OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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September 1, 2011

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Do readers need Google's stinkin' news badges?
Athima Chansanchai, Digital Life, September 1, 2011.

More on badges, and the (almost ievitable) onset of badge spam. It makes me think that any credentialing system is going to require some sort of enforce scarcity, otherwise everybody and their dog will be offering an "educational achievement" badge. But how do you create scarcity without also creating monopoly or some such thing? Something to think about.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Google, Spam]

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US vs. Finland… Again
Tim Stahmer, Assorted Stuff, September 1, 2011.

"if we’re going to play that game," says Tim Stahmer of this magazine article, "what are some factors that make Finland’s schools 'better'? ... if you really want to compare Finland and the US when it comes to the education of our children, for me the main take-away from this article is not about curriculum or testing or school competition or how teachers are paid or any of the other crap that forms the core of discussions about improving our education system. No, it’s that Finland has a society and government that genuinely cares about and supports the well-being of all kids and their families." I continue to believe that most 'school reform' efforts are smokescreens intended to prevent genuine efforts toward something like social equity.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Schools, Online Learning, Tests and Testing]

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VideoJS HTML5 Video Player
Various Authors, Website, September 1, 2011.

I've got to say, the designers of this website know elegant. Even better, they know how to make an HTML5 video player that supports all broswers. The Javascript application is free and open source and provided here by ZenCoder. There's a nice set of instructions describing how to use your HTML5 video player. It's based on the Video for Everybody embed code for HTML5 video developed by Kroc Kamen. It includes a fallback to a Flash video player, as well as video download links for devices that can’t do Flash or HTML5 video. ZenCoder, meanwhile, supports a library and API that allows developers to do video encoding of uploaded media (not free, though - but we wouldn't expect this sort of service - that actually consumes CPU cycles, power and bandwidth - to be free).

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Video, Open Source, Bandwidth]

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Where's the "Learn This" Button?
Maria H. Andersen, Ignite Great Lakes, August 31, 2011.

Video in the 'TED' or 'Idea City' mode, this time at the Ignite Great Lakes conference. talks about drinking information from the waterfall - "all this information is leaving our heads before it ever has a chance to stick there." So we become "digital hoarders," but we never go back to view what we've stored. So "we've become scuba divers in the murky waters of our brains." Education responds by using a tap to reduce the stream to a trickle. But we need to in some way "straddle" the pipes to create a new 'SOCRAIT' - "'soc' for 'social', 'ai' for artificial intelligence, and 'it' for 'information technology', a learning layer on the internet, and add a "learn this" button on everything that's out there. Yes - good idea. But the 'question-answer' format is awkward, and won't take you deeper than surface learning. But there's merit to the general idea, and much of what we've been working on here is intended to create the infrastructure for such a system.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Video, Online Learning]

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Judge blocks law against private messages between teachers and kids
Casey Johnston, Ars Technica, August 31, 2011.

It's interesting that there is no more widespread resistence to the simple (and kneejerk) response of simply blocking access to social media when people start using it in unusual or subversive ways (I'm using the words 'unusual' and 'subversive' to try to characterize a type of use that really defies characterization, except, of course, for the fact that someone in authority wants to ban it). In one case, for example, a judge blocked a law banning private messages between students and teachers (can one imagibe the reaction to a similar law blocking phone calls, written notes, or personal conversations?). In another, the British government has backed away from plans to shut down Twitter and Facebook during 'crises' (by which they mean 'riots').

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Twitter, Great Britain, Books]

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The Digital Revolution and Higher Education
Various Authors, Pew, August 31, 2011.

Interesting findings from a Pew survey. "Just three-in-ten American adults (29%) say a course taken online provides an equal educational value to one taken in a classroom. By contrast, fully half of college presidents (51%) say online courses provide the same value." I could speculate on the reason for the difference, but there is really probably no underlying cause.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Traditional and Online Courses, Adult Learning, United States]

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Ed Radio Show Notes, September 1, 2011

Mostly tunes today, not so much chatter...

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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