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.

SUBSCRIBE TO OLDAILY DONATE TO DOWNES.CA

~ ~ Vision Statement ~ ~

US school's unmanned boat reaches Welsh coast

Icon

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.

Today: 252 Total: 252 BBC News, 2016/09/28 [Direct Link]

Educational Software Patents: A Call to Vendors

Icon

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."

Today: 267 Total: 267 Michael Feldstein, e-Literate, 2016/09/28 [Direct Link]

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

Icon

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. 

Today: 161 Total: 569 Kitteh, Metafilter, 2016/09/27 [Direct Link]

Still Playing "No Man’s Sky"

Icon

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 plat­form with lots of room to drop in new con­tent and game-play and sur­pris­es." 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.

Today: 159 Total: 535 Tom Bray, Ongoing, 2016/09/27 [Direct Link]

Why we are weaning our students from electronic noise

Icon

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.

Today: 113 Total: 731 Ryan Balot, Clifford Orwin, Globe, Mail, 2016/09/27 [Direct Link]

Ria #26: Nick Foreman On Archival Research

On this episode, Nick Foreman shares about archival research and the logistics of archival work.

Today: 117 Total: 1149 , Ecampus Research Unit | Oregon State University, [Direct Link]

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