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by Stephen Downes
February 5, 2010

Trends In Personal Learning
Audio and slides from my presentation last night, Trends in Personal Learning. Review of major trends in technology - personal access, content creation, presentation and conferencing, networking and community, immersion and simulation, augmented reality - and discussion of how these define and inform personal learning. // Archive Info Name: FlexEd Virtual Session - 02/04/2010 11:56 URL: Presentation by Stephen Downes, , Canberra, Australia, online via Wimba, [Link]

The Problem with the Data-Information-Knowledge-Wisdom Hierarchy
More on filtering and knowledge, this from David Weinberger. Specifically, "The real problem isn't the DIKW's hijacking of the word 'knowledge' but its implication that knowledge derives from filtering information. It doesn't. We can learn some facts by combing through databases. We can see some true correlations by running sophisticated algorithms over massive amounts of information. All that's good. But knowledge is not a result merely of filtering or algorithms. It results from a far more complex process." DIKW stands for the 'Data - Information - Knowledge - Wisdom' hierarchy. In view of this, tries again. David Weinberger, Harvard Business Review, February 5, 2010 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Simplicity Made Difficult
After railing recently in favour of simplicity, it seems fair to post on simplicity made difficult. The paper is philosophical and therefore (a) dry, and (b) entrenched in the view that everything must be propositional in nature. Hence, the theses 'simplicity' include, in part, "There are propositions and they instantiate the fundamental monadic properties of truth simpliciter and falsity simpliciter." Sigh. Yeah. Well, I said earlier than numbers are simple, and numbers aren't propositions (yes, but the statement that "numbers are simple" is a proposition). The error is in searching for some underlying essential property of 'simplicity'. Anyhow, I just thought it would be interesting to see some of the sort of thinking behind some of these concepts. John MacFarlane,, February 5, 2010 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment] [Tweet]

Innovating the 21st-Century University: It's Time!
Don Tapscott and Anthony D Williams argue that universities should embrace collaborative learning, mass customization, and discovery learning. But, mostly, collaborative learning. "Universities need an entirely new modus operandi for how the content of higher education is created. The university needs to open up, embrace collaborative knowledge production, and break down the walls that exist among institutions of higher education and between those institutions and the rest of the world. I think he`s sort of right, though I wouldn't focus on collaborating so much as sharing and cooperating, and I wouldn't focus on classes and professors so much as learning in a community. More from the cuttent issue of EDUCAUSE Review. Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams, EDUCAUSE Review, February 5, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

An HTML5 offline image editor and uploader application
Oh this is very elegant - an HTML 5 browser-based image editor. I edited and sent an image to Twitter in about 30 seconds with Firefox (at least I think I published it to Twitter - thus far it doesn't seem to have made the trip). You can try the actual editor here. Paul Rouget , Mozilla Hacks, February 5, 2010 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Commentary: Why are so many research papers on serious games so boring?
Clark Aldrich is quite right to wonder why people don't model the strategies they advocate. "My biggest gripe is how can a person unabashedly present information that breaks every rule they praise? How can a 400 page book containing one case study after another conclude that interactivity and dynamic content is necessary for effective learning? How can a lecturer drone on and on about the wonderfulness of social networks because they reward the individuality of the user, and still wait until the end to solicit questions?" In my own case - 90 percent of the teaching and learning I do, I do right here, on my website. Talks and stuff add some multimedia to the content. My site isn't a game because I'm not really advocating games. It is (a node in) a professional community, and that's what I model. Clark Aldrich, On Simulations and Serious Games, February 5, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

There's a war goin' on here, donchaknow?
Scott Leslie quite rightly points out that copyright and IP are modern inventions, not some sort of historical fact. I would add that over the last ten years or so they have been greatly extended (at least in rhetoric, but also in some cases by law). And with Leslie I agree that there is an ongoing conflict about public ownership of culture and ideas, and that we must defend our right to be more than simply an employ vessel into which culture is (for a fee) simply poured. "It's time we fought back. So join the not so secret revolution, share your content, use those non-rivalrous goods to make the world a better, more beautiful place. This one's for you, Jimbo Groomie!" Scott Leslie, edtechpost, February 5, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Are you stealing stuff?
The word "may" is the most pernicious word in this whole copyright debate. What "may" be infringing is orders of magnitude greater than what does infringe. If I whistle Dixie I may infringing. By holding people to the standard of "may" you are depriving them of a large body of legitimate actions.

If you don't know that an action is wrong, you are making things worse by telling people not to do it.

Instead of informing people about what they can't do, what "may" infringe, show them what they can. Highlight legitimate uses of online materials. Show podcasts and slide shows where the material has been used without complaint by the rights holders.

Leave the enforcement to the lawyers. It is way to easy and far too damaging to run around saying "beware!" "beware!". Adopt an attitude of enabling use, not of preventing use. James Clay, e-Learning Stuff, February 5, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Rant Like Rick
If you are not Canadian you might not be familiar with Rick Mercer's rants. But the former star of 'This Hour Has 22 Minutes' and current lead for 'The Rick Mercer Show' is well known across the country, and especially in his native Newfoundland, as the progenitor of a unique style of half-comedy half-serious rant. Now Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) is asking prospective students to "rant like Rick" by submitting a video of themselves doing a Mercer rant. It's something everyone can try, and mayb fewer can do, and of curse it also requires some new media skills and the ability to recruit a camera person. The sample rant MUN provides is quite good; best line: "Unless you're the last sheep you're a leader, right?" Various Authors, cademia Group, February 5, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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