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Much and rich info from Stephen Downes

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  • Benoit
    Hi everyone, Here is a very potent daily digest from Stephen Downes, for those of us who are into learning from each other. Benoit E-learning links and
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 9, 2006
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      Hi everyone,
       
      Here is a very potent daily digest from Stephen Downes, for those of us who are into learning from each other.
      Benoit 
       
      E-learning links and commentary by Stephen Downes
      November 8, 2006
      OLDaily
      Count me among those who doesn't like Firefox's new way of interpreting RSS feeds. Sure, I hate Feedburner styling. Still, at least I'm getting what I clicked on. The other option is to automatically subscribe to RSS feeds. Don't select that. At first I thought it was convenient. But twice in two days now I've simply wanted to see the content, not to subscribe - and Firefox efffectively made it impossible to see the content. Bad browser, bad. See also firefox, rss, xsl - from anger to apathy.[Tags: Content Syndication] [Comment]
      Heh. It's funny because it's true. ("It's all about community and sharing. But we told our venture capitalists that our exit strategy will make them rich. (Corollary: But you have to know someone to get into our conference/party.)")[Tags:Web 2.0] [Comment]
      A nice easy read, some good (and knowledgable) discussion of networks, and a couple of interesting observations: first, that "the enormous complexity of the brain depends upon such a balance or interplay between differentiation and integration," Edelman and Tononi (2000) and second, "the basis for the scale-free organization lies in a positive feedback system," which of course OI knew but hadn't quite thought of in exactly that way before (because it implies that scale-free organization can be undermined (as it should be) via negative feedback. I know nothing about the origins of this paper, it being a reference to a Geocities site in an email that was cc'd to me last May (yes, I'm cleaning out my email).[Tags: Networks] [Comment]
      Interesting. "Ability and talent should not be viewed as constructs possessed by individuals but, instead, as sets of relations that are actualized through dynamic transactions... classrooms should not be considered merely as the sites where talent development takes place, but should actually be conceptualized as the context for a specific cultural milieu through which students develop understandings of what constitutes a talented interaction."

      See also: Principles of Self-Organization: "An ecological model, or a model based on a relational ontology, grounded in current principles of self-organizing or spontaneously ordered systems, contextualizes (ecologizes) the learning situation and not only better captures the world as it is, but, we suggest, also dramatically potentiates the learner-facilitator interaction." Note that I am not the only one to talk about Boltzmann systems in this context. More from Sasha Barab (who really needs an RSS feed). Thanks, Sean, for the link.[Tags: Online Learning, Research, Semantic Web, Interaction, Ontologies] [Comment]
      George Siemens has now officially launched his book, Knowing Knowledge. The link above is to the website, which contains links to colour versions of the images, the print-on-demand version, the community, and the rest of the clutter that accompanies a publication release these days. But you can go straight to the book (PDF) from here. Kudos to George for release his book as free and open content (more than a few in our field recently have gfone the traditional closed-door approach to publication, violating the very principles they advocate in their texts).

      There's a lot to like in the book, and Siemens's understanding of knowledge and learning shares a lot in common with my own. It is, of course, the differences that perplex me. Like, why he would write a book for business leaders. Or, why he insists on objectivity within a relativist epistemology. Or why, whenever he is challenged by orthodoxy, he gives up - there's always "a place" for things like hierarchy, formal learning, centralization, according to Siemens. Still, I like much much more in this book than I don't like, and the payoff for fuzziness and flexibility is likely to be broader acceptance, making my discomfit moot.

      Also, see Siemens's presentation at the University of Manitoba yesterday (MP3 audio and PowerPoint slides) on social technologies.[Tags: Books and eBooks, Open Content, Podcasting] [Comment]
      In response to this discussion paper promoting Web 2.0 approaches to learning, prepared for the Campus 2020 process in British Columbia, the faculty associations responded with this criticism, attacking the document for its boosterism and noting that "Instead of basing their prescriptions on any critical analysis of what is working or not working in e-learning in British Columbia they describe what constitutes a catalog of technocrati hopes and dreams." The Faculty Associations are correct; the paper does go overboard, especially when it says Web 2.0 training should be "required". But by attacking a specific document they mask the impotence of their own thinking. It is tempting to compare the Faculty Associations' calls for further study to those of the global warming sceptics. When they write, "efficient and effectiv e use of e-learning and its digital resources can only be properly brought about if properly studied, analyzed and reported on before being implemented on a wide scale," it is as though they had not lived through the last ten years. Come on now, let's move foreward.[Tags: Online Learning, Web 2.0] [Comment]
      Have a look at this. It was created usingBlender, "a free program used for modelling, rendering three-dimensional graphics and animations, and interactive 3D applications," and the VLC media Player. Blender is cross-platform, as is VLC. This link explains how it was recorded.[Tags: ] [Comment]
      If you want to read about the incursion of totalitarianism into learning, you will want to read about 'The Device': "The device includes a camera, microphone, and biometric reader (finger scan), the device software evaluates input and compares to a pre-set threshold for sound and movement, excessive movement or noise activates the camera and microphone." The shiny sphere looks oh so cool, and at just $115 (paid by the student, of course) a pop, it brings you into the world of 1984 faster than you can say 2+2=5. Of course, as Barry Dahl says, "if someone is committed to cheating, then even the sledgehammer approach of THE DEVICE probably won't stop them."[Tags:Cool, Cheating and Plagiarism] [Comment]
      The enthusiasm is palpable on this page as the author describes podcasting, links to coverage and success stories, offers curriculum and class plan ideas, and outline the (free) technology needed to make it happen. Via Lucy Gray.[Tags: Podcasting] [Comment]

      Threads

      Hm. Are the discussions focused on the instructor? That is a good question. My sense is what I'm wrestling with is with the participant - be that in a classroom our out to the farthest, unseeable boundaries of the network. The actor. The player in the cosmic play of life (which for me means learning!) Second wave adoption right now has a particular bend to it. We have those born into the networked age and those who saw it form up. Once we get past us oldies, the dynamics of second wave adoption will shift again, until there is another jump in things, like the jump we experiened with the www. I suppose it is cyclic and someone with a good sense of history should be able to speak to that. As a practitioner, the thing I run in to all the time is the rub between the amazing early adopters (and those of us just a step or two behind) and those who are watching them (or who are being preached to, and I'm afraid we're all guilty of that at some level.) There is a comprehension gap. For example, in the non profit/NGO world where these tools to support horizontal learning and doing can be SO USEFUL, we run into mindsets that are grounded in vertical organizations. We need ways to talk about this, to see the possibilities as the two find a way to live together in this transition: to deal creatively with the tensions of change. The reason this is important, and prkobably why talkng with teachers and others is that like it or not, they represent a form of power. They are not the ONLY audience, nor are they the primary audience for many of us. But to ignore them is to ignore them at our own peril. Change is systemic. The catalysts may come from one corner or the other, but by "bringing the whole system into the room" we may have a more creative and generative way of moving forward together. Oh dear. I stepped on the the soap box. I'm going to go back and reflect on this more on my blog. Thanks for raising (at least in my mind) the question of focus. Really important and USEFUL! Nancy Whitehttp://www.fullcirc.com/weblog /onfacblog.htm0 Replies
      Copyright 2006 Stephen Downes, National Research Council Canada
      This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
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