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by Stephen Downes
March 4, 2010

Understanding "learning" - some more thoughts
Interesting thoughts on different types of learning, from Harold Jarche. "In his posting yesterday," writes Jane Hart, "he now refers to learners as being Dependent, Independent and Interdependent." Well, I would define 'group directed learning' as a type of co-dependent learning, hardly removed from dependent learning, while other forms of organizational learning can continue to be 'interdependent'. In other words, being dependent as a group isn't much of an improvement over being dependent as an individual, while being independent is possibly only if you're no longer in a group. Jane Hart, Jane's E-Learning Pick of the Day, March 4, 2010 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment] [Tweet]

500 Teachers Pledge to Go Paperless for Earth Day 2010!
I think the goal of going paperless for Earth day is laudable. But I do want to point out that there is a huge gulf bewteen going paperless Earth Day and going paperless by Earth Day, and that it would be better, much better, to see the latter. A Faire Alchemist, TeachPaperless, March 4, 2010 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment] [Tweet]

Envisioning the Post-LMS Era: The Open Learning Network
Leigh Blackall points to this article on the post-LMS era published in EDUCAUSE Quarterly. It's a good article and manages to capture the emergence of the Personal Learning Environment (PLE), an open learning network, and the rest of it. Blackall writes, "I was sad to see my name not in the references, perhaps 2005 was too long ago! Perhaps blog posts don't rate, perhaps its just me..." and links to a long list of his posts where substantially the same argument is made. But I wouldn't feel too bad, Leigh - there's no reference to any of my work in their either. That's what academia does, though. It whitewashes the original work and presents it as a genuine made-in-the-USA "discovery" with corporate-friendly references, patents to follow, no doubt. Jonathan Mott, EDUCAUSE Quarterly, March 4, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Putting Lipstick on the Health-Reform Pig
The Chronicle of Higher Education for some reason published this argument against health care reform. Well, it does fit today's theme of "natural economies" versus "government intervention". As in this bit: "simple economic theory tells us that if all we do is give more people insurance, then more people will get more medical care, which will cost more money." That's very similar to the Adam Smith argument (see below). But it is empirically false. providing health care insurance means that people get care earlier, which reduces overall costs, as we have discovered in Canada. And does Diane Auer Jones really expect us to believe this? "Just because people have access to medical care doesn't mean that they are healthier or that they require less costly medical care in the future." That's like saying we shouldn't provide poor people with access to education because they might not be able to take advantage of it. The same argument applies to both education and health care, and across the board, societies that provide more equitable access to these services have few social problems, better health, better educational outcomes, and a higher standing on the overall human development index, and end up paying less for all of this in the long run. Diane Auer Jones, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 4, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Google: Desktops Will Be Irrelevant in Three Years' Time
Big pads of paper will become irrelevant; in 3 years, all writing will be done on Post-It notes. Sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? So does this claim that desktops will be irrelevant in three years. Sometimes, you want a big screen, whether to play your favourite baseball game, do some photo editing or drafting, or simply to read many things at once. There's a lot of push toward the smaller, more mobile platform, and while I don't doubt for a minute how useful mobile computing is, I am also aware that a lot of the messaging is a marketing pitch, designed to get us off our (dangerously open) computers and onto proprietary (and closed) phone platforms. Stan Schroeder, Mashable, March 4, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Two Free Multiplatform Tools To Create iBooks
Want to make your own iBooks? This article links to and describes two applications that will help you create them on your own. The author also links to places you can find free books. Jeffry Thurana, MakeUseOf, March 4, 2010 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment] [Tweet]

Methodological creativity and innovation in the area of lifelong learning
The Virtual Learning Environment (EVA) in Andalusia has released two publications. The first, in English, is a Guide to Methodological Innovation in e-learning, while the second, in Spanish) of our What do I need to learn to become an e-learning trainer. Note that the 'read more' links don't work; you have to click on the icon to read the PDF. Francisco José García Aguilera and Silvia Luque Ávila, The Virtual Learning Environment (EVA) Project, March 4, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Cap on tuition fees 'should be scrapped'
More calls to raise tuition fees, this time in Britain. "Ministers are 'retarding the natural development of higher education' with the current cap," says the Adam Smith Institute... Capping fees artificially increases the demand for places and causes students to value their education less." The proposition is that there is a "natural" level for university tuition, which is presumably what it would cost without government support for educational institutional institutions. Of course, such a "natural level" is a complete fabrication, a rate that would be calculated to draw a wealthy elite into a networking and learning environment uncontaminated by poor people (which becomes, in the "natural" state, part of the value proposition). Perhaps someone should remind the Adam Smith Institute of other "natural" events its policy of non-intervention would allow to progress unchecked: cholera epidemics, crime, widespread famine, protection rackets, slavery, natural disasters, wildfires, and economic depression. Education, like other social goods, requires government support, and the absence of that support is keenly felt throughout society. Unattributed, BBC News, March 4, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Repositories and the Cloud
As Jane Stevenson comments, archivists are very reluctant to entrust their materials to third parties. So they are naturally cautious about the idea of using the cloud for archival storage. But there are advantages - as Microsoft's Alex Wade argues, data in the cloud can be linked, offering a range of rich information services. And we have models we can follow - the electrical grid, for example. These are among the considerations offered in this rich online resource, containing videos and slides shows, from the 'Repositories and the Cloud' conference hosted by Eduserv and JISC. I especially like the idea of including video responses from attendees along with the conference presentation archives. Various Authors, JISC Eduserv, March 4, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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