Miscellaneous

Can blogging be academically valuable? Seven reasons for thinking it might be

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 04/05/2015 - 09:00


John Danaher, Philosophical Disquisitions, Apr 05, 2015

My academic career basically exists because of blogging, so I think there may be a point to this article. Here are the seven reasons (my thoughts in parentheses):

  • It helps to build the habit of writing (this is key for me - for me, doing this newsletter is like gettiung some exercise each day)
  • It helps to generate writing flow states (also true - most essays that I write, even the ones I publish, I basically write in one sitting)
  • It helps you to really understand your area of research (because I read so much I get a sense of the flow and development of the field)
  • It allows you to systematically develop the elements of a research article (meh)
  • It enables you to acquire serendipitous research interests (this is true for me as well, and my work is a cross of numerous fields)
  • It helps with networking and developing contacts (I'm not so good at meeting people in person so this has been crucial for me)
  • And yes, it also helps with teaching (indeed, that's how I started with blogging)

I know that  gushing about blogging is out of vogue these days, as people attach themselves to the virtues of Twitter and Facebook, but for me the daily ritual has been the cornerstone of my intellectual development.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Learning the Netflix way

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 04/04/2015 - 18:00
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David Hopkins, Technology Enhanced Learning Blog, Apr 04, 2015

I came back from my trip last night to find my Netflix payments had expired. This puts me into the mode of questioning whether I want to renew. I'm not so sure I do. I'm learning that access to programming on Netflix is ephemeral - I discovered this at the end of the first year when a number of old westerns disappeared, then more recently when I discovered I could no longer access Xena. Dozens of other shows are also gone. And I still can't watch Battlestar or the last few seasons of Weeds via the Canadian service. And that's not the sort of model I'm interested in promoting for learning. You never know when you'll need those old trigonometry lessons again, or how to build a Stirling engine.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

3 Important Shifts in Education

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 04/04/2015 - 18:00


George Couros, Connected Principals, Apr 04, 2015

I honestly don't think any of these three shifts is a real thing. I could be wrong of course. But they have the air and feel of representing things that (some) people would like to happen, rather than what's actually happening. Here are the shifts:

  • from 'digital citizenship' to 'digital empathy'
  • from 'student voice' to 'student leadership'
  • from 'growth mindset' to 'innovator mindset'

It's not that I actually oppose any of these. But I'd really want to reframe them, because they feel like a marketing campaign looking for a product. I just don't think they address core issues. Indeed, they seem to me like ways to avoiding core issues.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Techno Fantasies

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 04/04/2015 - 15:00
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Audrey Watters, Hack Education, Apr 04, 2015

Audrey Watters takes on Kevin Carey's book The End of College and does so with what is, I think, exactly the right tone, which is to say, distrust, scepticism and outright hostility. "The University of Everywhere is the response, led by venture capitalists and ed-tech entrepreneurs, to 'ancient institutions in their last days of decadence,' Carey argues. And we are to believe that an end will come soon for the oppressive regime created by colleges and universities, as he personally has numbered the days until they either 'adapt' or become extinct." Universities are lots of things, but they are not oppressive; they are indeed liberators, which is why admission to them is so valued, and why the forces of oppression target them for control and dismantling. Yes we need to fix education, but we need to be very careful to preserve what we value in education. Carey's vision does not do that, and indeed, undermines it.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Curator

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 04/04/2015 - 15:00


Unattributed, Twitter, Apr 04, 2015

Twitter is accepting applications to use Curator. "Curator enables media publishers to discover, curate and display the best Twitter content on any screen." I put my name in but I probably don't qualify. Via Robin Good. Some related items from his list: EpicBeat, a relevant content finding service. A curation tool for apps: Stacks. Create your favourite topic: Hubub. Here Robin Good's Facebook Page.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Career ready: Towards a national strategy for the mobilization of Canadian potential

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 04/04/2015 - 09:00
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Ken Coates, Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE), Apr 04, 2015

The core of the message is in the headlines: cut university enrolment and expand colleges. It is a shot across the bow. "Canada needs to become more effective in matching skills, training and education with workforce requirements," writes Ken Coates for the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE). "Canada needs to shift away from this open-access approach —   based on the idea that everyone 'deserves'  a degree, or at least the chance to try to earn one —   to one that is based on achievement, motivation and compatibility with national needs." How should the education system respond? Canadian companies do not invest a lot in learning; they "look to public institutions and government programs to prepare the workforce," and then complain about the result. In my view, educators should demand corporations vote with their dollars. The less corporations pay toward sustaining the system of education, the less say they should have in the outcome. See also: CBC Coverage. Also, see the CCCE skills website.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Major publisher retracts 43 scientific papers amid wider fake peer-review scandal

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 04/03/2015 - 07:00
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Fred Barbash, Washington Post, Apr 03, 2015

This has been in the news for the last week or so. To me it suggests peer review is struggling to maintain its viability. Thee main scandal is a ring of people who manipulated the peer review system to support each others' works. I think personally that they are distinguished only by virtue of the fact that they were caught. Peer review is basically an insider's game. As if to underscore that, Nature Publishing Group has announced it will provide 'expedited' peer review for a fee. An editor has quit in response. "The flap shines a light on a fledgling industry where several companies are now making millions of dollars by privatizing peer review." Oh yeah, that will keep things honest! See also Retraction Watch, COPE Statement, Science. Via Academica.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

What is Innovation in Education?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 04/02/2015 - 06:00
[Audio]

• Backchannel: • Go to http://www.downes.ca/chat • Select What is Innovation in Education?

--- OR ---

• Use Twitter hashtag #ghent2015 • • Slides: http://www.downes.ca/presentation/359

--- OR ---

• Slideshare: http://www.slideshare.net/Downes

 

Live Stream http://t.co/9s0nCpubIj

, (Keynote) Mar 30, 2015 [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous
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