I work in the Learning and Performance Support Systems program at the National Research Council, a multi-year effort to develop personal learning technology and learning analytics. I am one of the originators of the Massive Open Online Course, write about online and networked learning, have authored learning management and content syndication software, and am the author of the widely read e-learning newsletter OLDaily.


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Losing out on learning: Action to ensure refugee children get an education


According to this article, "More than half of all the refugee children in the world – 3.5 million – are not in school. In the last year alone refugee children have missed more than 700 million days of school, with this figure increasing by 1.9 million days every day." I have two views that have become more firm over the last few years: first, we should use the means at our disposal, including digital media, to ensure refugees do not miss out on an education; and second, we should not use refugee populations to experiment on or to promote our favourite learning theories. 

Today: 89 Total: 89 Joseph Nhan-O’Reilly, World Education Blog, 2017/09/21 [Direct Link]

Educators Should Steal Google’s Secret About Creativity


"When we give our students real responsibility to tackle problems connected to their interests, they flourish." So says Matt Presser in this article. I think he maybe should have said "authority" instead of "responsibility" (students are quite used to being held responsible for the failures of those in authority). But the point is clear enough, and the substance of a valuable idea (which has been asserted many times in these pages and elsewhere) shines through. I can't be as enthusiastic about the rest of the article. I'm not sure schools should be learning lessons from Google - at least, not until the antitrust and discrimination lawsuits are settled. And while "a young men’s fraternity" at a high school may well have been inspired by Google, I'm not sure it's either innovative for forward-looking. Nor are, say, field trips. Oh, and Google ended the 20% program cited here back in 2013. Matt Presser seems to be working for the right things, but there's that whole "I'm from Google/Yale/Harvard and I've figured it out" attitude that can at times strike readers as really tone-deaf. As in this instance.

Today: 99 Total: 99 Matt Presser, Education Week, 2017/09/21 [Direct Link]

26 Innovation Breakthroughs at the World's Open Universities


This is a short post (6 page PDF) with one-paragraph descriptions of innovations at open universities around the world. Together, the set provides others with a sort of menu of options they can follow. Most usefully, each one has a link you can follow. Some of the items aren't eactly innovations (such as the Switching from Moodle to Azure item). Others are more aspirational than innovative (such as the Use of Blockchain in credentials). It's hard to describe closing support centres (as at OU) as an innovation. One institution (Open Universities Australia, the former Open Learning Agency) simply names itself as an innovation, which seems a bit over the top. But in areas like libraries, accessibility, loyalty, mobile learningassessment and community there are some genuine innovations.

Today: 120 Total: 120 Contact North, 2017/09/21 [Direct Link]

W3C Approves Encrypted Media Extensions as Web Standard


Bill Rosenblatt returns a lukewarm review of the the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) recommendation issued Monday. "It’s not really a standard DRM scheme," he writes. "It has turned out to be a way to compromise the interoperability of web browsers by using CDMs to tie browsers to specific DRM clients; in other words, to use DRM as a way of bringing walled gardens into browser environments that are supposed to be interoperable via HTML." It's like a narrow version of Flash or Silverlight. More. The W3C's decision to side with content providers against the open web last led some to suggest that this may be beginning of the end - that we will no longer have a single World Wide Web. 

Today: 132 Total: 132 Bill Rosenblatt, Copyright and Technology, 2017/09/21 [Direct Link]

WebRoom - Free Online Conferencing With Virtual Whiteboard


WebRoom appears to be a loss leader for iteach.world, a service that offers (very) limited free hosting and commercial online learning services for business and individual teachers. It's based on WebRTC, which "provides browsers and mobile applications with Real-Time Communications (RTC) capabilities via simple APIs." Here's the code on GitHub. What's interesting about WebRTC is that it enables connections without an internediary server, however this may create issues in intranets, where services such as STUN and TURN are used to find a browser's real internet address in real time. However, this may be seen as a security issue, so extensions exist to disable WebRTC in your browser, and your network provider may also have disabled it.

Today: 129 Total: 129 Richard Byrne, Free Technology for Teachers, 2017/09/21 [Direct Link]

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Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.