Miscellaneous

7 Ways To Fix Ontario's Dismal Public Education System

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/12/2018 - 14:06

Malkin Dare, Huffington Post, Sept 22, 2018

I think that when you post a headline like this, you need at the very least to be able to show that the system is indeed dismal. This is a tall order in this case. Ontario's public education system is the envy of the world. It ranks near the top of international testing. And it prepares citizens to participate in a modern information-age society. So why say that the system is dismal? It may have a lot to do with the first recommendation: "subsidizing independent school tuition." By "independent schools" the author means "private schools". But this creates inequality, which as we know causes school systems to decline. As Doug Peterson writes, "Every child in the province deserves access to a consistent, quality education.  They can do that right now." There are also recommendations about curricula, testing textbooks and teacher training that are similarly regressive. If you want to see the outcome of these policies, don't look for them at the top of the international rankings. Look for them at the bottom.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Here's what Americans say it will take to rebuild their trust in the media

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/12/2018 - 13:39

Christine Schmidt, NiemanLab, Sept 22, 2018

There's a lot going on in this article, but here's how I read it: for people who distrust the media, the most cited reason is bias, but for people who trust the media, the most cited reason is accuracy, and transparency can improve trust in the media generally. This matters to me because, as readers know, this newsletter definitely comes with a point of view. The same is true of most teachers and professors. That's why it's really important to get the facts right and to be transparent. If you can't do this, then having a point of view will sink you, and people won't trust you. Here's the full report (37 page PDF) from the Knight Foundation.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Bridgy Fed

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 09/11/2018 - 21:01

Bridgy, Sept 22, 2018

I haven't been able to work with this product but it has opened up some new doors to look into. "Bridgy Fed lets you interact with federated social networks like Mastodon and Hubzilla from your IndieWeb site. It translates replies, likes, and reposts from webmentions to federated social networking protocols like ActivityPub and OStatus, and vice versa." I hadn't considered integration with ActivityPub and OStatus, but it makes sense. More when I learn more.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Can Cats Read Minds?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 09/10/2018 - 22:24

Ali Boyle, iAi News, Sept 22, 2018

I've thought a lot about the mental states. In the current case, we're not asking whether cats have ESP. Rather, if a cat does something, is it because the cat thinks we're thinking something, or is it simply reacting to behaviour. This article raises what is called 'the logical problem', because we can't change the evidence for our thinking something without also changing our behaviour. But it becomes odd and hard to explain a cat's actions without assuming they know what we're thinking. This article recounts the well-known instance of a cat sneaking up on you, but freezing when it thinks you're looking. OK, it could be responding to behaviour. But what about when the cat tries to deceive you, feigning disinterest when you have some food or something? But on the other hand - surely cats aren't capable of complex representational states involving human mental contents. Which to me raises the question - why do we assume humans are 'reading minds'?

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Categories: Miscellaneous

How you can make a progressive web app in an hour

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 09/10/2018 - 16:34

ryanwhocodes, freecodecamp, Sept 22, 2018

OK, I spent way more than an hour on this. Be warned. So, a progressive web app (PWA) is a web page that functions offline as well as online, and is typically used on a mobile device. It does this by means of a 'service worker' that manages a local cache of static resources and intercepts calls to remote servers to cache results and use the cache is the dynamic results aren't available. The article I'm linking to here won't really show you how to make a progressive web app, but it does provide a template for one. If you want to actually make a PWA then go to this Google page and follow the step-by-step instructions. Now I made a simple weather app you can see here but be warned - it doesn't work out of the box. It worked OK locally using the Chrome server, but I had to move all the images to make it work on my website, and it was a bear getting it to work on Firebase (probably because of caching issues).

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Official: Google Chrome 69 kills off the World Wide Web (in URLs)

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 09/10/2018 - 14:52

Shaun Nichols, The Register, Sept 22, 2018

This, I think, is going to become a bigger issue, and it has a lot to do with the way the underlying structure of the web is beginning to change. On the surface, web browsers (specifically, Safari and Chrome) have begun to obscure the URL. The URL identifies the web site address of the page you're looking at (and usually, but not always, corresponds to a specific IP address, which is the site's numerical address). This is being done iteratively - the new version of Chrome removes the 'https' and the 'www' from URLs. Why? The Register's theory is hat this is " hiding the fact that a webpage is served using Google's phone-friendly site-gobbling AMP system." But I think it has to do with the use of content distribution networks (CDN) generally, and with the idea that the URL is becoming disassociated with the IP address generally.

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The YouTube stars heading for burnout: ‘The most fun job imaginable became deeply bleak’

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 09/10/2018 - 14:43

Simon Parkin, The Guardian, Sept 22, 2018

I can sort of relate to this article, because I do most of my work on the internet, but I havern't had anything really go viral, and I don't depend on having thousands of views for my faily income (good thing, too). But all that plus a deeply impersonal algorithm that rewards constant and sustained production while providing little or no support against the difficulties of an online life have left a lot of internet stars (it's not just YouTibe and Twitch) depressed and burned out. In the internet is the place we will work and learn in the future, we need to learn how to make it more human and more forgiving.

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Automation, A Moodle Admin Must. Is AI Next?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 09/10/2018 - 14:15

Cristian T. Duque, Moodle News, Sept 21, 2018

This post references Andy Schermuly's discussion of automation in the context of the LMS in eLearning Industry. Schermuly discusses automation in the State of Arizona, Choice Hotels International, Avis Budget Group. In the current article Cristian T. Duque addresses the lack of focus on automation in Moodle, and perhaps more significantly, points out that a lot of automation is form-driven. "During onboarding, learners go through exhaustive questionnaires. Dozens of fields to fill out, each of them informing future segmentation and delivery." This, to my mind, creates sources of error, and is very inefficient. So I think with Duque that there's a wider question to be asked about automation, and whether the automation process itself can be automated. But you don't need AI for a lot of this, just connected data.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

CDSWG20: Competency Data Standards Work Group

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 09/10/2018 - 13:23

IEEE-LTSC, Sept 21, 2018

This is a new IEEE-LTSC working group that's just getting started (its first meeting is/was today). The formal name is CDSWG20 P1484.20.1. You can go to this page and sign up for the mailing list and membership (like all IEEE-LTSC working groups, membership is based on participation - participate, you're a member). " The Competencies WG 20 intends to take the Credential Ecosystem Mapping Project’s mapping of competencies metadata and update RCD to represent the most common elements that are found in multiple standards addressing competencies and competency frameworks." Image: Alberta Education.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

What Does Fluency Without Understanding Look Like?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 09/07/2018 - 19:40

Dan Meyer, dy/dan, Sept 21, 2018

"Conceptual understanding refers to an integrated and functional grasp of mathematical ideas" of of the ideas underlying a discipline in general. You could not be said to 'know' a discipline unless you have conceptual understanding. Yet, as discussed here (and here, and here) the idea that students should just learn formulae by rote appears over and over again. "There must be something deeply attractive about the idea that children’s math success can simply be forced upon them," writes Emma Gargroetzi.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Making E-Textbooks More Interactive

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 09/07/2018 - 19:08

David Raths, Campus Technology, Sept 21, 2018

When I'm thinking of 'making textbooks more interactive' these days I'm either thinking of using them to connect with a community, or to work with editable programs and live data, or both. But I think the idea of 'interactive' in this article takes us back to the days in the 1990s when 'interactive' meant 'you can push a button to play a video' or some such thing. Anyhow, all this 'interactivity' requires an Apple platform to operate. " iComp was created in Apple's iBooks Author, with tools such as Adobe's Premiere and After Effects used to enhance and edit video clips and Apple's Keynote used to create interactive widgets." :facepalm:

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Building a body of knowledge work

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 09/07/2018 - 18:41

Jim McGee, McGee's Musings, Sept 20, 2018

This is a bit of slice-of-life I guess, but I enjoyed the account of learning by doing (case studies). This is something I've discovered over time as well: "If I was to eventually create a case study that would work in the classroom or extend our understanding of this issue, I needed to get my thinking out of my head and available for inspection, by myself first and foremost." It aids in the whole process of pattern recognition that is crucil to knowledge creation. And of course there's a whole discipline devoted to this. "I did discover that this approach exists in its own rich context, as does any fundamentally useful technique. Anthropologist Clifford Geertz called it 'thick description,' Sociologists Barney Glaser and Anselm Strauss called it 'grounded theory.'" So there you go.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

How to Live Stream on YouTube

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 09/07/2018 - 16:54

Anthony Heddings, How-To Geek, Sept 19, 2018

It's funny to read that "YouTube’s live streaming support has gotten much better and is now a solid competitor to Twitch" but I guess it's true. I've been exploring the game-streaming world using YouTube with xSplit for the last few years. That's how I stream my talks. This article recommends an open source application called Open Broadcaster Software (OBS). Haven't used it; can't vouch for it, but the core idea here is that you use an application to capture the video feed and broadcast it to YouTube (or Twitch, or wherever) much the way a Digital Signal Porcessor (DSP) captures and sends audio signals for web radio. Twitch is probably blocked in your office (it is in mine) but this sort of technology has a bright future in e-learning.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Build Your Own Learning Tools

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 09/06/2018 - 23:39

Tony Hirst, OUseful Info, Sept 19, 2018

Tony Hirst explores the idea of creative reusable learning resources with Jupyter Notebooks. Because: "the computational engine that is available to us when we present educational materials as live Jupyter notebooks means that we can build quite simple computational tools to extend the environment and allow students to interact with, and ask a range of questions of, the subject matter we are trying to engage them with." My question is, can we put them in an RSS feed and syndicate them? What would that look like?

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Categories: Miscellaneous

For safety’s sake, we must slow innovation in internet-connected things

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 09/06/2018 - 23:18

Martin Giles, Technology Review, Sept 19, 2018

This story relates the views of internet security expert Bruce Schneier, "who fears lives will be lost in a cyber disaster unless governments act swiftly." Even if I thought this would be a good idea (and I don't, really) I wonder how it could be implemented. Will everyone in the world simply agree to put down their digitl development tools? Probably not. And in any case, things aren't secure now - our best hope for security is more development. Still, it's a catchy headline that people will like. And I love the photo. Love it!

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Proposal For a Universal Lifelong Learning Credit System

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 09/06/2018 - 23:00

Ronny De Winter, Class Central, Sept 19, 2018

The old standbys never really disappear. The idea of a single credit standard has been around for as long as I have, which I regret to say, is a long time. The basis for the current proposal? "Imagine a system in which we allocate one Universal Study Point (USP) per 25 study hours. This system could help participating universities, learners and employers understand and reward all kinds of studies, regardless of educational institution." Yes, we'll base it all on perceived seat time. Or, maybe not.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Shuls: Do Charter Schools Take Districts’ Money? Only If You Think Children, & the Funding That Comes With Them, Are District Property

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 09/06/2018 - 22:33

James V. Shuls, The 74, Sept 19, 2018

This is a crass piece of propaganda that needs to be called out as such. It is written in response to the oft-made argument that private schools drain resources from the existing public school system. James V. Shuls writes, "How would you respond if you stumbled across a headline that asked, 'How much do farmers markets cost Walmart?' It’s a ridiculous question." Yes, stated that way, it's ridiculous. But I've often heard it put the other way: how much did Walmart cost the local market? But even that is a stretch, because the local market isn't vital to the well-being of society. Education is. Would you complain about Walmart taking over your local schools? I know I would.

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Dan Pontefract: Open Thinking

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 09/06/2018 - 22:26

 

Do you take the time to pause and reflect. Do you allow your mind to wander? Are you organized? Do you take account of facts? Are you willing to revisit a decision? Are you in charge of your focus? Are you acting with reserve and patience? Are you flexible in a moment of acting?

, , Sept 06, 2018 [Link]
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Categories: Miscellaneous

How to Set Up and Use the Google Titan Key Bundle

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 09/06/2018 - 22:26

Cameron Summerson, How-to-Geek, Sept 18, 2018

This is a glimpse into yor future. "Let’s make one thing clear: these are standard U2F keys that will work on any account that supports authentication via security key—this includes, but is not limited to, Google accounts."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

25 Years of Ed Tech: Themes & Conclusions

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/05/2018 - 14:53

Martin Weller, The Ed Techie, Sept 18, 2018

Martin Weller wraps up his review of the recent history of ed tech with some review and conclusions. Some of the themes are no surprise at all - education is a slow-moving, conservative and ponderous industry that will resist pretty much any change that comes along. Meanwhile, proponents of ed tech come from other industries, don't know the history, and make the same mistakes over and over. And yet, despite this, innovation happens. "The survey of the last 25 years in ed tech also reveals a rich history of innovation. Web 2.0, bulletin board systems, PLEs, connectivism – these all saw exciting innovation and also questioning what education is for and how best to realise it."

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