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by Stephen Downes
March 22, 2010

President Obama On the Passage of Health Reform

American legislators decided yesterday that government should at least recognize the objective of ensuring that every person has adequate health care. This decision, which propels the United States into the modern age of public responsibility, is to be noted and applauded. Barack Obama, YouTube, March 22, 2010 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Blackboard Bets on Mobile Future, but No iPad App Yet
Blackboard publicists sent notifications across the blogosphere about their new mobile initiative today. The publicity resulted in a handful of posts and this Chronicle article noting the absence of an iPad application. naturally there are special deals involved. "The company has cut a deal with Sprint to allow colleges to offer the service free of charge to students and professors who use phones on Sprint's network." Jeff Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 22, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

An African perspective on the Tapscott and Williams article on University Reform
A sharp critique of the debate between Bates and Tapscott from Mandi Maodzwa-Taruvinga of South Africa. She reminds readers that relaities and ideals are very different in the different landscape of the South. "It would be suicidal to let the technology paradigm of the dominant north dictate to us what utopia looks like! In Africa marginalisation and underdevelopment are real and yet we ought to forge ahead with the struggle for mass higher education for the development of 'human capital' which has the capacity to learn, including learning through ICTs whatever the odds!"

Tony Bates comments, "I would be very interested to see if anyone is willing to take up Mandi Maodzwa-Taruvinga's challenge of how best to strike ‘a balance between widening access and participation, acknowledging the potentialities and possibilities of ICTs and engaging in meaningful learning, knowledge production and dissemination outside the terms of the dominance of the networked higher education society.'" But that, of course, is what the Connectivist model developed by George Siemens and myself is intended to provide. Not that we can prescribe a solution, or solve all the problems of the South. But we can create an opportunity for those who feel it is right for them. Tony Bates, Weblog, March 22, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Junto: Discussing Ideas Worth Spreading
I've been asking people hosting free and open live online learning events to contact me. This isn't exactly what I had in mind, but this idea from Venessa Miemis is well worth a mention here. Basically, the idea is to set up a ChatRoulette for worthwhile discussion (rather than the default activities the original ChatRoulette has attracted). "Now what if instead of the 'roulette' format, with two random stranger in a conversation for no good reason, what if we do this as purposeful dialogues between intelligent people to discuss big ideas? ... What if we could engage in mini TED talks with each other? Practice the art of dialogue. Practice listening to another's viewpoint without interruption. Listening!" Venessa Miemis, emergent by design, March 22, 2010 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Can You Help Us With The Student Blogging Challenge?
If you want to see a lot of student blogs you might want to look at these 700 blogs. Or the 60 class blogs. Sue Waters, who writes that they are into Week 4 of the March 2010 Student Blogging Challenge, is asking for help from the edublog community for people to look at the blogs and maybe leave a comment. "With more and more students taking part with their own blogs, it's becoming harder for me to visit each of their blogs as often. But comments on their blogs, especially from others outside their class, are very important for motivating and providing guidance." Sue Waters, The Edublogger, March 22, 2010 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Building national ICT/education agencies
I just found the World Bank EduTech blog, thanks to a Tony Bates repost from Clayton R. Wright. Now from my perspective, the World bank has not had a happy history, as it has often forced governments into cutting social services to the great detriment of their citizens. And we still see the phrase "public private partnership" in every second item from them, including the current post on how to set up a national ICT/education agency. But in fairness, the World Bank is slowly realizing that nations have a responsibility for the well being of their citizens, even if this does sometimes run counter to business interests. This blog, and the World Bank's ed tech initiative in general, is evidence of that. Anyhow, I'm glad they have this blog, and I'm subscribed now (if belatedly) and I'll be able to keep a better eye on what they do (and speak more knowledgeably when I criticize). Michael Trucano, EduTech , March 22, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Informal learning is horribly inefficient
We hear than informal learning is inefficient - but a lot rides on what you mean by efficient. If you mean simply "learn quickly", then, in my opinion, formal learning is always more efficient. But if by "efficient" you mean "learn well" as well, and even if you mean "learn the right thing" then the balance begins to tip in favour of informal learning again. As Wytze Koopal says, "The transfer to the workplace is often very limited, due to many factors (original in Dutch). Also, "In this current knowledge society, where developments are advancing rapidly follow, I think it is also not enough to leave yourself at the official training you sporadically or follow the monthly team meeting). Wytze Koopal, LearningWave, March 22, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

An Idea That Just Keeps Growing
A week or two ago Doug Peterson used Google Maps to illustrate his childhood home. I copied his idea with a post of my own, suggesting it might be a good activity for students. The idea has continued to spread with other tools, other techniques, being brought into the mix - video, Google Docs, Prezi, Comic Life, more. Doug Peterson, doug – off the record, March 22, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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