Education that Matters

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 8 hours 34 min ago

Joel Westheimer, Canadian Journal of Education, May 25, 2017

The Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE) and the Canadian Journal of Education (CJE) have a bouncy new website, and even better, open access to their articles, including this one (15 page PDF). It's a statement-of-principles sort of article that speaks to progressive ideals and contemporary challenges. "education in Canada and elsewhere should always embrace certain goals unique to democratic societies... Students must be exposed to multiple perspectives and taught to think and to dialogue in the kinds of expansive ways on which democracy thrives." Quite so. Now - if only the site would get an RSS feed so I can learn about new articles when they're posted - oh! here it is - unadvertised and still under construction. [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Privileging an ideology of individualism

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 8 hours 50 min ago

Scott Mcleod, Dangerously Irrelevant, May 25, 2017

Scott Mcleod comments on Audrey Watter's post (see below) remark that "These new technologies, oriented towards consumers and consumption, privilege an ideology of individualism," replying that "how we balance collective societal good versus individual learning and life success needs is incredibly challenging." It's obvious that it's challenging, of course, but also, the distinction between 'individual' and 'collective' is too simple to be useful. In the past I have offered the idea of the network as a half-way point - supporting autonomy, but creating means and mechanisms to function as a community. What other models are there? Where are the ideas? Educators and technologists have a responsibility here that goes beyond saying it's "incredibly challenging". [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Education Technology as 'The New Normal'

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 8 hours 58 min ago

Audrey Watters, May 25, 2017

A few things in this post from Audrey Watters are worth noting. First, from Ursula Franklin, a wide concept of technology. “Technology involves organizations, procedures, symbols, new words, equations, and, most of all, a mindset.” Second, the analysis (once again) of the "new normal" in education technology. "What might be subverted? What might be lost? (That is, who will lose?)" And finally, what this new normal looks like: "Silicon Valley’s ways also include individualism, neoliberalism, libertarianism, imperialism, the exclusion of people of color and white women from its workforce," she writes, "Silicon Valley’s ways and Silicon Valley’s technologies are readily subverting the values of democracy and justice." Maybe - but then what? What do we do about it. We can't simply 'resist technology' - we need to be smarter than that. What's the alternative vision? What should new educational technology look like? I've tried to articulate a vision - and I wish Watters would do the same. [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Web Developer Security Checklist

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 9 hours 15 min ago

Michael O'Brien, Simple Security, Medium, May 25, 2017

In these days of multiple hacking scandals it's easy to suppose that developers should simply create more secure websites. But as Michael O'Brien argues, "Developing secure, robust web applications in the cloud is hard, very hard." This post will give readers an indication of how hard the task is as O'Brien offers a checklist of dozens of items a developer needs to check or ensure in order to secure a website. The best point is the last: "Have a practiced security incident plan. One day, you will need it." [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Don’t Let Personalized Learning Become the Processed Food of Education

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 9 hours 27 min ago

Michael J. Petrilli, Education Next, May 25, 2017

"After seeing a version of personalized learning in action recently," writes Michael Petrilli, "I’m worried that it may be reinforcing some of the worst aspects of standards-based, data-driven instruction. Namely: It might be encouraging a reductionist type of education that breaks learning into little bits and scraps and bytes of disparate skills, disconnected from an inspiring, coherent whole." All very well but he recommends instead to "teach a wonderful, aligned curriculum. Decide what novels, stories, and books are worth students’ time and teach those to the standards." That's not really better. It's still a form of education as indoctrination. You're still feeding them, when they should be learning to shop and cook for themselves. [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Barnes & Noble Ed Pushing Beyond Books

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 9 hours 45 min ago

May 25, 2017

Why would Barnes & Noble make a deal to bring predictive analytics services to universities? Phil Hill says Hill said it suggests recently acquired B&N subsidiary LoudCloud "is focusing more intently on analytics after years of being 'here, there and everywhere' in the ed-tech market." But it also represents a deeper push by the publisher to get into learning technology generally. Here's the vision: "Imagine that a system of collecting and analyzing data was created by academics for academics. You own your data; you don’t need to purchase reports or subscribe to a service to get that information. It won’t be sold to outside vendors, it is standardized, and you can, with relative ease, access de-identified data from other member institutions within the consortium for research purposes." [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous


Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 17 hours 26 min ago

Facebook, May 25, 2017

This technology, used already by Coursera and just adopted by GitHub, has the potential to replace REpresentational State Transfer (REST) as the primary language for Application Programming Interfaces (API). This is the way web servers communicate with each other when handling requests. The website explains the difference this way: "GraphQL queries access not just the properties of one resource but also smoothly follow references between them." In other words, it returns a set of data  types, and not just one data type. As a result, "While typical REST APIs require loading from multiple URLs, GraphQL APIs get all the data your app needs in a single request." [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Signs of a Ceiling in Online Ed Market

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 20:58

Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed, May 25, 2017

According to this report, "A new  survey  of online education administrators at 104 colleges and universities released today shows -- as  other studies  have suggested -- that public and private four-year institutions saw healthy enrollment growth in their fully online programs." The same is not true for colleges, which saw growth rates decline.  [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

The Tools of an HTML Email Workflow

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 20:52

Chris Coyier, CSS-Tricks, May 25, 2017

As someone who has managed an email list for more than a decade, I appreciate the complexity of email and therefore the utility of this list of tools. Chris Coyier runs the gamut from bare metal tools to CSS formatting for email to email-sending applications. I still do it the old fashioned way, with my own software, but that's only because I'm not willing to pay money to send emails. [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

“India is of crucial importance”: An interview with Jimmy Wales

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 17:34

Syed Muzammiluddin, WikiMedia Blog, May 25, 2017

Good interview with the founder of Wikipedia on the place of India in the world of knowledge and culture. India "is as big and diverse as Europe, and yet it is still one nation.   There is a steady rise in access to the Internet in India, but there are obviously still difficult challenges around access and educational attainment," says Wales. "These are difficult times politically... an increase in rhetoric against foreigners or 'others' of all kinds." And we (not just Wikipedia) "can be a powerful force for peace, if we remain a powerful force for facts and free knowledge." [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

All That We Share

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 16:55

TV2Danmark, YouTube, May 25, 2017

I've been listening to the recent discussion on white privilege (including a show on CBC as I type). Some of the discussion centers around a worksheet being used in local schools. It makes people uncomfortable, and as has been noted, it's hard to explain white privilege to a broke white person. Race is not of course the only sort of privilege (or lack of privilege) a person can experience. The discussion brings to mind the term  the term  baizuo  (白左), or literally, the ‘white left’, as it is used in China, "is used generally to describe those who 'only care about topics such as immigration, minorities, LGBT and the environment' and 'have no sense of real problems in the real world'". Me, I am less interested in the putative  causes of oppression (because pretty much anything - race, caste, gender, religion - can be used as an excuse) as I am the  effects - poverty, homelessness, injustice, violence, inhumanity, hopelessness. I feel we all have an obligation to those people who are oppressed for  any reason to help and support their personal empowerment, freedom and opportunity through concrete action. [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

College makes sense for the elite, but it might not for the working class

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 13:05

Joan Williams, May 25, 2017

While people in the lower classes are told that attending a   good college is the ticket to success, the reality is far different, according to the author. Getting into an elite college gets you in the door, but access to opportunities depends not on your education but on your social capital. Working class kids "don’t know the unwritten social codes of professional life." Interviews are "about passing a social test—a test of belonging, of holding your own in a corporate boardroom, of making connections with potential future clients." But the solution isn't simply to accept this, as the author seems to imply. It requires broad-based social reform: eliminating preferential access to college (by eliminating tuition and class-based admission policies); eliminating class-based hiring (by imposing strict merit-based hiring policies and an end to patronage); and most importantly, the development of social networks  everyone can join.  [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

New paint colors invented by neural network

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 12:55

Janelle C. Shane, Postcards from the Frontiers of Science, Tumblr, May 25, 2017

Do two people see the same thing when they see the colour blue? Probably not. And if one of them is a computer, almost certainly not. Computers see colours in RGB values, and humans... something else. That's what makes this story about neural network-generated colour names interesting. Some of them make sense and some of them are odd. But I don't agree that the rejects are uniformly bad. Colours like snowbonk, ronching blue, stoner blue and light of blast seem perfect to me. [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Canadians 'reluctant' to accept new police powers, prefer privacy online, government finds

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 16:31

Matthew Braga, CBC News, May 25, 2017

I think we already knew that Canadians expect online privacy and security, but in true Canadian tradition the government conducted an inquiry. They found that large majorities (on the order of four fifths) expect even basic subscriber information (such as  name, home address, phone number, and email address) to remain private, and they    a law mandating telecom companies maintain interception capabilities. There are also concerns that the government won't respect  their wishes. ""The Liberals promised to do this (to roll back surveillance allowed by  Bill C-51), and they've been in office for two years, and we're getting to a point where there's a certain amount of anxiety as to whether they're going to follow through." [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

The Internet Is Broken’: @ev Is Trying to Salvage It

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 20:48

David Streitfeld, New York Times, May 25, 2017

@ev is Evan Williams, known for co-creating such things as Blogger, Twitter and Medium. One sold out to Google. The other simply sold out. The third is trying to sell memberships. There's a nice analogy in this: "The trouble with the internet, Mr. Williams says, is that it rewards extremes. Say you’re driving down the road and see a car crash. Of course you look. Everyone looks. The internet interprets behavior like this to mean everyone is asking for car crashes, so it tries to supply them."  [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

New AWS Training and Certification Portal

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 19:59

Amazon Web Services, May 25, 2017

Technical Certificate programs have been around for a while now - long-time professionals will recall things like the Certified Novell Engineer (CNE) exams, for example. So this portal by Amazon isn't new, particularly, except that oit's connected to their cloud environment so that when they say yopu need "one or more years of hands-on experience designing available, cost efficient, fault tolerant, and scalable distributed systems on AWS" to qualify for an exam, they don't have to take you at your word. All of this surveillance is broken by ad blockers, though.  [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

These are the arguments against net neutrality — and why they’re wrong

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 19:38

Devin Coldewey, TechCrunch, May 25, 2017

I am unambiguously in favour of net neutrality, but I think that the strongest argument against it isn't any of the arguments listed here but the unassailable fact that the net is not neutral now and that therefore 'net neutrality' pits one form of unequal distribution of wealth against another. Today, because of asynchronous internet access, people cannot run web servers from their homes. Additionally, because of content distribution networks, professional content will run more quickly than private content. Finally, overhead costs and technology (for example, digital certificates) make it more difficult for individuals to offer online content. These all favour technology companies, but their dominance is being challenged by media and telecommunication companies who feel their advantageous position ought also to be favoured by pricing advantages. [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

From Pikachu to Patients: The Rise and Rise of Augmented Reality

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 19:33

Jeremy Miles, GP Strategies, May 25, 2017

It's an unusual "rise and rise" that includes a significant retrenchment, but that's what's documented here: "In 2012 AR, along with virtual reality (VR), was being hailed as the next generation technology to watch, with markets estimated at £600 billion (approximately $776 billion) by 2016. Today those estimates have been revised (reflecting passage along the Gartner Hype Cycle) to a more conservative $90 billion annually by 2020." Yes, there is a role for AR to play in online learning. But no, it's never going to be the whole. [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Toward an open empowered learning model of pedagogy in higher education

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 19:24

Shirley Reushle, Amy Antonio, Mike Keppell, ResearchGate, May 25, 2017

Relevant and realistic:  "The separation of assessment from learning could have significant ramifications for the outcomes of learning because a schism could appear in the alignment of the curriculum in a disaggregated model. Quality assurance of learning and certification of its outputs become problematic so new ways of aligning and assessing learning outcomes and arranging academic support for students will be needed." We've been gradually drifting toward this outcome, and when we reach a tipping point higher education will appear to have been enveloped in crisis overnight. 21 page PDF. Image: Patricia B. Arinto. [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous


Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 05/19/2017 - 17:09

Moodle, May 22, 2017

Academy, Moodle's take on a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) platform, has launched. It's in a very preliminary state, with one institutional partner (Dublin City University) and seven courses (or, more accurately, seven course placeholders, as they are in pre-enrollment stage). Announced last year, the idea is that it "will be a centralized MOOC hosting platform run and managed by Moodle. This is for institutions or Moodlers who want to hold a MOOC but don’t necessarily have the bandwidth to deal with the short term (massive) hit on their internal resources." [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous
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