Miscellaneous

Give Teachers Credit: They Know Learning Is Social

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 06/24/2017 - 12:00

Brad Spirrison, EdSurge, Jun 25, 2017

This post in EdSurge reads like they said "yes" to one of those emails offering free articles for their website. It has nothing to do with whether learning is social (aside from ridiculous statements like "the ability to harness ideas they learn from peers") and is mostly a   paean to the poisonous startup culture: "As more individuals organically buy into the movement, a second layer of investors, opportunists and outright charlatans get involved...  This is also a very good thing. Railroads, telephone networks and the internet could not have been built without financial and emotional excess." Ridiculous. The scammers and charlatans aren't builders. They're parasites. I think EdSurge would do best to keep its distancce from them.

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Will Free Community College Really Help Low-Income Students?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 06/24/2017 - 11:38

Kate Schwass, Education Next, Jun 25, 2017

Whenever I read an article arguing against providing a benefit to poor people I look for the hidden agenda, and in this article I find it in the fact that the author is an  executive director for CollegeSpring. We are told by Education Next that it "helps students from low-income backgrounds pursue college degrees" but in fact it's a test-preparation service. So why would they care? "Free tuition will likely motivate more low-income students to enroll in community college." And they don't need test-prep to do that. And if they  do  decide to go on to university-level studies (as happens a lot in Canada) their (free) college will give them a back-up career and much better prospects in their SATs. What we  don't need are test-prep services siphoning money from the poor.

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Relaunching E-Learn: A magazine and online platform designed for and by the teaching and learning community

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 06/23/2017 - 18:26

Laureano Díaz, Blackboard Blog, Jun 25, 2017

This should not be confused with eLearn Magazine, which has long been published by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and in which my paper E-Learning 2.0 appeared all those years ago. It is the  E-learn Magazine, a product of Nivel Siete, a Blackboard company. We read, "Functioning as a cooperative, E-Learn works with contributors to create and share meaningful dialogue, and action, around current topics in education. Topics and trends are determined by the community. E-Learn is built to be a voice for the frontline of education and technology — what’ s current, what’ s challenging, what’ s working?" It's supposed to be "an openness initiative" but I don't see any copyright information beyond the full copyright mark at the bottom of the page.

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Iris.ai

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 06/23/2017 - 16:45

Iris AI AS, Jun 25, 2017

The idea behind Iris.ai is that you provide it with the URL of a research paper and it provides you with a set or related papers (from a database of 60 million open access papers)   organized by category. For example, I gave it New Models of Open and Distributed Learning and got 259  related papers grouped  by concept.Some of them  didn't relate directly. Now, given that it didn't ask me to log in, I assume you will get the same results I did. Which raises the question: does the content of a research paper (or anything, actually) determine the best set of associated resources? Probably not. I think that the  easy AI  question is to associate things based on their properties. That's where we get algorithms like Nearest Neighbor (NN) and the like. But the  hard AI  question is to associate things based on the already existing set of associations (for example, the fact that I've already read such-and-such a paper, or the fact that George cited it in a paper he wrote in 2014, etc).

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Why EdTech Sucks

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 06/23/2017 - 15:24

Graham Brown-Martin, Learning {Re}imagined, Jun 25, 2017

Over the last few months Graham Brown-Martin has authored a number of posts critical of the existing education technology (edtech) industry, and it's hard to disagree with his core points. "EdTech today doesn’ t really exist," he writes. "At best it’ s just education using modern appliances but at worst it’ s focus is the reductive standardisation of teaching and learning to 'teacher-proof'  content distribution and testing...  EdTech as a thing has been hijacked and whilst there has been a period of more investment than at any time I can remember this hasn’ t been matched by a commensurate increase in innovation." I think this is true. And while I wouldn't say there is  no  edtech any more, I think it's harder and harder to find in and among those vendors who treat education as a search problem and technology as a way to force people to ingest the right content.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

The Future of Social Learning: A Novel Approach to Connectivism

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 06/23/2017 - 15:02

Holm Smidt, Matsu Thornton, Kaveh Abhari, Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences , Jun 25, 2017

This is an interesting paper seeking to extend and apply connectivism. If I were picky I would complain about the interpretation of connectivism (for example: I don't think it's really true that "Connectivism largely treats technology as a tool independent from its context and its users." But no matter. I like the way the authors define three pillars of the learning model (learning process, learninmg content and learning environment). And I think this is a classic implementation of ARRFF: "(a) find information for hands-on assembly and installation of IoT devices; (b) agglomerate and visualize data for student-initiated reasoning on local energy challenges with the aid of mathematics and data science; (b) simulate, and examine different strategies for reduced energy consumption and improved classroom comfort; (c) discuss and collaborate on strategies using the online platform."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

US court grants Elsevier millions in damages from Sci-Hub

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 06/23/2017 - 14:08

Quirin Schiermeier, Nature, Jun 25, 2017

Most of this is not at all surprising. But I want to raise one point.  “ Sci-Hub is obviously illegal,” says structural biologist Stephen Curry at Imperial College London in the United Kingdom. And so "A New York district court awarded Elsevier US$15 million in damages." But if Sci-Hub is "obviously illegal" then why is the case being ehard in the United States. Elsevier is Dutch; Sci-Hub is Russian. If it's so  obviously  illegal, why wasn't the case heard in, say, Moscow?

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Drive to get children back to school failing worldwide

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 06/23/2017 - 11:44

Rebecca Ratcliffe, The Guardian, Jun 25, 2017

This article reports on a UNESCO position paper (16 page PDF) asserting that the number of children not in school is remaining steady. "The effort to get more children into school is grinding to a halt as the numbers are stagnating, according to a new report that warns of grave consequences for world poverty... At the moment, children from the poorest 20% of families are eight times as likely to be out of school as those from the richest 20% in lower-middle-income countries."

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Preparation for Open Ed SIG webinar on shared values of the open community

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 06/23/2017 - 11:26

Teresa MacKinnon, JISC Open Ed Sig, Jun 25, 2017

In view of the conflicts between open education communities in recent months JISC's  Open Ed Sig is planning a webinar. "Currently we are focussing on trying to facilitate discussions between the various manifestations of OPEN," they write, "and we have started to visualise this through this open padlet. Simply sign in to it if you would like to add your community to the collection. We would like to host a webinar which has representatives from as many of these communities as possible in order to share a discussion about the underlying shared values of OPEN." I would participate, but I'm not a community. I'm a presence.

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New Study Shows the Impact of PBL on Student Achievement

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 06:32

Nell K. Duke, Anne-Lise Halvorsen, Edutopia, Jun 24, 2017

When I was in school my favourite and most impactful learning was project-based learning. So I've had a soft spot for it ever since. This post reports on "a large study of the effects of PBL on social studies and some aspects of literacy achievement in second-grade classrooms [called]  Project PLACE: A Project Approach to Literacy and Civic Engagement." Of course, project-based learning can work in all schools, not just  high-poverty schools. I would resist (where the authors do not) classifying PBL as a means of catching up to high Socio-Economic Status (SES) schools.

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Accenture and Microsoft give millions of refugees digital IDs

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 06:26

BBC News, Jun 24, 2017

I have nothing against digital identities (provided we can have more than one of them, and provided we can choose our own usernames and email addresses). But this practoce of experimenting with new technology on disaster victms should stop. If the leaders of finance and digital commerce want us to adopt a practice, let them try it out on themselves first. Let's use the 'official documentation' to py open bank records and overseas accounts before we use it to make sure refugees aren't getting double rations.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Micro Learning in the Workplace and How to Avoid Getting Fooled by Micro Instructionists

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 06:11

Christian Glahn, LO-F.AT, Jun 24, 2017

"This post," writes Christian Glahn, "is a response to  Mirjam Neelen and Paul Kirschner's post  that comes with a lot of references but leaves out the most important aspects of micro learning and argues that micro learning is a meaningless concept. " The Neelen-Kirschener post also contains an actual photo of excrement, something that despite my sometimes-critical nature I have never done in a blog post. Glahn is careful to position microlearning as a learning strategy, to tie it to such concepts as spaced learning, and to insist on measurable outcomes. "Micro learning is primarily about the structure and the arrangement of learning activities as feedback loops," he writes. "The concepts of micro learning are useful to enrich the learning experiences and broaden the learning environment where conventional macro learning solutions are unsuitable."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

The Worst Approach to Teaching Students About Social Media

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 05:44

Connected Principals, Jun 24, 2017

A good comment from George Couros: "This is what is so hard about social media in education. If you are too intrusive, kids will block you out (could be literally or figuratively), or they will move somewhere else." P.S. he needs to give his meme-posts a second thought. Today's, for example, neds a good edit. He posts: "In education, our learning not only impacts our own growth, but the growth of others we serve." Too many words. He means: "When we learn, others learn." Fewer comfort words (like 'we serve'), but more punch.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

To study real thinking, scientists shouldn’t give easy tasks

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 14:54

Mike Williams-Rice, Futurity, Jun 23, 2017

I've prefaced a few of my talk recently with some  caveats  about models. The selection of a model, I argue, presupposes the ouycome of the research in which it is used. We have, as this article notes, a bias toward simle models. This has an impact in the design of thinking achines, and also in our understanding of thinking. Jumping from phenomenon to simple model to prediction is a lot more complex - and potentially misleding - than jumping from phenomenon straaight to prediction.

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Facebook and Twitter are being used to manipulate public opinion – report

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 14:19

Alex Hern, The Guardian, Jun 23, 2017

From where I sit, this is a case of the latest centralized news media being used for the same purpose centralized news media have always been used: to, um, educate the public. 'The reports... cover nine nations including Brazil, Canada, ChinaGermany, Poland, Ukraine, and the United States. They found “ the lies, the junk, the misinformation'  of traditional propaganda is widespread online and 'supported by Facebook or Twitter’ s algorithms” according to Philip Howard, Professor of Internet Studies at Oxford.'"

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Meet Matter Seven

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 14:06

Ben Werdmuller, Medium, Jun 23, 2017

Ben Werdmuler: "Unlike most journalism, these stories are two-way: you can reply to the journalist and have a conversation. And unlike most conversational platforms, you’ re always talking to a real person, not a bot. The result is strong audience trust and a loyal audience in a world where media companies are struggling to find either."

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Whither Moodle?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 13:57

Phil Hill, e-Literate, Jun 23, 2017

"The trajectory of Moodle new implementations (higher education degree-granting institutions moving from another LMS to Moodle as the primary LMS) is striking," writes Phil Hill. What's striking, of course, is the downward momentum, trending toward zero. "In 2012 and 2014 an astounding 76% of new implementations were movements towards Moodle. But we might be seeing a change. In 2016 the number was down to a still-healthy 49%, but for the first quarter of 2017 it is only 3%."

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A Model of Personal Learning (Take Two)

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 13:28
In his talk, I look at the daily routine of a personal learner, filled with examples and demonstrations. Tagline during the whole talk will be Connectivism, the importance of a Personal Learning Network and the ARRFF model of learning activities (Aggregate Remodel Repurpose Feed Forward) . To top this off, he’ll also offer insights on some newer technologies and his personal thoughts on the future of learning.
Learning Tech Day, Ghent, Belgium (Keynote) Jun 20, 2017 [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Innovation Starts At Home…?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 06/19/2017 - 06:49

Tony Hirst, OUInfo, Jun 22, 2017

This commentary from Tony Hirst is true not only of OU but also of every large organization - public secort and private sector - I have ever encountered. With size comes control. Here's Tony Hirst: "The OU was innovative because folk  understood  technologies of all sorts and made creative use of them. Many of our courses included emerging technologies that were examples of the technologies being taught in the courses. We ate the dogfood we were telling students about. Now we’ ve put the dog down and just show students cat pictures given to us by consultants."

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Autonomy, technology and prediction I: some conceptual remarks

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 06/19/2017 - 06:17

Nicklas Lundblad, Perscrutor, Jun 21, 2017

I think that the people who are all concerned about whether technology can predict what we want and will do have it backwards. Who cares whether it predicts what I'm going to do. I want it to predict what  other people  are going to do. If it helps me get along with other people - knowing who to trust and who not, knowing what they want and what they need (and maybe even what they will pay) - that's valuable beyond measure, and not just to corporations, but to  me  personally. Think about it. Via Doug Belshaw.

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