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by Stephen Downes
October 16, 2009

Beauty Through a Microscope

Wrinkled photoresist (200X). Pedro Barrios-Perez, Institute for Microstructural Sciences National Research Council of Canada. Many more fabulous images taken through the microscope on Nikon's web site, or even more easily on Wired's web site. Via Open Culture.
, , October 16, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Personal Learning Environments & Personal Learning Networks - Day Four
So we wrapped up the PLE-PLN conference today with three speakers: Sue Waters (MP3), Rita Kop (MP3) and Mark van Harmelen (MP3). Thanks to all the speakers, and the Elluminate recordings will be available some time next week. This was an interesting experience, and I think it will be worth doing again. , , October 16, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

The Keynote I'd Like to See at ISTE 2010: Vote and Share Yours
ISTE is asking people to vote on the topic of their next keynote. That's great, but they don't seem to understand the concept of voting at all - voting is open while ideas are still being posted, which means the first few ideas, no matter how well (or poorly) conceived, have a huge advantage. After the topic is selected, they'll open up the vote to speaker selections - who will be screened for "affordability and availability" before the final vote. It's an interesting idea, but 'crowdsourcing' isn't the same as voting, and this is almost certain to get political - and potentially nasty. See also JenW. Vicki A. Davis, Cool Cat Teacher Blog, October 16, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Channel 4 signs worldwide-first YouTube deal: watch our telly on your interweb box
Unlike the U.S.-only deals that have characterized Hulu and many of the Google products (see below), this one is something that will actually be useful for the rest of us. "This is big news, as it marks the first time that a broadcaster anywhere in the world has made a comprehensive catch-up schedule available on YouTube, providing Channel 4 with additional advertising inventory and reach: YouTube last week announced it was serving over 1 billion video streams every day." Guess I'll have to acquire a taste for British humour. Ewan McIntosh,, October 16, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

Epicenter The Business of Tech Google Targets E-Readers With Web-Based ‘Editions'
The biggest question I've had regarding the Kindle has been, "Why do we need one?" After all, we can get that obscure content format, known as the "book", on the internet. Google, it appears, agrees with me. "The Web search giant said Thursday it would launch Google Editions in the first half of next year, initially offering about half a million e-books in partnership with publishers with whom it already cooperates, where they have digital rights." Georgina Prodhan, Wired, October 16, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Fast track to teaching
It's ironic, I think, that an online program supporting alternative certification would appear in, of all things, the teaching profession. A story in the New York Times describes the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence, which offers a $975 online program accepted by nine states. Joanne Jacobs, Weblog, October 16, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Rachel Happe on Community Maturity Model

Another model of the changing nature of communities, this one similar to others we've seen, with the hierarchy at the left changing to the network in the right-most column. Jay Cross, Internet Time, October 16, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Assault on Online Learning? Not Really.
There are criticisms, not at all surprisingly, that the Obama government's investment in open course content endangers private industry. Rick Hess, writing for the National Review Online, says, "It is not clear what problem the administration is seeking to solve. The kinds of online courses that the administration is calling for already exist, and are offered by an array of publishers and public and private institutions…. However, once the Department of Education is sponsoring a freely available course financed with taxpayer funds, it will be difficult for any but the most expensive or distinctive institutions or providers to justify paying for an alternative offering." Bill Tucker, The Quick and the Ed, October 16, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Dress codes for avatars?
OK, I can see the point about not wanting to have the company represented by scantily clad avatars. But is something to be address with a code, or with common sense? (Yes, those are the only two choices.) Karyn Romeis writes, "I can understand that a company with a virtual world presence will want to project the same sort of professional image online as they do face to face. But I also wonder how far they can push this. Will it just be about dress, or will people be restricted as to body shapes and accuracy of representation? Could a large, bald man be prevented from having an avatar that is a slim man (or even woman) with a full head of hair?" Karyn Romeis, Karyn's erratic learning journey, October 16, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Online Games for Teaching Business Concepts and Ideas
A list of online games and related items presented by Karl Kapp to the Fall Business Teacher Seminar. Included are links to the Hotshot Business Game, from Disney, and Energyville, by Cheveron (needless to say the games may have a message in them somewhere), among others. Related, though, this from Tom Hoffman: "I just skimmed through three National Academy commissioned papers on "Bringing Game-Based Learning To Scale: The Business Challenges Of Serious Games," and not only did none of them have what I'd regard as a plausible strategy for bringing commercial games to schools, I didn't see a single mention of open source methodologies or distribution channels." Karl Kapp, Kapp Notes, October 16, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Court of Appeals Denies Blackboard's Rehearing & En Banc Petitions
It looks like it's the end of the line for Blackboard in its much-publicized lawsuit against D2L. The court has throuwn out the last of the motions, leaving Desire2Learn as the complete victor. As they write: "The effect? All positive for Desire2Learn:
1. We expect that Judge Clark will dissolve the injunction (he's already suspended it)
2. We'll be receiving repayment of the judgment we paid to Blackboard - plus interest - plus costs associated with the action
3. We're delighted to put this chapter behind us, once and for all!" Notice, Desire2Learn, October 16, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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