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September 22, 2011

Elements of Connectivism
Stephen Downes, September 22, 2011, Empire State College Centre for Distance Learning, Online to Saratoga Springs, NY via Elluminate

Presentation to the ESC Creativity and Multicultural Communication course on the topic of connectivist pedagogy. The argument made is that this pedagogy is based on principles related to what makes networks successful.

[Link] [Slides] [Audio]

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Scaling Up Evidence-Based Practices for Teachers Is a Profitable but Discredited Paradigm
Gary L. Anderson and Kathryn Herr, Educational Researcher, September 22, 2011.

Not much to disagree with here - but I have to say, if you think I can write a take-down, try this review for size: "Although Bausmith and Barry are not responsible for their employer’s policies (both are employed by the College Board), it is sometimes hard to distinguish whether they have written an academic article or an infomercial." As for the (so-called) "evidence-based practices": "the use of externally developed, research-based, and standards-aligned videos violates the principles of authentic inquiry that underlie professional learning communities. They also caution that a profit-seeking education industry is increasingly behind the promotion of evidence-based products."

That, surely, should be the context through which media and policy-makers view reports such as this: New math equals trouble, education expert says. This news article reports uncritically on a (so-called) study by Frontier Centre "research fellow" Michael Zwaagstra. Perhaps we should ask Zwaagstra why Canada, which uses largely constructivist methods, and sits atop international rankings in math, would want to emulate the United States, which doesn't, and doesn't (he says "PISA only assesses students on their understanding of 'everyday math'," not algebra, geometry, fractions - a claim easily refuted by looking at PISA questions). Perhaps if CBC had done anything more than run the press release they would have found out that Zwaagstra is no expert at all, but rather, a politically active social studies teacher in Manitoba. Not that we need to attack his credentials - his assertion that "traditional math education methods are superior to the highly ineffective, discovery-based instructional techniques" fails on its own merits.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Learning Communities, Video, Research, United States, Constructivism, Online Learning Communities, Canada, Academia]

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Will Ebooks Destroy the Democratizing Effects of Reading?
Christopher Mims, Technology Review, September 22, 2011.

I mentioned this item during my talk today. What oh what will poor people do if we have no books? What happens to them if we close down the libraries? "Imagine Abraham Lincoln, born in a log cabin, raised in poverty, self-taught from a small cache of books, being stymied in his early education by the lack of an e-reader." Let's leave aside the fact that you can buy an e-reader with a library of classics for a hundred dollars or so, an amount in today's dollars equivalent to what Lincoln would have paid for just one book. Today's impoverished Lincoln or Dylan would simply walk down to the local Community Access Point and take advantage of the billions of works online (a collection that includes every classic novel, most newspapers and magazines, and of course my own website). How ridiculous to overpay to buy and store paper books when far better access can be provided electronically. Don't be fooled by the publishers' last-gasp locked-down ebooks. They aren't the future. Open (or at least, very inexpensive) access is.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Books]

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The final plan: Khan Academy, gamification and the flipped classroom
David T. Jones, The Weblog of (a) David Jones, September 22, 2011.

Interesting look at some course design that started out with grand ambitions but which was tempered with the reality of the classroom. It's funny how much it ended up relying on Khan Academy as a result. "In the end, the UoW makes little use of gamification. There is a plan to use progress bar to track group progress, but not in the sense of badges etc. The UoW does rely heavily on the assumed use of Khan Academy videos and exercises and hence uses the notion of the flipped classroom. The UoW also attempts to use a Media Watch like assumption to move toward the approach of Gustein (2003, p. 66) that showed it is possible to help 'students begin to read the world with mathematics, develop mathematical power, and change their dispositions toward mathematics through the process'."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Video]

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A closer look at the Facebook Timeline and the Open Graph
Emil Protalinski, ZDNet, September 22, 2011.

There's a lot happening in the social media space this week. First we had Google opening up Google+, adding a number of features, and expanding its popular Hangout service. Then Youtibe launched a new channel for teachers. Today, we have Facebook's F8 conference happening (with a lot of live streaming online) and the announcement of a new social news service, a social music service, TV and movies in the stream, and more. Most interesting is the addition of verbs to the social graph. "These new social apps are meant to help you discover what your friends are currently doing, beyond just the fact that they just Liked something. Facebook wants developers to do more than just use the Liked verb (and more than the Read, Watched, and Listened verbs too). During his keynote, Zuckerberg showed Cooked and Ran as possible examples. The Open Graph is “a completely new class of social apps” says Zuckerberg."

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

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An Interview with Stephen Downes
Darrel Branson and Tony Richards, Ed Tech Crew, September 22, 2011.

Discussion with the hosts of Ed Tech Crew about the nature of MOOCs, how they work, connectivism, open source and open licensing, and the rest of it.
Enclosure: files/audio/EDTECHCREW175.mp3 Size: 47166387 bytes, type: audio/mpeg

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Connectivism, Open Source]

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Paradiso 2011 Conference
Various Authors, Website, September 22, 2011.

The image above is from the 2nd class Khatulistiwa children fun art of Pontianak, Indonesia. It's in this presentation on the internet of the future as seen by children, part of the set of presentations now available on the Paridiso web site. I've been flipping through a number of the slide decks, regretting that I am unable to hear (or better, read) the actual talks. Geoff Mulgan, for example, has a slide saying "‘Nudge’ and the ‘Wisdom of Crowds’ have elements of truth but don’t fit the evidence" - but what evidence? The slide doesn't say. Or Frank Escoubes's imagination for people presentation talks about mashup PPPPs and suggests "open innovation (was) derived from private sector," but there are no examples on the slide.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: none]

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A new magazine is born: THRIVE
Ulrike Reinhard, Weblog, September 22, 2011.

files/images/thrive.jpg, size: 8786 bytes, type:  image/jpeg See also this announcement. "The overall theme of THRIVE is new forces of global governance – which are they and how can we achieve something that deserves this name global governance." My own contribution may be found on page 43. You can open the magazine directly here. Ulrike Reinhard asked me to provide five thought-provoking statements about the future of learning, and then collected responses to them from an interesting group of other contributors.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: none]

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Ed Radio Show Notes, September 22, 2011

- Ed Tech Crew interview
- Creativity and Multicultural Communication course
- TV, Magic in the Air
- Onepercentyellow, ECI831 Reflection
- Higher Ed Live, Student Affairs Live web show, Higher Education, Spirituality, and Atheism

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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