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Informal Learning
Monday, December 13, 2004
I'm several weeks out of date. I found out about IBM selling its PC business to a Chinese firm only because it came up in conversation with a cousin studying in Latvia as we took part in a family feast of roast goose in Braunschweig last week. The only thing I remember from reading German newspapers is that Heidi Klum has a new baby and wants to have more. Oh, and that a 3 kilometer-long vodka pipeline was busted in Lithuania.

Twenty years ago, I would have read a few copies of Newsweek to fill in the blanks. Now, I'm turning to two sources: the Sunday New York Times' Week in Review and Stephen Downes' handy consolidation of education-related RSS feeds.

Getting to the Sunday Times, I noticed the current front page:

PeopleSoft, RIP

In Week in Review, I loved this item from an article on America's abysmal math skills:
In all but the most arcane specialties (like teaching math), the need for math has atrophied. Electronic scales can price 4.15 pounds of chicken at $3.79 a pound faster than any butcher. Artillerymen in Iraq don't use slide rules as their counterparts on Iwo Jima did. Cars announce how many miles each gallon gets. Some restaurant bills calculate suggested tips of 15, 18 or 20 percent. Architects and accountants now have spreadsheets for everything from wind stress to foreign tax shelters. The new math is plug-and-play.
A few paragraphs later, this:
In math, as in chess, countries that produce the most grandmasters per capita - like Hungary and Iceland - not only don't rule the world, they don't even rule chess. Sheer power counts, as it did in chess for the Soviets. America may lose math literacy surveys, but it dominates number-crunching in every sphere from corporate profits to supercomputers to Nobel prizes.
Aside from that, the week's events were more of the same for Africa, Iraq, the Euro, torture, social security, and the Times itself.

Edu_RSS is more rewarding -- and this is only a sample from one day's worth.

George Siemens eloquently describes a new learning theory for the digital age, Connectivism. In short: it's not all in your head any more.

Dan Gilmour is leaving the Merc.

Absurd blogging boosterism at Blogumentary.

RSS Submission Service.

Lilia has won an EduBlogger award for best research-based blog.

The Chronicle reports that plagiarism is rampant.

John Perry Barlow
unreasonably searched and seized.


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