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by Stephen Downes
May 24, 2010

Is Google Getting In To the LMS Business?
Matt Crosslin observes, "The new Google CloudCourse project hasn't gotten that much chatter online." True, and though it doesn't look like much at the moment, it's the sort of thing that could very quietly bump the LMS off the stage. Not that I'm expecting tyat to happen, though. Google is great at search and advertising, but has a spottier record with user-facing applications. Matt Crosslin, EduGeek Journal, May 24, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Government to close Becta
The British government announces the closure of Becta, signalling an end to a period of intense productivity in that country. The move leaves the field of education technology with no obvious leader, and leaves British education with an uncertain (and expensive) future. "Our procurement arrangements save the schools and colleges many times more than Becta costs to run," said Becta's chairman, Graham Badman. "Our Home Access programme will give laptops and broadband to over 200,000 of the poorest children." Here's the Becta response, and some commentary from Ian Usher posted just before the announcement. Hed writes, "It's really interesting to look across at the United States and see parts of President Obama's Stimulus Package, with its $650 million for educational technology, as a direct descendant of the model overseen by Becta in the UK."

"So, top-heavy quango - or trusted guide through the maze of new technology?" That seems to be how the discussion is shaping up, based on Rory Cellan-Jones's analysis. John McLear suggests, schools "may benefit from a slightly more fragmented decision making process inside authorities and nationwide." Steve Wheeler writes, "although the loss of Becta is very bad news and I'm very sorry for those who have lost their jobs, we can either look out from our cages and see the mud or see the stars." I will post more reactions in this space as they come in through the day. Charles Arthur, The Guardian, May 24, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Why Participatory Culture Is Not Web 2.0: Some Basic Distinctions
Henry Jenkins is at once insightful and frustrating. At the start of this article he nails it, saying "Do It Yourself rarely means Do It Alone." Which is absolutely right. Then he suggests, "We need to understand the specific practices discussed here as informed by norms and values that emerge from their community of participants," which is fair enough. But this examination is basically an examination of fan communities, which to me is a digression. But OK, I get the desire to talk about 'affinity spaces'. But by the end of the article, he's simply wrong.

He writes, "I want to hold onto a distinction between participatory cultures, which may or may not engaged with commercial portals, and Web 2.0, which refers specifically to a set of commercial practices that seek to capture and harness the creative energies and collective intelligences of their users." Um, what? No. And "Web 2.0 is not a theory of pedagogy; it's a business model." Huh? Here's the problem: Jenkins has no idea what is happening with web 2.0 and education; his only reference seems to be Brown and Adler's (2008) formulation of "Learning 2.0", and they haven't read any of the primary material. If Jenkins wants to criticize what we're doing, fine, but perhaps he should actually look at some of it, and not just the journal articles sitting on his desk. Henry Jenkins, Confessions of an Aca/Fan, May 24, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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