Miscellaneous

Crowd-Sourced Peer Review: Substitute or supplement for the current outdated system?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 08/29/2014 - 15:00


Peter Suber, London School of Economics, Aug 29, 2014

Many authors, writes Peter Suber, prefer to have their work reviewed in private. But this may be about to change. He writes, "The problem with classical peer review today is that there is so much research being produced that there are not enough experts with enough time to peer-review it all. So there are huge publication lags because of delays in finding qualified, willing referees."

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How to measure the success of learning in rhizo14?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 15:00


Heli Nurmi, Heli Connecting Ideas, Aug 28, 2014

Heli Nurmi offers an insightful look at what constitutes success in dave Cormier's Rhizo-MOOC: "It may be an illusion of enthusiasm that I’ ve 'learned' these things but it feels like I have a better grasp on how to know them or reconstruct a more viable approach. I’ ve gained a tool of understanding that clarifies things that I didn’ t have before. Success = People having a serious conversation or, very often, people having fun together. That’ s enough."

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Known and education: a love story

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 15:00
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Ben Werdmuller, Benwerd, Aug 28, 2014

Interesting. Compelling. Important. Known and Reclaim your Domain get together. Here's Ben Werdmuller: "I think Known is very clearly both a PLE and an eportfolio:

  • Known profiles allow you to post to a space that represents you, using a variety of media, from any device
  • Known's syndication feature lets you post to your own profile, while syndicating to external sites and applications - like your campus's Learning Management System.

Educators agree. The Reclaim Your Domain project is a particular evolution of eportfolio thinking. where members of a campus's community own the domains that represent them (just like indieweb!)." And here's Jim Groom, on  pushing the Known syndication hub beyond RSS. He writes, "I’ ve already referred to Known as an open, distributed Tumblr, and that’ s pretty apt. The minimalism and focus on  publishing content quickly and easily makes it very compelling."

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At OTF Teaching, Learning & Technology Conference – Hopscotch, Sphero, Social Reading

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 12:00
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Doug Peterson, doug - off the record, Aug 28, 2014

What Doug Peterson describes here is very similar to my own workflow, readingflow, whateverflow. It's a restatement of the "aggregate-remix-repurpose-feed forward" methodology, identifying specific tools that can be used to accomplish it. Does it work? I offer my own career as evidence. Moreover, some of the tools he points to - Hopscotch, Sphero, and  Packrati.us - are new to me. I won't use the iPad-only apps, of course, but some others look interesting.

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Hackers Target Video Games for Fun, Profit and Better Scores

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 12:00
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Nicole Perlroth, New York Times, Aug 28, 2014

I lost interest in commercial online multiplayer games when I discovered people cheating (a game crash was followed by a massive attack on my empire that somehow pinpointed every weakness; the other player admitted seeing my troop disposition). It's the same experience I had in Reno - playing poker in the poker room was fun until the hustler came in and started betting the maximum on every hand. At this point - where people are exploiting the system for profit - the games are no longer fun. And, of course, "the industry has done little to share cyber threat information" - probably because they make more money from the people gaming the results than the people just in it for fun (it's the same relationship Google has with advertisers and spammers).

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Learning Vs. Performance -- The Dichotomy

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 12:00


Sahana Chattopadhyay, ID, Other Reflections, Aug 28, 2014

This article gets at the difference between learning and performance, identifying aspects distinguishing a focus on one as opposed to the other:

  • Growth mindset - Carol Dweck, in her research, differentiated between Fixed Mindset and Growth Mindset.
  • Limiting beliefs – Related to fixed mindset, limiting beliefs constrain us in many ways.
  • Fear of failures – This could directly stem from the organizational culture and environment.

In a follow-up article, Sahana Chattopadhyay makes it clear that training is only one aspect of performance. "Organizational challenges today are multi-pronged and taking a single approach doesn’ t work. It is entirely possible that while training may be a requirement, other concerns also need to be simultaneously addressed."

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Self-Regulation: The Other 21st Century Skills

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 12:00
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Jackie Gerstein, User Generated Education, Aug 28, 2014

The whole character-building thing has been in vogue recently, what with people writing about "grit" and other aspects of successful learners (and people). There is some point to this - you will not become successful at anything (whether work, hobbies or even lifestyle) without putting the effort, which takes motivation and perseverence. But there's also an aspect of this movement whereby these are externally defined. Take this: "Self-regulated learning is the conscious planning, monitoring, evaluation, and ultimately control of one’ s learning in order to maximize it." It depicts the self as naturally something (someone?) you have to battle in order to succeed. Well - I have never thought that way about my own work. Yes, I work very hard, struggle with means and motivation, and even measure progress sometimes (but not nearly as often as you might thing). But it's not a battle - for me, it's a process of immersing myself completely into my own life. My 'other 21st century skills' are these skills. It's worth noting the difference.

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The LRS is not going to kill the LMS. The AP is going to kill the LMS (as we know it).

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 12:00
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Shelly Blake-Plock, Fieldmarks Blog, Aug 28, 2014

Interesting perspective. There is a debate as to whether "learning record stores (LRSs) and learning management systems (LMSs) are in competition," writes Shelly Blake-Plock, but the real issue is whether "Activity providers (APs) — especially those working off a standard such as xAPI — will be the human-to-machine interface of the next generation of e-learning." In my world, the AP is known as the PLA - "personal learning assistant" - which serves as the device that displays and launches learning activities and resources for the LPSS (Learning and Performance Support System) user.

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Is this the “dark horse” of online education?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 12:00
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Meris Stansbury, eCampus News, Aug 28, 2014

From the article: "Weise and Christensen note in their new mini-book, Hire Education: Mastery, Modularization, and the Workforce Revolution (61 page PDF) that unlike other trends like MOOCs that have received 'tremendous fanfare,' online competency-based education stands out as the innovation to most likely disrupt higher education." They write (p.18) "Competency-based programs have no time-based unit. Learning is fixed, and time is variable; pacing is flexible." That makes them perfect for online learning. This trend, they write, will force a rethinking of the value proposition of universities. "The value system of academic scholarship is so skewed that research findings are hidden from public view." (p.24) I think they're mostly right, but we need to advance the model past the point where learning can be defined by competencies, or develop much better and more efficient means of identifying competencies and decigning systems to teach and evaluate for them. See also this  EDUCAUSE report on competency-based education.

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Revolutionary Brampton university proposal ruled ineligible by MTCU

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 12:00


Ken Steele, Academica Group Inc., Aug 28, 2014

It didn't fly this time, but I find it interesting that it was even proposed. "Students would learn in an active, inquiry-based environment from teaching-focused faculty on flexible staffing contracts, utilizing ePortfolios, eTextbooks, experiential learning, and work placements." OK, I'm not sure I like the sound of "flexible staffing contracts" - that to me makes it sound like academic labour on the cheap - but the rest of it sounds innovative and even useful. Something like it will probably be approved some time in the future, and if it flies (as it probably will) I would expect the model to proliferate. (It's nice to see Ken Steele look beyond the usual diet of press release coverage that has dominated Academica recently).

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The Diploma is the Message: Doug Rushkoff Invents a Master’s Program That Matters

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 12:00
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Jed Oelbaum, Good, Aug 28, 2014

So what distinguishes Rushkoff's masters's program from the thousands of others created by university professors (hint: it's not that "it matters"). “ Instead of training people to become marketers or to write the next useless phone app, we’ re going to support people who want to see through the media, and use it to wage attacks on the status quo,” Rushkoff says. “ This is media studies for Occupiers.” But more significantly, “ I want to teach a diverse range of students without putting them into lifelong debt,” says Rushkoff. Of course there's still that whole travel and tuition hurdle to surmount.

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Recent Research Review -- Reviewed (and Lamented)

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 08/25/2014 - 18:00


Will Thalheimer, Will at Work Learning, Aug 25, 2014

I will admit that  this article is an excellent read and that if you are in the field and haven't read it, you should correct this oversight immediately. If you really really don't have time this overview from  Will Thalheimer will do nicely. I think that if you are supportive of mainstream research in training and development you'll have no issue with most of the contents and will appreciate the liberal selection of references to bolster the assertions made. Personally, I think that learning is less about transfer than it is about growth and development, so some of the foundational work doesn't appeal to me (I remember, for example, studying Holyoak in detail on schemas and induction when his work first came out, and disagreeing profoundly with it). But not agreeing with the work is no excuse for not knowing it.

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Top 10 reasons to trust Microsoft in the cloud

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 08/25/2014 - 18:00


Tim Bush, Microsoft UK Schools News Blog, Aug 25, 2014

OK, I'll be pretty blunt about this: don't trust Microsoft in the cloud. I speak from personal experience: I paid Microsoft for online products (specifically, videos) and thanks to some back-end account problem, I cannot play those videos. My efforts over the last few weeks to fix this have been fruitless. Their  online assistance helps for a bit, but then loses interest and stops responding. This isn't small change; we're talking a few hundred dollars worth of videos that have suddenly become unplayable. Videos that I actually downloaded and are on my computer and should be playable offline - unplayable. If this happened with my email or my Office applications, I'd be sunk. So ignore the promotional articles like the one linked here. If you can lose hundreds of dollars worth of property and have no recourse then you are dealing with an immature technology. Period.

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Why Students Should Own Their Educational Data

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 08/25/2014 - 18:00
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Jeffrey R. Young, The Chronicle: Wired Campus Blog, Aug 25, 2014

This is one of the core ideas of our LPSS project, and it's nice that a Harvard professor agrees with it: "What we need to know about you is your contextualized profile of your performance and what kind of support you’ ll need to be able to model your learner profile across contexts. If I had to push for one thing that I think is super important, that is that the user should own their data."

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Four-day week will cut absences, superintendent says

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 08/24/2014 - 18:00


Alison DeNisco, District Administration: Education News, Aug 24, 2014

I have long believed we should adopt what amounts to a 3.5 day week - that is, 28 hours. This allows us to have what amounts to 7-day coverage of any position with two staff, with the work divided between them. It allows for 7-day use of facilities and resources. And, best of all, it addresses the issue of unemployment head on with the recognition that people are far more productive that they were when the 40-hour week was first implemented. I'm not sure, though, that the political will exists to return to workers a fair share of that increased productivity. Maybe something like this is the start of that.

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Expert performance and training: what we really know

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 08/24/2014 - 18:00


Daniel Lemire, Aug 24, 2014

Sometimes I don't agree with Daniel Lemire at all - this post on the culture of envy, for example, is wrong in so many ways - but in this post he nails it. Expertise isn't simply inherited, and isn't acquired overnight; while it does require some predisposition, it is primarily the result of practice, and not just any practice, but reasonably guided and reflective practice. "As far as we know," he writes, "if you are a world-class surgeon or programmer, you have had to work hard for many years." Results are not guaranteed; this is a necessary condition, not a sufficient condition.

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Robo-readers aren’t as good as human readers — they’re better

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 08/24/2014 - 15:00


Annie Murphy Paul, The Hechinger Report, Aug 24, 2014

When I read that robots are "unable to discern meaning" my first thought is to wonder what the critic thinks it is for a human to discern meaning. Yes, you can fool computers with nonsense - but you can also fool human referees of academic journals with nonsense as well. And - interestingly - it seems that it is becoming less and less easy to fool the computers, while humans remain as fallible as ever. So infallibility is not a criterion for being able to discern meaning.

This article suggests that computers may be better markers because they create a 'disinhibition effect' among students. "A non-judgmental computer may motivate students to try, to fail and to improve more than almost any human." But this isn't a criterion either - indeed, the author would not recommend allowing a computer to give grades. So what, then, is it to 'discern meaning' - and correspondingly, what is it to 'demonstrate meaning'.

I've discussed this in the past. Most writers believe that meaning (and truth) are based in representations, and that learning is essentially the creation (or construction) of these representations in the mind. So demonstration of meaning is a demonstration of the presentation and use of those representations. But this leaves the discernment criteria unfulfilled. Discerning is, I argue, a process of recognition. And computers can and do perform quite well at recognition tasks.

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Why The Education Economy Is The Next Big Thing For The American Workforce

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 08/24/2014 - 15:00


Brandon Busteed, Fast Company, Aug 24, 2014

The author, Brandon Busteed, is executive director of education at Gallup. He argues that there should be a tighter commection between education and the economy to create what we calls the educonomy. The article is largely about how education is failing the economy:

  • "no correlation between the grades and test scores of its employees and their success on the job"
  • "we’ re more likely to see kids with entrepreneurial talent diagnosed as underperforming troublemakers"
  • "seven in 10 K-12 teachers are not engaged in their work (69%)"

All very well, but is increased involvement of the commercial sector in education likely to change this? Busteed calls for "paid and unpaid internships to high school and college students" and for ways to engage teachers and instructors. That sounds good for business - it gives them cheap labour (think of the adjunct professor model applies across the economy). But it's very bad for students and workers, who are already underpaid. Here's a better plan: hire people at full wages, then take steps to enable access to learning while on the job. Oh, but that might cost the commercial sector money. My take: if the economy is not willing to pay the freight, there's no good reason to integrate education and economy.

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Technology Lab / Information Technology How Twitter’s new "BotMaker" filter flushes spam out of timelines

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 08/24/2014 - 15:00
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Lee Hutchinson, Ars, Aug 24, 2014

I still maintain that it's easier to select for what you do want rather than to filter for what you don't want. But a centralized system, I think, can only attempt the latter. It doesn't help when the business model of the service provider involves sending you unwanted advertising messages. Anyhow, this is an interesting article about Twitter's Botmaker anti-spam system (and how it will be used to send you advertising).

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Micro-Learning: Its Role in Formal, Informal and Incidental Learning

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 08/22/2014 - 20:00


Sahana Chattopadhyay, ID, Other Reflections, Aug 22, 2014

Good article on microlearning, especially the list of "forms of micro-learning can be used to create a ubiquitous learning environment" at the bottom. "Microlearning deals with relatively small learning units and short-term learning activities.... the term is used in the domain of elearning and related fields in the sense of a new paradigmatic perspective on learning processes in mediated environments on micro levels."

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