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by Stephen Downes
August 6, 2008

What Is the Unique Idea in Connectivism?
We get this question every few months, like clockwork, from people who suggest Well, keeping in mind, as Siemens says, that "All ideas have a heritage. All concepts have roots," there are some things that are at least arguably novel in connectivism. Siemens outlines a few here: the application of network principles to both knowledge and the process of learning; the application of these principles at the biological/neural, conceptual, and social/external; the explicit discussion of the role of technology in learning, the acknowledgment of context and the role it plays in knowledge, meaning and learning; and the positive acocunts of understanding, coherence and sensemaking. George Siemens, Connectivism Blog, August 6, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Piracy Is Good For You
Another study. Same result. "Illegal downloads are actually good for artists and that, even if that were not the case, there is nothing that can be done about them." Justin Beach,, August 6, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Josh Jarboe YouTube Video Controversy Shows the Value of Transparent, Publish-at-Will Technologies
It is likely that you would find Josh Jarboe's rap (language and content warning) offensive. But is the best response to that to kick him off the football team? Sure, the freestyle was pretty stupid. But has anyone at OU been listening to rap and hip hop recently? Jarboe was, quite frankly, tame compared to what's published and broadcast on radio and television. And I think it's a bit much to punish someone for emulating what he hears on commercial media, even if it rude and offensive. One wonders if it isn't the medium itself - a freeform milieu like YouTube - that has freaked out the OU administration, and not the content (which they must hear on campus every day). And maybe a little stereotyping too. I think the people at OU should deal with the issue like adults. Remember, students are still learning and still growing. Try teaching rather than punishing. Setting a good example rather than blindly lashing out. Just my view. Wesley Fryer, Moving at the Speed of Creativity, August 6, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Whose Problem Is Poverty?
Another good article on the relationship between learning and poverty. The policy implication: "Closing or substantially narrowing achievement gaps requires combining school improvement with reforms that narrow the vast socioeconomic inequalities in the United States. Without such a combination, demands (like those of No Child Left Behind) that schools fully close achievement gaps not only will remain unfulfilled, but also will cause us to foolishly and unfairly condemn our schools and teachers." The article is from April but was just now made available. Richard Rothstein, Educational Leadership, August 6, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Dissecting the Backchannel
Analysis of the backchannel used in our recent panel session at the Desire2Learn conference in Memphis. A full 31 percent of the comments were relevant and on-topic. And (as has happened before) the ratio of productive posts increased as the event progressed. Barry Dahl, Innovations in EdTech, August 6, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

How Long Does It Take to Create Learning?
Interesting list of figures, ranging from 33 development hours to one delivery hour (33:1) for PowerPoint conversion through 220:1 for standard e-learning (presentation, audio, some video, test questions, and 20% interactivity) all the way to 750:1 to create simulations from scratch. Probably more if you have to build the helicopter enclosure. Well... I can certainly say I do not intend to spend 8800 hours on the Connectivism course - nor half that, not even close. So how will we do it? Bryan Chapman, Brandon Hall Research, August 6, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , ] [Comment]

Australian University Repositories (Research and Publications)
Neil Godfrey has posted a list with links of Australian universities' open access repositories. It is interesting to see the range of repository software being used. It would also be nice to see such a list for Canadian institutions (it's probably shorter; we're really slow off the mark on this whole open access thing). Via Open Access News. Neil Godfrey, Metalogger, August 6, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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