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by Stephen Downes
January 13, 2009

Last Year's Predictions For 2008, Reviewed
As people rush to predict what will happen in 2009, I evaluate the predictions made last year about what will happen in 2008. Ignore the date on the post - I started writing it December 25 but didn't finish it (or publish it) until today, but for some reason the Blogger date shows the date I started it, not the date I finished it. Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, January 13, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Brainbox: Neuroscience and Learning
This article overviews the effect of current brain research on learning, but focuses for most of the latter half on the (potential) use of brainwave or brain sensor interfaces in learning. "Wearing a headset with 14 electrodes attached to it, players can control and manipulate objects and change environments according to their emotional state. Furthermore, the creatures in the game react to players' facial expressions in real time." Via Helge Sherlund. Unattributed, Vision, January 13, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

The DRM Ponzi Event Horizon
This is a very interesting thought. DRM systems involving registrars create an expense each time a resource is accessed, as the registration server must be consulted. Sustaining the cost of the registration server is possible so long as new sales are made. But if the catalogue of resources, and potential purchasers, is finite, then at a certain point, the new sales don't cover the old registry expenses, and the system collapses. This is a classic Ponzi scheme - the same sort of thing that caused the big wide global recession - and explains why a number of DRM registries have been collapsing recently. What's more important, it explains why, in most domains, all DRM registry systems will eventually collapse. At a certain point, no matter how much new content is being created, sales will be insufficient to cover expenses. Dorothea Salo, Caveat Lector, January 13, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Open University Relaunch
Tony Hirst has a fun post on how not to launch a website, including such pointers as 'put a link to the website in the press release' and 'give the website the same name as the one used in the press release'. OK, let's see how we do in the rankings for open university relaunch. Tony Hirst, OUseful Info, January 13, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

The Internet Is Bad For You
Andrew Keen goes for the crazy: "I fear that one element in Obama's well-intentioned infrastructure plan-his goal of providing all Americans with broadband Internet access-might one day be seen as inadvertently laying the foundations for a return to fascism, the political catastrophe of the 1930's." I think Mike Caulfield pretty much nails Andrew Keen's latest missive: "He's drifting from pompous kook into Ann Coulter territory here, and those that have tied themselves to his line of reasoning best take heed now and cut the ropes." Keen's article is a blatant bit of fear-mongering, and it's not even masterful. Andrew Keen, The Beast, January 13, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

21st Century Skills = Fluff?
Summary of discussions that have taken place recently on the topic of "21st century skills." Evan Abbey writes, "Our problem is not that we can't teach 21st century skills unless it is content specific, it is rather that we are content specific to begin with. When we compartmentalize our content in an effort to put it on a pedestal, we compartmentalize our learning of it, so that it has no relevance to the larger picture." Evan Abbey, The Changing Face of Education in Iowa, January 13, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Bret Harte High School Students Learn Realities of Firefighting
This is the sort of thing I mean when I talk about online learning, applied learning, and getting the students out of the classroom. True, 'firefighting' is not a core subject like reading or math. But the learning is nonetheless theoretical for being practical, and can employ a range of technologies (up to, and including, tinfoil). Related: Hands-On learning, by Tim Stahmer, desribing the MIT approach to physics. "The physics department has replaced the traditional large introductory lecture with smaller classes that emphasize hands-on, interactive, collaborative learning." Sean Janssen, Sonora Union Democrat, January 13, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Dismissing Critical Pedagogy: Denis Rancourt Vs. University of Ottawa
"Critical pedagogy, for Rancourt, is all about democratizing the classroom. Students are given input over the curriculum, they are encouraged to take classroom discussion wherever it may lead, and there are no grades." At the University of Ottawa, it has become criminal pedagogy, with Rancourt, a professor, locked out of his offices and marched off campus by security. Yet his method, based on Friere's Pedagogy of the Oppressed, is exactly the sort of learning appropriate for an interconnected and personally empowered society. Like, say, now. Via Ron Lubensky. Here is Rancourt's home page and (infrequently updated) blog. Also, see U of O Watch blog. Jesse Freeston, Rabble, January 13, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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