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October 27, 2011

Social Network Technologies for Learning Stephen Downes
Stephen Downes, October 27, 2011, Instituto Cervantes, Providence, Rhode Island

Social network technologies are reforming the way we communicate with each other inside and outside our learning environments. In this presentation, Stephen Downes offers an inside look at these technologies, how they work, what they can do, and where they will likely lead the future of learning online. Downes will first outline some well-known technologies such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, describing how they are used and outlining how they manage online communication in general. He will describe and explain the design principles underlying these sites, and show how underlying web technologies such as representational state transfer and asynchronous Javascript are enabling the development of interactive online applications. He will show examples of how these services work together to provide interactive experiences and data management, and demonstrate how academic institutions are beginning to integrate their online services with social network technology. Based on these demonstrations, Downes will outline the potential of social network applications in the support of learning, and suggest concrete steps teachers and institutions can take now to improve learning using social networks.


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"Neil Gaiman Presents" is open for business!
Neil Gaiman, Website, October 27, 2011.

files/images/IMG_20111017_175800.jpg, size: 33227 bytes, type:  image/jpeg As somebody with a vision problem I may be biased, but I really do think there is a brilliant future for audio. So I am enthusiastic about this startup from Neil Gaiman, even if it promotes a commercial product. Gaiman's audiobooks project, as he says, "getting books I loved and wanted to hear that had never been audiobooks made as audiobooks and out into the world, with the best readers I could find, using Audible's ACX platform." ACX was launched last May. Now the Audible is owned by Amazon, and the whole Gaiman thing is a marketing campaign, of course - but I still think there's a bright future for audio. Via (oddly) Copyfight. Paid placement? As for the photo, Gaiman writes, "I don't really have a good photo of an audiobook being recorded to round this out, so here is a photo of my wife chasing a chicken."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Books, Project Based Learning, Marketing, Google, Audio]

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Mapping the Performance
Donald Clark, Big Dog, Little Dog, October 27, 2011.

My question to Donald Clark is: what is the performance is not equivalent to a series of steps? Clark, in his description of the 'analysis' phase of ADDIE, distinguishes between 'procedural' and 'rule-based' processes. The procedural process requires that operations be performed in an order, and can be represented as a flow-chart. The rule-based process does not impose an order on the steps, and rather involves the selection of actions according to goals, operations, methods or rules. But what if performance is neither of these? What if there is no mechanism that can break down the performance into correct steps or procedures? I ask, because I think many aspects of performance are like this. The step-by-step or rule-by-rule analysis is a rationalization of performance, an over-simplified abstraction of it for beginners, like paint-by-numbers, and not a description of it, much less a guide to how it may be achieved. I think the key to performance is seeing, is recognition, not analysis, and once you know what must be done, the doing of it is (by comparison) trivial.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: none]

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There is No Profit in Education, No Competitive Advantage to Better Learning
Mark Guzdial, Computing Education Blog, October 27, 2011.

Mark Guzdial realizes the sad truth. Here's a synopsis: "There’s no profit to be made by making sure that your best work goes to people who can’t pay for it.... What would happen if we could teach computing better?...who cares? The Elites draw students because they offer far more than simply learning — they offer a network, prestige, great ROI... Education research can only succeed in non-profits. It’s a form of social work... But Universities aren’t non-profits — they’re totally in it to maximize profit..." And he concludes, sadly, "I’m in the wrong job."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Research, Networks]

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Renewing our focus on open thinking
David Porter, Conviviality, October 27, 2011.

David Porter summarizes the recent event on open learning held in Vancouver. He writes, "Sir John Daniel’s speech (Public Money for Public Benefit)... validated the interest and commitment of audience members for making educational materials more freely accessible and remixable.... to confidently marshall our arguments in support of open education, open government and open data – in his words, 'to provide a common wealth.'" Porter's summary is a bit breathless and adulating, but the links to the actual recordings are invaluable.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Accessibility]

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Ultimate Battlefield 3 Simulator - The Gadget Show
The Gadget Show, YouTube, October 18, 2011.

There's so much agitation at higher levels for research on 'simulations' but the reality is that unless you have a big-time budget you aren't going to be at the leading edge of this field. Why not? Well, take a look at this battlefield simulation (as usual, military applications lead the way in simulation technology). With the use of innovative floor rollers, the participant can walk and move around. Paintball guns hidden in the walls of the 360 degree environment will actually shoot at him. What do you need to make one of these? "A pre-release copy of Battlefield 3... a team of top technology experts [and] the world's first, portable omni-directional treadmill [as well as] 12 paintball markers... a wireless gun system; ambient LED lighting; and an Xbox Kinect camera hack."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Simulations, Research, Wireless]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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