OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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January 10, 2011

Feature Article
Better Education Through Technology
Stephen Downes, January 10, 2011.

Kentaro Toyama is right to say technology won't improve learning. It doesn't; improving learning requires a complex infrastructure of the sort you find in wealthy nations. Taken in a wider context, however, the new technologies are invariably better. Typically, once people are used to them, they provide a great speed advantage. And there's the advantage of volume. But more, these and other technologies make it possible to do new things. Wealth nations don't use technology because they are wealthy; they are wealthy because they use technology. And using technology in education is a part, an essential part, of that.

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Why Isn't It About the Pedagogy?
Doug Peterson, doug - off the record, January 10, 2011.

My answer to the question "Why isn't it about the pedagogy?" is something along the lines of, "because it's about the learning, not the teaching." It's sometimes frustrating that I don't see educators getting that - though on reflection I suppose that educators will necessarily be the last to get that. But I do wish the people who repeat the mantra, "it's all about the teaching," "it's all about the pedagogy," and the like, would take a wider view (here's another one). I won't go so far as to say that the technology makes the pedagogy unnecessary, but I will say, if you're using the same pedagogy with a stick and sand as you are using with a high-speed computer network, you really don't understand teaching and learning.

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Metadata for Learning Materials: An Overview of Existing Standards and Current Development
Phil Barker and Lorna M. Campbell, Technology, Instruction, Cognition and Learning, January 10, 2011.

Good overview of the current state of learning resources metadata, focusing on IEEE learning Object Metadata (IEEE-LOM) and Dublin Core. The authors note that IEEE-LOM " is not based on an abstract model shared with other metadata schema, and does not align with base standards for semantic interoperability, such as RDF," which has led to a recent interoperability initiative. Dublin Core consists of the DCMI Abstract Model and DCMI Metadata Terms. While Dublin Core is widely used, "the more recent approaches based on the DC Abstract Model, DC Terms and the Singapore Framework, while guided by sound theoretical principals, are as yet unproven by mass implementation." Recent work includes integration with the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH), mapping the IEEE LOM to the DCMI abstract model, and a Dublin Core educational profile. There's also a reference to ISO Metadata for Learning Resources (ISO-MLR) but no discussion of SCORM.

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Open Content, Where You Want It, In A Space You Control
Bill Fitzgerald, Funny Monkey, January 8, 2011.

Video and text describing an educational open content system built on top of Voicebox, which is itself built on Drupal. "It is designed to be porous, and it is designed to be installed and run by the people or organization creating the content. It can be as public or as private as you want it to be, but that decision is left up to individual content authors."

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.