Miscellaneous

'Overnight, everything I loved was gone': the internet shaming of Lindsey Stone

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 17:00
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Jon Ronson, The Guardian, Feb 24, 2015

Another in what I guess is becoming an internet trend: finding people who have been publicly shamed (and often fired) for their transgressions on the internet. Again I point out that if you don't want to be maligned for, say, mocking and flipping off the national cemetery, then don't mock and flip off the national cemetery. But there's also a subtext, and it's this: what happened to employee rights such that complains from strangers over the internet could get them summarily fired? Where I grew up, unions would prevent that sort of thing. Today those rights to reasonable protection have all but disappeared. Maybe the problem isn't the internet or Facebook's privacy settings at all. Maybe the problem more social.

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MOOC design : from peer assessment to social networks

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 15:00
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Matthieu Cisel, La révolution MOOC, Feb 23, 2015

Short post in English from the  EducPros.fr website. "The high number and the diversity of registrants enables various possibilies as far as collective and collaborative activities are concerned. For instance, team projects have been emphasized on increasingly in recent MOOCs, since it can help to tackle the dropout issue and can trigger interesting learning outcomes.  Some platforms like Novoed have specialisezd in team projects based MOOCs..."

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Beat The Rush; A Domain Name For Every Student Offers Great Value

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 15:00
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Robert Schuetz, Nocking The Arrow, Feb 23, 2015

Robert Schuetz took the step recently of registering domainss for his sons on Google Domains. Why? He explains: "George Couros, in a recent post, says there are three things students should have before they leave high school: a personal learning network, a digital portfolio, and an About.me page." But rather than depend on third party services for this, it's better that they have their own identity from the ground up. A good suggestion.

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Is Connectivism A New Learning Theory Based on Old Ideas?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 02/21/2015 - 13:00
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Bruna Mazzer, Tecnologias e Educação, Feb 21, 2015

Bruna writes, "the successful students are usually the ones who understand what they have to reach and which path they need to follow. They are recognized and rewarded (good grades) by their abilities to follow rules..." We've seen this observation before, for example, in John Holt.It suggests a strategy for reshaping learning: reshaping the rules (or better, the outcomes) needed to be successful. But this, she writes, points both to a strength and a failingin connectivism: "Students' creativity and engagement are considered of high importance in connectivism but, according to the passage presented above, connectivism may be failing in developing and evaluating those, just as 'obsolete' learning theories do." Thus is a challenge for all theories: how to promote desirable traits in students, without imposing a set of rules and values that promote success by obedience.

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School Is About More Than Training Kids to Be Adults

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 02/21/2015 - 13:00
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Michael Godsey, The Atlantic, Feb 21, 2015

As summarized in the ASCD Smart Brief newsletter where I saw this, "College- and career-readiness lessons sometimes miss the mark, especially with students who see few rewards in adult life, English teacher Michael Godsey writes in this commentary." I get the idea but I'm not sure I agree with the 'kids just want to have fun' undertone to the article. It is true that their interests and their tastes haven't matured. But that is often not because their tastes are juvenile, but simply because the kids themselves haven't matured yet. So in supporting their current interests, educators are very much preparing them for adult life - but for their adult life, and not our own.

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Economists Say Millennials Should Consider Careers In Trades

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 02/21/2015 - 13:00
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Chris Arnold, NPR, Feb 21, 2015

I too would recommend people pursue a career in the trades, but I want to add a few caveats that economists aren't yet ready to concede (or so it seems to me). One thing is that we have to reposition trades in society. In many parts of the world - Europe springs to mind - people who work in the trades are respected as professionals, well-paid (often by virtue of their union or trade association) and play a significant role in society. They are well educated and well-rounded, and often partake in creating and enjoying the best of music, art and culture in the society. In North America we have demoted the trades to servants, mostly disbanded their associations and unions, and have been squeezing their pay and benefits to decades. Now we are reaping what we have sown. If I were a millennial I would tell the economists that I need more than just education; I would say that the social contract needs to be renegotiated before I would consider a career in the trades. That said, there is still time, and there is yet money (though it lies in the hands of a very few people and languishes unspent in offshore accounts).

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Lawmakers Urged to Reform Student Data Privacy Law

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 02/20/2015 - 17:00
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Justine Brown, Center for Digital Education, Feb 20, 2015

Here's another sign that privacy is becoming increasingly important as educational institutions automate and adapt big data methodologies. Said one representative: "Technology organizations and policymakers have taken steps to strengthen student privacy protections. However, these efforts have not addressed rules under which schools must operate as the guardians of student data."

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Tips for BYOD Equity

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 02/20/2015 - 11:00
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Eric Sheninger, A Principal's Reflections, Feb 20, 2015

This post meshes well with the talk on Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)  I summarized a couple of weeks ago. Eric Sheninger raises the issue of "device envy" and reports that it slows down or even stalls BYOD initiatives. "In any case," he writes, "the ones who suffer are our students.   In today’ s digital age, who are we to tell a student that he or she cannot bring their tools to class to support learning?" Good point. The response, he says, is to keep the focus on learning, deal with device envy in positive ways, and ensure that the school has technology available for people who need it. "  When it was all said and done we never received one complaint from our parents on the equity or envy issues," he writes.

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Playing, Learning and PBL

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 02/20/2015 - 11:00
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Dean Groom, Playable, Feb 20, 2015

Game-based learning and problem-based learning are of course similar in many respects. The current example is a school where students spend the beginning of the day in sports, then focus for the latter four hours on their studies. The question is how to blend the two. Dean Groom talks about the language used in problem-based learning: "Terms like ‘ driving question’ and ‘ critical friends’ are common sign posts for students," he notes. This points to the idea that "shared values and culture underpin the ideology, collegiality and success of PBL programs." So now he is "working on creating game based learning infrastructure (towards fostering 7 positive habits of mind)." As a result, "Our kids are members of a team, and we want to make sure that membership transfers from the field to the classroom as easily as possible." The article ends with "10 values that I’ m putting into this project to help kids learn within a game-like system." Interesting approach, but I would be interested to know what happens to those students who for whatever reason find themselves outside the group.

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The Open University launches Badged Open Courses

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 02/20/2015 - 11:00


Unattributed, OERu, Feb 20, 2015

Some interesting developments: "Badged Open Courses will complement The OU’ s extensive and growing portfolio of OER on OpenLearn and provide learners recognition for their achievements through assessment – for free....  Badged Open Courses (BOCs) will be different from MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) because they are perpetual, enabling students to return to them at any time to refresh their knowledge, unlike MOOCs which have a set start and finish date. The first to be released will be as Beta, to gather user feedback which will help improve the experience for learners." Additionally, the Open University has joined OERu. (Not to complain, but many of the MOOCs we did are 'perpetual' as well - see for example the Change MOOC, which you can still view in its entirety. What distinguishes BOCs from MOOCs is of course the use of badges).

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Socrates, Plato and Education Spending

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 02/19/2015 - 11:00


Unattributed, Inside Higher Ed, Feb 19, 2015

Dave Brat has it wrong historically, textually, and pragmatically. Brat said, "“ The greatest thinkers in Western civ were not products of education policy,” he said. “ Socrates trained Plato on a rock and then Plato trained in Aristotle roughly speaking on a rock. So, huge funding is not necessary..." Glenn Raymond Morrow writes, "The temples, houses of public officials, the gymnasia, schools, theatres and prisons mentioned at various times in Plato's text suggests a program of public building reminiscent of Pisistratus or Pericles." What made Plato great, and Athens the cornerstone of democracy, was not private enterprise (which was ubiquitous in the 3rd century BCE world). It was the invention of public policy, taxation, and spending, which made democracy necessary,

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Becoming MOOC

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 02/19/2015 - 11:00
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Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, Feb 19, 2015

This was intended to be a magazine article, but I got the length wrong so it became a blog post. It describes different types of literacies required to be successful in a MOOC, and frames the difference between a CMOOC and an xMOOC in terms of these literacies. "These literacies may be necessary for success in a MOOC, but they are more widely applicable as well. The theory of knowledge underlying the creation of the cMOOC suggests that learning is not based on the idea of remembering content, nor even the acquisition of specific skills or dispositions, but rather, in engaging in experiences that support and aid in recognition of phenomena and possibilities in the world." Image: Hybrid Pedagogy.

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Allerject epinephrine

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 02/19/2015 - 11:00
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Allerject, Feb 19, 2015

As long as I have been giving talks I have been talking about the idea of learning being embedded in objects (crediting Bruce Sterling's novel Distraction). My favorite story was always the fishing pole that teaches you to fish. Then last year we actually saw the teaching tennis racket. Now they're becoming more and more commonplace. My colleague Rod Savoie points to this item, a "new epinephrine tool, an example of Performance Support? When you want to use it, it tells you what to do so that you don’ t have to learn it ahead of time." I replied, "That's a great example of performance support. Now imagine the package getting information live from the internet, and knowing your son's medical history, language preferences, vocabulary level… " And Danny D'Amours points to A connected interactive toothbrush.

 

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Micro Engagement is Killing Our Edublogging Community

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 02/19/2015 - 11:00
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Tom Barrett, The Curious Creative, Feb 19, 2015

On the one hand, I understand the concern. "The lack of discussion and further conversation is something I have missed from the blogging experience," writes Tom Barrett. Blogging is still a valuable forum for reflection, he writes, but "whether we care enough about other blogs is another thing." Maybe. But as Phillip Cowell replies, "My best read post was on uses for Minecraft - over 1000 tweets and FB likes. 0 comments." Me, I don't think it's a big deal. People read an academic paper and then discuss it in a classroom or hall, and you never see the discussion, but it's there. To me, the ideas are what matter. And all forms of engagement (or non-engagement) are legitimate.

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Techniques for Unleashing Student Work from Learning Management Systems

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 02/17/2015 - 19:00
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Justin Reich, Mind/Shift, Feb 17, 2015

This is a good start and we learn something about the techniques applies (and my own perspective is called "radical" and an "an affront to the profession," but hey, I'm good with it). But I wish we learned more about what happened in the course. Of the number of people signed up, how many of them created their own blogs or websites. Did hashtags really help them find each other? How many of them wrote angry emails demanding to use the LMS? How well did the  syndication engine work? I'm especially interested in the last question because it resembles Pageflakes more than a regular reader, much less the email newsletters send by gRSShopper.

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Working out a school's competitive position even when it's not competing

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 02/17/2015 - 19:00
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Ewan McIntosh, edu.blogs.com, Feb 17, 2015

One of the nice things about my new position is that I've been receiving what amounts to a free MBA courtesy the training courses I'm taking as a Program Leader (it's not an official MBA, of course, because there's no recognition). I'll write about that more in the future. For now, I have had just enough learning to be a danger to myself and others, which is what leads me to criticize this discussion of the term 'value proposition'. In this post, it's depicted variously as "what you actually do compared to what you say you will do" and "what you do compared to what your competitors say they do." But it's neither of these. The value proposition is the benefit your customers or clients derive from your service. It's almost never your product. When I bought my car, for example, I didn't but 'a car' or even 'transportation'. I bought it to save time during work days, and to go camping during holidays. Schools are the same. We don't use school services to 'get an education' or even to 'get a job'. The value proposition is much more basic: we're looking for self-reliance, economic independence, and a rich and fulfilling life (or, at least, I am).

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NMC Horizon Report: 2015 Higher Education Edition

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 02/17/2015 - 13:00
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Various authors, New Media Consortium, Feb 17, 2015

The latest Horizon Report for higher education has arrived. As always, I think the report should begin by reviewing previous editions of the reports and identifying corrections to its methodology that will improve projections. Or at the very least there ought to be some requirement of consistency in the outcome. Compare this year's report to 2010's, 2011's, 2012's, 2013's and 2014's for example. Games and gamification appear in the 2-3 year horizon for each of the four previous reports. This year it drops off the grid.  So what happened? We see games listed as among the significant challenges in "blending formal and informal learning". But no hint of an explanation of why previous predictions came to naught. Meanwhile, we have 'bring your own device' in the 1 year range this year, which popped up out of nowhere, not appearing in any of the previous reports. How could they have missed it (especially when 2011 predicted 'mobiles' in the 1-year time frame)?

See this  analysis of Horizon Report predictions over the last six years. We can observe the following trends:

  • Last-minute predictions of things that already happened - open content, ebooks, mobile
  • Fad-hopping: MOOCs, makerspace, flipped class
  • One major successful prediction: notably, learning analytics
  • Failed prediction: gamification, augmented reality, gesture-based

So what does it tell us about the methodology? Mostly, that it sways in the breeze. It's strongly influenced by the popular press and marketing campaigns. It's not based on a deep knowledge significant technology developments, but rather focuses on surface-level chatter and opinion. And that is why I think NMC should be obligated to re-examine its methodology.

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Rights, restrictions and photos of Cats

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 02/16/2015 - 13:00
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Stuart Myles, W3C | ODRL | Slideshare, Feb 16, 2015

I haven't covered the nuances of version upgrades - Open Digital Rights Language is in final comments for version 2.1 - but the spectrum of automated rights referencing is maturing gradually. This slide presentation illustrates the current state of the art, with workflows for both publishing and consuming systems. The ODRL also has a  spiffy new web page on W3C - I love the spinning icon at the top (I want one - maybe I can steal theirs).

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Evidence of Learning

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 02/16/2015 - 13:00
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Adam Newman, Terry Miles, Gates Bryant, Tyton Partners, Feb 16, 2015

I think this is actually quite a good report and regret only that it doesn't dive into deeper detail. That said, the framework around 'evidence of learning' appears to me on first reading to be sound. Here it is:

  • Experience, including formal and informal learning and on-the-job (could include practical - SD)
  • Validate - review experience through assessment protocols, confirm skills
  • Assemble - curate experiences into a narrative, develop personal profile
  • Promote - present narrative for employment goals, attract candidates
  • Align - assess feedback tools for employment fit, provide workforce feedback (aka 'close the loop')

What I like is that is focused on much more than testing and credentials, and is therefore broadly applicable, and it focuses debate on specific entities, for example, hat should count as 'experience'? Via Inside Higher Ed. See also Tyton's evidence of learning  Supplier Ecosystem report.

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