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Back in May I gave a presentation on 'extending Moodle' and used an entity relationship (ER) diagram of the software. Marcus Green, who created the diagram, wrote to say that "I am continuing to update diagram with each new version of Moodle and I am currently working on the one for Moodle 3.1 with various improvements in detail and content. The most complete recent version can always be found here." So, here it is, with thanks from the community to Marcus. More links: How the diagram was created, Diagram FAQ. See here for an archive of old versions.[Link] [Comment]
Many of the leaders in recent PISA and other academic tests have been from east Asian countries. Why? This month's special issue of Frontiers of Education in China explores the quantitative results with a set of (mostly) qualitative studies. They are all well-written and accessible. The editorial summarizes them nicely, and the first paragraph especially should be required reading (a task I've made easier for you by extracting and reformatting that paragraph). But do read the articles themselves; they address issues such as equity in Japan (made possible in part by rotating teachers from school to school each year), civics education in Hong Kong (where teachers are expected to model citizenship), changing administrative structures in Shanghai (and the challenges to equity created by marketplace approaches), hidden racism in Korea, and much more. Image: Peking University.[Link] [Comment]
I haven't been able to see this actually working yet, but the promise of a 'fact check' option in Google News is intriguing. For now, the actual fact checking will depend on people, and it looks like fact-checking metadata (called Claim Review) will have to be present in the news story. "Publishers who create fact-checks and would like to see it appear with the “ Fact check” tag should use that markup in fact-check articles." The Guardian reports, "In Google News, fact check labels are visible in the expanded story box on the Google News site, on both the iOS and Android apps, and roll out for users in the US and UK first." Presumably those are the places that need fact checking the most. The Guardian also takes a swipe at Facebook: "After sacking their trending topics news team, the social media site was at the center of a storm when its algorithm started promoting fake news." More on fact-checking in Google's help.[Link] [Comment]
XuetangX is one of the world's top MOOC platforms with more than 5 million registrations. The service is a modified ExX platform, so look-and-feel and navigation will be familiar, even if the overall appearance isn't. This article highlights some of the modifications XuetangX has made, most notable support for mobile learning. Consider, for example, the 'rain classroom': "my class instruction PowerPoint can be viewed on students’ phones in real time.... from a teacher’ s viewpoint, if you can use PowerPoint and WeChat, you can play around with Rain Classroom." Plans for the future include a XuetangX cloud service for universities and a microdegrees program.[Link] [Comment]
This is an outline of a physics curriculum from first year to graduate studies. It's useful in its own right, but it makes me wonder whether someone could use something like this to actually learn physics. Yes, they would have to be very motivated, persistent, and have a lot of time. But it would have been perfect for, say, someone like me when I was working as a security guard in my early 20s. Now the textbooks in this guide are Amazon.com and therefore expensive - you'd want to replace the material with open content. And there's no community, but maybe one could be made or found. Could it be done? Image: Khan, Physics, inverted.[Link] [Comment]
This could be really handy for a lot of people. The idea is "to help postsecondary decision-makers make informed selections of digital courseware products, and support effective adoption and implementation of these solutions." The Courseware in Context (CWiC) Framework is not a framework in the traditional sense, but is composed of the following tools (quoted):
The resources are available as a PDF and Excel spreadsheet. There are no company or product listings (you have to do that yourself - the tools help you do this). An interactive-web-based version is planned but not yet available. You'll be required to provide name and email in order to access the materials.[Link] [Comment]
The idea has been making the rounds recently. This article summarizes some comments in favour from Martin Weller, opposed from Audrey Watters, and breezes through some comments take take the discussion in all sorts of directions. "I’ m left with the feeling that maybe a discipline isn’ t what we need," says Tim Kapdor in this post, "but we do need something." Right now PopEdu gets all the attention - Sal Khan and the Gates megamoney. Against this, "Ed-tech and using digital technology for learning is something distinct and relatively new. It’ s not computer, neuro or information science, or humanities or education – it sits outside the normal traditions. It needs staking out, research, evidence and practices in order to take a seat at the table." I get the point - there needs to be a way to weed out the fads and fashions, the quacks and the cretins. But pretending that we're physicists isn't the answer either. If there is to be a centre to this discipline, it needs to be an open centre. Because as Maha Bali says, "I don’ t know how becoming a discipline won’ t again exclude certain people from the table."[Link] [Comment]
Education, says Hank Green, is impossible to optimize. Hank and his brother John are the creators of Crash Course, a YouTube educational channel, now being touted on Patreon. "We create free, high-quality educational videos used by teachers and learners of all kinds," says the Patreon description. "That's all we want to do. After 200,000,000 views, it turns out people like this." In this article Green writes about talking to rich people about the success of Crash Course. "They get really excited really fast," thinking they could scale it up and 'fix' education. But there's no one-size fits-all. "Different schools face different problems. There are no one-size-fits-all solutions. You can’ t innovate your way into the kind of traditional cost-savings the internet brings." So instead "we keep doing what we’ re good at… making great content about difficult subjects that help students and teachers." And giving them away for free.[Link] [Comment]
This is an interesting discussion but actually very light on the explanation it promises. A close reading reveals it to be this: first, VCs confuse size and scale, preferring to create large institutions in an industry that depends on local impact. Second, scope and scale do not always mix. They try to reform the entire education system rather than focusing on a specific activity or domain. Why do theey do this? Ego plays a role, but ultimately the cause is found in their desire to do good (which runs counter to the need to make money ("one cannot do good for very long if the business does not do well enough to survive")). The consistent failure of private institutions, argues the author, gives ammunition to those who oppose privatization, but "that sphere will always comprise public and private, nonprofit and for-profit institutions, and for-profit businesses play an essential role."[Link] [Comment]
The assignment bank was one of those details that made DS106 so innovative. Basically the idea was that people submit suggestions for assignments, which other people then browse, select from, complete and contribute. Some of the earliest posts in my art blog (now used for my photos of the day, but always subject to change) are from the DS106 assignment bank. The title is also from the DS106 course. Anyhow, this post reconstructs the history of the assignment bank. It begins from a Michael Cauldfield post in which part of this history became the subject for discussions. Alan Levine drills deep into the historical archive and concludes "the Assignment bank is totally the idea and prowess of Martha Burtis." He also comments on the difficulties of doing digital history. I can relate; I've been updating my Presentations files recently. When people tell you "the internet is forever" don't believe them. So much has already been lost. Take some time now and repair your archives. The future will thank you. Image: one of my DS106 contributions, The Long Goodbye.[Link] [Comment]
In keeping with the learning communities theme from last week have a look at these presentation resources shared by Lucy Gray on the Global Education Conference and the Highly Connected Global Educator. There's a fair bit of overlap between the two slide decks (the latter is the better deck) but you'll see listings of learning communities and networks, overviews of global education projects, and related resources. The focus of these projects, writes Gray, is not on the technology or the content but on the people.[Link] [Comment]
I think this falls into the category of overthinking things, but I still want to pass on this discussion of OER 'frameworks', for example one describing "different stages of OEP using a combination of OER usage and learning architecture." Yes, it's another set of taxonomies-and-stages. And as always they seem to raise more questions than they solve. "Whats an institution?" What about collaborative development? "What about moving beyond the institution?" Why is 'open practice' a continuum? Is the 'value chain' the right place to locate OERs?[Link] [Comment]
What's interesting about the diagram in this post is that you could figure out who the major writers are in the field without knowing anything about the writers or the field. Take a look. Rawls, Sen and Ostrom occupy central locations. "Basically, it automatically (well - a little effort and a bit of Google Scholar/Gephi competence needed) maps out connected research areas and authors, mined from Google Scholar, including their relative significance and centrality, shaped to fit your research interests." When we can do this for everybody, what would we need tests and exams for any more?[Link] [Comment]
Good article listing sources of cognitive bias (always an interest of mine). Numerous links. "In order to avoid drowning in information overload, our brains need to skim and filter insane amounts of information...
By keeping these four problems and their four consequences in mind (we) will ensure that we notice our own biases more often." The item called to my recollection a CBC interview I listened to this morning with Julia Shaw, author of The Memory Illusion: Why you might not be who you think you are.At least, I think I listened to it.[Link] [Comment]
This report from the Conference Board of Canada "explores the potential of e-learning in the Canadian setting." Most Conference Board reports are expensive (like this excellent Learning and Development Outlook from last year) but this one is free. Most readers of this newsletter will find the report very superficial, dated and quaint. It's not clear there was actually a literature review, as claimed - many of the (sparse) resources in the bibliography link to error pages on the Conference Board website (the references have other errors, including a '2003' article on MOOCs). The main points of discussion - whether e-learning should be employed, the quality of faculty-created courses, the nature of the LMS - would have been appropriate in 2004. Aside from a short discussion of MOOCs, there is nothing about modern e-learning: social networks, simulations and virtual reality, gamification, workplace support (indeed, workplace learning is all but ignored). The report contains three recommendations: reduce economic barriers, tackle institutional constraints, and adopt excellent practices. Well sure; we'll get right on that, once we get past this Y2K bug thing.[Link] [Comment]
This is a very specialized piece of technology, but if you're building learning technologies, it's also an important application. "MappingEDU is a web-based system designed to do one common, time-consuming data integration task well: map one data standard to another. The primary users are data analysts and technical staff who create mappings between data sources. MappingEDU also contains features to assist subject matter experts in reviewing data mappings." See also this press release.[Link] [Comment]
Bob Dylan Wins Nobel Prize in Literature for Creating New Poetic Expressions within the Great American Song Tradition
Normally I'd be celebrating a Nobel for peace or physics or something, but this year's Nobel prize in Literature speaks to me. "Dylan has released album after album, decade after decade, that showcase his unparalleled wordcraft in various song forms. And some of his finest work has appeared only in recent years, when it seems his career might have come to a close."[Link] [Comment]
Presented atMOOCs4All. In this discussion I discuss the thinking behind our MOOCs, personal learning environments and connectivism and consider the question of how we know whether the method is working, how we know whether it is effective. Presented online via Adobe Connect and simulcast (using xSplit) to YouTube Live. Above is the SAdobe Connect recording. Also you can view the xSplit recording to YouTube Live from the presenter screen (doesn't show screen shares, because that's how Connect rolls).moocs4all.eu Extended Virtual Symposium , Online, Via Adobe Connect and YouTube Live (Keynote) Oct 13, 2016 [Comment]
This is not a coherent post - not even close. But there is something interesting going on here. The core metaphor of 'digital sunscreen' is not defined (except for the fact that it lasts two hours). Meanwhile there is an undercurrent about teachers and tech leaders becoming part of the problem we're trying to solve. Then there's this: "I’ ve been using the term edumedia sarcastically. The proper term is mission-driven marketing – a way to turn awareness into action with those new to your product or to engage already-supportive people in deeper ways. It uses teachers, enlists paid and unpaid teachers and ex-teachers – to present itself as ‘ the future’ in a duplicity of discussions and forms." Lovely.
There's a follow-up post today that helps a bit. Dean Groom writes, "I think I’ ll actively promote two hours a day (school+home) is an essential contract between parents and teachers." So I think the point is to limit screen time to two hours. Groom admits "Two hours a day is going to sound ridiculous to kids and adults alike." And the concern underlying the limit is this: " is dominated by the commercial agendas and belief of a few mega-brands – Apple, Google, and Microsoft. The ‘ social stream’ of edumedia is seduced and propositioned by brands." He's not wrong - but the remedy needs to be fixed.[Link] [Comment]
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