OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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

January 20, 2011

files/images/ericroberts-production-openings.jpgw455h201, size: 29036 bytes, type:
Computing Education Blog
Mark Guzdial, Computing Education Blog, January 20, 2011.

All this emphasis on science and engineering graduates, and yet when you look at where people are actually getting jobs...

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

Wikipedia turns 10: Are we banning or boosting?
Doug Johnson, The Blue Skunk Blog, January 20, 2011.

files/images/Wikipedia_motivational_poster_by_Fatalcrash.jpg__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION1295453191631, size: 99554 bytes, type:   I have a love-hate attitude toward Wikipedia. Not the usual sort of "can we trust it?" or "should we block it?" kind of attitude. I love the idea of Wikipedia, the idea that you can create a valuable resource by letting anyone make whatever change they want. But I hate what has happened more recently, with the evolution of Wikipedia 'editors' who do nothing but vandalize, posting notices saying that some article is inadequate, a candidate for deletion, or whatever. And it is with some irony that I post the question to these editors that Doug Johnson poses to Wikipedia critics: is it better to ban the less worth articles, or to boost them? I think that if Wikipedia were an article in Wikipedia (some nice recursive thing there), the Wikipedia editors would ban it, because it's not a reliable published source. So I think that unless they fix this editing problem, Wikipedia is due for a long and slow decline into oblivion, swirling around the drain of recursive self-immolation.

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

How DBpedia Treats Wikipedia as a Database
Alex Williams, ReadWriteCloud, January 20, 2011.

files/images/lod-datasets_2010-09-22_colored-thumb-150x97-26645.png, size: 77165 bytes, type:  image/png Questions I asked myself as I read this: how many people does Wikipedia index, out of the billions who have ever lived? only 364,000? how does the ontology reflect our prejudices (and our odd adulation of artists and politicians)? How do I find stuff in it? Am I in it? (Answer: no, even though I'm in Wikipedia, warts and all.) should I download the database and somehow integrate it into my website? How? So many possibilities. But if I'm not in it, what good is it?

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

World Question Center
Various Authors, Edge, January 20, 2011.

Edge is a bit hit or miss with their annual questions post to (what they call) third culture intellectuals . This year's question is, "What scientific concept would improve everybody's cognitive toolkit." You can find the answers starting here. But be warned - the answers are almost universally disappointing, ranging from such canards as "TANSTAAFL (There ain't no such thing as a free lunch)" to sceptical empiricism to "the pointless universe," with a smattering of logical and mathematical concepts in between. The answers unfailingly took the perspective this this would be a concept that other people should in some way possess or know. I would have answered "ESP." Because if we had that, we could invent ESP machines, then everybody could access everybody else's thoughts directly, and then nobody would have to learn (in the traditional sense) anything. Such an answer, though, falls outside the predictivism (and predictable) scope of the question. Via Mark Oehlert, who likes Don Tapscott's line about "Why don't schools and universities teach design thinking for thinking?" and Roger Schank's admonition that "Some scientific concepts have been so ruined by our education system that it is necessary to explain about the ones that everyone thinks they know about when they really don't."

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

files/images/Wolfram-Algebra.jpg, size: 33367 bytes, type:  image/jpeg
Wolfram education apps raise teaching dilemma
Stephen Shankland, CNet News.com, January 20, 2011.

Wolfram releases a new e-learning application, and raises some old issues. "The more I looked at Mathematica," writes Stephen Shankland, "the more it seemed that all that struggling to find the integral of sec^3(x)dx in Mrs. Strong's 12th-grade calculus class was, in a sense, busywork." Well, yeah, it becomes, in essence, a fancy calculator (and is hence e-learning about as much as a calculator is). Meanwhile, "I see computer-aided knowledge as an asset," writes Shankland. "Google and Wikipedia may often substitute for real research and learning, but in my experience they've opened up vistas of knowledge I hadn't realized existed." At least Wolfram has done some learning, finally realizing you can't charge $50 for an iPhone. See also: Microsoft math and more.

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

MOOC newbie Voice - Week 2 Big Data... must be important... it's big!
Dave Cormier, Dave's Educational Blog, January 20, 2011.

It's interesting being a participant in two other open online courses while at the same time offering my own and (trying to be) doing all my other work. It reinforces to me how important the regular updates are. I'm still in the ballpark in the Learning Analytics course, thanks to George Siemens's short daily mailouts and summaries like this one from Dave Cormier. I'm getting no notifications from #ds106, though, and have completely lost touch - apparently there was a week 2 assignment? More than one? But I can't figure out what it was based on the information I have at hand.

[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.