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by Stephen Downes
October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day
Today, October 15, is 'Blog Action Day', and as a result, numerous blogs (including dozens of edublogs) are running articles and resources on poverty. I am very sympathetic with the objective and have a long history of advocacy of measures and programs that would relieve the suffering of those who, for whatever reason, want for the material well-being necessary for a meaningful life. What I don't think is that this is something that can be left to the fickle and ever-more selfish efforts of charities or the free market. If you genuinely want to alleviate poverty, both locally and around the world, vote for, and support, governmental efforts to alleviate poverty. Tossing $10 in a bin hardly makes up for a cast ballot that enshrines greed and inequity into law. Various Authors, Website, October 15, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Reflecting On Reflection
There's something wrong with this picture, in my view, but it's a bit hard to put my finger on it. It's worth a look:

The observation sort of sits there by itself. I'm not sure you should 'contextualize' observations, or whether observations simply occur in a context. I'm pretty inferences from effects to causes are problematic. I think it is questionable to pick a theory that follows from one's own 'position' (whatever that is). And I think justifications for changes should lead to improvements, not the other way around. Are ll the arrows in this digram simply backwards? Well - no, I think that this is how a lot of research out there is actually performed. And, expecially in the last few months, I have begun to see a deep gulf between houw research in our field ought to be conducted, and how it is conducted. These are discussion questions for now - but in the months to come, they will be the topics of more pointed criticisms. Niall Sclater, Virtual Learning, October 15, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Exploring New Ways of Being Open
The crux of the post is found in the comment. Citing the post - "When a learner creates a goal, similar goals, relevant resources, and potential third party offerings (eg mentorship, tuition, formal courses) can all be assembled." - the commenter asks, "A crucial question is who controls the system doing the assembling. If a university is at the center of the system, that looks like business as usual." Fair enough. The commenter continues, "rom 2009, expect to read a lot, across the world, about Responsive Open Learning Environments. By using a ROLE, people can learn about whatever is of interest to them. And source each element of their learning, to hit their personal criteria..." Their personal criteria. So, then, they'd be... personal learning environments? Martin Weller, Terra Incognita, October 15, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

In a Sim, Do You Let Players Limp Along?
Clark Aldrich writes, "You don't want a situation where people who are having trouble with the sim have an increasingly miserable experience as they progress. You don't want to let people dig too deep of a hole." I wonder, why not? Civilization is prepared to let me limp through hundreds of turns with a pathetic two-city no-hope empire. Next time I hit the same initial conditions, I say, "I won't make that mistake again." Clark Aldrich, Weblog, October 15, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

What the Web Is For

If only more teachers did this: (1) an exercise to ensure kids comprehend what they're reading; (2) an exercise that encourages free writing; and (3) an exercise where kids are in some way creative. If they have these skills, they are ready for the web. Especially the first. P.S. I've been using more pictures recently. Is this (a) good? (b) bad? Clarence Fisher, Remote Access, October 15, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Predicting the Future Starts Now!
OK, well the concept is interesting: "By playing the game, you'll help us chronicle the world of 2019--and imagine how we might solve the problems we'll face. Because this is about more than just envisioning the future. It's about making the future, inventing new ways to organize the human race and augment our collective human potential." OK, so the first thing I want the future to be like is one where people say (correctly) "human species" instead of (incorrectly) "human race." Wayne Hodgins, Off Course-On Target, October 15, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Identity Verification for Distance-Ed Students: FUD Lingers
Writers at EDUCAUSE are still working to dispell the FUD from a classic Chronicle scare-mongering article from last July. In it, the author suggested that new regulations would require distance students to have spy cameras in their homes, to verify identity. In actuality, 'for now, ID's and passwords are all that's needed, with the requirement that they be used each time a student does online work. This isn't rocket science; it's barely computer science." The Chronicle, meanwhile, moves on, offering today a scare story about out-of-date 'smart classrooms'. Steven L. Worona, EDUCAUSE Connect, October 15, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Web 3.0, Web 4.0 and Personal Agents: Will They Open or Restrict Choice?
"We're at Web 2.0, he (Spivak) argues, with the 'semantic web' just around the corner as Web 3.0... Web 4.0 will, in theory, include an array of sensors that will gather information from one's environment and use them to create a deep profile of your behaviors and activities." But, as Susan Smith Nash says, "since this will not be too appealing to many people (thought-leaders, programmers, innovators), Web 4.0 will probably be deconstructed, undermined, and subverted even as it evolves." Quite so. The web 3.0 and 4.0 as described here don't offer anything people actually want. Our actual technology development will probably veer from such a gloomy path. Susan Smith Nash, E-Learning Queen, October 15, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Live Coverage of SCORM 2.O Workshop
So SCORM is still with us and Marc Oehlert is live-blogging the SCORM 2.0 workshop. "SCORM 2004 will be with use for probably 5 getting some background on why LETSI came about...small group in US DOD which started ADL just not equipped to handle a global consortium....enter LETSI. White papers here." As I type they're in a break, so there may be more going on as you read this. Mark Oehlert, e-Clippings, October 15, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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