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by Stephen Downes
October 2, 2008

Taking the New Out of Neurons
Fascinating. We a born, grow up, live and die with basically the same set of neurons in our neocortex. How, then, does learning occur? As we've been saying, "Without new neurons, the neocortex's vaunted flexibility must come from changing connections between existing neurons, constantly rewiring our mental circuits in the face of new experiences and sensations." Ed Yong, Not Exactly Rocket Science, October 2, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

OpenShare (V0.5) for Moodle Released
OpenShare basically turns Moodle into an Open Educational Resources platform "by allowing instructors or designers to mark all or part of their Moodle courses as open (public) or closed (enrolled students and teachers only)." More from Mike Caulfield. Related: International OER Update. Jared Stein, Flexknowlogy, October 2, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Higher Ed Hacks #1-Open Models
The discussion on open accreditation continues, with the two major models clearly articulated and defined. And be sure also to look at Antonio Fini, the 'poster recipient' of one of David Wiley's 'home made diplomas', who writes, "It seems the problem is in that somehow 'unauthorized certificate. They say 'how orrible! People are using informal learning for credit in formal learning paths!!... if the problem is the certificate, I can well give up to it! Because, and this is the point, the real value of that open courses (and other ones, such as the current CCK08, to which I'm participating without any form of accreditation) is NOT the certificate!" These two via David Wiley.

See also Stephen Carson, who has "been thinking of these negotiations or interfaces as EPI's - Educational Program Interfaces - the APIs of open education." Interesting concept. Again - since he begins with a credit roll (D'Arcy Norman and David Wiley) - let's try not to ascribe individual 'invention' of this concept to anyone. We've all been working on it. It's a community thing, not a pioneering initiative spearheaded by one person or agency. OK? Graham Attwell, meanwhile, points to a Times article on innovative assessment. Tannis Morgan, explorations in the ed tech world, October 2, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

E-Learning 2.0 Research
Christy Tucker offers her "liveblogged notes from the eLearning Guild's webinar on their e-Learning 2.0 research report." Some good conversation, and interesting survey results.

  • Podcasts increased 22.5% (not necessarily a 2.0 approach)
  • Blogs increased 20.7%
  • Communities of Practice increased 12.3%
  • Wikis up 7.7%
  • Mobile down 10.6%
  • A number of rapid tools are up, but tools that take longer to create (simulations and games) are down
Christy Tucker, Experiencing E-Learning, October 2, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

History of Educational Technology
I'm working with all these people but I'm not a part of this initiative. george Siemens writes, "Given the tremendously rapid pace of technology development today, I'm concerned that even the little history we have will vaporize. Which is why I'm quite excited about a new initiative with SCoPE, Richard Schwier, and the Learning Technologies Centre at the University of Manitoba: Building a Virtual Museum of Educational Technology. We all agree that museum is not the best word, but it will do for now." I'm picturing myself virtually stuffed and mounted at the front door - but, of course, that is rather immodest. Here's their discussion. George Siemens, elearnspace, October 2, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

The CCK08 MOOC - Connectivism Course, 1/4 Way
Dave Cormier describes the set-up of our CCK08 course and how he has seen its deployment one fourth of the way through (three weeks out of twelve). He's in a very good place to judge: he's not offering the course himself, but he has an insider's view as a key provider of our Friday conversations. I appreciate his criticisms, but I'm beginning to feel that the criticisms - all of them, not just from Dave - are taking the same form: that there is some way P in which traditional courses are prescriptive, people miss that P in the Connectivism course, therefore, the connectivist course should have P. I don't know - it just seems to me that experienced educators (who form the bulk of our enrollment) should be able to organize their own learning. There's a learned dependency here that people will need to overcome in order to learn for themselves in an increasingly information-rich environment. Dave Cormier, Weblog, October 2, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

A. W. Price, Contextuality in Practical Reason
I'm not sure I would couch it in the language of 'practicality', but I am of the same mind of Price when he says "practical rationality depends on contingent features of an agent's context in ways that are more fundamental than is usually assumed. agents, we face complex teleological structures of ends to be achieved, means to avail ourselves of, and side constraints to be respected. These structures vary between contexts and agents, a variation that has truly deep effects on our practical thinking." Reviewed by Tim Henning, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, October 2, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Google BlogSearch
Here's a site that's ripe for social network analysis. Google's new blog search debuts today. Search results are, um, interesting (My own May 29 post, Introducing Edupunk, is the highest ranked for some reason). But more interesting is the selection of top stories. U.S. politics dominates, of course. But here's where the network analysis comes in - if the WSJ releases an opinion piece, and it is dutifully cited by the same 79 blogs that cite all such pieces of that political bent, should that really count as '79 results'? Or is it just one opinion - the WSJ's - repeated by echo-bloggers 79 times? See also: Google Blog. Various Bloggers, Google, October 2, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Learning Science Meets Game Design
Another new blog. Posts are short, topics are interesting, and I imagine that it will settle in and become more substantial over time. Also in the realm of new blogs, the elearn Blog has set up shop as an adjunct to eLearn Magazine. Steven Egan, Learning Science Meets Game Design, October 2, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Online Literacy Is a Lesser Kind
I talked to a writer from the Chronicle recently and he grumbled at the way its anti-tech bias is portrayed in these pages. My response was, essentially, it wouldn't be portrayed the way it is if it didn't run articles like this. As Miles Fidelman writes in wwwedu, "The article itself is somewhat suspect in its analysis. In essence, it goes from a study of how users skim web pages, to a general screed about how that indicates a decline in literacy." That's characteristic of these anti-tech articles: a leap from "this isn't quite right" to "oh my God! oh my GOD!" Mark Bauerlein, Chronicle of Higher Education, October 2, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

NY Times Meets the Edublog
Doug Noon writes three articles for the New York Times with an emphasis on authentic learning connected to culture and to nature. But he saves his best line for the blog post: "If I had to plan on having a moose heart handy, I'd never teach that lesson." Doug Noon, Borderland, October 2, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Fool Blog: Is Tuition the Next Bubble to Pop?
The economics of higher education will be changing in the near future. Why? Because the sector, which has typically responded to change by raising prices, is in a bubble of its own, a bubble that can't last. "Even if the credit markets are fully restored by 2028, there are still very few people who have the means -- or desire -- to fork over a half-million dollars for their child's education." Todd Wenning, Motley Fool, October 2, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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