Miscellaneous

Report: Education Leaders, Staff Want more Individualization

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 04/08/2016 - 20:00


Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology, Apr 08, 2016

Of course, I would make my usual distinction between personal and personalized, but beyond that, I can't say the story is a surprise (though you'd be hard-pressed to find technology supporting this objective). "Only seven percent would give an A to their organization's ability to individualize customer experiences; 57 percent said they'd rate their ability at a C or worse. Only 10 percent would score their ability to individualize the employee experience as an A; 37 percent would rank it as a C or lower." Plug and play people; that's the current reality.

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Labster

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 04/08/2016 - 14:00


Labster, Apr 08, 2016

I watched a presentation this morning from Labster - "Students can freely  perform experiments in a self-directed virtual lab. Labster works  directly in the web browser and on iPads, and can be   accessed anywhere, anytime." Good concept, good idea, and an example of how learning will be more distributed in the future. Also - no more explosions in chem class. According to Samuel Butcher, who presented for Labster, hey got $4.7 million to work with MIT (of course) and theree's a  TEDx talk (of course). More.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Online Education: A Catalyst for Higher Education Reforms

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 04/07/2016 - 14:00


Sanjay Sarma, Karen E. Willcox, Philip H. Lippel, MIT Open Education Policy Initiative, Apr 07, 2016

This is an interesting forward-looking document from MIT. While the authors take pains to be clear that this is not a blueprint for the future of education, it does draw out some interesting lines of thoughts, including recommendations for research collaboration, showing the relevance of online learning to higher ed, creating the 'learning engineer', and fostering change to implement reforms. The meat of the document, though, is found through pages 6-10 under the heading 'key fronts in education research'. I am by no means convinced of all of these, but they're worth noting. For example, would I including the findings of cognitive psychology in the mix? Well, they can't be ignored, but there are clear grounds for scepticism, so I am not sure I would take them as a given.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Despite what you've been told, you aren't 'left-brained' or 'right-brained'

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 04/07/2016 - 00:00


Amy Novotney, The Guardian, Apr 06, 2016

This is what happens when everyone gets to have a theory and 'science' in your discipline consists essentially of categories and taxonomies. "Despite Anderson's work and other studies that continue to disprove the idea that personality type is related to one or the other side of the brain being stronger, my guess is that the left-brained/right-brained vernacular isn't going away anytime soon. Human society is built around categories, classifications and generalizations, and there's something seductively simple about labeling yourself and others as either a logical left-brainer or a free-spirited right brainer." Nice picture of a brain though.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

More Recognition/Identification Service APIs – Microsoft Cognitive Services

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 04/06/2016 - 18:00


Tony Hirst, OUseful.Info, Apr 06, 2016

Many of the people I work with don't seem to see this coming, but from where I sit we're on the verge of commoditized artificial intelligence. AIAAS - Artificial Intelligence as a Service - is here now, as this item indicated. Tony Hirst recent "posted  A Quick Round-Up of Some *-Recognition Service APIs  that described several off-the-shelf cloud hosted services from Google and IBM for processing text, audio and images." And now we have "Microsoft Cognitive Services (formally Project Oxford, in part) brings Microsoft’ s tools to the party with a range of free tier and paid/metered services."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

MOOC, COOC, SPOC: What’s the Difference?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 04/06/2016 - 15:00


Jeanne Meiste, eLearning, Apr 06, 2016

Short little article explaining the terms; good as an introduction. The attribution to Professor Armando Fox for coining the term SPOC can also be found in the  Wikipedia article on the topic and the source is this University Business article in July, 2013. Fox presents the term in From MOOCs to SPOCs, published in December, 2013. But this may just be EdX president Anant Agarwal  getting ahead of the publication date to give Fox (and hence EdX) credit (there's also a  New York Times article April 29 giving Agarwal himself credit for the term, and a  Fast Company article in February, 2013, doing the same, and an  unattributed EdX newsletter article from March 18 in which the term is used.). The  Financial Times credits it to NovoEd, from early 2013, though the  article referenced never uses the term SPOC. So, yes, the term most likely comes from EdX, maybe from Fox, but more likely from one of the unnamed developers on the Studio team ('Studio' is the EdX application used to create courses). (p.s. I spent a couple of hours digging for this post, and I would like to say that Google is terribly unreliable regarding the date of articles (eg. it reads 2-12-2016 as February, 2012)).

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Categories: Miscellaneous

The rhizome: A problematic metaphor for teaching and learning in a MOOC

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 04/05/2016 - 18:00


Jenny Mackness, Frances Bell, Mariana Funes, Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, Apr 05, 2016

I've never been a fan of the rhizome metaphor for learning, but not for the same reasons given by Mackness, Bell and Funes. They write, "We recognise that the rhizome can successfully challenge traditional authoritarian, hierarchical approaches to teaching and learning, freeing learners to follow their own learning paths and determine their own learning objectives," which is true, but as criticism they argue "smooth space, the space of the rhizome, is a difficult space for learners’ becoming, and as Gale (2010) noted, it increases the vulnerability of learners." ("Smooth space is open space, whilst striated space is bordered.") This is just the old argument that 'constraint increases freedom', which for various reasons I don't accept. To me, the rhizome metaphor fails because it does not sufficiently capture diversity and complexity. But that's a different topic.

How does the originator of the Rhizomatic MOOC, Dave Cormier, respond? "One point about vulnerability stuck out for me, and resonated as something that needs thinking through in all learning contexts. 'I think we do need to notice that a new sort of resilience needs to be nurtured.'" I would that that while it's true that hothouse flowers face challenges in an open environment, it does not follow that closed environments are better. Rather, we would encourage flowers to grow without special protection - a certain kind of resilience. Or as Cormier says, "we want to think of resilience as a process rather than some innate quality that people have."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

An Africa first! Liberia outsources entire education system to a private American firm. Why all should pay attention

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 04/05/2016 - 18:00


Christine Mungai, Mail & Guardian Africa, Apr 05, 2016

The push to privatize education continues apace, and like many such initiatives, the focus is first on populations unable to resist. In this case, the people of Liberia. Kishore Singh: "Such arrangements are a blatant violation of Liberia’ s international obligations under the right to education, and have no justification under Liberia’ s constitution." Audrey Watters notes, "The company in question is Bridge International Academies, which has received funding from the Gates Foundation, Learn Capital, and Mark Zuckerberg’ s investment company the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (among others)... Simply saying 'Critics emerge' in response? Wow."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

First steps in integrating LATs OER into Moodle open book

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 04/05/2016 - 18:00


David T. Jones, The Weblog of (a) David Jones, Apr 05, 2016

This post is a little bit 'inside baseball' but it explores the sort of question that's becoming more significant to us as we accelerate development of our personal learning environment, so it's interesting to me. Something typical: "Ahh, broken link.  The IMS version links back to Blackboard.  The equivalent web version has the open link." Bleah. Our implementation of OpenEdX in LPSS.me had the same sort of issue.

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