Miscellaneous

Rheingold, Lewin, Stevenson

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 12/08/2014 - 14:00
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Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, Dec 08, 2014

Summary notes from the opening plenary of Online Educa Berlin, which featured Howard Rheingold, who spoke about social learning, Lisa Lewin, who suggested innovators should cooperate with commercializers, and mark Stevenson, who threw a lot of cliché s at us.

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Does Data Corrupt Education

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 12/08/2014 - 14:00
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Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, Dec 08, 2014

Summary of a not-so-serious Oxford-style debate at Online Educa Berlin on the question of whether data corrupts education. One prevailing view was that data should corrupt education, because education as it currently designed needs fixing. A lot of the discussion pointed to Big Data, though the question was more general. Ellen Wagner, Viktor Mayer-Schö nberger, George Siemens and Inge de Waard were the participants.

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Open educational Resources 2.0

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 12/08/2014 - 11:00


Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, Dec 08, 2014

In the world of MOOCs, what do we have to say about open educational resources (OERs) and distance education? This is a set of summary of a panel at Online Educa Berlin on the topic.

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Reclaiming Personal Learning

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 12/08/2014 - 08:00
[Slides][Audio]

Part of a wider session called 'Education's Reality Check', this presentation highlights the need for, and structure of, personal learning, introducing participants to the Learning and Performance Support Systems project at lpss.me

Online Educa Berlin, Berlin, Germany (Keynote) Dec 05, 2014 [Comment]
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Digital Natives Like a Good Lecture, Too

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 12/06/2014 - 18:00


Katrina Gulliver, Chronicle of Higher Education, Dec 06, 2014

Bob Rightside said, in Facebook, "Finally, someone else said it (in the Chronicle)." My first thought was, "well of course it was the Chronicle. Authored by a professor who polled her students (because, of course, that's the source of all social science these days) the article professes that "we have the qualifications and skill, and for students, being in the same room as an expert is an valuable part of university experience. "These same people saying all the nice things about professors, who paid so much money to be in a class with professors - they're not being  graded by these professors, are they?" Why oh why is basic simple logic so difficult for the Chronicle?

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Open teaching philosophy is about sharing

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 12/05/2014 - 09:00
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Arpiné Grigoryan, PanArmenianNet, Dec 05, 2014

This is an interview I gave to an Armenian magazine while I was in Yerevan. Some good stuff. For example:  "What is the open education? The open teaching philosophy is about sharing and what’ s really significant about it -- it’ s not sharing content like textbook or lecture. The idea is that you share the actual experience you have or practice you want to talk about."

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Why MOOCs are only part of the answer for higher education

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 19:00


Tony Bates, online learning and distance education resources, Dec 03, 2014

For the record, I have never thought of Tony Bates as a critic of MOOCs, particularly, though he has certainly weighed in with his opinions on how they could be improved (which is what we would hope for and expect). here is a case in point. He writes, "cMOOCs have the most potential, because lifelong learning will become increasingly important, and the power of bringing a mix of already well educated and knowledgeable people from around the world to work with other committed and enthusiastic learners on common problems or areas of interest could truly revolutionise not just education, but the world in general. However, cMOOCs at present are unable to do this, because they lack organisation and do not apply what is already known about how online groups work best." Of course, I regard these criticisms of MOOCs as features of MOOCs, and not flaws. I respect the research, but I believe it was conducted with an incomplete understanding of internet technologies and learning models based in personal development rather than content acquisition.

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Careful with that Axe, Eugene!

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 19:00
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Valdis Krebs, T N T : The Network Thinkers, Dec 03, 2014

A big headline in the local newspaper trumpeted the fact that the City is eliminating 19 positions (something their cost-averse editors deeply love). This seems unwise at the best of times, but the city is closing the positions "by attrition", which is the equivalent of using random selection. That's often a really bad idea.  It's hard to imagine something more demoralizing than the realization that, when you leave, nobody will replace you. As Harold Jarche points out, even targeted job reductions can miss the mark. How often have governments and corporations let key catalysts in their operation go because they looked only at the job description, and not at the person? But this same reasoning also applies to developing the organization. Social network analysis is crucial to understanding what a person actually does, so that when the time to replace the person (in more enlightened places, at least) management will have a good idea what talents and qualities are needed to do the job. Via Harold Jarche.

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Two design models for online collaborative learning: same or different?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 19:00
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Tony Bates, online learning and distance education resources, Dec 03, 2014

Tony Bates looks at "what we might call the Toronto school, Linda Harasim and her former colleagues at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) in Toronto (although Linda has been  firmly based for 25 years at SFU in Vancouver/Burnaby), and the Alberta school, Randy Garrison, and colleagues Terry Anderson and Walter Archer." Both sets of thinkers were influential in Canadian distance education in the 90s and beyond. Interestingly - but perhaps not surprisingly - both sets were interested in what Harasim called online collaborative learning (OCL) and the other three called the Community of Inquiry Model (CoI). As Bates says, "online collaborative learning can lead to deep, academic learning, or transformative learning, as well as, if not better than, discussion in campus-based classrooms." But it doesn't scale well, and requires the contribution of skilled instructors.

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Beyond Hello: Ignite Your Passion for Discovery

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 16:00
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Dean Shareski, Ideas, Thoughts, Dec 03, 2014

This is a nice project that is worth a nod. Dean Shareski is traveling across Canada hosting evenings where educators can gather and share stories with each other. The program is called Beyond Hello: Ignite your Passion for Discovery, and is sponsored by the Discovery Education Network. "These 5 minute talks take a great deal of work to develop and while short in duration, impact folks for long after the event," he writes. Voluntary informal learning in a pub: if it can work for teachers, it can work for anyone.

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iDEA Programme Badges – Recognising Digital Skills

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 16:00
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Andrew Robertson, Microsoft UK Schools Blog, Dec 03, 2014

So, should you be given a badge for instantiating a particular political perspective, or espousing a particular philosophy? One would think not. But this program comes dangerously close to that line, close enough that it gives pause for thought. "The iDEA Programme (Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award) and the partnership with the Nominet Trust and the Duke of York, which aims to support young people who have a creative spark of entrepreneurship... here is a competition to find the best digital business ideas... (it) also offers young people the opportunity to learn skills and earn recognised badges that will not only help them when and idea comes to them, but also improve their employability."

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Competency Education in a K-16+ World

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 16:00
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Jonathan VanderEls, Connected Principals, Dec 03, 2014

The redefinition of learning as defined by outcomes rather than process is in full swing and there are proponents and opponents equally. I think the debate boils down to two sentences: first, competency-based education can support student learning as evidenced by good test scores (that's what this post shows), but second, is that all there is to an education? But maybe we're thinking of this incorrectly. If we can obtain the learning outcomes we desire using competency-based learning, and if (as a bonus) this can save time and money, then shouldn't we be asking what else we can do in education? Can we build community, immerse students in authentic experiences, give time for play and exploration, foster metacognitive skills? Let's call this model of learning "Competency-Plus".

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Homemade Ice Cream in a Bag!

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 13:00
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daffyskies, YouTube, Dec 03, 2014

This video teaches you how to make ice cream, and along the way, teaches you an interesting scientific principle. It's yet another example of how you can learn anything online. Best of all, the author writes: "This was a school assignment and my first time using iMovie :)" Perfect.

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Knowledge as Recognition

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 01:00


Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, Dec 02, 2014

This is a short essay I wrote as a contribution to Philosophy 12, a high school philosophy class. I tried to structure the paper according to the requirements of the assignment (keeping in mind that I haven't studied any of the lessons in the class and can only guess what authors and theories they covered). The assignment was to "state and support a proposition of personal knowledge" and in my case the proposition I wished to support was the idea that 'knowledge' is not some sort of propositional attitude, that is, not a justified and true opinion or belief, but rather, the result of what Hume would call 'custom and habit'. This is a view I have advanced in the past, but never in this exact form, so I thought it was worth sharing.

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A Scalable and Sustainable Approach to Open Access Publishing and Archiving for Humanities and Social Sciences

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 12/02/2014 - 19:00
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Rebecca Kennison, Lisa Norberg, KN Consultants, Dec 02, 2014

I'm not really sure how much I support this - the idea of centralizing the system does not really appeal to me - but anything is better than the current system, and the proposal does address the problems inherent in the open access model based on individual payments made by researchers to publishers. By contrast, the proposal authors write, "Our model, in contrast, asks tertiary institutions to contribute to systemic support of the research process itself, including its entire scholarly output — whether article, monograph, dataset, conference presentation, multimodal Web site, or format not yet envisioned. Our model looks to societies to play a central role within the scholarly communication ecosystem, and for academic libraries to become true partners with them." A white paper (83 page PDF) is available.

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Can Digital ‘Badges’ and ‘Nanodegrees’ Protect Job Seekers From a First-Round Knockout?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 12/02/2014 - 19:00
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Steve Kolowich, Chronicle of Higher Education, Dec 02, 2014

This is a bit of a twist on the Chronicle's anti-technology bias: alternative credentials, such as badges, are not useful because robots do most of the hiring anyways, and they only look at the name of the institution and the degree. "The key to avoiding the early cull has gone from impressing a busy human being to gaming an exacting algorithm." That said, as Alex Halavais comments in the article, "Outside of IT, there is a lot of resistance to badges... I would never recommend that they use badges within a traditional hiring process— e.g., on a ré sumé ." Badges need that critical application to create wider take-up.

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Innovating Pedagogy 2014

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 12/02/2014 - 19:00
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Mike Sharples, Open University, Dec 02, 2014

The Open University has released the 2014 edition of its 'Innovating Pedagogy' report. It's set up much like the Horizon Report, and so has its strengths and flaws. In particular, while it is capable of insight (such as the discussion around threshold concept' it has the flaw of predicting events that have already happened ('flipped classroom', 'learning by storytelling') and predictive hackney ('learning to learn'). I think the time scales are pretty random. I list only the first of eight authors.

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Kings of the Cashtag – Analysing cashtags using a social media monitoring tool

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 12/02/2014 - 16:00


Richard Sunley, TalkWalker Blog, Dec 02, 2014

I hadn't heard of 'cashtags' before but they do sound like a good idea (I have heard of  TalkWalker and subscribe to a number of their alerts). "Created by using the dollar sign ($) and a company’ s stock ticker symbol (e.g. $AAPL is Apple’ s cashtag) cashtags are a method of highlighting Twitter conversations that relate to a particular company’ s stock." It makes me wonder what other sorts of tags we could create. Like 'bangtags' to specify language. Or the 'smashtag', made from a percent sign, to tell people you're not interested in a topic - tell people 'no more brunch pictures' like this: %brunch (see  here - language warning). And why not use the 'hat tag' for a Hat-Tip, instead of the clumsy H/T, to credit someone for an idea or link. Like this: ^@cogdogblog. Or what about the 'asktag', to footnote addresses, references, or additional information. For example, "It will be a nice day tomorrow. *snow" means that by 'nice' what I really mean is that it will snow.

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No script for rhizomatic learning

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 12/02/2014 - 16:00
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Jenny Mackness, Weblog, Dec 02, 2014

Teens always have posters in their rooms (those who can afford posters and rooms, at least) and I was no exception. One of the first posters in my own room was a Turner -  this one - and he remains one of my favourite artists. That's why I'm interested in the film, Mr. Turner. But I'm also interested in this commentary from Jenny Mackness, which describes the process of making the film. There was no script or roles or scenes or anything else.  Mike Leigh says, "I say, come and be in my film. Can’ t tell you what it’ s about. I can’ t tell you what your character is. We’ ll invent that as part of the process. And you will never know any more than your character knows." Which of course is one of the core ideas behind the MOOCs that we've built as well.

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Learn from Coursera on your next JetBlue flight

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 12/02/2014 - 16:00
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Unattributed, Coursera Blog, Dec 02, 2014

It's perhaps a small matter to put videos on a video service, but it's something else again to convince an airline to feature your free content on its inflight video service. So kudos to Coursera for pulling this off! Of course, you'll need to be working on next-generation inflight services, the way NRC is, if you want to put actual courses and learning resources on the system. So if you're an e-learning company and are interested in the possibility of putting  learning and performance support into in-flight working and travelling, send me a note. I can't make any guarantees, but this is the place to start thinking about it.

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