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February 23, 2011

10 myths from usage-based billing supporters
Pete Nowak, WordsByNowak, February 23, 2011.

The debate over usage-based billing (UBB) continues to rage in Canada, with the service providers claiming that the objections are all emotional, and with the opponents of UBB making the case with articles like this:
- Data is not a utility... the electrons that make up the data that passes to and fro over the internet are limitless and are not consumed and destroyed every time a YouTube video is watched... it is okay to charge internet users for delivery, but how is it fair to charge for consuming a non-consumable?
- In 2003, the average Canadian household spent $170 a year for an internet connection while in 2009, it was $340.
and eight more. Via Michael Geist.

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Personal Learning Networks
Will Richardson, VodPod, February 23, 2011.

Will Richardson video on personal learning networks. "We're trying to pretend that kids aren't creating and aren't participating in their own personal learning networks already. They are." Quite so. "We need to help them do that... we need to help them do that safely... ethically... and effectively."

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Patricia Kuhl: The linguistic genius of babies
Patricia Kuhl, TED, February 23, 2011.

How do people learn language? By sampling from the language around them. "Patricia Kuhl shares astonishing findings about how babies learn one language over another -- by listening to the humans around them and 'taking statistics' on the sounds they need to know. Clever lab experiments (and brain scans) show how 6-month-old babies use sophisticated reasoning to understand their world." Related: Gary Small, "Google is making us smart," he said. "Searching online is brain exercise."

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Nowcasts: Predicting the Present
Unattributed, The Technium, February 23, 2011.

What's happening now? That's not as easy a question to answer as you might suspect. Where are there flu epidemics? Where are people growing morw wealthy? Where are they buying toys? "Nowcasting is a term used by the folks at Google to represent an analysis of large volumes of data that can be used to "forecast" current events for which official analysis has not been released. For instance, using these techniques one can "nowcast" what the current unemployment rate is before the official unemployment rate is determined. Google also calls this 'predicting the present.'"

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Nicholas Christakis: The hidden influence of social networks
Nicholas Christakis, YouTube / TED, February 23, 2011.

This afternoon I played a number of videos recommended to me or produced by participants in the Connectivism and Connective Knowledge course - they aired on #ds106 radio (I recommend listening to #ds106 radio via the live stream in Winamp or iTunes or Windows media- stream URL: From this TED talk: "We're all embedded in vast social networks of friends, family, co-workers and more. Nicholas Christakis tracks how a wide variety of traits -- from happiness to obesity -- can spread from person to person, showing how your location in the network might impact your life in ways you don't even know."

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Creativity as a System
Gerard Puccio, YouTube, February 23, 2011.

Not sure where I got this one, but it's another of the videos I played on #ds106 radio Wednesday afternoon. "Learn about creativity as a system, which includes people, product, process, environment, and leadership. Speaker: Gerard Puccio, Ph.D., Department Chair and Professor at the International Center for Studies in Creativity, Buffalo State."

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Social media and research workflow
CIBER, University College London, Emerald Group Publishing Ltd, February 23, 2011.

As Academic Impressions summarizes this report, "A new survey shows that social scientists, humanists, and biologists -- many of them frustrated by traditional publishing -- are increasingly using Facebook and Twitter to share research." The report states, "Researchers are using social media tools to support every phase of the research lifecycle: from identifying research opportunities to disseminating findings at the end. They may not be the same tools, and they are certainly not the same researchers, but social media are most definitely making an impact on scholarly workflow."

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Week03: Connective Knowledge (#CCK11)
Jonas B├Ąckelin, Swedinbalchik's Blog, February 23, 2011.

Interesting video describing connectivism based on the discussions from last week's Connectiovism and Connective Knowledge course sessions.

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Critical Thinking: More than Words?
Ryan Bretag, LeaderTalk / Education Week, February 21, 2011.

"We hear it all the time," writes Ryan Bretag. "Critical thinking. We educators let it roll off our tongues with great ease and leverage it as a clear target of our educational philosophy, goals, vision, etc." But what, he asks, is critical thinking? Whe you press for a definition, things become much less clear. Bretag gives us a daunting chart of more than 100 concepts from more than 20 sources.

Looking at the list, it seems to me that most are process-oriented, either based on simple learning taxonomies such as Bloom's, or a wider range of "21st century skills." The different sorts of literacies, such as the visual literacy competency standards, pictured above, are similar. But I don't think simply enumerating a series of processes is illuminating (as Plato would say, you cannot define 'clay' by pointing to clay pots, clay images, and other instances of clay).

From my perspective, critical literacies consist of six domains of expertise (not merely skills or practice, and not merely facts or knowledge either):
- syntax - detecting and using forms, rules, operations, patterns and similarities
- semantics - sensing and referencing, interpreting, associating and deciding
- pragmatics - speaking, acting, expressing, declaring, asking, meaning, using
- cognition - description, definition, argument, explanation
- context - theorizing, framing, identifying possibilities, environment, reference space, ontologies and categorization
- change - relation and connection, flow, historicity, directionality, progression, logic, games, scheduling, events and activities, See more here. Each of these works across language, not just text-based language, but visual languages, metaphoric languages, and 'skills' generally - performance, simulation, appropriation (all of which are interpretable as languages).
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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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