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by Stephen Downes
February 24, 2009

Technology Update
Overview of current technology trends in learning, for the LERN online symposium. I'm sorry about the quality of the audio. Presentation by Stephen Downes, LERN Seminar, Online - teleconference, [Link]

Serious Syndication
I remember some time in 2002 or 2003 sitting in a Director-general's office at Industry Canada - wincing in pain from a badly sprained ankle, the victim of uneven Ottawa sidewalks - and outlining how the Government of Canada should employ RSS to leverage reporting and statistical operations. Somewhere some RSS advoctae made the case to someone because now we have this, from Tim Bray: "the key reporting data be available in a syndication feed, and I quote: 'preferred: Atom 1.0, acceptable: RSS'. I can't think of anything to add." Aaron Swartz details the feed contents. Now - why can't Industry Canada do this: have every company in Canada have an XML (RSS or Atom) document available for public harvesting, so we can have instant statistics, staffing, contact information, and the rest in a format that at all levels can use?
Tim Bray, Ongoing, February 24, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Schmedley Gamma
Not exactly how I would do it, but you have to love the smoothness of the interface. Various Authors, Website, February 24, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

The EDUPUNK Battle Royale, Part 1
I'm going to appear on a panel about edupunk at the SXSW conference in Austin in mid-March. So will the coiner of the term, Jim Groom, and so I guess we're going to be subjected to a revival of the term, the concept, the idea, and some in-your-face agitation for the next couple weeks (not from me, though - my simple message to the SXSW people will be this: "It's not about you." - that ought to be enough to send them into a tizzy). On the side of informed reflection is Norm Friesen, who offers The heritage of Edupiunk: Precursors to Open Education on WizIQ. Jim Groom, bavatuesdays, February 24, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

George Lakoff On The Obama Code
Although not directly about online learning, I think this article is well worth reading because it addresses underlying principles that, while articulated by Barack Obama, express what many people working toward what might be called a 'progressive' agenda (including myself) believe:
- the idea that we are working toward a set of values, and not specific programs
- these values are based on empathy, which is why we assign such importance to freedom, fairness, and equality
- these values transcend party; many who would self-identify as conservatives also identify with these values
- the value of government is based not on its size but on whether it supports the protection and empowerment of the people
- the bottom line is not the bottom line; values and economics must work together
- causes are complex, not simple, and so solutions must be systemic, not individual (individual short-term self-interest is NOT natural, moral, or the best for everybody)
- these values are what we really mean when we talk about freedom and democracy
- these values are not just Barack Obama's - it's us, and not just him (which is why I have taken pains also to depersonalize and internationalize this statement of them) George Lakoff , FiveThirtyEight, February 24, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Fee-Based Web Sites, Not Free Ones, Produce More Citations for Scientists' Papers
I'm sure there will be a response to this paper, because its conclusion - that fee-based papers receive more citations - seems unbelievable in the face of other data we've seen. But we'll have to wait for it, because the paper is behind a subscription wall, which means that I can't just link to it and rebut it here. As always, the primary use of a subscription wall is to hide questionable use from public view. That's why people pay so much for it. Paul Basken, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 24, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Another fun toy. It calculates the 'value' of your website (values vary according to the "fluctuation of the market") based on its rankings and traffic. Beth Kanter's site is worth $69K. Mine is worth (according to Stimator) $73K. Hmph. So much for selling off my life's work and easing into retirement. Various Authors, Website, February 24, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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