OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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May 12, 2011

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Visualising OLDM
Gráinne Conole, e4innovation.com, May 12, 2011.

This is less a 'visualization' and more a list of subheadings under the topic of Open Learning Design Methodology (OLDM). But it's a good list, and we can forgive Gráinne Conole if she doesn't have more informative diagrams. But we're placing her artist on notice... ;)

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The Crumple Zone
Ben Pobjie, Ben Pobjie's Wonderful World Of Objects, May 12, 2011.

files/images/BenBlackAngel.jpg, size: 6489 bytes, type:  image/jpeg I'll post my own story, one day. For now, I'll post this item (via Keith Lyon's Clyde Street) from Ben Pobjie on the comedian's struggles with depression. It - and the 192 comments that followed - offer yet another lesson on how valuable, how useful, it is to be able to post our thoughts for the world to read and respond. One of the single greatest things about the internet is that it has told millions of people - some with depression, some with Lupus, some who like knitting - you are not alone. (On a totally unrelated note, I note with interest that the Google advertisements on the page are providing results on sleep apnea. The ads are deceptive and misleading advertisements about non-existent Canadian government grants (and Google should be ashamed of them). But the idea that Google adwords links depression and sleep apnea is interesting, and a tantalizing hint of the sort of diagnostic tools that we could create in the future, tools that could be used for good, rather than to rip people off).

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Widgets and Mashups for Personal and Institutional Technologies
http://scottbw.wordpress.com/2011/05/11/widgets-and-mashups-for-personal-and-institutional-technologies/, Scott's Workblog, May 12, 2011.

Slides and the promise of a recording from a presentation by Scott Wilson on widgets and mashups in learning technology. He writes, "I think the main difference between how I see the world of devices interacting in education and some of the articles I've seen recently is that I assume that most of these devices are personal technologies – and because of that they will always be heterogeneous." This is, I think, an important point. We will want to use our own computers, and out own mobiles, and eventually, our own software, to access online learning. Thus, Wilson writes, "the challenge for education is providing resources and activities in an open and flexible way that will work – at least in some fashion – on any device... The biggest obstacle to doing any of this right now is platform fragmentation, which is being addressed by a major concerted effort from W3C to extend web standards... a better strategy is to invest in using web standards, and put pressure on vendors to adopt the W3C Device APIs that enable web applications to also make use of device features like cameras and SMS." Quite so.

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Harvard rallies round its man Ignatieff
Tamsin McMahon, National Post, May 12, 2011.

files/images/ignatieff.jpg, size: 26192 bytes, type:  image/jpeg This is via the National Post, which is not the most reliable of sources. But it points to a difference in attitudes in Canada and south of the border. Here, writes the Post, is the reaction at Harvard to Canada's recent election results: "I think they're unhappy that his time spent in the U.S. at Harvard ended up hurting him, not really helping him in the election," said Paul Cellucci, former U.S. ambassador to Canada and a former governor of Massachusetts. "They're not happy about that and I don't blame them. You would think that spending time in Harvard would have a positive impact on your future career path." You would think? Not necessarily. Sure, the pay is good, but a career at Harvard is essentially one where you help the children of rich parents get rich. That might get you good jobs with other rich people, but it doesn't demonstrate the sort of social conscience one would expect from a national leader in Canada. Even Stephen Harper, Canada's Conservative prime minister, spent time in public service prior to seeking the top job, both as president of the National Citizen's Coalition, and as a Reform Party volunteer and candidate. What makes the life as an academic laudable is the dedication to public service, but there are venues - like Harvard - where that no longer applies. This, I think, is what they don't get at Harvard (and probably never will).

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Perseverating on Perseverative Error: What Does The "A-not-B Error" Really Tell Us About Infant Cognition?
Jason G. Goldman, ScienceBlogs, May 12, 2011.

I've been following an interesting series in ScienceBlogs on the work of Hungarian psychologists György Gergely and Gergely Csibra who propose that there is a 'natural pedagogy' that is specific to humans. The move to natural pedagogy involves two steps:
- first, the proposal that 'learning' is the acquisition of information now that can be used later - in other words, the acquisition of generalizations; and
- second, humans have a mechanism for determining when incoming information is intended to be a generalization to be learned, rather than specific to the current situation

At first we might think that the generalization is coded in the language, as in the statement, "Airplanes fly." But research on infants using baby talk suggests that the mere use of language, whatever the content, in addition to demonstration, triggers the learning mechanism. It's an interesting theory that I don't entirely buy, but the idea that specific phenomena, such as language use, may make us more receptive, seems to make sense.

The Pedagogy Series
Part 1: Perseverating on Perseverative Error: What Does The "A-not-B Error" Really Tell Us About Infant Cognition?
Part 2: Are Infants Born Prepared For Learning? The Case for Natural Pedagogy
Part 3: Is Pedagogy Specific to Humans? Teaching in the Animal World

For more on social learning:
- How Do You Figure Out How Chimps Learn? Peanuts.
- More on Chimpanzees and Peanuts
- Ed Tronick and the "Still-Face Experiment"
- Social Cognition in a Non-Social Reptile? Gaze-Following in Red-Footed Tortoises

For more on animal communication:
- Robot Lizard Push-ups
- To Hear A Mockingbird: The Plight of the Iguana
- Hands Off My Bone!
- Giant Birds and Terrified Monkeys
- Elephants Say "Bee-ware!"

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David Noble and john Johnston, Website, May 12, 2011.

Following a link to an audio recording of several ways. Audio files can be emailed, posts on iPadio or AudioBoo can be tagged to be picked up automatically by EDUtalk It is simple to post to EDUtalk from mobile devices. EDUtalk is open to contributions from anyone on any aspect of education." I've been recording and posting my talks since 2004, but it takes a certain amount of skill; a service like EDUtalk, it seems to me, could bridge that gap.

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Redefining Colleges' Costs and Benefits
Libby A. Nelson, Inside Higher Ed, May 12, 2011.

The battle lines are being drawn. This week's skirmish centres around a report funded by the University of Phoenix recommending government favour private for-profit institutions. "If your goal is bachelor's degree attainment and that's the only goal you have for higher education, and your other goal is to minimize all costs to the taxpayer, period, then investing in private institutions saves money."

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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