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by Stephen Downes
May 27, 2010

Marvel XO-3 Moby tablet in Developed World First, says Nicholas Negroponte
Well it looks like OLPC has come full circle and will focus releasing to the developed world. Wayan Vota writes, "Having read the tea leaves in OLPC pronouncements for over four years now, I say this means we'll see Marvel releasing an XO-3 branded Moby tablet in the US marketplace (and on, where they can ship real volume without waiting for Negroponte to make national-level sales deals." Wayan Vota, OLPC News, May 27, 2010 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment] [Tweet]

Prop Up the Revolution
Alan Levine wants you to join the (not so) secret revolution. Alan Levine, CogDogBlog, May 27, 2010 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment] [Tweet]

RSA Animate - Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us
I have a whole new appreciation for Daniel Pink, and I just love this RSAnimate video of his talk. The premise is (as outlined in another link, below) that research shows that financial incentives, while they may work for menial tasks, do not work for higher level cognitive tasks. In fact, increasing the financial incentive makes the result worse! What people in fact want are autonomy, mastery and purpose. Now, if this is true, consider what it says about some longstanding arguments. Like, we should pay teachers who perform better. According to the research, performance pay will hurt performance. Or how about the old canard that we have to pay CEOs and presidents huge salaries in order to attract top performers. Again, if the research is right, this will result in worse performance. And - doesn't it seem, after watching our corporate leaders in action, that this is the case? Anyhow, don't miss this video - it is beautifully animated and compelling to watch. 10 minutes, 48 seconds. Related: Deborah Meier: Good schooling is built on respect. Daniel Pink - RSAnimate, YouTube, May 27, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

BECTA Closure – Blog round-up
This post collects links related to the Becta closure and has some great insight in the comments. Worthy of note is the last comment, which says, in part, "The issues which confront us in British Education will make the loss of Becta soon seem like a gnat bite." I think this is true, and moreover, I think this is something that will impact the education sector in other countries as well. As Steven Horsfield writes, "We already have Harrods and Harvey Nicks education for the rich. I foresee John Lewis and Waitrose and education for the better off; Tescos, Sainsburys and Morrisons education for the middling classes with Asda and LiDL left to provide low cost education for the great unwashed." This will be a sad turn of events, but it is a turn of events fostered, in part, by the recalcitrance of the public education sector. Chris Thomson, Electric Chalk, May 27, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Hedge Fund Sees Big Short in Education Stocks With New Rules
A hedge fund is predicting a drop in for-profit education stocks as the tuition bubble bursts. The concern is that student loan debt, and hence defaults, are increasing, and that this will trigger new government rules tightening lending. For-profit institutions, which simply peg tuition rates to any increase in student assistance, will see a decline in enrollments and will be forced to reduce tuition, which will reduce their earnings. The same pressures will impact public institutions, which will have even less flexibility to respond. Via Michael Feldstein, who quotes from the article: "Until recently, I thought that there would never again be an opportunity to be involved with an industry as socially destructive and morally bankrupt as the subprime mortgage industry" said Eisman... "I was wrong. The for-profit education industry has proven equal to the task." Daniel Golden and John Hechinger, Bloomberg, May 27, 2010 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Stop The Presses: ‘Sunset' For Print In Five Years, FT Sees
For the Financial Times, the end of print publication looks to be about five years away. "As newsprint costs rise, digital operations grow their importance to publishers and driving delivery trucks around the place begins to seem anachronistic - printing on paper may increasingly look like just another cost that, soon, could be removed from the balance sheet." Robert Andrews,, May 27, 2010 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Very Important Study On Learning & The Brain
Larry Ferlazzo cites a study suggesting that reward systems do not produce high-level learning. "Using "points" was definitely effective in getting the class under control," he writes, relating the study to his own experience. "They received them for being focused and doing their work. However, I didn't think students started doing their highest quality work until they were 'weaned' off the point system and began to gain what (Daniel) Pink calls 'autonomy, mastery, and purpose.' Pink says that those are the three essential elements in generating higher-order thinking." I don't think much of functional magnetic resonance imaging, which is the basis for the current study. But I do think the conclusion and the analysis are basically sound. "A model-based system can learn about the structure of the virtual environment and then use this information to compute the actions needed... A model-free system, on the other hand, would only learn to blindly choose those actions that gave reward in the past." Larry Ferlazzo, Weblog, May 27, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]'s Kindle fails first college test
This is not a failure for Kindle; it's a learning experience, mostly. "As many as 80 percent of MBA students who participated in Amazon's pilot program said they would not recommend the Kindle DX as a classroom study aid." Why? "You have to flip back and forth between pages, and the Kindle is too slow for that. Also, the bookmarking function is buggy." That's nothing Kindle can't fix. There's more discussion on the Slashdot thread, where contributors also note that there are no used textbooks on Kindle, because of DRM, making them actually much more expensive for students, because they can't resell them once they're done with them. That's something Kindle isn't very likely to fix. Amy Martinez, Seattle Times, May 27, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Yammer Extends Its Enterprise Microblogging Offering with Communities
I'm still using Yammer inside NRC; I'm very impressed with it. Though the trick, of course, is to get everyone to use it - as always, my method is to model the desired activity and allow takeup to progress naturally. This post expands on Yammer, describing a new communities initiative. "Yammer Communities enables companies to create a new type of Yammer network that is not restricted to a common email domain. The Communities option provides companies with a secure, private, and separate space to communicate with their external business contacts." Bill Ives, Portals and KM, May 27, 2010 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Tabnabbing: A New Type of Phishing Attack
A clever phishing attack is demonstrated as an argument for more secure browsers. The attack waits for you to leave the page, then pretends to be a different page (like, say, a GMail login) and trolls for your credentials. Aza Raskin explains, "This kind of attack once again shows how important our work is on the Firefox Account Manager to keep our users safe. User names and passwords are not a secure method of doing authentication; it's time for the browser to take a more active role in being your smart user agent; one that knows who you are and keeps your identity, information, and credentials safe. Aza Raskin, Weblog, May 27, 2010 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment] [Tweet]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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