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by Stephen Downes
December 3, 2008


We in Canada have been going through an interesting political situation recently, and so it's an exciting time to be visiting Ottawa amid all the chaos. I've been glued to the news ever since last week - I've always been a bit of a political junkie and the current situation just has me enraptured. If you're outside Canada you may not find it so interesting, but I must say, right now you cannot call Canadian politics boring. Stephen Downes, Flickr, December 3, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

How PLEs Make Sense to Me - Intro to Emerging Tech Week 3
Dave Cormier responds to clarify some of the reportage on this - and others' - views on virtual and personal learning environments. "This idea of life long learning being connected to the platform is one that I continue to feel stronger about the more that I work on these topics. If people are continuously working in a walled garden like moodle, they are going to have to make separate copies of the work if they consider it worth keeping." Dave Cormier, Dave's Educational Blog, December 3, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Three Things I Believe About All Students
Vicki A. Davis identified three things she believes about all students: first, that every student has a purpose, second, that everybody benefits from a plan, and third, that schools make a promise to children to do right by their future selves. My take is a bit different. First, students don't have a purpose, they have to find it in themselves to make one. Second, that's it's better to have a strategy than a plan, because we all know the saying about the best laid plans. And finally, students would be wise not to count on the promises of schools, because they have over the years made too many promises to too many people and won't be able to keep them all. A lot like governments and our banking system. Vicki A. Davis, Cool Cat Teacher Blog, December 3, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Edublog Awards Nominations
OK, so the edublog awards nominations are out. I honestly don't know what they were thinking this time around - there's something like twenty or so nominees in some categories (and I'm not sure what to make of the result that this website is not among the twenty or so considered for best individual weblog - it's not sour grapes, I'm just bemused). Also, there has been confusion about the rules; people have been posting their nominations on their weblogs, as requested, but apparently you must also fill out a form - this was new to me today and new to a number of people out there (I've been sending them URLs they've missed). And I can't find the weblogs posting the sites that actually appear on the nomination rolls. I do have some nominations, so if you can find them (or anything) in the list of nominees, be sure to vote. Meanwhile, Doug Johnson has written a post on ranking, awards and other nonsense and then a follow-up today on poking the wasps' nest. Meanwhile, and finally, the best place to find new edublogs is not the Edublog Awards, espite the population increase - it's right here, as it has always been. various Authors, Edublogs, December 3, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

It Seems I'm Always Too Slow When It Comes to Grading
Brian Lamb relays responses he received from a request for feedback on an alternative grading structure for essays. He proposed a system of incentives to encourage students to hand in work early. An inventive response: "We're changing our point of view: we're telling them that we grade not only the final product (the video) but the amount of social conversation it triggers." And we're waiting with bated breath to find out where he will be next week. Brian Lamb, abject learning, December 3, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

My Experience with OLPC in Tuvalu
Leigh Blackall ventures into the south Pacific to conduct a workshop using the OLPC XO laptop computers and encounters difficulties. As one commentator summarizes, "The author points out serious flaws with the Sugar interface and the OLPC software that have not been fixed, even in the latest builds, though they have been known for years: The interface is too slow; The Journal metaphor is confusing and only partially implemented; Networking and collaboration are flaky; The touchpad is flaky; Standard Linux applications (like Firefox) do not run, despite the Linux core of the operating system." Leigh Blackall, Learn Online, December 3, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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