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George Siemens points to this article on Twitter and suggests that "open is not enough any more." Maybe, maybe not, but the reasons in this article are not convincing. Siemens's new friend Jose Ferreira lists things like production values, instructional design, and enterprise grade services as things that will keep commercial publishers in business. Well, maybe - you know what they say about one being born every minute. I personally don't see why open content producers can't meet these objectives, especially if they're independently funded. Ferreira makes the classic error of confusing open and amateur.[Link] [Comment]
One problem with studying networks is the huge amount of data generated. But what if you just studied the active members of a network, thus reducing significanty the data that hs to be crunched? Would it be reliable? In some cases, yes. "The partial network has several basic topological parameters that correlate with activity parameters of the entire social network and, hence, make it suitable for depicting the dynamic parameters of the huge network." There's a risk, though. By definition, for example, dropouts would no longer be counted in, say, MOOC statistics, effectively eliminating dropout rates as a measure. But then again, that might not be a bad thing.[Link] [Comment]
I've written and commented on LOLcats on numerous occasions in the past and so this study, though unfortunately narrow in scope, is of interest to me. "A qualitative audience study of 36 LOLCat enthusiasts indicates that individual memes can be used by multiple (and vastly different) groups for identity work as well as in– group boundary establishment and policing." This is validation of the idea that a LOLcat image is a 'word' in a suprasymbolic language.[Link] [Comment]
There is a risk - and I see it instantiated in this post - of confusing two concepts with the label 'deep learning'. The one, typified by the chart at the top of the post, focuses on the distinction between understanding and mere memorization. The other, typified by the network diagram below, refers to unsupervised learning in neural networks - that is, learning that occurs without a 'training set' of previously resolved phenomena. We can learn from one about the other. But it is important not to conflate these distinct meanings.[Link] [Comment]
The answer - just barely - is "yes". It takes power, of course, and internet access. In this case, "Some refugees have day jobs in the U.N. compound, and Ms. Moser-Mercer arranged to have officials let two men watch videos and complete assignments when they were not working." But it seems to me that if power, internet and access devices could be provided not just to UN offices but to the camp as a whole there could be a significant benefit produced. "My real conviction is you’ ve got to start on the ground," Barbara Moser-Mercer, "You have to go from bottom up.” Yes, these do not trump the need for food, water and shelter. But they do remind refugees that life is not just about existence.[Link] [Comment]
More on the move to shorter courses. "That question is a major theme of a 213-page report released on Monday by a committee... exploring how [MIT] should innovate to adapt to new technologies and new student expectations." It's the sort of thing, though, that works uniquely online: "The logistics of 10-minute lectures on a residential campus would be infeasible— the setup time and the time to walk between classrooms would be too great.” What this tells me, though, is that things like the setup time and the walk are essentially waste produced by in-person learning. But I guess the Chronicle wouldn't see it that way.[Link] [Comment]
Yes, there are failures in the deployment of learning technology, writes Michael Trucano. For example, "the one tablet per child project in Thailand 'has been scrapped' [and] the decision of the school district in Hoboken, New Jersey (USA) to 'throw away all its laptops'." But "Learners would not be terribly well served if educational planners in 2014 simply decided to emulate the impulses and actions of Silesian weavers back in 1844 and smash all the machines in reaction to the spread of new technologies."[Link] [Comment]
I sort of wonder about this observation: "What separates powerful learning and development organizations from the middling crowd? A May 2014 report... identifies what high-impact learning organizations (HILO's) are. In short, they actively make use of their technology, modalities and learning architecture in support of L& D objectives." I doubt that this is what distinguishes them. Perhaps what distinguishes them is that they do it successfully. But from my observation, they're all using the technology, and all pursuing L& D objectives. The superficiality of analysis is choking the discipline![Link] [Comment]
One of the points I've tried to make over the years is that open learning requires commented learning, and vice versa. That's why the drive to trivialize the 'open' in MOOC isn't just an accessibility problem, it's a pedagogical problem. Campbell writes, "we may well have missed the greater and more important aims that “ open” strives toward. And while there’ s no way to protect words from being twisted or co-opted, the phenomena of “ openwashing” and the long long O in MOOC are troubling indicators that what initially seemed to be the language of openness may have fought shy of the question of what the openness was for. How otherwise to explain a world in which broadcast lectures are touted as innovations or disruptions?"[Link] [Comment]
Another source of free (Creative Commons licensed) images. Doug Peterson writes, "You would be hard pressed to find a comparable collection. I came across the site while looking for some World War I images the other day and, I’ ll confess, I stayed and explored the site far longer than I ever expected."[Link] [Comment]
There's a bit of a discussion following this short post, not surprisingly. The core of the argument is this: "Pedagogy is defined (according to a quick Googling) as a method or practice of teaching. Mobile learning is not about teaching. Mobile learning is about...well...learning. What's the word for 'a method or practice of learning'?" Learnagogy? Learnology? The idea is that mobile learning is not about teaching... well, ok, but then, what's this?[Link] [Comment]
Tony Bates continues with his online book and the topic of this bit is as the title suggests: "There are a number of different models that focus on helping learners to learn by doing things, such as co-op or workplace programs, field trips or internships,usually under the supervision of more experienced mentors or instructors. Here I will touch briefly on only two, the use of laboratory classes/workshops/studios, and apprenticeship programs."[Link] [Comment]
The 'Brookings Report' has been cited by some as a reason to doubt that student loan repayments pose a significant economic risk. The authors write, "Despite the tremendous interest in the perceived problems in the student loan market, there is relatively little empirical evidence to support the discussion." My own view is that we will see dramatic and immediate evidence of the risk should interest rates rise significantly. But we don't need my intuition; there is data showing the Brookings Report is misleading. There is, writes Phil Hill, "clear evidence that the student loan crisis is real and will have a big impact on the economy and future student decision-making."[Link] [Comment]
There was once this think called 'programmed learning' which was essentially designed as a series of branches and options (like a computer program). Originally pioneered by B.F. Skinner, it was all the rage for a while, but has virtually disappeared. Easly computer games followed the same design - I still remember seeing a 'laser disk' game that was again a set of options and branches. With both, participants quickly learned to game the system; you couldn't program enough options to make the game unpredictable. And so now we visit today's announcement from Canvas by Instructure, which is exactly the same thing, which is proving once again that it doesn't have any corporate knowledge of the history of the field, what approaches have been tried, and why they were abandoned.[Link] [Comment]
The nurturing and social reform models of teaching and their relevance to connectivist online learning
More from Tony Bates, who is having a productive 'retirement'. This post focuses on 'the nurturing approach', "a strong emphasis on the teacher focusing on the interests of the learner, on empathizing with how the learner approaches learning, of listening carefully to what the learner is saying and thinking when learning, and providing appropriate, supportive responses in the form of 'consensual validation of experience.'"[Link] [Comment]
As I read posts and articles on education technology and digital pedagogy I find myself often wishing that writers would be more reflective. In an article about, for example, the workflow involved in teaching music online, the important bits aren't the broad overviews that anyone could figure out - creating handouts on Sibelius, storing notes on box.com, typing quick notes using of Drafts. What's interesting and relevant are the details that come of direct experience. That's what's missing in this article, and so many other articles like it. Go deep - how do you use these technologies, where do you do your writing and teaching, what mindset to you adopt to frame your lesson?[Link] [Comment]
I'm not even remotely a fan of Jeff Jarvis, but I think that this criticism of him is a bit unfair. Curey Pein writes, "In their long and seemingly hopeless search for answers, journalists have internalized the abusive rhetoric of the 'disruption' brigade. Jarvis tells beleaguered journalists that they themselves, the lowly content-serfs— not short-sighted newspaper proprietors, not the Wall Street backers of corporate media conglomerates, not the sociopathic unchecked tech monopolies, not hostile politicians and prosecutors— are to blame for their sudden loss of livelihood." On the one hand, it's quite true that the technological age has led to exploitation (but mind you, what age has not?). And like Pein, I "criticize Jarvis for his tiresome 'cyber hustler' persona or his shameless grave-dancing amid mass layoffs." On the other hand, old media was "a vicious and ugly beast" and needed to be replaced. And in that, at least, Jarvis (himself a prototypical product of that era) was right.[Link] [Comment]
"Personalization." writes Arthur VanderVeen, "is defined as differentiating instruction and providing regular corrective feedback based on the needs of each student." But it's very expensive to do effectively for groups of students. According to Benjamin Bloom, the best response is mastery learning: identify and address gaps in prerequisite knowledge, increase participation and ownership, find something positive in students’ responses, check for understanding, and provide additional clarification as needed. Opposed to this, we have the argument from people like Benjamin Riley that "students don’ t have the requisite knowledge schemas to effectively direct their own learning (path)" and that "students generally won’ t push themselves to learn without external oversight." But VanderVeen responds, it's a cooperative enterprise.[Link] [Comment]
This idea surfaces from time to time and is commonly found with the same central tenets as are found here:
As a long-time teacher of critical thinking as well as a student of the ideas behind it, I think I can unequivocally say that these three points are nonsense. Critical thinking is a set of tools that help you correct errors in your own reasoning and resist being persuaded by errors in others. It has the same status as mathematics, and failing to teach it has similarly devastating consequences.
It's hard not to be a bit cynical about the University of Wisconsin's strategy to reduce MOOC dropouts by making courses more locally focused and a lot shorter. “ We’ ve got to pick the greatest hits, as it were, of your course and find some of the material that you think, 'Boy, if [students] only have one exposure to me or my course, here are four things I want them to know,' ” said Joshua Morrill, a senior evaluator at UW-Madison.[Link] [Comment]
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