Miscellaneous

How to use metaphors to generate badge-based pathways

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 2 hours 5 min ago


Doug Belshaw, Open Educational Thinkering, Jun 29, 2016

The Periscope video may have expired before you see this (why wouldn't people use Hangounts, which don't expire?) but the overall concept is worth a look. Doug Belshaw describes a workshop that leads people through the use of badhes in the creation of learning paths. "Participants will be expected to come up with as many metaphors as they can which could be used to demonstrate progression," for example, the subway stop metaphor. The metaphors are examined, classified, and (if you're lucky) insights are generated. The point is to reinforce the idea that learning is non-linear, and that there are many (if you will) routes to your destination.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Looking back to move forward: A process for whole-school transformation

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 2 hours 5 min ago


Andrew Robertson, Microsoft in Education blog, Jun 29, 2016

This post from Microsoft highlights "a series of whitepapers which show examples of successful transformation and how technology can enable progress under two broad areas: Leadership and policy and 21st century pedagogy." There's a sweeping agenda behind these documents. The policy agenda proposes "a public-private education partnership (that) has the potential to be a significant catalyst for systemic change" along with the associated technology investment. The pedagogy agenda pushes schools towards "cloud solutions that manage infrastructure with services and learning allows schools to operate more effectively." All of this is cast under the heading of personalized learning, capacity building and "responsive and creative use of technology." There are white papers and more for each of the ten sections. I can see how the presentation would engage school leaders looking for a way to address current trends in learning, but they need to look beyond the single-vendor approach proposed here, and they should be clear that technology companies are service providers who are held accountable for delivery, not partners taking a hand in pedagogical and educational decisions.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

A neural conversation model

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 2 hours 5 min ago


Adrian Colyer, The Morning Paper, Jun 29, 2016

One of the key questions in learning and technology, from my perspective, is whether a neural network needs domain knowledge in order to function effectively. This article summarizes a paper describing an effort to create an effective conversational tool that operates without domain knowledge, "a bot that is trained on conversational data, and only conversational data: no programmed understanding of the domain at all, just lots and lots of sample conversations." As we see from the examples, "The surprising thing is just how well it works." It's far enough from reliable, though, that the author concludes "any real service is going to need to some more complex logic wrapped around it."

You might be asking, why is this question so important? The answer is complex, but in a nutshell, if we require domain knowledge in order to learn, then we require memorization; by contrast, if learning can be accomplished without domain knowledge, then it can be accomplished by practice alone, without memorization. You might say "so who cares? Just memorize some stuff." You could do this, but this makes it a lot harder for the learner to correct memorized stuff that is wrong, and makes them less able to learn on their own or think critically. The learner's knowledge becomes based more on their pre-constructed model or representation of the world, not experience or evidence. So if you can get to the same place without rote memorization, that would be preferable.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Evernote clampdown causes anger

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 2 hours 5 min ago


BBC News, Jun 29, 2016

"An Evernote free basic account is now basically useless," wrote Gizmodo's Gerald Lynch. You'd think there would be no need to recite this lesson again, but here it is. "Evernote has restricted the use of the free version of its note-taking app and raised prices for the paid-for ones. But it faces a backlash from users unhappy at being limited to synching notes across two devices - rather than an unlimited number - unless they pay." More. What people really need is their own stand-alone application to manage and sync resources, so this problem doesn't happen to them again and again. I had hoped this would be part of LPSS, but well, you know...

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Here’s how to shape the future of higher education in India

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 2 hours 5 min ago


K Vaidya Nathan, The Financial Express, Jun 29, 2016

Based on his experien ce teaching a MOOC this business writer identifies "five trends that stand out to possibly exert a genuinely transformative impact on higher education in the times to come" (quoted):

  • online learning platforms will democratise higher education;
  • benchmarks for classroom teaching are becoming higher because of this democratisation of higher education;
  • industry and academia could come closer with industry folks getting to learn as and when they choose to, on topics relevant for their workplace;
  • platforms like Coursera can disaggregate course content and make teaching assets available to any faculty to use; and
  • enhance our understanding of student motivation, instructional design and the personalisation of learning pathways.

It is, frankly, a narrow vision, and one not always supported by the evidence. The "democratisation" of education cited several times runs counter to learning as a form of workplace training. And Coursera is making it harder, not easier, to make assets available for any teacher to use. Online learning isn't just about making stuff available for teachers to use in classrooms. Funny how it's so hard to convince anyone otherwise, though.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Amazon Launches 'Inspire,' a Free Education Resource Search Platform for Educators

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 2 hours 5 min ago


Mary Jo Madda, EdSurge, Jun 29, 2016

Amazon's e-learning plans - described  earlier this year - are coming to fruition. It's learning  -  Amazon Inspire - has officially launched. "A free, mostly-OER platform (see below for why it’ s “ mostly OER” ), Amazon Inspire works like a search engine for educational videos, lesson plans and games. Users can search by criteria like topics (say, 'fractions' or 'the Constitution'), standards, grade level, and time to complete, as shown below; additionally, they can rate materials with 1 to 5 stars." There was  quite a bit of discussion when it was first announced in February. Something like this is what I had hoped we could have developed with the LPSS program at NRC. More.

Judy O'Connell comments, "By introducing its new education site, Amazon joins other tech industry giants in an enormous push to expand the use of technology in public schools. It’ s all about the market territory really, under the guise of support." Inside Higher Ed's Joshua Kim writes, "the last thing higher ed needs is another digital learning object repository. We are so over digital learning objects."

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

SRI’s Study on Gates Personalized Learning Grants Is Out

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 2 hours 5 min ago


Michael Feldstein, e-Literate, Jun 29, 2016

Short note summarizing the Gates Foundation's SRI study (53 page PDF) on personalized learning grants. First of all, Feldstein writes "this is not a report that screams, 'Wow, adaptive courseware works!'" But secondly, and more interestingly, he writes, "Large-scale educational research is incredibly hard and may actually be impossible to do rigorously for certain kinds of questions." Feldstein explains, "one reason the conclusions are murky is because there so many variables in each class— not just each course subject, not just each course at one university, but even with each section of each class taught by one teacher— that really matter." I've  commented on this before.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Maker Education: Pedagogy, Andragogy, Heutagogy

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 2 hours 5 min ago


Jackie Gerstein, User Generated Education, Jun 29, 2016

To be clear, the term 'Andragogy' does not mean (as suggested in this article) "self-directed learning".  The term refers specifically to adult learning - "andr (meaning ‘ man’ ) could be contrasted with pedagogy (paid- meaning ‘ child’ and agogos (meaning ‘ leading’ )". And educators do love their levels and series of progressions, hence the movement in this article from pedagogy to andragogy to heutagogy (from 'heut', meaning 'self). All of that said, the PAH framework (educators do love frameworks) could serve as a useful guide for thought in the area.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

EDEN 2016: Re-imagining Learning Environments

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 2 hours 5 min ago


Tony Bates, online learning and distance education resources, Jun 29, 2016

Tony Bates summarizes the recent EDEN conference, writing "I was surprised at how much importance European institutions are still giving to MOOCs. There were by far more papers on MOOCs than on credit-based online learning or even blended learning. Even the Oxford debate this year was on the following motion: We Should Focus in the Short Term More on MOOCs than on OER." The resolution, Bates writes, as to his relief soundly defeated. But I would have won that debate, in my humble opinion, by talking about the critical role OERs play in MOOCs (our MOOCs) and the role MOOCs play to stimulate the use, production and reuse of OERs.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Inspiring Students: Bringing Awe Back to Learning

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 2 hours 5 min ago


Eric Sheninger, A Principal's Reflections, Jun 29, 2016

In his monumental work  The Idea of the Holy Rudolf Otto wrote of the 'numinous' as mysterious, (mysterium) terrifying (tremendum) and fascinating (fascinans). This post seems to want to do the same thing for education. The key of the tremendous and fascinating is that it holds us in awe. "Awe is a driving force for learning that will not just benefit our students now, but also well into their future. However, traditional views and functions of school deprive many students from experiencing the joy and power of awe as a catalyst for meaningful learning." I am not troubled by a sense of awe - I get it every time I stare into the night sky or look at a butterfly, which is often - but I'm not sure it should be an objective of learning.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Things to Know (and Potential Dangers) with Third-Party Scripts

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 2 hours 5 min ago


Yaphi Berhanu, CSS-Tricks, Jun 29, 2016

One of the major reasons I use AdBlocker is that it blocks many third party scripts. These are bits of code web page owners place on their pages to display the advertisement - and to do a lot more. I don't really care about the ad. It's the rest that concerns me. For example, as this post notes, "eavesdroppers can track things like your email, username, full name, home address, purchases, location, history, IP address, and preferences." Additionally, "Third-party scripts frequently cause pages to load slower. For example, Business Insider's actual site loads in about 1 second, while third-party scripts account for the majority of the 7 to 15 seconds of load time." This includes scripts that impact the performance of the page even after it has been loaded; for example, some scripts slow down page scrolls. That's why I'm back on Firefox (Chrome was having difficulties loading AdBock Plus). That's why I'll keep the adblocking software running.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Open Educational Resources: American Ideals, Global Questions

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 13 hours 5 min ago


Steven Weiland, Global Education Review, Jun 29, 2016

This article talks about "the American led movement on behalf of the MOOC" though what it really should say is something like "the MOOC movement as seen through American eyes". It depicts MOOCs and Open Educational Resources through a puzzling history beginning "the many kinds of free instructional resources in MIT’ s OpenCourseWare project (and) culminating (for now) in the MOOC." There is no question of an American role and influence in these movements, but I think the article would have done better to contrast this role with the concurrent and sometimes leading roles played by people outside the U.S. Either way, though, the article's central premise holds - that what started as a benign movement supporting personal and international development can be seen as having been co-opted to support national and international ambitions. "For critics like Robert Rhoads and his UCLA colleagues the OER movement is primarily an expression of economic 'neoliberalism' and, as presently organized (in the U.S. at least), has little chance of fulfilling its lofty claims for democratizing education across the globe." It's not just the critics who see this though. It's also many of the originators of open online learning - myself included - who see this. Image: Carolyn Fox.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

LittleSis database of biz/gov't connections

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 13 hours 5 min ago


Jason Kottke, Jun 29, 2016

LittleSis  describes itself as "an involuntary facebook of the 1%." It is essentially a network graphic tool showing connections between the powerful and influential in (mostly Amercian) society. It " documents personal and business connections in the worlds of government and business. For instance, here's George Soros. And Dick Cheney." We really need an international version. The record for Canadian Prime Minister  Justin Trudeau is just a placeholder. So is the record for Vladimir Putin. The mnoted website 'They Rule' was created with the assistance of LittleSis.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Robots won’t replace teachers because they can’t inspire us

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 13 hours 5 min ago


Eric Johnson, Recode, Jun 29, 2016

I know a lot of people will want this to be true but it's not. I've been inspired by various people over time: John Lennon. Doug Gilmour. Neil Young. Arsinio Hall. Jose Bautista. These are my role models. These are (among others) the people who inspire me. Not one of them is a teacher. Ergo, one does not need teachers in order to be inspired. I don't think that the field of education understands, in general, how much of what it does is also done by parents, role models, friends, professional associates, and more. If the core function - to teach - can be performed by a machine, then the ancillary functions - motivation, inspiration, socialization, etc. - can be performed by everyone else in society. And, indeed, should be performed by everyone else in society.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Import Blackboard Common Cartridge into WordPress

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 06/28/2016 - 14:00


Tom Woodward, Bionic Teaching, Jun 28, 2016

It's hacks like this that make the world great. What we have here is basically a PHP script that read a Blackboard-produced common cartridge (the URL is hard-coded and inaccessible to me; you will need to substitute your own), creates an array of resources from the manifest, gets the resources as necessary, and then saves them as WordPress posts. There's no guarantee that this script would work on any cartridge other than the one which was tested. The point is, if you create resources using open standards, people will find a way to use them creatively. Even if they come from Blackboard. Related: Importing Moodle  into WordPress.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Talking numbers about open publishing and online learning

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 06/28/2016 - 14:00


Tony Bates, online learning and distance education resources, Jun 28, 2016

I think I've always known this, but Tony Bates, who has a foot placed firmly in each camp, has the data to support it: "open, online publishing will almost certainly reach more readers than a commercial publication or an academic journal." FWIW  this is probably the one and only time I'll ever be lumped in with  Justin Bieber and  Donald Trump. Good plug for the BC Campus Open Textbook Project.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Six centuries of secularism

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 06/28/2016 - 14:00


William Eamon, Aeon, Jun 28, 2016

Interesting thesis: "by elaborating mechanical processes and spelling out how things worked – in striking contrast to the well-documented secrecy of the guilds – writers began to transform the mechanical arts from personal know-how into scientific knowledge... The world of the crafts – like that of politics – lost its magic; it broke free of its yoke to the divine.... Because secularisation subverted the notion of cosmic and metaphysical order, the rise of how-to books sowed the seeds of a more open and tolerant view of humanity."

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Brexit

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 06/27/2016 - 16:00

I understand the feelings of the people who voted in favour of the Brexit. They are Europe's Americans. The situation of the UK and Europe is in many ways the inverse of Canada and the U.S. And I would not vote 'yes' to a union of Canada and the U.S.

, , Jun 24, 2016 [Link]
[Comment] Share |
Categories: Miscellaneous

Staying Human in the Machine Age: An Interview With Douglas Rushkoff

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 06/27/2016 - 16:00


Andrew O'Keefe, Singularity Hub, Jun 27, 2016

This is one of the better lines I've read today (applies equally to the internet and to Brexit): "What those of us unversed in Marxist theory at the time didn’ t realize was if you get rid of government you create a very fertile soil for the unbridled growth of corporations." Rushkoff, of course, is talking about what happened to the world of the internet he talked about in Cyberia. "Cyberia lay the philosophical foundation for the internet as an opportunity for a new kind of liberation. Rushkoff argued that the web could generate a new renaissance by birthing a technological civilization grounded in ancient spiritual truths. But a different story emerged."

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Remix culture and education

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 06/27/2016 - 13:00


Steve Wheeler, Learning with 'e's, Jun 27, 2016

This post defines 'remix culture' and what it means to education. It is a follow-up to an  earlier piece on digital literacies in remix culture. "Remixing is the act of taking previously created works or artefacts and adapting them in some way," writes Steve Wheeler. I woukld have used the word 'other' rather than 'previously created' because items found in nature can also be part of a remix. And as Wheeler says, even though some schools may see it as undesirable, "Remixing is a creative process. It takes imagination to adapt an existing piece of art or music into something new or apply it in a completely different context."

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous
Syndicate content