This post offers me an opportunity to plug Ed Radio. I started Ed Radio in 2003, right at the beginning of the age of podcasts. Here's what it looked like back then. Today I harvest RSS feeds, extract the references to MP3 files, and redistribute the collection of links in the form of a daily podcast feed. If you are producing a podcast in the field of learning, new media, or education technology, drop me a line and I'll add it to my list.
This post is Rob Watson describing his upcoming podcast "based around the idea of what it means to be sociable in the Twenty-First Century." he's investing in audio quality, as he should: "I’ve invested in some recording equipment, with a Zoom H6 multichannel recorder with four mono microphones, and a line-in feed for music input. I’m also hoping that we can use a friends coffee shop as our base for recording the sessions, as its a great environment to relax and chill." I'm looking forward to it.
John Oliver examines the performance of charter schools in the United States and finds enough wrong with them to fill an 18 minute comedy video. As we can see from this report, while government may be less efficient, businesses are much less likely to behave responsibly or obey the law, which means the private sector cannot be trusted with high-stakes enterprises like education. Actually, as we see in this report, government is not less efficient either, with charter schools accounting for some of the worst outcomes in the school system. There are ways to promote choice, but privatizing the school system isn't among them.
I was at the football game last night, and as usual, there was the tribute to the troops. We should reconsider who we set up role models in society. If the only people we honour for service to the public are those who go to war, there will be a ceaseless demand for more war. I can think of many more who make sacrifices for the pubic good: doctors, postal workers, embassy officials, environmental activists, child welfare advocates, and many many more. Children learn by adopting role models, and we want to make sure they have as many anti-war advocates to choose from as they do warriors.
Readers of my social network accounts will know that I have shuttered my Facebook accounts and ceased using that service. The reason is that Facebook disabled the ad blocker I use in Firefox in order to force advertisements into the news stream. I have also made sure to uninstall WhatsApp (which is owned by Facebook) from my phone. You should too. It's not just that WhatsApp will start sending you advertisements (and remember, you are paying for the data transfer WhatsApp uses). WhatsApp is also going to share your phone number with Facebook, according to newly updated terms of service. Facebook asserts, "Nothing you share on WhatsApp, including your messages, photos, and account information, will be shared onto Facebook or any of the Facebook family of apps for others to see." But it should be noted that, according to the BBC report, "Facebook will still receive data in some situations." So there's that.
Adobe has launched a new e-learning community which they say is "a place where you can connect with peers, engage with a universe of experts, and pick top Adobe brains on just about anything. From blogs, tutorials, and product conversations, to event notifications, news and updates and much more." It seems mostly focused on Captivate, which is not surprising given their push to market their Captivate LMS, which was announced last year. Here's a review from last December. The site encourages you to "play all kinds of content seamlessly with our Fluidic Player that also allows note-taking to facilitate revision. Foster a learning culture using gamification and mobile learning." Here's a marketing piece from Adobe on the LMS.
Given a substantive revision this past week, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy's article on folk psychology is well worth reading. The idea behind folk psychology is that we can explain the behavior of humans in terms of their possessing mental states. For example, we say that a person 'knows' what the capital of Paris is, that he 'believes' Paris is in Europe, or that she 'wants' to go there. These mental states are representational states and can be thought of as holding 'mental content'. Most everyone believes some version of this theory (hence it's title as a 'folk' theory) and it permeates educational theory. That's why it's important to study this article. And it should also be noted here that my own 'belief' is that the theory is wrong, that there are no representations, mental contents, etc., and that cognitive processes are not linguistic, logical or computational processes. See eliminative materialism.