Stephen's Web

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


by Stephen Downes
August 20, 2008

Collective Mind Probes
This is a pretty neat idea - getting people to enter tags for brands, then showing us the tag cloud. Of course, it will be about ten minutes before it gets gamed by the marketing specialists, but it's worth a quick look today. You can browse through the different companies. Jon Udell, Jon's Radio, August 20, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

US to Back 21st Century Learnin
According to this report in the BBC News, "The US Congress has given the go-ahead for a new centre to explore ways advanced computer and communications technologies can improve learning." About $50 million in funding was earmarked. Maggie Shiels, BBC News, August 20, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

School Wars
Quality writing from Gary Stager. Among other things, he writes:
- "The problem is that we do not create productive contexts for learning in which the needs of each child are met as their talent, interest, curiosity, and passion are amplified. The last thing we need is another sweeping top-down reform."
- "It's hard to argue against raising educational standards, but imposing uniform curricula and teaching practices leads to a paradoxical lowering of standards."
- "Perhaps the singular accomplishment of NCLB is the erosion of community support for public education."
- "I'm all for generosity, but I'm also for accountability. And I wonder, to whom are the Gateses and the Broads of the world accountable? They were not elected or even appointed, but their money is changing the ways public schools operate."
Stager also discusses the reaction in They hate me, they really hate me. Gary Stager, Good Magazine, August 20, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

PubMed Now Indexes Videos of Experiments and Protocols in Life Sciences
How valuable would these be in learning? "The online, open-access journal publishes videos of experiments and protocols in the biological and life sciences and offers its video-articles to science bloggers to illustrate their posts." Maria Jose Vinas, Chronicle of Higher Education, August 20, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Jay Greene and the United Cherry Pickers
More on the practice of cherry-picking research to support politically motivated views on education. I'm not going to get deeply into this debate, but I will offer that I've seen more than enough of it. Via eduwonkette. Leo Casey, Edwize, August 20, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

A Long Time Ago...
I think, personally, that everyone is motivated in some way by their personal experiences - not just the run-of-the-mill daily experiences, but the things that stand out in their lives. I am, most certainly. We all want, in some way, to fly - what that looks like, how that feels, what leads us toward that, is different for each person. So I always appreciate personal experiences like this, not so much for what I learn, but for what they affirm. Jennifer Wagner, Tech Thoughts By Jen, August 20, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Sugarize It: Intel Classmate 2
Interesting report in which experimenters install Sugar (the operating system used by the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project) on an Intel Classmate 2 computer. The anonymous 'Guest Writer' reports, "I have been already "ported" Sugar to the Intel Classmate 1. Back then I was quite disappointed with Intel. I did not do any precise tests but it just felt s.l.o.w. ... But.. Hey! On the other hand: this small device is for the first time totally usable! It is fast, compared to the others. There is a dramatic speed improvement compared to the Classmate 1. Would I buy the Classmate 1 for kids? No. Would I buy the Classmate 2? Yes." Guest Writer, One Laptop Per Child News, August 20, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Secrecy Claims On Copyright Treaty
Canada is not the only country looking at new copyright laws. And now questions are being raised about the secret negotiations with American officials that have given rise to new copyright laws in Australia, Canada and New Zealand. "Little information had been made available, but 'there appears to be significant involvement by the Recording Industry Association of America and other copyright lobby groups', he said. Without consultation over the legitimate interests of copyright users and the wider public, 'the resulting treaty will look like Hollywood's Christmas list.'" Karen Dearne, The Australian, August 20, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

Network Clustering: The Power of Reputation
Bruce Hoppe describes an effect, 'closure', in networks that is similar to what I would classify under 'groups'. "the chapter on Closure, which I would sum up with these two points: 1. The peer pressure created by closed networks builds commitment and productivity. 2. The peer pressure created by closed networks reinforces groupthink and promotes mindless stereotypes." See slide 29 in this chapter from Ron Burt. Bruce Hoppe, Connectedness, August 20, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Peterborough Rocks
I like this sort of thing. "Radio Free Peterborough is an all volunteer-run Internet Radio Station that features only the music of Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.RFP also aims to be a cultural heritage resource for music that falls below the radar of the commercial music industry, but still sounds great. Especially when you know everyone you're listening to." Justin Beach,, August 20, 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.