Miscellaneous

Scaffolding in Microlearning

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 04/16/2017 - 16:00


Christy Tucker, Experiencing E-Learning, Apr 16, 2017

The interesting part of this post occurs when Christy Tucker says "Maybe you don’ t need to scaffold within a microlearning module. Maybe the microlearning itself is the scaffolding." Indeed, if we can get past the idea that learning resources are single unified wholes, then we can imagine a constellation of resources around a particular activity, where each resource provides a bit of scaffolding and support.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

What I wish I knew before joining Mastodon

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 04/16/2017 - 11:00


Qina Liu, Medium, Apr 16, 2017

I've been on Mastodon for a while and have written about it previously, but if you're just looking at it now the first instance, mastodon.social, is now closed to new users. But the idea is that Mastodon is distributed so there are other instances you can join. When you do, you can find me at  https://mastodon.social/@Downes.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Deep Learning in 7 lines of code

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 04/16/2017 - 11:00


gk_, Medium, Apr 16, 2017

This is a technical article with some good less-technical points. First, we have the idea of how straightforward machine learning has become, as noted in the title. Second, though, those seven lines embody considerable depth of function. The data is run through several layers of neural networks (five of the seven lines in question). Finally, this: "The essence of machine learning is recognizing patterns within data." But it's not just the essence of machine learning, it's the essence of learning in general. To know is to recognize. To recognize is to be connected in a particular configuration. To learn  is to form those connections from experience and reflection.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Toyota says it is ready to mass produce robots

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 04/15/2017 - 20:00


Jayson MacLean, Can-Tech Letter, Apr 15, 2017

Let us welcome our new robot overlords. "ASIMO is an autonomous robot, meaning that it performs without the need for a human controlling its movements, and was billed as the first humanoid robot capable of human-like running (along with being a pretty fine dancer, too). The technology for ASIMO made its way into Honda’ s version of walking assist robotic legs in 2015."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Research through the Generations: Reflecting on the Past, Present and Future

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 04/15/2017 - 20:00


Grainne Conole, SlideShare, Apr 15, 2017

Overview paper describing the history of learning technology as a series of transformative innovations. "The take home messages are that this is an exciting and important time for digital learning research, there are multiple theoretical research perspectives and methodologies, which have enormous potential but must be appropriately used." The link is to a SlideShare page, but don't try to read it on Slideshare. Just download the paper.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

The Current State of Educational Blogging 2016

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 04/15/2017 - 20:00


Sue Waters, The Edublogger, Apr 15, 2017

Longish overview of the use of blogs in classes. Most survey respondents are edublogs.org users though some use Blogger and other services. Importantly, blogging isn't just about posting bogs, it's about reading and responding. "It’ s all about commenting. The students who make an effort to find other student blogs that interest them and make thoughtful comments get the most traffic on their own blogs. Those who don’ t, get few visits– no matter how catchy their title, flashy their theme or wonderful their writing."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

A Beginner’s Guide To Progressive Web Apps

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 04/14/2017 - 20:00


Kevin Farrugia, Smashing Magazine, Apr 14, 2017

I spent a good part of the day investigating  progressive web apps (PWA). These are the result of a model proposed by Google back in 2015 that merges web browser applications with mobile applications. The idea is that you write the same code for everything, and this code is progressive (runs on any platform), responsive (resizes for different windows), discoverable, and more. Here's a guide from Google on building your first PWA. Here's a selection of PWAs. And the  tweet from Bryan ✻llendyke that set me off: "The way to create a decentralized learning record store IS to create an lmsless university via a PWA." Well yeah.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Canada's Fundamental Science Review

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 04/14/2017 - 17:00


C. David Naylor, et.al., Government of Canada, Apr 14, 2017

This report (280 page PDF) (if you don't have time to read it have a machine read it for you) addresses Canada's investment in research and development and is known colloquially as the Naylor Report. It doesn't cover internal Government of Canada science (like, say, the National Research Council), but rather, the money the government spends on research outside the government (for example, as supported by the funding councils). The key recommendation is found in the introduction: "The cumulative base increase would move annual spending in steady-state across the four agencies and closely related entities from approximately $3.5 billion to $4.8 billion." And htis is a recommendation that looks especially good to me: "The Government of Canada should rapidly increase its investment in independent investigator-led research to redress the imbalance caused by differential investments favouring priority-driven research over the past decade." More coverage: CBC, Globe and Mail, McLeans, Ottawa Citizen, Science Magazine, Nature.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

When I Think of Student Success

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 04/14/2017 - 17:00


Ellen Wagner, eLearning Roadtrip, Apr 14, 2017

Good post from Ellen Wagner that is at once a history of successive programs from EDUCAUSE and the Gates Foundation on student advising and support services (variously the PAR, iPASS and IPAS) and at the same time a rumination on the concept of 'student success' itself. The software (and there are more than 100 offerings now) is part help-desk and part analytics, and is intended to help guide students to their ultimate objectives. "We are going to wonder how we managed to live without platforms that help visualize patterns, red-flag student risks before they become problems," she writes, but at the same time, the innovation here is not in the creation of the tools, but in the use of them to support students. Image: Ellen Wagner.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

How India saved its internet from greedy corporations

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 04/14/2017 - 14:00


Febin John James, freecodecamp, Apr 14, 2017

The headline is a little over the top but the article describes a determined attempt on the part of a number of companies to create a multi-tier internet where you have to pay extra for things like messaging. Part of this, readers may recall, was Facebook's attempt to create a proprietary 'internet lite'. As All Indian Backchod put it, "These corporations tried to define Net Neutrality as everyone being able to access some things on the internet. In fact, Net Neutrality is about everyone being able to access everything on the internet." Good read, good videos, bu someone directly involved in the campaign.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

How a Browser Extension Could Shake Up Academic Publishing

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 04/13/2017 - 21:00


Lindsay McKenzie, Chronicle of Higher Education, Apr 13, 2017

I've started using Unpaywall, a browser extension that finds open access versions of closed access publications. For example, is a search takes me to a closed Elsevier article, Unpaywall might find the Arxiv version. Too Cool. "We’ re setting up a lemonade stand right next to the publishers’ lemonade stand," says Mr. Priem. "They’ re charging $30 for a glass of lemonade, and we’ re showing up right next to them and saying, ‘ Lemonade for free’ ." I'm just waiting for them to find a way to declare this illegal. Also, free lemonade. They'll declare that illegal too.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

All I Know Is What’s on the Internet

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 04/13/2017 - 21:00


Rolin Moe, Real Life, Apr 13, 2017

This is an excellent post responding to the idea that fake news is recent, isolated, and easily fixed with media literacy. In fact, fake news is just one part of "an entire landscape of neglect and corruption" and those teaching media literacy "are not necessarily in a position to actually supply it." Instead, "colleges and libraries have ceded control to content publishers, who impose their hierarchical understanding of information on passive consumers, leaving institutions to only exhibit and protect the information."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

I Don’t Need Permission to be Open

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 04/13/2017 - 18:00


Jim Groom, bavatuesdays, Apr 13, 2017

What is open pedagogy? According to David Wiley, "open pedagogy is the set of teaching and learning practices only possible or practical in the context of the 5R permissions... (it) is the set of teaching and learning practices only possible or practical when you are using OER." This struck some readers, including Jim Groom, as wrong, and after a Twitter argument (these never go well) he explains in a post. "But, I do wonder at the push to consolidate the definition beyond OERs into Open Educational Practices," he writes. "Seems to me there is an attempt to define it in order to start controlling it.... I think the locking down of open is dangerous. I think it draws lines where they need not be, and it reconsolidates power for those who define it." I am much more sympathetic with Groom's perspective. Open Pedagogy is not just about resources, it's not just about open resources, and ideally, it's not about licensing and ownership at all.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

When Pixels Collide

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 04/13/2017 - 18:00


sudoscript, Apr 13, 2017

I'm not sure what principle this illustrates - chaos, maybe, cooperation, a bit, collaboration certainly, and competition too. Here's the set-up: last weekend Reddit created a grid where members could colour one pixel at a time, but would have to wait a few minutes before colouring the next one. People quickly learned to cooperate, and then these cooperatives began to compete with each other, and then they began to cooperate, and it's all a beautiful worldwide story of collective iconography played out over a weekend (complete with 4chan villains). 

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Federated Learning: Collaborative Machine Learning without Centralized Training Data

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 04/13/2017 - 18:00


Brendan McMahan, Daniel Ramage, Google Research Blog, Apr 13, 2017

One of the problems with learning analytics and analytics in general is that it requires a lot of data. This means you have to watch what a lot of people are doing, which has ethical and privacy implications. The federated analytics model described here attempts to address these issues. "Your device downloads the current model, improves it by learning from data on your phone, and then summarizes the changes as a small focused update. Only this update to the model is sent to the cloud." Of course, you have to trust that your device is actually doing this.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Rules of memory 'beautifully' rewritten

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 04/13/2017 - 15:00


James Gallagher, BBC News, Apr 13, 2017

If (and it's a big if) this thesis (pay-walled study) is correct, then proponents of  cognitive load theory have a lot of rethinking to do. The suggestion is that while brains do indeed store short-term and long-term memory, they store these using two separate processes. So a memory doesn't have to be squeezed through short-term memory before it becomes a long-term memory. This makes a lot of sense to me - people like Romeo Dallaire  talk about detailed complex traumatic memories of wartime where the entire experience stored and plays back over and over, brushing by the limits of cognitive overload as if they didn't even exist. "Post-traumatic stress disorder hard-wires events in your brain to the extent they will come back in digitally clear detail to your brain. You don't actually remember them. You relive them."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

The Learning Analytics Blueprint

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 04/12/2017 - 18:00


Desire2Learn, Apr 12, 2017

This is a piece of marketing published by D2L some time in the last year. It's a nice overview of how to plan for the use of data analytics and how to work with the results. "This isn’ t about ‘ analytics’ or data. It is about insight and understanding to help you solve the most pressing challenges impacting your institution, your faculty, and your students."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Understanding Classrooms through Social Network Analysis: A Primer for Social Network Analysis in Education Research

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 04/12/2017 - 18:00


Daniel Z. Grunspan, Benjamin L. Wiggins, Steven M. Goodreau, Life Sciences Education, Apr 12, 2017

The paper is a couple of years old but I thought it was a good introductory deep dive into social network analysis (SNA) for education. It contains good practical advice for people who want to apply SNA in their own educational research (for example, recognizing and dealing with survey fatigue). It also describes how to test for specific hypotheses, for example, whether there is a correlation between link-formation and learning outcomes. "Conceivably, network analysis can be used to describe the structure of seemingly ethereal concepts such as reputation, charisma, and teaching ability through the social assessment of peers and stakeholders."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

A Bot That Can Tell When It's Really Donald Trump Who's Tweeting

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 04/12/2017 - 15:00


Andrew McGill, The Atlantic, Apr 12, 2017

This is a pretty good example of what can be done with analytics. As we know, there are the tweets Donald Trump writes himself, and then there are tweets written by his press office. The two have different styles, as was noted last year. The twitter bot takes advantage of this. "It’ s a Twitter bot that uses machine learning and natural language processing to estimate the likelihood Trump wrote a tweet himself." This is of course a novelty but it's the same sort of logic that can be used to filter spam, and eventually, to identify individual students by their  writing style and typing cadence.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Bloomberg Media CEO Justin Smith’s publisher survival guide in the duopoly era

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 04/12/2017 - 15:00


Sahil Patel, Digiday, Apr 12, 2017

The 'duopoly' in question is Facebook and Google, and arguably these two platforms have a firm hold on platform traffic. This article points out that this is not a good deal for publishers. Bloomber's Media CEO Justin Smith Smith cited a recent study from Digital Content Next showing "only 14 percent of some publishers’ revenues were coming from distributed content." How, then do publishers succeed? Quartz has a good model. "Quartz’ s model from the beginning has been to never accept a banner ad or an IAB standard unit." Also, "If you’ re producing content that someone else is also producing, you have to stop right away and rethink your approach. Create content that no one else is producing."

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Categories: Miscellaneous
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