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by Stephen Downes
September 1, 2008

First Full Release Version of ELGG
I don't want to let this go by without a note, especially given that they've had some hurdles to overcome - Elgg has released their first production version - 1.0 - of their social networking learning software. More on this from Tom Hoffman. Terry Anderson, Virtual Canuck, September 1, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Before I Go
Christian Long has discontinued his think:lab weblog. "My days as an edu-blogger are now officially in the past tense. All that previous "think:lab" blogging energy will now be dedicated 100% to my kiddo (and his bro/sis-to-be) and to my HS English students." You know, I don't say this enough, that you should continue a thing only so long as you're getting out of it what you need in your personal or professional life. I am as happy to support a decision to stop as I am to support a decision to start. And the last word, appropriately, belongs to Long: "I consider it the equivalent of a remarkable 'graduate' degree that I've been blessed to experience for the 3 years and claim many mentors, friends,&colleagues from this process." Christian Long, Think:Lab, September 1, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

NITLE Launches Online Prediction Markets for Teaching and Technology
OK, I'll say it outright: prediction markets are a scam. The idea of a prediction market is that people 'buy shares' on the likelihood of certain outcomes. But they are easily manipulated - and because the objective is to make more 'money', there is incentive to manipulate them. The prediction market for the Democrat primaries spent an entire year predicting Hillary would win, while the prediction market for the Republicans had McCain dead last until the results came rolling in. Take a look. Bryan Alexander, Liberal Education Today, September 1, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Goodnight Skypecasts
Skype has announce the termination of Skypecasts, prompting a deluge of comments. I can understand why people are upset, because many people invested a lot in the technology (there's a group of followers like this for every technology, though, communities of people who tout it as the next big thing). But the truth is, Skypecasts weren't working. The comment thread to this post links to a number of services more appropriate to online broadcasts. Peter Parkes, Skype Blog, September 1, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Going Full Circle
Interesting series of articles from Kim Cofino ending with this item on 'the collaboration circle'. I don't get how a continuum (which is one kind of thing, a set of values on a scale) can be transformed to a cycle (which is a completely different kind of thing - a set of processes that occur in an order) but the interplay between the blogger and readers to work through an idea (see the comments) is worth following. here's the continuum post and here's the ready set action post. Kim Cofino, Always Learning, September 1, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Running Schools Like a Business
The problem with the advice that we should "run schools like a business" is that we don't know whether the speaker means a business like Google, or a box factory. Tim Stahmer, Assorted Stuff, September 1, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Learning Styles and Pedagogy in Post-16 Learning A Systematic and Critical Review
My thanks to Francis Bell and Karyn Romeis for pointing to this work, an exhaustive (book-length) review of learning styles. While on the one hand it offers a sceptical look learning styles, the analysis also refrains from such blanket statements as "there are no learning styles" and, indeed, even identifies one approach (Allinson and Hayes) that satisfies all four evaluative criteria (consistency, reliability, construct validity, predictive validity) and several others that come close. Do take the time to read this.

Should the study of learning styles form the core of education policy? Probably not. But not because it is 'false', not because 'there are no learning styles', only because other matters are more urgent. The study authors write, "as Lave and Wenger (1991, 100) have argued, the most fundamental problems of education are not pedagogical. Above all, they have to do with the ways in which the community of adults reproduces itself, with the places that newcomers can or cannot find in such communities, and with relations that can or cannot be established between these newcomers and the cultural and political life of the community." So many things comes into play when we are looking at learning. It is arguable that many learning styles theorists - and their critics - do not have a sound understanding of what constitutes learning itself, much less what constitutes the imparting of learning and the measurement of learning. Frank Coffield, David Moseley, Elaine Hall, Kathryn Ecclestone, Learning and Skills Research Centre, September 1, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Changing the Training and Development Role in the 21st C.
I agree with this. "A better approach would be for the organisation to focus on measurable performance and give workers the time and support to direct their own learning. The T&D function then provides support, but not direction, and also provides a feedback loop to develop better performance support from the organisation." Why? Because "it is not an intelligent strategy to train people to overcome system deficiencies... We need to allocate resources better and one way is to focus on what people do best." Harold Jarche, Weblog, September 1, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Writing a Delicious Command for Ubiquity
This article describes a short program written for Ubiquity. In a sense, what you are basically doing with something like this is writing a Firefox extension that can be accessed through the command line. The article shows that is isn't something that will be mastered in an afternoon - but that said, it is still very accessible to the millions of people who can code at this level. l.m.orchard, 0xDECAFBAD Blog, September 1, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

12 Sly Web Tricks That Put You in Control
This article is worth reading, not so that you can learn how to crack Windows passwords or send self-destructing email messages, but so you can see how easily other people can do so. It should put you on the alert for the sort of thing that can happen online - it's important to not be complacent out there. , , September 1, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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