Miscellaneous

Design Thinking Is Fundamentally Conservative and Preserves the Status Quo

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/05/2018 - 14:48

Natasha Iskander, Harvard Business Review, Sept 18, 2018

I think Natasha Iskander has a point here. When I think of 'design thinking' I think of designing as a way to think out loud, exploring possibilities and seeing whether some wild idea will work at all. But that's not what it has become over the years. "Although it is often advertised as a method that is as innovative as the solutions it promises to produce, it bears an uncanny resemblance to an earlier model of problem-solving, celebrated in the 1970s and 1980s for the superior solutions it was supposed to produce. Called the 'rational-experimental' approach to problem solving, it was a simplified and popularized version of the scientific method, in much the same way that design thinking is a stylized — some say "dumbed down"— version of the methods designers use."

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Radical open-access plan could spell end to journal subscriptions

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/05/2018 - 14:34

Holly Else, Nature, Sept 17, 2018

This is movement in the right direction. Eleven research funders in Europe have announced ‘Plan S’ "to make all scientific works free to read as soon as they are published." Not surprisingly, the publishers have begun to immediately protest. But "'No science should be locked behind paywalls!' says a preamble document that accompanies the pledge, called Plan S, released on 4 September." Hear hear! Coverage from Wonkhe, Science Business, Science Alert, PLoS Blogs, ZME Science, The Scientist.

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3 Important Areas to Shift the Conversation in Education

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/05/2018 - 14:25

George Couros, Connected Principals, Sept 17, 2018

I agree with these three points articulated by George Couros:

  • we need to shift from data-driven to student-driven. "I am not saying that everything in school should be “fun” but I do know that if I feel that I am valued as an individual, the 'hard' or 'boring' stuff becomes much more tolerable."
  • shift from weakness-focused to strength-based. "This is not about “ignoring weaknesses” but understanding that developing confidence in our learners helps them grow through the process."
  • shift from product to process. "The focus is not necessarily the speed but the ability to grow.  It is harder to measure, but that doesn’t mean it is less important."
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Plan Now for a Year of Social Success (2018 Version)

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 09/04/2018 - 20:32

Doug Peterson, doug — off the record, Sept 17, 2018

This is the time of the year teachers make decisions about social media, but this year the decisions are harder than usual. I actually reported this post when it was first published back in 2012. Doug Peterson offers what would usually be good advice: grab that class hashtag and start using it on Twitter. And tie this into your classroom blogging. Great, right? But is Twitter really an appropriate venue for learning? People have asked this question in the past, but this year they are asking it with more urgency. I don't have any good answers here, but teachers need to ask themselves the questions before they take to social media.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

How to effectively build and leverage a personal learning network (PLN)

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 09/04/2018 - 20:11

Paul A. Kirschner, Mirjam Neelen, 3-Star Learning Experiences, Sept 17, 2018

It's interesting top see an article about networking from the prototypical proponents of direct instruction. But here it is. "We define," they write, "a PLN as a trusted network of current and former colleagues or other people that are valuable to you as a professional or in other areas of your life.... The value of a PLN lies in the fact that the people in it provide access to the knowledge and expertise necessary for you to better perform your role." So, OK then. Social constriuctivism next?

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Does a ‘universal attention token’ sound good? Then you’re going to love the blockchain

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 09/04/2018 - 18:49

Mathew Ingram, Columbi Journalism Review, Sept 17, 2018

This is an idea that doesn't interest me. But I raise it here because it will probably be applied to educational content at some point (there's probably a stealth startup already in the works). “SocialFlow—which manages social-media campaigns for media companies—wants to replace the ad business and its shady click and page-view model with a cryptocurrency-based “universal attention token,” which it announced this week.” The same idea "is already built into a new web browser called Brave, which was launched in 2016 by Brendan Eich."

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Teachers Are Moonlighting As Instagram Influencers To Make Ends Meet

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 09/04/2018 - 17:51

Julia Reinstein, Buzzfeed News, Sept 17, 2018

Most of them started as teacher-bloggers, but through websites like TeachersPayTeachers and Instagram feeds these teachers have been supplementing their often-meagre income marketing props, aids and classroom supplies. “Some come just to share to help other teachers and to make a little extra pocket money,” said Freed. “And then some of them actually become extraordinary content creators, and they really become almost mini-publishers.” I'm glad that some teachers are able to use the internet to make some extra money, but I think teachers should be paid by school boards, not each other.

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New online tool will equip Canadian teachers to better support students’ mental health

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 09/04/2018 - 11:22

Erik Rolfsen, University of British Columbia, Sept 17, 2018

To be clear, I am really in favour of projects like this. Teach Mental Health is a free and open access course on teaching mental health. It's a follow-up to Bringing Mental Health to Schools for grades 7-12. It's a great topic, and the price is right. It started a couple of weeks ago but the resources are still available. It could do without the spamwall registration form, however. Why does the university need so much information to offer free resources? Are they available outside Canada? Can they be resused or shared more widely?

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Building badge value with Endorsement

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 09/03/2018 - 17:21

Don Presant, Open Badge Factory, Sept 17, 2018

This item introduces two major concepts to the badge ecosystem. The first is the idea of 'endorsement', which "promises to resolve recurring questions about the “credibility of badges” by providing third party validation that can be formal (like accreditation) or informal (“fits our purpose”). Endorsement can also strengthen collaboration, increase portability and encourage the development of meaningful badge ecosystems." The second is the idea of a 'recognition network' where issuers recognize each others' badges (and hence would allow each others' credentials to be stacked with their own).

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I second that emoji: The standards, structures, and social production of emoji

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 09/03/2018 - 14:13

Bethany Berard, First Monday, Sept 17, 2018

First Monday has devoted this month's issue to the Emoji, from which I select two articles to highlight. This article describes how candidate emoji are propossed and approved by the Unicode Consortium. " Unicode’s codespace has 1,114,112 code points. While Unicode Standard 11 contains just over 137,300 characters, there are a finite number of code points." This has led over the years for the encoding not only of minority languages, but also for the inclusion of a wide set of cultural touchpoints in the unicode emoji specification itself. Additionally, there's a nice subtheme in this article where "political economy of communication focuses on how power manifests in these constitutive moments where specific arrangements of communication technologies are cemented."

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Biaoqing: The circulation of emoticons, emoji, stickers, and custom images on Chinese digital media platforms

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 09/03/2018 - 14:02

Gabriele de Seta, First Monday, Sept 14, 2018

First Monday has devoted this month's issue to the Emoji, from which I select two articles to highlight. This article looks at the blending of emoticons, emoji and stickers under the heading of 表情 - biaoqing - in Chinese culture. This is "an umbrella term that brings them together (along with other sort of images) in virtue of a popular understanding of their shared usage: ‘expressing emotion’, complementing and enriching the textual communications mediated by computing devices and digital media platforms." The article also describes the creation of unique or custom biaoqing, which suggests that this is an ongoing phenomenon.

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Learning’s first principle – the most important thing i learned this year

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 09/03/2018 - 13:53

Aaron Davis, Sept 14, 2018

Aaron Davis pulls together three links with a common theme: the idea that learning depends first on the learner wanting to learn, on motivation. This is for me an important ground for endorsing learner-led learning. The posts collected include a Dave Cormier post from 2014 on whether students care, Simon Sinek's book Start With Why, and Brad Gustafson on starting with people.

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Microcredentials - NZ perspective

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 09/03/2018 - 13:31

Selena Chan, learning elearning, Sept 14, 2018

This short posts contains a number of links and references regarding microcredentials from a New Zealand perspective, including an Education Central NZ report on the rise of the micro-credential that "summarises the three pilots undertaken and some of the rationale in NZ adoption."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Hard Copy or Electronic Textbooks? Professors Are More Concerned About Keeping Them Affordable

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 08/31/2018 - 22:17

Claire Hansen, Chronicle of Higher Education, Sept 14, 2018

I mentioned the story of the $999 textbook the other day. This article with the frankly implausible headline is the Chronicle's take on the story. You see, it was all a misunderstanding. " The university and the publisher worked together to set the sky-high price for the online text in an effort to discourage students from purchasing it, the statement said." They wanted students to purchase the print version (which is still priced at a ridiculous level). Oh, and the Chronicle's research for this story? They asked a question on Twitter. Reporting like this is what makes Alex Jones look respectable.

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Topics in Distributed Ledger Technology

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 08/30/2018 - 20:26
This is an in-house presentation presentation looks at key underlying concepts of blockchain and related technologies - distributed, ledgers, hash functions, consensus. It discusses applications, some of the major coin projects, platforms and services, and some issues with this approach. Audio requires editing before it can be posted. In-house Workshop, Ottawa, Ontario (Workshop) Aug 30, 2018 [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

The World’s Oldest Blockchain Has Been Hiding in the New York Times Since 1995

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 08/30/2018 - 20:11

Daniel Oberhaus, Motherboard, Sept 13, 2018

A blockchain is created by hashing the contents of one body of text and implanting it into the next body of text. In this example, has was stored for all to see in the pages of the New York Tomes. This means that in order to change the contents of the text (which would change the hash) someone would have to crecreate the entire press run of the New York Times. I like this because it shows how a blockchain can be set up in a way that has nothing o do with money or coins.

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A manifesto for reproducible science

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 08/30/2018 - 20:11

Marcus Munafò, Wonkhe, Sept 13, 2018

This article summarizes the points made by a longer article of the same title published in Nature. It alludes to the previously discovered 'reproducibility crisis' in science, and calls for a series of measures to ensure scientific and (especially) statistical rigour and respectability. Educators will be familiar with the two-pronged solution they proposed: first, training (and especially 'rigorous' training in research methods), and second, rewards (including 'badges'). Why they thought these were the things that would solve the problem escapes me. From where I sit, the problems are the result of social and structural issues, not the individual failings of researchers.

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Google Titan Security Key Review: Two Great Keys For The Price Of One

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 08/30/2018 - 19:57

Cameron Summerson, ReviewGeek, Sept 13, 2018

Everyone will have security keys of one sort or another shortly. I've written before about the Yubi key. This post reviews Google's answer to (and some would say rip-off of) the Yubi. "When you sign into an account that’s protected by a security key, you’ll have to insert it into your device (or pair over Bluetooth) and press the button. So this requires physically access to the key. This is basically means it’s virtually impossible to fake, and thus the current strongest form of security against phishing and other account hijacking attempts." It will still take some time before everybody is foing this, but not that much time.

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The world is a terrible place right now, and that’s largely because it is what we make it.

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 08/30/2018 - 19:35

Wil Wheaton, Wil Wheaton dot Net, Sept 13, 2018

Wil Wheaton has quit the tire-fire we call Twitter and now, because of an abusive reception, he has quite Mastodon as well and has sworn of social media altogether. Leo Laporte of TWiT has also signed off Twitter. I think Wheaton sums up the problem nicely. "I watched, in real time, as the site I loved turned into a right wing talk radio shouting match that made YouTube comments and CSPAN call-ins seem scholarly. We tried for a couple of years to fight back, to encourage Twitter to take a stand against bad actors. Twitter doesn’t care about how its users are affected by themselves, though."

I used to write about the concepts of 'push' and 'pull' a lot more than I do today. The idea is that the web (or anything else) could work one of two ways: either you you pull the stuff you want, or you let others push you content (and you filter the stuff you fdon't want, if you can). RSS is an example of pull; so is podcasting, so is the web itself. Email, radio, TV, social network feeds and telephones are examples of push. I have always been a proponent of pull. Push can be (and inevitably will be) abused by people. They will say we need suggestions, that there's too much choice, that we don't know what we want, that some messages are too important to be left to change, that there must be a common social fabric - whatever. But in the end it Always. Gets. Abused.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

The Sixth “R” of Open Educational Resources

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 08/30/2018 - 19:20

Chris Aldrich, Musings of a Modern Day Cyberneticist, Sept 13, 2018

You have to read to the bottom of the article to find out that the sixth R is "Request update." Chris Aldrich writes, "OER is an incredibly powerful concept already, but could be even more so with the ability to push new updates or at least notifications of them back to the original." It's worth noting that systems like Wikipedia and GitHub have both enabled this feature, and it makes them more valuable. As it stands, however, "keeping them updated with potential changes can potentially be a difficult proposition. It may not always be the case that resources are maintained on a single platform." That said, there may be "a means of leveraging the W3C recommended specification for Webmention as a means of keeping a tally of changes to resources online."

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