Confessional technologies of the self: From Seneca to social media

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 06/01/2017 - 14:50

Norm Friesen, First Monday, Jun 04, 2017

Norm Friesen argues that personal self-expression on the web is a continuation of a tradition of externalized identity that dates from centuries in the past. "It is not difficult to regard Facebook — a social media site with over one billion registered users — as a powerful, interpellating, confessional technology of the self," he writes. We can see the link between Facebook's injunction to answer the question "what's on your mind?" and the confessional catechism. But it's also a practice of personal discipline. As Foucault says, "technologies of the self" are  “reflected and voluntary practices by which men not only fix rules of conduct for themselves but seek to transform themselves, to change themselves in their particular being, and to make their life an  oeuvre.” Which, arguably, is what I'm doing with this website. [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

From digital commons to the data-fied urge: Theorising evolving trends in the intersections of digital culture and open education

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 06/01/2017 - 14:32

Giota Alevizou, First Monday, Jun 04, 2017

This paper could be clearer, but the mapping of trends evolving from open education in digital culture is important, as is the warning it contains. The trends are as follows (quoted, my emphasis):

  • not just access to wider availability of resources, but also an element of the processes of continuous improvement from interacting with others in the production of public education goods;
  • a vision of ethics around educational entitlement, wider participation and alternative curricula notions of techno-economic efficiency that put forward neoliberal appropriations of education as public good;
  • a picture where surveillance is glorified in the name of ‘student engagement’ and teaching excellence, collective intelligence, critical reflection and cultural pedagogy are reduced to a datified ‘learning process’.
And the warning is this: "if improvement lies in the adoption of reflective practices, massive courses and analytics that are bound to a teleological view of technology and innovation may also lose whatever potential they might have for linking education to critical thinking, and learning to democratic social change."
[Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Platform Capitalism in the Classroom

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 06/01/2017 - 14:08

Ben Williamson, DMLcentral, Jun 04, 2017

According to this article, 'platform capitalism' is "a business model based on the extraction of value from connecting people into networks and mining their data." So companies like Google and Facebook practice platform capitalism. The author suggests that it has made its way to education as well, citing the example of  ClassDojo. These platforms, according to    Tarleton Gillespie,  are also “curators of public discourse”  because their choices    “affect the design of social media interfaces." Just so, we read, "ClassDojo is acting as a curator of educational discourse and practice, particularly around social and emotional learning. ClassDojo has already distributed the vocabulary of  growth mindset, mindfulness, character development  and influenced the uptake of social-emotional learning practices among millions of teachers." [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Internet Trends 2017 - CODE Conference

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 06/01/2017 - 11:40

Mary Meeker, Kleiner Perkins, Jun 04, 2017

Mary Meeker is back with her influential report documenting the latest internet trends (355 page PDF). This year's take: overall internet use growth is strong, but the rate of mobile internet use growth is leveling off. Advertising is growing (and increasingly measurable). Search and advertising go hand-in-hand, and following trends in user-generated content (UGC) a lot of search in the future will be image-driven. The ads themselves are becoming targeted storefronts, leading to a new type of store: the subscription store.  [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Building Competencies for Careers

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 05/31/2017 - 19:43

Maria Ferguson, Diane Stark Rentner, Nancy Kober, Matthew Frizzell, Matthew Brau, Center on Educational Policy, Jun 03, 2017

This report (16 page PDF) explores how  deeper learning competencies apply to the workplace through an analysis of the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) database. The deeper learning competencies include such things as learning to learn, critical thinking, academic mindset, collaboration and communication. The deep learning competencies were required in all 301 occupations evaluated, especially necessary in those occupations with a "bright" outlook. According to the authors, this " validates the idea that employees still need a range of skills and competencies even if they already have extensive content knowledge." [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Cognitive Access to Numbers: The Philosophical Significance of Empirical Findings About Basic Number Abilities

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 05/31/2017 - 18:29

Marcus Giaquinto, University College London, Jun 03, 2017

We teach children about numbers, but how do people come to know what numbers are, given that they are abstract? There must be  some process of learning that takes place. This paper explores this problem, offers several alternative accounts of what a number is, and argues that  the concept of a number can be learned by learning to recognize the size of a set or collection of entities.  [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Learning Technology Research Project Report

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 05/31/2017 - 15:27

Tim Buff, Agylia, Jun 03, 2017

There are no real surprises in this report (despite what this summary says) but it offers a useful refocus on learner needs and preferences in mobile learning (27 page PDF). "Personalised content selections that reduce the mass of available information to the items most useful to the individual learner, are increasingly important... The timeliness and accuracy of content is still vital. However, the form that the content takes, the ease of use and the ability to find the short, sharp piece of content, which is relevant to the individual, is even more crucial." [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Docker Compose: A better way to deploy Rocketchat, Wekan, and MongoDB

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 05/30/2017 - 20:55

Dave Lane, OERu Technology, Jun 02, 2017

I'm posting this mostly for my own future reference. It's basically a set of scripts that allow you to automate a cloud-based web application. Rocket.chat is an open source messaging application similar to Slack. Mongo is a no-SQL database engine. And Wekan is a project management tool. Together they create a single working environment for a project team. Or a cool planning environment for your students. [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Create Web Pages for Free and Save Them as PDF

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 05/30/2017 - 20:37

Tom Kuhlmann, The Rapid E-Learning Blog, Jun 02, 2017

What I love about the internet is that there are ways to do almost anything you want. Suppose you wanted a nice PDF document, for example, but don't have any software other than your browser. There's a way to make one! Here's a PDF I made of my website home page. Just for fun. [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

User Facing State

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 05/30/2017 - 20:10

Scott O'Hara, CSS-Tricks, Jun 02, 2017

I've been thinking a lot lately of non-linear languages. The idea has been around for a while. You might recall the concept from the movie Arrival. Fast-forward now to this article describing what the author calls 'user facing state' "  talking about how to let our users know about state (think: whether a button is disabled or not, or if a panel is active or not)." In a certain non-trivial sense a web page (or any other visual representation) is a non-linear language. And thought of as such, the concept of reading and writing in a non-linear language isn't so far away from our everyday experience as one might thing. Now, let me talk to you about reading a city... [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

After the Hype, Do MOOC Ventures Like edX Still Matter?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 05/30/2017 - 19:57

Goldie Blumenstyk, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Jun 02, 2017

This is an interview with  Anant Agarwal, chief executive of  edX, so the answer is going to be 'yes'. But don't think of it as a technology project. Agarwal at one point says, "one of the big innovations, really, at edX has not been technology-focused. It has to do with policy and new credentials." The interviewer, Goldie Blumenstyk, sputters in response: "But does that really — that doesn't help educate the world, which I think was the big vision and maybe too much of the hype."  [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

With state budget in crisis, many Oklahoma schools hold classes four days a week

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 05/30/2017 - 19:11

Emma Brown, Washington Post, Jun 02, 2017

It's hard to imagine a four-day school week. It would have been my dream in my childhood, of course (exceeded only by the three-day school week). But no doubt it's a source of concern for parents and teachers. The shorter week is a cost savings measure, of course, though one wonders how much it actually saves. But it raises the question of how shorter school weeks could work with online learning. And how you manage something like this with childcare and meals for students whose parents can't afford it. [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

The Digital Revolution Will Not Be Powerpointed (nor MOOCed)

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 05/29/2017 - 20:25

Alan Levine, CogDogBlog, Jun 01, 2017

There's a lesson in the metaphor of a Stanford-based MOOC on activism that has students create PowerPoints and form teams to write mission statements. "I am deeply engrossed in reading Zeynep Tufekci’s  Twitter and Tear Gas  with her direct experience participating in the Mexican Zapatista uprisings in, Arab Spring, the Occupy Movement, and the protests in her home country of Turkey in Gezi Park," writes Alan Levine. "I have yet to read of any of these efforts starting with people crafting a mission statement." And as the course content seems so far removes from actual activism, so also the course itself seems so far removed from what can and should be done in online learning. "I am most certainly being judgemental, but I cannot be part of such a cloistered, bubbled experience," writes Levine. "I cannot see any relevance to what is happening right now." [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Micropub is a W3C Recommendation

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 05/29/2017 - 20:19

World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), Jun 01, 2017

You can find the specification here. "The Micropub protocol is used to create, update and delete posts on one's own domain using third-party clients. Web apps and native apps (e.g., iPhone, Android) can use Micropub to post and edit articles, short notes, comments, likes, photos, events or other kinds of posts on your own website." It defines a multipart  upload specification that can include JSON data and attachments such as jpeg images. [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Google’s 3 Secrets To Designing Perfect Conversations

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 05/29/2017 - 19:59

Mark Wilson, Jun 01, 2017

Google's approach to interaction is based on the work of British philosopher  Paul  Grice, who  "theorized that people employ  all sorts of norms (which are known as Grice’s Maxims) to make sure that conversations flow normally." What's interesting is that a lot of the time the response doesn't depend on having understood the other speaker. It might be more important to simply keep the conversation flowing than to ask for a clarification. Grice's maxims aren't rules  per se but generally they distinguish between people we want to and people we find to be a bore.  [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Demystifying the Connections Between the LMS, LRS, and xAPI

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 05/29/2017 - 19:48

Brian Carlson, Margaret Roth, Michael Hruska, Learning Solutions, Jun 01, 2017

The sort of this article is a set of use cases (they're hardly case studies though they're labeled as such) describing storage and use of "data in the Learning Record Store (LRS) from multiple platforms including asynchronous learning in an LMS, synchronous in-person training, a soft-skill development  game, and team member collaboration in a mobile communication app." I think it makes a lot of sense (and would be surprised if this weren't done) were the LRS also used for performance data; we could see how a game, for example, and a real-life application could be very similar. Ultimately the purpose of the LRS is to be examined with data analytics, and comparisons of training and performance results would seem to be core to this.  [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

How Google Builds Its Maps—and What It Means for the Future of Everything

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 05/29/2017 - 19:21

Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic, Jun 01, 2017

"Google's geographic data may become its most valuable asset," writes Alexis Madrigal, "not solely because of this data alone, but because location data makes everything else Google does and knows more valuable." It makes sense. Location - specifically, geolocation - creates otherwise unknowable  relations between entities. The map is the first representation of that set of relations, but eventually the map will also contain the data that my cup is located six inches away from my elbow (which, if it is well designed, will prompt it to close its lid, just in case). Via Doug Peterson. [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous
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