Scholar.Social: A Mastodon Network For Teachers

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 06/02/2017 - 19:36

Aaron B. Smith, Academic Aesthetic, Jun 05, 2017

This post introduces scholar.social, a Mastodon server for teachers and educators. "scholar.social is not JUST for teachers, but anyone involved in academics. The tag line they use is   'The Mastodon profile that you’re not embarrassed to put on the last slide of a presentation at a conference.'" [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Facial recognition tech makes it official: There is no privacy anymore

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 06/02/2017 - 18:50

Cate Lawrence, ReadWrite, Jun 05, 2017

This has actually been going on for a while, but now it is becoming commoditized and widespread: "electronic billboards in restaurants and shopping precincts that utilize advanced facial recognition techniques to not only provide personalized advertisements but also measure and record the consumer and their response." Of course the proprietors don't  tell you that they're doing this, but sometimes their actions are exposed by accident. There's probably no stopping this. And there's no escape for students. "Today we’ve seen the use of a French education provider utilizing the tech to determine if  students are paying attention  during remote learning." [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Friends don’t let friends use Facebook

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 06/02/2017 - 18:38

Doug Belshaw, Open Educational Thinkering, Jun 05, 2017

According to Doub Belshaw (assisted with quotes from others), "Personalised advertising isn’t useful. It’s invasive, and it’s used to build a profile to manipulate you and your ‘friends’."   If we say this about personalized advertising, what do we say about personalized content? If personalized content, working exactly as intended on Facebook, is so harmful, what are we to say about personalized learning? There's a big gaping question here that people are not answering. [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

A toolkit for predicting the future

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 06/02/2017 - 13:28

The Economist, Medium, Jun 05, 2017

It's a toolbox with only three tools, but they're good tools:

  • History lessons - patterns from the history of technology, eg., new forms of crime, concerns about privacy, etc.
  • Uneven distribution - in some places, the future is already here, so look for them (eg. in 2001, mobile handsets with cameras and colour screens were commonplace in Japan)
  • the imagined futures of science fiction - not only predictive, but often inspirational
My key tool has always been to focus on the human side of the equation. What will people do, what will people want to do? If tech is the driver, what is the attractor?
[Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Confessional technologies of the self: From Seneca to social media

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 06/01/2017 - 14:50

Norm Friesen, First Monday, Jun 04, 2017

Norm Friesen argues that personal self-expression on the web is a continuation of a tradition of externalized identity that dates from centuries in the past. "It is not difficult to regard Facebook — a social media site with over one billion registered users — as a powerful, interpellating, confessional technology of the self," he writes. We can see the link between Facebook's injunction to answer the question "what's on your mind?" and the confessional catechism. But it's also a practice of personal discipline. As Foucault says, "technologies of the self" are  “reflected and voluntary practices by which men not only fix rules of conduct for themselves but seek to transform themselves, to change themselves in their particular being, and to make their life an  oeuvre.” Which, arguably, is what I'm doing with this website. [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

From digital commons to the data-fied urge: Theorising evolving trends in the intersections of digital culture and open education

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 06/01/2017 - 14:32

Giota Alevizou, First Monday, Jun 04, 2017

This paper could be clearer, but the mapping of trends evolving from open education in digital culture is important, as is the warning it contains. The trends are as follows (quoted, my emphasis):

  • not just access to wider availability of resources, but also an element of the processes of continuous improvement from interacting with others in the production of public education goods;
  • a vision of ethics around educational entitlement, wider participation and alternative curricula notions of techno-economic efficiency that put forward neoliberal appropriations of education as public good;
  • a picture where surveillance is glorified in the name of ‘student engagement’ and teaching excellence, collective intelligence, critical reflection and cultural pedagogy are reduced to a datified ‘learning process’.
And the warning is this: "if improvement lies in the adoption of reflective practices, massive courses and analytics that are bound to a teleological view of technology and innovation may also lose whatever potential they might have for linking education to critical thinking, and learning to democratic social change."
[Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Platform Capitalism in the Classroom

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 06/01/2017 - 14:08

Ben Williamson, DMLcentral, Jun 04, 2017

According to this article, 'platform capitalism' is "a business model based on the extraction of value from connecting people into networks and mining their data." So companies like Google and Facebook practice platform capitalism. The author suggests that it has made its way to education as well, citing the example of  ClassDojo. These platforms, according to    Tarleton Gillespie,  are also “curators of public discourse”  because their choices    “affect the design of social media interfaces." Just so, we read, "ClassDojo is acting as a curator of educational discourse and practice, particularly around social and emotional learning. ClassDojo has already distributed the vocabulary of  growth mindset, mindfulness, character development  and influenced the uptake of social-emotional learning practices among millions of teachers." [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Internet Trends 2017 - CODE Conference

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 06/01/2017 - 11:40

Mary Meeker, Kleiner Perkins, Jun 04, 2017

Mary Meeker is back with her influential report documenting the latest internet trends (355 page PDF). This year's take: overall internet use growth is strong, but the rate of mobile internet use growth is leveling off. Advertising is growing (and increasingly measurable). Search and advertising go hand-in-hand, and following trends in user-generated content (UGC) a lot of search in the future will be image-driven. The ads themselves are becoming targeted storefronts, leading to a new type of store: the subscription store.  [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Building Competencies for Careers

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 05/31/2017 - 19:43

Maria Ferguson, Diane Stark Rentner, Nancy Kober, Matthew Frizzell, Matthew Brau, Center on Educational Policy, Jun 03, 2017

This report (16 page PDF) explores how  deeper learning competencies apply to the workplace through an analysis of the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) database. The deeper learning competencies include such things as learning to learn, critical thinking, academic mindset, collaboration and communication. The deep learning competencies were required in all 301 occupations evaluated, especially necessary in those occupations with a "bright" outlook. According to the authors, this " validates the idea that employees still need a range of skills and competencies even if they already have extensive content knowledge." [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Cognitive Access to Numbers: The Philosophical Significance of Empirical Findings About Basic Number Abilities

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 05/31/2017 - 18:29

Marcus Giaquinto, University College London, Jun 03, 2017

We teach children about numbers, but how do people come to know what numbers are, given that they are abstract? There must be  some process of learning that takes place. This paper explores this problem, offers several alternative accounts of what a number is, and argues that  the concept of a number can be learned by learning to recognize the size of a set or collection of entities.  [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Learning Technology Research Project Report

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 05/31/2017 - 15:27

Tim Buff, Agylia, Jun 03, 2017

There are no real surprises in this report (despite what this summary says) but it offers a useful refocus on learner needs and preferences in mobile learning (27 page PDF). "Personalised content selections that reduce the mass of available information to the items most useful to the individual learner, are increasingly important... The timeliness and accuracy of content is still vital. However, the form that the content takes, the ease of use and the ability to find the short, sharp piece of content, which is relevant to the individual, is even more crucial." [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Docker Compose: A better way to deploy Rocketchat, Wekan, and MongoDB

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 05/30/2017 - 20:55

Dave Lane, OERu Technology, Jun 02, 2017

I'm posting this mostly for my own future reference. It's basically a set of scripts that allow you to automate a cloud-based web application. Rocket.chat is an open source messaging application similar to Slack. Mongo is a no-SQL database engine. And Wekan is a project management tool. Together they create a single working environment for a project team. Or a cool planning environment for your students. [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Create Web Pages for Free and Save Them as PDF

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 05/30/2017 - 20:37

Tom Kuhlmann, The Rapid E-Learning Blog, Jun 02, 2017

What I love about the internet is that there are ways to do almost anything you want. Suppose you wanted a nice PDF document, for example, but don't have any software other than your browser. There's a way to make one! Here's a PDF I made of my website home page. Just for fun. [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

User Facing State

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 05/30/2017 - 20:10

Scott O'Hara, CSS-Tricks, Jun 02, 2017

I've been thinking a lot lately of non-linear languages. The idea has been around for a while. You might recall the concept from the movie Arrival. Fast-forward now to this article describing what the author calls 'user facing state' "  talking about how to let our users know about state (think: whether a button is disabled or not, or if a panel is active or not)." In a certain non-trivial sense a web page (or any other visual representation) is a non-linear language. And thought of as such, the concept of reading and writing in a non-linear language isn't so far away from our everyday experience as one might thing. Now, let me talk to you about reading a city... [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

After the Hype, Do MOOC Ventures Like edX Still Matter?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 05/30/2017 - 19:57

Goldie Blumenstyk, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Jun 02, 2017

This is an interview with  Anant Agarwal, chief executive of  edX, so the answer is going to be 'yes'. But don't think of it as a technology project. Agarwal at one point says, "one of the big innovations, really, at edX has not been technology-focused. It has to do with policy and new credentials." The interviewer, Goldie Blumenstyk, sputters in response: "But does that really — that doesn't help educate the world, which I think was the big vision and maybe too much of the hype."  [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

With state budget in crisis, many Oklahoma schools hold classes four days a week

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 05/30/2017 - 19:11

Emma Brown, Washington Post, Jun 02, 2017

It's hard to imagine a four-day school week. It would have been my dream in my childhood, of course (exceeded only by the three-day school week). But no doubt it's a source of concern for parents and teachers. The shorter week is a cost savings measure, of course, though one wonders how much it actually saves. But it raises the question of how shorter school weeks could work with online learning. And how you manage something like this with childcare and meals for students whose parents can't afford it. [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous
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