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by Stephen Downes
September 15, 2009

Moodle LMS: Hot Potatoes is Now Free!
The Hot Potatoes question and quiz generation software has been around forever, it seems - I remember when it was just starting up at Vic in the 90s. According to this post, the Moodle implementation is now free. "The purpose of the Hot Potatoes is to enable you to create interactive Web-based imageteaching exercises which can be delivered to any Internet-connected computer equipped with a browser. The exercises use HTML and JavaScript to implement their interactivity, but you do NOT need to know anything about these languages in order to use the programs. All you need to do is enter the data for your exercises (questions, answers, responses etc.), and press a button. The program will create the Web pages for you, and you can then upload them to your server." Michael Hanley, E-Learning Curve Blog, September 15, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Critical thinking? You need knowledge
Diane Ravitch states the case for (what is to me) the other side. "We have neglected to teach them that one cannot think critically without quite a lot of knowledge to think about. Thinking critically involves comparing and contrasting and synthesizing what one has learned. And a great deal of knowledge is necessary before one can begin to reflect on its meaning and look for alternative explanations."

How do I want to put my response to this? Ravitch presents a picture of knowledge and reasoning where knowledge is something distinct from the forms in which knowledge can be expressed. Critical reasoning is the study of those forms, though, and you cannot understand, you cannot acquire, knowledge, without understanding those forms. The idea that we could first just give people a whole bunch of 'facts', and then teach people to reason about them, shows a significant misunderstanding of just what it is for something to be a fact. Teach Paperless also repsonds. Diane Ravitch, Boston Globe, September 15, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Open Ed 09
This is a really wonderful video recorded during the Open Education conference in Vancouver in August. In addition to repeated statements of "I love Vancouver" the participants discuss their favorite Open Ed projects and what they like about open educational resources. Jane Park,, September 15, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Stephen Downes, Anders Sandberg on Cloud Intelligence
For those of you who haven't seen it, I want to recommend Ethan Zuckerman's summary of my talk in Linz. Ethan Zuckerman, My Heart's In Accra, September 15, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

John Concilus sent me this link, which is to a nifty application that helps you create your own online adventure games. These games can be used in a wide variety of ways to support online learning, everything from team-building and ice-breaking online activities to detailed quests requiring participants to learn concepts and background. Here's a step-by-step guide that gives you an idea of what you can create. You can then post your games online into the repository oin the FableForge website and they can be embedded into your or others' websites.

John adds, in his email, "I see several potential classroom uses:
* Teachers create games to teach concepts, facts, or apply learning from historical readings, practical training, etc.
* Students individually or in groups to demonstrate competence on a concept or a unit by creating a game....rather than a quiz or test.
* Language Arts students could use this to create their own fables, or to show understanding of themes in writing...or even to illustrate plot lines that they create in their writing."

Various Authors, Website, September 15, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

SMashup Personal Learning Environments

From the abstract: "In this paper, we leverage the possibility to use Semantic Mashups (SMashups) for a scalable approach to creating mashups. We present the conceptual and technical details of PLEFExt as a flexible framework for mashup-driven end-user development of PLEs. PLEF-Ext uses the Service Mapping Description (SMD) approach to adding semantic annotations to RESTful Web services, and leverages the SMD annotations to facilitate the automatic data mediation and user-friendly creation of learning mashups." Mohamed Amine Chatti, Technology Enhanced Learning, September 15, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Google Fast Flip
Fast Flip is a nifty application from Google that lets you zip through newspaper pages one after another. The pages are not rendered; they're just images, so you have to click on them to go to the original. Still, I love the ease of use. Jane Hart, Jane's E-Learning Pick of the Day, September 15, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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