Stephen's Web

[Chat] [Discuss] [Search] [Mobile] [About] [Archives] [Options]


by Stephen Downes
March 3, 2009

Participatory Learning and the New Humanities: An Interview with Cathy Davidson
"Participatory Learning includes the ways in which new technologies enable learners (of any age) to contribute in diverse ways to individual and shared learning goals..... Participatory learners come together to aggregate their ideas and experiences in a way that makes the whole ultimately greater than the sum of the parts." Which is why you don't just memorize the parts. Randy Bass and Theresa Schlafly, Academic Commons, March 3, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Teaching English Through Video - The Children of SEAM
This post is from Tracy Hamilton, who writes of a friend who taught in India. her students, studying English, surprised her with a film. "Giving them access to what we see as such a simple tool in our culture has been an incredible way to help teach the children English, but even more importantly it has allowed them to share their story with the rest of the world." This is the sort of message I tried to say in the UNESCO forum. But it's hard to be heard over the private educators with something to sell. Tracy Hamilton, Discovery Through eLearning, March 3, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Education Not a Luxury at Indonesia Charity School
Just a little contrast to the Commonwealth of Learning diatribe (see below): "59-year-old twin sisters Sri Rossyati and Sri Irianingsih have opened the free school where their 550 students receive not only an education, but meals, a uniform, shoes, pencils and books, things that many children in Indonesia cannot afford or take for granted." Oh yeah, the school costs the sisters $1700 a month to run. You won't see these economics at the private schools. "The other schools have expensive books but at this school, they even give him milk so he can grow up strong." Sunanda Creagh, Reuters, March 3, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

dev8D: JISC Developer Happiness Days
*sigh* Why can't we have these in Canada? Yes, I know they would cost a lot of money, but the learning that happens at something like this... *sigh* Julian Cheal, Ariadne, March 3, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Flawed Assumptions
Joanne Jacobs offers some straw man formulations of three "flawed assumptions' currently being flayed in yet another politically motivated discussion hosted by the ever-reliable Britannica blog. Who really believes that knowledge and skills are separate, that teachers have no cognitive limits, or that experience is equivalent to practice? Nobody. Each of these three formulations serves to misrepresents actual positions held by educators that do stand up to scrutiny: that knowledge depends on critical thinking skills (not the other way around), that teachers address multiple cognitive needs (not just drill and recall), and that self-direction does not entail content-free learning. The panel featured Willingham, Ravitch and Hirsch all against a patsy - call me when they debate these issues against a real opponent. Joanne Jacobs, Weblog, March 3, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Students Stand When Called Upon, and When Not
What I like about this approach isn't the stand-up desks, particularly, but that students have the option to stand up, sit down, or whatever. I know that when I work, I stand up, sit down, move around, and am generally constantly in motion. "Teachers in Minnesota and Wisconsin say they know from experience that the desks help give children the flexibility they need to expend energy and, at the same time, focus better on their work rather than focusing on how to keep still." Link via Norm Friesen. Susan Saulny, New York Times, March 3, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Assumptions Document
Interesting statement of assumptions regarding the next version of SCORM from LETSI: "The proposed LETSI approach is to partition the SCORM 2.0 problem space into the four related but distinct service domains of people, competencies, resources and learning activities." Additionally, "'Orchestration' is the term adopted by the LETSI community to replace the term 'sequencing' used in SCORM 2004. Orchestration refers to the way in which LET activities and resources are selected and combined for the purpose of use." MS-Word document. Many more LETSI documents are freely available (and this is a page that totally needs an RSS feed). Chuck Allen, LETSI, March 3, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Fastest Growing Sector of Higher Education
One wonders why the Commonwealth of Learning, in an unsigned editorial, is urging the development of a privatized educational system rather than the government-supported systems rather more common in countries such as Canada and Australia. The argumentation is facile and naive, trotting out the usual fictions: the private sector is more efficient, more responsive, and more dedicated to client success. Has the author not been observing the ruins of the private sector recently? Why foist bad economics on countries simply because they are less developed? Editorial, Commonwealth of Learning, March 3, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Goals Gone Wild: The Systematic Side Effects of Over-Prescribing Goal Setting
This is an excellent paper and required reading especially for those inclined to confuse the measurement with the method. Goal-setting, the gold standard in business methodology, is fraught with destructive side-effects. Among them:
- too specific - "goals can focus attention so narrowly that people overlook other important features of a task"
- narrow goals "may cause people to ignore important dimensions of performance that are not specified by the goal setting system."
- too many goals - "Goals that are easier to achieve and measure (such as quantity) may be given more attention than other goals (such as quality)"
- inappropriate time horizon "[may] prompt managers to engage in myopic, short-term behavior that harms the organization in the long run"
- risk taking - "people motivated by specific, challenging goals adopt riskier strategies and choose riskier gambles"
- unethical behaviour - by taking inappropriate measures to meet goals, or by misrepresenting statements of achievement
- disillusionment - "because perceptions of self-efficacy are a key predictor of task engagement, commitment, and effort"
Via Will Thalheimer. Lisa D. Ordonez, Maurice E. Schweitzer, Adam D. Galinsky, and Max H. Bazerman, Harvard Business School, March 3, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

E-Learning in Iran
We hear almost nothing about e-learning in Iran, despite this country's large and active internet population, so it is a treat to be able to read Badrul Khan's interview with two of Iran's of Iran's e-learning leaders, Vafa Ghaffarian and S. Hamid Hosseini. The interview does not go in to a lot of depth but does give us a glimpse. PDF. Badrul Khan, Educational Technology, March 3, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

This newsletter is sent only at the request of subscribers. If you would like to unsubscribe, Click here.

Know a friend who might enjoy this newsletter? Feel free to forward OLDaily to your colleagues. If you received this issue from a friend and would like a free subscription of your own, you can join our mailing list. Click here to subscribe.

Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons License.