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by Stephen Downes
November 17, 2009

State of the Nation: K-12 Online Learning in Canada

Comprehensive report on the state of online learning at the K-12 level in canada. In typically Canadian fashion (see the diagram), it's a mish-mash. Also, the author, writing from the United States, sometimes sees things a bit, um, oddly. So there are little factual errors throughout, such as the assertion that "in Canada there is no separation of church and state," or the assertion that Atlantic Canada has "three of the four provinces being the three smallest in the country" (in fact, it has all four smallest), or the assertion that the Via rail runs only between Quebec city and Windsor. When the report discusses education (and not geography), though, it appears to be accurate, though focused more on political and administrative structures rather than processes and pedagogies. Via Katie Ash. Michael K. Barbour, International Association for K-12 online Learning, November 17, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Educational Technology and Related Education Conferences
Clayton R. Wright has again compiled one of his fantastic list of education and ed tech conferences, this one spanning the period from December, 2009 through to June, 2010. The link is to the MS-Word document directly. Clayton R. Wright, Website, November 17, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

We are Professionals, Aren't We?
I don't always agree with Will Thalheimer, but I think he mostly nails it with this list demonstrating the ways educators do not act as professionals:
- Our graduate schools prepare technicians, not thoughtful scientist-practitioners
- We don't measure the outcome of our work in ways that enable us to build effective feedback loops
- The work pressures we face combined with our tendency toward professional arrogance don't predispose us to keep learning
- Our trade associations, magazines, and conferences provide us with information that sells, not information that necessarily tells the truth
- Our consultants and vendors are a large source of our information, and we tend to think uncritically about their offerings
- Learning-and-performance research is not utilized
- Industry research is severely flawed, but we rely on it anyway
- Contests, awards, and best-of lists grab our attention Will Thalheimer, Will at Work Learning, November 17, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

The Answer Factory: Just what education is missing.
Robert Hughes links to a Wired article describing a mass-production video content production company, Demand media. They use algorithms to determine automatically what consumers want to view, and then they pay cut-rate prices ($200 for 10 videos) to free-lancers to produce the content. And its target is personal learning videos. "The process is automatic, random, and endless, a Stirling engine fueled by the world's unceasing desire to know how to grow avocado trees from pits or how to throw an Atlanta Braves-themed birthday party. It is a database of human needs, and if you haven't stumbled on a Demand video or article yet, you soon will." Open2Learn, Robert Hughes, November 17, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Cognitive Load Theory: Failure?
Good shorter description of cognitive load theory (which is used to argue against discovery learning and constructivist methodologies) and a succinct account of why it (probably) fails. "Cognitive load theorists vehemently argue for the basis for their model in cognitive research, and yet ignore quite a huge swath of it. It accepts the information processing view of cognition (most popular in the 1980s) and Baddeley's model of working memory from the 1970s." So there. Doug Holton, EdTechDev, November 17, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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