OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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February 28, 2011

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Library of Parliament reports on social media and gov 2.0
Richard Akerman, Science Library Pad, February 28, 2011.

Richard Ackerman points to a good set of short reports on social media use on the Library of Parliament site (number 4 is particularly substantial).
- Social Media: 1. An Introduction (2010-03e)
- Social Media: 2. Who Uses Them? (2010-05e)
- Social Media: 3. Privacy and the Facebook Example (2010-06e)
- Social Media: 4. Political Uses and Implications for Representative Democracy (2010-10e)
- Social Media: 5. Parliamentary Use in the United Kingdom (2010-11e)

Also, Government 2.0 and Access to Information:

1. Recent Developments in Proactive Disclosure and Open Data in Canada (2010-14e)
2. Recent Developments in Proactive Disclosure and Open Data in the United States and Other Countries (2010-15e)

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Twitter is just another bloody MMORPG
Dean Groom, Design for Learning, February 28, 2011.

Deam Groom nails the analogy in one. "I see Twitter as a game of sorts. Searching for #edchat or whatever #conference is on today is questing. Choosing to Tweet is not that different from choosing to chase down honour points in Warsong Gulch. Sharing resources and bookmarking what you find is a version of the ‘need' or ‘greed' mechanic Warcraft uses to get players to make critical choices." He also nails the theorizing as well. "It is haughty to look down on games such as Warcraft or non-game worlds such as Second Life, and not to understand their rich history. From Multi-User (text) Dungeons to the beauty of Warcraft and Rift, game-designers have mastered that which education hasn't." Perfect.

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OER university meeting -- History in the making
Various Authors, WikiEducator, February 28, 2011.

The Open Educational Resources University meeting that took place last week in New Zealand is now history, and this page provides links to a summary of the results, as well to UStream video recordings. "The meeting has commenced work on developing proposals for action relating to open business models, open pedagogy, open curriculum and open student support. An online follow-up meeting is planned to refine the draft proposals for action generated at the meeting including outputs, key performance indicators, milestones and budgets for securing external funding. This meeting will be conducted asynchronously. The follow-up meeting will most likely be hosted on the UNESCO OER community platform."

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Donald Schon (schön): learning, reflection and change
Mark K. Smith, infed, February 28, 2011.

There has been an increasing number of criticisms of Connectivism of late, such as this one from Heli Nurmi, and also as listed here by George Siemens and here by Jenny Macness. There is a seeming presemption from several quarters that the course is not open and that "participants are obliged to follow Stephen's way to think," which is utterly ridiculous (one person said that my commitment to openness was a form of narrow-mindedness, because I was unwilling to tolerate any more closed alternatives). Anyhow, the point of this link is the (again mistaken) supposition that "connectivism is something that those two active men have developed based on their own experiences," which is, we are told, our "theory-in-use" and that "this concept comes from Schön's ideas about reflective practice." So again we get the patronizing pat on the head from the 'academics'. Anyhow, for those (like me) schooled in less continentalist and more positivist traditions, this review of Donald Schon, who follows in the systems-thinking footsteps of Stafford Beer, is a worthwhile read. Of course, so is Why the Failure of Systems Thinking Should Inform the Future of Design Thinking. To reiterate my main point from last week: if you attend only to what I speak or write, and not also to what I do, then you attend only to a very small part of what I am trying to say.

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What Conservatives Really Want
George Lakoff, Truthout, February 28, 2011.

George Lakoff delivers an important insight into the politicization of education policy that has taken place over the last few years. Some excerpts:
- Conservatives believe in individual responsibility alone, not social responsibility. They don't think government should help its citizens.
- As the ultimate moral authority, there should be no power higher than the market that might go against market values. Thus the government can spend money to protect the market and promote market values, but should not rule over it.
- Thus, it would be wrong for the government to provide health care, education, public broadcasting, public parks and so on. The very idea of these things is at odds with the conservative moral system.
- Budget deficits are a ruse, as we've seen in Wisconsin, where the Governor turned a surplus into a deficit by providing corporate tax breaks, and then used the deficit as a ploy to break the unions.

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ALT Strategy, February 2011 to January 2014
Seb Schmoller, Association for Learning Technology, February 28, 2011.

The UK's Association for Learning Technology has released its strategy document for 2011-2014, committing itself to "be an authoritative voice on the place that learning technologists and learning technology" and "support member organisations to achieve their missions more efficiently and cost effectively," among other things. There's a solid dose of reality as well: "however, there is likely to be a major contraction of activity funded directly from government and its agencies, including a contraction of support for learning technology activities, as bodies lose existence and funds and have their remits more tightly defined. This retrenchment is not unique to the UK. We should expect other countries and partners therein to be undergoing similar changes, albeit to varying degrees."

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CoursePark Announces Launch of New CourseMarket
Press Release, CoursePark, February 26, 2011.

This is pretty interesting. CoursePark is a social learning environment that supports an online course marketplace and in-house or enterprise learning. It's what the personal learning environment would look like if it were marketed to the enterprise instead of to the consumer marketplace. There are packages for employee training and client training. Here's the website. Course selection is a lot like Netflix or iTunes, with genres, featured, new arrivals and popular coiurses highlighted. The courses themselves are simple page-turners with animations and quizzes built in that launch through a series of popups. I counted more than 1600 courses or course bundles available onsite. There are still some glitches - the popups wouldn't open at all in Chrome, even with adblockers disabled. And the system refused me permission to view the introductory 'CoursePark - Using the CourseMarket' course.

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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