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by Stephen Downes
September 11, 2009

Copyright Consultation Submission
This is your last chance to submit your position on copyright legislation in Canada. Get your submission in by Sunday. My own submission is not yet complete, but here it is (thus far) and no matter what shape it's in, it's going in tomorrow. Here's the consultation website and if you just want to send in a check-off against the issues, use this list as a guide (you don't have to support all, or any of the recommendations, just use it to frame your own thoughts). You can also visit the take action site and look at the summaries and submissions. It's important to make your voice heard, because the lobbyists are being heard multiple times. Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, September 11, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Research Findings on Teach for America: Australia, Listen Up
The Teach for America program is being exported to Australia. Here's the reaction from America: "The Teach for America program which sends top graduates who are not trained in teaching into poorer schools is about to start in Australia... The news that Australia is following the United States in introducing a program which puts untrained teachers in the classroom came as a real shock to us here. Simply put, you are being conned. Teach for America (TFA), the model for your national program, is not effective in helping students in poverty learn more, though it is very effective at raising large amounts of money." Jim Horn, Schools Matter, September 11, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

New Census Data Confirms the Rich Getting Richer and Everyone Else, Poorer
People keep saying that the way to achieve high educational outcomes is to do this to teachers or that to classes, and on and on. And so they create this (artificial) demand that online learning must improve outcomes. But it won't. Eliminating income inequality will imporve educational outcomes:

The main achievement of online learning is to improve access, and if it improves outcomes, it's mostly because internet technology helps people who were poor improve their position in life. What does this tell me? Well, first, the school reformers are mostly flim-flam artists, because this statistic is known and widely established. And second, we know how to improve educational outcomes, but the solution - achieving some sort of income equity in society - is so distasteful to some people they'd do anything rather than see poor people become less poor.

Jim Horn, Schools Matter, September 11, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Has The P21 Movement Succeeded?
Following yet another Joanne Jacobs attack on critical thinking, I found this page from the National Journal, asking experts: "as P21 accurately identified 21st-century skills? If not, what are they?" I looked through the respondants, and my first reaction was, "hey, they're not experts!" They're just former Bush advisors and people who are presidents of self-founded interest groups. This is how it works, though. People who are mostly politicians who want to be recognized as experts get friendly publications to invite them to participate as 'experts', and voila! They is one. Eliza Krigman, National Journal, September 11, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Education in Singapore and Finland: a comparison Part 1
This chart speaks volumes. It compares education in Singapore and Finland. Note the one area where they are the same. Yup: equal opportunities and free or heavily subsidized.

Amran Noordin, Singapore Educational Consultants, September 11, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Criteria for moderating comments on a viral video
The title is misleading; you'll want to go to this post to watch the video. Blogger Wesley Fryer's daughter recorded a video (with, I presume, some held and supervision) responding to Obama's speech. The best line? "the guy that sits next to me, he was like, oh, I'm a Republican, so I'm not allowed to see it." Fryer (the parent) writes, "I definitely agree with those who take issue with a closed-minded approach like that, and I am proud of Sarah for being willing to share that story and bring it to light." The YouTube video, which nis currently going viral, has attracted more than its share of offensive comments, though. Wesley Fryer, Moving at the Speed of Creativity, September 11, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

One Laptop Per Child - The Dream is Over
The OLPC project has been labelled a failure buy UN Dispatch (not to be co0nfused with the U.N. or anything actually associated with the U.N.). "OLPC was a failure. Businessweek called it two years ago. Now, Timothy Ogden, editor-in-chief of Philanthropy Action has made a compelling argument to give up on OLPC. He points out that supporting de-worming programs has more impact on child learning than the OLPC laptops. The laptops were designed without end-user input, they cost too much both to produce and to run, and they're now being outcompeted by commercial laptops. Only about a million OLPCs have shipped so far." Negroponte has responded. John Camfield mounts a defense of OLPC. Alanna Shaikh, UN Dispatch, September 11, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Doing Better For Children
If you ask me, the only reason OECD is charging money for its latest report, 'Doing Better For Children', is that they don't want public scrutiny (it's certainly not because the organization, composed of the richest countries in the world, needs the money). I have one word for OECD: jerks. Via Ken deRosa. Unknown, OECD, September 11, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Common Craft, Quick Educational Videos for Sale
Common Craft - the makers of those useful little three minute "in plain English" videos - have commercialized. Now you can buy (presumably higher quality) versions of the videos for use in classrooms or your company, or even license them to post on your website. Naturally, they have expanded from education and technology to those scions of profitability: stock markets, insurance, and health care. Karl Kapp, Kapp Notes, September 11, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Rethink learning. Now.
Interesting idea: a national campaign to get people to reconsider what they think "learning" is. As described in this CNN blog: "As everyone knows, learning involves more than basic skills and regurgitating information. It requires higher-order skills and the capacity to digest, make sense of, and apply what we've been taught. Why, then, are we allowing well-intentioned policymakers to unintentionally discourage schools from doing those essential things? Why are we judging whether schools are successes or failures based solely on these insufficient numbers? And why are we tolerating a national culture of testing, when we all know from personal experience that what we need is a national culture of learning?" Why, indeed? Sam Chaltain, Anderson Cooper 360, September 11, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

The Game of Ghost Writing
"Is that what the kids call it these days?" asks an anonymous commentator. He has a point. Ghost writing is, by another name, plagiarism. And my own belief is that allows it to proliferate is that the activity occurs in secret, in hidden authoring and review environments, published in journals that, though supposedly credible, are restricted by subscription fees to just a few (self-interested) readers. Open this process to the daylight, and it becomes harder to get away with academic fraud. Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed, September 11, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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