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October 18, 2011

Czech Course Followup Questions
Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, October 18, 2011.

I was asked the following questions after my presentation yesterday:
- How to ensure any educational outcomes
- How to ensure one isn't going to be disturbed receiving so many stimulations
- Everybody just writes, doesn't read, speak and doesn't listen
- What amount of time does it take the students to work cooperatively
- Won't the borders between different school subjects get blurred
This post is my response to those questions.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Schools]

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Shutting Down Open Resources
Libby A. Nelson, Inside Higher Ed, October 18, 2011.

It's not law, or even close to law, but as this article in Inside Higher Ed attests, the counterattack against open educational resources (OERs) by publishers has begun. The strategy? Cut federal funding for any OER for which "an alternative is available" - even (or perhaps especially!) if that alternative is a commercial product. It reminds me of the mostly successful campaigns to block municipal fibre networks and suspend the distribution of educational programming by the BBC.

It's the same old argument: "The move is a boon to publishers, who have feared that government support for the freely available, modifiable course materials, known as 'open educational resources,' or OERs, would eat into their profits and give the free programs an unfair advantage. If effective programs are already for sale, they argue, the federal government shouldn’t spend extra money to reinvent the wheel." See also this article and discussion on Google+ from Audrey Watters.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Open Educational Resources, Books, Networks]

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Interview with George Siemens - LE@D, Universidade Aberta
José Mota, Google+ / Vimeo, October 17, 2011.

José Mota writes, "Here's an interview we did with +George Siemens on 30 June, 2011, at the Laboratory of Distance Education and eLearning, Universidade Aberta, Portugal. It's around 40 minutes long and has, imo, a lot of great stuff on conectivism, change and moocs. There's no doubt he is one of the best persons you can find to have a great conversation with." I played it Monday on Ed Radio and was impressed by George Siemens the walking encyclopedia of references.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Connectivism]

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Curriculum as a platform
Maria Droujkova, Math Accent, October 16, 2011.

When I first read this I thought "Google invents connectivism." Now it's not that at all, but the idea of "math as a platform" is pretty close. And this document is required reading. And really, it makes a lot of sense to think of a subject as a platform rather than content. Like Natural Math, for example (no awards for design, but then there's the concept). Or, I mean, for example:

  • Materials are extensible, so users – students, study groups, developers – change them continuously
  • User groups are peer-to-peer partnerships or co-ops, helping everybody to contribute
  • Contributions are transparent, acknowledged, honored and commented upon
  • Groups have tools for sustaining the flow by tracking individual tasks, time, and progress, possibly in playful ways
  • Tracking tools help creative, social and monetary economies of the system to stay sustainable
  • The platform has starter high-quality content: “killer apps” created on the platform
  • Ways to contribute are simple, open and creative: neither rocket science, nor worksheets
  • With special tools, users curate the content based on shared values within user groups

Update, from Google+: "That's exactly what +Ann Martin and I have been trying to do with the Tres Columnae Project -- to build a platform on which our learners construct their own understandings of Latin." Also see George Siemens on platforming education.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Connectivism, Google, Quality]

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Giving Employees What They Really Want
Brenda Kowske, Bersin & Associates Analyst Updates, October 15, 2011.

This article is focused on employees, but i would not be surprised to find that it applied to learners and students as well. Here's a survey that "taps the worker on the street and simply asked them to tell us 'the most important thing you want from the organization in which you work'." The results? Not surprising:
- Recognition
- Excitement
- Security
- Pay (only 25% of answers were in this category!)
- Education
- Conditions at work - social and physical
- Truth
"Companies that executed on the principals of RESPECT had higher customer satisfaction ratings, higher financial metrics, and tracked a percentage point above the S&P 500." Students probably learn better too.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Ontologies]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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