OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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May 13, 2011

Is a Well-Lived Life Worth Anything?
Umair Haque, Harvard Business Review, May 13, 2011.

Is the well-lived life worth anything? Not a dime! But I wouldn't trade it for a king's ransom.

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Journalist or not? Wrong question
Dave Winer, Scripting News, May 13, 2011.

In the big debate about whether or not bloggers are 'journalists', Dave Winer nails it. "All the people participating in the 'journalist or not' debate are insiders. They are all compromised. Whether or not they disclose some of these conflicts, none of them disclose the ones that are central to what they will and will not say." Does the same analogy and argument carry over to educators? Not cleanly. But there's definitely a sense of those who are 'inside' (executives, VPs, corporate honchos, marketers) and those who are not. Be wary where you get your news and information about education and ed tech (along with most other things).

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Nuts and Bolts: From Classroom to Online, Think Transform not Transfer
Jane Bozarth, Learning Solutions Magazine, May 13, 2011.

The title is the thing that really stood out for me and it alone makes the article worth a link: "Think 'Transform' not 'Transfer'." Just one problem. The author is talking about course migration rather than pedagogy. So, the point of the article is to say that you should 'transform' an in-class course, rather than to merely 'transfer' it to an online environment. For example, "Look for ways to capture the richness that a good instructor brings to the classroom, such as responsiveness, a sense of humor, interesting stories and examples, and immediate feedback." Well, yeah. But there's a much more powerful statement that could have been made with the same title: when you are teaching, think in terms of transforming students, rather than of transferring information. You are helping students become something, not acquire something. Sadly, that wasn't the point of this article. This "nuts and bolts" missed the most practical advice of all!

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Toward a Personal Learning Environment Framework
Mohamed Amine Chatti, Ongoing research on Knowledge and Learning, May 13, 2011.

Mohamed Amine Chatti's PLE article was submitted to and published by a journal that charges hundreds of dollars (boo! hiss!). But on being awarded 'best paper' by the journal the article is now available for free (download and keep a copy before the journal locks down again - you can find the link on this page (you'll have to scroll down, and there's no direct link, sorry). In the paper, you'll read that learning is personal (Tobin, 2000), learning is social (Lave & Wenger, 1991), and the LMS is neither. Then you'll read that PLEs are intended to support personalization, informal learning, openness and decentralization, pull and the bottom-up approach, and ecological learning. Chatti does a good job in describing the PLE framework (illustrated above) and some cookie-cutter class diagrams, but from what I can see his 'PLE' is essentially a reader with some social features.

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Let Them Surf
Sarah Cunnane, Inside Higher Ed, May 13, 2011.

Identity verification may continue to be an issue, but this approach would address online cheating. One way of preventing cheating is by saying nothing is allowed and giving students a piece of paper and a pen," she said. "The other way is to say everything is allowed except plagiarism. So if you allow communication, discussions, searches and so on, you eliminate cheating because it's not cheating anymore. That is the way we should think."

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Users lose in Facebook's smear campaign against Google
Jared Newman, ITbusiness.ca, May 13, 2011.

The interesting thing about the most recent Google-Facebook dust-up (an event that once again confirms that large corporations operate outside any sense of propriety or ethics) is that it shines a spotlight on Google's attempts to build a social graph for its members out of publicly available internet data. If you use Google, you can look at how it gathers this information to build your graph. For me, Google imports content from Blogger, YouTube, Flickr, and Google Reader. So the graph is pretty sparse. But if I used GMail, or if I ever told Google my Facebook or Twitter identity, a comprehensive and detailed graph could be built. Of course, Facebook says that (a) this is a violation of my privacy, which I interpret as nothing more than crocodile tears (Facebook concerned about my privacy? Puh-lease!) and (b) this is a violation of Facebook's terms of use. Which it may be. But a 'terms of use' is the starting point, not the final arbiter, in a discussion over what's allowed.

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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