Miscellaneous

A foundational badge system design

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 03/23/2014 - 06:13


Carla Casilli, Persona, March 24, 2014

One of the isssues with a badge system is granularity. On the one hand companies and institutions want large-objective top-down locked badges. On the other hand, individuals and small groups want more fine-grained flexible badges that can be created and awarded on the fly. This proposal addresses that by creating a three-tier interlocked badge system compliant with Mozilla's badge architecture. "This approach is a vote for interculturism— or the  intermingling and appreciation of cultures— in badge systems. Its strength arises from the continuous periodic review of all of the badges, in particular the team / product badges as well as the individual / community badges."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Open Policy Network

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 03/21/2014 - 09:44


Various authors, Creative Commons, March 24, 2014

This is a preview of a site that will eventually be available here. "The mission of the Open Policy Network is to foster the creation, adoption and implementation of open policies and practices that advance the public good by supporting open policy advocates, organizations and policy makers, connecting open policy opportunities with assistance, and sharing open policy information." Here's the Creative Commons project description. See also the Open Knowledge Foundation. "We are a global movement to open up knowledge around the world and see it used and useful."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Instructivism, constructivism or connectivism?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 03/21/2014 - 09:28
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Ryan Tracey, E-Learning Provocateur, March 24, 2014

I think this is a really good post even if I disagree with it. The premise is that while popular perception sees constructivism as replacing instructivism, and connectivism as replacing constructivism, in reality each of them has its place, and they should be viewed as complementary approaches rather than in conflict. So why do I disagree? Because while as pedagogies it is easy to imagine them being alternated, as theories they contradict each other. According to instructivism, knowledge can be transmitted. According to constructivism, knowledge is created via internal representations. I don't think either is true, and more, these aren't the sort of things that can be true in one moment and not true in the next.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Interview with Terry Anderson

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 03/20/2014 - 23:20
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Steve Wheeler, Learning with 'e's, March 23, 2014

It's always nice to hear from Terry Anderson, and I'm sure readers will be delighted to find his new book will be available in May (as open access of course) here. Anderson's take on the biggest issue facing distance education reasearch? It "is distance between the researchers! Unlike most research centres, even those at Open Universities, at Athabasca our faculty work from home offices and we may never meet our graduate students face-to-face... Beyond that much of what happens in distance education is cloaked behind passwords and in private studies, thus a researcher has to find ways to assess teaching and learning."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

‘Closed’ v. ‘open’ systems of knowing

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 03/20/2014 - 23:12
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Scott Mcleod, Dangerously Irrelevant, March 23, 2014

Just to add yet another definition of 'open' to the mix: "A closed system is one in which the knowables are fixed. Examples of this kind of system would include any in which most of its answers are either yes or no, right or wrong, clearly and without any other possibility." Cited by Scott McLeod, this is from Teaching As a Subversive Activity. It should not surprise readers to know that I am more inclined toward 'open' than 'closed' in this system too. And yes, even for things like mathematical and logical knowledge, systems I believe are highly contingent and context-sensitive (cf Philip Kitcher, The Nature of Mathematical Knowledge).

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Facebook Introduces ‘Hack,’ the Programming Language of the Future

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 03/20/2014 - 22:53
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Cade Metz, Wired, March 23, 2014

Onteresting. I remember when Facebook was PHP (I actually saw the code once, because of a dropped format declaration). Their new programming language "lets programmers build complex websites and other software at great speed while still ensuring that their software code is precisely organized and relatively free of flaws... the new language is called Hack." It has some nice features - it's statically typed (which means you declare what all your variables are before you use them) but compiles at run-time, which means developers can immediately see the rsults of minor changes. It runs on a virtual machine, which allows it to be independent of the hardware layer. But what may make it widely popular is that it addresses the weaknesses of PHP: "“ While PHP is the most widely used language on the web, it’ s unpopular in many places because of its inconsistencies. Hack addresses these … and thereby makes the language more attractive to users of other languages." Get Hack here.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

We’re Talking about Practice?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 03/20/2014 - 22:33


Andrew Saltz, Learn/Teach, March 23, 2014

More on the myth of 'grit': "I hear the same stories about my student – from policy writers and politicians. Kids lack grit, work ethic, that indomitable will to pull oneself up by their bootstraps... There a saying that if wealth only required hard work, every mother in Africa would be a millionaire.   Be clear:   If grit was all that is needed to get an education, Philadelphia would outscore Finland." Well, I imagine the students in Finland have grit too, but I get the point. And it's a valid one. Let's look at Harvaard and Yale, and ask who got in there by virtue of grit, and who had a few other advantages working for them.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Homunculus vs. Emissary

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 03/20/2014 - 22:02


Matthias Melcher, x28’s new Blog, March 23, 2014

Good brief summary of my point in The MOOC of One, and in addition, he suggests that my emphasis on recognition "nicely matches how McGilchrist describes one of the two operational modes of the brain."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Education in an aspiring petrostate

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 03/20/2014 - 21:43
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Brian Lamb, Abject, March 23, 2014

I don't know what to say over and above what Brian Lamb says, to this: "The province of Alberta has recently released a development plan for public schools that enlists Suncor Energy and Syncrude Canada in the creation of future Kindergarten to grade three curriculum. Oil giant Cenovus will partner in developing curriculum for grades four to 12."

In a  different and unrelated post Lamb writes: "What I realize now is that by directing our students to adapt to a world in which they can exercise no control over their environment, where every click and eyeball twitch is monitored and analyzed by inscrutable algorithms, we are in fact preparing them for the real world of work (and society) that they will be living in.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Building the Road: Help Us Revolutionize the Way Students Experience College

Hey there HASTAC and world!

I want to invite you and your brilliant minds to help me and my fraternity revolutionize the way students experience college. We need your help to come up with the most effective activities, methods, and pedagogies for our project, the Road. 

read more

Categories: Miscellaneous

Tin Can / xAPI, Training and Learning Architecture, and other goodies

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 03/20/2014 - 16:23


Wendy Wickham, In the Middle of the Curve, March 23, 2014

Thoughts on the Experience API (aka Tin Can aka xAPI). "The real issue," writes Wendy Wickham, "is in the reading of the API and being able to pull that information... Learning Record Stores (LRSs) are specifically designed to do that... The promising technology (to me) is the connectors." Things get good when  we are able to collect a wide array of data from different services and provide a more overall picture of the learner.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Do Video Lessons Reinforce Learning, or Just Reinforce Pre-existing Incorrect Understanding?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 03/20/2014 - 11:04
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Kelly Walsh, Emerging Education Technology, March 23, 2014

This is a great question, and while I don't think you can just students' understanding one way or another simply with test results, I think the question still has to be asked: do videos support new learning, or simply reinforce incorrect learning. Derek Muller discusses his doctoral thesis: "It is a common view that 'if only someone could break this down and explain it clearly enough, more students would understand.'... they do not engage with the media on a deep enough level to realize that what was is presented differs from their prior knowledge." The answer isn't a simple yes-no, of course: if misconceptions are presented and then refuted (a la Mythbusters) then students can learn from videos.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Education, schooling and the digital age

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 03/20/2014 - 10:58
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Steve Wheeler, Learning with 'e's, March 23, 2014

Some good turns of phrase in this article. "Learning that is personalised and lifelong is almost always self-organised, self regulated and naturally has no course termination date.`I would add that this does not mean that it is endless, but rather that completion is based on the accomplishment of some task or objective, rather than on a schedule. More: "If teachers are to be present, then they should be pedagogues not directors and managers." I like this because it suggests that the problem in traditional classrooms isn't the lecturing style or presentation model, but rather, is the control exerted by the teacher, which may be as oppressive in a constructivist classroom as in an instrictivist room. Also: "Teaching to the test must be replaced by learning as a quest." I used to talk of the 'quest model', again pointing to the idea of learning based around task rather than content. And finally: "Co-production of knowledge is emerging as a new model for learning in the digital age. Students become teachers and teachers become students."

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