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by Stephen Downes
July 21, 2009

Trojan Horse Yourself: XO not Kindle
Glad I'm not the only person in the room wondering why the NY Times called the DNC "left wing". Anyhow, Tom Hoffman makes two predictions:
" * Before Obama leaves office, he'll launch a major proposal to put a digital device in every student's hands in the US.
* This will be the only (type of) device distributed to all students in the US for the next 15 years."
He adds, "I remain a proponent of what OLPC used to call the Trojan Horse Strategy -- sell the government on ebooks, with everything else computing can do as an optional bonus. This is important to limit the cost, scope and expectations of the projects. To make this happen, the long-term cost to local districts must be $0 per student." To which I'll add is, if they distributed Kindles, then the net result will be: hacked Kindles. En masse. Tom Hoffman, Tuttle SVC, July 21, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Interrogating media
Reprise of the Postman and McLuhan questions we should ask of media. Things like "What is the problem to which this technology is a solution?" and "What does it extend, enhance, accelerate, intensify or enable?" These days, we need to ask different, less naive, questions. Like: "who owns it?" And "how is it that they came to own something you used to own before?" And "what does it use as a source for 'truth'?" And "who can abuse it to extend their own power?" And "how much will it cost me if it becomes essential? And "Can I trust it? Or anyone over it?" And "Can I do things (say things, reach people) I couldn't before?" And finally, "will people be able to use it to spam me?" George Siemens, elearnspace, July 21, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Linked data vs. Web of data vs. ...
Does 'linked data' have to be RDF/SPARQL? As in:
The URIs identify any kind of object or concept. But for HTML or RDF, the same expectations apply to make the web grow:
1. Use URIs as names for things
2. Use HTTP URIs so that people can look up those names.
3. When someone looks up a URI, provide useful information, using the standards (RDF, SPARQL)
4. Include links to other URIs. so that they can discover more things.
In my view, the problem isn't so much the fact that people are not using RDF. We can actually get by without that. It's a failure to use URIs widely or well. Related: Paul Walk. Andy Powell, eFoundations, July 21, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Right Wing Sludge Tanks Gush Over Obama's No Excuses Philosophy
"Petrilli: Of course, not everyone is happy with this line of argument. The socialists, for example, detest it." And Jim Horn: "it is clear that he has joined those who have chosen to use their 'no excuses' tough talk as the ultimate excuse to ignore poverty." No, to both of them. As a socialist, let me explain. Socialism, as I see it, is a philosophy of personal empowerment. Of ensuring each person has the means to chart his or her own course in life. That's why we oppose oppression and inequality. But it's not paternalistic. It's not a philosophy that says, "we will lift you out of poverty" (no more than it is a philosophy that says "we will educate you for your own good"). I spend as much time in my own talks and writings telling people not to act so helpless, not to meekly submit to authority and intimidation, to grasp their own future in their own hands and make something of themselves. You can't be passive. Freedom belongs only to those who act free; empowerment belongs only to those who take power. Jim Horn, Schools Matter, July 21, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Introducing The Campus and Other Important News!
Edublogs has launched a new blog, the Campus. "The purpose of The Campus is to: 1. Focus on blogging in an educational organizational context; 2. Help schools, colleges, districts and universities take an organizational approach to blogging." Sue Waters, The Edublogger, July 21, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Other PKM processes
Harold Jarche clarifies, "All of my articles on PKM are descriptive, not prescriptive. Take what you need, as there are no 'best practices' for complex and personal learning processes." Fair enough. He then describes some personal knowledge management (PKM) practices undertaken by others. Also fair enough. For me, honestly, I probably couldn't draw a picture. It's different every day, it's random and chaotic, I follow where my inclinations lead me, write when the mood strikes me, don't do what I'm told, trust my experiences and distrust theory (even my own). Harold Jarche, Weblog, July 21, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

The Keynote Equivalent?
Martin Weller looks at measures of scientific impact in an online world, and after noting "The commonly used citation Impact Factor is not positioned at the core of this construct, but at its periphery" he wonders whether "we could follow Eric Schnell's line of creating equivalents for existing, and well understood, criteria," for example, keynotes. When someone talks of online equivalents of anything I exercise caution, because the worlds are not equivalent, and striving for sameness will mean uniquely online affordances are lost.

Tony Hirst follows up and, looking at connector metrics, wonders about the mantra of "the more followers the better" (I'm reminded of the way Beth Kanter looks at network influence) and finds it's not so simple. No indeed. Because influence isn't a unary phenomenon, with one variable (the person). Time and place (and placement) matter, as well as the content and the quality of the idea, the voice and manner in which it is expressed, and the attention span and distractedness of the audience. In the right environment, you can be a sheep and be famous (right Dolly?) while in the wrong environment you can die an obscure genius. Martin Weller, The Ed Techie, July 21, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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