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December 5, 2011

Online Newspaper Software
Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, December 5, 2011.

I'm on the verge of starting a major new personal project that will not be a part of my work at NRC. But it will impact my work, as I'll be dedicating personal time to this rather than to online learning or other NRC projects, as I always have in the past. Over the weekend I attended an open data workshop in Fredericton (more on that topic in the future) and researched online newspaper publishing systems on Sunday. This is what I have for now - if anyone has suggestions, advice, etc., I'd be thrilled to hear it.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Books, Project Based Learning, Research]

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Blowing Out the Digital Book as We Know It
Tina Barseghian, MindShift, December 5, 2011.

files/images/Screen-shot-2011-12-02-at-12.45.33-PM-300x373.png, size: 124297 bytes, type:  image/png Right now people are thinking of eBooks as though they were like books, only rendered digitally on thinks like iPads or Kindles. This is a short phase that won't last long. Books are about to be transformed. Tina Barseghian looks at what Inkling Books is doing as an example. "Inkling is working on blowing out the digital book as we know it. Though the company started by digitally rendering existing print textbooks only for the iPad — currently, there are about 100 book titles — it’s poised to become a major player in the publishing industry. But rather than creating content, the tech company will provide the platform that can transcend any device, whether that’s an iPad, a Kindle — or even a laptop." Ah - but Inkling has a lot of competition in the space. Look at the interactive 3D model of the human body and its systems launched by Primal Pictures.
files/images/2011-12-04_130132.jpg, size: 23794 bytes, type:  image/jpeg

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Portable Computers, Books]

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Why Does Google Obscure Searches for Content Licensed for Re-use?
Alan Levine, CogDogBlog, December 5, 2011.

Alan Levine asks an excellent question. But more significantly, in this post, he explains how to find openly-licensed materials in Google search (even though it takes multiple steps). Google should fix this (but then again, since Google+, I've been noticing Google beginning to act against the open web, and that means against open content licensing).

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Open Content, Google]

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Five Ways The Open Web Can Transform Higher Education
Cathy N. Davidson, Now You See It, December 5, 2011.

files/images/ear.jpg, size: 121628 bytes, type:  image/jpeg Though it may still be in some doubt, the open web still has its supporters, particularly those who see its wider application for things like education. Cathy N. Davidson offers five ways the open web can transform learning (yeah, I know, it's a list article, and I swear I'm going to cut back on linking to those, starting tomorrow):
- Learning/research as Macroscope - the open web turns what used to be small-scale and private research projects into something much larger
- Code is Never Finished - and the open web can contribute to its ongoing evolution
- Ability to tell stories with data - which in turn requires knowing where, when, how and why the data were produced
- Forking allows you to mark the place of disagreement and get past it - there doesn't have to be One Authoritative Version
- Building Better Tools Together - the community builds better tools than do individuals

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Project Based Learning, Research, Linking and Deep Linking, Online Learning]

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Two Software Tools for Creating Simulations
Karl Kapp, KappNotes, December 5, 2011.

Following last week's discussion of simulations in #Change11 this reference to a couple of systems for the creation of simulations is apropos. The first, SimWriter, is an all-in-one Flash application: map, author, design, build, and test all within the same tool. Here's a demo. The second, also Flash-based, used drag-and-drop animations to create sims. Again, a demo is available.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Simulations, Online Learning]

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Complexity and the philosophy of becoming
David R. Weinbaum (Weaver), ECCO, December 5, 2011.

With the increase in attention paid to complex systems the philosophy of people like Gilles Deleuze is becoming more important. This is a survey paper intended to introduce readers to Deleuze. "My goal," writes Weaver, "is to present a viable case for a radical shift in how we think about existence as reflected through systemic thinking which is so foundational to the sciences." This is accomplished through the examination of Deleuze, and in particular, "the major concepts of Deleuze's ontology - difference, virtuality, multiplicity, assemblages, quasi-causation, becoming (individuation), intensity and progressive determination." Via Connectiv.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Semantic Web, Ontologies]

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Got Dough? How Billionaires Rule Our Schools
Joanne Barkan, Dissent, December 5, 2011.

files/images/8ce4c4a2d98d056f40ea000b90b26efd.jpg, size: 39507 bytes, type:  image/jpeg Referred to me via Don Tapscott this article is maybe a sign that people are recognizing the destructive influence of recent corporate incursions into education. "A few billion dollars in private foundation money, strategically invested every year for a decade, has sufficed to define the national debate on education; sustain a crusade for a set of mostly ill-conceived reforms; and determine public policy at the local, state, and national levels." It's not just that they implement the school reforms that they want to see, it's that these reforms transform public schooling into a lucrative business and investment opportunity. At the cost, of course, of anyone seeking to obtain an education.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Schools, Online Learning]

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Confidence Game
Dean Starkman, Columbia Journalism Review, December 3, 2011.

files/images/mousewheel.jpg, size: 26529 bytes, type:  image/jpeg Dean Starkman writes a longish essay in the Columbia Journalism Review, no doubt intending to emulate the form he decries as lost in modern online journalism. His argument is that the premise of citizen journalism, of readers as reporters, of distributed news networks, is inherently flawed, as it does not preserve the place of the reporter as expert and as public servant. "You can call it the Ida Tarbell problem, or you can call it the Nick Davies problem. The problem is that journalism’s true value-creating work, the keystone of American journalism, the principle around which it is organized, is public-interest reporting; the kind that is usually expensive, risky, stressful, and time-consuming." And if the present system did any of this in any great quantity, it would be worth preserving. But in fact, journalism, in its present form, is less about making waves and more about sending professionals to cover dogs catching frisbees. As Clay Shirky says, in his response, "many of those institutions are so mismatched to the task at hand that most of them face a choice, at best, between radical restructure and outright collapse." We face, as a society, the choice between the outright collapse of old institutions serving the public good, and finding ways to preserve their value. "When you see a metro daily for a town of 100,000 that employs only six such reporters (just 10% of the masthead, much less total staff), saving the entire edifice just to support that handful looks a lot harder than just finding new ways to support them directly. "

[Link] [Comment][Tags: United States, Academic Journals, Web Logs, Networks, Academic Publications]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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