Miscellaneous

Be Healthy or Else: How Corporations Became Obsessed with Fitness Tracking

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 01/02/2017 - 13:00


Cathy O’Neil, Backchannel, Jan 02, 2017

I've talked quite a bit about the Personal Learning Record (PLR) over the last few years as part of the overall concept of the Personal Learning Environment (PLE). I've talked about systems that track all your work - your practice, your actions, your results - and store it in a single record store. I would give examples like FitBit, which monitors your exercise and health. We're approaching this with technologies like xAPI. But I always insisted that the data be private and personally owned. Some people dismiss this. But this article shows exactly why it needs to be private.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Beacons: A Shiny New Tool for Delivering Context-Specific Content

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 01/02/2017 - 13:00


Pamela Hogle, Learning Solutions Magazine, Jan 02, 2017

So - I don't know. Do I want my mobile phone to accept bluetooth messages from the ambient environment? This article touts it as a good thing. "If a beacon is addressing your mobile device, you won’ t even know it’ s there until your device responds, possibly offering up some information that you’ re only just realizing you need. If you’ re holding the beacon, personalized content might instantly appear as you approach a learning station." The problem with such systems in the past has always been spam and malware. There's no reason to believe these won't plague the current iteration.

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Fast Topic Matching

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 01/02/2017 - 13:00


Brave New Geek, Jan 02, 2017

I've always had in mind the idea to allow OLDaily subscribers to pick the topics they're interested in, and send them only that. I haven't, for two reasons. This article addresses the first: actually makng it work for thousands of topics and/or thousands of subscribers is a bear. The obvious method - called the "naive hashmap" - takes too long to work (I've tried it). But there are certainly speedier solutions. But the second reason I haven't done it is even harder: I want OLDaily readers to be surprised. Nobody would have selected this topic, for example, but aren't you glad you learned about it? Via Vedalgo.

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How to Replace Windows Essentials 2012 After Support Ends in January

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 01/02/2017 - 13:00


How-to-Geek, Jan 02, 2017

Some of these are my most-used applications, so I thought I should pass this along. The following will no longer be supported (which means no downloads, no patches, no security updates - but you can still use them). Here are the apps impacted: Movie Maker, Photo Gallery, OneDrive, Family Safety, Mail, or Live Writer. Two of them - Family safety and OneDrive - are built into Windows 10 (so you can continue renting them). For Mail you can use Outlook, but better might be eM Client, Mailbird, and Thunderbird. I use Thunderbird. For photo gallery you can use  Flickr (which I use) but there is no good replacement for simple photo viewing. To replace MovieMaker, the article recommends Ezvid or DaVinci Resolve. And LiveWriter has an open source fork, called Open Live Writer.

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This Is How Artificial Intelligence Will Shape eLearning For Good

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 01/02/2017 - 13:00


Kyle Hauptfleisch, e-Learning Industry, Jan 02, 2017

This is a high-level overview of how artificial intelligence works (some of it, at least) and how it will shape e-learning in the future. The article cautions (and I agree) that AI is just a tool. "Holding the creators of algorithms liable is not technically fair though. The systems learn from the data being processed, not from the algorithms themselves. And in verticals where safety and compliance is non-negotiable, such as a learning environment, this could present a radical problem." The same applies to human learning. We don't have built-in content algorithms. Learning depends on the experiences we present to learners (or the experiences they are able to find for themselves).

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A Husband-Wife Team Pays It Forward By Bringing E-Learning To The Philippines

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 01/02/2017 - 13:00


Casey Hynes, Forbes, Jan 02, 2017

I think this is probably a useful service but only Forbes would call starting a for-profit education business as "paying it forward". Anyhow, here's the gist: "FrontLearners offers schools an out-of-the-box, end-to-end e-learning solution. Participating classrooms receive a kit that includes a server loaded with content, a router to establish a wi-fi connection, and tablets that students use to follow their teachers’ lessons." The software offering, which is based on a Moodle platform, offers what they call a "blended mastery learning method."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Detecting Fake News

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 01/01/2017 - 18:00

After the spate of fake news in circulation over the last year or so numerous guides have been published to help you spot fake news. Unfortunately, few of them are effective. The reason for this is that they tend to focus on whether or not the source is authoritative. But authorities lie. Whether they're an old school newspaper, or just an old school, these days they all have a vested interest. They want you to believe them. So how do you cope? That's what this article is about.

, , Dec 29, 2016 [Link]
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Categories: Miscellaneous

A Genuine Science Of Learning

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 01/01/2017 - 12:00


Keith Devlin, Edge, Jan 01, 2017

There are four really good points in this quick overview of the future of learning. Keith Devlin is optimistic overall, saying we may be at the beginning of a genuine science of learning, much as medicine was at the beginning of the 20th century. This is not based on so-called neuroscience based on MRI - "A good analogy would be trying to diagnose an engine fault in a car by moving a thermometer over the hood." No, what new technology offers the hope of improved educational research - "Classroom studies invariably end up as studies of the teacher as much as of the students, and often measure the effect of the students’ home environment rather than what goes on in the classroom." It will allow us to dig deeper into real learning - "What is missing is any insight into what is actually going on in the student’ s mind— something that can be  very  different from what the evidence shows." We need to know why a student comes up with right or wrong answers - "part of what is going on is that many earlier studies measured knowledge rather than thinking ability. The learning gains found in the studies I am referring to are not knowledge acquired or algorithmic procedures mastered, rather high-level problem solving ability."

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The Little Ilustrated IT Security Guide

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 01/01/2017 - 12:00


École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne EPFL, Jan 01, 2017

This short guide (16 page PDF) calmly discusses the key elements of IT security for the average user. It's directed at staff and students of EPFL specifically, so there are some references that might not make sense to the general reader (such as the advice to use the EPFL VPN to read email) but in the absence of anything else I would not hesitate to distribute it.

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Finding the squishy middle (before fact-checking everything drives you nuts)

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 01/01/2017 - 01:00


Michael Caulfield, Hapgood, Dec 31, 2016

It's easy to say we should fact-check the internet (or at least that part of it pirporting to be news and information). Actually doing it is a lot harder. As Michael Caulfield says, fact-checking is boring unrewarding work. It's better shared with others. Enter annotation, as provided by (say)  hypothes.is - now through the mechanism of annotation we can share our fact-checking efforts. For example, here's an annotated news article. Will this technology work where so many previous efforts at annotation have failed?

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Second Life's creator is building a 'WordPress for social VR'

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 12/31/2016 - 22:00


Nick Summers, Engadget, Dec 31, 2016

Virtual worlds and virtual reality are natural partners. So there's no real surprise that Second Life is looking to develop to support Oculus Rift and similar technologies. But getting the mix right is difficult - you don't want people to simply inhabit your environment, you want them to invest in it, to build it themselves. Hence, the WordPress analogy - what makes a blog worth reading isn't the software it was written with, it's the content that is written. But the other thing about WordPress is that each person had his or her own blog. Via The Blog Herald.

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Raise the Bar: YouTube, the World's Largest LMS

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 12/31/2016 - 22:00


Mark Lassoff, Learning Solutions Magazine, Dec 31, 2016

Interesting thought. Certainly I turn to it any time I need to learn something hands-on and practical. "The depth and breadth of material on YouTube is astounding. In the education sector on YouTube, people are teaching everything from car repair to computer programming to personal financial management."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Open Society Needs Defending

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 12/31/2016 - 22:00


George Soros, Project Syndicate, Dec 31, 2016

Argument from George Soros to the effect that, yes, the open society needs defending. "Open societies are in crisis," he writes, "and various forms of closed societies – from fascist dictatorships to mafia states – are on the rise." A bit sgtrong but we'll accept thes. He then asks, "How could this happen? The only explanation I can find is that elected leaders failed to meet voters’ legitimate expectations and aspirations and that this failure led electorates to become disenchanted with the prevailing versions of democracy and capitalism." Well, that much is true, but the prevailing institutions - including the EU, which he seeks to defend in this article - weren't showing any sign of actually meeting those legitimate expectations. How many times has the European Commission tried to sneak software patents into law, for example?

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Accessibility of MOOCs: Understanding the Provider Perspective

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 12/31/2016 - 22:00


Francisco Iniesto, Patrick McAndrew, Shailey Minocha, Tim Coughlan, Journal of Interactive Media in Education (JIME), Dec 31, 2016

From the abstract: "we report the results from a study involving semi-structured interviews to investigate the perceptions and accessibility-related processes of MOOC platform accessibility managers, platform software developers and designers, and MOOC accessibility researchers."

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Developing a Strategic Approach to MOOCs

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 12/31/2016 - 22:00


Rebecca Ferguson, Journal of Interactive Media in Education (JIME), Dec 31, 2016

The authors write, "In this contribution we look at one substantial body of work, publications on MOOCs that were produced at the 29 UK universities connected to the FutureLearn MOOC platform. Bringing these papers together, and considering them as a body of related work, reveals a set of nine priority areas for MOOC research and development."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Learning through life rather than exams

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 12/30/2016 - 20:00


Calvin Yang, Strait Times, Dec 30, 2016

Singapore, noted for its top 10 finish in the recently released PISA test results, is shifting its focus away from rote and testing. "The system is now embracing skills, interests and a sense of curiosity. Above all, it hopes to bring out a love for lifelong learning in Singaporeans, from pupils to workers with decades of experience."

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Could online tutors and artificial intelligence be the future of teaching?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 12/30/2016 - 12:00


Hannah Devlin, The Guardian, Dec 30, 2016

I think it would be surprising if these new technologies did not play a significant role, particularly in environments where teachers are too expensive or scarce to provide the necessary learning support. We are already looking at significant employment of tutors to support learning. This article looks at initiatives such as "the lessons, provided by a company called Third Space Learning, (that) are targeted at pupils struggling with maths – particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds."  Researchers at University College London (UCL), have "analysed around 100,000 hours of audio and written data from its tutorials, with the goal of identifying what makes a good teacher and a successful lesson."

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Assessing Critical Thinking in Higher Education: Current State and Directions for Next-Generation Assessment

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 12/30/2016 - 09:00


Ou Lydia Liu, Lois Frankel, Katrina Crotts Roohr, ETS Research Report Series, Dec 30, 2016

This is quite a good paper from a couple years ago on the topic of assessing critical thinking. The authors look at a variety of critical thinking definitions and assessment methods, finding (not surprisingly) considerable variation in the quality of the research in the field. They recommend a new framework for assessment that is reasonably comprehensive.

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Ria #39: Dr. Jill Buban On Transitioning From Academia To Industry

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 12/30/2016 - 07:00


, Ecampus Research Unit | Oregon State University, Dec 30, 2016 On this episode, Jill discusses her experience moving from higher education to industry and also shares some tips for working effectively from home. [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

By The Numbers: MOOCS in 2016

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 12/29/2016 - 22:00


Dhawal Shah, Class Central, Dec 29, 2016

This year's MOOC numbers from Class Central. "In it’ s fifth year, 23 million people worldwide registered for a MOOC for the first time ever... This makes the total number of students who signed up for at least one MOOC estimated to be 58 million."

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