Stephen's Web

[Chat] [Discuss] [Search] [Mobile] [About] [Archives] [Options]


by Stephen Downes
June 17, 2008

Moncton Highland Games

I spent the weekend getting sunburned at the Moncton Highland Games. I am always interested in things that engage people and elicit a lot of time, passion and attention to detail. These games certainly qualify, and it was a pleasure to watch the dedication of people of all ages. Got some great photos, too (as usual, the slideshow is recommended)!

On the hiatus front - I will be taking a break starting next week. Three people have volunteered to fill in for me; they will be introduced on Friday. The hiatus will last for four weeks - the duration of my upcoming trip to Spain. I'll return Juky 21 with coverage from the Desire2Learn Fusion conference in Memphis. Stephen Downes, Flickr, June 17, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Net Gen Hype Talk for the Cloistered Bunch
The title of the blog, Net-gen Nonsense, doesn't exactly endear itself to potential readers expecting a considered view. But the author's promise to "attempt to place e-learning in a broad educational context [and] establish principle of consistency and contingency in theory" is at least worth a look. And people like Norm Friesen have been attacking the whole Bet-gen thing for some time now. Janet Clarey writes, "I really do think there are many conversations about innovations in education in the edublogosphere that are not scrutinized to the extent they should be." That's true, and Prensky's work probably falls into that category. But what interests me is not so much whether the Net-gen phenomena, as a descriptive hypothesis, withstands scrutiny, but rather, whether the descriptions of new forms of learning that often accompany such descriptions can be successfully applied. Janet Clarey, Brandon Hall Research, June 17, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Ockham's Razor Is Dull
It's nice to read some cracking sharp commentary about the biases that tend us toward some type of (scientific) theory rather than another. Simplicity, for example, is something we tend to favour - but there is no good reason to believe that simple theories are more likely to be true. Turney says, 'instead of asking how to measure the complexity/simplicity of a theory, we should ask which inductive biases tend to work well in this particular universe in which we find ourselves." Quite right, and I agree with Turney here (section s). Via daniel Lemire, who spends his time reading good blogs rather than attending dull meetings. Peter Turney, Apperceptual, June 17, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Trackback Graphs and Blog Categories
This is good stuff. I've long thought of something like this for Edu_RSS (nor gRSShopper) but lacked the graphics ability to make it work. Tony Hirst, OUseful Info, June 17, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Firefox 3
Jane Hart's pick of the day was pretty easy yeasterday - Firefox 3 has launched. I installed it on one machine, a Windows media box I (try to) use for film editing (unsuccessfully - the brand new Adobe Premiere Pro does transitions worse than $100 Premiere Elements, the video uploader converts perfectly good video to blank media on Google video, the machine (equipped especially to edit video) is missing .avi codecs, and the Dell XPS crashes frequently (actually - in the time it took to go from being a brand new machine to something that crashes a lot to a non-functioning brick (which happened today) my Linux desktop was rebooted once. Once! Because the power went out)). Anyhow, the new version of Firefox (which magically installed itself!) didn't run very well (somehow, I don't blame Firefox). More here with a link to BBC's coverage of the activity behind the scenes. Jane Hart, Jane's E-Learning Pick of the Day, June 17, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

As the next step in its Open Educational Resource (OER) initiative, UNESCO has released this discussion paper on an OER toolkit. The paper itself is in a wiki, while the discussion is happening in the UNESCO OER online forum. It's a very compressed discussion - only three or four days for each of the paper's eight sections. It's pretty good so far but it needs work - I'd like to see the "core areas and concepts of education" aligned with the UNESCO survey from just a few months ago (see, eg., p. 12 of The Way Forward) - or at the very least, a reference put in place. And as before, I will say, I don't always think they say exactly the right things, but they are going about this project in mostly the right way, getting more open at each step. Related: work on a Communications Toolkit from the MIT OCW project. Philipp Schmidt, UNESCO, June 17, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Nevermind the Pedagogues, Here's Edupunk
Just when you think it's done - edupunk surfaces again, this time in this article in the Guardian. I'd be impressed, too, but I'd be even more impressed if the author had taken the time to get the facts right. David Cohen, The Guardian, June 17, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

This newsletter is sent only at the request of subscribers. If you would like to unsubscribe, Click here.

Know a friend who might enjoy this newsletter? Feel free to forward OLDaily to your colleagues. If you received this issue from a friend and would like a free subscription of your own, you can join our mailing list. Click here to subscribe.

Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons License.