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Hans de Zwart, Technology, Innovation, Education, April 25, 2013 Identity is an ongoing concern, both in the news and in our daily lives. Digital identity creates constraints around what would once have been an anonymous activity - buying a magazine, for example - while at the same time streamlining others - like online banking, for example. Surveillance and biometrics solve serious criminal threats, but when used to constrain legal demonstration, pose the possibility of suppression. The cameras aren't going away, and arguably we need them, but at the same time, there needs to be balance. On the one hand, people need more control over their identity, and especially their imnages; on the other hand, individuals, as well as the state, ought to have the right to surveil. And there needs to be informed consent - which, as Hans de Zwart writes, wasn't even the case at this conference on identity. [Link] [Comment]
Pat Lockley, Hybrid Pedagogy, April 25, 2013 As someone heavily implicated in the development of MOOCs, I have to be accountable if, as this author suggests, the impact of the MOOC is more skin to that of the machine gun than to anything that would actually help massive numbers of people. But I am not a member of the military-industrial complex (nor even a particularly good public servant) and it is not with the militarization of learning in mind that the MOOC was developed (the author's allusions to COBOL and SCORM, neither of which have anything to to with MOOCs, notwithstanding). It may be true that "the teacher is now the maintainer of a technology which wasn’ t built for her, or for her purpose," but MOOCs were not developed for teachers, they were developed for learners. As a developer, I don't think I have to apologize for my role in MOOCs. I don't think there's anything to apologize for. [Link] [Comment]
ROLE - Responsive Open Learning Environments, April 25, 2013 I saw this in my LinkedIn stream today: "The ROLE Sandbox (http://role-sandbox.eu) is a permanent hosting environment for widget-based personal learning environments. Everybody is welcome to create or join learning spaces in the ROLE sandbox. Access is easy. Just register or use your OpenID. Connect to the ROLE widget store to install widget bundles to learn about languages or science. Give feedback on everything you like or dislike using the 'Idea' button." Sign-in didn't work; I had to use my Google ID. The interface needs a lot of work. But at least it's out there, which is the only way to improve these things. But the last and final ROLE review by the EC took place 19 March so it's not clear where the project goes from here. You can also view the ROLE e-book here. [Link] [Comment]
Dublin Institute of Technology, April 25, 2013 I found it interesting to look in and around what was advertised today as the "first Irish MOOC" (I have no idea whether that's true). It is offered by the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) and facilitated by DIT staff member Anne Green. But it appears to have been developed in Singapore (and that's where the advertising came from), at a company called GetReskilled, which specialized in Pharmaceutical and medical device industry; they have a list of short self-paced courses they offer prospective students. Moreover, the new MOOC is being offered on Blackboard's CourseSites, described as "a supported cloud-based learning system." None of this is intended as criticism - it's just interesting to see the way the different parts come together.
Phil Barker, Phil’s JISC CETIS blog, April 24, 2013 Phil Barker writes, "The Learning Resource Metadata Initiative aimed to help people discover useful learning resources by adding to the schema.org ontology properties to describe educational characteristics of creative works. Well, as of the release of schema draft version 1.0a a couple of weeks ago, the LRMI properties are in the official schema.org ontology." To see how LRMI metadata is used, take a look at this resource, first without the metadata, then with the metadata (you'll have to view soruce to see the metadata embedded in the resource). Encoding the resource this way makes it much easier to encode and retrieve for later use. [Link] [Comment]
Jonathan Nadler, Education Technology Debate, April 24, 2013 Jonathan Nadler writes, "Once flexible and even user-generated learning content embedded in MOOC’ s trickles down to a primary school level, and super-capable mobile devices like smartphones and tablets are deployed widely enough to provide ubiquitous access, its really only the process we use to harness them (especially how to keep some strategic face to face time in the mix) that remains to be solved." The "obligatory history lesson" should include a reminder that trickle-down has never worked, and has only ever served to entrench, not unseat, the cartels. If MOOCs are to mean anything more than another generation of Disney cartoons, we need to create the content, to share it freely, and create the learning ourselves. [Link] [Comment]
Melisa (Misha) Cahnmann-Talor, education review, April 24, 2013 The title of Chapter 1 is: "What is and What is Not Arts Based Research?" At the end of this review, I still do not have the answer to that question. As Cahnmann-Talor writes, "The answers to most questions result in further questioning, where even definitions offered remain filled with ambiguity and openness to interpretation." But as she writes, "I am reminded of William Carlos Williams's oft-quoted lines: 'It is difficult/to get the news from poems/yet men die every day/for lack/of what is found/there.'" [Link] [Comment]
Dan Pontefract, April 23, 2013 The cycling pelaton is a classic example of cooperation (as opposed to everybody's favourite, collaboration). The members of the pelaton do not have a shared objective: each member wants a different person to finish first. Nonetheless, they individuals have a better chance of succeeding if they work with the group - even with a group of competitors - than they would working on their own. And (note) they do not work as a team (despite what this post says) even though they share thre workload, communicate proactively, and engage with each other. They work as a murmuration. Nobody is in charge of a pelaton, membership is fluid and dynamic, and each exchange (of position, say) is negotiated individually. [Link] [Comment]
Graham Attwell, Pontydysgu.org, April 23, 2013 This is interesting. From Graham Attwell: "Partners in 11 countries have joined forces to launch the first pan-European ‘ MOOCs’ (Massive Open Online Courses) initiative, with the support of the European Commission. MOOCs are online university courses which enable people to access quality education without having to leave their homes... Detailed information about the initiative and the courses on offer is available on the portal www.OpenupEd.eu." I wonder, though, why the language used in the portal would be so dismissive: "You are visiting the portal of a brand-new initiative around so-called MOOCs..." So-called? From a MOOC portal? Odd. See also this announcement from WSIS. [Link] [Comment]
Miguel Guhlin, Around the Corner-MGuhlin.org, April 23, 2013 Miguel Guhlin points to an essay by William Zinnsser in The American Scholar on the topic of 'men of letters'. It resonates with me in two ways: first, because I achieved the 'Man of Letters' Boy Scout badge after self-publishing 'The Eagle Report', a mimeographed hand-written town newspaper I authored while in grade 5, and the Book of the Month Club (BOMC), which I signed up for with my father around the same time, and through which I was exposed to, among others, Pierre Berton, Farley Mowat, and William L. Shirer. So I understand Zinnsser's lament for the passing of men of letters. But I don't share it. Today, a person who focuses solely on the written word is suffering a form of illiteracy, and today's literati (which I would claim to be a part of) are people who navigate software, mathematics, scientific reasoning and social networks with the same sort of ease and facility. They may be women as well as men, Korean or Argentinian as well as British or American, and are sought less for their authority and more for their willingness to share.
Dave Warlick, 2¢ Worth, April 22, 2013 This sentence struck me as especially relevant: "I had always been destined for college, not a factory." As though the former is of value, and the latter not so much. Now I happen to think that work in a factory is dignified and worthwhile (I frequently think of the workers in Alliston, Ontario, who made my Honda - thank you all). But the problem isn't simply that there are too many university graduates, but also too many factories, many of them producing less and less meaningful products. In general in society worldwide we have too many people for the work that needs to get done, which leaves many of us underemployed or unemployed. This isn't a problem we solve in the educational system. The waste we create in society is not the result of too much education. We need to work less, consume less, and spend our time more meaningfully, which will not happen without a more equitable distribution of incolme. [Link] [Comment]
Scott Mcleod, Dangerously Irrelevant, April 22, 2013 There's a whole industry based on evaluating teachers - and yet, it seems to me the statistics it relies upon would be dismissed outright if used to evaluate professional baseball players or other athletes. The current measures are quite coarse, like ranking a ballplayer based on wins and losses in the month of April. Nobody would rely on this, and because many variables relate to wins (including the strength of one's opponents, the contributions of teammates, health, and other intangibles) much more fine-grained measures are used. Anyhow, if you're interested in this topic, Scott McLeod has amassed a wealth of resources in this (undated) post. [Link] [Comment]
Karl Fisch, The Fischbowl, April 22, 2013 I thought this was a clever way of (semi-)randomizing his participation at an upcoming conference on education and mathematics. You are presented with a list of sessions, a way to select one, and room for comments. Of course I helped Karl Fisch pick his sessions; my comment at the end: "It's like there's two tracks through this conference, baby-math (aka common core) and adult math (the others). Stay with the adult math. The stuff these papers look at (perspective, visualization, modelling) are the foundations of contemporary scientific reasoning (and the more they link mathematics with scientific reasoning, the better)." [Link] [Comment]
Brian Lamb, Abject, April 22, 2013 More on the influence of wealth and power on history, open content and open source. "It’ s not as if “ closed” systems are particularly resistant to the influence of money and power. But resting assured that “ openness is the best disinfectant” is likely to fail us as well." Quite right. [Link] [Comment]
Sui Fai John Mak, Learner Weblog, April 22, 2013 It's a question I'm sure many people have pondered: why do the xMOOCs attract hundreds of thousands of people, while cMOOCs attract far few. Sui Fai John Mak rounds up the reasons:
Debbie Morrison, online learning insights, April 22, 2013 This is a summary article of the week's events in educational technology, but it contains a good summary of the debate around (what I guess we are now calling) robo-grading, including links to a NY Times article (with more than 1000 comments), a petition against robo-grading, and arguments against edX on the basis of robo-grading. The same article looks at a new platform called NovoEd , including challenges posed by peer grading. Clearly the whole issue of grading is in the news, which should tell us that traditional grading (now performed mostly by automated multiple-choice testing systems, or underpaid graduate students working on their third Wake-Up) is under fire. [Link] [Comment]
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