Miscellaneous

Using Internet based paraphrasing tools: Original work, patchwriting or facilitated plagiarism?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 03/06/2017 - 19:00


Ann M. Rogerson, Grace McCarthy, International Journal for Educational Integrity, Mar 06, 2017

A 'paraphrasing tool' is a piece of software which will take a sentence (or paragraph, etc) and rewrite it so that it says the same thing, but using different words or phrasing. A range of paraphrasing tools has become available online, and the authors of this paper explore whether their use constitutes a new form of plagiarism. Sometimes their use will stand out (eg. "phrasing that included 'constructive employee execution' and 'worker execution audits' for an assessment topic on employee performance reviews") but often they will not. And services like TurnItIn demonstrate "apparent inability" to identify paraphrased work. So is it plagiarism? It's not clear it is, and it's not clear it isn't.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Multiliteracies

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 03/06/2017 - 19:00


Kelli McGraw, Mar 06, 2017

Extracting from her PhD thesis, Kelli McGraw writes "There is no argument in any of the research literature that ‘ linguistic’ semiotic systems and learning to code and decode written language do not constitute a key facet of literacy, however literacy across multiple modes – identified by Bull and Anstey (2007) as ‘ linguistic’ , ‘ visual’ , ‘ gestural’ , ‘ spatial’ and ‘ aural’ – is widely acknowledged as being required in contemporary society." Quite right, but the question isn't one of 'balance', as McGraw suggests, but of recognizing semiotics and coding/decoding are constituents of these other 'literacies'. Image: Jean M. Mas.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Leveraging Technology to Build Literacy Among Millions of Displaced Children and Those with Disabilities

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 03/06/2017 - 19:00


Rebecca Leege, EmergingEdTech, Mar 06, 2017

Overview of work by All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development (ACR GCD), a partnership of USAID, World Vision, and the Australian Government. Key innovations included: EduApp4Syria, " open source smartphone-based learning games to help Syrian refugee children learn to read in Arabic"; "a pilot project that provides Indian students who are blind or low vision with mother tongue reading materials through Bookshare"; "Amman-based Little Thinking Minds has built a platform that includes more than 125 eBooks"; the GraphoGame Teacher Training Service (GG-TTS); and more.

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Immersive Education: VR Comes of Age

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 03/06/2017 - 19:00


Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology, Mar 06, 2017

I don't think VR has come of age yet, despite what the headline says, though it has taken some large strides forward. "The initial 'cool' factor isn't enough to sustain the market," writes Dian Schaffhauser. "As a recent FutureSource report noted, a big question is whether this new technology can be integrated deeply enough into the curriculum and help achieve specific learning outcomes in order to drive mainstream adoption." I think things can have an impact without being "integrated into the curriculum" (thing: Google search, Facebook, mobile phones...) but it does have to have a strong day-to-day use. So far, VR doesn't have that.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Traditional Literacy Ideas and Resources

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 03/06/2017 - 19:00


Kathy Shcrock, Discovery Education, Mar 06, 2017

The “ traditional literacy skills” of reading and writing are one of the  thirteen literacy skills students need, writes Kathy Shcrock. This post concentrates "on identifying resources for the traditional literacy skills of reading and writing." Resources include: The Question Is, "a teaching strategy that requires students to reverse the common order of question-and-answer"; the Six Word Story, "a teaching strategy that allows students to practice summarizing and selective word choice"; and A-E-I-O-U, "a teaching strategy that asks students to interpret information from images or videos."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Launching the new ALT Strategy

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 03/06/2017 - 16:00


Maren Deepwell, #ALTC Blog, Mar 06, 2017

Britain's Association for Learning Technology (ALT) has announced its next three-year strategy. Here are the strategy slidesfull text in PDF or Google docs and visual content on Flickr. There are three major aims: increase the impact of learning technology for public benefit, stronger recognition and representation of learning technologists, and proferssionalization of learning technology research and practice.

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Meet Afghanistan's female coders who are defying gender stereotypes

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 03/06/2017 - 13:00


The Guardian, Mar 06, 2017

“ Investing in educating girls in subjects like coding, where we expect there to be abundant, good-paying jobs is key to the future of Afghanistan. With a full range of talent to tap into, Afghanistan’ s economy can grow and become less reliant on foreign aid and retain ambitious young women."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Dear Twitter. It’s not me, it’s you

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 03/05/2017 - 20:00


David Hopkins, Technology Enhanced Learning Blog, Mar 05, 2017

I continue to use and monitor Twitter and I'm feeling the same way as this author. "My Twitter feed is now full of political commentary and all sorts of negative content that wasn’ t there before." And not just Twitter. I'm actually finding it pretty hard to find material on learning technology because people are preoccupied with political affairs. So it's not Twitter's fault, particularly. Although Twitter has become, you know,  boring

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Towards insertables: Devices inside the human body

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 03/04/2017 - 20:00


Kayla J. Heffernan, Frank Vetere, Shanton Chang, First Monday, Mar 04, 2017

I think I would choose some other term than 'insertable' but I would certainly agree that this represents a new device classification. An 'insertable' is a piece of technology one inserts inside one's body (for example, sub-cutaneous electronic door keys). They are distinguished from 'implants' in that they are non-surgical and removable, not medically necessary, and non-specialist. Educational uses for such technology might include personal identification (for access to records from remote systems), cues and reminders (I'll call this category 'twitches'), and eventually, direct neural access to data, messages from other people, and visual information (for augmented displays in artificial lenses).

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Social Networks and the Building of Learning Communities: An Experimental Study of a Social MOOC

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 03/04/2017 - 20:00


Mariana de Lima, Marta Zorrilla, The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning (IRRODL), Mar 04, 2017

What I like about this paper it its honesty in reporting negative results. "We have not managed to generate a strong learning community either during the course or at its completion: the networks were created around teachers' feedback, learners basically commented once per topic and, after the course ended, people did not return to Facebook or to the forum to participate." We can now ask: why not? The low number of participants? Their preference for traditional instruction? Weaknesses in course registration procedures? From the IRRODL special issue  on advances in research on social networking in open and distributed learning.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Why Do Academics Use Academic Social Networking Sites?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 03/04/2017 - 20:00


Hagit Meishar-Tal, Efrat Pieterse, The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning (IRRODL), Mar 04, 2017

I wouldn't link to this except for the funding for ResearchGate in the news today. It examines uses of this site as well as Academia.edu and provides some background information. I have two major criticisms of this study. First, I question the use of 'the uses and gratifications theory' to frame the research, on the ground that you don't need a 'theory' to frame this enquiry, and especially not a theory so empirically dubious. Second, I think the survey could have been rather more ambitious than three institutions in one (small) country, especially when generating statistical (quantitative) results, and especially when making claims like "this study points at the centrality of the self-promotion and ego-bolstering motive." From the IRRODL special issue  on advances in research on social networking in open and distributed learning.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

A Visual Explanation of Gerrymandering

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 03/04/2017 - 20:00


Randy Krum, Cool Infographics, Mar 04, 2017

The diagram depicted here has been out for quite some time, but it has always bothered me in a way. The central message is correct - you can gerrymander electoral districts to produce a win based on a minority vote. But how can you have 'compact but unfair' distribution? It came back to me today. The real message of this infographic is: 'compact can be unfair'. I puzzled over it a bit, and then I realized: the 'compact' diagram isn't really compact! It shows five districts each 5 wide and two deep. That isn't compact at all! The most compact would be 3x3 grids plus 1. In a 10x5 region you couldn't get that exactly, but still you could keep most squares in a district within 3 of each other, as in my diagram, above. If I haven't lost you yet, the lesson is this: don't take these infographics for granted

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Categories: Miscellaneous

ResearchGate announces $52m investment

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 03/04/2017 - 17:00


Research Information, Mar 04, 2017

Many of my papers can be found in ResearchGate as the company harvested them from various open access repositories. It also sends me regular appears to upload more, which I resist, because it's hard to search and use unless you're logged in. Anyhow, it has received a large investment from various funders (including Wellcome Trust and Gates), which I hope doesn't turn it into another Coursera desperate to monetize open access. "The latest investment is partially going into this effort to store and structure scientific data in ways that help scientists make progress today and in the future." See also Business Insider and New York Times. Worth noting: article asserting more than 50 percent of the articles on ResearchGate violate copyright. Via Richard Poynder, Tom Bishop on GOAL.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

5 Topics That Are "Forbidden" to Science

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 03/04/2017 - 17:00


Paul Ratner, Big Think, Mar 04, 2017

This article lists five areas that are 'forbidden to science'. I find it interesting that I am in some way implicated in all five. Here they are (and how I'm implicated):

  • messing with nature (yet I wear glasses, use a CPAP, and take various drugs)
  • engineering the climate (yet I do it every time I get in my car)
  • robot ethics (yet I envision and work on ethical robot tutors)
  • secure communication technology (yet I encrypt my email and work at a secure lab)
  • universal access to science (yet I work on that every day)

Now, yes, my involvement isn't exactly what they're talking about. But that's a technical limit, not an administrative limit. I would do all five of those things in a minute if I could (especially the first, so I don't have to die).

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Online Learning

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 03/04/2017 - 17:00


University Business, Mar 04, 2017

This is a special report from University Business. It's interesting in its own right, but readers may be interested in the full-length interview with me on MOOC and the future of online learning. A couple of notes: first, there's a really bad typo on page 6, where it says MOOCs were invented in 2005. They were invented in 2008. Second, it mentions work by Tim Berners-Lee without referencing it. What I'm talking about here is the Solid project, which is working toward a decentralized web. Otherwise it's an accurate representation of what I said during the interview.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

9 Top eLearning Trends of 2017 from 49 Experts

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 03/03/2017 - 19:00


Bryan Jones, eLearning Art, Mar 03, 2017

I amde a small contribution to this as one of the "49 experts". The top three over all were mobile, microlearning, and video. I can't criticize that list too much, except that I would have pegged it as the 2016 list, not 2017. My own predictions were mobile, subscription-based learning, and e-learning platforms. The full e-book (101 page PDF) is available but the textual content is pretty sparse. My full comments: "These are core trends, not fads like VR or blockchain. They reflect both the demand for wider (and cheaper) access, plus the rise of new distributed technologies that make it possible. The crucial (but non-sexy) word for 2017 is 'provisioning'."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Hot or Not: How Do MOOCs Fit into Corporate eLearning?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 03/03/2017 - 19:00


Pamela Hogle, Learning Solutions, Mar 03, 2017

This article mostly quotes George Siemens and myself about the value of MOOCs in corporate learning, plus a few remarks from MOOC critics. We're both agreed that MOOCs can extend corporate learning, largely because it's open, and largely because it can be used to support niche learning. Note the bit at the end where I talk about MOOCs as part of a larger ecosystem. "They can be defined as cloud technologies and integrated with other types of services. A MOOC or an online course would therefore function as a mechanism for scaffolding or facilitation around a set of content resources, including content created in workplace environments or training departments."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Conceptual Frameworks: some thoughts

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 03/03/2017 - 13:00


Gardner Campbell, Gardner Writes, Mar 03, 2017

I often hear people in our field talk about a theory as a "lens" through which to view research. I think this is a misapplication of the concept. I think that what people really mean when they use the word 'theory' in this way is 'conceptual framework', as described by Gardner Campbell in this post. Conceptual frameworks are useful; I use them all the time. But I do not confuse them with representations of actual states of affairs in the world. A conceptual framework, for example, might divide people between 'men' and 'women' based on obvious superficial characteristics, but we know that the differences and similarities between people run much more deeply than that, and that as handy a lens such a distinction may be, it is a structure we impose on our enquiry and may or may not be reflective of salient reality. Now Campbell, in this post, is concerned about the lack of a conceptual framework on the part of many students, or worse, "these efforts are obscured or smothered by a rush to a set of standards, or learning outcomes." Quite so. Master the tool first, then master the material.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Experience API and RSS News/Podcast Aggregators in Education

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 03/02/2017 - 22:00


Ted Curran, Ted Curran.net, Mar 02, 2017

This is an interesting idea. Use RSS (or other syndication formats) to distribute learning resources to people.  OK we've see this bit. Then use xAPI to record reads. It wouldn't be that hard to do this (though feed reading software would have to export this data, which I don't think they currently do). The xAPI statements could be uploaded into a Learning Record Store (LRS) where they will await a welter of applications to analyze and synthesize the data. This (presuming we can keep the charting bots out of the system) would be an excellent way to supplement personal learning records as well to assess the distribution and reach of learning resources. I like this idea.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Online Charter Schools Have Poor Track Record But They Can Reach Places Other Schools Can’t

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 03/02/2017 - 22:00


Matt Barnum, The 74 Million, Mar 02, 2017

The  74 Million is a generally pro-charter lobbyist group, so though I've been reading them for a while I haven't found much to pass along. But this item should be looked at, for two reasons. First, it presents a substantial case that achievement in online charter schools is weaker. I consider that case to be made, and would require substantial evidence to accept the contrary. But it defends the schools saying, essentially, that online schools can reach students other schools can't. Again, also a given. But the sort of online school that would and has achieved good results - public (aka state-supported) online schools, or at least online classes - is resisted. "Politically powerful online charter operators would almost surely oppose either of these changes." The idea that private interests could and would lobby successfully for legislation against public- or state-supported online learning is offensive, and runs exactly contrary to the core values of education.

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