Miscellaneous

LittleSis database of biz/gov't connections

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 06/29/2016 - 14:00


Jason Kottke, Jun 29, 2016

LittleSis  describes itself as "an involuntary facebook of the 1%." It is essentially a network graphic tool showing connections between the powerful and influential in (mostly Amercian) society. It " documents personal and business connections in the worlds of government and business. For instance, here's George Soros. And Dick Cheney." We really need an international version. The record for Canadian Prime Minister  Justin Trudeau is just a placeholder. So is the record for Vladimir Putin. The mnoted website 'They Rule' was created with the assistance of LittleSis.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Robots won’t replace teachers because they can’t inspire us

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 06/29/2016 - 14:00


Eric Johnson, Recode, Jun 29, 2016

I know a lot of people will want this to be true but it's not. I've been inspired by various people over time: John Lennon. Doug Gilmour. Neil Young. Arsinio Hall. Jose Bautista. These are my role models. These are (among others) the people who inspire me. Not one of them is a teacher. Ergo, one does not need teachers in order to be inspired. I don't think that the field of education understands, in general, how much of what it does is also done by parents, role models, friends, professional associates, and more. If the core function - to teach - can be performed by a machine, then the ancillary functions - motivation, inspiration, socialization, etc. - can be performed by everyone else in society. And, indeed, should be performed by everyone else in society.

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Import Blackboard Common Cartridge into WordPress

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 06/28/2016 - 14:00


Tom Woodward, Bionic Teaching, Jun 28, 2016

It's hacks like this that make the world great. What we have here is basically a PHP script that read a Blackboard-produced common cartridge (the URL is hard-coded and inaccessible to me; you will need to substitute your own), creates an array of resources from the manifest, gets the resources as necessary, and then saves them as WordPress posts. There's no guarantee that this script would work on any cartridge other than the one which was tested. The point is, if you create resources using open standards, people will find a way to use them creatively. Even if they come from Blackboard. Related: Importing Moodle  into WordPress.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Talking numbers about open publishing and online learning

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 06/28/2016 - 14:00


Tony Bates, online learning and distance education resources, Jun 28, 2016

I think I've always known this, but Tony Bates, who has a foot placed firmly in each camp, has the data to support it: "open, online publishing will almost certainly reach more readers than a commercial publication or an academic journal." FWIW  this is probably the one and only time I'll ever be lumped in with  Justin Bieber and  Donald Trump. Good plug for the BC Campus Open Textbook Project.

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Six centuries of secularism

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 06/28/2016 - 14:00


William Eamon, Aeon, Jun 28, 2016

Interesting thesis: "by elaborating mechanical processes and spelling out how things worked – in striking contrast to the well-documented secrecy of the guilds – writers began to transform the mechanical arts from personal know-how into scientific knowledge... The world of the crafts – like that of politics – lost its magic; it broke free of its yoke to the divine.... Because secularisation subverted the notion of cosmic and metaphysical order, the rise of how-to books sowed the seeds of a more open and tolerant view of humanity."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Brexit

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 06/27/2016 - 16:00

I understand the feelings of the people who voted in favour of the Brexit. They are Europe's Americans. The situation of the UK and Europe is in many ways the inverse of Canada and the U.S. And I would not vote 'yes' to a union of Canada and the U.S.

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Staying Human in the Machine Age: An Interview With Douglas Rushkoff

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 06/27/2016 - 16:00


Andrew O'Keefe, Singularity Hub, Jun 27, 2016

This is one of the better lines I've read today (applies equally to the internet and to Brexit): "What those of us unversed in Marxist theory at the time didn’ t realize was if you get rid of government you create a very fertile soil for the unbridled growth of corporations." Rushkoff, of course, is talking about what happened to the world of the internet he talked about in Cyberia. "Cyberia lay the philosophical foundation for the internet as an opportunity for a new kind of liberation. Rushkoff argued that the web could generate a new renaissance by birthing a technological civilization grounded in ancient spiritual truths. But a different story emerged."

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Remix culture and education

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 06/27/2016 - 13:00


Steve Wheeler, Learning with 'e's, Jun 27, 2016

This post defines 'remix culture' and what it means to education. It is a follow-up to an  earlier piece on digital literacies in remix culture. "Remixing is the act of taking previously created works or artefacts and adapting them in some way," writes Steve Wheeler. I woukld have used the word 'other' rather than 'previously created' because items found in nature can also be part of a remix. And as Wheeler says, even though some schools may see it as undesirable, "Remixing is a creative process. It takes imagination to adapt an existing piece of art or music into something new or apply it in a completely different context."

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Next Play for LinkedIn - an ePortfolio in every classroom

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 06/27/2016 - 13:00


Kathryn Chang Barker, LinkedIn, Jun 27, 2016

I think you can view this article on LinkedIn without signing into LinkedIn - if not, please let me know. Kathryn Chang Barker writes, "LinkedIn can and should be in every secondary and university classroom in the world, but it needs to add one more tool – an ePortfolio." I have no doubts about the benefit of an ePortfolio - or, morewidely construed, a Personal Learning Record - but does it have to be on LinkedIn? That said, the appeal for Microsoft has to be undeniable. "Already Sony is working on an education and testing platform powered by blockchain. Already Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerburg have produced personalized learning systems with algorithms.  Already machine learning is managing our curriculum and careers.  This is a chance for LinkedIn and Microsoft to create an innovative space in the middle of these innovations."

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21st Century Credentials: Telling the Story of the Whole Student

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 06/27/2016 - 13:00


Cali Morrison, WCET, Jun 27, 2016

One of the criticisms of traditional testing and credentials is that they represent only a narrow part of a person's learning. This post summarizes a discussion by Ryan Craig, managing partner of University Ventures, who made the following points (quoted):

  • We’ re beyond the ‘ take our word for it’ era – there is a loss of faith in the greater community about what higher education does.
  • Technology has changed the game – learning is ubiquitous and is pushing higher education toward unbundling the degree.

The result is an emerging picture of credentials that are at one more all-encompassing and more up-to-date. "It will take radical shifts in all of our systems – the alphabet soup of linked (or sometimes not) software that we use to track students fiscally, academically, and out into their time as alumni.È

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Making Sense of MOOCs: New UNESCO-COL guide now available

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 06/27/2016 - 13:00


Mariana Patru, Venkataraman Balaji, Commonwealth of Learning, Jun 27, 2016

From the intro: "The Guide is designed to raise general awareness amongst policy makers in developing countries as to how Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) might address their concerns and priorities, particularly in terms of access to affordable quality higher education and preparation of secondary school leavers for academic as well as vocational education and training. With very few exceptions, many of the reports on MOOCs already published do not refer to the interest and experience of developing countries, although we are witnessing important initiatives in more and more countries around the world." Here's the direct link (102 page PDF).

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Coursera pilots a new course format

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 06/27/2016 - 13:00


Coursera Blog, Jun 27, 2016

Coursera is launching a new format today. You will recognize it as "what we had before MOOCs". Here it is: "we will begin piloting a few courses in which all content is available only to learners who have purchased the course, either directly or by applying for and receiving financial aid." It may be time to rededicate myself toward creating a genuinely open-only course framework, based to a large degree on the work I did with gRSShopper. Of course, that will require funding....

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Examining ethical and privacy issues surrounding learning analytics

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 06/26/2016 - 16:00


Tony Bates, online learning and distance education resources, Jun 26, 2016

Tony Bates reviews Drachsler, H. et al. (2016) Is Privacy a Show-stopper for Learning Analytics? A Review of Current Issues and Their Solutions  Learning Analytics Review. The problem stems when individuals who provide data "are unable to specify who has access to the data, and for what purpose, and may not be confident that the changes to the education system which result from learning analytics will be desirable." My own response has been to focus on personal analytics, but this has been a hard sell. As Bates notes, a European Commission project called LACE (Learning Analytics Community Exchange). has proposed an eight-point framework (really badly) named DELICATE - it's described in Drachsler, H. and Greller, W. (2016) Privacy and Learning Analytics – its a DELICATE issue. From my perspective, it seems to me that a complex framework like DELICATE is full of loopholes, and therefore, no real protection for individuals.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Work Changes Culture

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 06/26/2016 - 16:00


Simon Terry, Jun 26, 2016

Nothing is more true than this. "Work changes culture, not words.... Creating new value requires people to do more than communicate. They must work in new ways." Simon Terry is talking about the future of work, but I'm thinking of work more generically, in the sense of taking action rather than merely thinking about it or talking about it. How many times have I met people who want to lead change without actually creating anything, who want to tell people how to do things without actually doing things themselves?

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Of OER and Free Riders

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 06/26/2016 - 16:00


David Wiley, iterating toward openness, Jun 26, 2016

David Annand writes, "Incentives need to discourage ‘ free-riders’ . Otherwise, a valid competitive strategy for institutions... would be to wait and merely use without cost the OER resources produced by others." Heather Ross asks, "Is the idea of 'free-riders' really a concern in OER?" David Wiley replies with an emphatic "no" and then, more usefully, takes Annand to task for his presumed model of OER production. "If our only model for creating the OER necessary to replace traditional textbooks is to spend $250k of government or philanthropic funding for each and every course offered at each and every university, there is literally no path from here to there. We need to enable and facilitate alternative development models if our vision of universal OER adoption is to become a reality. (It’ s no secret that I believe that these future models must be significantly more distributed and stigmergic than current models.)" Quite so.

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Part 2: Draining the Semantic Swamp of “Personalized Learning” : A View from Silicon Valley

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 06/26/2016 - 16:00


Larry Cuban, Larry Cuban on School Reform, Classroom Practice, Jun 26, 2016

Continuing from Part One,  covered here earlier this week, Larry Cuban continues his exploration of “ personalized learning spectrum,” as anchored in the tangled history of school reform (he says) and now subject to more recent developments. In a nutshell, "those efficiency-minded school reformers, filled with optimism about the power of new technologies to 'transform' teaching and learning, have appropriated the language of 'whole child' Progressives."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

10 amazing ways Blockchain could be used in education

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 06/25/2016 - 17:00


Donald Clark, Donald Clark Plan B, Jun 25, 2016

These are all ways blockchain could be used in education (though a lot of detail would have to be added) but I'm not sure I agree with the context. Introducing the piece Donald Clark says he created a Napster like system for learning resources in 2001 but "the public sector organisations just didn’ t like innovation and stuck to their institutional silos." He predicts a similar reaction to blockchain. "The biggest obstacle to its use is cultural. Education is a slow learner and very slow adopter. Despite the obvious advantages, it will be slow to adapt this technology." Why would he expect these new systems to work within traditional institutions? I did the same sort of thing in 2001, but by not waiting for institutional approval helped create the first MOOC. It is only after an idea is demonstrated that it will change culture and be adopted by institutions. The same is true for business and enterprise software. It has nothing to do with education or the public sector, and everything to do with large organizations and culture in general. Image: Cable Green.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Open Innovation and the Creation of Commons

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 06/25/2016 - 17:00


Katja Mayer, Creative Commons, Jun 25, 2016

Interesting article. You can probably skim the first five paragraphs, but slow down when you get to this: "Today, a broader conceptual framework for open innovation is embedded in an integrated approach to openness. It is a vital element of the open movement and should not be taken out of this context. Open innovation is transcending the boundaries of traditional knowledge production and fosters cross-fertilization of knowledge. It can serve both as a trigger for change towards openness and a cross-connector of multiple segments of the open movement."

 

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How to Succeed at Work When Your Boss Doesn’t Respect You

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 06/25/2016 - 17:00


Christine Porath, Harvard Business Review, Jun 25, 2016

Here are the recommendations (all quoted):

  • Identify areas for growth and actively pursue development in those areas.
  • Sleep, exercise, good nutrition, and stress-management help ward off the noxious effects of disrespect.
  • Generate more meaning at work by shaping your activities around your motives, strengths and passions.
  • Seek positive relationships. Positive relationships in and out of work help you thrive.
  • Thriving in non-work activities doubles an individual’ s emotional reserves.

Sounds like a plan. Something everybody could use to more or less a degree.

 

 

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Machine Learning for Designers

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 06/25/2016 - 14:00


Patrick Hebron, O'Reilly, Jun 25, 2016

Long post that introduces machine learning for designers. It requires a (free) O'Reilly login (sorry). People already expert in machine learning won't find anything new but I think it's worth the effort if you don't have background in the field.

"Conventional programming languages can be thought of as systems that are always correct about mundane things like concrete mathematical operations. Machine learning algorithms, on the other hand, can be thought of as systems that are often correct about more complicated things like identifying human faces in an image." There's a good set of recognition examples that illustrate this. It looks at biological models and deep learning, then discusses processing different types of inputs. Some of the tasks described include creating dialogue, feature discovery, designing, feedback loops, and more. It also looks at open source machine learning toolkits (TensorFlow, Torch, Caffe, cuDNN, Theano, Scikit-learn, Shogun, Spark MLlib, and Deeplearning4j) and machine Learning as a Service (MLaaS) platforms such as IBM Watson, Amazon Machine Learning, Google Prediction API, Microsoft Azure, BigML, and ClarifAI.

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