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Some of you may recall my photo set from the Metcalfe Fair last October. What struck me at the time was the participation of young people in the events. In a rural community like Metcalfe, to 'make' is to raise a calf, grow a crop, or restore an antique. As this story says, "Rural districts might already be offering a maker program and not realize it. Organizations such as 4-H and Future Farmers of America teach agricultural education skills that involve a lot of 'making.' Students might be designing, programming and learning about technology under the auspices of such a curriculum." I grew up in Metcalfe, and maybe this is why I don't see 'making' as a new thing.[Link] [Comment]
Live notes from the SUNY OpenCOTE Conference, Syracuse, NY.[Link] [Comment]
Open online learning entered the mainstream with the growth and popularity of MOOCs, but while interest in open online courses has never been greater MOOCs represent only the first step in a broader open learning infrastructure. In this keynote Stephen Downes will describe several key innovations shaping the future of open learning: distributed social networks, cloud infrastructures and virtualization, immersive reality, and personal learning environments. The talk will outline the challenges this evolving model will pose to learning providers and educational institutions and recommend policies and processes to meet them. Link to hosted video.SUNY Open COTE 2017, Syracuse, New York (Keynote) Mar 09, 2017 [Comment]
I know competences are the next big thing and that a lot of time and money i being devoted to competency-based education, but I can't help feeling uneasy about them. This article identifies some reasons why. First "is the myth that employers always know best... the problem with employers is that they tend to look to the present or the short term future in defining skills requirements." Second is "the relationship between ‘ competence’ and knowledge and how to define performance to meet such competence." Finally, "I would be deeply suspicious of just what they mean by 'tuition model is subscription based'? This seems like just another attempt to package up education for sale in nice chunks: a step forward in the privatisation of education."[Link] [Comment]
It used to be the case that students left China to study abroad. This continues, but a new trend is that students are traveling to China to study. "More than 440,000 international students were enrolled in China last year, an increase of 11.4% over 2015." This would over time be accompanied by increased enrollments in Chinese online learning classes. This poses a challenge to countries like Britain and Australia who have developed an overseas education market. Image: Wikipedia. Related: cultural experience is a primary motivator of overseas study.[Link] [Comment]
Introduced today at the SUNY COTE 2017 conference I'm attending. From the website: "This course is designed to introduce you to teaching online – the concepts, competencies, pedagogies, and practices that are required to plan, develop, and teach an online course. Along with introducing you to these key topics, this course will showcase the perspectives of students, faculty, and instructional designers who have a wide range of experience teaching and learning online." It's still a work in progress, so be kind to the authors.[Link] [Comment]
OntarioLearn "is a consortium of Ontario’ s 24 public colleges who partner to share more than 1,200 online courses and several online programs to make them accessible to students across the province and beyond. In 2015-16, there were over 70,000 registrations in their shared online courses." This article provides an overview of OntarioLearn describing recent innovations, benefits, and challenges.[Link] [Comment]
I recently covered the Shattered Mirror report, which suggests (among other things) that young readers still trust media. I think that it is an outlier, and I'm seeing more studies with the current conclusion: young people (and people in general) find it very difficult to trust media. The cherry-picking of a single study to make the opposite point is a case in point. It's not false news, fake news, or even a lie, exactly, but it's very misleading, and it happens all the time. No single study says anything. I wish news media would learn that, and I'm hoping that young people are learning that as they become much more media-savvy than their parents.[Link] [Comment]
The second part of this series is now available (I covered the first part here) and it directly relates to some of what I will be talking about tomorrow. The first part described how to build a serverless static site generator; this one covers a serverless content management system (CMS). This ties in to the idea that everybody will (eventually) have their own web presence. This is the mechanism that frees us from the hands of Facebook and Twitter (and puts us into the hands of AWS and Azure).[Link] [Comment]
This is a very comprehensive look at open education in Sweden, beginning with the country's open access policies in general and proceeding through a detailed list of specific open education and OER initiatives in the country. "Because of its emphasis on independent studies, Sweden is ranked among the world leaders in higher education. The teaching model applied at Swedish universities and university colleges is expressed in the motto 'freedom with responsibility.' Students have somewhat less teacher-led time than in other systems of higher education, mainly pursuing their studies on their own or in groups. Sweden also aims to have one of the most research-intensive university systems in the world. The uptake in higher education among Swedes has risen sharply over the last few years. In the autumn term of 2012, there was a record 126,000 first-time applicants to higher education in Sweden."[Link] [Comment]
In the spirit of Who Moved My Cheese, Tim Kastelle makes the case that innovation should not be measured in terms of new discoveries, patents and publications, and instead focuses on "something that solves actual problems for real people." This, he argues, is a circular process. "We talk to people a bit to understand what problems they’ re struggling with, then build something that might help with that to see if it works. And we do this repeatedly." Fair enough, but my experience is that when you ask people what they want, they ask for a better mousetrap, and they won't buy it from you until you have patents and publications to prove it works. Real innovation goes beyond what people say they want, and addresses challenges they never imagined could be solved.[Link] [Comment]
This is a list of finalists from "the first Google.org Impact Challenge in Canada - a nationwide competition to find and fund the most innovative nonprofits that are using technology to tackle tough social problems." There are two education-related finalists: The LearnCloud Portal, an offline, tablet-based curriculum to help indigenous high school students, and Services Advisor "an application aimed at welcoming new Canadians to our shores, making it easier for newcomers to access immigrant services like mentorship and employment skills."[Link] [Comment]
I like predictions that go against the grain, especially when I am fundamentally in agreement with them. Here are the predictions:
One explanatin summarizes a lot of this: "The bottom line on why it doesn’ t work: the people that know what they’ re doing just use open source, and the people that don’ t will not get anything to work, ever, even with APIs." Heh. Read the rest for some better insights than the vendor-based predictions will offer.[Link] [Comment]
Between 2009 and 2015 Moldova significantly increased its PISA scores. This article looks for possible explanations and finds three: schools adopted a reporting process, per-capita financing was introduced, and baccalaureate exam security was enhanced. These explanations are unsatisfying, and there isn't any actual evidence that they were the cause of attainment increases in that time. Alternatives, such as greater mobility, enhanced internet access, and increased cooperation with European nations, also suggest themselves.[Link] [Comment]
Michael Caulfield astutely diagnoses what is wrong with a lot of the 'new literacy' guidelines for evaluating news reports on the web. These guidelines spend a lot of time urging students to assess the trustworthiness of the website, instead of getting to the source of the report being passed along. It's as though these guideline authors are still rooted in the world of newspapers where you have no way to check additional references or original sources, both of which are often available on the web. Who cares whether you read something on Kos or Facebook? What matters is where the story came from originally, and the web provides abundant resources to help you find that. And - notably - exactly the same is true for online research generally. We trace the work back to the original publication, then we assess the method.[Link] [Comment]
The University of California, Berkeley, is responding to a U.S. Justice Department order to make it educational content accessible to people with disabilities by removing the content from the internet. According to a letter distributed by the university, the removal also serves to "better protect instructor intellectual property from 'pirates' who have reused content for personal profit without consent." This is an example of what I once called the 'high bar' attack on open content, whereby commercial interests make offering open content too expensive by imposing stringent legal requirements against it.[Link] [Comment]
I once wrote a paper called 'Could Hume Play Billiards?' to which the answer was "Yes, but he would have to practice." So I am predisposed to endorse the approach championed by K. Anders Ericsson as described in this article whereby he argues that the difference between exceptional achievement and the rest of us is focused and deliberate practice. It makes sense to me because I was the same height and weight as Wayne Gretzky, I am the same age, I am as smart as Wayne Gretzky, but one of us was the world's best hockey player and one of us wasn't. The difference was practice. Anyhow, this article is an extended defense of the thesis, and as I said, I am sympathetic.[Link] [Comment]
I'll begin by referencing Samuel Delaney's classic Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand, the connectedness metaphor that predates this particular discussion and whose themes echo through Jon Udell's post and (no doubt) many of my own. I've had the same experience when I hear my own work quoted back to me as an interesting idea I might want to consider. You cast your ideas out in the the great and increasingly unresponsive deep galaxy of the internet and hope they bear fruit. And these ideas are rediscovered over and over again, often by astute meme-riders like Jon (hey now) Udell. I wouldn't call this the core of digital literacy, but its a strand, a thread, a string in time. (p.s. the first line of Campbell's post is unadulterated formulaic clickbait, and he should be ashamed. Reeling? Really?)[Link] [Comment]
I am partially in agreement with danah boyd and partially in disagreement. Let me begin with the latter: the piece reads to me that we should sympathize with the plight of the rich or privileged because perception is more important than statistical reality. The important thing is that people feel hard done by, she says, not whether they are actually hard done by. On the other hand, my disagreeable experience at the panel on the ethics of care on Saturday reminds me that simply shutting out dissenting voices from the conversation does more harm than good, especially when it is done by a moderator and panel stressing the virtue of attentiveness. In sum, my view is: being rich or privileged doesn't automatically make you right, and being poor or oppressed doesn't automatically make you right. This applies especially to social, political and ethical discourse.[Link] [Comment]
This is a terrific article and well worth the time it will take to read it. It tells the story of the Mozilla Operating System (Mozilla OS) for smart phones. Mozilla OS was designed to promote an 'open web' environment for mobile apps, rather than proprietary App Stores. Eventually, though, it had an app store, too few apps, an unsuccessful bare-bones version, and internal disagreements about direction. It's an excellent case study in project management, and I see a lot of parallels with my own LPSS program. In the case of Mozilla, I place the seeds of failure at Qualcomm's refusal to license chipset APIs directly to Mozilla, which meant they had to work through hardware manufacturers (OEMs) and telecomm companies. My making the distributors their clients, instead of end users, they lost sight of the benefit Mozilla OS was intended to produce, and ultimately became just another mobile OS. Via Doug Belshaw.[Link] [Comment]
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