OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

[Home] [Top] [Archives] [Mobile] [About] [Threads] [Options]

December 21, 2010

Feature Article
My Personal Passion Trajectory
Stephen Downes, December 21, 2010.

John Hagel hits on an interesting thing, a way of describing how his interests have changed through time, merging to create his unique perspective on the world. Mine, too... Harvested from Half an Hour.

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

Feature Article
The Knowledge Hunters
Stephen Downes, December 21, 2010.

At its heart, what I have to write about is a theory of education based on personal freedom, empowerment and creativity - and I positively know that 70s progressives talked about this, and I am wholeheartedly in agreement with them, and arguably the product of such an education.

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

files/images/12-19-10allot.jpg, size: 48343 bytes, type:  image/jpeg
Wireless carriers openly considering charging per service
Nilay Patel, Engadget, December 21, 2010.

CBC's radio coverage said it best: net neutrality for now, but not necessarily net neutrality. This seems to be the outcome of the FCC decision today to sort of tenuously grant a sort of compromise version of net neutrality. We are being told that the 'open internet' is just a pipe dream'. Meanwhile, we're getting some glimpses of what the carriers would like to do. They'd basically like a stranglehold on everything that's delivered, charging differentiated and premium service charges for access to things like Skype, YouTube, and Facebook. What's worse - from my perspective - is that those are the services they support. The sort of services we want - like free, open and non-commercial education - would simply not be available. But the carriers don't have that yet. So I guess that's the good news.

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

The disposable academic
Unattributed, The Economist, December 21, 2010.

The privateers smell blood in the water and have lined up their media, such as the Economist, to make the case for privatizing the university system. This article suggests that earning a PhD is a waste of time. "In some subjects the premium for a PhD vanishes entirely. PhDs in maths and computing, social sciences and languages earn no more than those with master's degrees. The premium for a PhD is actually smaller than for a master's degree in engineering and technology, architecture and education." And, more significantly, it accuses universities of luring people into the programs merely for the supply of cheap labour. "In America the rise of PhD teachers' unions reflects the breakdown of an implicit contract between universities and PhD students: crummy pay now for a good academic job later." And it suggests that even the funders are misled. "The organisations that pay for research have realised that many PhDs find it tough to transfer their skills into the job market."

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

files/images/121610-wiressgen-screen.png, size: 456196 bytes, type:  image/png
Can standardization and innovation coexist in education?
Marie Bjered, O'Reilly Radar, December 21, 2010.

This article describes the application of standards to learning technology, something that is old hat and retreated theory for those of us who have been in the game for a while - but this is just a shell, a vehicle in which to convey the real story, which is buried: "the Wireless Generation White Paper highlights a specific theory for students' learning trajectories in math, yet at the same time provides a structure they refer to as a 'honeycomb' for specifying that theory... Wireless Generation has an intriguing framework for such a platform (which is probably why it was just acquired by News Corp. for $360 million). With the resources of News Corp. joined with the innovative platform approaches of Wireless Generation, standardization at the right layers is a real and compelling possibility." It's obviously a placement piece, maybe lifted from a press release, maybe a paid placement. But it signals the possibility that News Corp, the Rupert Murdoch owned organization that runs Fox news, may be lining up to compete with the Washington Post to provide education, and eventually, degrees (just like their counterparts in Britain).

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

files/images/By-Segment.png, size: 64060 bytes, type:  image/png
The Evolving LMS Market, Part I
Michael Feldstein, e-literate, December 21, 2010.

Distractingly interesting analysis of the LMS market trends in the U.S. post-secondary education market space. This market, of course, is divided neatly into two parts: Blackboard, at roughly 70 percent, and everything else. The everything else divides mostly int Moodle and Sakai, the open source alternatives, and Desire2Learn, the major commercial alternative. Feldstein looks at migration factors and gives us a projection shoing non-Blackboard alternatives reaching 60 percent by 2014. Bad news for Blackboard, if nothing changes - but there is every reason to expect significant change between now and then, including Pearson's Frontier or Instructure's Canvas LMS. And the LMS market as a whole could be shaken by out-of-market developments.

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

Playbutton: Self-playing music for digital times
Robert Plummer, BBC News, December 21, 2010.

files/images/_50346944_anajean_bubbles.jpg, size: 18156 bytes, type:  image/jpeg This is a fabulous invention. The 'playbutton' is something you wear, as a button, that has a picture of an album on the front, and is a mini-MP3 player, into which your earbuds plug. So you support your favorite bands by displaying their badges while listening to their tunes. The music, of course, is sharable MP3. But the buttons are collectibles. "The Playbutton is a digital music album in the form of a badge, providing album artwork that you can wear. Pin it to your lapel, plug in a pair of headphones and you can walk down the street displaying your musical taste as you listen. 'It's a small object, perfect and immediate, that you can hold in your hand,' says Nick Dangerfield, founder of the New York-based Playbutton company."

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

Architects of Vascularization Building Lattices of Learning - The #PLENK2010 Experience
Jennifer Chesney, Sparks & Flashes, December 21, 2010.

More reflection on massive open online courses (moocs). Jennifer Chesney writes, "We need to get serious about collaboration and create a lattice for learning so that students can weave in and out of them as they wish, in what makes sense to them." Also, Tony Searl wonders, "Would (M)OOc's be any more successful with self organised learners drawn from non traditional non-institutional backgrounds? Those from a clean slate un-schooled environment who did not have to unlearn previous potentially inefficient ways of learning?" Finally, One thing the courses have taught me (and this lesson appears only a month after the course ends) is that the start-stop nature of the course provides a necessary disruption in the settled order of the network. A Boltzmann mechanism on a larger scale - one where we 'shake up' the network and let it reform, as a process of annealing.

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

Online Educa Berlin 2010 Keynote: Building Networked Learning Environments
Josie Fraser, SocialTech, December 20, 2010.

Interesting commentary that finds that point of intersection between personal learning environments, digital literacy, and issues of poverty. "It's in this context - although there are many other drivers and benefits - that schools have a powerful and essential role to play in supporting and modelling the use of technology. Ensuring the infrastructure is in place is critical - but just making sure connectivity and tools are available doesn't transform education." Slides from her Online Educa Berlin presentation are also available.

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

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 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.