Miscellaneous

Our open Geography textbook is alive!

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 23 min 19 sec ago
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Clint Lalonde, ClintLalonde.net, [Sept] 24, 2014

In many ways, British Columbia is leading the way in Canada in the support of open content and open learning. Here we have the launch of a Creative Commons licensed geography textbook. It is focused on British Columbia, not surprisingly, but people outside the province may also be interested in the details  describing how the text was put together.

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Digital Literacy Is the Key to the Future, But We Still Don’t Know What It Means

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 23 min 19 sec ago
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Marcus Wohlsen, Wired, [Sept] 24, 2014

The best part of this article is the comment section, as the main text skips lightly through a fairly superficial understanding of digital literacy.

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Instant, simple video conferencing for free

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 10:00
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Matt Bury, matbury.com, [Sept] 22, 2014

Matt Bury points us to "a quick, simple “ How to… ” guide for setting up instant, free, 'no frills', easy to use, multi-way video conferencing and chat in Moodle for up to 8 people at a time." The site is appear.in

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A New Weighted Keyword Based Similarity Measure for Clustering Web pages

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 09/21/2014 - 13:00
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Shihab Rahman, Dolon Chapa, , Shaily Kabir, International Jpournal of Computer, Information Technology (IJICT), [Sept] 21, 2014

Long-time readers (really long-time readers) will know of my affinity for similarity - it was similarity that led me to connectionism and networks. To me similarity still forms the semantic basis for categorization, causation and other predictive events. So this sort of article, which outlines a proposed similarity measure for clustering web pages, speaks to me. And it's not a long jump from calculating keyword weights to calculating weights of connections between them.  More from the most recent IJICT, just out.

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Competency vs Time

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 09/21/2014 - 13:00


Tim Klapdor, [Sept] 21, 2014

I think it's a bit backward, but Tim Klapdor responds to a recent post by arguing that not caring about time is anti-student. "Who’ s time don’ t they care about? The students. They can take as looong as they like, why would they  care, it’ s not their  time and it’ s not their expense. I think framing competency based education  like has an air of  contempt for the student and the value of their time." I think his interpretation of the meaning of "don't care about time" is different from the author's original intent.

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Questions for UNESCO's Comprehensive Study on Internet Related Issues

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 09/21/2014 - 13:00
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Document, UNESCO, [Sept] 21, 2014

Your chance to influence global cultural policy. A little, at least. "From now until November 2014, UNESCO is asking for inputs and research around this global questionnaire on Internet-related issues in the four areas of access to information and knowledge, freedom of expression, privacy, and ethical dimensions of the information society."

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Educational iPad apps still popular with nine to 11s

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 09/21/2014 - 13:00
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Jeremy Dickson, iKids, [Sept] 21, 2014

The opposite of the headline appears to be the main story here - while educational applications capture the attention of those under nine, as they grow older they tend to shift to "more open-play adventure games, casual/social games and puzzle/creative games." Of course there's no reason these can't be educational games in their own right, but they're not overtly educational, and while the author suggests that some titles retain their popularity with the older crowd, it seems to be a losing proposition. Anyhow, there are some good links to popular applications here, as well as a number of top ten lists.

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Personal Learning in a Connected World: Learning and Performance Support Systems

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 09/21/2014 - 07:00
[Slides][Audio]

This presentation outlines the NRC's Learning and Performance Support Systems program as an instance of a personal learning environment. It situates this program in a context where education depends on the development and refinement of critical literacies, which are in turn fostered by the interactive and communicative capacities of the PLE.

Future of E-Learning Environments, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (Keynote) [Sept] 18, 2014 [Comment]
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A Digital Declaration

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 09/20/2014 - 08:00
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Shoshana Zuboff, Feuilleton, [Sept] 20, 2014

Interesting statement with which I have a lot of affinity. "In the shadow and gloom of today’ s institutional facts, it has become fashionable to mourn the passing of the democratic era. I say that democracy is the best our species has created so far, and woe to us if we abandon it now.  The real road to serfdom is to be persuaded that the declarations of democracy we have inherited are no longer relevant to a digital future.  These have been inscribed in our souls, and if we leave them behind— we abandon the best part of ourselves. If you doubt me, try living without them, as I have done. That is the real wasteland, and  we should fear it."

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What Happens When Crowdsourcing Stops Being Polite And Starts Getting Real

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 09/19/2014 - 17:00


J.J. McCorvey, Fast Company, [Sept] 19, 2014

I am reminded of the Oculus Rift, which  sold to Facebook after being supported on Kickstarter, after which the founding community felt betrayed. This is a similar situation. "Once upon a time, members believed they were the sole engine that makes Quirky run. In this new world, they are a resource." Worse, rights they thought they has as contributors have simply disappeared - by circumventing the usual process in designing Aros for GE, they circumvented the right of a member who proposed a similar idea to he heard, or rewarded. This isn't 'real' in any usual sense of the word, except maybe 'real' in the sense that money trumps rights, as (it seems) it always has.

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Games are serious business at news organizations

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 00:00


Benjamin Mullin, Poynter, [Sept] 17, 2014

News agencies are learning the same lessons as educators about engagement, including, for example, games. "We process, retain and share experiences differently than reports," Grace said. "Reports can be very efficient, but they may not have lasting impact. You can receive a report and forget the facts and figures, but an experience lasts in a different way."

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On the false binary of LMS vs. Open

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 00:00
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D'Arcy Norman, D’Arcy Norman dot net, [Sept] 17, 2014

I'm happy to accept D'Arcy Norman's contention that "We have a responsibility to provide a high quality environment to every single instructor and student, and the LMS is still the best way to do that." But I think he goes overboard i8n his defense of it, and in particular, I think this is wrong: "Any eLearning tool, no matter how openly designed, will eventually become indistinguishable from a Learning Management System once a threshold of supported use-cases has been reached." The history of "history has ended" statements like that is, well, long. And undistinguished. Sure, if you want to keep being a university and teaching classes and such, maybe the LMS is the way it gets done. But why should we believe progress has stopped with the model of the university?

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Protecting Personal Data in an LRS

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 00:00
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Ingo Dahn, Google Docs, [Sept] 17, 2014

More from the ongoing discussion around the formalization of the eXperience API specification for learning record stores. "These notes intend to contribute to this discussion on a functional and architectural level in order to form a basis for more detailed specifications at the level of data models, communication protocols and bindings."

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How to ditch Google for more privacy and fewer ads

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 12:00
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Derek Walter, PC World, [Sept] 17, 2014

The four methods suggested are: use DuckDuckGo instead of Google Search, use Firefox instead of Chrome, use FastMail instead of GMail, and use Zoho instead of Google Drive. But surprisingly, there's no suggestion of what to use instead of Google+! Via Doug Belshaw.

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Online university skips class to be more accessible

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 12:00
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Hari Sreenivasan, PBS, [Sept] 17, 2014

The show in a nutshell (transcript is below video): "Almost all of online education today is still based on the credit hour and the course. We don’ t have any courses, and we don’ t have any credit hours, but we have 120 competencies, and you can master those as fast as you like, or as slow. The thing that we don’ t care very much about is time. And that is such a fundamental reversal of the basic structure of higher education."

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Le 21e siècle

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 12:00
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Michel Cartier, [Sept] 16, 2014

I've only been able to lightly tough the surface of this website, but it is already evident that it is a significant achievement. It is in French. I'll let Jon Husband summarize from his Facebook post: "It looks at the history of signs, symbols, languages and images as used by humans to make sense of their environment and grow the societies in which they live, and follows the evolution of technology, economics and societal issues, notably through the past half-century, as our inventions and human population and the interrelatedness of our activities have brought us to a point of cultural mutation." The relation between this work and my talk in Pereira is evident.

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Learning and Connectivism in MOOCs

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 09/14/2014 - 21:00

In this presentation I examine the phenomenon of MOOCs as I see them, explaining how they result from and support an understanding of the world based in pattern recognition. The presentation is structured along the lines of the six major elements of the underlying literacies of network interaction.

Desconectado IV Encuentro Internacional de Investigadores en EducaciÓn Virtual, Pereira, Colombia (Keynote) [Sept] 11, 2014 [Comment]
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Umbrella Group Backs Unbundling

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 09/14/2014 - 12:00


Paul Fain, Inside Higher Ed, [Sept] 14, 2014

In the last year or so the American Council on Education (ACE) has offered to provide credit recommendations for online courses (basically, ACE would attest to a university that the work was worth credit, and in theory, the university your agree and grant the credit). This effort has, as the story says, "fizzled". So ACE is trying a new approach. "It  announced  the creation of a pool of about 100 online courses that will lead to credit recommendations. The courses will be low-cost or free."

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Are Laptops Really Bad For Learning?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 09/11/2014 - 10:00
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Darren Kuropatwa, A Difference, [Sept] 11, 2014

In this good summary of the results of  the recent study comparing note-taking with pen and laptop Darren Kuropatwa also points to the underlying reason to be sceptical about the conclusion. In the three studies  students performed better on tests after taking notes with the pen, rather than the laptop. The study authors suggest "laptops may be doing more harm in classrooms than good." But that's not what the results show. Rather, Kuropatwa notes, "laptop is highly correlated with verbatim note-taking," which is not an effective way to take notes. A broef oral warning would not be enough to change that tendency. "Students don't automatically know how to take notes; it's a learned skill, one we have to teach." Moreover, he says, "we have to ask, is taking notes in a lecture hall what we mean by "learning"? Surely what we mean by 'learning' is a far richer experience than that." Correct, on both counts.

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Let me Listen to Poetry, Let me See Emotions

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 09/11/2014 - 10:00
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Diana Arellano, Cristina Manresa-Yee, Volker Helzle, Journal of Universal Computer Science, [Sept] 11, 2014

In a nutshell, this paper described the devlopment of avatars that read poetry. That may sound simple, but the system analyzes the lines being read and then calculates the appropriate emotional response, then indicates this emotional response using facial characteristics. That is, the avatar smiles when it's appropriate to be happy and frowns when it's appropriate to be sad (among other emotional states). We can see how this sort of approach would be used both to recognize emotional states in others, both from words and facial features, and project emotional states in our own software, increasing the degree of presence and sympathy. Good article. Related: The Pedagogy of ModPo.

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