Miscellaneous

Where Has All the Learning Gone?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 06:00
Display


Rob Reynolds, The Learning Lot, Oct 20, 2014

It has been a couple weeks since the EDUCAUSE conference, but this retrospective is worth reading (and I was in Brazil so I can be forgiven for being a bit slow with this item). Rob Reynolds observes, "At EDUCAUSE, it seemed evident that the problem we are trying to solve is that of making our businesses -- our institutions, companies, products -- more successful." From where I sit, I think that this is probably the result of the withdrawal of public money from education - educators and technology companies look to where the money is, and increasingly, it's not students, it's business and industry.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Why Germany Is So Much Better at Training Its Workers

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 06:00
Display


Tamar Jacoby, The Atlantic, Oct 20, 2014

It is tempting to want to simply import Germany's successful apprenticeship training model to the United States, says Tamar Jacoby, but such an idea should be approached with caution. For one thing, the system is expensive - from $25K -to $80K per apprentice. It also depends on significant government involvement in industry in order to create and maintain cross-industry standards. And it is focused on blue-collar training, which is seen as second-rate on this side of the ocean. But, on the other hand, the system is flexible and effective, it is popular, and it trains highly skilled workers who produce world-class machinery. But note the attitude: “ German companies want to train,” one trade association executive told us, “ because they know the schools can’ t do it. Especially in today’ s tech economy, vocational schools alone can’ t prepare the workers we need.”

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Marc My Words: In Learning and Performance Ecosystems, the Whole is Greater Than the Sum of the Parts (Part One)

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 10/19/2014 - 12:00
Display


Marc Rosenberg, Learning Solutions Magazine, Oct 19, 2014

Marc Rosenberg describes what is essentially the Learning and Performance Support System (LPSS) we are in the process of launching here at NRC. He writes, "A learning and performance ecosystem introduces new capabilities that integrate learning and performance solutions into the work environment, where the vast preponderance of learning actually takes place. While training is still important, the overall strategy minimizes the need for workers to leave work in order to learn, reducing work disruption, and placing more learning opportunities directly into the workflow."

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Comparing xMOOCs and cMOOCs: philosophy and practice

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 10/18/2014 - 21:00
Display


Tony Bates, online learning and distance eductaion resources, Oct 18, 2014

Good post clearly describing the difference between xMOOCs and cMOOCs. "The early  MOOC courses had relatively identifiable  designs which still permeate most MOOCs. At the same time,  there  are two quite different  philosophical positions  underpinning xMOOCs and cMOOCs,  so we need to look at each design model separately." See more Bates in this post defining what a MOOC is.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

#1amconf, Altmetrics and Raising the Visibility of One’s Research

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 10/18/2014 - 10:00
Display


Brian Kelly, UK Web Focus, Oct 18, 2014

Brian Kelly looks at the range and effectiveness of systems that provide metrics for the impact of one's research, this in the context of summarizing "the first dedicated altmetrics conference" that took place in London recently. It's not a universally popular concept. This paper, for example, focuses on the promotion of papers by Twitter posts that misinterpret what the papers are saying. So the paper has impact, but not for anything it actually says. On the other hand, altmetrics are a large step forward from the unreasonable idea that impact ought be  measured only by citations in academic papers. Kelly looks at a number of  altmetrics systems that have developed recently, including especially Kudos,

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

An Exemplar Use of Lanyrd (and a Proposal for Creating Lanyrd Entries)

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 10/18/2014 - 10:00
Display


Brian Kelly, UK Web Focus, Oct 18, 2014

Lanyrd  is software specifically designed to help conference attendees get the most out of a conference. It does things like host event schedules and publish archives of presentations. It wasn't welcomed enthusiastically out of the gate - many conference organizers preferred to exert tighter control over conference materials - but it has slowly been gaining ground over the last four years or so and last year was acquired by Eventbrite. This article from Brian Kelly looks at Lanyrd anew, offering an exemplar use and best practices.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Draft Roadmap

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 10/18/2014 - 10:00
Display


Various authors, 4C Collaboration to Clarify the Costs of curation, Oct 18, 2014

In my email this morning: "The EC funded Collaboration to Clarify the Costs of Curation (4C) project is led by Jisc and includes the Digital Curation Centre and Digital Preservation Coalition among its 13 partners. Recently have been working with project partners to develop a draft Roadmap titled 'Investing in curation: a shared path to sustainability'." The glitzy 24 page PDF, which contains many pictures of money, is focused on six question documenting the efficiency process and "considers the actions necessary to achieve a change in the way that all organisations think about and sustainably manage their digital assets."

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

The Cargo Cult of Game Mechanics

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 11:00
Display


Steven Wittens, Hackery, Math & Design, Oct 17, 2014

Really interesting article and really interesting presentation. The thesis is essentially this: game design today has devolved into moneymaking systems that depend on "whales", that is, a small number of compulsive users who will pay to keep playing the game. This is "gaming as serious media." "It generally involves taking away choice, using scripts instead of simulations, with mini-games and quick-time events thrown in to amuse your hindbrain. It's tacitly saying that real storytelling, real human comedy or tragedy, can't happen while a player is in control. It's non-sense of course, plenty of games have done so before." The analogy with serious games in learning is clear, and I think the case is well made. See also this deconstruction of Chrono Trigger.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Could a Newly Launched Metaphorical Search Engine Really Work?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 11:00
Display


Neurobonkers, Big Think, Oct 17, 2014

I spent a little time playing around with Yossarian Lives, a search engine that produces metaphorical results for search queries. The idea is, you pit in a search term, it responds with a set of images, and you can select an image, give it a title, and add an explanation. You can then save your idea to a list, and view other people's ideas. I had mixed results, but some of the ones others have produced were quite good. Sadly, the service is really only useful as a toy, as the image sources are commercial libraries and any actual use could get expensive quickly.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Bricolage by smart people

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 23:00


Daniel Lemire, Daniel Lemire's Blog, Oct 16, 2014

I've argued 'Against Digital Research Methods' in the past. Daniel Lemire summarizes the same point nicely: "It is fascinating how we have a hard time dealing with the fact that R& D is in fact nothing else but bricolage done by smart people."

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

The 10K Hour Rule: Deliberate Practice leads to Expertise, and Teaching can trump Genetics

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 23:00
Display


Mark Guzdial, Computing Education Blog, Oct 16, 2014

This is a pretty good article, not only because it invokes the classic 'make a PBJ' example, and not only because it cites the  proper source for the 10,000 hours of practice rule (hint: not Gladwell), but also because it provides an intelligent discussion of how the rule applies, offers a telling argument against the counterproposal (that skills are innate and not learned), and teaches us the value of focus and reflection in learning. But there's a not-so-subtle shift from "people can learn" to "people can be taught" and an invocation of the  mysterious "power of a great teacher to go beyond simple rote practice to create deliberate opportunities to learn," as though no other means were possible to accomplish the same thing by oneself, or with the aid of friends, projects, life experience or software. See also: Practice Does Not Make Perfect.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Facebook’s Identity Authentication Is Broken

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 10/15/2014 - 21:00


Alec Couros, Open Thinking, Oct 15, 2014

Centralized systems eventually break down. In the current case, it's Facebook's identity service. As Alec Couross has described in the past (here’ s the original post  which outlines the problem and here is the followup) he has been beset with an endless series of people faking his account. "These profiles have shown up on sites such as Twitter, VK.com, Match.com, Christian Mingle, and most prominently, Facebook." And now, to add insult to injury, he writes, "while I have successfully had Facebook take down hundreds of profiles, apparently they no longer believe that I am Alec Couros."

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Is It Ever Okay to Make Teachers Read Scripted Lessons?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 10/15/2014 - 12:00
Display


Terrance F. Ross, The Atlantic, Oct 15, 2014

I guess that if the teachers were completely unqualified, and the students unable to read, then there might be a benefit to reading scripted lessons. But I think the benefits would be pretty minimal, and as critic Kate Redman says, “ Such an education is unlikely to spur the imaginations of the students or encourage critical thinking or social mobility. It is more likely to lead to rote-learning, and would likely leave little flexibility. There is no evidence it can serve as a permanent approach.” Nonetheless, such an approach has been taken by Bridge International Academies, a for-profit company that has has more than 350 locations and 100,000 students in Kenya. And if it's true that "at the only schools available to these families there was very little education being delivered," then this is better than nothing. But I still think (from a very distant first-world perspective) that they money they take from the system could be better spent. Via Doug Belshaw / Audrey Watters.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

The Battle for Beauty

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 12:00
Display


Peter Vanderauwera, Petervan, Oct 14, 2014

I don't agree with all of this, but I do agree with the core sentiment, especially as it regards my work and my reserach. "It was about architecture that had been taken over by businessmen, and artists not being allowed to carry out their rich hunger for beauty. A bit like Evgeny Morosov’ s fight against “ solutionism” , where the world is taken over by VCs and commerce in stead of asking the real big questions related to ethos and quality of life." Sadly, however, beauty has already been acquired by businesses and VCs. Books like  Lovemarks make it clear how they draw on human emotion to connect people to brands. So to me this article has the flaavour of wanting from humans what VCs and commerce already (promise to) deliver. There is a space, though, beyond even this, perhaps captured most evocatively by the phrase in Moulin rouge and reflected in my Moulin Ching.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Sir Tim Berners-Lee speaks out on data ownership

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 10/13/2014 - 21:00
Display


Alex Hern, The Guardian, Oct 13, 2014

According to this article, "The inventor of the web says data must be owned by its subject, rather than corporations, advertisers, and analysts." I agree with him, but I think the approach here will have to be technological, rather than legal, if only because I have no faith that corporations, advertisers and analysts will obey the law. After all, look at their track record.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Adobe is Spying on Users, Collecting Data on Their eBook Libraries

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 10/13/2014 - 12:00
Display


Nate Hoffelder, The Digital Reader, Oct 13, 2014

Another company joins the ignoble ranks of those spying on its users. "Adobe is gathering data on the ebooks that have been opened, which pages were read, and in what order.  All of this data, including the title, publisher, and other metadata for the book is being sent to Adobe’ s server in clear text." Here's a timeline:

"But wait," says Nate Hoffelder, the writer who broke the story. "There’ s more. Adobe isn’ t just tracking what users are doing in DE4; this app was also scanning my computer, gathering the metadata from all of the ebooks sitting on my [e-Reader], and uploading that data to Adobe’ s servers." Seriously Adobe?

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Can Scientists Speak?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 10/13/2014 - 12:00
Display


Karen Magnuson-Ford, Katie Gibbs, Evidence for Democracy, Simon Fraser University, Oct 13, 2014

I'm not sure what I can say about this report. :) Just kidding. I can say what I want about it (though I can't issue a press release about it, which I can't say surprises me). This report co-sponsored by an organization called 'Evidence for Democracy' and Simon Fraser University criticizes the Canadian government for imposing speech limitations on its scientists. My own division, the National Research Council, was given a score of 69, or C+, scoring most poorly in "safeguards against political interference" and "protects scientific free speech". these scores, which count for more than half the overall grade, seem a bit harsh to me. I think the report would have been improved had it looked not just at the policies in place but also the practice. The full report is a 24 page PDF; here's the summary.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

View From Nowhere

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 10/13/2014 - 12:00
Display


Nathan Jurgenson, The New Inquiry, Oct 13, 2014

Interesting article commenting on Dataclysm, "a new book-length expansion of OkCupid president Christian Rudder's earlier blog-posted observations about the anomalies of his dating service’ s data set." OkCupid is a matching site which posed questions to men and women and pairs them with their best matches. The data produced by the responses and other activities are mined for insights into human interactions. Nathan Jurgenson likens the approach employed by this site and other Big Data enterprises with the 19th and 20th century philosophy of positivism, which is the idea that the "world can be known and explained from a value-neutral, transcendent view from nowhere in particular." This is a very light and not altogether accurate take on positivism, but it set the stage nicely for a criticism of the hubris and ethical ambivalence demonstrated by big data enterprises.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Nigeria: How Policy Somersaults, Corruption, Indiscipline Plague Public Schools, By Educationists

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 10/13/2014 - 12:00
Display


Ujunwa Atueyi, allAfrica, Oct 13, 2014

I can't reconcile the hadline with the story, which is about Open Educational Resources (OERs) and Massive Oppen Online Courses (MOOCs) in Nigeria. Here's the gist: "When courses are converted to OER, they are delivered as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)." Which is an interesting (though not totally accurate) take. The context is a talk by Abel Caine on the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) conversion of some of its courses to OER. "OER would create a platform for NOUN to share their huge intellectual wealth so that other educational institutions within Nigeria, Africa and globally could use them free of cost, as well as with the legal freedom to adapt them," Caine stated.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Do the social sciences need a shake-up?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 10/13/2014 - 12:00
Display


Amanda Goodall, Andrew Oswald, Times Higher Education, Oct 13, 2014

This reminds me of the call not so long ago to reform the teaching of economics. Students in that discipline issued a  manifesto calling for the teaching of less orthodox (and hopefully more accurate) theories. In this case, though, the call comes from an  editorial in the New York Times from  Nicholas Christakis,  head of the Human Nature Lab at Yale University. "The social  sciences have stagnated," he writes. "They offer essentially the same set of academic departments and disciplines that they have for nearly 100 years... social scientists too often miss the chance to declare victory and move on to new frontiers." He wants them to move on from studying "classic topics like monopoly power, racial profiling and health inequality" and instead learn from Yale and Harvard and teach things like "biosocial science, network science, neuroeconomics, behavioral genetics and computational social science." But iws nomenclature really the problem? Goodall and Oswald respond, "What principally matters is whether social scientists are doing their job of helping humans to understand the world and improve life." And it's worth noting that institutions like Yale and Harvard have the effect of preserving monopoly power and inequality, precisely by closing discussion of these topics.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous
Syndicate content