By Stephen Downes - Stephen's Web. Remembering CAREO
D'arcy Norman reports that CAREO - the Campus Alberta Repository of Educational Objects - is being mothballed. "CAREO was important, back in 2001-2004, as a prototype. As a sandbox for trying out some of these concepts. As a place to easily host metadata and content and try the repository model. From that perspective, I think it was a huge success. Without CAREO, I would likely still be saying that we need centralized institutional repositories to tightly manage resources. But, because of CAREO, I now know that we don't need repositories at the institutional level. Personal repositories are much more powerful, effective, and manageable". More...
By Stephen Downes - Stephen's Web. OpenID Is Not a Provisioning Engine
Having a single login ID is one thing. Having attributes - such as an email address, or list of friends - that you transfer from one site to another is quite another. I have always thought that it would simply be a FOAF file derived from the login ID - that's one of the reasons why I made them URLs, and not, say, unique identifiers. If a user logged in as 'downes.livejournal.com' then their attributes should be found in 'downes.livejournal.com/foaf.xml'. But OpenID does it as a request-response style interaction. That's way too much overhead for something so simple. I think that the reason this hasn't prevailed is that people want to control who gets what attribute. My response to this is: have different identities. That's why mIDm proposed to put them in a dropdown list in the browser. More...
By Stephen Downes - Stephen's Web. What Will Teachers Be Like in 10 Years?
The 'Future of learning agents' conference held Tuesday in Palo Alto, based on a map of future forces affecting education (see also information aesthetics and edu.blogs), has attracted a variety of comments. Steve Hargadon, one of the attendees, noted "that the characteristics that were listed for learning-agents in 10 years are not those that are the primary measures today. More...
By Stephen Downes - Stephen's Web. Top Edublogs - August 2007
Interesting because McLeod estimates the size of the edublogosphere to be more than 50,000 blogs. In an analysis of 3600 of them, using Technorati link ratings, he identifies the 'top 30'. This blog is ranked fifth, behind Inside Higher Ed, apophenia (Danah Boyd's blog), Weblogg-Ed (Will Richardson) and Education Week. The other blog comes in 26th, making me (I think) the only person with two blogs in the top thirty. So what does it all mean? In a word: nothing.
For one thing, I don't agree with McLeod's argument that "The hubs and superhubs are the essential connectors, the glue that holds the network together." The diagram he uses, from Barabasi's Linked In, is simply wrong. Wrong both descriptively - it's not what the blogosphere actually looks like - and normatively - it's not what it should look like. What we are more like, and more want to be, is a mesh, and not a hub-and-spokes network.
For another, I agree with Jennifer Wagner. "No one should ever feel 'not good enough' to blog." Nor should they feel that rankings - Technorati or otherwise - are in some way indicative of the quality of the writing, despite what McLeod claims. All you have to do is to get a bunch of your friends together, create blogs, link to each other, and voila, you're powerful and influential, at least according to Technorati. Or all you need is some way to give your blog an extra boost - perhaps you can hire writers, have a print magazine, or give seminars on a daily or weekly basis where you encourage people to blog - when I was publishing the MuniMall newsletter my biggest boost in subscriptions was from the booth and talks at conferences.
Don't believe in the myth of 'rankings'. These matter to commercial media and advertisers, people who are more interested in counting eyeballs than insights. Even were the Technorati (or Feedburner) rankings accurate, they wouldn't be worth the paper they were written on. Even the idea that there could be a ranking of 'best' bloggers is mistaken. More...
By Stephen Downes - Stephen's Web. The OECD Schooling Scenarios in Brief
So what is the future of learning? The OECD draws a few scenarios for us:
1. Attempting to Maintain the Status Quo
Scenario 1.a: "Bureaucratic School Systems Continue" - The use of ICT continues to grow without changing schools' main organisational structures.
Scenario 1.b "Teacher exodus - The 'meltdown scenario'" - Widely different organisational responses to shortages - some traditional, some highly innovative - and possibly greater use of ICT.
Scenario 2.a "Schools as Core Social Centres" - ICT used extensively, especially its communication capabilities.
Scenario 2.b "Schools as Focused Learning Organisations" - Extensive use made of ICT.
Scenario 3.a "Learning Networks and the Network Society" - A multitude of learning networks, quickened by the extensive possibilities of powerful, inexpensive ICT.
Scenario 3.b "Extending the Market Model" - A wide range of market-driven changes would be introduced into the ownership and running of the learning infrastructure, some highly innovative and with the extensive use of ICT. More...
By Stephen Downes - Stephen's Web. Paper Battery Offers Future Power
You have to admit, this is pretty cool. "Flexible paper batteries could meet the energy demands of the next generation of gadgets, says a team of researchers. They have produced a sample slightly larger than a postage stamp that can store enough energy to illuminate a small light bulb". More...
By Stephen Downes - Stephen's Web. Hey Web 2 Teacher -- Do You Want $100,000?
I'm not so ken to mention competitions, but this one - for obvious reasons - caught my eye. The MacArthur Foundation is providing the grants. "Awards will be made in two categories, Innovation Awards and Knowledge-Networking Awards. Innovation Awards ($100,000 and $250,000) will support learning pioneers, entrepreneurs, and builders of new digital learning environments for formal and informal learning. Knowledge-Networking Awards ($30,000-75,000) will support communicators in connecting, mobilizing, circulating or translating new ideas around digital media and learning". More...
By Stephen Downes - Stephen's Web. One Laptop Per Child, Reviewed by 12-Year-Old
Pretty good review. The author, a 12-year old with previous comoputer experience, puts the computers through its paces before writing. While satisfied with the programs and the usability, he complains that the computer is too slow and the battery doesn't last long enough. Don't skip the comments, as the (adult) readers alternate between being impressed by the review and not believing that a 12-year old wrote it. It's worth remarking (again) that children today spend their days reading and writing on the internet. More...