OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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September 23, 2010

Why Netflix Has Already Won the Digital TV/Video War
Paul Verna, Advertising Age, September 23, 2010.

Netflix has arrived in Canada and while I realize this is all old hat to Americans, it's pretty big news here. I signed up for the service in the first few minutes it was offered. To me, $8 or so a month is the right price to put on unlimited video streaming of movies and television. And I can watch it on my TV, computer, iPod or my (brand new) Wii. The price may seem low, but don't forget, I'm paying for the bandwidth, players and room to watch the videos in - all costs that used to be borne by the content industry.

Verna writes, "Netflix has placed newcomers at a critical disadvantage: The potential users of Hulu, Google/YouTube, Apple, and Amazon TV offering are -- for the most part -- already loyal Netflix users. And as long as Netflix continues to get the content licenses it needs to keep its users happy, their attention -- and dollars -- will will continue to go to Netflix."

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How to put universities out of business
Robert Cosgrave, Tertiary 21, September 23, 2010.

How do you compete with universityies? Robert Cosgrave writes, "If I wanted to put Universities out of business, I'd find a faster, cheaper way of filtering candidates for employment. Some way of tracking and assessing the true value of what a potential candidate has done and matching it to closely to potential employee needs." There are different ways of doing this. He suggests, "personality and aptitude test results [and] more domain specific education at a much more granular level than a monolithic degree... If we can unzip genomes and read from them useful information, surely we can unzip peoples life experience and map it to the right jobs and careers." And perhaps such data would be the common ground for education theory I've been wondering about this week. Food for thought.

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Integrating Sims into LMSs
Clark Aldrich, Simulations, September 23, 2010.

files/images/LMSSIMIntegration.jpg, size: 27793 bytes, type:  image/jpeg This mechanism applies to incorporating sims into things generally, and not just LMSs. "This core sim has an HTML wrapper. This HTML wrapper can but does not have to be the engine for the briefing and debriefing segments.... It is the HTML wrapper that communicates with the LMS, and contains the SCORM data." In other words, from the point of view of the LMS, or whatever application you care to name, the application being integrated is a web page (plus Javascript). It doesn't matter what the sim is actually written in - that can be Flash or whatever else can communicate with, and be wrapped with, the web page.

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Think Tank: Flip-thinking - the new buzz word sweeping the US
Daniel Pink, The Telegraph, September 23, 2010.

Karl Fisch is enjoying a burst of fame because of this article by Daniel Pink in the Telegraph a week or so ago. He is given credit for flipping teachjing on its head - "he uploads his lectures to YouTube for his students to watch at home at night, then gets them to apply the concepts in class by day." Lecture at home, homework in the classroom. "Call it the Fisch Flip," writes Pink. To his credit, Fisch puts the idea strictly in context and writes, "other folks are doing this also and, frankly, most of them are doing it better than I am... two of the teachers I know that have done the most work in this area are Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams – you might check out some of their work." Fisch also links to a series of posts related to the endeavour. I think Fisch strikes exactly the right note with his response, and exudes class in the way he does it. Well done.

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Connectivism vs Constructivism?
Graham Attwell, Pontygysgu, September 23, 2010.

More traditional educators and theorists have long wondered what the difference is beween constructivism and connectivism. Today we have two posts - and a cluster of discussion from PLENK2010 - addressing this issue. Graham Attwell takes on the issue from the perspective of a Sir John Daniel talk where he says "social connectivism trumps constructivism for third world child learning." I wonder whether that was a typo or mis-statement, because I haven't thought of Daniel as a proponent of connectivism at all. But hey, you never know.

The other post comes from Viplav Baxi, where he asks, "If Connectivism did not exist, would we still have moved to MOOCs and PLEs as they are visualized today (maybe under different names)? How would a Social Constructivist design an open course...?" I've learned to consider Baxi's questions carefully - look what he did for the CCK course. But I do think connectivism and constructivism are very different, and have different instantiations, and suggest (in the comments) reasons why from the perspective of that of sense-making and wayfinding.

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This is why you should use Internet Explorer 9
Sebastian Anthony, Download Squad, September 23, 2010.

files/images/ie9-logo-1285248862.png, size: 9494 bytes, type:  image/png Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9 is available and is is light years ahead of any previous version of the browser. The interface is beautiful and slick, the response time significantly better than previous versions, and support for new HTML5 elements almost seamless. But... I can't find my bookmarks at all (it only offers to save bookmarks to the desktop). OK, I could like with that. But there appears to be no 'adblock' extension. Well, I can't live without that. Back to Firefox I go. Until, maybe, I'm running Windows 7.

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Kno - the digital textbook system
Jane Hart, Jane's Pick of the Day, September 23, 2010.

files/images/product5.png, size: 206019 bytes, type:  image/png Kno, the digital textbook system, has caught the imagination of some writers, including Jane Hart. "Yes, it's a digital textbook. Yes, it's a whole new ecosystem. Two spacious panels. Touch-screen interaction. A fully-stocked store. Video. Note-taking. Sharing and community. Kno is everything a textbook was. And will be." Some of the commenters are less enthused. Mike Cosgrave writes, "In a word, No. Love the hardware, root it and sell it as an Android device and I'll be seriously interested. Can it complete with the Galaxy Tab as my current object of desire - not so sure." Me, I'm not sure exactly why they're touting the benefit of a "fully locked store." As though this is something I'd want?

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Why you want to focus on actions, not learning objectives
Cathy Moore, Making Change, September 23, 2010.

From comments on my post yesterday Tom Franklin recommends this post from Cathy Moore on why you want to focus on actions, not learning objectives. "A typical learning objective focuses on what each person supposedly needs to know, ignoring whether this knowledge will actually lead to useful action. Instead, to create elearning that changes real-world behavior, we have to first identify what people need to do, and only then decide if there's anything that they need to know." I think this is right, and should inform the design of our e-learning applications. Don't forget to have a look at the comments to Moore's post; a lot of good discussion follows her "intentionally inflammatory" argument.

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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