Miscellaneous

Plans vs. Planning

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 06/16/2016 - 17:00


Michael Caulfield, Hapgood, Jun 16, 2016

Good post on an essential difference. Quoting none other than Richard Nixon: "It was obvious that no plans could have possibly been devised to cope with such unpredictable conduct. Yet without months of planning … I might have been completely dismayed and routed by his unexpected assaults."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Student visa fraud: universities and governments ‘must be proactive’

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 06/16/2016 - 17:00


Ellie Bothwell, Times Higher Education, Jun 16, 2016

I don't think Canada needs any lessons on supposed 'visa fraud' from the Times of London, participarly when the only evidence offered seems to be the way we run our decentralized education system: "the process for granting degree-awarding powers is determined by each provincial government, which she said 'can allow more room for corruption'." If there is any evidence that fraud actually has been committed by Canadian institutions, THE ought to come out and say so instead of making insinuations.  By contrast, I guess, British institutions, which can charge  $18K in tuition, aren't likely to defraud their students at all! Crumpets!

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Keeping MOOCs open—platforms vs. protocols

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 06/16/2016 - 17:00


Dave Weinberger, Joho the Blog, Jun 16, 2016

It appears to be a fuss about nothing - or maybe it was a trial balloon - but though there are reports  that Coursera is clamping down on free access to courses, there's no real evidence to back that up. Nonetheless, Dave Weinberger is sounding a caution. "MOOCs are here to stay," he writes, "But we once again need to learn the danger of centralized platforms. Protocols are safer — more generative, more resistant to capture — than platforms. Distributed archives are safer than centralized archives." But of course the platform created at Stanford and catering to exclusive universities was always going to be centralized. The question is why we pay so much attention to Coursera than to the dozens of other MOOC platforms.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

The Second Power of Open

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 06/16/2016 - 17:00


David Wiley, iterating toward openness, Jun 16, 2016

The second power of open, says David Wiley, is the use of open materials to support a better pedagogy. "Perhaps we should start talking about open pedagogy as the 'second power of open,'" he writes. "Perhaps that language, which has a clear and specific referent, would help a broader group of people understand that there’ s even more to open than they realized." I'd like to think so, but that's what we did with MOOCs, using open resurces to create a new pedagogy, but there wasn't  really a great opening of the eyes as a result.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Entrepreneurs don’t have a special gene for risk—they come from families with money

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 06/16/2016 - 17:00


Aimee Groth, Quartz, Jun 16, 2016

This is not universally true, of course. Sometimes they have other less legal means. What they don't have is a special 'character' that makes them entrepreneurs (much less better than you or me).  “ Many other researchers have replicated the finding that entrepreneurship is more about cash than dash,” University of Warwick professor Andrew Oswald tells Quartz. “ Genes probably matter, as in most things in life, but not much.”

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Microsoft to Acquire LinkedIn for $26.2 Billion

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 06/16/2016 - 17:00


Jay Greene, Anne Steele, Wall Street Journal, Jun 16, 2016

Last week, I got an email telling me to change my password because the LinkedIn database had been hacked. Today, Microsoft is buying the company. No, I'm not saying the events are linked. It's just surprising that a company with 500K members could leave passwords exposed. Anyhow, I'm now waiting for another email about my LinkedIn account, since apparently now Microsoft will be able to read all my personal data. Remember: in our field, companies buy  customers, not technology.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Gates Foundation failures show philanthropists shouldn’t be setting America's public school agenda

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 06/12/2016 - 16:00


Editorial, L.A. Times, Jun 12, 2016

So this is interesting. Contained in a recent report we read "This has been a challenging lesson for us to absorb, but we take it to heart. The mission of improving education in America is both vast and complicated, and the Gates Foundation doesn’ t have all the answers." The L.A. Times draws the appropriate conclusion: "Philanthropists are not generally education experts, and even if they hire scholars and experts, public officials shouldn’ t be allowing them to set  the policy agenda for the nation’ s public schools." This is all the more true because philanthropists typically reward the best fundraisers, and not the best projects.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Before We Were Connected: How To Achieve a Statewide Professional Learning Network

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 06/12/2016 - 16:00


Katrina Keene, EdSurge, Jun 12, 2016

Interesting accounbt of how  Katrina Keene created an ed tech professional learning network (PLN) in Tennessee. "This evolution of #TnTechChat revealed something to me that I never knew in years past— that I had given up on my home state. If I had put something in action when I first began on Twitter, perhaps our state of Tennessee could have been connected sooner. But regardless, we were and are now connected."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Competencies and Learning Objectives

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 06/12/2016 - 16:00


School of Public Health, Jun 12, 2016

Short 4 page PDF that defines competencies, distinguishes them from learning objectoives, and provides guidance on how to write them.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Pluto’s blobby heart is like a lava lamp

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 06/11/2016 - 13:00


Diana Lutz, Futurity, Jun 11, 2016

Not only does Pluto have a heart, it has a  beating heart. "Like a cosmic lava lamp, a large section of Pluto’ s icy surface is renewed by a process called convection that replaces older ices with fresher material." How can they not call that a planet? Pluto will always have a special place in  my heart: the planet that went from a one pixel dot to a full-fledged world within my lifetime.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

This is Why “Personalized Learning” Will Fail

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 06/11/2016 - 13:00


Will Richardson, Jun 11, 2016

According to the personalized learning scenario, writes Will Richardson, "Software is the path to an 'education.' Deep data drives the delivery, and assessment is built in.... (but)  there’ s a fatal flaw in that scenario. Put simply, we can’ t have everyone get As. And if “ personalized learning” achieves its goal, that’ s exactly what would happen, right?"  Well,  I wouldn't mind,  but "the last thing those who pay high taxes and steep tuition for academic 'excellence' want is to become denizens of Lake Wobegon where “ all of the children are above average.” Richardson continues: "What won’ t fail in this information, knowledge, people, and technology abundant world is  personal  learning, pursuing a curriculum that WE develop to serve our learning needs and desires" (As an aside, I think that the image accompanying the article was entirely inappropriate).

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Categories: Miscellaneous

As the Maker Movement Turns 45, Gary Stager Pays Tribute to M.I.T. Computing Pioneer Cynthia Solomon

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 06/11/2016 - 13:00


Gary Stager, EdSurge, Jun 11, 2016

When I was a child I used to look longingly at advertisements for crystal radio sets you make yourself. I never did get one; at $24 they were way too expensive for me. But it does suggests that the 'maker' movement is more than 45 years old. No matter. Gary Stager still performs a valuable service in recognizing the contributions of  Cynthia Solomon in the 1970s. "Not only did Solomon help create the first programming language for children, but she developed many of the pedagogical approaches and activities we currently use to teach students to use computers."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

New Trends in Online Learning

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 06/11/2016 - 13:00
[Slides][Audio]

This presentation outlines six major trends in online learning technology: machine learning and artificial intelligence; handheld and mobile computing; badges and blockchain; internet of things; games, sims and virtual reality; and translation and collaborative technology. It then assesses the impact of these new technologies on education, describing a personal, self-managed and activity-based system of learning and development.

Atlantic Universities and Colleges Technology Conference, Sackville, New Brunswick, via WebX (Keynote) Jun 08, 2016 [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Issues in Research, Design, and Development of Personal Learning Environments

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 06/09/2016 - 21:00


Trey Martindale, Michael Dowdy, Emergence, Innovation in Digital Learning: Foundations, Jun 09, 2016

I like this paper and it speaks to a lot of the ideas and issues surrounding the concept of the personal learning environment (PLE) but many of the references are from 2006, illustrating the mire in which the concept has become embedded. The cause of that mire, though, is usefully described in the last section of the paper: "the LMS has become a dominant feature of formal learning environments, and it is a large and lucrative market.... One of the key issues will be determining where PLEs fit in terms of relationship with the LMS. Is it an augmentation, a competitor, a replacement, or something else?" My own experience is that despite the benefits to students and employers, people in the business of education technology aren't interested in the PLE. But yeah, that will change. You can read the whole book Emergence and Innovation in Digital Learning: Foundations and Applications, edited by George Veletsianos, for free on the Athabasca University site.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Theories for Learning with Emerging Technologies

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 06/09/2016 - 18:00


Terry Anderson, Emergence, Innovation in Digital Learning: Foundations, Jun 09, 2016

In an accessible paper that is a breeze to read, Terry Anderson illustrates "how learning and learning designs that use emerging technologies can be enhanced via the lens of theory." He presents several taxonomies of theory to illustrate his point, for example: the presentational view, the epistemic engagement view, and the view from complexity theory. He alsop discusses 'net-aware' theories of learning, including heutagogy, connectivism, and groups vs networks (to which, following his work with Dron , he adds 'sets', in his clearest formulation of the third category yet). We also get a good summary of his own 'learning equivalency theory' and of threshold concepts. The only thing he really gets wrong is his reference to Popper, first, in the sense that "a good theory is one that can't be proved true" (this isn't his view; Popper argues no theory can be proved true), and second, in the sense that Popper's view is current in the evaluation of theories, which is is certainly not.  As noted in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, falsification "was superseded in the eyes of many by the socio-historical approach taken by Thomas Kuhn in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962)" and non-positivist accounts now describe the conditions for theory acceptance and rejection. You can read the whole book Emergence and Innovation in Digital Learning: Foundations and Applications, edited by George Veletsianos, for free on the Athabasca University site.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Linked data and structured journalism at the BBC

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 06/09/2016 - 15:00


Basile Simon, Online Journaliusm Blog, Jun 09, 2016

This item is obviously about the structuring of news articles, but the logic behind it applies equally well to learning. Here's the essence in a nutshell: news stories often repeat the same content when follow-up articles are written about the same series of events. To ensure accuracy, these have to be researched over and over again. But what if we didn't rewrite all this each time? "The reporter’ s task is then to input facts and events into the database, as well as to connect and explain to the machine the relationships between them and earlier ones." Then we let an AI write the actual story. "These narratives are not frozen, they’ re constantly evolving as stories develop. They can even represent the different views of the world we have." The skill in writing isn't the putting of text into the proper order; it's the seeing of the relationships that make the text relevant.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Facebook pushes mobile users to Messenger app

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 06/09/2016 - 11:00


Zoe Kleinman, BBC, Jun 09, 2016

I have already objected to this on my Facebook feed. Facebook is removing messages from its mobile website and requiring that people use its messenger app. I removed this app quite a while ago because it was the single biggest drain of battery and bandwidth on my phone. I'm not about to return to it. I agree with Devin Coldewey  at TechCrunch: "it strikes me as quite a hostile move." I won't be using the messenger app, and I'll be looking more more friendly social network options.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Internet trends: the latest Mary Meeker report

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 06/08/2016 - 21:00


Bryan Alexander, Jun 08, 2016

Analysis of the most recent report  from Mary Meeker on internet trends, referenced here Friday. Bryan Alexander notes (among other observations) "Meeker sees speech recognition and voice interfaces going mainstream.   Good reflections  here." Inside Higher Ed, unwilling to take any sort of stance, gives us 36 undifferentiated  highlights. Ad Week shows restraint and gives us 22 things. Inc. does even better and focuses on 5 things, including slowing internet growth, privacy concerns, and coming changes in search and messaging. Bloomberg has it in one: the slowing internet growth curve. Charles Jennings pull a slide out of the Meeker deck ('Is it a car? Is it a computer?") in his discussion of driving tests  ("the driving licence as we know it – a ‘ badge’ received for scoring a ‘ pass’ in the driving test - is fast becoming an artefact from a bygone era, even though it seems to have been with us forever," he writes). Finally, a brutal brilliant parody  video that captures the deck nicely for millennials. 

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Categories: Miscellaneous

No LMS - an argument for when your institution comes to reviewing their Learning Management System

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 06/08/2016 - 17:00


Leigh Blackall, Jun 08, 2016

I'm not sure it's possible to actually make the argument stick - after all, the LMS automatically enters grades for you into the student record system, and who can do away with  that? - but I think there are aspects to the no-LMS argument that should be considered. For example, "Accessible, relevant and engaging learning" does not mean "digitised and locked in a system that resembles nothing like the rest of the Internet, or what you might experience in life after school." Moreover, probably the most powerful argument is that "the LMS is in the way." When we are trying to create a unique, custom, and  perosnal learning experience, the thing that treats everyone the same and limits choices stands in the way of any progresss.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Employers told to stick to ‘core business’ after Citroën blow

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 06/08/2016 - 14:00


Jude Burke, FE Week, Jun 08, 2016

I lot of employers have been taking training into their own hands recently, spurred on by digital media and learning providers such as Pearson. The early returns this apprenticeship program are not encouraging. "Questions have now been raised about government moves to encourage more employers to run their own training," according to this article, "with the average Ofsted rating across all eight employer providers inspected in the last nine months being a disappointing three." Providers fare no better.  "Pearson was meanwhile slammed by Ofsted in January  for its inadequate apprenticeship provision, after the inspection team found 'no 'key strengths'." This is one of the key truths about private sector management of public services: they have to be closely monitored and scrutinized because they  will cut corners and provide inadequate service.

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