Miscellaneous

The Failure of the iPad Classroom

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 11/17/2016 - 11:00


David Sax, The Walrus, Nov 17, 2016

I think it's far too soon to say the use of technology in learning has "failed". But sceptics will enjoy this thorough  denouement of educational technology. But a strand of thought half way through caught my eye. It was this: the fear that computer screens will "will replace more valuable, sensory activities, such as putting their hands through a box of sand, or eating a tub of Play-Doh." And I wondered: what is the impact of sand on test scores? How about clay and paint? I don't think we'll find a significant difference, but the argument against technology is based on exactly that sort of data.

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Differences in Learning Style Preferences: A Study of Mainland Chinese College Students Studying in Hong Kong

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 11/15/2016 - 13:00


Kin Man Chow, British Journal of Education, Society & Behavioural Science, Nov 15, 2016

There has been considerable argumentation in recent years to the effect that learning styles do not exist. Such argumentation, though, is firmly rooted in western culture. What of the learning styles of different cultures? This paper examines attitudes toward learning in Cantonese and non-Cantonese students studying in Hong Kong, and 'local' Hong Kong students. It concludes that there are significant differences, and suggests these are based in Hong Kong students' greater facility in English, which leads them toward a more visual orientation. Similar results have been  found in  previous work. The paper (36 page PDF) is the subject of an open peer review process, and you can read earlier versions as well as reviewer comments. Image: South China Morning Post.

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AAEEBL ePortfolio Review

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 11/14/2016 - 20:00


Nov 14, 2016

The Association for Authentic, Experiential, and Evidence-Based Learning (AAEEBL) is announcing the inaugural issue of the  AAEEBL ePortfolio Review. They write, "Designed to provide space for emerging thinking about ePortfolio research and practice, as well as a publication opportunity for those working in and with ePortfolio, the AePR focuses on timely, important topics written by leaders in the field" The first issue has been released as a single 74 page PDF.

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Educational Technology & Education Conferences #36, January to June 2017

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 11/14/2016 - 20:00


Clayton R. Wright, Stephen's Web, Nov 14, 2016

Clayton R. Wright has once again published his excellent conference list. He writes, "Some of these events have intriguing themes to guide them, such as 'Changing to Learn, Learning to Change', 'The Politics of Open', 'Respect the Past, Lead the Present, Secure the Future', 'Knowledge Is the Oil of the Future', and 'Democratization and Participation – People’ s Roles in the Digital World'.

"For May and June 2017, in particular, I was unable to find dates, locations, and URLs for a number of events. I did send out 300+ e-mails to obtain missing information, but few responded. This is becoming normal now - people generally don't respond, though some do ask for a copy of the list when it is complete. Further, some conference websites do not provide an e-mail address that I can use to contact the organizer of an event. Bottom line: Yes, there are a number of events I unable to find basic information for; thus, I can't publish information I don't have. As usual, the next or 37th edition of this list will provide an updated listing for June 2017."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

There is no such thing as western civilisation

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 11/14/2016 - 12:00


Kwame Anthony Appiah, The Guardian, Nov 14, 2016

This is a terrific article and one that should force us to re-examine the 'traditions' we seek to pass on through the process of education. "How have we managed to tell ourselves that we are rightful inheritors of Plato, Aquinas, and Kant, when the stuff of our existence is more Beyoncé and Burger King?" asks Kwame Anthony Appiah. Against perhaps the prevailing wind of our times, he argues, "We live with seven billion fellow humans on a small, warming planet. The cosmopolitan impulse that draws on our common humanity is no longer a luxury; it has become a necessity." Quoting Terence, he says “ Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto.” “ I am human, I think nothing human alien to me.”

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When Nerve Cells Detect Patterns for Acquired Knowledge

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 11/14/2016 - 09:00


Mihai A. Petrovici, Johannes Bill, Ilja Bytschok, Johannes Schemmel, Karlheinz Meier, Heidelberg University, arXiv, Nov 14, 2016

Researchers are coming closer to describing exactly how knowledge is stored as patterns of connectivity in a neural network. They create from a framework "by implementing Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) sampling in spiking networks of abstract model neurons." This shows how a neuron can draw an inference from a subset of the data available - a 'partial representation' - selecting from various possible interpretations. It's like: we see stripes in the jungle, is it shadows or a tiger, should we run? and we make a snap decision using this method by sampling the data. The  full paper is very heavy in mathematics and neural network theory. The  press release is a useful summary. Via Matthias Melcher.

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Not Everyone’s Hero

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 11/14/2016 - 09:00


Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed, Nov 14, 2016

Short article mostly intended to expose and denounce Course Hero, an online learning platform that serves essentially as a homework and assignment help site. It focuses on unreliable assignments authored by users in Kenya, "contract cheating under the guise of student support," and of course accusations of copyright violations after tests and assignments were found posted on the site. The article blames sites like this for forcing universities to shift away from assignments for assessment and toward a reliance on a small number of midterms and finals - a shift that was evident even when I was a student well before the popularity of the internet. Giving students assignments to take away and solve all by themselves is the opposite of "wrestling around with problems" and if this were what universities really intended they would adapt their pedagogy accordingly. Instead, they blame sites like this.

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