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"Humboldt," Chomsky says, "argued, I think, very plausibly, that the core principle and requirement of a fulfilled human being is the ability to inquire and create constructively, independently, without external controls." That sounds about right to me, and is certainly the sort of education I aspire to. Of course there's no shortage of people working to make sure that never happens for the population at large.[Link] [Comment]
I've commented on comments before, and in particular NPR's decision to shut down comments. This story looks at some alternatives, including Disqus (which we use here at OLDaily; I cleaned out some spam in Disqus this morning). The article also mentions the Coral project, covered here last year. This project, sponsored by Mozilla, continues to chug along; code is available in their repository. "Since The Coral Project was first announced two years ago, they have identified and are developing three highly customizable and open-source tools, as well as a guide to the tools and issues of audience engagement."[Link] [Comment]
The supposedly retired Tony Bates has authored another e-book, this one an introductoon to online learning for beginners. Here are the contents:
As usual the result is required reading.[Link] [Comment]
Alan Levine, being more thorough than I, discovered that if you click on 'Events' on your Live Streaming Dashboard, (right under 'Stream Now') you can run your Hangout on Air (aka Live Event) - look for the subtle 'New Event' button in the upper right of the page. Google usability engineers hate you. So you don't need the streaming media encoder. But I'll be honest - after having used the encoder, I really prefer it (though of course none of this works particularly well on my laptop). In the future somewhere is a world where we can use a media encoder of our choice and a cloud service of our choice to host live video events without Google or any of the rest of them. But we're not there yet. OK, now to see if I can hack using Martin Hawksey’ s genius script for an auto updated twitter archive to use something other than Twitter.[Link] [Comment]
A pedagogy based on student choice isn't just some myth that is talked about but never seen in reality. It's actually out there. John Spencer offers some practical advice to those working with choice. "Student choice goes beyond simply picking an item out of a menu. It’ s about self-directed students taking charge of their own learning." And, importantly, you have to model it. " They need a vision for how it can look and you, as the teacher, can provide that to them by modeling. Sometimes you will have to give permission when you assume they already know it. Sometimes you will have to model the metacognition needed in self-assessment."[Link] [Comment]
I don't have any talks scheduled for a few months (the world has finally tired of me!) but I'm getting set up to replace Hangout on Air with YouTibe Live just in case. What I discovered is that to use YouTube Live you have to use a stand-alone video streaming application (this is really similar to the way to send live audio to Shoutcast, so I was pretty comfortable with it). From the list of applications on this page I tried xSplit, which took a but to figure out but which worked beautifully once it was up and running (the audio was beautiful; it could really take advantage of my nice audio-technic mic). If you do any webcasting, take the time to get this figured out now - you won't be able to get it running in five minutes before your webcast.[Link] [Comment]
What's interesting about Musical.ly is that it grew out of a failed ed tech startup. Musical.ly allows users to lipsync to popular videos and share the results with friends. It draws from a catalogue of several million songs. The original ed tech application was a device that enabled users to create five-minute videos explaining a concept or practice. But it failed for a lack of experts. "The challenge is that there are not too many people who are able to explain knowledge in such a short period of time." This is interesting, but I guess not surprising. The authors took what they learned from the failed startup to create the new app. "If you're going to build a product that relies on user-generated content, it needs to be lightweight and capable of uploading content in minutes rather than hours."[Link] [Comment]
The answer to the question is that we need lighter and more basic operating systems to provide a common computing environment for small devices and larger computers. Even the Linux kernel is overloaded with functions that single-purpose devices don't need. As well, new applications need to respond on the thousandths of a second, an an operating system with a built-in scheduler creates the possibility of lag. The new operating system being developed by Google to meet these needs is called Fuchsia and has been distributed on GitHub and Google Git. More from The Verge, CNet, Pocket Lint, Engadget.[Link] [Comment]
The answer to this question is still mostly "no' but this business-focused article looks at some training scenarios - for example, a virtual “ hackathon” space using Microsoft's “ holoportation” technology. The article outlines a framework for evaluating the potential use of virtual reality (VR), "a model for analyzing dimensions of the learning need and how appropriate VR would be as a solution," with three dimensions: risk, sensory, and practice. "Seeing the world through another’ s eyes can be a deeply powerful emotional experience; and because the visual, auditory, and kinesthetic stimuli of a VR environment are so immersive, VR gets you very close indeed to truly seeing through someone else’ s eyes." See also this report about VR experiments at Stanford.[Link] [Comment]
This is a detailed tutorial describing how to set up your Amazon web services (AWS) account to do some big data analysis. What's more, it provides a glimpse into the world of cloud services. if you don't think computing has completely changed from the days when we launched websites with Apache and a CGI script, think again.[Link] [Comment]
This was an interesting article. Based on research covering changes made by 160 UK academies put into remdiation a number of years ago, it recommends that several changes undertaken, crucially, in the right order offer the best chance of remediating schools. First, create the right environment at the top by improving governance (the article doesn't say how, exactly). Second, focus on student behaviour (the article recommends excluding misbehaving students). Finally, focus on teaching. It suggests more money will have to be spent in the short term to ensure resources are in place, and that schools teach the full age-range from 5 to 18. What is done with the administrators, teachers and students who don't make the grade is left as an exercise for the reader.[Link] [Comment]
I've predicted on numerous occasions that data from our everyday life will be used to assess performance, instead of tests or assignments. It's a simple example here but illustrative: by using data from your smartphone programs can determine whether you're a good driver. For example, "access to whether or not you regularly slam the brakes is something that can help predict how safe a driver you are. Drivers who regularly brake hard are likely struggling to anticipate what lies ahead, making them more at risk for a mishap." The flip side here is that insurance companies are now requesting this data in order to determine how much to charge you. Should we be required to hand over this data?[Link] [Comment]
One of the issues I have with competencies is that too often they are just a rewrapping of content knowledge in new terminology. Take this Blackboard post for example. The author begins reasonably: a competency requires "a clear understanding of (a) a summary of what the competency is about, (b) a specific definition of the competency, and (c) the associated topics that will help assess the competency." But then we get an example of a competency definition: "Describes, classifies and critiques the origins, actions and consequences of American civil rights," and as a subcompetency: "Political shift of south" and various others. This isn't a competency in any real sense. It's just some content the student is expected to know about. And we have no sense whatsoever about why students are expected to know this content, what would count as evidence they've achieved it, nor what they're supposed to do with the knowledge.[Link] [Comment]
Females’ Enrollment and Completion in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Massive Open Online Courses
According to this study, "globally MOOCs have the potential to provide learning opportunities for females in less developed countries. Findings from this study support the hypothesis that greater gender segregation may exist in more economically developed countries." Even so, only about 24% of enrollees in STEM MOOCs were women, suggesting a need to explore ways to make them more gender-inclusive. Data for the study were from the public MOOC dataset provided by HarvardX - MITx.[Link] [Comment]
The combination of customization and personalization provide some, but not all, of the objectives set by new pedagogies. Students are limited by the capacity of the LMS. Community-formation is limited to the students enrolled in the course. Students can participate and interact, but their creativity is limited by the LMS environment, and they lose access to their work at the end of the semester., , Aug 18, 2016
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Today's new work is "eigenbehavior" (soon to be the theme of a special issue of Constructivist Foundations). The concern is derived from systems theory and based on Heinz von Foerster's idea of the eigenform. As Kauffman explains, "Heinz performs the magic trick of convincing us that the familiar objects of our existence can be seen to be nothing more than tokens for the behaviors of the organism that apparently create stable forms." To hazard a metaphor, what counts as a 'cow path' isn't the existence of a cow path, but rather the series of behaviours that led to its creation. If we didn't treat a cow path as a path, it wouldn't exist as a path. Eagle and Pentland propose "a new methodology for identifying the repeating structures underlying behavior" - the eigenbehaviors - and show how knowledge is socially constructured: "groups of friends can have their own collective ‘ behavior space’ which corresponds to the common behaviors of the community."
But eigenbehavior is tied intimately to human existence; we can see the relation to Varela and autopoiesis. And as a commentator on this article about self-organization suggests: "The crux of the constructivist position: in the theory of organizationally closed systems, not all possible distinctions in some environment can be 'grasped' by the autonomous system: it can only classify those aspects of its environment/sensory-motor/cognitive interaction which result in the maintenance of some internally stable state or attractor (eigenvalue)." (p.s. lots of interesting stuff in this blog.)[Link] [Comment]
Single Link YouTube (SLYT). This is Martha Burtis from the Digital Knowledge Center at Mary Washington University and Sean Michael Morris from Middlebury College, one after the other. Here's the blurb: "For too long, instructional design has been reduced to page design, alignment of content and assessments with outcomes, and the “ science” of step-A-to-step-B learning. It has lacked imagination, spontaneity, passion, and care. What we propose here is that instructional design and the digital platforms (and spaces) we use for teaching and learning can be more. More critical. More relational. More flexible. More beautiful." Via Jon Jon Kruithof, who writes, "I’ m not fighting for what I believe in enough (by the way, that’ s work on the open web, understanding digital literacies, criticizing educational technology for putting us in boxes we shouldn’ t be in)" but finds in this video a way back from this wilderness. I listened to it this morning. Don't miss it.[Link] [Comment]
The lede of this stories is NPR's decision to eliminate comments on its stories but the core it its decision to embraace social media to generate discussion. More interesting is this: "in addition to refining our live interaction approaches on Facebook, we'll begin testing a promising new engagement tool that is rooted in public media. Hearken is a digital platform that allows journalists and the audience to partner on the development of story ideas." It's a good idea to involve readers from the beginning; this idea that we present content only when it's finished and polished dates back to the days of publishing on paper. But I think the key to success with commenting (or interaction generally) is this: posting not on someone else's site (which invites spam, abuse and more) but posting on our own site and sharing with our own community.[Link] [Comment]
I'm sympathetic with Sue Sorensen's argument that universities ought to be about more than "success' but I wondered why she referred twice to their religious origins. The answer lies in her defense of reading with faith. That's all fine, but while it is true that the Bible states "I am among you as one who serves" it is equally true that the Tao Te Ching states that "If the sage would guide the people, he must serve with humility" and indeed, "Allah is with those who are of service to others." And it is repeated frequently in business literature that the key to success is to serve; by helping others you return measurable benefit for yourself. Service is even the key to happiness; as Gandhi says, "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others." So, yes, I agree that universities should focus on service - and also on broader social needs, "commitment, dissent, justice, open inquiry, insight, compassion," a focus on these is not as she says "an act of faith." It is an act of reason and will. That's why service should be core to the university's mission. The weak man serves himself; the wise man serves others. Image: Civil Rights and Labor History.[Link] [Comment]
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