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by Stephen Downes
April 13, 2009

The Design with Intent Toolkit V.0.9
This is related to some of my thinking recently on the nature of what some people are calling '21st century literacy' (I don't really like the name and would like to come up with an alternative, if only to escape the endless political battles over education south of the border). Dan Lockton has put together an informative and revealing set of design patterns characterizing the relationship between information and architecture. These patterns show how physical design can be used to influence point of view, to change behaviour, to persuade. It is a tour-de-force. And it is exactly the sort of new literacy I have in mind when I talk about moving beyond text, beyond words and propositions, beyond 'facts' and 'principles'.

Lockton is not alone; in fact, I encountered a string of related items over the weekend. Henry Jenkins, who is normally way too self-promotional and fawning-pop-media for my tastes, hits the mark with a set of critical patterns in contemporary media. Then Beth Kanter weighed in with social strategies and tools for communities of practice, another critical piece of this new literacy. Tom Woodward, for his part, addresses presentation skills using new media. Presentation Zen on good visual experiences.

I supposed that if I had really looked I could have found a lot more. The point is, there is a discipline of 'new literacy' (or whatever we'll call it) forming, and it is composed of elements such as the examples that are being shown here. Education in this new literacy can - and must - replace the naive memory-based retention-based fact-based text-and-test model of education that has dominated for the last century or so. As I stated at my talk in Melbourne, one of the problems we had over the last century was that it was too easy to get students to learn things, to remember things - too easy to persuade them, too easy to convince them, too easy to march them into prejudice and war.

With the numerous and complex problems facing society today, we no longer have that luxury. We have to start doing better.
Dan Lockton, Design With Intent, April 13, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Setting Up Apache, Secure SSL Drupal Logins, and Drupal Multi-Site Support On Ubuntu
For those of you who like to play with this stuff, here's a nice set of instructions on how to set up a Drupal web site. Though the steps are clearly explained, you'll still find this a challenge. But you'll learn a lot, as I did when undertaking a similar exercise (and that's how you learn, not by having somebody simply tell you how to do it). Doug Holton, EdTechDev, April 13, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Who Will Save Journalism? We Will!
Just for the record: I have long thought that what I am doing here is a type of journalism, and that what I'm doing here is at least one type of journalism that will replace the stuf being served to us by traditional media today. 'For the next few decades, journalism will be made up of overlapping special cases. Many of these models will rely on amateurs as researchers and writers. Many of these models will rely on sponsorship or grants or endowments instead of revenues." Wesley Fryer, Moving at the Speed of Creativity, April 13, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Edupunk Won't Go Away, Edupunk Is Here to Stay
In the 1980s, punk was replaced with what became known as New Wave. New Wave was a lot like punk, except that the artists were so dirty, untrustworthy, and disreputable. It represented, to many, the co-opetion of this movement. So when I read "Martin is seeking to open up the VLE and apply the ideas of edupunk in an institutional context [and not as] as subversive or a challenge to the establishment but rather as a way of enhancing the teaching and learning environment," I want to call it N-Ed Wave or some such thing. Talking Heads. Human League. Soft Cell. Oh gawd. Say it ain't so. Graham Attwell, Pontydysgu, April 13, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

The Reciprocity Economy
One thing people tend to get wrong about networks is to interpret them as some sort of economy or value proposition. For example, Martin Weller writes, "It seems to me that what we're discovering is that like any economy (and economy doesn't have to mean money, natural selection arises because of nature's economy) establishing any 'wealth' requires effort, time or innovation." But I think this metaphor is really misleading. As I write in the comments, "It's not about reciprocity. It's about sharing. Completely different concept." Martin Weller, The Ed Techie, April 13, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

My Place or Yours? Hosting Web 2.0 Education
Good post from Terry Anderson looking at the hosting choices facing any institution that is looking at installing (free and open source) LMS software such as Moodle:
1. Hosting Behind the Garden Wall - hosting behind the password protection of the institution -
2. Hosting in the Front Yard - hosting by the institution, but allowing access, visibility and comments from outside the institutional community.
3. Hosting on the Commons, or in Someone Else's Yard - hosting by external commercial or non profit hosts.
The discussion comes from the recent Canada Moodle Moot, slide shows for which are available on SlideShare. And related: Alec Couros's keynote at the Moodle Moot. Terry Anderson, Virtual Canuck, April 13, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Lessons From Slidesharegate
Brian Kelly wrote, in a post he later deleted, "You know what it's like. You've been together for some time. And you get on well together. And then something goes wrong. So you start looking for something new." The 'something new' he referred to is SlideBoom which he uses here. So it appears that Slideshare has avoided its Ratner Moment. But it's not all gravy - I have complained to Slideshare numerous times about the pulsating arrow over my slide shows, and received no joy whatsoever. I didn't care at all about the misfiring April Fools joke - which I quickly deleted. I do care about the placement of animation on my web site - animation I very much do not want. Oh, and I am wondering why Kelly deleted his Slideboom post. Brian Kelly, UK Web Focus, April 13, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Cute Kitten Syndrome: Open Educational Resources
I agree with this assessment from George Siemens. I support open educational resources (OERs) - I mean, who doesn't (except evil money-grubbing publishers)? But that does not mean that the way they are being advocated by large foundations and universities should be without criticism. In particular, as Siemens says:
- Why OERs? What are we trying to achieve? Marketing our institution?
- OERs are window dressing if systems and structures of education do not change.
- OERs exhibit (are embedded with) certain ideologies/views/pedagogies, etc.
I have long favoured a community-based rather than institution-based model for OER development. But this is a model resisted by those institutions, predominately from wealthier nations, that have received the lions share of funding for OER development. George Siemens, Connectivism Blog, April 13, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Blackboard V. Desire2Learn Round Up
To nobody's benefit, the lawsuits filed by Blackboard have started up again. In this item, Seb Schmoller summarizes some of the recent developments in the new Blackboard patent case, including Blackboard's apparent rejection of D2L's million$mission proposal. Meanwhile, we have a Sakai statement on 2nd Bb-D2L patent suit. In yet another case, Blackboard spent $17 million on a patent to defend itself in another case, a patent that appears to be useless in that action. As Michael feldstein says, 'Blackboard must have spent something in the neighborhood of $25 million purchasing and litigating patents over the past few years. You have to wonder how they imagine this is going to pay for itself." Seb Schmoller, Fortnightly Mailing, April 13, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

Why Isn't Dean Kamen On a Wheaties Box?
One of the unfortunate results of the electronic age is that the traditional heroes and role models for youth - who would have been the authors of works of literature and philosophy - have been replaced with icons of music, cinema and sports. Not to disparage these, but isn't it time we redressed this? Steve Borsch, Connecting the Dots, April 13, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Wi-Fi 802.11b Standard Expires
Glenn Fleishmann says, "if you read the fine print of the license agreement on the box, you'll see that you agreed to this policy when you purchased the equipment," but I will bet not one person who purchased expected - or wanted - their wireless internet hardware to suddenly stop working. 802.11g wireless hardware will expire in 2011. The apologist Fleishmann can't justify this built in obsolescence, though he does try. Glenn Fleishmann, TiDBITS, April 13, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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