OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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November 17, 2010

The Role of Educator in a PLE World
Stephen Downes, November 17, 2010, EC&I 831: Social Media & Open Education, Online, via Elluminate

In this presentation I argue that the role of the educator has become unbundled and is now a wide variety of different roles, usually performed by different people.

[Link] [Slides] [Audio]

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BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) plus Indonesia are where internet and mobile are exploding
Ross Dawson, Trends in the Living Networks, November 17, 2010.

Ross Dawson summarizes Morgan-Stanley analyst Mary Meeker's latest report on education and connectivity, and as George Siemens notes, when Mary Meeker speaks, people generally stop to listen. For good reason: she has about the sharpest and most bottom-line focused analysis out there. In this report, she emphasizes the growth of mobile platforms and suggests that it will not simply be big, it will be huge. Moreover, most of the growth of mobile platforms - especially things like smartphones, though you should also include iPads - will me greatest in the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) nations, plus Indonesia. Mobile is tricky because there are several competing operating systems - iOS (Apple), Symbian (Nokia), Android (Google), Blackberry (RIM), and others (including WebOS, which runs on my Palm). And while desktop views will drop a bit, they won't go away, which means mobile is added to the mix, and not replacing the mix.

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Online Community Manager: A New Position in Education
Jeff Utecht, The Thinking Stick, November 17, 2010.

I flagged this for my presentation yesterday and then never used it. But though I came up with thirty or so new roles for educators, this post, focusing on one of them, is pretty good. "I believe," writes Jeff Utecht, "there are two reasons this position and schools in general need to have someone managing their online communities: 1) Protect their identity... 2) Engage their community." And "According to Jeremiah Owyang", he adds, "there are four tenets of the community manager: Community Advocate; Brand Evangelist; Savvy Communication Skills, Shapes Editorial; Gathers Community Input for Future Product and Services."

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Hans Põldoja, Website, November 17, 2010.

From Scott leslie's post of the other day (I saw it but didn't highlight this part): "Is it the mythical eduglu? Not sure, but Hans Põldoja made a pretty convincing case for this open source piece he has developed that can help those running distributed/blog-based courses to aggregate and track course work across participants blogs. Add on a grading feature and... well, I can see lots of courses that would make much better use of this than of all the bells and whistles of an LMS that ultimately don't get used." Here's a post from author Hans Põldoja on EduFeedr. David T. Jones writes, "EduFeedr, unlike BIM, breaks free from the LMS. Which is arguably both, depending on context, a good and a bad thing."

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The Shadow Scholar
Ed Dante, Chronicle of Higher Education, November 17, 2010.

I'm sure people have been writing papers for other (wealthier, less literate) people for generations. Now that it's online, it's easier to set up as a business (though the practitioners are still underpaid and the (wealthier, less literate) graduates are still unable to do the job for which they've become certified (no problem, they'll become politicians and hire speech-writers, or CEOs and skim off the top). That's the system of academia we have set up. The Chronicle, though, sees this as an internet phenomenon (interestingly, this person writes at about the same speed I do - four or five pages an hour, or 250 words every 15 minutes).

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No, Stephen…
David Wiley, iterating toward openness, November 17, 2010.

David Wiley disagrees with my recent post about Creative Commons. He agrees with me that "Creative Commons licenses are band-aids placed on a severely over-reaching and broken copyright system." But he doesn't agree that the effect of Creative Commons licenses is to preserve copyright. "This argument is just silly," he writes, "and is equivalent to saying that 'ultimately, the effect of band-aids is that people will keep having boo-boos.'"

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

Macrowikinomics: Beyond Superman to a New Model of Education
Don Tapscott, Huffington Post, November 17, 2010.

From Don Tapscott's latest blog post (original here), a bit about what we're doing in New Brunswick: "It's heartening to know that a tiny province like New Brunswick is giving teachers plenty of opportunity to change their mode of teaching. Teachers can tap into government funds to create new and innovative programs. They can work with teachers around the globe to come up with new ways of teaching that make the most of the technological tools. Teens in New Brunswick are encouraged to meet teens around the globe in online forums and collaborate with them on projects. Technology, in other words, is only the tool. The real work is creating a new model of learning -- one that fits the 21st century." Now there's always going to be people who think that it's some kind of socialism, but I have confidence in the people here who are genuinely striving to give New Brunswickers the education they deserve.

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Blackboard 138 Patent in the Ether?
Barry Dahl, Desire2Blog, November 17, 2010.

Barry Dahl notices that the infamous Blackboard '138 patent is no longer listed on the company's patent page, and ponders the implications of this. My take: it means "case closed" and I can go back to thinking of Blackboard as just another technology company.

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Gravity attempts to be the Pandora of the Web
Samuel Gibbs, Download Squad, November 17, 2010.

Interesting approach: "Gravity proposes to use your public social network feeds in order to create an "interest graph" and, from there, use a language model currently consisting of 100 million (!) phrases to distinguish how things fit together. For instance, 'free throw' relates to 'basketball,' which in turn, relates to 'sport' -- meaning you might like content revolving around sport." Personally, I think much more interesting inferences can be drawn from more personal data, but you're not likely to want to share that with Facebook.

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Cornell Professor Outbursts at a Student Yawn
Chris, CynicalC, November 17, 2010.

A professor deals with a yawn in his classroom, and the result of course is posted on YouTube. I wonder how people who pay Cornell-sized tuition feel about being crammed 220 people in a room and berated by a professor who warns about his "bad side."

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Inside the Minds of Animals
Jeffrey Kluger, Time, November 17, 2010.

Interesting account of the cognitive capacities of animals. We've known for some time that animals can use tools, and have evidence of vocabulary and language in primates. But can animals plan, work cooperatively, count numbers, have emotions, have empathy for others, and have a sense of self? The evidence is that they can, and there is work describing how their brains work to produce this capacity. Birds, for example, know to place stones in water to raise the level so they can drink it. How? "hile the specialized cells in each section of mammalian basal ganglia do equally specialized work, the undifferentiated ones in birds' brains multitask, doing all those jobs at once. The result is the same - information is processed - but birds do it more efficiently."

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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