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by Stephen Downes
August 30, 2009


Home from camping, getting ready for Ars Electronica, and after that, a very busy fall spent mostly at home in Moncton, I'm thinking about projects and directions and my place in the world. It's all OK, but I do want to begin producing some work of significance and relevance - things I feel have escaped me thus far. I have a sense of what needs doing, but am daunted by the scale of it. Stephen Downes, Flickr, August 30, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Clive Thompson on the New Literacy
I think this is incredibly important and wish Wired hadn't disponsed of it so briefly. "Young people today write far more than any generation before them. That's because so much socializing takes place online, and it almost always involves text... It's almost hard to remember how big a paradigm shift this is. Before the Internet came along, most Americans never wrote anything, ever, that wasn't a school assignment." Not just that, though. The New Literacy that I describe is multi-modal, involving much more than just text. And our range of critical thinking and reflection is expanding as well (as the need for that increases). Via elearningpost. Clive Thompson, Wired, August 30, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Top 99 Workplace eLearning Blogs
Tony Karrer lists the 'top 99' workplace learning blogs. Interestingly, OLDaily is not among them (though it is in the shorter list that inspired Karrer's 99). Of course, here we focus on learning technology and new media, not workplace learning. So the omission makes sense. I do subscribe to most of the names on the list, though, and people interested in workplace learning - or, at least, the technological side of it - will still find what they need here. Tony Karrer, eLearning Technology, August 30, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

The State of the LMS: An Institutional Perspective
As summarized by Michael Feldstein: "Virtually all of these LMSs were started at universities. Innovation has all but flatlined (my word, not his) since 2004. At the same time, prices have gone up anywhere from 250% to 1,000% in the last decade." Links to slides and a WebX archive. Related: more updates on Blackboard v. Desire2Learn. Michael Feldstein, e-Literate, August 30, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Progressive austerity and self-organised learning
Some articles, all revolving around the same theme, of the rogue/informal/whatever versus the institutional.A lot of this is fallout from the Open Education conference, a lot of it is just in the air. Lisa Gualtieri writes, "while they strategize about how to push messages or disseminate information, they're being preempted by rogue individuals who, in the true spirit of social media, stake a claim and represent their organization with nothing more than permission."

David Porter, speaking more from the institutional side, writes, "For me, what works in a systemic context is an optimal approach to innovation, not an ideal one." Janet Clarey writes, "He is concerned however, that policies may eventually constrain him - he believes the current informal process works because he is 'conscientious and diligent.' THE CURRENT INFORMAL PROCESS WORKS. So why formalize social media (in my mind a highly informal way to learn)?" David Wiley iterates, "'open' is a continuous, not binary, construct. A door can be wide open, completely shut, or open part way. So can a window. So can a faucet." Unless, as Jeremy Brown comments, you're on a submarine.

Still more: Jared Stein comments on Boone George's musings on the tension inherent between individual and common voices: "The Campbell/Groom angle is that students are better served by stewarding their own spaces: emphasis on the individual voice. The Maxwell angle is that students learn about how scholarship functions by authoring together in a space like a wiki: emphasis on the communal voice." David Jennings, DJ Alchemi, August 30, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

How I approach teaching a new course - the state of my art
In a nutshell: Dave Cormier has been conned convinced by George Siemens to teach a course on 'Introduction to Emerging Technology' in French. Because I am trying to improve my French I will certainly take part in this course. This - to me - is also a great chance to create links to the francophone side of the online learning community. If you have resources or can offer support, contact Dave. Dave Cormier, Dave's Educational Blog, August 30, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Citizendium founder ready to jump ship
The Financial Times reports, and Larry Sanger confirms, that Sanger is leaving Citizendium to work on (the more commercially viable?) Watchknow. "At best, Citizendium could be called a qualified success. Launched in March 2007, it currently lists 11,810 articles - 2,999,674 fewer than the English-language version of Wikipedia." Richard Waters, Financial Times, August 30, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

A taxonomy of podcasts and its application to higher education
I applaud the effort in this post, but when a majority of the types in this taxonomy have a population of 1 it suggests to me that either (a) insufficient analysis of the similarities among podcasts has taken place, or (b) the sample size (115 overall) is too small. In studying podcasts I would widen my attention beyond educational applications in order to understand the field generally first, focusing in on learning only as a special case of the general phenomenon. Ana Amelia Aguiar, Cristina Aguiar and Romana Maciel, ALT Open Access Repository, August 30, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Unfettered expression of thought? Experiences of anonymous online role play
This is a good paper (and thank you! for not playing pseudo-statistics with the results) examining the benefits and pitfalls of anonymous online role-play. Citing literature that suggests online participation can offer numerous benefits to students, the authors determine that while these benefits may be realized, they are not realized evenly. Some learners "may be prevented from engaging in the same way by issues of confidence, identification with their
role, and technical difficulties." Sarah Cornelius, Carole Gordon, Carole and Margaret Harris, ALT Open Access Repository, August 30, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Olivier Blanchard Basics Of Social Media Roi
OK, I can't say I like the presentation, but so far as I can tell, business analysts really think like this. The main point to be drawn from the cartoon is that social media needs to be (and can be) measured strictly on the basis on return on investment (specifically, cost reduction, or revenue generation). Now, of course, real enterprise (such as military, education, health care or government) desires as a return more than mere financial gain. They want measurable outcomes such as reductions in casualties, higher grades, fewer illnesses or more effective services. But the same sort of logic applies - the measurement of media metrics (such as website hits, Facebook friends, etc) is not a part of the calculation. It may suggest a measurable benefit, but it doesn't prove one. So far, so good - and I actually agree with all this. To me, though, the key question facing real enterprise is: what counts as a metric? Simple grade scores, for example, are in my mind media metrics, and not measurements of actual outcomes. But this places the onus on me: what do I offer as an alternative measurement? Via Joachim Niemeier. Olivier Blanchard, Slideshare, August 30, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

HTML5 Update
HTML 5 is rapidly approaching reality as browsers are beginning to support some of the elements. This is the first significant change to HTML in almost a decade. Mark Pilgrim summarizes the latest changes to the spec. Here's the new working draft. For those who want a serious look, Pilgrim's free online book Dive Into HTML 5 is recommended - or will be, once it's written (only one chapter is currently available). Sam Ruby, intertwingly, August 30, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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