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by Stephen Downes
August 21, 2008

Canadians Protest Harper's Draconian Copyright Bill
OK, now I never agree with Charles Moore, arguing as he does from the far right of the political spectrum (he appears in our local paper as well as the Telegraph-Journal). Yet here he is, penning something with which I am in total agreement. As he says, "Heavy-handed 'cures' like Bill C-61 enacted at the behest of industry interests almost certainly will be worse than the alleged disease in terms of stifling culture-building and technological innovation." I'll get back to vehemently disagreeing with him tomorrow. For now - welcome to the cause, Charles. Charles W. Moore, Saint John Telegraph Journal, August 21, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

What's Next 2008: Ten Predictions for the Future of Public Education
These predictions probably reflect an agenda more than they do an inference to a future state. That said, some of them might come to pass. For example, we might see the school as a services hub, providing access to a therapist, nurse, job counselor, nutritionist, and family advocate. But first we would have to accept the idea that the community provides these things. Others - such as the character development and the online manners training - reflect the authors' aspirations rather than any actual (viable) trend. And that's the problem with this list in general: it is basically a statement of what they think would be good rather than a statement of what we'll actually get. Just as well - what they think of as good frightens me a little. Jennifer Foote Sweeney,, Edutopia, August 21, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Workbooks in Simulation Deployment: Friend or Foe?
I think the value of workbooks (or paper product in general) varies depending on the user. For me, the paper joins the rest of my paper in an unsorted pile next to my keyboard, afterwhich it is periodically moved to the filing cabinet, from which it is extracted once a year or so to be placed into a box. But read? Never. If it's on paper, it's lost. Clark Aldrich, Style Guide for Serious Games and Simulations, August 21, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Iterasi: Is the URL Always Enough?
This is a very good idea and will be standard in browsers of the future. "Iterasi enables you to build an online archive of web pages, with each page saved - 'notarized' in Iterasi's terminology - as an exact working copy of the original:' ...text, links, images, live forms, transactions, receipts, confirmations and, of course, all of your personalized content.'" John Connell, Weblog, August 21, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Edtechtalk 82
Geirge Siemens and I had another talk about our Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) slated for this fall. This time we talked about the actual mechanics of delivering the course. Stephen Downes,, Ed Tech Talk, August 21, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Understanding The Difference Between Price And Value; Product And Benefit
This is an important point that is routinely glossed over in the news. The price of an object is independent of its value. Rather, price reflects what people are willing to pay. This, in turn, is impacted by supply and demand. That's why (contra mainstream news reports) companies cannot simply 'pass on to the consumers' increases in their costs. Additionally, lowering costs (by, say, lowering business taxes) are not passed on to the consumer for the same reason. And it's also why you can't make the link between how much work was put into a product, or how important it is to society, and what it costs on the marketplace. This disassociation between price and value is the reason why the distribution of important goods cannot be left to purely market forces. Michael Masnick, TechDirt, August 21, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Social Media Classroom
George Siemens describes the social media classroom developed by Howard Rheingold and being used by him in a course this fall. "The software - SMC - pulls together wikis, blogs, tagging, media sharing, and other tools familiar to the read/write web crowd." George Siemens, elearnspace, August 21, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Creepy Treehouse Effect: Twitter & Facebook Suck When They're Required by Your Professor
As usual, it seems to me, the essential issue here is ownership. "A research exercise ... has just revealed, amazingly, that students want to be left alone. Their message to the trendy academics is: 'Get out of MySpace!'" So, what to do? "A better approach to education is the idea of a Personal Learning Environment (PLE) - which [students] can invite the professor into when they feel comfortable doing so." Lila Hanft, LilaTovCocktail, August 21, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

Higher Ed Growing Into BI, Data Warehousing
I wish this article had focused more on the mechanics of business intelligence (BI) and data warehousing in higher education, but if you read between the lines a bit you can get the general idea, and the information about trends and process is worth looking at. It shows that the world of educational technology stretches well beyond using software to support learning. Linda L Briggs, Campus Technology, August 21, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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