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by Stephen Downes
March 18, 2010

Social Learning Environment Manifesto
Matt Crosslin reinvents the personal learning environment, and calls it the social learning environment. Not to sound snarky, but isn't that what this sounds like: "This class will be assigned a unique tag, such as 'eng1301sp10.' This tag will be connected with the class on the SLE server.... The SLE will then troll through all of the RSS feeds for each connected service the student has added, looking for unique course tags." It's still a good idea, but I thing Crosslin would benefit from talking to people like Scott Wilson, Graham Attwell and Tony Hirst (and maybe looking at how we ran the Connectivism course. Or maybe this PLE paper, one of the many resources reposted by D'Arcy Norman's blog today (heh). Matt Crosslin, EduGeek Journal, March 18, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Design Intersections: How Games Can Help Us Solve the World's Biggest Problems
Pretty good slide show on the impact and potential of games to support learning and change. The slides, by Jane McGonigal, refer to "World Without Oil" and "Evoke" (which I've been following as it moves into its third week online) as examples of massive multiplayer games that can support change. But what change? Whose change? I see the stamp of the World Bank all over Evoke, which to me creates challenges of bias and perspective. And there is the danger that these presumptions are implicit in games (see my post Sensitize / Desensitize for a summary of these concerns). More slide shows from McGonigal. If you have lots of time for TED eye-candy you can watch a video of one of her talks. Here's her most recent post on Evoke. Jane McGonigal, Slideshare, March 18, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Learner Centered Methodology – A New Approach to Effective Learning
What I like about this paper is that it is a clear and fairly detailed description of how learner input can be incorporated into an instructional design process. And I think that the author makes the case that the methodology can be used to create a pretty good course. What it leaves me wondering, though, is what happens when the current set of learners moves on and a new cohort moves in. Do you redesign the course from scratch? Probably not (to judge by the description of the process as a "one-time cost"). But then, is the course "learner centered" from the perspective of this new cohort? Geeta Bose, learnability matters, March 18, 2010 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Personal knowledge management & wisdom
Harold Jarche offers some useful clarifications to his model of personal knowledge management. In particular, he takes pains to say "there is no procedural method to go from data to wisdom... Data does not create information; information does not create knowledge and knowledge does not create wisdom. People use their knowledge to make sense of data and information. People create information that represents their knowledge, which can then be more widely shared." Harold Jarche, Weblog, March 18, 2010 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Project Based Learning (With FREE Online Tools)
This is a wiki page containing an outline and resources for a session on problem based learning using free web-based tools. It could probably use more resources (you could help by adding some), but has a selection scattered through a pretty good organization of material on the subject. Via Miguel guhlin. Mark Wagner, pbwiki, March 18, 2010 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment] [Tweet]

The NAACE Annual Conference
Summary of the NAACE conference in Britain and in particular links to some free Microsoft software. The experienced will likely be familiar with things like Moviemaker and photosynth, but things like pptPlex - display effects for your PowerPoints - are new to me (you might not think so, but I don't really explore a lot of desktop software beyond the basics, because I'm so web focused). NAACE, by the way, appears to stand for "National Association of Advisors for Computers in Education" (I had to look it up here, because the full name appears neither in the article or on their website - I guess everybody (but me) just knows. Naace is "the professional association for those who are concerned with advancing education through the appropriate use of information and communications technology (ICT). Naace was established in 1984 and has become the key influential professional association for those working in ICT in education." No hyperbole there! Related: Steve Wheeler reacts, saying "let's stop calling it ICT... it's learning technology." Ray Fleming, Microsoft UK Schools, March 18, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Blackboard's Patent is Down to its Last 30 Days
There's still life in the old Blackboard "138" patent - even if it is on life support. There's a final appeal that is possible, and I hope someone is on this to make sure an appeal is opposed, now that the Desire2Learn involvement in the case has essentially ended. Jeff Bohrer, BohrerED - notes about academic technology, March 18, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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