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This list shouldn't surprise readers, though it's interesting to note the influence of consumer technology on the enterprise sectors. The top technologies to watch include MOOCs, microservices, public and hybrid cloud, user experiences, team collaboration, social enterprise, and more. The best bit is at the end, though: "the real trend that we see with digital leaders is actively enabling of mass digital innovation on the edge through techniques such as the use of empowered networks of internal/expert change agents or using hackathons and developer networks on top of open APIs." If you're still centralizing, you're behind the curve.[Link] [Comment]
Criticism of a recent report from the Atlantic Institute of Market Studies (AIMS) on online learning in eastern Canada. I covered the report reasonably favourably. But the Nova Scotia Teacher's Union (NSTU) was not happy and neither was Grant Frost, both of which call the report's author to task for understating the scale of online learning innovation in the province. "Close to 30,000 of our approximately 119,000 public school students are engaged, at some level at least, in online learning," writes Frost. Well, he has a point - the AIMS study uses misleading and sloppy statistics to argue that only 2.2 percetn of students are enrolled in online learning. And there's the ubiquitous pro-privatization argument that mars anything AIMS does.
But from the other side of the ledger, I would argue that 25% - the number Frost gives is - is low. In 2016, in an advanced information age economy, the number should be close to 100%. Can you imagine that 75% of students aren't doing any online learning? I have no doubt about the teachers' commitment. But provincially (across Atlantic Canada) there is a failure to invest. And a failure to invest is exactly what creates openings for things like this AIMS article. It wobbles the mind.[Link] [Comment]
Best analogy for 'grit' thus far: "when faced with a decreasing demand for a product in one market segment, the internationally massive and multi-billion dollar testing industry would look to create a new product that meets the increasing demands of another," writes Grant Frost. "I believe that, in testing for grit, we may have encountered the educational world’ s latest version of a bottle of air." Good post authored by someone I should have found long before now. Image: CNN.[Link] [Comment]
I confess, I read this item because I wondered what the author considered "the biggest problem in education." Here's what it is: "of the hordes of students that sign up for massive open online classes (MOOCs), an average of less than 7% finish." Well, education has its problems, but I think this is far from the biggest of them. It's like saying that the biggest problem in music is that people just listen to one song instead of a whole album. Maybe the biggest problem in education is something else - something like, say, engineers and developers designing teaching systems based on their shallow and folk-psychological knowledge of learning and education. P.S. I can't even begin to list all the things that are wrong with the image accompanying this article.[Link] [Comment]
I've read a dozen or so press releases and articles about the recently concluded eLearning Africa conference in Cairo and this one seems to summarize best the general tenor of the discussion. "There is growing frustration at the time it is taking for e-learning to truly become a reality in Africa, with attendees at this year’ s eLearning Africa conference in Cairo, including ministers, businessmen and education experts, expressing impatience." (Note to self: add 'have dinner by the pyramids' to the list of things to do.) See also this reflection from Donald Clark, who was there.[Link] [Comment]
There's open source and then there's open source. One type of open source is more properly called 'community source', and that's what Sakai is. It was a large and complex LMS, designed by and for major institutions, with no real expectation of a community outside that exclusive group. Michael Feldstein describes the concept - and its failings - in his post from two years ago, Community Source is Dead. "Community Source borrows the innovation of the open source license while maintaining traditional consortial governance and enterprise software management techniques." Given this analysis, this week's collapse of the Sakai installation at UC Davis should not come as a surprise.[Link] [Comment]
In this, "the final weekly newsletter from Iain Martin, Editor of CapX," the blame for the fall of media is laid squarely at the feet of social media, criticizing "those ostensibly up-market titles that opted for a friendly approach, cosying up to Facebook, pumping out more and more free rubbish," and of course, lamenting that "the tech giants blend inherent anti-conservatism, liberal elitism and hatred of regulation."
My first visit to the UK was in 1976, long before the web and social media. I asked for a newspaper at my hotel room door. "Which newspaper?" I was asked. Well I would like world news, I replied. "How about News of the World?" Perfect! I said. Imagine my surprise to see a scandal rag complete with pinup girls the next morning. Yes, the press may have outed the occasional politician, as Martin notes, but it has been an abject failure otherwise, completely ineffective in response to real world problems: environment, the concentration of wealth, militarization and corporate corruption.
Democracy was in peril long before the internet. We who turn to social media do so because there is no free press, and indeed, has never been in our lifetimes. It certainly did not exist in my childhood, and the press of the present day slavishly prints whatever its well-heeled employers demand.[Link] [Comment]
I'm writing this post on a three-year old laptop even though I could be using a tablet. Why? The screen is larger, so I don't need to squint to read. The keyboard is hefty and responsive. It's really light (the carbon fibre construction is actually lighter than my iPad). It has HDMI and USB and earbud ports. It's more powerful than a tablet, and runs productivity software as well development environments. but it cost less. It doesn't require special 'apps'. Donald Clark points to all this in his post. Of course, my laptop is an ideaPad, which means it can become a tablet if I want. It has six hours of battery life, which makes it OK for airplane use (my next laptop will have more). The touch-sensitive screen means I can draw on it (I need to learn how, though). So the point here isn't that tablets are bad - it's that the way they were designed and marketed was bad. Apple could have designed a teriffic tool, but it had other priorities.[Link] [Comment]
Algebra has once again come under challenge and in response there have been the usual defenses, such as this article on why we need algebra. To me (as I do things like measure the amount of paint required to cover a four bedroom house) the answer is pretty clear. But people like Andrew Hacker argue it should be dropped from the curriculum because it's a leading cause of dropouts. In my own education, the concept of abstraction confounded me; I didn't really get it until graduate school. That's because it was always based on memorization, which renders it pointless and abstruse. But it doesn't have to be this way. What if we taught it differently, experientially, by making people the variables. Imagine, for example, this wonderful technique employed by Alfred Thompson where students form the variables. He intends it for basic computing algorithms, but there's no reason students couldn't be challenged to create more and more involved and complex 'human machines'. The possibilities are endless. (p.s. have them communicate by email instead of by voice and you've also invented rudimentary people-based service-oriented architecture).[Link] [Comment]
Several studies have just come out describing the uneasy reality of gender non-parity in social networks:
This link points to a British initiative, Reclaim the Internet. "Here you'll find questions, discussion, personal testimony and ideas on how we can take a stand against online abuse." I'll make one comment: this is not unique to the internet. Visit any pub or locker room or barracks and you'll find the same. This sort of behaviour is currently socially acceptable; that's why we see it. It shouldn't be. Reports via MediaSmarts.[Link] [Comment]
Tallahassee Community College boosts affordability, access in math courses using open educational resources
In 2015 there were roughly 20 million students in the United States. Why is this significant? According to this release from Lumen Learning, which is similar to others I've seen, the use of open educational resources - specifically, open textbooks - saved 4,825 students some $535,000 in that same year. That's more than $1,000 per student, which means that this program alone, if applied nationally in the U.S. would save students $20 billion - with a B. Now this number is probably high - the average student spends only $900 on textbooks, and the entire market size is only $14 billion, so we're not going to hit $20 billion. But no matter what, the numbers are staggering. Which begs the question: why is this not happening?[Link] [Comment]
At a certain point of overuse a word loses its meaning. "Transform" is one such word, according to Larry Cuban. "When it comes to school reform, as the quotes above indicate, the word 'transform' hits the jackpot of overhyped words in reformers’ vocabulary.... Yes, I have gotten allergic to the word 'transform' when it is applied to schooling. That allergy has prompted me to ask any policymaker, researcher, practitioner, high-tech entrepreneur, venture capitalist, or parent using the word, certain questions about what he or she means." What follows is a lost of questions that should be asked of people promoting transformation. What does it mean? What problems are being solved? What exactly is transformed? What does it become? How fast? Why is it better? But, of course, these questions could be asked against any of our buzzwords today - analytics, reform, open, online, whatever. And they should be asked. Slogans aren't plans.[Link] [Comment]
MediaSmarts (which once upon a time had a much better name, the Media Awareness Network) has released the final installment of Use, Understand & Create: A Digital Literacy Framework for Canadian Schools. The framework "includes over 50 lessons and interactive games, organized by grade level from kindergarten to grade 12, that are aligned with seven aspects of digital literacy: finding and verifying; ethics and empathy; privacy and security; digital health; consumer awareness; community engagement; and making and remixing." View the framework here. For the theoretical background, see this "mapping of the features and focal points of digital literacy and digital citizenship from across the country": 75 page PDF.[Link] [Comment]
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