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by Stephen Downes
September 15, 2008

Money Fun
Here's a bunch of 'money games'. As I once argued, we need to be aware of just what our games are teaching. What do these money games teach children about money and possessions? Jennifer Wagner, Tech Thoughts By Jen, September 15, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Picture-Perfect Generation: Visually Stimulated or Visually Literate?
I have mentioned Susan E. Metros and visual literacy in the past. Here is a presentation (audio and slides) in which she questions whether students are literate "in engaging in a vocabulary of design and the language of images." She argues that we need to consider what it means to be 'literate' in a media-rich society. Related: a report says, "U.S. schools must teach 21st-century skills for the nation to be globally competitive." Also related: another report says "students are anything but masters of technology." Susan E. Metros, EDUCAUSE Connect, September 15, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Electronic Portfolios: Engaged Students Create Multimedia-Rich Artifacts
Via Helen Barret comes this article describing "the implementation of a university-wide electronic portfolio requirement" at Clemson. The authors caution (correctly), "We remain committed to our original goal of ePortfolio as a learning tool. As Shulman (1998) reminds us: portfolio building is a theoretical act in which developers decide what is worth documenting and worth reflecting on. Unless we implement ePortfolios in this way there is great risk of the students viewing their ePortfolios as yet one more assignment that needs to be completed prior to graduation." Gail Ring, Barbara Weaver and James H. (Jim) Jones, Jr., Journal of the Research Center for Educational Technology, September 15, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Action Research: Collecting and Analyzing Data
I found this while working on something else. It offers a nice summary of what is meant by 'action research', and provides (at the end) a case study. "Our observations (direct/indirect), experiences and daily life provide a rich source of data. In my current role as an educator, I speak to many people and gather data on a daily basis. In my research efforts, I may choose to speak directly to participants via informal conversation or formal interviews that require me to ask questions that provide feedback and information (data). Each communication mode is a means and opportunity to gather useful data." Thomas G. Ryan, The Ontario Action Research Network, September 15, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Tim Berners-Lee Announces World Wide Web Foundation
The World Wide Web foundation has been announced - the official launch will be some time in the future - with a $5 million seed grant. You have to like this objective: "The World Wide Web Foundation seeks to advance One Web that is free and open, to expand the Web's capability and robustness, and to extend the Web's benefits to all people on the planet." More (in French) from Jacques Cool and (in English) from Jeff Young at the Chronicle. Tim Berners-Lee, World Wide Web Foundation, September 15, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Facebook: No Social Networking Here
A facebook staffer explains the intent of the site. "We expect accounts to reflect mainly 'real-world' contacts (i.e. your family, schoolmates, co-workers, etc.), rather than mainly 'internet-only' contacts." I would say, judging solely from my own account, that it is way way too late for that. And as Steve O'Hear says, "It's also a distinction that new (and long standing) Facebook users have trouble making." Steve O'Hear, ZDNet, September 15, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Warning Sounded On Web's Future
We need a way to distinguish real science from rumour on the web, sais Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the web. "On the web the thinking of cults can spread very rapidly and suddenly a cult which was 12 people who had some deep personal issues suddenly find a formula which is very believable." True. It is a problem. But it is not a problem limited to the web, as the spread of tabloid journalism and politicized news channels demonstrates. As Al Gore says, society is facing a problem of how to distinguish the real from the fake generally. Pallab Ghosh, BBC News, September 15, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Stack Overflow Launches
It will be interesting to see whether this site works. I can certainly relate to the problems finding answers to specific programming questions now. It's far too common to find unanswered questions, advertisements and come-ons to paid sites. Will Stack Overflow work? A lot depends on how it fares in the Google search results (which may, in turn, depend on whether they use Google advertising - oh, I am no cynic I). Joel Spolsky, Joel on Software, September 15, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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