Miscellaneous

10 key facts about SAFE Network

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 10/03/2018 - 12:26

SAFE, Oct 16, 2018

As I've been suggesting in recent months, the structure of the web is changing at the lowest levels. It's not clear how this will ll shake out yet. On the one hand we have HTTP/2 (criticized by some as "a protocol by Google for Google" - see this interview). On the other hand we have SAFE - "Secure Access For Everyone" - which is "a network like the Internet but created by connecting users’ devices together rather than relying on centralised servers." See also the SAFENetwork Primer.

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John Urschel Goes Pro

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 10/02/2018 - 20:06

Jordan Ellenberg, Hmm Daily, Oct 15, 2018

This article is the story of the development of a math PhD student - who had to decide between this and a career in football. "The world is on the lookout for football players. His coaches at Canisius, an all-boys Jesuit high school, continually encouraged him to think big, bigger, biggest. If he worked at it, he could play in college. He could play in the Big Ten. There was a chance he could play in the NFL. From his math teachers? Zero." Great article.

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Top Tools for Learning 2018

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 10/02/2018 - 19:22

Jane Hart, Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies, Oct 15, 2018

What's interesting about this year's list is that none of the top tools are actually e-learning tools. They include YouTube, Google, PowerPoint, LinkedIn, Twitter, Zoom and the like. General tools for information sharing. Indeed, it wasn't until the second page (OneNote at 16, Kahoot at 20) that anything resembling education tools could be found. On the third page we have Articulate (23) and on the fourth page we have Coursera (31). Something to think about. (Note: this list is located at a very generic URL, so if you're reading this in the future you may have to rely on Internet Archive to find the content from 2018).

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Seven Things That Happen When Students Share Their Work

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 10/02/2018 - 19:12

John Spencer, Oct 15, 2018

These seven things reflect my experience as well, and apply equally to communities like the Continuing Professional Development community in healthcare, which I addressed today, as well as grade school classes, which is the audience for John Spencer's post. Indeed, one person asked me about how to develop empathy in only communities, and 'sharing' was exactly the answer I provided, just as stated in this post. And this feeds back into the process. "When students begin with empathy, they are able to design products, services, and art that actually reflect the needs and desires of an authentic audience."

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Cognitive Science

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 10/02/2018 - 18:49

Paul Thagard, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Oct 14, 2018

Paul Thagard, the author of this extensively revised encyclopedia article, is an authority in this field in his own right (he's another one of the people I studied during my PhD studies). This article is especially useful for people new to the field because of its breakdown, in section four, of nine 'theoretical approaches' to cognitive science. I appreciate this because it's a much wider conception of cognitive science than is usually the case. Many of the issues discussed in the pages of OLDaily also show up in the applications section. This is a crisp, clear, short and quite useful introduction to the subject. Image: Wikipedia.

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That Curriculum Thing

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 10/02/2018 - 18:38

Miss Smith, Splogs, Oct 14, 2018

Graham Attwell pointed me to this article on autonomy (probably the least-discussed of the core principles of networking). " Systems do not work in teaching ( I'll give you a moment to digest that casual bombshell). They work for behaviour management, but even here I think idiosyncratic systems work in classes with individual teachers best. However, school wide systems for teaching and learning never work as intended. Why? Humanity."

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Accessibility Statements

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 10/02/2018 - 18:14

Erin Beattie, BC Campus, Oct 12, 2018

This is a quick article about how to properly create and use accessibility statements. " Hassell Inclusion’s blog post on How to write an effective Accessibility Statement notes that many accessibility statements ignore who will be accessing the accessibility statement or why. Instead, they make statements about the organization’s commitment to accessibility," etc. What needs to happen is that the statements need to be clear, jargon-free, and practical.

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CC submits proposed Amicus Brief to 9th Circuit on Proper Interpretation of BY-NC-SA 4.0

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 10/02/2018 - 18:04

Diane Peters, Creative Commons Blog, Oct 12, 2018

I agree with the gist of the brief filed by Creative Commons which says a school should be able to hire a contractor to reproduce copies of an openly licensed non-commercial work. "Were Great Minds’ theory to prevail, it would require every re-user to own the means for reproducing NC-licensed works and avoid using any for-profit actor in doing so, a result that our licenses never intended."

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Continuing Professional Development: Looking at Old Problems in New Ways

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 10/02/2018 - 10:40
Despite the widespread availability of learning technologies, many of the traditional problems of continuing professional development (CPD) remain with us today. These problems range from managing conflict of interest to identifying learner needs to improving and measuring learning and workplace outcomes. These problem persist because we do not accompany new technology with new ways of looking at these old problems. New technology allows us to define CPD in a way that is individually driven, ongoing and performance-centered. [Backchannel Transcript] 10th National CPD Accreditation Conference, Mississauga, Ontario () Oct 02, 2018 [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

So is it nature not nurture after all?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 10/01/2018 - 15:21

Andrew Anthony, The Guardian, Oct 12, 2018

The ideas reported in this article pose a challenge to the beliefs underlying a lot of progressive education theory. In his new book, Blueprint: How DNA Makes Us Who We Are, Robert Plomin argues that most of what makes up our personality is based on genetic, not environmental, factors. "Plomin’s argument is that, in a society with universal education, the greatest part of the variation in learning abilities is accounted for by genetics, not home environment or quality of school – these factors, he says, do have an effect but it’s much smaller than is popularly believed." Given the impact of nutrition on cognition, I would assume Plomin would assume a society with universal welfare as well. The objection to this view is stated by Oliver James "believes that if, as a society, we accept the heritability argument, then it will lead to blaming the poor for their own plight and privileging the rich for their good fortune. There's some really good discussion in this article, which should be read to the very end.

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Truth in a Post-Truth Age

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 10/01/2018 - 15:14

Jenny Mackness, Jenny Connected, Oct 12, 2018

Jenny Mackness writes in this article of "the necessity, as expressed by both Ghandi and Nietzsche, to recognise that human beings can only know partial and contingent truths and perspectives; there are a multiplicity of truths and perspectives." And she points out that we've lived through "post-truth" eras before (one of which was the one that started with the first newspapers). "This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t continue to seek truth or a multiplicity of truths," she writes. "For Gandhi this requires action in every day practices of altruism, humility, compassion and self-evaluation. For Simon Blackburn it requires sifting out descriptions that really matter and sources of information that are more trustworthy."

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One Small Step for the Web...

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 10/01/2018 - 14:48

Berners-Lee, Inrupt, Oct 12, 2018

On Saturday Fast Company broke the story that Tim Berners-Lee was launching a startup to develop and distribute his SoLiD application (which stands for Social Linked Data; I've covered it here before). There was also a Medium post the same day. This is a part of his plan to restore the web to its original decentralized vision. His new company is called Inrupt (which will be way easier to search for than 'solid') and is launching this week. "Solid is guided by the principle of 'personal empowerment through data' which we believe is fundamental to the success of the next era of the web. We believe data should empower each of us.... With Solid, you will have far more personal agency over data - you decide which apps can access it."

Another post notes, "For developers who haven’t dug in yet, you should start with the Solid Developer Portal, beginning with the Getting Started page. We just put this online two days ago, so the documentation you’re seeing today is only a small subset of what we’ve got planned." I have dug into it, and found it complex and messy - but that was a while ago, and I'm hoping (and expecting) it's a lot easier to get started now.

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The Seven Deadly Sins Of Digital Badging In Education

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 10/01/2018 - 14:32

Troy Markowitz, Forbes, Oct 11, 2018

I've been considering the use of badges in my upcoming MOOC and so this article resonated with me. Some of the key things to avoid: making the issuing of badges a manual process (imagine having to click on a button 3,000 times (let alone fill out 3,000 forms)); don't require students to 'apply' for badges (because the data suggest that they won't); make badges usable (locating them inside an LMS is not 'usable'); and make sure they actually measure something meaningful (which make it doubly hard to issue them automatically; I won't issue a badge for passing a multiple-choice test). Note: Forbes uses a spamwall, which will block access for many readers; I use UBlock Origin on Firefox to access this article without having to whitelist Forbes (you should not whitelist Forbes).

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Liberal Radicalism: Formal Rules for a Society Neutral Among Communities

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 10/01/2018 - 13:51

Zoë Hitzig, E. Glen Weyl, Vitalik Buterin, Social Science Research Network, Oct 11, 2018

This is an important paper for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that the authors are deeply involved in blockchain technologies (Vitalik Buterin is the founder of Ethereum) and economics. The principle being advocated is a mechanism whereby members of a society 'vote' for public projects (including, presumably, education) by contributing to that project; the funding ultimately received is a function of that vote designed to maximize efficiency. The problem, of course, in making decisions this way is that people with more money get more votes, and they tend over time to vote for measures that make them richer still, even if they are paying the square of the value of the votes. This paper simply elides over that problem ("we assume that an equitable distribution of basic resources has been achieved in some other manner, such as an equal initial distribution of resources").

There's a nice summary of the paper available from an anonymous author on Medium. It draws the connection between this proposal and that of the DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization), also an outcome of Ethereum. The difference is "how they intend to achieve near optimal provision of public goods out of this organisation, which is something the DAO didn’t cover." The difference is in what the mechanism would fund (and it's not clear everyone would define 'public goods' in this way), and the mechanism for voting - "Quadratic Voting (QV) is a concept Weyl has previously put forth...  QV sees a voter purchase the square of the number of votes they wish to buy per issue."

I am not opposed to the idea of people voting for the public policy measures they wish to see supported financially; I have long been a supporter of some form of direct democracy. But pegging these votes to dollars they actually have is something I resolutely oppose. I think a better method would be to allow people to vote with percentages of their tax contributions, so each person receives 100 votes to allocate as they wish, and where people taxed progressively increasing percentages of their income.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Can Education Keep Up with Technology?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 09/28/2018 - 20:06

Wayne Skipper, EDUCAUSE Review, EDUCAUSE Review, Oct 11, 2018

My first thought on reading the question was, "probably not," but of course in a certain sense everything both does and does not 'keep up' with technology. Anyhow, what we have here is a good article with a lot of links covering some of the more important recent trends in technology: machine-readable learning, common building blocks, machine teaching, self-driving organizations, and change. But even as I look at this list, in contrast to some of the forward-looking applications, we can see that even this set of trends is being left behind. Now, of course, everything both is and is not 'left behind', so none of these things goes away; it all becomes part of a much more complex soup.

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MastoView

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 09/28/2018 - 19:58

Oct 11, 2018

This displays the most recent posts on any instance of Mastodon ytou care to name, or (even better!) allows you to select a random one (be warned - some random Mastodon instances have content not suited to everyone). It's from unmung.com, which demonstrates a bunch of distributed web stuff, including various other Javascript applications. Looked at the source but I can't tell who created it.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Aperture

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 09/28/2018 - 19:52

Aaron Parecki, Oct 11, 2018

Think of it as like a reader for microcontent. " Aperture is a Microsub server. Microsub is a spec that provides a standardized way for reader apps to interact with feeds. By splitting feed parsing and displaying posts into separate parts, a reader app can focus on presenting posts to the user instead of also having to parse feeds. A Microsub server manages the list of people you're following and collects their posts, and a Micropub app shows the posts to the user by fetching them from the server." The website mentions procing, but it's open source and you can install your own.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Open Design Kit

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 09/28/2018 - 19:47

Oct 11, 2018

This is "a living collection of guides and best practices to help you to make and design openly. The Kit was originally incubated at Bocoup and became a community-owned project in Summer 2017." There's a dozen or so 'methods' with links to activities and applications. It speaks to the idea that design is a diverse and often collaborative activity, and needs to be able to be done in distriubuted online communities as well as by delegates in a closed room. "To share feedback, open an issue or a pull request see our Github repository."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

ActivityPub!

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 09/28/2018 - 19:44

Oct 11, 2018

This is a really neat concept. " ActivityPub is a decentralized social networking protocol based on the ActivityStreams 2.0 data format. ActivityPub is an official W3C recommended standard published by the W3C Social Web Working Group. It provides a client to server API for creating, updating and deleting content, as well as a federated server to server API for delivering notifications and subscribing to content." That said, see ActivityPub hot take.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

IndieAuth.com: Sign in with your domain name

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 09/28/2018 - 19:39

Oct 10, 2018

It's a bit complex but it's simpler than OpenID was. I'm still looking into it. " Instead of logging in to websites as "you on Twitter" or "you on Facebook", you should be able to log in as just "you". We should not be relying on Twitter or Facebook to provide our authenticated identities, we should be able to use our own domain names to log in to sites everywhere." Here's the IndieLogin test page.

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