Miscellaneous

Jenna Wortham

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 31 min 54 sec ago
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Om Malik, pi.co, Mar 06, 2015

Om Malik interviews Jenna Wortham. I wasn't sure I'd like it because I'm a bit indifferent to Malik (and the early name-dropping and depiction of his subject as "sassy" didn't help). But it's a good conversation and they go into some depth into what's happening at least in the U.S. version of the internet (I can't imagine "everyone has a bedroom just like mine" really being a global phenomenon). And there's a good glimpse of how a younger generation views a world in turmoil despite the promises of people like the editors at Wired, her former employer. "The bubble has popped. Not the tech bubble, but this idea that we live in this techno-utopian-post-racial world. That’ s deflating, and we’ re quickly realizing that yeah, the problems we face run a lot deeper and are going to be a lot harder to change." Jenna Wortham is a staff writer at The New York Times Magazine.

 

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Online Conference Presentation Resources

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 31 min 54 sec ago
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Karl Kapp, Kapp Notes, Mar 06, 2015

Oh I want to do something like this one day - I've listened to hundreds and hundreds of old time radio fiction over the last few years, I could probably do the genre - and it could be a great format for a presentation. Maybe I can round up some people like Jim Groom and do a proper radio broadcast. Karl Kapp offers his own version in this slide deck (which I actually read through end to end before realizing I was doing it) talking about games and gamification (and game elements...). Good stuff. Now, how does that go again? "Suddenly, a shot rang out...."

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Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 31 min 54 sec ago


Mar 06, 2015

Photos from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

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Identifying and Cultivating Student Leaders

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 31 min 54 sec ago


Kylie Larson, Higher Ed Marketing Live, Mar 06, 2015

I spent pretty much the my entire university career as a 'student leader' first as a newspaper writer and editor during my undergraduate years, and next as a student association representative and president during my graduate years. I did not experience any "recruiting" efforts in my direction - quite the contrary, actually. I think this points to a difference between the relation between student associations and administrations in Canada and the US (outside North America I simply cannot say, but I imagine one or the other is common). Both student associations and student newspapers appear to be run as part of the university south of the border, while in Canad our associations and newspapers are fiercely independent of administration - so much so that I think it would be a scandal were it to be discovered that student leaders were being "recruited" by the administration. So I personally find this story a bit surprising and off-putting. Students don't need to have admnistrations recruit their leadership - they know who they are.

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New Hi-Tech Police Surveillance: The StingRay Cell Phone Spying Device

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 31 min 54 sec ago


Clarence Walker, GlobalResearch, Mar 06, 2015

I'm not sure whether they cover this on U.S. networks but it's interesting to listed to a report on Al Jazeera about the 'Sting Ray' surveillance system originally designed for use against terrorists but not in increasingly wide day-to-day use by forces across the country. The system consists of radio towers that emulate cell phone towers an trick mobile devices into sending access information, data and other information. The judicial logic allowing use is that it is not actually surveillance. "The government did not install the tracking device — and the cell user chose to carry the phone that permitted transmission of its information to a carrier," Gorenstein held in that opinion. "Therefore no warrant is needed." The ACLU lists police departments using the system. Here's an EFF report from a couple weeks ago.

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Cathy N. Davidson Keynote Address at UNESCO X International Seminar

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 31 min 54 sec ago


Cathy Davidson, Mar 06, 2015

Video from Cathy Davidson's talk "'Changing Higher Education from the Classroom Up' at the X International Seminar on 'Revisiting the Fundamentals of Traditional Curricula, R/Evolution: what “ R” Would Mean for Education.' The conference was sponsored by the UNESCO Chair in Education and Technology for Social Change and was held at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya." I haven't reviewed the video but I've seen it referenced in a couple of places. I see Davidson as fairly conservative generally in her thinking but I'll be sure to review this one in the future to test my presumptions.

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xAPI, LRS – The Interview

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 31 min 54 sec ago
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Craig Weiss, E-Learning 24/7 Blog, Mar 06, 2015

I was fortunate enough to meet with and converse at length with  Craig Weiss while I was in Riyadh, so I thought I'd post a link to give people a sense of what he's about. He is, in short, a fountain of knowledge of learning management systems and related technologies. In this post he interviews Aaron Silvers (no slough himself) on the activity-recording specification called xAPI (aka Tin Can, aka the Experience API). Here is what it is supposed to do: "We want a system to be able to interpret, appropriately, consistently and reliably, the activity you performed and the context in which it was performed, no matter where it was recorded."

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People Have the Star Trek Computer Backwards

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 31 min 54 sec ago
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Michael Caulfield, Hapgood, Mar 06, 2015

This is a great reconstruction of just what exactly is going on with the computers on Star Trek (the original series). "The Star Trek computer, at least in the 1960s, was not ahead of its time, but *of* its time. It lacked the vision to see even five years into the future... There’ s no keyboard because there is no text, anywhere, on any computer on the Enterprise to edit... Why? Because computers were for math, stupid!"

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4 Reasons You Don’t Have an E-Learning Portfolio

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 31 min 54 sec ago
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Nicole Legault, Flirting W/ Elearning, Mar 06, 2015

Interesting perspective on why people don't have or use e-learning technology like e-learning portfolios. So why wouldn't you post your best work online? Here are the four reasons:

  • You're too busy
  • You don't have any experience
  • You don't have any e-learning software
  • You signed an NDA

The author argues that none of these reasons really stands the test of intent. If you wanted to share, you'd be sharing.

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To Get Big, Start Really Small

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 31 min 54 sec ago
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Tim Kastelle, The Discipline of Innovation, Mar 06, 2015

I think this post is a classic example of post hoc ergo propter hoc - "after this therefore because of this". Here's the argument: "Google didn’ t start out by organising the world’ s information.   Google started out as a way to make searching the Stanford Library easier....  Facebook didn’ t start out aiming to connect everyone in the world... It started out as a way for Harvard students to hook up." But if we take these stories seriously, the best we can conclude is that these services became giants by accident. Which is partly what happened. But what also happened is that, while they were small, they developed some very big ideas. I still remember the Google beta, when the Google Logo was still written in crayon. Already at that point they intended to organize the world's information (you get a sense of this reading some of the company's early press). The message of the story should be: to get big, dream big.

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Rules, Attribution, and Doing The Right Thing

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 31 min 54 sec ago
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Alan Levine, CogDogBlog, Mar 06, 2015

I have to say I'm completely on board with the sentiments expressed in this post from Alan Levine. He writes, "Attribution not just about following rules and avoiding getting in trouble for copyright, it’ s about paying forward the act of sharing content freely." Every single one of the 36,000 or so posts on this site attributes an author and a website, not because it's "required" but because it's the right thing to do. And that, to me, is the problem with rules - they rarely aid people in right conduct, but instead merely become the source of loopholes less scrupulous people can hide behind. (Note that unless otherwise stated, the source of the images on this site are the posts to which they are attached and credited.)

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Swearing in conference presentations works!

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 31 min 54 sec ago
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Donald Clark, Donald Clark Plan B, Mar 06, 2015

Donald Clark defends the use of swear words and expressions in conference presentations (language warning, not surprisingly). This is also common in various online publications - I frequently see items that would otherwise be good reading except for the irrelevant eruption of an expletive mid-story. And I challenge the claim that it's more effective. I never swear, nor do I litter my online writing with swear words or similarly lazy aphorisms or innuendos. And yet - arguably - it is just as effective as Donal Clark's. Maybe more so. And my own take is that, if your message is improved by swearing, you should maybe examine the weakness in the message, rather than praise the strength in the swearing.

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Design Elements in a Personal Learning Environment

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 31 min 54 sec ago
[Slides][Audio]

In this talk I address the core design elements in the development of a personal learning architecture being developed in the National Research Council's Learning and Performance Support Systems program. This program was developed and approved to address the issue of skills shortages in technical and professional industries in Canada. Please also see the  supporting paper submitted for this talk. Also there are alternative  PDF slides for this presentation.

4th International Conference e-Learning and Distance Education, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (Keynote) Mar 04, 2015 [Comment]
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Disruptive Innovation in Universities

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 31 min 54 sec ago
[Audio]

Panel discussion on the nature of disruptive innovations, MOOCs and disruptive innovation, and how and whether universities should adapt.

4th International Conference e-Learning and Distance Education, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (Panel) Mar 04, 2015 [Comment]
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How Facebook Is Taking On "Dangerous" Speech

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 31 min 54 sec ago
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ReadWrite, Alicia Eler, Mar 06, 2015

Interesting article about Facebook's response to 'dangerous speech'. The article is situated with respect to "the Buddhist monk Ashin Wirathu, who spent seven years in jail for inciting violence against Muslims and now advocates exiling them from Myanmar." The article lists five criteria for identifying "dangerous speech" (and therefore presumably for the banning of it or its utterers):

  • It takes place in a social or historical context ripe for violence, such as longstanding religious tensions or struggles to control valuable resources;
  • The audience has grievances or fears a speaker can exploit;
  • The speaker is highly influential or charismatic;
  • The speech is clearly understandable as a call to violence;
  • The speaker employs an influential medium— typically a radio or television station.

To me, the only criterion of any merit is the fourth: the speech is clearly understandable as a call to violence. The others are merely mechanisms for legitimizing dangerous speech emanating from more traditional agencies. I think teachers and educators should look at these criteria, and tackle the question of what counts as "dangerous speech", and what we should do about it, directly. P.S., why can't we have options like "'it’ s a rumor or has false information,' 'it promotes violence,' and 'it disturbs social harmony'?" Aren't these things dangerous in North America as well?

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Journal of Online Learning Research

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 31 min 54 sec ago


Mar 06, 2015

The Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE)  has published the  premiere issue of an open journal called the Journal of Online Learning Research (JOLR), "a peer-reviewed, international journal devoted to the theoretical, empirical, and pragmatic understanding of technologies and their impact on primary and secondary pedagogy and policy in primary and secondary (K-12) online and blended environments." The firsst issue has six articles and  features "the work of some of the individuals who inspired the journal’ s idea in 2010," including the "call to action" from Cathy Cavanaugh, Christopher Sessums, and Wendy Drexler. It also includes an article on  MOOCs and another on mentors.

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The troubling psychology behind how we decide who’s a scientific “expert” — and who isn’t

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 31 min 54 sec ago
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Chris Mooney, Washington Post, Mar 06, 2015

The trouble with experts, according to this article, is that they're unreliable (and our choice of who counts as an expert is unreliable as well). So we should let the wisdom of crowds prevail. Real scientific knowledge is emergent knowledge. "We should trust the scientific community as a whole but not necessarily any individual scientist. Individual scientists will have many biases, to be sure. But the community of scientists contains many voices, many different agendas, many different skill sets. The more diverse, the better."

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If You Love Something, Set It Free

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 13 hours 31 min ago
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Tim Sweeney, Unreal, Mar 06, 2015

The 'Unreal Engine' is a gaming system that has been available by subscription for some time, but as the headline suggests, it has now been made available for free. "You can download the engine and use it for everything from game development, education, architecture, and visualization to VR, film and animation. When you ship a game or application, you pay a 5% royalty on gross revenue after the first $3,000 per product, per quarter.... This is the complete technology we use at Epic when building our own games. It scales from indie projects to high-end blockbusters; it supports all the major platforms; and it includes 100% of the C++ source code." Cool business model - it becomes commercial only if you're commercial.

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The Book of Life

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 03/05/2015 - 10:00
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Various authors, Mar 05, 2015

Another find from Doug Belshaw is this absolutely fascinating Book of Life. It's organized into Capitalism, Work, Relationships, and Self, each one with a number of subtopics. I did not have nearly enough time to read it all, but I sampled quite a number of the topics (especially 'Capitalism') to get a sense that this is worth reading, even if you don't agree with everything it it. And I really like the approach: "The Book of Life is being written by many people over a long time; it keeps changing and evolving. It is filled with images and films as well as texts. By floating online, it can grow a bit every day or so, as new things come along and it can be equally accessible all around the world, at any time, for free."

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What Necessary Adult Skills Were You Never Taught Growing Up?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 03/05/2015 - 10:00


Eric Ravenscraft, LifeHacker, Mar 05, 2015

Doug Belshaw flags this article in LifeHacker asking people to comment on the life skills they never learned growing up. As one commenter says, "I just realized, this entire article boils down to 'give Lifehacker ideas for future articles'." But hey, why not? In any case, the comments section is filled with ideas for good life lessons. Here's a sampling:

  • basic hygiene habits like flossing/brushing teeth, taking showers, shaving, cosmetics, and hairstyling.
  • education on how to have constructive relationships
  • basic finance. My parents handled everything and didn't teach me about budgeting at all
  • how to exercise or be physically fit
  • emotional intelligence. Being able to communicate exactly how I feel instead of sticking my head in the sand
  • knowing a little bit about car repairs and maintenance
  • how to wear makeup
  • how to handle repeated failure. How to be content with doing "alright", not "outstanding" in life
  • how to cook

Sensing a theme?

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