Miscellaneous

Are Laptops Really Bad For Learning?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 09/11/2014 - 10:00
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Darren Kuropatwa, A Difference, [Sept] 11, 2014

In this good summary of the results of  the recent study comparing note-taking with pen and laptop Darren Kuropatwa also points to the underlying reason to be sceptical about the conclusion. In the three studies  students performed better on tests after taking notes with the pen, rather than the laptop. The study authors suggest "laptops may be doing more harm in classrooms than good." But that's not what the results show. Rather, Kuropatwa notes, "laptop is highly correlated with verbatim note-taking," which is not an effective way to take notes. A broef oral warning would not be enough to change that tendency. "Students don't automatically know how to take notes; it's a learned skill, one we have to teach." Moreover, he says, "we have to ask, is taking notes in a lecture hall what we mean by "learning"? Surely what we mean by 'learning' is a far richer experience than that." Correct, on both counts.

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Let me Listen to Poetry, Let me See Emotions

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 09/11/2014 - 10:00
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Diana Arellano, Cristina Manresa-Yee, Volker Helzle, Journal of Universal Computer Science, [Sept] 11, 2014

In a nutshell, this paper described the devlopment of avatars that read poetry. That may sound simple, but the system analyzes the lines being read and then calculates the appropriate emotional response, then indicates this emotional response using facial characteristics. That is, the avatar smiles when it's appropriate to be happy and frowns when it's appropriate to be sad (among other emotional states). We can see how this sort of approach would be used both to recognize emotional states in others, both from words and facial features, and project emotional states in our own software, increasing the degree of presence and sympathy. Good article. Related: The Pedagogy of ModPo.

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The Open Education Professional Directory

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 09/11/2014 - 10:00
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Various authors, Open Education Consortium, [Sept] 11, 2014

If you're looking for speakers, consultants or experts to assist you with issues related to open educational resources, you can't do better than the The Open Education Professional Directory. As Mary Lou Forward from the Open Education Consortium writes, "Through the directory, agencies, institutions and other parties interested in open education can find experienced professionals that fit their needs. Open education professionals will be able to more easily find colleagues for joint projects and other collaborations. The directory will also provide greater exposure and visibility for individuals and the open education movement in general." I'm listed, as are dozens of others to choose from.

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Linked Data Platform Access Control

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 09/11/2014 - 10:00
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Ashok Malhotra, World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), [Sept] 11, 2014

In an email to the respective groups titled "Marriage made in heaven or pistols at dawn?", Phil Archer introduces the Open Digital Rights Language (ODRL) and the Linked Data Platform (LPD) work groups to each other, this all under the heading of LDP Access Control. "Both groups are essentially talking about access control one way or another. Both communities are asking for a new WG to take this forward." I think we have a pretty good question here: are digital rights and digital platforms the same in this way? To we want to merge the security we use to manage our websites with the security publishers use to manage their digital resources?

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The Launch of Twitter’s Analytics Service

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 22:00
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Brian Kelly, UK Web Focus, [Sept] 10, 2014

Twitter has launched a new analytics service. Here's the announcement. Brian Kelly: "the service provides statistics on tweets (potential impressions, engagement and engagement rate). Additional tabs provide information on followers (changes in the numbers of followers and profiles of their gender,  location and interests) and Twitter cards." I'm not sure I even want this. Reading  my analytics made me feel like I did when I had Klout, bemoaning the fact that I had 0 interactions today (when I should be celebrating) and striving to make the number bigger, as if it mattered. But if I did want this, honestly, I'd want it for my whole network, not just network. But that means Twitter would have to share, and I don't think it knows how to do that any more.

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Balance is an Illusion

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 22:00
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Tim Klapdor, [Sept] 10, 2014

This isn't directly related to educational technology, but it's a point that lies at the foundations of how we thing, and it's important to address a misconception. Tim Klapdor writes, "For many of us balance has become a pervasive goal in our lives.... The problem is balance is a state so infinitesimal, so fleeting and ephemeral that it is more like a mirage than an object." He's talking about things like work-life balance, but the influence of balance is global, informing everything from the way water settles to (for example) the 'settling' phenomenon in neural networks. Balance, as Klapdor says, isn't a state, but that doesn't mean it's an illusion. It's an  attractor - and when you start finding yourself with complex systems, it's a strange attractor, doing the  drunkard's walk (which is what makes sports so interesting) (it's like if you roll a marble in a hole - gravity makes the bottom of the hole an attractor; it influences the direction of the marble - but if you have more than one planet and varying gravity, then what counts as the 'bottom' is always changing, and so therefore are the influences on the roll of the marble).

 

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Licence information in schema.org and LRMI

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 22:00
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Phil Barker, Sharing, Learning, [Sept] 10, 2014

The LRMI (Learning Resources Metadata Initiative) had from the start a property called useRightsUrl, "The URL where the owner specifies permissions for using the resource." But as Phil Basrker notes, Schema.org skipped useRightsURL when it adopted most of the LRMI properties, pending further review. Then last June, it adopted a  rights property which, says Barker, does everything LRMI wants. "It does everything that LRMI wanted by way of identifying the URL of the licence under which the creative work is released," he writes,  but also it "allows one to encode the name, url, description, date, accountable person and a whole host of other information about the licence."

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Coursera

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 22:00
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Jonathan Mayer, Web Policy, [Sept] 10, 2014

Coursera is learning yet another lesson learned long ago by real LMS providers: you can't fake your way to privacy and security; you have to have real measures in place. Stanford's Jonathan Mayer identifies three major flaws:

  1. Any teacher can  dump the entire user database, including over nine million names and email addresses.
  2. If you are  logged into your Coursera account, any website that you visit can  list your course enrollments.
  3. Coursera’ s privacy-protecting user IDs don’ t do much privacy protecting.

To follow up, he writes, "Coursera has acknowledged the issues, and claims they are “ fully addressed.” The second vulnerability, however, still exists." Via Audrey Watters.

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Reflections on community in #rhizo14 – more questions than answers

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 22:00


Frances Bell, Francesbell's Blog, [Sept] 10, 2014

A lot of people continue to value community in courses without, I think, comprehending what community is. It's really hard to understand the nature of a community from within. "How can we know about all of the flowers that bloomed? And some of the ones that failed to thrive or died?" Most people, I think, participate in community from their own frame of reference. Bell writes, for example, of Keith Harmon thinking of "the social network involved a social contract." So he sees rules, while by contrast, Bell "didn’ t see the rules that he refers to in #rhizo14 and would not really expect to see them." Or contrast this: "‘ Caring’ is identified as a distinguishing feature of community," which I think characterizes Dave Cormier's view. Is it any surprise, then, that community is characterized by dichotomies - " theorist/pragmatist ‘ divide’ , academics/ others" -? Do we have to agree on what a community is before participating in one? I don't think so (and this probably distinguishes me from pretty much everyone else on the topic - but they'll come around). Do read this discussion thread.

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Flipping Grade 4 and Flipping Bloom's Taxonomy Triangle

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 22:00
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Maggie Hos-McGrane, Tech Transformation, [Sept] 10, 2014

I'm no fan of taxonomies but I'm a fan of the thinking behind this post. By 'flipping' Bloom's taxonomy, we get an approach to education that does not begin with remembering, it ends with remembering. And (I would add) the objective of such an education isn't remembering at all (and certainly not remembering some sort of core content); that's an outcome, but it isn't what we're striving for, necessarily. To quote Maggie Hos-McGrane: "Bergmann and Sams write: "Flipped learning is a bridge from traditional teaching methods which are heavily dependent on content, to more engaging learning methods that focus primarily on the acts of thinking and learning.""

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Twitter, algorithms, and digital dystopias

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 22:00
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Doug Belshaw, [Sept] 10, 2014

So what happened after people exchanged their RSS readers for services like Twitter and Facebook? "What’ s so problematic about all of this, of course, is that whereas we used to be in charge of our own reading habits, we’ ve outsourced that to algorithms. That means software with shareholders is dictating our information environment." A bunch of good links on the topic: " Don’ t Be a Platform Pawn by Alan Levine led me to Frank Chimero’ s From the Porch to the Street and then onto a post about The Evaporative Cooling Effect which, in turn, cites this paper." p.s. Can I say I knew this would happen? Of course I can.

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Weeknote 36/2014

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 22:00
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Doug Belshaw, [Sept] 10, 2014

Doug Belshaw has interviewed a number people (including me) over the last week or so on the topic of the Mozilla Web Literacy Framework. He writes, "I’ m starting the ball rolling towards a v2.0 update of the Web Literacy Map (which looks prettier here in the Webmaker resources section). To do this, I’ m recording the conversations and posting the audio together with a summary on this blog. Below is a list of the 15 people I’ ve talked to this week, together with links to the recordings – where I’ ve had time to process them. You can find the repository on archive.org."

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Why can't you comment on this post? #indieweb

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 16:00
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Ben Werdmuller, Benwerd, [Sept] 10, 2014

OK, so I've played around with this a bit and think I've figured it out. It's what I think my Referrer System, which I built in 2002, would have become had it grown up (it peaked at 800K hits per day, and I didn't have the resources to sustain that). The idea here is that, if you read something and you want to comment, you comment on your own page, not the page you're reading. Then what happens is that your system sends the other system a notification saying you've added a comment (you can also send it manually). The other system can then do whatever it wants with that notification (a typical use would be to list your comment along with others under the article). None of the documentation I've seen so far is particularly clear (and as usual there us no Perl reference code). Here's an  explanation and code from Ben Werdmuller,  here's more from Indieweb, and here's a service that (confusingly) supports it called Bridgely. I hope it's successful, because it creates a distributed web, not one centralized on social networks.

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POSSE

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 13:00
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Unattributed, Indie Web Camp, [Sept] 10, 2014

During my  recent talk I discussed the POSSE model, which describes owned, bought and earned media(POSSE = produced, owned, seeded, social, earned). I now realize that what Diego Leal was looking for was this: "POSSE is an acronym/abbreviation for Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere. It's a Syndication Model where the flow involves posting your content on your own domain first, then syndicating out copies to 3rd party services with perma(short)links back to the original version."

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Something is rotten in the state of…Twitter

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 13:00
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Bonnie Stewart, The theoryblog, [Sept] 10, 2014

"Will my dissertation end up being about the Twitter that  was, rather than whatever it is in the process of becoming?" Bonnie Stewart looks at the decline of Twitter not just as an isolated event but as part of a wider pattern. "Twitter As We Knew It (TM) as a representation of an era, a kind of practice. At the core, it is about the ebbing away of networked communications and  participatory culture," she writes. But more: "The sense of participatory collective – always fraught – has waned as more and more subcultures are crammed and collapsed into a common, traceable, searchable medium." Image: The Atlantic, A Eulogy for Twitter.

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Is there a Canadian market for American online programs?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 13:00
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Tony Bates, online learning and distance edcuation resources, [Sept] 10, 2014

Really good article from Tony Bates that comprehensively answers the question in the title. It begins with a dead-on accurate remark about hiring consultants, and then explains why the Canadian higher education market is what they call 'mature': costs are lower in Canada than the U.S., Canadian education is already high quality, and most every Canadian already has access to the learning they need ("51% of Canadians go on from high school to university, and 60% to some form of publicly-funded post-secondary education"). Conversely, Canadian universities face significant barriers marketing in the U.S.: "the U.S. accreditation system is byzantine and bizarre, and totally ill-adapted to the move to online, distance education." Also, "many U.S. citizens don’ t even know where Canada is, let alone know whether the University of Waterloo is a bona fide institution."

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3 Questions to Ask Before Implementing Predictive Analytics for Online Student Success

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 13:00
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Ellen Wagner, Academic Impressions, [Sept] 10, 2014

Ten minute podcast from Ellen Wagner things to keep in mind regarding predictive analytics, and specifically:

  • "What will predictive modeling give you that your current strategies cannot address?
  • What research questions will lead to the most actionable results?
  • What should institutions be doing to prepare for a shifting mindset?"

She writes, "Implementing a predictive framework that looks forward, not back can be a substantial shift in thinking."

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Digital Storytelling: Power to the People

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 13:00
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Sandy Brown Jensen, League for Innovation in the Community College, [Sept] 10, 2014

This post briefly outlines digital storytelling and makes the direct link with literacies, listing a set of five literacies invoked by the concept: digital, global, visual, technology, and information (presumably it also invokes good old traditional literacy). The post refers to Jim Grrom by name and says "The ds106 conception of digital storytelling is much broader and more free-wheeling. As a Faculty Technology Specialist teaching digital storytelling and social media to the Lane Community College community, I have found the ds106 site to be a useful, flexible, foundational Web presence." It makes me think, what would Jim Groom have to say specifically about literacy.

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Just-In-Time Learning

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 13:00
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Charles Munat, Charles Munat, [Sept] 10, 2014

Most readers will be familiar with the distinction, but if not, you may want to look at Charles Munat's new blog to read this post on just-in-time learning and just-in-case learning - JITL and JICL, or “ jittle” and “ jickle.” It forms one of the core arguments against traditional learning: "The problem is that most of what students “ learn” with JICL they never need, and so it sits there in their brains rusting away: a waste of time, energy, and money."

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Dungeons and Dragons vs the art of business strategy

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 01:00
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Simon Wardley, Bits or pieces?, [Sept] 09, 2014

I think I'm pretty good at business strategy - I certainly have managed thus far to organize some reasonably large projects. But I didn't learn my skills from business school (I doubt my ethics and policits would permit me to graduate from such a place). Instead, all I've learned in this area I've learned from other activities - running a newspaper, running an association, playing an online version of Dungeons and Dragons - yes, these were incredibly valuable experiences. "I suggest you spend a few minutes either watching an experienced group play D& D or an organised raid on WoW. Those people tend to use levels of strategic and tactical play that businesses can only dream of." Photo: Kill the Goblin Save the World. Via Jon Husband.

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