OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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June 21, 2011

Change a Culture and You've Changed the Future
Darren Draper, Drape's Takes, June 21, 2011.


As John Lennon once said, you don't create a revolution by changing the leaders. You only create revolution by changing the people. That is no doubt why activists on all sides of the political spectrum are trying so hard to influence education. But the second part to the saying is this: you don't change the people. The people change themselves. That is the point of this post by Darren Draper and the article he cites by Scott McLeod. That is the paradox of the idea of 'leadership' often invoked by McLeod, as for example when he writes things like "When the leaders don’t 'get it,' it doesn’t happen." And yet, it does happen, often without the knowledge or approval of the leaders - that, indeed, is the point of the article! "A learning revolution has occurred and -given the attention we’ve paid it - it’s as if many of us didn’t care." I think Draper has the better take on this. "Sometimes I think we work too hard to push (force?) those along who will eventually - and very naturally - be left behind," he writes. It is better to "trategically attack each of the barriers that hold so many back" and trust people to move themselves.

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet] [Tags: Leadership, Online Learning, Paradigm Shift]


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Everything is a Remix
Kirby Ferguson, Website, June 21, 2011.


I enjoyed the three parts of Everything is a Remix over lunch today, playing it on Ed Radio (Part One, Part Two, Part Three). The videos demonstrate well the three elements of creativity (pictured above), copying, transforming and remixing. It's a bit disconcerting watching them, though, as the episodes end half way through the fifteen minute video (and then you get two minutes of sales pitch and five minutes of epilog).

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet] [Tags: Video]


BICS and CALP: Empirical and Theoretical Status of the Distinction
Jim Cummins, The University of Toronto, June 21, 2011.


Reading a review of Sousa's How the ELL Brain Learns led me to this excellent paper. On the face of it, the paper addresses a very narrow issue: that a distinction may be drawn between basic interpersonal communicative skills (BICS) and cognitive academic language proficiency (CALP). But it covers much wider ground, exploring the ways in which language-learning is not a single skill, but a set of interrelated skills. If, for example, you compare a six-year old and a 12-year old, "there are enormous differences in these children's ability to read and write English and in the depth and breadth of their vocabulary knowledge, but minimal differences in their phonology or basic fluency." I think applies more generally. 'Knowing physics' on the baseball field or the billiards table is very different from 'knowing physics' in the laboratory, even if exactly the same underlying principles are at play.

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet] [Tags: Online Learning, Academia]


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'Perceptual Learning' Teaching Method Used At New Roads School In Santa Monica
Unattributed, Huffington Post, June 21, 2011.


"If you study people who are really good at things," says Phillip J. Kellman, "always the first thing that jumps out is these people are picking up information differently." This is the basis behind 'perceptual learning', the subject of an all-too-brief report here. The idea of perceptual learning is to practice picking out patterns in perception (for example, though the use of indicator words) rather than plodding through (and 'decoding') paragraphs and other presentations of problem sets. I definitely think there's something to this. Would I want to replace all of education with the exercises described here? No. But there's merit to the idea that expertise is as much a matter of how we perceive the world as it is (say) the acquisition of a bundle of facts and knowledge.

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet] [Tags: Schools]


License or public domain for public sector information?
Mike Linksvayer, Creative Commons, June 21, 2011.


My first reaction to the Creative Commons article was to ant to repeat the mantra "open does not mean commercial, open does not mean commercial" over and over to them. Because this article comes off as yet another article touting certain licenses as the One True definition of open. As in this: "We strongly prefer governments use fully free/open CC tools " the CC0 Public Domain Dedication and CC Attribution (BY) and Attribution-ShareAlike (BY-SA) licenses." But this - as I have argued at length elsewhere - is just a license to allow some company to effectively lock down open government data and force it into channels where access is prevented with a paywall. But this article also points to the Open Definition by the Open Knowledge Project, which offers a much better definition of 'open' than any of the Creative Commons licenses.

Two clauses are specifically meritorious:
- The work shall be available as a whole and at no more than a reasonable reproduction cost, preferably downloading via the Internet without charge (I read this as meaning you can't lock it behind a paywall).
- The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the work in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the work from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic research.
This allows for commercial use, which I have always supported, as distinct from commercial sale. If the Creative Commons people can advance beyond mindlessly parroting the myth that CC-by is "fully free" then we may have some room to advance the cause of open access.

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet] [Tags: Research, Open Access]


F**k NPR, Here Come the Streamers!
Adam Curry, , June 21, 2011.


files/images/no_agenda.jpg, size: 14066 bytes, type:  image/jpeg I've always liked what Adam Curry puts on the internet, and in this latest project he's doing exactly what I'm trying to do with Ed Radio - pull content from RSS feeds and use it to create live streaming radio. This, of course, is an oldish idea; what's new is the use of streaming radio. He's been doing it on his podcast for years. And it's similar to the way ds106 radio was set up, where the on-air content was composed of submissions uploaded via dropbox (and it looks like Curry will also use Dropbox). "All this can be automated," writes Curry, "the technology is in place. It's time for RSS to revolutionize radio. And you're going to be a part of it." I don't know exactly where this will go, but it's a fun way to produce a radio stream that is really interesting and unpredictable, and something I will definitely continue to explore over the summer.

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet] [Tags: Project Based Learning, Push versus Pull, Podcasting, RSS, Paradigm Shift]


Indicators and what they Indicate #connectivism #elearning #efl
Glen Cochrane, A Point of Contact, June 21, 2011.


As this article suggests, Connectivism (as I understand it) is non-representationalist. That is, "The theory seems to suggest that language, or other representations of knowledge, are disregarded... It seems reluctant to move into the world of symbols and practical application; to move beyond structure; to move into the realm of value-making. It shuns the world of intent." But we want to be careful about how this is explained. I would not say, for example, "The theory disregards any learner’s, human or otherwise, point of view." Quite the opposite; there is only point of view - but this point of view should be understood not in terms of what it represents, not in terms of (externally defined) values or intentions, but in itself, not in terms of language, mathematics, or any other externally defined representational system. The 'linguistic pull' is the (incorrect) tendency to conflate the properties of language with the properties of thought. (p.s. Glen, put your name on your blog). Via Susan Bainbridge's Scoop.

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet] [Tags: Connectivism, Push versus Pull, Web Logs, Online Learning]


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Neuro-tweets: #hashtagging the brain
Unattributed, University of Cambridge, June 21, 2011.


For readers of this newsletter the comparison between the structure of the brain and the structure of a Twitter network is old hat. But there's a nifty video effect worth the 30 seconds it takes to view, the result of an experiment set up by a Cambridge professor. So, what's not to like? Via Ed Webb on Diigo.

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet] [Tags: Twitter, Video, Networks, Newsletters]


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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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