OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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July 21, 2011

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The Wrath Against Khan: Why Some Educators Are Questioning Khan Academy
Audrey Watters, Hack Education, July 21, 2011.

This is a good summary of some of the discussion around the Khan Academy after Wired's post on the learning initiative last week. Though most known for the videos, there's three major parts: the videos, learning games (that give 'badges' for success), and a dashboard for teachers and parents. This summary blurs some of the sharp divide between Khan and his critics. As the Wired article has it, Stager responds that "The videos and software modules... are just a high tech version of that most hoary of teaching techniques—lecturing and drilling. Schools have become 'joyless test-prep factories.'" Well maybe he says that. But as Watters says, Wired author Clive Thompson "waters down Constructivism (or constructionism, as the article says), the learning theory supported by these two Khan-objectors, to the 'idea that students won’t really understand math unless they discover each principle on their own.'" Which is a caricature of the position. I think there's a lot that Khan could do better. But I also really like the bare-bones low-tech approach that can function as a structure we can link to other more MOOC-like more constructivist or constructionist-like learning activities.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Schools, Video, Constructivism, Constructionism, Online Learning]

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Reflecting on the “Narrating Your Work” Experiment
Hans de Zwart, Technology as a Solution…, July 21, 2011.

Hans de Zwart reports on the results of a practical experiment "to find out whether it would be possible to use a microblogging tool to narrate our work with the intention of making better performing virtual teams." The small survey should be thought of more as a single perspective rather than as a sample. "There was a clear preference for short messages (i.e. one paragraph). People also prefered messages to be as close as possible to when it happened. One final thing that was much appreciated was wittiness and a bit fun." Nobody liked the idea of mandatory microblogging, but they also expressed a preference for some setting of expectations. Time now, suggests de Zwart, to turn the idea over to the academics for study and formalization.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Academia]

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Lurking is Not a Static State
Sahana Chattopadhyay , ID and Other Reflections, July 21, 2011.

Adding to some of the recent discussion on lurking in online learning, Sahana Chattopadhyay questions the "pejorative connotations" of lurking and points to Wenger, White and Smith's concept of "legitimate peripheral participation... a crucial process by which communities offer learning opportunities to those on the periphery." Valuable lurking behaviours include active lurking, where they "may take something from the community and pass it along to others using different channels," and network building through the creation of commonality. This points to the key role of lurking. "By virtue of being distant from the core of the activities, they may spread themselves thinly across multiple communities and are in the key position to know what is happening where." Good post, well researched.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Research, Marketing, Networks, Online Learning]

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Improving Names data with help from institutions
Unattributed, Names Project Blog, July 21, 2011.

files/images/poster-2010.jpgw150h112, size: 5999 bytes, type:   I've been sorting through the list of blogs harvested by gRSShopper to support this newsletter and am totally sympathetic with this project. You'd think it would be a simple thing: compile a list of the names (and relevant data, like affiliations) of the people who have published research papers. Not so. It actually creates the challenge of integrating and rationalizing often incomplete data (such as, say, publisher records listing authors only by last name and first initial). This post described the Names project, which aims to tabulate the 45,000 or so researcher in the U.K. And in a project-within-a-project Phil Cross and Dan Needham are trying to provide names functionality in an eprints repository. Ironically, there's no authorship information on or around this blog post - and now you see the scale of my challenge.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Books, Project Based Learning, Research, Web Logs, RSS, Learning Object Repositories, Newsletters]

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A Compilation of work from John Holt - One of The Founders of the Home Education Movement
Lisa Nielsen, The Innovative Educator, July 21, 2011.

One of the very first books I read on education - long before I was actually in the field - was John Holt's How Children Fail. I remember nodding to myself and saying over and over again, "That's right!" This post is a list of links to John Holt resources, and maybe most importantly, links to Sandra Dodd's John Holt page. It's disappointing that the books aren't available openly on either site, but there are magazine articles and talks enough to satisfy our needs.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Audio]

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Helping Global Kids Connect
Clarence Fisher, Remote Access, July 21, 2011.

files/images/chipinwidget.png, size: 46344 bytes, type:  image/png Let me see if I can't help out a good idea with this post. Clarence Fisher, after posting about the need for a tool "that would help global kids in global classrooms to connect with each other" posted a request on vcoder.com, a site where prospective programmers bid on requested projects. "We need a recommendation engine for students that would help them find other students around the world that they can learn with," he wrote. He received a bid and then created a widget on chipin.com to ask for donations to raise the $400 needed to pay the developer. All this seems like pretty good thinking so I've decided to link here to see if I can't help Fisher raise the money. No, he didn't ask me (and I probably would have said "no" had he asked).

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Project Based Learning]

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Ed Radio Show Notes, July 21, 2011

Audio Recordings of John Holt:
- John Holt interviewed by Teri Gross on Fresh Air, NPR, 1981, Part One, Part Two
- John Holt interviewed on Boston radio, WBOS, about the "A Nation at Risk" report, Part One, Part Two
- The Cranberries, I'm Still Remembering
- John Holt interviewed by David Freudberg/Kindred Spirits Radio, April 11, 1985, Part One, Part Two
- Alannah Myles, Trouble
- The Adventures of Philip Marlowe, The Bid for Freedom
- Alannah Myles, Black Velvet
- Learning to Teach Online (LTTO), Why is online teaching important?
- Learning to Teach Online (LTTO), Using ePortfolios as a reflective teaching tool - Case study
- Tony Bates, Learning to Teach Online: a Professional Development resource
- Learning to Teach Online (LTTO), Using online environments for teaching large classes - Case study
- Learning to Teach Online (LTTO), Online teamwork and collaboration
- Learning to Teach Online (LTTO), Using online lectures to support active learning - Case study
- Nastya Yasnaya, Moya Lubov from Jamendo
- Eric Stoller, #ISTE11 and Emerging #EdTech recap
- Blackboard, BbWorld: Green Room Interviews with Steven Johnson and Ken Robinson
- LIVE coverage of eduMOOC Week 4
- LIVE coverage change.mooc.ca research planning meeting - and some related links:
-- EC&I 831 - Alec Couros
-- Open Study
-- gRSShopper

Here's the audio recordings and video from yesterday's MOOCast

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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