OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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December 1, 2011

Moms and Dads -- Not The Government -- Should Be In Charge Of Parenting
eather Jones DeGeorge and Lisa Nielsen, The Innovative Educator, December 1, 2011.

files/images/GovernementForeclosure.jpg, size: 6555 bytes, type:  image/jpeg One of the dangers of online learning, in my view, is that some kids will disappear from public view. And it is when they are not seen that they are at greatest risk. This fear is increased when I read posts like this opposing some very reasonable measures, specifically, that parents of homeschooled children would have to provide evidence of yearly medical exams and of the child's work, including a portfolio of records and materials used to support learning. Now you can quibble with the details of the bill, and I'm open to that. And you can certainly criticize the government's handling of the public school system (more so in some nations than others) and I'm open to that. But I think it's reasonable to require positive confirmable proof of the child's health and educational well-being. This has nothing to do with you and your freedom from the state, and everything to do with the health and well-being of the child.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Schools, Assessment, Homeschooling, Online Learning]

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Blackboard Makes Major Investment to Support Online Learning in China
Press Release, PR Newswire, December 1, 2011.

Blackboard is expanding into China "by acquiring full ownership of CerBibo, a company that has brought its online learning solution to hundreds of institutions in China." This is a move that makes a lot of sense for the company, since it has the cash, and can offset declining market share in more advanced markets. Via.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Blackboard Inc., China, Online Learning]

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Moncton student's anti-bullying video goes viral
Unattributed, CBC, December 1, 2011.

It's good to see awareness of the impact of bullying receiving wider attention. This is especially the case online as we are seeing more and more cases like this, where a Moncton student's anti-bullying video has gone viral. "But it's not just the physical abuse or the mental or the words that you say," 15-year-old student at Harrison Trimble High School Sydney Steeves said. It's the impact on the victim. "I went home and I just didn't do anything. The stress was killing me. Everything was killing me on the inside. It was very, very dangerous." This comes after yet another suicide, this one in Quebec, prompted by bullying, and along with legislation in Ontario designed to combat bullying. See also Brian Cormier. But let's remember: it's one thing to crack down on bullying, but we have to keep in mind that today's bullies are learning their behaviour from adults, and it's the examples we set, more than any punitive measures, that will make the greatest difference in the long run.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Schools, Video, Bullying, Australia]

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Book on learning through practice
Selena, learning elearning, December 1, 2011.

files/images/photo3.jpg, size: 11197 bytes, type:  image/jpeg At more that $100 a pop this book on learning through practice will be read only by people with expense accounts (and by students forced by their professors to buy a copy) but this survey article gives us a good sense of the contents. One chapter "discusses the large separation between what is taught and tested at school and the competencies learnt and practiced at work," which would be a useful reference in various contexts. Another discusses "learning trajectories." Another describes how "occupational learning has been largely based in workplace environments." The remainder look at systems like apprenticeships in more detail. Take the time to follow the links in this review - following Wolff-Michael Roth , for example, leads you to his paper Activism, A Category for Theorizing Learning, which describes the way "Consciousness develops out of and accompanies labour," where consciousness isn't just awareness of the set of facts, but an attitude or experience toward the domain in which those facts reside. "Thus," for example, "participating in treee planting shapes the personalities of the children."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Schools, Personalization, Experience]

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Eleven Equations True Computer Science Geeks Should (at Least Pretend to) Know
Deathalicious, Metafilter, December 1, 2011.

I think we have here the proof that I am not a computer science geek because I do not know (nor even pretend to know) all of these equations. But that said, I find them fascinating, I know a number of them, and I have it in mind to fill out my knowledge by learning the rest. One day. It's on my list.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: none]

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Cutting their own throats
Charlie Stross, Charlie's Diary, December 1, 2011.

OK, on the one hand this is pretty bad. "As ebook sales mushroom, the Big Six's insistence on DRM has proven to be a hideous mistake. Rather than reducing piracy, it has locked customers in Amazon's walled garden, which in turn increases Amazon's leverage over publishers. And unlike pirated copies (which don't automatically represent lost sales) Amazon is a direct revenue threat because Amazon are have no qualms about squeezing their suppliers — or trying to poach authors for their "direct" publishing channel by offering initially favourable terms." On the other hand, it means that the only way for publishers to break Amazon's hold is to start selling books without DRM. As Amazon squeezes harder, publishers are more likely to take the DRM-free route, much like music publishers.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Books, File Sharing, Digital Rights Management (DRM)]

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Carrier IQ Tracking Scandal Spirals Out of Control
Stan Schroeder, Mashable, December 1, 2011.

I have commented in the past on the difference between computer-based platforms (Mac-PC-Linux) and mobile-based platforms (iOS, Blackberry, Symbian, Android etc): in the former the hardware is in the user's control, but in the latter, the hardware is locked down and in the carrier's control. Some of the implications are obvious: in the former, you need separate identity and billing, while in the latter, it's built-in and secure. But when your device is locked-down it is much more susceptible to control and manipulation. Witness this latest scandal concerning something called Carrier IQ. According to reports, almost every mobile device uses it to track every keystroke and to send reports back to a central office. The tool was originally designed to monitor quality of service, but its surveillance potential is too significant to ignore. And then researcher Trevor Eckhart "posted video evidence (below) suggesting that Carrier IQ is recording keystrokes and reading incoming SMS messages on Android, more precisely on an HTC EVO 3D. Worse, the app cannot be stopped or removed by the user." What is being sent? Who has access to it? Who knows? See also The Verge, 9to5Google, chpwn blog, Daring Fireball, Cult of Mac, androidsecuritytest.com, Wired, LifeHacker, Connecting the Dots, Metafilter, TechDirt.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Video, Research, Web Logs, Google, Wireless, Networks, Quality, Copyrights, Security Issues]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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