OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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March 15, 2011

Educational Projection: Supporting Distributed Learning Online
Stephen Downes, March 15, 2011, II Conferencia Internacional e-Learning 2011, Madrid, via GoToMeeting

With the development of the personal learning environment, the open online course, and informal learning outside the institution, teachers and professors may be wondering what they can do to support education in this new environment. In this talk we will examine the mechanisms educational providers and institutions can employ in order to project learning resources and services into the community and workplace where they are needed. The talk will focus first on the principles of educational projection, and then discuss practical mechanisms, such as cloud services, event amplification and content curation.

[Link] [Slides] [Audio]

Quality of Open Educational Resources
Terry Anderson, Virtual Canuck, March 15, 2011.

Terry Anderson takes a crack at Tony Bates's challenge on the quality of OERs, offering a pretty basic bootstrap argument: "The commercial publishers have led educators to expect a model where they produce the quality content and educator's buy their product [but] it is time we trained ourselves and pre service teachers to become produsers, not whining consumers with insufficient cash to buy the products we want... the only viable alternative is as Rory has argued to make do, upgrade, enhance, edit, illustrate, customize and otherwise become produsers."

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The Way You Learned Math Is So Old School
Staff, NPR, March 15, 2011.

files/images/EkGPU.jpg, size: 14104 bytes, type:  image/jpeg This is interesting. I learned to do math the 'old' way - that is, by multiplying the top number by each digit of the bottom number, shifting, and adding the products. The 'new way' apparently involves multiplying each digit by each digit. I don't think it's easier. I don't do it either way any more. I multiply by the nearest whole number and subtract the difference (or add the difference). I guess the advantage of the new way is that all your multiplications are one digit by one digit. So if you must work it out in your head, you can at least ballpark it. I don't know, though. If you do a lot of counting (eg., in retail, where you should be able to just look at a stack of boxes and know how many units you have) it really makes sense to be able to do it the old way. Via TechDirt.

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Poker Bots Invade Online Gambling
Gabriel Dance, New York Times, March 15, 2011.

I know, I've sworn off the New York Times more times than you can count. But you won't want to miss this item about automated online poker players that outsmart the humans. It identifies what may be a new field of employment - identifying and shutting down robot accounts. I certainly spend enough time doing that on my web site.

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On limiting learning and impairing comprehension with mobile technologies
Artichoke, Artichoke, March 15, 2011.

Reading this post my main reaction was "Where's the real Artichoke and what did you do with her?" I wonder, because this attack on reading online seems uncharacteristic. It's not that she holds an unpopular view; no, nothing new there, Artichoke is a wealth of opinions from all across the spectrum. It's just that this particular item seems so, well, shallow. Would the real Artichoke say "The ways in which reading from a screen can limit learning and comprehension is not common knowledge for governments, parents, educators, students or sales representatives. Any caveat over readability issues and the betrayal of learning outcomes is largely ignored?" Would the real Artichoke use 10-year-old data like this: "Reading text (long-form) is slower on tablets (iPad, Kindle) than reading print text for adults (with at least high school levels of literacy). Research on reading speeds suggests that reading on paper is between 10% to 30% faster than reading online. (Jakob Nielsen and Kurniawan, S., and P Zaphiris (2001) Reading Online or on Paper: Which is Faster?" Please bring back the real Artichokle, the one who knows people do talk about outcomes, all the time, and that today's e-reading devices make those of 2001 look like Palm Pilots... no, wait, they were Palm Pilots.

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An open university prep course - MOOC for basic skills
Dave Cormier, Dave's Educational Blog, March 15, 2011.

Dave Cormier contemplates a university prep course - "a massive open online course for basic skills." It's a good idea and he has support for it: "UPEI has funded a 30 month project exploring the possibilities of running Massive Open Online Courses to help students prepare themselves for university the year before the arrive. The course is not targeted for our university specifically, but rather at the university experience anywhere they may experience it." He's looking for suggestions, so this is a good chance to let him know what's needed.

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Rooms Full of Scribes
Alan Levine, CogDogBlog, March 15, 2011.

files/images/5528771574_3e7e7376bc.jpg, size: 116294 bytes, type:  image/jpeg Alan Levine wonders about all the note-taking. " I found myself wondering about the effectiveness of pretty much half? three quarters? of the audience individually taking notes, essentially more or less the same content. Those notes then go back to various silos, files, buried folders on computers. It seems on on level a huge missed opportunity in collaboration, and super redundant of people's energy." On the one hand, yes, there's a lot of content that could and should be shared. On the other hand, the real value of the notes happens at the moment of the taking of the note - that's when you're engaged with the presentation and working it through in your own mind. But yes, the notes help other people later, and should be shared.

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Unschool House Rock
Jim Groom, bavatuesdays, March 15, 2011.

Video and overview of unschooling in the Groom household. Two things to highlight:
- "There will be no curriculum. None. Period. To home school seems to me to defeat the purpose of the experiment, and for us allowing as much freedom as possible for all of us to share and learn is crucial," and
- "Unschooling for us need not be understood as some repudiation of the public trust, or public schools. Nor need it be understood in the stark, divisive terms of institutions need to be gutted... Fact is, on a daily basis we depend upon all kinds of public institutions to carry out this process: the local libraries (which are amazing), the University of Mary Washington (for both flexibility and my paycheck), as well as the innumerable people at innumerable institutions who share things with us all the time."
The face of public education changes; it doesn't go away. A future without public education is not the sort of future I'm working toward.

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Let it Shine #edusolidarity
Doug Noon, Borderland, March 15, 2011.

files/images/5527497133_bd1b4f98bd.jpg, size: 76102 bytes, type:  image/jpeg I won't make this long, but I'll make it clear: I am in suuport of teachers' unions (I am in support of unions for me, too, which is why I'm a proud member of the Canadian Association of Professional Employees. I've been a member of various other unions in my past, including the Canadian Union of Educational Workers, Canadian Union of Public Employees, and the Hotel, Restaurant and Tavern Workers Union local 237. I've never doubted that the union was my best (and often only) means to negotiate a fair wage and working conditions, and my suggestion to non-union people who resent the gains unions have been able to win is that they join a union and win the same benefits for themselves (we'll help!). I might write about educational technology and I may even criticize teachers and their representatives, but never doubt that I am solidly on the side of labour, employee unionism, and collective bargaining.

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Various Authors, Website, March 15, 2011.

The Consortium on School Networking (CoSN) has launched a new website "focused on providing access to online environments in K-12." The site, called access4ed.net, "will start with a focus on student-owned devices and bring-your-own-technology (BYOT) initiatives. It will include conversations around key issues, case studies from districts addressing them, discussion of policy issues and how to address them, and opportunities to connect with education leaders in districts similar to and different from yours." See also the Connected Online Communities of Practice project. Se also the various online initiatives CoSN supports.

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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