Miscellaneous

Create a Professional Learning Community in 3 Easy Steps with Office 365

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 1 hour 30 min ago


Andrew Robertson, Microsoft UK Schools Blog, Sept 30, 2016

What I want to flag here is the use of the term "professional learning community" by Microsoft. According to this article, " Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) provide the support educators need to continue to grow new teaching skills with their peers. Groups of educators can work and learn together to improve student achievement through book study, action research, or learning a new best practice through PLCs." The term has been around for a while. Here's  a 2004 article describing PLCs: "People use this term to describe every imaginable combination of individuals with an interest in education." In 2009 Edutopia wrote about how to create a PLC. The province of Ontatio  used it as a model in 2007. This article from 2005  credits Coral Mitchell and Larry Sackney with a definition of the term. Reference  go back to 1997 and earlier.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Introducing Google Cloud

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 1 hour 30 min ago


Diane Greene, Google Cloud Official Blog, Sept 30, 2016

Google has rebranded and relaunched a number of services for enterprises, including education, under the heading of Google Cloud. "Google Cloud spans every layer of the business, including all of Google Cloud Platform; our user facing collaboration and productivity applications — now named G Suite; all of our machine learning tools and APIs, the enterprise maps APIs; and the Android phones, tablets and Chromebooks that access the cloud." G Suite mnight be a tough sell. "We believe that when organizations break down silos, connect people and empower them to work together, we get the speed, agility and impact needed to compete in today’ s market... With G Suite, information can flow freely between devices, apps, people and teams." My experience has been that enterprise wants tgo lock down its information, not let it flow freely. I would like that to change, of course, but as I say: tough sell.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Markets and School Quality

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 1 hour 30 min ago


Andrés Velasco, Project Syndicate, Sept 30, 2016

This article is much better in its articulation of the criticisms of private schools than it is in offering a resolution. Former Chilean presidential candidate André s Velasco explores three areas of criticism (quoted):

  • if everything – including education – is for sale, those who have more money will buy more of it.
  • education markets perform poorly... markets run into trouble when what is bought and sold cannot be observed or measured.
  • education can be degraded by being sold and bought... market incentives change behavior in socially damaging ways.

These are all good points and I would contend that the private sector has not addressed any of them adequtely. But Velasco suggests "it makes sense to consider how to combine the virtues of both systems, instead of simply choosing between them." He cites a recent paper that argues "for-profits appear to be at their best with well-defined programs of short duration that prepare students for a specific occupation." How does this address these three points? We don't know.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

PEARSONalized Learning

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 1 hour 30 min ago


Michael Feldstein, e-Literate, Sept 30, 2016

I want to cut this out and put it on the wall around here: "There is a recurring cultural fantasy that 'solving' the education 'problem' consists of creating a customized playlist of little content bits... Nobody who has taught believes that proper sequencing of content chunks is the hard part." Oh, but that's all so many people want to do. That's how 'learning analytics will solve education!' Argh! People (as Michael Feldstein vividly demonstrates (with examples)) should stop listening to ed tech vendor marketing when thinking about how to design and use educational technology.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Digital Readiness Gaps

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 1 hour 30 min ago


John B. Horrigan, Pew Research Internet Project, Sept 30, 2016

How 'ready' are people to take online learning courses (especially those that, like MOOCs, require a fair degree of readiness)? According to this Pew report, which looks at Americans only, the degree of readiness varies across society. This really should be no surprise. The statistics range from 17% for 'fully prepared' (from higher income households and with more education) through to 33% who are 'reluctant' (tend to be men 50 and over with lower educational backgrounds and lower incomes) through to 14% who are 'unprepared' (who tend to be women and over with lower educational backgrounds and incomes). I would imagine you could find similar patterns in other countries, which skews toward more-or-less prepared depending on income. The interesting find would be the outliers - countries like Ecuador and Uruguay, maybe. But Pew doesn't look at that.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

A Master List of 1,200 Free Courses From Top Universities: 40,000 Hours of Audio/Video Lectures

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 1 hour 30 min ago


Dan Colman, Open Culture, Sept 30, 2016

From Open Culture: "Let’ s give you the quick overview: The list lets you download audio & video lectures from schools like  Stanford, Yale, MIT, Oxford and Harvard. Generally, the courses can be accessed via YouTube, iTunes or university web sites, and you can listen to the lectures  anytime, anywhere, on your computer or smart phone." Free an d open online learning is coming of age.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Yes! #PhD written... looking for joyful bliss once more

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 1 hour 30 min ago


Inge de Waard, Ignatia Webs, Sept 30, 2016

Inge de Waard has been working on this just about as long as I have known her. So it's nice to she she has shut down her word processor and shipped some product. "This research investigates the informal learning journeys of 56 experienced adult online learners engaging in individual and/or social self-directed learning using any device to follow a FutureLearn course." You can read it here.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Disciplining Education Technology

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 1 hour 30 min ago


Audrey Watters, Hack Education, Sept 30, 2016

Audrey Watters is "perplexed by the recent call to create a new discipline for education technology" but I think she has it right when she suggests that the point of the initiative is "to determine the intellectual contours and to shore up the departmental boundaries – to decree an orthodoxy – for education technology?" And, as she suggests, "this feels like yet another rebranding, rehistoricizing of ed-tech by elite American universities."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

US school's unmanned boat reaches Welsh coast

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 1 hour 30 min ago


BBC News, Sept 30, 2016

A driverless boat (pilotless boat?) created by students from Kent School in Maryland was recovered in Wales. They launched The Osprey with a time capsule onboard off the New Jersey coast on 13 June and tracked it across the ocean. Projects like this are always great educational experiences. "Our excitement was at fever pitch. We're going to wait for our head teacher to make contact with the school in the US and then hopefully do a live weblink with them and open it up." With luck the boat can also be used to instruct the BBC on gender-neutral language.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Educational Software Patents: A Call to Vendors

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 1 hour 30 min ago


Michael Feldstein, e-Literate, Sept 30, 2016

As  described here September 1,  Elsevier won a patent for an online peer review system, something the open source Online Journal Systems has been doing for decades. This post continues the discussion from Miichael Feldstein, noted for his coverage of the Blackboard patent case. He called on "educational institutions to gather together and sign a pledge that they would not procure products from companies that assert education-related software patents," but in the face of utter indifference this seems unlikely to happen. So now he's calling on software companies to respond. "The right thing for vendors to do here is to create what’ s known as a patent pool. Any patent owner who contributes to the pool pledges to only use that patent for defensive counter-suits."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

C.R.E.A.M. (Class Rules Everything Around Me)

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 1 hour 30 min ago


Kitteh, Metafilter, Sept 30, 2016

As I prepared my slides for today's short talk (we're doing a round of autobiographies in our group - a good idea) I thought a lot about where I stand vis-à -vis the rest of society. Not as 'respectable'. Not as "entitled to... education, social standing, pay and political power." I had to take each one of these, to wrest them from people of more deserving background. I had a lot of setbacks, a lot of battles. And you can never  actually escape your origins, because to escape you must accept the values and assumptions of the ruling class, the core of which is that people from your class don't belong in the boardroom or with polite company. I would never do that. As this author writes, rising with your class is the only thing that makes sense. 

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Still Playing "No Man’s Sky"

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 4 hours 30 min ago


Tom Bray, Ongoing, Sept 30, 2016

I spend more time over the weekend playing No Man's Sky, doing so apparently in defiance of  the hate being expressed by so many critics and gamers. But  look at the panels (like the one pictured; can you believe this?) - they come from one demographic, one point of view, and expect one set of things from a game. They want a storyline, an opponent, an outcome. Maybe there will be one one day but that's not what No Man's Sky is promising. What I like is that you can do things like  walk completely around the planet. It takes weeks. As Tim Bray says, "this game is a huge plat­ form with lots of room to drop in new con­ tent and game-play and sur­ pris­ es." Yes, in many ways it's not a finished product. I'm actually OK with that. Because I hate the games that are defined by an storyline, an opponent, and an outcome. My world (of gaming, and of learning) is much bigger than that.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

A Timeline

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 4 hours 30 min ago
[Slides][Audio]

This is a very brisk autobiography from my early childhood through to today.

Internal Presentation, Ottawa (Keynote) Sept 27, 2016 [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Why we are weaning our students from electronic noise

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 7 hours 30 min ago


Ryan Balot, Clifford Orwin, Globe, Mail, Sept 30, 2016

I wonder whether this is true: "thinking thrives on silence or on dialogue with other human voices, when electronic noise has faded." This is being used as justification for banning electronic devices from the classroom. But I have questions. When I'm doing mental work, I always have some background noise - music, CBC, Ed Radio, a baseball game, whatever. My head is full of distracting noises; silence makes my mind wander. I remember the classroom lecture before computers - every agonizing scrape of a chair, squeak of a door, cough, whisper. It was all I could do to keep from daydreaming and falling asleep. By contrast, some of my best thinking places are noisy environments - pubs, markets, busy streets. So I think it's a fallacy that thinking thrives on silence, and certainly don't support banning electronic devices based on an unproven, and probably false, hypothesis.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Ria #26: Nick Foreman On Archival Research

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 09/30/2016 - 00:00


, Ecampus Research Unit | Oregon State University, Sept 29, 2016 On this episode, Nick Foreman shares about archival research and the logistics of archival work. [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Lights out for shomi symptomatic of streaming video’s larger profitability problem

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 09/30/2016 - 00:00


Terry Dawes, CanTech Letter, Sept 29, 2016

Shomi  foundered on the same shoal that afflicted Netflix - the demands for unsustainable revenues from content producers. There's no incentive for providers to offer Shomi a good rate when they'll ultimately roll out their own service and try to grab all the profits. Meanwhile, Netflix has responded by gutting its offering and producing many of its own shows. The market for streaming video accounts is limited, though, and people won't pay for all of them. Meanwhile, it's a bit ironic for me to be reading "the last jigsaw piece for streaming video to gain widespread acceptance will be live sports" while watching my Blue Jays game on MLB.tv (as I have for several years now). The content providers will never see their pot of gold. The same thing that happened to print media and music is happening to video and is happening to education. 'Live' is just a format now; you don't have to be there, and it doesn't have to be expensive.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

#FUSION12 - Discussion about MOOCs with Stephen Downes

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 09/29/2016 - 21:00
[Audio] D2L Fusion, (Interview) Jan 20, 2020 [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Doctoral dissertation successfully defended

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 09/29/2016 - 21:00


Hans Põldoja, hanspoldoja.net, Sept 29, 2016

Worth a look (212 page PDF). "The underlying concept of the study is the open education ecosystem....Firstly, to clarify the design challenges related to the open education ecosystem, this study summarizes a set of design challenges presented in design case studies. Secondly, it identifies and recommends a set of design patterns that address these design challenges. Finally, the study proposes the structure and components that are needed for the open education ecosystem." The dissertation is based on five publications and - what he doesn't tell us here - was the result of 13 years worth of work. Via Teemu Leinonen, who recommended it to me.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Watch Disco Demolition Night Turn Into a Disaster in Real Time With This Amazing Footage

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 09/29/2016 - 21:00


Matthew Dessem, Browbeat, Sept 29, 2016

Back in the 1970s, when disco became popular, it was all you could listen to (except maybe for the occasional classical music station). That could never happen today. If you don't like what's on the radio, you go to the internet. “ This garbage of demolishing a record has turned into a fiasco!” Piersall goes on to make the case that Steve Dahl is a symptom of national decline, telling Bill Gleason, “ We have become followers. So many people, insecure, don’ t know what to do with themselves and how to have a good time— they follow someone who’ s a jerk!” There's also an entire baseball game on this video, so enjoy.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Determinants of Teachers' Attitudes Towards E-Learning in Tanzanian Higher Learning Institutions

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 09/29/2016 - 15:00


Dalton H. Kisanga, The International Review of Research in Open, Distributed Learning, Sept 29, 2016

This is a good paper, crisply written (notice, for example, how the literature review is to the point, relevant to the topic, and supports the conceptual design of the study). It's a simple survey, but at least consisted of a random sample (within constraints) and we see the actual questions. Analysis looked at responses across clusters of questions, considering for example a person's attitude to e-learning, and mapped them to demographic and other factors. Positive attitudes toward e-learning are associated with exposure to e-learning (in line with the theory of the mere exposure effect) and "are also in line with the developed conceptual framework of this study adapted from the TAM theoretical model, which explains the relationship between an individual's perceived ease of use (EoU) and attitude (A) towards a stimulus." Meanwhile, "teachers' negative attitudes towards e-learning could be attributed to other external factors that can hinder e-learning adoption."

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Categories: Miscellaneous
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