OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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January 25, 2011

Your Memory is Not all That Good
Kark Kapp, Kapp Notes, January 25, 2011.

Totally worth noting: "Brain research is pretty clear on this point. Bona fide recorded memory is a very rare thing on this planet. The reason is that the brain isn't interested in reality: it's interested in survival. So it will change the perception of reality to stay in survival mode. Unfortunately, many people still believe that brain is a lot like a recording device–that learning something is like pushing the 'record' button and remembering is simply pushing 'playback.' in the real world of the brain, however, that metaphor is an anachronism."

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One week to go until we launch #purposed!
Doug Belshaw, Synechism, January 25, 2011.

files/images/purposed_launch.png, size: 34414 bytes, type:  image/png Interesting. Doug Belshaw: "On 1st February 2011 we'll be launching Purpos/ed as the first step of a 3-year road to instigate and facilitate a debate about the purpose of education.... Even better than adding a lone voice, however, is launching into action. That's what we're aiming longer-term with Purpos/ed, but in the shorter-term why not get involved in some local activism with #ncr11, co-ordinated by Graham Brown-Martin (Learning Without Frontiers)?" presumably a more informative post will follow...? And a more nuanced vision of the purpose of education than 'health, wealth and happiness'.

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Predictions are what will likely happen…not what *should* happen
Janet Clarey, Spinning the Social Web, January 25, 2011.

The annual list of predictions in eLearning Magazine is out (it actually came out a couple weeks ago but I missed it) featuring the usual pundits. Though that said, I agree with Janet Clarey's observation that "predictions are what will likely happen…not what should happen." She predicts, "Aggregators, mobile support, and real-time collaboration will bring a new level of complexity to the increasingly distributed, knowledge-driven workplace." All true, and I think that technologically we are in a very interesting time. The major story of the year, though, in my view, will be the reduction of public funding to educational institutions, and the corresponding rush from the corporate sector to fill the gap. We will especially see some very interesting agreements (maybe even mergers) between content providers, technology companies, and education service providers.

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The question is not whether, but how ICT can be useful in education
Rob van Son, Educational Technology Debate, January 25, 2011.

Here's another contribution to the recent Education Technology debate on whether information and communications technologies (ICTs) are a worthwhile investment in schools. With Rob van Son, I am inclined to agree that "the question is not whether, but how ICT can be useful in education." That said, his argument that, "In my opinion, the only real question is How can technology benefit failing schools?" is an odd turn indeed, but perhaps mot surprising after a narrow definition of the purpose of education, "to improve the future Wealth, Health, and Happiness of the children" (his capitalization), his discussion of the productivity of teachers, and his reduction of educational theory to a debate between Athenians and Spartans.

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A TAACCCTful mandate? OER, SCORM and the $2bn grant
Lorna Campbell, Lorna's JISC CETIS blog, January 25, 2011.

There has been a flurry of commentary around the U.S. Department of Labour's funding of open educational resources (OERs), much of it summarized in Lorna Campbell's excellent wrap-up. The biggest issue has been the debate around mandated standards; John Robertson has captured the twit-scorm around it. She also links to Charles Severance's criticism of ADL's SCORM. Clint Lalonde enumerates the reasons why SCORM is unsuitable for education. There's even a petition against the use of SCORM. It's probably worth reading some background. While at one time, IMS would have seemed to be the natural custodian of SCORM, as Aaron Silvers writes, "over the years, the relationship between ADL and IMS became strained," and ADL decided first to pass it over to a wider group called LETSI, and then keep stewardship itself. IMS, meanwhile, developed what is essentially a competing specification in IMS Common Cartridge along with Learning Tools Interoperability. Meanwhile, people who want to learn more about SCORM might want to check out ADL's brand new YouTube channel.

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I am no longer willing to hurt children - John Taylor Gatto (A compilation)
Lisa Nielsen, The Innovative Educator, January 25, 2011.

A good selection of background reading material on John Taylor Gatto. "Gatto points out, this system:
- Teaches children that their worth is determined by other people
- Causes children to be dependent on teachers/experts rather than on themselves
- Praises total conformity and condemns individuality as a threat to the system
- Teaches that schedule, not interesting work, is what has value
- Teaches that value is only possible under conditions of competition
- Leaves children with almost no private time."

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On the monetary value of an education, and bad statistics
Daniel Lemire, Weblog, January 25, 2011.

The numbers demonstrating the monetary value of a higher education look good, says Daniel Lemire. But so did the numbers promising a return on your investment in the stock market. "Anyone who invested massively in the 1950s is probably wealthy right now. But the return on investment in the first decade on the twenty first century has been negative... most people have lost money! Is it safe to predict that, eventually, the 1950s will come back? Nobody knows." And similarly, the market for higher education may fail. "Effectively, this has already happened with Ph.D. in many fields (see Don't become a scientist by Katz). The promise of good jobs to those who study hard will be broken."

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Visualize your network connections
Bonni Stachowiak, Teaching in Higher Education, January 25, 2011.

files/images/downes_linkedin.jpg, size: 69048 bytes, type:  image/jpeg Yesterday I asked #CCK11 participants to submit their examples of network diagrams. As examples, I posted a few recent network diagrams I've covered here in OLDaily. Bonni Stachowiak commented on the post, telling me about this service that creates a diagram of my LinkedIn connections (For some reason Google deleted this comment. I am reposting it, and telling Google, HANDS OFF!). Here's the shareable version of my LinkedIn network. Also, from the Learning Analytics course, I have downloaded and been experimenting with NodeXL, an Excel plug-in that created network diagrams given a set of connections (ie., nodes and edges). I've built a map of Twitter accounts referring to CCK11 (see left), limited to 200 people because of Twitter access limits.

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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