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by Stephen Downes
July 17, 2009

IMS Curriculum Standards Workshop
More coverage from the IMS Quarterly Meetings in Montreal, this a summary of the discussion around embedding curriculum metadata in Common Cartrsige. People interested in this will also be interested in yesterday's summary of Developer workshop - CCv1.1 and basic LTI v1.0 in Common Cartridge. Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, July 17, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Scientific Models and Representation
I am more-or-less inclined to agree with this perspective of scientific models. "There seems to be nothing more (or less, for that matter) to a scientific model representing a real-world system than its being used by someone as an epistemic representation of that system." By that, what we mean is that the representation is used to make inferences about whatever it represents. Of course, what constitutes a (legitimate) inference varies from context to context. Where we, in ordinary discourse, might quite appropriately infer, a scientist may impose more rigorous constraints. Additionally, we want to construe 'inference' quite broadly. My own epistemology includes a range of inference based on similarity - that is, pattern-matching - that are non-propositional and non-truth-preserving. These, nonetheless, can constitute scientific models. All of that said, Contessa's paper is quite good and well worth a read. Via It's Only a Theory. Gabriele Contessa, PhilPapers, July 17, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

The disruptive effects of free education
Terry Anderson looks at "Chris Anderson's (2009). Free: The Future of a Radical Price (available but ironically only for free to residents from the world's richest country, the US, from SCRIBD)" and ponders the impact of free (the real kind, not the fake SCRIBD kind) on education. He considers Shai Reshef's University of the People, and cites Anderson: "The most destructive way to enter a market is to vaporize the economics of an existing business models. ... The world will beat a path to your door and you can sell them something else." This, of course, is based on the presumption that you have to sell them something. Chris Anderson's revolution, it appears, does not overturn the economy of merchants.
Terry Anderson, Virtual Canuck, July 17, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Demo: A Noisy DOM
Should web forms have sound effects? It's an interesting notion. "This example uses YUI to handle common DOM events such as clicks, scrolling and key presses on form elements and makes calls to SoundManager 2 (JS + Flash Sound API) which handles the sound effects. YUI's drag/drop library and slider widget are also shown. Interacting with the widgets on the page will trigger different sounds." Via Tony Hirst. Scott Schiller, Yahoo! User Interface Blog, July 17, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

10 Rules That Govern Groups
This list feels a little odd but that's probably the result of my own perspective on groups versus networks. I would say these rules describe groups, rather than govern them. They are a reflection of human behaviour in groups. And from that perspective, the list seems fairly accurate. For example, "Group norms are extremely pervasive: this becomes all the more obvious when we start breaking them." The author might have mentioned that members who do not break the norms are almost blind to the fact that there are norms. Via Rob Wall. Jeremy Dean, PsyBlog, July 17, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

You Are Replaceable
David Wiley observes that the point of a what works data base is that they believe "'well-designed and well-implemented randomized controlled trials discover methods that "work." For everyone. Period. That's the entire point of having a 'trusted source of scientific evidence for what works in education'." The problem with this view - and I certainly agree with Wiley here - is that is assumes "All "individual differences" are meaningless. There is nothing special or unique about you. You are a clone." Which is exactly the wrong way to think about humans. David Wiley, iterating toward openness, July 17, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

10 Ways Universities Share Information Using Social Media
No surprises here, and this list (which would probably have been more comfortable at about eight items) is a pretty incisive list of universities' use of social media. Vadim Lavrusik, Mashable, July 17, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

ePortfolios and new Accountability Systems
"Mandating portfolios on a system wide or statewide basis may destroy one of their greatest assets: allowing students to reflect on their learning and feel a sense of hope and control. Once standards are defined by an outside authority, teacher-student collaboration is minimized and the importance of students' own goals and learning assessment diminishes." This quote, from 1994, now reflects the history of portfolios. And personal web spaces in gneral. Helen Barrett, E-Portfolios for Learning , July 17, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Toward a New Future of Whatever
Media is the environment in which we have our conversations; media shapes our conversations, what is allowed, what can be said. Our conversations shape our culture. But media is creating a crisis of culture; we don;'t see engagement, we don't see participate in the conversations. This is a video of Michael Wesch speaking to the Personal Democracy Forum. It's basically the same talk (and the same slides) as the one he gave at D2L Fusion. Michael Wesch, Digital Ethnography, July 17, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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