Miscellaneous

Weeknote 36/2014

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 22:00
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Doug Belshaw, [Sept] 10, 2014

Doug Belshaw has interviewed a number people (including me) over the last week or so on the topic of the Mozilla Web Literacy Framework. He writes, "I’ m starting the ball rolling towards a v2.0 update of the Web Literacy Map (which looks prettier here in the Webmaker resources section). To do this, I’ m recording the conversations and posting the audio together with a summary on this blog. Below is a list of the 15 people I’ ve talked to this week, together with links to the recordings – where I’ ve had time to process them. You can find the repository on archive.org."

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Why can't you comment on this post? #indieweb

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 16:00
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Ben Werdmuller, Benwerd, [Sept] 10, 2014

OK, so I've played around with this a bit and think I've figured it out. It's what I think my Referrer System, which I built in 2002, would have become had it grown up (it peaked at 800K hits per day, and I didn't have the resources to sustain that). The idea here is that, if you read something and you want to comment, you comment on your own page, not the page you're reading. Then what happens is that your system sends the other system a notification saying you've added a comment (you can also send it manually). The other system can then do whatever it wants with that notification (a typical use would be to list your comment along with others under the article). None of the documentation I've seen so far is particularly clear (and as usual there us no Perl reference code). Here's an  explanation and code from Ben Werdmuller,  here's more from Indieweb, and here's a service that (confusingly) supports it called Bridgely. I hope it's successful, because it creates a distributed web, not one centralized on social networks.

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POSSE

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 13:00
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Unattributed, Indie Web Camp, [Sept] 10, 2014

During my  recent talk I discussed the POSSE model, which describes owned, bought and earned media(POSSE = produced, owned, seeded, social, earned). I now realize that what Diego Leal was looking for was this: "POSSE is an acronym/abbreviation for Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere. It's a Syndication Model where the flow involves posting your content on your own domain first, then syndicating out copies to 3rd party services with perma(short)links back to the original version."

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Something is rotten in the state of…Twitter

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 13:00
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Bonnie Stewart, The theoryblog, [Sept] 10, 2014

"Will my dissertation end up being about the Twitter that  was, rather than whatever it is in the process of becoming?" Bonnie Stewart looks at the decline of Twitter not just as an isolated event but as part of a wider pattern. "Twitter As We Knew It (TM) as a representation of an era, a kind of practice. At the core, it is about the ebbing away of networked communications and  participatory culture," she writes. But more: "The sense of participatory collective – always fraught – has waned as more and more subcultures are crammed and collapsed into a common, traceable, searchable medium." Image: The Atlantic, A Eulogy for Twitter.

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Is there a Canadian market for American online programs?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 13:00
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Tony Bates, online learning and distance edcuation resources, [Sept] 10, 2014

Really good article from Tony Bates that comprehensively answers the question in the title. It begins with a dead-on accurate remark about hiring consultants, and then explains why the Canadian higher education market is what they call 'mature': costs are lower in Canada than the U.S., Canadian education is already high quality, and most every Canadian already has access to the learning they need ("51% of Canadians go on from high school to university, and 60% to some form of publicly-funded post-secondary education"). Conversely, Canadian universities face significant barriers marketing in the U.S.: "the U.S. accreditation system is byzantine and bizarre, and totally ill-adapted to the move to online, distance education." Also, "many U.S. citizens don’ t even know where Canada is, let alone know whether the University of Waterloo is a bona fide institution."

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3 Questions to Ask Before Implementing Predictive Analytics for Online Student Success

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 13:00
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Ellen Wagner, Academic Impressions, [Sept] 10, 2014

Ten minute podcast from Ellen Wagner things to keep in mind regarding predictive analytics, and specifically:

  • "What will predictive modeling give you that your current strategies cannot address?
  • What research questions will lead to the most actionable results?
  • What should institutions be doing to prepare for a shifting mindset?"

She writes, "Implementing a predictive framework that looks forward, not back can be a substantial shift in thinking."

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Digital Storytelling: Power to the People

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 13:00
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Sandy Brown Jensen, League for Innovation in the Community College, [Sept] 10, 2014

This post briefly outlines digital storytelling and makes the direct link with literacies, listing a set of five literacies invoked by the concept: digital, global, visual, technology, and information (presumably it also invokes good old traditional literacy). The post refers to Jim Grrom by name and says "The ds106 conception of digital storytelling is much broader and more free-wheeling. As a Faculty Technology Specialist teaching digital storytelling and social media to the Lane Community College community, I have found the ds106 site to be a useful, flexible, foundational Web presence." It makes me think, what would Jim Groom have to say specifically about literacy.

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Just-In-Time Learning

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 13:00
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Charles Munat, Charles Munat, [Sept] 10, 2014

Most readers will be familiar with the distinction, but if not, you may want to look at Charles Munat's new blog to read this post on just-in-time learning and just-in-case learning - JITL and JICL, or “ jittle” and “ jickle.” It forms one of the core arguments against traditional learning: "The problem is that most of what students “ learn” with JICL they never need, and so it sits there in their brains rusting away: a waste of time, energy, and money."

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Dungeons and Dragons vs the art of business strategy

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 01:00
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Simon Wardley, Bits or pieces?, [Sept] 09, 2014

I think I'm pretty good at business strategy - I certainly have managed thus far to organize some reasonably large projects. But I didn't learn my skills from business school (I doubt my ethics and policits would permit me to graduate from such a place). Instead, all I've learned in this area I've learned from other activities - running a newspaper, running an association, playing an online version of Dungeons and Dragons - yes, these were incredibly valuable experiences. "I suggest you spend a few minutes either watching an experienced group play D& D or an organised raid on WoW. Those people tend to use levels of strategic and tactical play that businesses can only dream of." Photo: Kill the Goblin Save the World. Via Jon Husband.

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OER MOOC: Use of Open Educational Resources in Classroom

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 01:00


Ramesh Sharma, Slideshare, [Sept] 09, 2014

I saw a presentation advertising this MOOC. Searching for the MOOC (because the URL of the MOOC is nowhere in the presentation) I found  this item on LinkedIn (stupid login probably required - why do people write articles on LinkedIn?) by Ishan Abeywardena suggesting that the purposes of MOOCs and OERs are opposed. He writes, "Among the areas being revisited are pedagogy, actual reuse of resources, licensing, curation and most importantly business models for sustainability." I responded by suggesting that OERs and MOOCs are inextricably linked, pointing to my article making the case, The Role of Open Educational Resources in Personal Learning, which is published but never cited (probably because nobody knows it exists). p.s. I still haven't found the MOOC - here's a Google+ page, a Twitter post, a Facebook page...

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Using Webb's Depth of Knowledge to Increase Rigor

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 01:00
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Gerald Aungst, Edutopia, [Sept] 09, 2014

Just another example of a case in education research where a pointless taxonomy is developed and named after someone (one wonders how far education would advance if this practice were no longer allowed). Webb's "Depth of Knowledge" taxonomy is purported to "categorize tasks according to the complexity of thinking required to successfully complete them." In this case, "complexity" appears to be a completely arbitrary measure, especially as it applies to the difference between "strategic thinking" and "extended thinking". It feels like a really artificial effort to reproduce Bloom's taxonomy, complete with verb lists. Why is this stuff in Edutopia? I wish I knew.

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Personal Health Data: It’s Amazing Potential and Privacy Perils

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 01:00
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Beth Kanter, Beth's Blog, [Sept] 09, 2014

It's hard to underestimate the potential to improve both health and learning through the analysis of personal data. I think of  my own experience with Runkeeper to track my cycling. But as Beth Kanter writes, "one can’ t help to wonder the consequences of giving your data over to a private company without a clearly defined policies that protects us." The same questions apply in education - and in some cases run more deeply, because unlike in the case of personal apps, education providers aren't even telling us when they're aggregating and analyzing data. Good article, with reference to sources like the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's "path towards responsible health data research" and Lucy Bernholz's The Why of Data Ethics.

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Mapping brain activity at scale with cluster computing

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 01:00
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Jeremy Freeman, Nature, [Sept] 09, 2014

O'Reilly published and then deleted a post by Jeremy Freeman describing this article. I'm not sure why it went down, but it was fascinating, as it described how scientists are mapping the hundreds of thousands of neurons in the brain of a larval zebrafish. Part of the focus (and the focus of the original scientific article) was on the need for large clusters of computers to perform what essentially amounts to big data analysis. But Freeman also comments (in the O'Reilly article) about the results of the analysis. "In most artificial networks, each node does essentially the same kind of thing, whereas everywhere we look in the brain we see diversity. There are hundreds or thousands of different kinds of neurons, with diverse morphologies, functions, patterns of connectivity, and forms of communication." I'm not sure if this link will continue to work but I've saved the articles for future reference.

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Twitpic is shutting down

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 09/09/2014 - 22:00
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Press Release, TwitPic, [Sept] 09, 2014

I don't know whether Twitpic is actually shutting down or whether this is just posturing to get Twitter to pack down, but either way it demonstrates how we can't depend on web service providers to have our interests in mind when they begin fighting (as they always do) among themselves. "Twitter contacted our legal demanding that we abandon our trademark application or risk losing access to their API," writes Twitpic, which has been operating since 2008. "We do not have the resources to fend off a large company like Twitter to maintain our mark which we believe whole heartedly is rightfully ours. Therefore, we have decided to shut down Twitpic." I'll have to rescue my Twitpics, I guess.

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The Windows Store is a Cesspool of Scams — Why Doesn’t Microsoft Care?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 09/09/2014 - 22:00
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Chris Hoffman, How-to-Geek, [Sept] 09, 2014

I learned firsthand about the cesspool of scams around the same time this article came out, in mid-August, when I was struggling with the Windows video player app. Windows 8 didn't come with a native DVD player (something I find incredible) so I went searching for one, and found scam after scam (including the many many fake-VLC apps described in this article. Normally this would be illegal (you can't use another company's logo and name like that) but Windows doesn't care. This has the potential to be a widespread and long-term as commercial apps overwhelm searches for real (and especially free or open source) content with fake paid front-ends. Exactly, Rory, as I've predicted they would.

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College in a Box

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 09/09/2014 - 22:00
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Gabriel Kahn, Slate, [Sept] 09, 2014

As textbook publishers are now effectively 'teaching' college classes, students can't be blamed for wondering why they're paying tuition. "Both students worked their way through the same online textbook, watched the same series of videos, and took automatically graded quizzes pulled from the same question bank. All the teaching that might have taken place in a classroom was handled by the MyPsychLab software."

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Mute the Messenger

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 09/09/2014 - 22:00
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Jason Stanford, Texas Observer, [Sept] 09, 2014

Walter Stroup offered evidence to show that standardized tests measure test-taking ability more than they measure knowledge, and that the teacher has only a small impact on the final assessment. "According to Stroup’ s initial calculations, that constancy accounted for about 72 percent of everyone’ s test score." A later recalculation suggests it's more like 50%. But still, that's pretty significant. "Regardless of a teacher’ s experience or training, class size, or any other classroom-based factor Stroup could identify, student test scores changed within a relatively narrow window of about 10 to 15 percent."

The publishers and testing industry, of course, struck back - not in open debate, but in the shadows. "Stroup had picked a fight with a special interest in front of politicians. The winner wouldn’ t be determined by reason and science but by politics and power. Pearson’ s real counterattack took place largely out of public view, where the company attempted to discredit Stroup’ s research." *sigh* See also. Photo: University of Texas.

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Bootstrap 3 Less Workflow Tutorial

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 09/09/2014 - 22:00
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Erik Flowers, HelloErik Experience Design, [Sept] 09, 2014

Responsive design, JQuery libraries, Bootstrap, HTML templates, CSS  preprocessors... the world of web page design has become impressively complex. At the same time, if you're able to step lightly over these tools, it has never been easier to design complex pages that display well on any media. No single page will explain everything, but this article hits, for me, just the right note. Grammar teachers will wince in a few places, and not everything will be clear (follow the suggested links but don't gt lost in them), but the workflow described will give you a sense of the thinking behind modern web design.

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Malawi app 'teaches UK pupils 18 months of maths in six weeks'

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 09/09/2014 - 22:00
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Spencer Kelly, BBC News, [Sept] 09, 2014

There's all kinds of ways this can be an overstatement and that the results in widespread practice would be nowhere near the test case (or not long-lasting, nor not transferable, or some such thing). But then there's this: "What was so incredible was that in both countries we saw the same gain. One week of working on the iPads for 30 minutes a day [equalled] three months of formal education," she told me. "We were amazed." So, OK, this is what we were expecting from e-learning once upon a time, so maybe they've figured out math. But I'm suspicious, because it's an iPad project for Malawi, and why would they select iPads for Malawi, the most expensive tablets out of the box? But hey - maybe.

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Beyond the LMS

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 19:00
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Audrey Watters, Hack Education, [Sept] 08, 2014

Let's start off with Audrey Watters with what I think is a pretty good theme for this week: "Ed-tech must be not become an extraction effort, and it increasingly is. The future, I think we'll find, will be a reclamation project. Ed-tech must not be about building digital walls around students and content and courses. We have, thanks to the Web, an opportunity to build connections, build networks, not walls."

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