OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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April 26, 2011

Feature Article
Debate Wrap-Up
Stephen Downes, April 26, 2011.

This is my final contribution to the WSIS-UNESCO debate. My apologies to those wanting to contribute - apparently registration is possible upon invitation only, and you have to e-mail wsiscommunity-invitation@unesco.org - I have complained about this ridiculous policy, however, arguing with the site owner is like arguing with glue.

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Introduction to gRSShopper
Stephen Downes, gRSShopper, April 26, 2011.

I've created a video introduction to gRSShopper. It's very short (around three minutes) and covers only the very basics. I'll add more videos later.

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A Policy Framework for Online Learning in Ontario
Maxim Jean-Louis, Ontario, April 26, 2011.

Maxim Jean-Louis sent me this document, a now-public draft of a policy framework for online learning in Ontario. Several major needs are addressed: providing access, increasing flexibility, and fostering 21st century skills and knowledge. It also addresses what might be called the "innovation imperative" and the need for cost-effectiveness. The proposal builds on Ontario's already strong education system, one which includes 787 online programs and 20,843 online courses (the most in Canada) as well as a network of literacy and skills providers, quality-assurance mechanisms, and numerous technology platform, service and infrastructure providers. The document describes "a one-stop online information service enabling course or program choice... online student services – career guidance, course choice, study skills support, library support... over 1,000 programs and 30,000 courses from publicly-assisted education and training providers..." and much more.

The report proposes establishing an Ontario Online Institute (OOI) to "increase the range and flexibility of online education and training opportunities available to students," to "support the use of online, workshop, face-to-face and any other methods to enrich the professional development of all publicly-assisted education," and again, more. The foci would be on degrees and degree completion, flexible trades and apprenticeships, use of technology to support students with disabilities, technology access, aboriginal students, and literacy skills. Finally, the program would "go global," seeking to establish an international market for Ontario learning.
Enclosure: files/docs/A_POLICY_FRAMEWORK_FOR_ONLINE_LEARNING_IN_ONTARIO_-_APRIL_25_2011_-_final.pdf Size: 389576 bytes, type: application/pdf

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Lights, Camera, Green Screen, Action!
Karen Ogen, InTec InSights, April 26, 2011.

Unlike all previous things I've read about green screens, this one actually taught me how to do it. That's got to be worth something! I have a lime-green screen at home (I got it ages ago, when I was experimenting with Pinnacle). Is the world ready for Downes on a green screen?

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The New Normal
Will Richardson, Weblogg-Ed, April 26, 2011.

Internet marketer Seth Godin created some ripples last week saying that there is no going back from the new economic reality. "Some people," he writes, "insist that if we focus on 'business fundamentals' and get 'back to basics,' all will return. Not so. The promise that you can get paid really well to do precisely what your boss instructs you to do is now a dream, no longer a reality." Quite so. Bosses beware.

This feeds directly into education. Gary Stager takes the pessimistic view. "Things can and will get worse, perhaps indefinitely. The public is on a collision course to defund education and other services intended for the common good." Tim Stahmer points to the futility of 'reform': "At the same time we in education are also doubling down on the 'back to basics' and on teaching kids how to follow someone else's instructions." We get Charlie Mas's Orwellian vision of education.

But there's an upside. Cathy Davidson says, "'Learning' is the free and open-source version of 'education.' It's about individuals connecting to knowledge and pursuing their passions among peers and guides with fewer constraints--time, place, cash, or otherwise." See Storming the Academy and FutureClass, or MyOn learning. And Will Richardson hopes for the most positive possibility. "I don't think schools go away in the interaction, the 'new normal' will be a focus on personalization not standardization, where we focus more on developing learners, not knowers, and where students will create works of beauty that change the world for the better."

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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