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by Stephen Downes
February 11, 2009

Developing Critically Thoughtful, Media-Rich Lessons in Science: Process and Product
The author describes the application of critical thinking tools in a learning context. "The 'comet' approach involving inquiry, on-going support and collaboration between practicing teachers and media developers was successful despite several limiting factors such as available time, tension between use of individual learner's perspective and the teacher's, and visualizing technological
possibilities." Philip Balcaen , Electronic Journal of E-Learning, February 11, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Formality and Interpretation
Interesting and heady romp through the realm of reference and meaning, using Stanley Fish as a point of departure and rambling through Russell and Frege. What's at issue? The supposition, shared by many, that words and sentences have meaning, that meaning is not something that results from interpretation and point of view. "A formalist believes that words have clear meanings, and in order to believe that (or because he believes that) he must also believe (1) that minds see those clear meanings clearly... [etc.]" The typical defense of formalism takes a consequentialist turn: "Once you start down the anti-formalist road, there is no place to stop; remove the connection between observable features and the specification of meaning." You remove the direct, inferential connection, maybe - but there is still a great deal of room, in my view, for empiricism and non-formalism. Why does all this matter? If formalism is right, then learning can be a matter of just remembering the words (because that will also provide the meaning). But if formalism is wrong, then there's more to learning than merely remembering - this is the position I take. Mark Liberman, Language Log, February 11, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Laptops in Lectures
Relevant question from Tony Bates: "If most students have laptops, why are they still having physically to come to a lecture hall? Why can't they get a podcast of the lecture? Second, if they are coming, why are the lecturers not requiring them to use their laptops for study? Why not break them into small groups and get them to do some online research then come back with group answers to share with the rest of the class?" Tony Bates, Weblog, February 11, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Media Literacy Presentation
Tuesday was Safer Internet Day. Alec Couros presents on media literacy. "The presentation covered various topics such as: offensive content (bad taste, sexuality), viral videos & memes, misinformation (satire, hoaxes, scams, phishing), safety & cyberbullying, hate (racism & violence), social networks & privacy. It was very much a survey approach to the topic in hopes that my students will understand the broad scope of related issues." Related: the Media Awareness Network offers new resources on cyberbullying (thanks Clarence Fisher). Alec Couros, Couros Blog, February 11, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Deadline Nears to Speak Out On Net Neutrality
The deadline for public comment submissions on net neutrality hearings in Canada is February 15. Just so you know. Michael Geist, Weblog, February 11, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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