Miscellaneous

Solid

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 08/19/2016 - 15:00


Tim Berners-Lee, et.al., Mit, Aug 19, 2016

Could this be the ascent from social media we're looking for? "Solid (derived from 'social linked data') is a proposed set of conventions and tools for building decentralized social applications based on Linked Data principles. Solid is modular and extensible and it relies as much as possible on existing W3C standards and protocols." Some of the key principles include true data ownership ("decoupling content from the application itself"), modular design ("seamlessly switching the apps and personal data storage servers"), and reusing existing data. Some of the applications include:

  • Plume  -  "a 100% client-side blogging platform, built using Solid standards, in which data is decoupled from the application itself."
  • Contacts  - "address book-like application to manage contact information
  • Notifications  - "inbox app to process Solid notifcations"
  • Cimba  - Microblogging platform
  • WebID  - profile editor with graph support
  • Dokieli - "a clientside editor for decentralised article publishing, annotations and social interactions.

Now this is very much a work in progress and I'm still exploring it. But for example, the Plume application works on a  Solid Platform which is no longer being maintained. You're probably best going to the  Solid GitHub repository to get started.

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Popular MITx philosophy MOOC introduces instructor grading

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 08/19/2016 - 12:00


Mit, Aug 19, 2016

I can only imagine that there is a cluster of "professional philosophers" just waiting for the onslaught as students in this MOOC take advantage of the new "instructor grading" feature being offered. It's hard not to deny the appeal: "Listening to lectures and reading books is great, but philosophy is all about taking complex ideas and organizing them in a simple way. You learn by writing, specifically writing to someone." But the press release does not describe how this  Introduction to Philosophy MOOC will handle the workload, though the course page says "enrollment for instructor grading will be capped." And maybe the 'verified certificate' option at $US 300 helps cover the cost.

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Top 10 Emerging Technologies of 2016

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 08/19/2016 - 09:00


Bernard Meyerson, Mariette DiChristina, World Economic Forum, Aug 19, 2016

This is a pretty good list, and Irving Wladawsky-Berger  adds commentary to each of the ten items listed in this World Economic Forum (WEF) report (website, 18 page PDF). Here's the list (quoted):

  • Nanosensors and the Internet of Nanothings -  could have a huge impact on the future of medicine, architecture, agriculture and drug manufacture.
  • Next Generation Batteries - make mini-grids feasible that can provide clean, reliable, round the clock energy sources to entire villages.
  • The Blockchain -  potential to fundamentally change the way markets and governments work is only now emerging.
  • 2D Materials - applications, from air and water filters to new generations of wearables and batteries.
  • Autonomous Vehicles - potential for saving lives, cutting pollution, boosting economies, and improving quality of life for the elderly.
  • Organs-on-chips -  allowing researchers to see biological mechanism behaviours in ways never before possible.
  • Perovskite Solar Cells - it is easier to make, can be used virtually anywhere and, to date, keeps on generating power more efficiently.
  • Open AI Ecosystem - help with a vast range of tasks, from keeping track of one’ s finances and health to advising on wardrobe choice.
  • Optogenetics - light can now be delivered deeper into brain tissue, something that could lead to better treatment for people with brain disorders.
  • Systems Metabolic Engineering - list of building block chemicals that can be manufactured better and more cheaply by using plants rather than fossil fuels.

If you want to predict the future, here's my slogan: carbon, carbon, and carbon. New building materials such as carbon fibre will the products we use stronger and lighter. Graphine and similar compounds will revolutionize electronics and power storage. And biotechnology will revolutionize medicine and help us build advanced organic-based processors.

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Meet Google Duo, a simple 1-to-1 video calling app for everyone

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 08/19/2016 - 09:00


Google, Aug 19, 2016

Google has released Google Duo, "a simple 1-to-1 video calling app available for Android and iOS. Duo takes the complexity out of video calling, so that you can be together in the moment wherever you are." Interesting featire: "we created a feature in Duo called Knock Knock which lets you see live video of your caller before you answer, giving you a sense of what they’ re up to and why they want to chat" It might take a bit before it's available wjhere you are; "it will be live worldwide in the next few days." It's notable to me that there is no support for Windows, and that it is not available for the desktop. So I'll keep using Skype.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Hangouts On Air moving from Google+ to YouTube Live

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 08/19/2016 - 09:00


Google, Aug 19, 2016

According to the website, "Hangouts On Air will move from Google+ to YouTube Live on September 12. If you want to schedule new Hangouts On Air you will need to use YouTube Live. Events cannot be scheduled on Google+ after September 12 and you will need to move existing events scheduled to happen after September 12 to YouTube Live." I wonder if this isn't the first step to eventually shutting down Google+. Anyhow, to schedule a live event you use your  My Live Events page. The service is also supported by a Creator hub set up to encourage  greater and greater participation in YouTube. Smart.

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Ria #20: Dr. Ana Spalding On Interdisciplinary Research

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 08/18/2016 - 19:00


, Ecampus Research Unit | Oregon State University, Aug 18, 2016 On this episode, Dr. Ana Spalding discusses her experiences with interdisciplinary and international research. [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Wicked problems, dynamic solutions and a new global classroom

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 08/18/2016 - 10:00


Concordia University, Aug 18, 2016

This one looks like fun. According to the press release, "While there are many MOOCs out there that introduce ecosystem services and related topics, this is one of the first that focuses explicitly on the ecosystem approach, long adopted as desirable by the UN, while covering so many key ecosystems and overarching themes." Wicked Problems, Dynamic Solutions: The Ecosystem Approach and Systems Thinking is an interdisciplinary course open to all.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Information Technology Strategic Plan 2016-2020

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 08/17/2016 - 13:00


Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Govenrment of Canada, Aug 17, 2016

No doubt the Government of Canada strategic plan will be of interest especially to Canadians, but the areas of focus should be of interest to governments and institutions worldwide. "Each area of focus details specific actions and activities that are underway or that represent new enterprise directions.

  • Service IT introduces the use of cloud computing, information-sharing platforms, and technologies and tools to manage IT service delivery and improve client satisfaction.
  • Secure IT focuses on layered defences to reduce exposure to cyber threats, increased awareness and understanding to manage these threats, and protective measures to enable the secure processing and sharing of data and information across government.
  • Manage IT presents a strengthened governance approach, the evolution of IT management practices, processes and tools, and a focus on innovation as well as sustainability.
  • Work IT introduces actions to build a high-performing IT workforce and a modern workplace that provides public service employees with the tools they need to do their jobs."

These are also probably areas of priority for my own organization and for educational institutions worldwide.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Obsolesced: The Rise and Fall of Gopher

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 08/17/2016 - 13:00


Tim Gihring, MinnPost, Aug 17, 2016

People have forgotten, I think, that there was an internet before the web. This is the story of part of it: Gopher. Developed at the University of Minnesota, "it was simple enough to explain: With minimal computer knowledge, you could download an interface — the Gopher — and begin searching the internet, retrieving information linked to it from anywhere in the world." It looked for a time like Gopher was the future of the internet. "Gopher developers held gatherings around the country, called GopherCons, and issued a Gopher T-shirt — worn by MTV veejay Adam Curry when he announced the network’ s Gopher site. The White House revealed its Gopher site on Good Morning America."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Deconstructing CBE

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 08/17/2016 - 13:00


Richard Garrett, Howard Lurie, Ellucian, Eduventures, ACE, Aug 17, 2016

As the  press release states, "'Deconstructing CBE' analyzes the diversity of CBE (Competency Based Education) programs and evaluates how CBE can be customized to meet specific institutional needs." The study touts some of the advantages of CBE. "CBE targets a diverse community: The majority of respondents (68 percent) look to CBE to expand opportunities and enhance learning for non-traditional students." Additionally, "CBE does not have to be delivered online, and need not be entirely self-paced." The full report (37 page PDF) describes three case studies (or 'portraits') and is based on a survey of 251 institutions in the U.S. According to the report, "CBE raises critical questions about how institutions could be organized and financed and what roles faculty and other instructional support providers might play." Via ACE, which also links to a 2014  special issue of ACE's The Presidency on "The Road to Competency-Based Education."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

BBC micro:bit forms part of Technology Day at Eastlea Community School

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 08/17/2016 - 13:00


Andrew Robertson, Microsoft Developer, Aug 17, 2016

The story is super-local but the impact of this program is nation-wide. The  BBC micro:bit "is a pocket-sized computer that you can code, customise, and control to bring your digital ideas, games, and apps to life." It costs maybe $15 or so. You use it to create different hands-on computer projects, for example, in this case, rocket cars. It was part of this school's technology day, which also included the use of Raspberry Pi. See more in this video. Hand-on real projects are the best kind of learning, creating skills and memories that last a lifetime.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Fredericton band Kill Chicago highlights student debt in new song

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 08/17/2016 - 13:00


Jordan Gill, CBC News, Aug 17, 2016

This is the problem that needs to be solved. "One of the inspirations behind the project was seeing many of his friend having to continue living like students, even with professional jobs," according to this article. "You find out that the government's charging you, you know, $6-7 a day interest, and that money doesn't even go to the schools, or the teachers that taught you ... it just goes to banks." We need to get the cost of education to zero, or as near zero as humanly possible. No, it doesn't solve every problem. But it solves some big ones.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

What I learned as a hired consultant to autodidact physicists

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 08/15/2016 - 23:00


Sabine Hossenfelder, Aeon, Aug 15, 2016

I've described this in talks more often than I can count, so it's nice to have an actual physicist make the point for me: "During a decade of education, we physicists learn more than the tools of the trade; we also learn the walk and talk of the community, shared through countless seminars and conferences, meetings, lectures and papers. After exchanging a few sentences, we can tell if you’ re one of us. You can’ t fake our community slang any more than you can fake a local accent in a foreign country." Physicists recognize each other.

What's unfair about the whole thing is that people who are not experts cannot tell that they're not. "My clients know so little about current research in physics, they aren’ t even aware they’ re in a foreign country. They have no clue how far they are from making themselves understood." Yeah. And it's not just physics - I see the same thing in well-meaning scientists (including computer scientists) and engineers trying to talk about education and philosophy. And I wonder - every day - in what areas I'm seen by real practitioners as an unschooled amateur.

Finally, though: "They are driven by the same desire to understand nature and make a contribution to science as we are. They just weren’ t lucky enough to get the required education early in life, and now they have a hard time figuring out where to even begin." Because everyone is something.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

‘Our Technology Is Our Ideology’: George Siemens on the Future of Digital Learning

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 08/15/2016 - 15:00


Marguerite McNeal, EdSurge, Aug 15, 2016

Here's George Siemens, from a recent and very positive interview in EdSurge: "If we do things right, we could fix many of the things that are really very wrong with the university system, in that it treats people like objects, not human beings. It pushes us through like an assembly-line model rather than encouraging us to be self-motivated, self-regulated, self-monitoring human beings." It makes me think of the interaction in one of Ulrike Reinhard's posts, where one person says her school will "change their path of destiny n make them something in life" and Reinhard replies "They are already something in life." And when Rory McGreal comments in the Siemens article that "You can’ t be an adaptive learner if you don’ t know anything" my response is that they already know something. 

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Categories: Miscellaneous

A compulsive audience and a complicit news media

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 08/15/2016 - 15:00


Danny Funt, Columbia Journalism Review, Aug 15, 2016

We can blame social media for society's ills (including those caused by social media) but I wonder whether this isn't the case. After all, society's ills began well before social media - I remember working in the Gauntlet office in the mid-1980s and being just blown away when Television the Drug of the Nation played on campus radio. We're seeing a repeat. "Social strategies for news media are largely beholden to business interests. That some content must be cheapened, sensationalized, and churned out in bulk to amass traffic and woo advertisers may seem justifiable if it finances more meaningful work." The fear expressed in this article is that it might not be possible to escape this downward spiral.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Facebook teaches schools a 'personalized' lesson

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 08/15/2016 - 15:00


Corinne Lestch, EdScoop, Aug 15, 2016

According to this report, loosely based on a Facebook post (and probably this week's New York Times article) "The Summit-Facebook system, known as the 'Summit Personalized Learning Platform,' allows students to be in control of their own learning process and complete lessons at their own pace." Can Facebook learn enough about you to offer you personalized learning? Based on their advertising selection, no. But if they can peer into even more of your private data, maybe it will work (and if not, they can always feed  advertisements into the system).  You can see the same story in an EdSurge article from  two years ago (using the same graphics) on the use of the system in Summit's own charter schools. There's an update from edSurge from April. But read more in this week's coverage of this breaking news story from Education Dive, Business Insider, The  NonProfit Quarterly Blog,  Education Week (which actually charges money for this rehash), Washington Examiner, Times Higher Education. *sigh* #facepalm

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Inside Twitter’s 10-Year Failure To Stop Harassment

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 08/15/2016 - 13:00


Charlie Warzel, Buzzfeed News, Aug 15, 2016

Ironically  posted on Buzzfeed, this article asserts that "for nearly its entire existence, Twitter has not just tolerated abuse and hate speech, it’ s virtually been optimized to accommodate it." Now, writes Charlie Warzel, "With public backlash at an all-time high and growth stagnating, what is the platform that declared itself 'the free speech wing of the free speech party' to do?" It's a good question. Though described as a social networking platform, Twitter is in reality a publishing platform (albeit of very short articles). Moreover, there's no real distinction between 'friend' and 'abusive stranger' on Twitter, which means your harassers can target both you and all your followers. “ The original sin is a homogenous leadership,” one former senior employee told BuzzFeed News. “ This is part of what exacerbated the abuse problem for sure." Language warning, because Buzzfeed.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Hey, Snapchat, enough is enough

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 08/15/2016 - 10:00


Nicole Lee, Engadget, Aug 15, 2016

Silicon Valley has a diversity problem. How else to explain the distribution of Pokemon locations? How else to explain how Snapchat came out with what is essentially a racist photo filter? "Snapchat recently released a new selfie lens that it says was 'anime-inspired.' But it made your eyes look squinty and slanted. And if you had your mouth open, it would also appear as if you had buck teeth. In short, it turned you into a racist Asian caricature... (yet) Anime is generally known for large, soulful eyes and tiny mouths, not slanted eyes and enlarged teeth." This isn't an isolated instance, either; witness the recently released 'nerd filter' (illustrated).

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Categories: Miscellaneous

The lost infrastructure of social media

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 08/15/2016 - 10:00


Anil Dash, Medium, Aug 15, 2016

The most striking feature of this article is a list, side-by-side, of the sharing and network features that existed in the early days of the blogosphere and those that are available today. In far too many categories, today's listing is "n/a" - in other words, nothing. We've lost blog search, responses, favourites, updates, friend lists, and more. Some of these have just be slurped into the closed social media sites, while others are just gone. "I think most of these ideas were good ideas the first time around and will remain good ideas in whatever modern incarnation revives them for a new generation," writes Dash. "I have no doubt there’ s a billion-dollar company waiting to be founded based on revisiting one of the concepts outlined here." Via  D'Arcy Norman (listed only as 'dnorman' in his author metadata).

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Social Clicks: What and Who Gets Read on Twitter?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 08/15/2016 - 10:00


Maksym Gabielkov, Arthi Ramachandran, Augustin Chaintreau, Arnaud Legout, HAL, Aug 15, 2016

This excellent paper has been the subject of some recent social media pranks, the point of which are to show that people rarely read the posts they share on Twitter or Facebook. You can read a Washington Post  article about it from mid-June. “ People are more willing to share an article than read it,” study co-author Arnaud Legout said in a statement. “ This is typical of modern information consumption. People form an opinion based on a summary, or a summary of summaries, without making the effort to go deeper.” The study does go deeper, and in a way that will be of significant interest to analysts; in addition to providing the analysis, it proposes a new metric to measure the influence of a URL. "Ideally," write the authors, "we would like to create a similar metric to quantify the influence of a user," which in the end is suggested via an indirect statistical mechanism.

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