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by Stephen Downes
September 8, 2009

Struggling for a metaphor for change
OK, this is a pretty good article. But, that said, it shouldn't be a struggle (nor should it be a metaphor). Let me be rather more brazen about referencing something I wrote more than ten years ago (I link to it subtl from time to time but nobody seems to get it). This: The Conclusion from my essay, The Rise and Fall of Wired. My list is comprehensive, and it's the result of a detailed analysis of the first six years of Wired (back when it actually reported (as they say) stuff that matters). Now I ask, look at my list. Doesn't this capture the change that was - and is - happening? There's really no mystery here, at least, not to me. And they're not metaphors - they are real changes that matter. George Siemens, Connectivism, September 8, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Philosopher's Annual Announces "Ten Best" Papers of 2008
For some reason, the philosophy community's 'year' appears to end on Labour day (first Monday in September). That says more about philosophers than I would like. Anyhow, for those of you who like the end-of-year "best-of" lists, here are two: nominees for the 3 Quarks Daily best philosophical blog post of the year, and the Philosopher's Annual ten Best philosophy papers of the year. Plenty of grist for the mill; let's see if I can find some time this year to read and write some philosophy. Brian Leiter, Leiter Reports, September 8, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

The text of the President's "controversial" education speech has been released...
This item has some links to the criticisms, in case somebody wants to see them. Dunford ironizes, "And what's this nonsense about working hard early in the morning, and about his mother taking responsibility for making sure he was well-educated even if the local schools couldn't do the job. What kind of message is that to send kids?" I think it's a pretty important message. There are no short cuts. There are no magic wands. The only way anything - including this newsletter - gets done is through hard work. (That doesn't mean you'll get rewarded, and that doesn't mean that all - or even most - rewards are appropriated fairly. They're not. But if you want to accomplish anything, even if you're rich, you have to put in the hard work.) Mike Dunford, ScienceBlogs, September 8, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

New Gladwell book: What the Dog Saw
Malcolm Gladwel has created a new book out of his old New Yorker columns. Jason Kottke has rummaged through the New Yorker's online archive and assembled the set of essays online. Despite their easy availability, he writes, "Even though it's all available online for free, this is a sure airport bestseller for years to come." Update - Kottke's links appear to point to but the new Yorker archive is still a treasure trove. Jason Kottke, Weblog, September 8, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

The Filter. For the Moment
Darren Draper explains why he decided to block facebook in the classroom. "it's a matter of fighting for balance and the cognitive attention of our students... students have tended to spend inordinate amounts of time on the site - forming gangs, playing cards, writing on walls, and poking each other." Bud Hunt replies, "There are an awful lot of distractions on the Internet. Every time we focus on them, we draw attention to them and away from the educational goals and objectives we'd like to, and should be, focusing on. Let's all stop doing that." Bud Hunt, Bud the Teacher, September 8, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Digitization of Canada's heritage left to Google
"Canada seems stuck at the digitization starting gate. Library and Archives Canada was given responsibility for the issue, but was unable to muster the necessary support for a comprehensive plan. The Department of Canadian Heritage... has shown little interest in crafting a vision similar to Europeana." I know staff working in those departments would enthusiastically participate in such work, were they given the means and the mandate, and they certainly have the skills and experience to do so. Michael Geist, Toronto Star, September 8, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Web-monitoring software gathers data on kid chats
Parents attempting to protect their children may be doing just the opposite, as it is reported that web monitoring software installed by parents to keep track of their kids' online activities may be collecting the data and using it for marketing purposes. "Software sold under the Sentry and FamilySafe brands can read private chats conducted through Yahoo, MSN, AOL and other services, and send back data on what kids are saying about such things as movies, music or video games. The information is then offered to businesses seeking ways to tailor their marketing messages to kids." Deborah Yao, Associated Press / Yahoo, September 8, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

No more pencils, lots more fun
I was asked this week whether my work is having any effect in Canadian schools. I don't know about me personally, but something is having an effect. As we see in this story, "the school of the 21st century, a place where teachers and students collaborate and cooperate. Such cutting-edge classrooms, gaining ground across Ontario, are trying things some might consider coddling kids or even lowering the bar... others will say such changes are actually based on the newest research on how to appeal to today's youth and boost not only their interest, but their achievement." Kristin Rushowy, Toronto Star Parent Central, September 8, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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