OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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May 25, 2011

Silos of people
D'Arcy Norman, D'Arcy Norman dot net, May 25, 2011.

D'Arcy Norman says, and I agree, "We need a human-scale, non-technical way for individuals to manage their connections with other individuals, without having to hand control over those connections to any company to mine and monetize. It's not about content – it's about managing connections to people, and to the things they are doing." He also links to Boone Gorges and something called Project Reclaim, saying "by the end of 2011, I'm hoping to have my email moved, my microblogging federated, my own backup system on my own server space, and my computer running an open-source OS." The problem is, right now, all this is hard. And it needs to be easy.

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What if Twitter goes rogue?
Mike Ellis, electronic museum, May 25, 2011.

The web community, I fear, is about to learn once again the dangers of depending on a centralized service. These dangers are articulated in this post. The author notes three trends pointing to the coming consolidation of the Twitter business model:
- First, "Twitter made some changes to their API which essentially takes the developer focus away from Twitter clients and instead suggests a focus on data" (it also eliminates anonymous harvesting of the Twitter stream),
- Second, "they just announced the acquisition of Tweetdeck for an astonishing $40m,"
- Third, "they have just in the last few days started sending emails by default on all replies and re-tweets"
Together these point to the insertion of advertising into the stream, with it being difficult to filter or remove the paid content. And are you willing to "pay a membership fee in order to use the service... pay in order to not have ads in my stream?"

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Virtualisation and the cloud - the Eduserv Symposium 2011, a brief review
Andy Powell, eFoundations, May 25, 2011.

Videos and links to more videos from a recent Eduserv symposium on cloud computing in education. Andy Powell summarizes, "Firstly, that adopting the cloud (i.e. moving to commodity computing) is at least as much about changes to management structure, market competition and disruption as it is about technology (though I must admit that I don't quite understand how this might play out in, say, higher education). Secondly, that the adoption of cloud infrastructure should not be seen primarily as a way of saving money. Rather it is a way of enabling innovation and allowing things to be done that were not possible before. And thirdly, that the sustainability issues (for educational cloud providers) are at least as much about the ability to keep up with a rapidly changing and highly innovative environment as they are about price."

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Introducing the Open Education Evidence Hub
Simon Buckingham , WSIS Platform of Communities, May 25, 2011.

A new discussion has been started by the UNESCO-WSIS community on whether there is a need for an Evidence Hub to pool the Open Educational Resource (OER) movement's collective intelligence. From the look of the discussion, they are thinking of an automatic harvesting system, much like I've run here from time to time. "For instance, we are considering the parsing of blog feeds, tweets and listerv contributions, looking for distinctive tags which would enable automatic indexing within our classification scheme." Unfortunately, the discussion is on the user-hostile WSIS Platform of Communities discussion platform and you'll have to email them and get approved before you can take part. It, you know, keeps the undesirables out.

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Problematizing Critical Pedagogy
Mary Breuing, The International Journal of Critical Pedagogy, May 25, 2011.

The intent of this paper is to move beyond ideology in critical pedagogy and to describe practice. With a history in the work of people like Marcuse, Friere and Giroux, critical pedagogy strives to intervene in the deskilling or dehumanizing process thought characteristic of traditional schooling. But the definition of practice is vague even to well-meaning teachers, and "As a result, their emancipatory intentions sometimes translated into oppressive practices." This paper analyzes interviews with 17 critical pedagogists and finds conflicting practices and ideologies. For example, while many critical pedagogists identify as constructivists, "constructivism has no direct relationship with social justice." But for others, "Student-centeredness, which some participants perhaps oversimplified as constructivism, was mentioned most often as a central aim of critical pedagogy." The paper concludes unsatisfactorily, however, drowned in the question of whether an attempt to find a 'right definition' exposes male-dominated universalist roots in critical pedagogy, and vacillating between an opaquely objective and translucent subjectivist stance, neither of which strikes me as genuine. More articles from The International Journal of Critical Pedagogy, Volume 3, Number 3.

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dom3d: rendering 3d with CSS3
James Long, jlongster, May 25, 2011.

This is a clever hack using Javascript and CSS that would have been impossible even a couple of years ago, not simply because of the need for HTML5 compliant browsers, but because of the CPU speed needed to execute the Javascript. I'm not sure whether this will ever become mainstream (we never did get the 3D web) but it's a nifty effect.

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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