Miscellaneous

Learning needs a plan for the revolution we can already glimpse

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 08/07/2016 - 12:00


Michael Barber, Pearson, Aug 07, 2016

If it were really a revolution there would be new people in charge after the dust settles rather than the same old gang. But there's no suggestion of this in this blog post from Pearson. For example: "How we can recruit the art and science of delivering change at the system level to the goal of making available – to all students – the type of learning that Charlie Leadbeater has recently beautifully described (112 page PDF)?" This model still depicts them as working in jobs for the usual crowd and for the usual purposes, but just working at these jobs differently. Or this: "How can we ensure there is a much needed Renaissance in Assessment that will allow us to measure the full set of skills and capabilities that learners need to secure, and thrive, in a job?"

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Pressure to Spend More on Poor Students

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 08/07/2016 - 12:00


Rick Seltzer, Inside Higher Ed, Aug 07, 2016

What this article shows most clearly is that there is no end to the reasons the rich can give to justify keeping their wealth to themselves. In this case, the proposal is that universities with large endowments could top their spending from endowment funds to reach the  5  percent minimum spending benchmark required of private nonprofit foundations. This money could add hundreds of millions of dollars of assistance to poor students. But, ah, no. "They ignore that access and affordability are only part of the equation that schools are dealing with when they’ re trying to meet their public purpose." Well, no. Rather the contrary - we realize exactly that, and suggest that access and affordability ought to rank far higher in these institutions' priorities than they currently do, as suggested by  this new report (12 page PDF). Or, as also suggested, maybe we'll start taxing them and spending the money on actual social priorities, rather than on new polo fields.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Lessons Learned From Building An Open Online Course

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 08/07/2016 - 12:00


Chris Gaudreau, Torrey Trust, Weiyang Liu, eLearning Industry, Aug 07, 2016

I've seen these points raised before but I'd like to frame them with a question, which follows. The author asserts "the importance of using technology and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles to provide personalized, flexible, and accessible learning opportunities." Here they are:

  1. Provide Multiple Means Of Representation
  2. Provide Multiple Means Of Action And Expression
  3. Provide Multiple Means Of Engagement

So here's the question: are these principles equally applicable in the case of the single learner? Yes, we can see that for a class of people we would want to allow room for people to choose one option or another. But does that need extend to the single case? For example, if I were offering a course to a global audience, I might want to make sure there's a version available in Urdu. But if I'm offering a course to one person in Ireland, the Urdu version probably isn't necessary.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

When Tenure Never Comes

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 08/07/2016 - 12:00


Stephen Black, The Walrus, Aug 07, 2016

According to the (anonymous) author of this article in the Walrus, "Academia has become a high-stakes gamble— and the losers can barely afford pants." It's a fair point, but as critic Melonie Fullick  writes in University Affairs, "the piece is basically written as if he is the first person to have discovered this is an issue that might be worthy of discussion." Neither piece really comes to grips with academia's increasing reliance on serf labour to balance the books.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

The Role of Incremental and Transformative Change in Future Prediction

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 08/06/2016 - 12:00

This presentation addresses change, innovation and transformation from the perspective of educational technology. It examines causes and drivers of change and discusses how campus technologists can best plan for, and react to, changing technology and educational needs.

Campus Technology 2016, Boston, Massachusetts (Keynote) Aug 03, 2016 [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

MOOC Quality Malaysia

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 08/06/2016 - 09:00
[Slides][Audio] , Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Keynote) Aug 03, 2016 [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

An interview with Michelle Cordy

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 08/06/2016 - 09:00


Doug Peterson, doug — off the record, Aug 06, 2016

Doug Peterson interviews Michelle Cordy, who, as he said, appeared to many to have "burst upon the scene with her closing keynote address at the 2016 ISTE Conference." Here's the Periscope  recording of that talk; here are some sketchnotes from it; here's  an article about the talk). Titled "Show up and refuse to leave" it touched exactly the right note with the audience (and I have to admit, it's a message that resonates with me as well). It's a bit of a softball interview but I appreciate the look at the interests and activities of a classroom teacher who takes the time to share with the rest of us. "The reality is that I am a full time classroom teacher," she writes, "and I am not a professional speaker or consultant. It is very difficult for me to be away from the classroom. So, I must be very selective about the work I choose to do in addition to my classroom responsibilities. You won't see my face on too many conference flyers after ISTE." Too bad. Here's her blog, Hack the Classroom.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

3 Things People Can Do In The Classroom That Robots Can't

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 08/06/2016 - 09:00


Anya Kamenetz, NPR, Aug 06, 2016

What bothers me most about this article is that the main premise is demonstrably false. Here is the main premise: "Three things people can do that robots can't: Tell a story. Solve a mystery. Give a hug." Now each of these is offered with a bit of description intended to make the behaviour more human. For example, "give a hug" actually means "empathy, collaboration, communication and leadership skills." But there's a bot that has  already done this. Plus, there's already a literal hug bot. There are also numerous storytelling bots, including one that  looks at a picture and tells you a story about it, an MIT storytelling companion, and robot journalists. Mystery-solving bots abound, including the diagnosis bots on WebMD, test failure analyzers, this  countdown bot, a  solver for 2048,  Minesweeper solver, and more. The lesson here is, if you're going to make claims about what technology can't do and publish it in a national newsletter, do your research.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Profit and education aren’t mutually exclusive

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 08/05/2016 - 20:00


Ian Lindquist, American Enterprise Institute, Aug 05, 2016

I think that the people arguing for the privatization of education are going to have to come up with better arguments. Writing for US News & World Report, Ian Lindquist says, "Education is not the only sector that provides public goods. Indeed, there are many public goods handled by private companies: hospitals, prisons and transportation systems operated by for-profit providers ensure public health, public safety and public transportation." These examples prove quite the opposite. The privatization of hospitals, prisons and transportation has proven to be to the detriment of all three services, resulting in lower standards (sometimes verging on abuse) and higher costs.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Simone de Beauvoir Defends Existentialism & Her Feminist Masterpiece, The Second Sex, in Rare 1959 TV Interview

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 08/05/2016 - 20:00


Dan Colman, Open Culture, Aug 05, 2016

It has always puzzled me what writers mean when they label a video "rare" as in this case. Is there only one copy (now a billion copies on the web)? Is it a subject that doesn't come up a lot? Whatever. Get out of your comfort zone. Watch this video. Ponder life, existence and death. And what it all means. (RIP Seymour Papert)

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Categories: Miscellaneous

In Memory: Seymour Papert

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 08/05/2016 - 20:00


MIT Media Lab, Aug 05, 2016

Seymour Papert passed away on Sunday and the web is - not surprisingly - full of tributes. I remember him most as an artificial intelligence researcher, and colleague of Marvin Minsky, but he is more widely recognized as an education innovator and theorist. I met him only once, back in 2003 or so, at a conference in Quebec City. These last few days the web has been full of tributes, not surprisingly.

From Paulo Blikstein, some links:

Tributes and such:

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Categories: Miscellaneous

How Women Are Swiping The Weirdness Out Of Online Dating

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 08/05/2016 - 01:00


John Paul Titlow, Fast Company, Aug 04, 2016

There's some mildly descriptive language that might be off-putting to some readers, but overall this is a good look at some of the challenges women face online and some of the efforts being undertaken to address them in the world of online dating. The social aspect of online interaction is perhaps the hardest to manage well, and nowhere else do issues flare up more quickly nor frequently. Different approaches are considered, including apps that limit interactions, apps that divert unwanted interactions to noncommittal chatbots, and apps that make unwanted public exposure a lot more public.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Ria #18: Dr. Tara Gray On Publish & Flourish

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 08/04/2016 - 22:00


, Ecampus Research Unit | Oregon State University, Aug 04, 2016 On this episode, Dr. Tara Gray shares tips from her book Publish & Flourish. [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

August 2016 Preview Clips

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 08/04/2016 - 22:00


, Ecampus Research Unit | Oregon State University, Aug 04, 2016 Take a listen to our August 2016 preview clips! [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Why ontologies are best left implicit (especially for credentials)

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 08/03/2016 - 20:00


Doug Belshaw, Ambiguiti.es, Aug 03, 2016

This is exactly right: "the attempt to define what ‘ exists’ within a given system is usually  a  conservative, essentialist  move. It’ s often concerned with retro-fitting new things into the current status quo, a kind of Kuhnian attempt to save what might be termed ‘ normal science’ ." What follows this promising start is an interesting and useful discussion of Richard Rorty and "dead metaphors". I agree with Belshaw's scepticism of ontologies. And as Douglas Rushkoff says, "It’ s this automatic acceptance of how things are that leads to a sense of helplessness about changing any of them."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Studying the viral growth of a connective action network using information event signatures

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 08/03/2016 - 20:00


Jeff Hemsley, First Monday, Aug 03, 2016

Interesting paper studying the growth and decline of 'connective action networks' such as the Occupy movement and the Arab spring. " A connective action network supports collective action by employing technologies that link together users who all have their own network." Tracking the growth of these networks lets us know when a protest will become a movement, and when (or how soon) a movement will begin to decay (contrast these with 'viral phenomena' which show a rapid rise in growth (often with the help of promotion) and an equally steep decline after the fad has passed. "This work suggests there phases of growth similar to the diffusion of innovations (Rogers, 1995): a period of ramping up, followed by a faster increase and then slowdown in growth." Interestingly, the Occupy network still exists, and even though it has been relatively quiet, the right events could cause it to become active again.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Developing a Personal Learning Infrastructure

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 08/01/2016 - 05:00
TCU International e-Learning Conference 2016, Bangkok, Thailand (Keynote) Jul 29, 2016 [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Yahoo Has a Tool that Can Catch Online Abuse Surprisingly Well

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 08/01/2016 - 02:00


Will Knight, MIT Technology review, Jul 31, 2016

Interestingly, the term 'surprisingly well' in the headline still means 'far from perfect'.  The Yahoo tool uses keywords and word phrases to catch abusive emails, but finds it difficult to go deeper. “ The language of abuse is amorphous— changing frequently and often used in ways that do not connote abuse, such as when racially or sexually charged terms are appropriated by the groups they once denigrated. Given 10 tweets, a group of humans will rarely all agree on which ones should be classed as abusive, so you can imagine how difficult it would be for a computer.”

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Open Content Initiative Call for Proposals

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 08/01/2016 - 02:00


eCampus Ontario, Jul 31, 2016

eCampus Ontario (which is  welcoming David Porter as its new CEO) is launching an open content initiative. The call for proposals (27 page PDF) is available for download. "Funded Open Content projects are intended to incent uptake of these resources across the province, encourage buy-in from faculty members across Ontario institutions, and support the early adopters at a grass-roots level."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Disruptive Innovations in Learning

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 07/30/2016 - 23:00

In this presentation I outline the characteristics of innovation and consider them in the light of educational technology. I survey some major innovations and question them from the perspective of idea, benefit and execution. Then I look at the changing nature of benefits in education and take learning beyond innovation and into transformation.

TCU International e-Learning Conference 2016 , Bangkok, Thailand (Keynote) Jul 27, 2016 [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous
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