Darren Draper writes, "I see Will's abandonment of traditional blogging as a clear marker for the beginning of the end of long-form educational blogging." What am I, chopped liver? Yes, I've always preferred the short form here on OLDaily, but I will no doubt continue to write a steady stream of articles on my blog. Look, it really goes to motivation. When blogging was 'popular' it was flooded with marketers and consultants. But if you're trying to keep a channel of communication open to support your consulting business or book sales, then long-form blogging isn't going to do it for you. But if you have a desire to explore and talk about a subject of interest, then blogging is a good forum.
We ought, I agree, to abandon the idea of 'differentiated instruction' (and critics of learning styles need a different target to hang their criticism on). As Tom Welch, cited here, says, "What we really need to help occur in classroom is differentiated "learning." This accomplishes the student ownership of the learning, allows for a passion-driven approach, shifts the responsibility for the learning to the learner (where it belongs) and changes the teacher's role to what you consistently advocate. There also also many other reasons -- like the elimination of the typical classroom culture of dependency, and the way this allows learning to go viral by removing artificial timelines that ignore individual learner needs, passions and differences." This is very much what we're up to with MOOCs, I would say.
It's worth running this sort of item every once in a while to remind ourselves where we are in the development path of educational technology. If someone like Miguel Guhlin no longer wants to argue about it, that's good reason to say that this aspect of technology ahs arrived, and we're moving on now. The items:
- Education reform as an implementation of a new curriculum or professional development approach (we just don't need these formal approaches any more)
- The merit of using Moodle, wikis, blogs in K-12 education (if people don't get the benefits of these by now, they won't ever)
- The value of empowering end users to use social media tools (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Plurk, RSS feeds) to connect with their community and stakeholders (same)
- School finance changes (we get it - do more with less. was interesting when first proposed 20 years ago, now is just a part of life)
- the idea of any one solution being the be all, end all for education (nobody actually does this, but there's always someone (see Wiley, below) to carp that "such-and-such isn't the one and only solution")
Interesting video by the people at RSA Animate of Renata Salecl's talk on The Paradox of Choice. Choices, she says, are anxiety-provoking. We are always worried about how people will regard our choices. We want to make an ideal choice. Choice always involves the loss of possibilities. And there is the aspect of pretending to believe, which involves the idea of belief in the beliefs of others. The idea of choice is that you foster this belief in the ability of others to have choices, even in cases where you don't - if you are ill, for example, or unemployed, or somehow not a celebrity. Capitalism, says Seleci, is a system that feeds on this belief. It fosters the myth of choices being made where none have been made. In this way, it acts against social change, because it attributes causes to (fictitious) choices rather than to the system of government itself.
Good survey from Amy Gahran of the many ways people can reach each other using mobile media with a list ranging from the mobile website to social media to mobile apps to QR codes. Missing (so I perceive) is mobile webcast (as distinct from telephone or downloadable) audio - but maybe that's just because of my recent interests.
Updating the discussion on MOOCs following the Chronicle article earlier this week: David Wiley reponds to say he is not totally opposed to MOOCs, thinks they're a good idea, but would not recommend them for everyone. "Research has shown time and again that the less well prepared a person is academically, the more supportive structure they need as they begin their intellectual foray into the area." Maybe. But as George Siemens responds, "the process of clarifying confusion and disorientation - sensemaking and wayfinding in complex settings - is the learning." From my perspective, it's hard to see how a person can remain a novice their entire lives. At some point they need to graduate from being incapable of managing their own learning to being capable of it, and the sooner the better. If there is an argument for delaying this, and subjecting them to 15 years - or a lifetime - of scaffolding, I haven't heard it.
If you use Google Chrome (or have Windows and can install Google Chrome) then we have a treat for you: the brand new OLDaily Google Chrome application. It's available for free on the Google App Store; try installing it and taking it for a test drive. The app supports three features:
- full access to all OLDaily posts and commenting
- easy listening to the Ed Radio webcast stream
- access to the #oldaily IRC chat channel (note IRC may be blocked in your networks)
The idea is that you can listen to the radio and chat with other readers while browsing through the OLDaily listings. This application is a prototype for the development of similar apps for upcoming MOOCs on the Google Chrome and other platforms. So we want your feedback. Comment on this post, or send email to me. Thanks!
Alexander Hayes raises the question of pervasive surveillance as the new South Wales Department of Education and Training (DET) moves over to Google Apps. Now the department will save a pile of money in the process - the press release advertises a 66 percent savings. Which makes it something organizations like my own should be looking at seriously. The concerns about surveillance are not new but as Google expands capacity they become more pressing. Additionally, life in the cloud poses additional risks, suggests HBR writer Robert Plant. "The key issue is access to the data. Servers and technology can be found at secondary sites, but if the data is locked in the cloud, the business's ability to function may be severely compromised." Then again, I've lived with Outlook long enough to know that having the data on your local network is no guarantee either.
This is interesting: eight large universities in Australia have bypassed traditional media and are taking the message about new scientific discoveries directly to the people. " The Conversation, a website barely three months old, provides timely reports on issues of the day, written by the researchers themselves and directed at the Australian public." Now about 1,000 researchers from 39 universities have been contributing to the service. As it's near the end of the day I can't explore it thoroughly, but even after a quick look I'm already gushing all over it. This is what the internet promised. Now why can't we set up something like this in Canada? Bueller...? Bueller...?
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