Miscellaneous

Show Your Work

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 08/22/2014 - 14:00
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Donald Clark, Big Dog, Little Dog, Aug 22, 2014

Donald Clark reviews Jane Bozarth's Show Your Work, which, he says, "beautifully describes how we need to rethink teaching and learning." I am in agreement with be basic premise of Bozarth's argument: "training tacit knowledge and skills often fall short of delivering expert performance because it fails to place the learning in the context of workflow."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

#unrules26 - Biologically, the necessary order of learning is: explore, then play, then add rigor.

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 08/22/2014 - 14:00


Clark Aldrich, Unschooling Rules, Aug 22, 2014

As Clark Aldrich writes, "It is almost impossible not to believe play is absolutely essential to mastery." He continues, "the most successful academic use of 'play' is not, as one might expect, the extension of successful socializing and educational play from kindergarten to subsequent first and second grades... the closer to the point of the real use of content, and the more sophisticated the content, the more play is encouraged."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

D2L raises $85 million but growth claims defy logic

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 08/22/2014 - 14:00


Phil Hill, e-Literate, Aug 22, 2014

Criticism from some education pundits about D2L's (formerly Desire2Learn) growth claims. Phil Ho;ll looks at the numbers and writes: "That’ s a 29% growth in the number of institutions and a 50% growth in the number of learners in just one year. Quite impressive if accurate. Yet the company went  through a significant round of layoffs in late 2013  that let go more than 7% of its workforce, and according to both LinkedIn data and company statements they have had no significant growth in number of employees over the past year."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

A Response to ‘OER and the Future of Publishing’

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 08/22/2014 - 14:00


David Wiley, iterating toward openness, Aug 22, 2014

David Wiley has responded to Knewton CEO Jose Ferriera's article arguing that OER cannot effectively compete against the textbook industry. As  mentioned here before, Ferriera raises the old canards of quality and publishing values, but Wiley hits on the publishers' real value: exclusivity. "Publishers will never put OER at the core of their offerings, because open licensing – guaranteed nonexclusivity – is the antithesis of their entire industrial model." Meanwhile, Michael Feldstein  offers a critique similar to my own: "open resources don’ t  have to be supported through volunteerism. It is possible to build revenue models that can pay for their upkeep."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

In Pictures

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 08/22/2014 - 14:00


Chris Charuhas, In Pictures, Aug 22, 2014

From the website: "In Pictures tutorials are based on pictures, not words. They walk you through real-world scenarios, step-by-step. There's no complicated multimedia, just screenshots that show exactly what to do. And, the online tutorials are free! No fees, no charge, just click and start." Chris Charuhas writes, by email: "They were developed through a research study funded by the U.S. Dept. of Education. We've recently created many new tutorials, on Office 365 and Google Drive applications. Considering the rapid adoption of Google Apps in schools, this might be of interest to readers of your blog." Purists will complain that they're not Creative Commons licensed, but I see no strings attached to the free access and I see no reason why people can't simply link to them if they want to reuse them.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

What makes a conference really irritating?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 08/22/2014 - 14:00


Sean Coughlan, BBC News, Aug 22, 2014

I've been to more conferences than most, probably (more than 300, anyways) so in addition to being exposed to a lot ideas and opinions about education and technology, I've also learned a lot about conferences themselves. Here's my advice on  how to get the most out of a conference. Anyhow, this list of conference irritants is pretty superficial, but it's worth reading the comments for a chuckle or two.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

The Future of College?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 19:00


Graeme Wood, The Atlantic, Aug 21, 2014

I studied the work of  Stephen M Kosslyn back when I was in graduate school. At the time, he was defending a sophisticated 'picture theory' model of mind against cognitivists such as Jerry Fodor and Xenon Pylyshyn (who argue it's all rules, representations and sentences). I had a lot more sympathy with Kosslyn (though I've since before more of an advocate of J.J. Gibson). Anyhow, this article profiles Minerva - "what sets it apart most jarringly from traditional universities, is a proprietary online platform developed to apply pedagogical practices that have been studied and vetted by ... Stephen M. Kosslyn, who joined Minerva in 2012." I haven't been following Kosslyn recently, but maybe I should have been. Though - frankly - I don't think the Minerva approach described in this article is not one I would support - small and expensive doesn't really do it for me.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

One chart that debunks the biggest myth about student loans

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 19:00


Libby Nelson, Vox, Aug 21, 2014

OK, first of all, people don't actually believe that the average student loan debt is more than $50K, so the supposed 'myth' being busted here is a straw man. Second, by focusing on the average balance the article focuses only on the amount still owing, not the amount that has already been paid back. Finally, it includes both large and small loans in the same calculation, thus lumping together people who need a lot of support and people who don't - it's like taking rich people and poor people and averaging their incomes together, and then using the result to say poor people are not really poor. It's a terrible biased presentation created by a  conservative lobby group to understate the need for public education support and people in educational technology (you know who you are) should not be sharing this piece of tripe. Not, at least, without disclaimers.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Web Trolls Winning as Incivility Increases

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 16:00


Farhad Manjoo, New York Times, Aug 20, 2014

I don't think there's a "war" on trolls, exactly (the last thing the world needs is another war) but it seems  clear that the web is becoming increasingly uncivil. But rather than simply blaming the usual culprits - users and trolls - I invite readers to consider some related items to question whether it's a structural defect:

  • Reddit launches 'pressiquette' guidelines for journalists  - "Reddit, the social news site, is encouraging journalists who use it to follow new guidelines on ethical sourcing... Gawker reported that more than 4,000 BuzzFeed posts have been removed from the site."
  • What happens to #Ferguson affects Ferguson  - leave aside the presumption that #Ferguson should be international news (it shouldn't). This is nonetheless an important discussion of the idea of algorithms deciding what is important.
  • Twitter vows to 'improve our policies'...  - "Internet trolls bullied Robin Williams' daughter off of Twitter and Instagram just days after her father's death."
  • I liked everything on Facebook for two days...  - "After checking in and liking a bunch of stuff over the course of an hour, there were no human beings in my feed anymore. It became about brands and messaging, rather than humans with messages... My feed become a cavalcade of brands and politics and as I interacted with them, Facebook dutifully reported this to all my friends and followers."
  • The Internet's Original Sin  - "Cegłowski explains, 'We’ re addicted to ‘ big data’ not because it’ s effective now, but because we need it to tell better stories.' So we build businesses that promise investors that advertising will be more invasive, ubiquitous, and targeted and that we will collect more data about our users and their behavior."

  It's not simply that there are trolls and it's not simply that our privacy is now for sale, but rather, it's that the fruits of this surveillance are being put to purposes that are mean, nasty and corrosive. The primary use of data analytics has been misuse. We need to build better before we lose the web entirely.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Highest Security for your Files in the Cloud

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 16:00


Aug 20, 2014

So I've been thinking more about data security lately. Not data security in the sense of preventing the NSA or Chinese hackers from getting at my files if they really want to - that's probably not possible. But security in the sense of preventing average criminals and companies like Google from trolling my data and using it for commercial purposes. To make this more difficult, I depend on the cloud. I can't use my employer's security or cloud, because these are now completely quarantined. So I think I need two things. First, something that encrypts text files. I've settled on NotepadCrypt, which uses standard encryption and pass phrases. Then, I upload this data to BoxCryptor, which encrypts everything I store on my various cloud services. Finally, I use  proXPN to secure my communications between my computer and the remote site. Perfect? No. Way better than average? Yeah. Eventually all of this will be built in to any application you use.

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Categories: Miscellaneous
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