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by Stephen Downes
July 27, 2008

Walking in Memphis

I'm home from Memphis and home from traveling for a little while. I have a pile of writing to do (no fewer than six articles that I know of, probably more), a lot of RSS to read up on (I'm up to 'G'), meetings to attend, reserach to coordinate... ah, but I'm looking forward to it. The photo above is one of my colleagues, Dawn McCabe, walking in Memphis. The link is to the set in Flickr. I hope you enjoy them (p.s. I finally finished uploading my photos from Madrid today as well). Stephen Downes, Flickr, July 27, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

My Big Fat NECC Brain Dump
One more NECC retrospective. Links to the people, the ideas, and most importantly, "We have no idea how small we are. My guess is about 300 of the 17,000 attendees have any sense of what powerful online communities are all about. That would represent about 2% of an edtech community." Dean Shareski, Ideas and Thoughts from an Ed Tech, July 27, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

When Learning It Really Happens
Good post. I'd rather see more discussion in educational communities of the wider contexts that support learning rather than the narrow focus on pedagogy (i.e., what the teacher does) that predominates today. More from Haskins on the topic of Brain Rules, a book by John Medina. Tom Haskins, growing changing learning creating, July 27, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Mobile Now Better for Edu Content Than Late 1990s Desktops
This is an interesting observation. "Mobile interaction with the Internet on my iPhoneG3, shown above, is much better than the Internet via a desktop computer was in the late 1990s. I know because I was there." Me, I should be getting my Blackberry soon - maybe even Monday - and this will inform my own thinking abut mobile. See also: Protein puzzles solved by gamers is superb pedagogy. "The young generation's love of online games is channeled into designing new proteins with therapeutic properties." Judy Breck, Golden Swamp, July 27, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Welcome to Open Education News!
David Wiley announces the launch of Open Education News, "monitoring news related to open education around the globe," a welcome addition to the media landscape in education. "Open Education News is essentially a group blog. A number of individuals from the US, South Africa, and eventually other locations daily monitor the internet for news related to open education." The newsletter receives funding from the Open Society Institute and the Shuttleworth Foundation. David Wiley, Open Education News, July 27, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

The Knol site has launched. What I don't like about it is the way it resembles a keyword sales site. What, for example, makes Pedro Ramirez the world expert on Ovarian Cancer? Nothing - except that Google says he is. So who are the experts in our field, according to Google? Lorenzo Cantoni has eLearning. OK, nothing against Lorenzo Cantoni, who I don't know at all. But in my browsing of the articles, what I observe is that having an article is perceived to be of enormous bemnefit to the the author, which means there is a land rush of people trying to insert advertising content disgised as academic content. Look at the search results for 'learn', for example. How to read the Russian Alphabet in 75 Minutes? Medical Malpractice - 10 Reasons Why Most Victims Won't Recover a Dime? Benefit From Your Anger and Frustration? Ridiculous. Terrible. Via EduResources. Various Authors, Google, July 27, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video
This is a good guide and it is important to remind people that they have the right to fair use as outlined within it. For example, "Video makers have the right to use as much of the original work as they need to in order to put it under some kind of scrutiny." And "Fair use protects the creative choices of video makers who seek their material in real life. Where a sound or image has been captured incidentally and without pre-arrangement, as part of an unstaged scene, it is permissible to use it." Indeed, I think we need to be more assertive about out rights under fair use. Via EDUCAUSE RSS. Unattributed, Center for Social Media, July 27, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Lessons From Leading Edge Small Urban High Schools
I had fun reading a month worth of Tom Hoffman's posts as he cranks about everyone from Ken DeRosa ("For some reason Ken DeRosa thinks that quoting an out of print, 13 year old history text written by an infamous Bush crony demonstrates something") to Konrad Glogowski ("it drives me nuts because I don't want the high level Dewey quote and then the 'look at the cool idea I pulled out of the blue'"). We also learn that Steve Hargadon is paid by Pearson (which seems to have an in on conference videos) and that Dave Warlick should voice his own opinions.

This post is a link to an Education Resource Strategies report titled Strategic Designs: Lessons from Leading Edge Small Urban High Schools. Basically, the authors pick a set of nine 'top' schools (charter, district and pilot) and draw a series of lessons from them. What are the lessons? Consistency ("organize resources - people, time, and money - to advance a clearly defined instructional model"), focus (" investing in teaching quality, using student time strategically, and creating individual attention") and priorities ("prioritize core academics and professional community over program diversity"). Tom Hoffman, Tuttle SVC, July 27, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

Inclusive Education
This is the main website to learn more about UNESCO's Education for All Inclusive Education. "Inclusive education is a developmental approach to the learning needs of all children, youth and adults, especially those who are vulnerable to marginalization and exclusion." Related to this is HASTAC, the Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory. HASTAC ("Haystack") is "a consortium of humanists, artists, scientists, and engineers, of leading researchers and nonprofit research institutions." HASTAC has a Ning site to support collaboration. Various Authors, UNESCO, July 27, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Ning social network set up to support Innovate, the online journal of online learning and related issues I write a regular column for. Various Authors, Innovate, July 27, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

In Search of a Beautiful Mind
An upbeat article describing Seymour Papert's recovery process after the renowned computr scientist and educator was injured while visiting Vietnam. The article tries to make the case that Papert's own methods are being used to facilitate the recovery of his memory and character. Linda Matchan,, July 27, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Last Lecture Professor Dies
Randy Pausch, who became well known for his 'last lecture', has died. He was 47. Younger than me. "You just have to decide if you're a Tigger or an Eeyore. I think I'm clear where I stand on the great Tigger-Eeyore debate. Never lose the childlike wonder. It's just too important. It's what drives us." Ramit Plushnick-Masti, Globe and Mail, July 27, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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