OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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January 23, 2012

Computer Science is not Digital Literacy
Josie Fraser, SocialTech, January 23, 2012.

Josie Fraser makes a good point arguing that digital literacy extends well beyond computer science. "Not being able to code doesn't make you digitally illiterate. Not being able to participate in social, economic, cultural and political life because you lack the confidence, skills and opportunity to do so is what makes you digitally illiterate." I don't think these are alternatives - you can, after all, do both. And I would argue that being able to code makes you more literate. But the bit about being literate isn't in being able to code - it is, rather, in understanding some of the fundamental principles of reason and method that coding teaches you. But really, the rest of it - being able to participate in social, economic, cultural and political life - is rather more important.

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Evil influence? Only for your productivity
The Winsome Parker Lewis, Metafilter, January 23, 2012.

These are nasty nasty online puzzles. I'm offering them to you on Monday so you don't waste your entire weekend on them. Which you would if I sent them Friday. I will not be held responsible for the global drop in productivity that will follow this post. "Masyu, also known as Pearls, is an NP-complete logic puzzle created by the makers of Sudoku. Brandon McPhail provides a few free puzzles to get your feet wet on his web site (Java applet). Once you've mastered those, UCLICK Games offers a free daily puzzle (Flash) with the past month of archives available too."

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Creative Commons for Music: What’s the Point?
Bill Rosenblatt, Copyright and Technology, January 23, 2012.

Bill Rosenblatt argues, "Creative Commons is a burglar alarm sign on your lawn without the actual alarm system." I disagree. Creative Commons is a 'private property' sign on your lawn. It isn't about theft and protection from theft. It's about making a statement - or, in the parlance of the field, rights expression. P.S. while he says, "while there are code libraries for generating CC REL code, I have yet to hear of a working system that actually reads CC REL license terms and acts on them," he is probably not aware of my own published work doing just that, Managing Digital Rights Using JSON. Related: Umair Haque, The New Economics of Music.

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Students' math scores jumped 20% with iPad textbooks, publisher says
John Gruber, Daring Fireball, January 23, 2012.

I imagine this study isn't worth the paper it isn't written on, but Apple is reporting on a study that says students using the iPad to learn obtain increased test scores. "Publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt announced the results of its 'HMC Fuse: Algebra I' pilot program at Ameila Earhart Middle School in California's Riverside Unified School District... In its test run, the 'HMH Fuse' application helped more than 78 percent of students score 'Proficient' or 'Advanced' on the spring 2011 California Standards Test. That was significantly higher than the 59 percent of peers who used traditional textbooks." Here's the white paper (which I'm quite sure would never have seen the light of day had the results been different).

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Schools, Thomson Corporation, Books, Apple Inc.]

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Picnik and Other Discontinued Google Services
Alex Chitu, Google Operating System, January 23, 2012.

Many times I've used Picnik as an example of how the cloud works to send data from one service to another. Now I'll have to use it as an example of how Google is closing down the web. I know they have a billion dollars, but buying out services and shutting them down is not my idea of advancing the web. Yeah, sure, they'll add features to Google+. But they won't be available from Flickr, which is where they are needed. Count this as a big raspberry to Google.

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A is for Approach
Scott Thornbury, An A-Z of ELT, January 23, 2012.

Scott Thornbury is starting a new series on his blog, beginning today with "A is for Approach." It's an examination of 'Dogme' and language learning from (at least) 26 perspectives. "What is Dogme? No one, even among the Dogme-gicians, seem to be able to agree on whether it’s an approach, a method, a technique, a tool, an attitude, a lesson type or an irrelevance. And does it matter? I think it matters if people are passing it off as something it’s not (e.g. an approach), at least to me." As usual, when I follow one link, one word, I discover there's an entire community there.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Web Logs, Online Learning]

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Michel Foucault: Free Lectures on Truth, Discourse & The Self
Mark Linsenmayer, Open Culture, January 23, 2012.

I'm not really a Foucault person, but a lot of people are, so it's definitely worth passing along this information about open online versions of his lectures on truth, subjectivity, discourse and the self. If you are not familiar with Foucault, you should definitely check out his Wikipedia page.

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Copyright and the Right
Michael Geist, Weblog, January 23, 2012.

It's interesting that on copyright issues I have more affinity with the views expressed on the right of the political spectrum than on the left. As the National Post says, "Governments should not be in the business of propping up outdated business models, nor of blocking legitimate speech." How ironic, then, that legislation in Canada represents a sweeping intervention into the marketplace. "The government message to business is clear: with digital locks you get all your copyright rights plus you get to override consumer rights such as fair dealing, time shifting, or making backup copies."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Copyrights, Canada]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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