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According to this report: "Traditional business education models are being disrupted by technology, the introduction of MOOCs, market competition, university fees and increasingly demanding employer and employee needs, finds a wide-ranging new report called See the Future."[Link] [Comment]
I'm seeing more and more initiatives along these lines these days. "The VMPass project is developing an accreditation framework for informal and non-formal learning through resources such as Open Educational Resources (OER) and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC). The accreditation is achieved through completion of a learning passport." So the passport is in many ways similar to the concept of the badge (except, it's a passport). There are three sections that need to be filled out for a credential (visa?): one section by the learning provider, one by the student, and one by the assessing/certifying institution. Here's an example.[Link] [Comment]
For a short period over the summer I was completely addicted to the online quizzes shared by sites like Facebook - things like "what world leader are you most like", for example - but as fall came it was almost as though they stopped trying to write interesting quizzes and became blatant attempts to collect data. Which is what they are: blatant attempts to collect data. Although for some companies - the article mentions Buzzfeed in particular - it's about collecting traffic, not collecting data.[Link] [Comment]
"The world is fast becoming social, automated and more specialized than in the past, and a key factor of the evolution is consumerization of learning." I'm not sure I like the word 'consumerization' of learning, because it suggests a commercialized system driven by markets and advertising. That would be a risky development indeed. Our food distribution system, which is also based on consumerization, leaves some children morbidly obese and at the same time leaves large numbers of children malnourished and even starving. So we need to do better in education (and, for that matter, fix our food distribution system). At the same time, the idea of one education for all (or one diet for all!) is unpalatable. And that's what's changing - different people are getting the education they need, and not some centrally designed standardized fare. That's a good thing. The trick is to get the good without the bad.[Link] [Comment]
The new learning web is distributed and connected, just like a network (because it is a network). Here's what I mean. This article talks about how to send results from games templates built using Lectora to your learning management system (LMS). This post is pretty technical and not exactly exciting reading. But that's not the point. What's important is that different providers are thinking about how their applications talk to each other. (I'm looking forward to the post-Flash days though - the most common message on my computer these days (and this page produced yet another instance) is "The Adobe Fl;ash plugin has crashed... Learn more."[Link] [Comment]
I got this link from Andriy Drozdyuk, one of the developers working on LPSS. It describes a framework called Colussus developed by Tumblr to support the implementation of microservices. "These are small, specialized applications designed to efficiently encapsulate a single feature or component." They are coded using a toolkit called akka, designed to "raise the abstraction level and provide a better platform to build scalable, resilient and responsive applications." This feels a lot like Ruby on Rails did when it was first introduced, and while it had its quirks, Rails became an important and influential framework. Here are some other HTTP frameworks built using akka.[Link] [Comment]
One thing that occupies my thinking is the tension between personal learning and community. Clearly community is important. But if community defines learning, the personal is subsumed. This post looks at community platforms used by organizations and the role of "community managers who can facilitate activities on the platform." This person needs to be, suggests the author, in part a trainer, a content curator, a connector, a brand ambassador, and a consultant. What is not discussed - a nd probably should be - is what happens when these roles conflict.[Link] [Comment]
Ross Paul warns that Canadian universities will have to adapt or perish in this article for Academica Group. He is a former university president who served at Athabasca universty for a time while I was there. He writes, " while some institutions are well positioned to maintain such standards, others will be able to do so only with significant and substantial changes to their missions, mandates and modes of operation."[Link] [Comment]
I've spoken many times about the idea that to know is to recognize and yet I've rarely (if ever) followed it up with a reference. Part of the reason is that I'm lazy, and part of the reason is that I've slowly developed this idea over time. Still. It's not like I'm alone here. So we have this article by John Wilkins making the distinction between pattern recognition and traditional epistemology (which views knowledge as a type of deductive or inductive inference). I don't see pattern recognition as a means of classification so much; rather, I see recognition as a process that stimulates memories directly, without the need for the mechanism (and language) of classification. A lot has been written on pattern recognition and I think we should take it seriously as a way of representing knowledge tasks as types of direct perception rather than as inferential or encoding processes.[Link] [Comment]
Today's big story is the podcast renaissance (making me feel like a genius for devoting a recent keynote to Ed Radio (though I'd feel like more of a genius if it was working properly, and not cutting off audio files before they've finished playing)). But of course, it's not really a renaissance; podcasting has been growing steadily over the years. Indeed, as I've tried to explain to people, this is a golden age of audio. I've never seen so many or such diverse new musical acts. As Tom Hjelm from New York Public Radio exoplains, “ Our backbones, our radio stations, are still going strong, but we’ re seeing this tremendous growth in the on-demand part of the business.” Me, I'm a habitual listener of Old Time Radio. But modern radio drama has made a comeback with something like five million people downloading Serial. Links via the American Press Institute.[Link] [Comment]
George Siemens writes about receiving Gates Foundation funding for the Digital Learning Research Network at the University of Texas in Arlington. The Gates Foundation is a bit like the Pulitizer Prize - the recipients claim world status, but only entries from the United States are eligible for awards. You have to think trhis will skew the results of any research. That's why Siemens wants to "internationalize the research network to include global partners to advance exploration of research topics and pursue research funding internationally" and writes that "an important aspect of this is involving international universities" but cautions "we don’ t have funds to support these systems." Or more topical interest is his shift of interest toward what he calls "personal knowledge graphs (PKG) and profiles." He writes, "I’ ve been whining about this for a while." Meanwhile, we in Canada have been developing this for a while, even without Gates money.[Link] [Comment]
VUCA stands for 'volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity'. It describes the world we face: "The external conditions and environment are not going to stabilize enough for us to take a step back and come up with a solid plan and blue print of organizational learning. We'll have to become deft at designing as we go while keeping an eye on the big picture." So how do learning and design cope? "Focus on re-generating skills like learning agility, resilience, and creativity."[Link] [Comment]
This article outlines five ways data is collected and used by schools (and their providers). Why does this matter? The New York Times makes it clear: "They have created lists of victims of sexual assault, and lists of people with sexually transmitted diseases. Lists of people who have Alzheimer’ s, dementia and AIDS. Lists of the impotent and the depressed. There are lists of “ impulse buyers.” Lists of suckers: gullible consumers who have shown that they are susceptible to “ vulnerability-based marketing.” And lists of those deemed commercially undesirable because they live in or near trailer parks or nursing homes. Not to mention lists of people who have been accused of wrongdoing, even if they were not charged or convicted." See also What Kids are Reading from Learnanalytics and Carnegie Mellon's list of apps graded for privacy.[Link] [Comment]
The OER Research Hub has published what it calls the 'OER Evidence Repoirt' for 2013-14 (36 page PDF). The report summarizes targeted research "combining surveys, interviews, focus groups and data analytics." While we see some expected results, like discussions on the use of open educational resources (OERs) ("OER repositories remain relatively unused and unknown compared with the main three educational resource sites of YouTube, Khan Academy and TED") other hypotheses tested seem like a bit of a stretch ("The two main hypotheses under investigation were (A) that OER improves student performance; and (B) that openly licenced material is used differently to other online material"). The best evidence is saved for last: "There is strong evidence for savings with Open Textbooks that are used to replace compulsory set texts."
For a more narrowly focused report on OERs viewed specifically from a U.S. context, see the Babson Report. (52 page PDF) See Michael Feldstein on this item: "the best way to view this report is not to look for earth-shaking findings or to be disappointed if there are no surprises, but rather to see data-backed answers on the teaching resource adoption process." That said, I still think the most significant decisions about adoption and use of OERs are not made by faculty, but by students. Of course you'll never discover this when you survey faculty only, as this report does.[Link] [Comment]
I've talked about learning this way. But there's no reason why it can't apply to artificial intelligence (AI) as well: "The AI he (Kevin Kelly) foresees is more like a kind of cheap, reliable, industrial-grade digital smartness running behind everything, and almost invisible except when it blinks off. This common utility will serve you as much IQ as you want but no more than you need. Like all utilities, AI will be supremely boring, even as it transforms the Internet, the global economy, and civilization.'"[Link] [Comment]
Hardly the final word on the subject, but nonetheless interesting reading. Things like this put things in context:
There's nothing like teenage diaries for putting momentous, historical occasions into perspective. This is my entry for the 20th July, 1969.
Peers and social life have a disproportionate influence on adolescents. Why is that? If I had to judge by my own reflections on personal opinion, I would say it is because we learn by imitating. We watch, then we practice. And at that age we are actively seeking out things to imitate. But I'm sure that's not the whole story. (By the way, I was 10 at the time of the Moon landing and I was much more interested in it that this writer).
In this article Jess Stommel offers a crisp overview of digital pedagogy (with references to Friere and Giroux) and suggests that critical pedagogy:
To my mind critical pedagogy is the dedication of network methods (aggregate, remix, repurpose, feed forward) and network values (autonomy, diversity, openness, interactivity) toward the personal recognition and employment of the critical literacies (patterns, meaning, use, context, inference and change) in one's own environment.[Link] [Comment]
Though I disagree with a number of the details, this is on the whole a good article that effectively argues that the changes brought about by MOOCs are just beginning, and not in decline at all. James G. Mazoue identifies four major drivers of change that have become evident in the wake of MOOCs:
Now just throwing all of this into the private sector is not an appropriate recipe for reform; we will just end up with the sort of shambles that characterizes financial services or the insurance industry. But neither can we merely continue with the existing system which is at once too expensive and too ineffective. Effective educational policy has tgo see the system of learning as a type of infrastructure, worthy of and needing public-level support to ensure equity of access and a focus on quality of service.[Link] [Comment]
In 2008 the recession hit and colleges and universities saw a flood of new students looking to improve their knowledge and skills between jobs while the economy recovered. Six years and tens of thousands of dollars later, how did they fare? Not so well. In a nutshell, the system failed them. "Only 55 percent of the students who entered college in the fall of 2008, at the peak of the Great Recession, had earned college degrees or certificates by May 2014, according to a report released on Tuesday by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center." In view of those numbers, open online learning looks like an attractive alternative indeed. See also Inside Higher Ed on the same story.[Link] [Comment]
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