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by Stephen Downes
August 29, 2008

Obama: They Call This the Ownership Society
"In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society, but what it really means is - you're on your own. Out of work? Tough luck. No health care? The market will fix it. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps - even if you don't have boots. You're on your own. Well it's time for them to own their failure. It's time for us to change America."

Mike Klonsky, SmallTalk, August 29, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

280 Slides
The implementation of Flash 9 on Firefox 3 on Ubuntu is just awful (a lot of conflicts with other applications, a lot of jitters and lagging, and a bunch of freeze-ups) so didn't really give this application - 280 Slides - a fair test today. But I agree that it has potential, and what I really like is the way you can tap into online content repositories (like Flickr images or YouTube videos) while creating your slide show. It also outputs directly to SlideShare or to a valid PowerPoint file. I'll probably try it on the MacBook later to see how it works with properly functioning web software. Emma Duke-Williams, Weblog, August 29, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Learning Styles... Again
Karyn Romeis offers a longish reflection that is (I think) generally sceptical of learning styles. She cites James Atherton's Heterodoxy blog, from a post called Learning Styles Don't Matter: "Even assuming that such things can be assessed with some validity and reliability, which is itself far from clear - what are you going to do about it?" That's part of the background I would like to explore with respect to learning styles: the whole idea that the theory is supposed to inform teachers and be practical in a classroom. To me, this is an irrelevant consideration. First we decide whether learning styles exist, and then we determine whether they're useful; and we don't conflate the two arguments. Karyn Romeis, Karyn's erratic learning journey, August 29, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Another Reason Why I'm Leery of Meta-Analyses
This post describes views similar to my own. "The paradigm of EBM (evidence based medicine) ranks equivocal clinical trial evidence over well established basic science, even when that basic science demonstrates a proposed intervention to be utterly ridiculous on the basis of well-established physics and chemistry... The evidence-based movement has proposed that a systematic review with a meta-analysis of RCTs on a topic provides the strongest evidence of support and that widespread adoption of its results should lead to improved patient care. However, our results suggest that the interpretation of a meta-analysis (and therefore recommendations) are subjective and therefore depend on who conducts or interprets the meta-analysis." My views are also stated here. Orac, Respectful Insolence, August 29, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Following Tropical Storms, Etc.
This isn't quite ready for prime time, but I really like the way they've set it up. Part of the idea is that you can create your own 'situation page' but I'm not sure whether that's running. And it needs to have a good authoring tool, allowing you to just cut and drag content into a new document or application. Doug Fisher, Common Sense Journalism, August 29, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Sharing and the OCWC Conference
So how do you share a conference with a wider audience? The natural response, suggests Phillip Schmidt, is to "place more emphasis on documentation and share audio/video/text online." But he observes, "I know how hard it is to collect all the images and notes from participants, and how much (tedious) editing is required to bring it together into a useful resource." True; and it's not the sort of job that should be done by one person anyways. This is better, but not by a lot: "rather than trying to document everything that is going on during the event, we create a rich list of contact details, URLs, and links to everything that comes up during the discussions." What I wonder is, why do people have the urge to organize this stuff? First of all, provide live access, and allow people to make their own recordings. And encourage participants to put their stuff online. The wider community of pundits and commentators (like me) will pass it on - a more fine-grained 'organization' than any individual could manage. Mike Caulfield, OCW Blog, August 29, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Save Planet Helios From Ecological Devastation!-3D Game by IBM
This looks pretty cool - can't wait to get my copy (which is free and can be downlaoded here). "IBM has released a 3D game to teach engineering concepts to kids. It comes complete with lesson plans for teachers including one called windturbine design and build challenge... Playing the game, students work together in teams to investigate the 3D game environment and learn about the environmental disasters that threaten the game world and its inhabitants." Karl Kapp, Kapp Notes, August 29, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

European Commission Is Misleading EU On Copyright Extension, Says Academic
This is an issue that has been simmering for a while, with letters being sent through the summer. The European Commission, argue academics, is willfully ignoring the results of research it sponsored on the effect of copyright extension. It wants to recommend extensions, despite research showing that extension would be harmful. Via TechDirt. Unattributed, OUT-LAW News, August 29, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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