joe Clark,, June 11, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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