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by Stephen Downes
December 7, 2009

Pattern Seeking Instead of Content Delivery
Angela Maiers writes, "I talk a lot about lessons planning focused on Pattern Seeking and Meaning Making Instead of Content Delivery. One of our challenges is that we come to the lesson planning table as teachers instead of readers. By doing that, our own proficiency becomes our deficiency. This video, a pre-briefing with elementary teachers, talks towards that very challenge." Angela Maiers, Weblog, December 7, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Yahoo's Newest Strategy: Lots and Lots of Facebook
The future of OpenID is not less certain as Facebook has partnered with Yahoo to push its Facebook Connect signon service. This will probably be the thing that ends my use of Flickr, which is owned by Yahoo. As Webmonkey's Michael Calore writes, "Yahoo stated in a blog post Wednesday that it intends to roll Facebook Connect into its properties worldwide, so we should expect the services to be activated incrementally." I will not be using a Facebook identity to connect with other services, because I don't trust Facebook to behave itself. More from ReadWrite Web (see also Mashable), which describes Google's deal, announced a few hours later, to use Twitter identities. "The short-term trade of giving more control to two big social networks, in exchange for traffic and ad money, may not serve anyone well in the long run." Adam Ostrow, Mashable, December 7, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Sakai Blogging
Michael Feldstein is now on the Sakai Foundation Board and Product Council, which I think is a good thing, as he writes of his intention "to use e-Literate as a platform for increased transparency into the Sakai community." We could use more of this from all of these organizations and projects. Michael Feldstein, e-Literate, December 7, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Underneath Pearson's Poptropica
Good review of Pearson's Poptripoca, "the virtual world that is the new black for pre-schoolers and primary age explorers." While Peason has been foscused in the mainstream on course manuals and books, experiments like this look at was to commercialize other aspects of education - such as this game that combines social pressure and micropayments to 'look better'. It also seems to have bypassed the filters that 'protect' schoolchildren. "The biggest reason Poptropica is popular in public school – DET have not yet banned it - its accessible. Kids are playing it. If you have kids in 4-11, then chances are they are playing Poptropica. You might not have noticed – it looks just like another cute platformer, but it is a social-network." Dean Groom, Design 4 Learning, December 7, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , ] [Comment]

Collaborating with the C level
The 'C level' refers to people with 'Chief' in their job title. In the traditional analysis, "The person in the position functions as a charismatic leader who's personality plays a large part in their impact. While subordinates manage up with servility, compliance and gratuitous respect, there is a notable neglect of power sharing." Of course, as Tom Haskins points out, organizations pay a large price for such a lack of internal cohesion, and there is a movement (admittedly slow) toward more collaborative forms of management. "The people in the 'top positions' would facilitate others' exploration of those frames in their own contexts. The emphasis would be placed on the conversations in progress, rather than the people in the positions. The individuals would play roles of facilitative servant leaders rather than charismatic kingpins." But it's hard to do for people who believe their inherent talents, rather than good fortune, played the major role in their ascending to these positions of power. Where humility is needed the most - in positions of power and authority - it is likely to be found least. Tom Haskins, growing changing learning creating, December 7, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Reflections on On-line Educa Berlin
This seems right: "Probably the biggest trend is the movement away from a focus on VLEs towards looking at the use of social software for learning." And this: "YouTube is developing into a kind of University of the Grassroots. Instead of learning being a top-down process, dictated by institutions and governments, it is evolving into a bottom-up process driven by users. If you want to learn, say, the Python programming language (often used in mobile phones) then your first move may not be to sign up at a local educational institution but instead to look at one of the YouTube videos and benefit from the reactions of other viewers." Related: How Programmer/Journalists Craft Their Own Study Programs. Graham Attwell, Pontydysgu, December 7, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

The Golden Triangle of Tech Applies to eLearning Solutions too!
The golden triangle - mobile, social and real-time - does seem to cut to the heart of developments in new technology. And, as statements of trends (rather than essential features, inherent natures, or some other mantra infused with metaphysics) the three main points of the triangle are accurate. I still prefer different terminology and different emphasis (perhaps because I believe I am more future-oriented). A platimum triangle, maybe: ambient, smart and personal. Tech that's there when you need it (mobile is only one part of this); that connects with people but knows who, when and where (social is only part of this); and that responds to all your needs and interests (real-time is only part of this). Brent Schlenker, Corporate eLearning Strategies and Development, December 7, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

21st-Century Skills: Education Reform or Marketing Ploy?
The Education Week article suggesting "21st century skills" constitute a marketing ploy is available only to paying subscribers. This is a blog summary of the article (ironically, also from Education Week; for an explanation of this apparent anomaly see the description of 'projection', below). For myself, I can't think of anything in the U.S. that doesn't have some group trying to commercialize it, so the existence of such a group here doesn't say much. Some of the rhetoric, though, is funny. Take this: "We've been promised this big revolution," he [Stephen Sawchuk, the author of the paywalled article] said, "and we haven't seen it yet. Technology, in the short range, has probably been overpromised."

What I wonder is, where has he been looking? Everywhere I look (save, perhaps, inside traditional schools, though there are numerous exceptions) the impact of modern technology has been more than a revolution. Nothing, it seems, is the same. From iPods to mobile phones, Facebook to MySpace, Smart boards to wireless mesh networks, binary arithmetic to logic and integrated circuits, the intellectual life of a child today is nothing like one of even a few years ago. We have gone from a three-channel universe to a million channels in less than a generation. How can anyone say there has been no revolution? How can anyone pretend learning is the same? Katie Ash, Education Week, December 7, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , , , , , ] [Comment]

Record industry faces liability over infringement
One phenomenon in politics and business I've learned I can count on is projection. The concept of 'projection' is originally derived from Freudian psychology and is essentially the act of seeing in others faults that you actually possess yourself. Thus, for example, a person likely to steal accuses all other people of an intent to steal. We see from certain quarters in society an obsession about freeloaders, welfare cheats, criminal activity, and the like. Time and time again, it is the person or (more often) the organization making the accusation that is most guilty of the infraction. Thus, it is the bastions of morality who engage in the most morally suspect behaviour, and those most afraid of being attacked who are most likely to start an unprovoked war. And here, now, we see the principle play out once again, as it turns out that the recording industry that appears to be guilty of a minimum of $50 million worth of pirated recordings, or (if the same penalties they have demanded be imposed on average citizens) a possible liability of $60 billion. Michael Geist, Toronto Star, December 7, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Google DNS
So I've switched the home office over to Google DNS, which will end the "can't find Google" problem on Rogers and will, as a side-benefit, greatly increase lookup speeds (which, on Rogers, are terrible, at least for uncached addressed, which usually time out before they are found (requiring that the page be reloaded several times). I followed the instructions from Google here (it's a simple change but document what you're doing, just in case it fails and you need to switch back). Alex Chitu, Google Operating System, December 7, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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