OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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December 27, 2011

Kouchibouguac Winter Wonderland
Stephen Downes, Flickr, December 27, 2011.

Kouchibouguac Winter Wonderland, originally uploaded by Stephen Downes.

Kouchibouguac Winter Wonderland photo set. We went for a walk in the nearby national park and enjoyed a winter wonderland for boxing day. The slide show is recommended.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Flickr]

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And Maddest of All to See Education As It Is & Not As It Should Be
Shelly Terrell, Teacher Reboot Camp, December 27, 2011.

I'm not sure I would cites these six as the top examples of education revolutions, but they're not not bad, and I am totally in accord with the sympathies of this post. "I think it is maddest of all to see education as it is and not as it should be. For decades, I have seen policies, curricula, standardized testing, instructional practices, institutional rules, bureaucracy, and classroom design destroy the joy of learning. That is why so many of our students slip through the system and become part of the poverty or crime cycle." How ironic that reformers seek to further institutionalize the mechanisms of learning, rather than fostering diversity, innovation and change. here are the six:
- Stephen Heppell, be very afraid
- Bijal Damani’s Class Bazaar
- Monika Hardy's Innovation Lab
- The Swiss School
- The Blue School by Blue Man Group
- The Hellerup School

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Schools, Project Based Learning, Google, Online Learning, Paradigm Shift, Tests and Testing]

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Online Learning at Acadia University
openAcadia, YouTube, December 27, 2011.

I think the video and resources here provide a good argument for the use of the term 'free learning' instead of 'open learning'. The argument, simply, is that 'open learning' has historically meant learning available by distance, without a fixed starting time, and without (necessarily) having to satisfy admission requirements. Open Acadia (blog) satisfies these criteria - but the use of the phrase 'Open Acadia' might suggest (as it did to me) that it is offering free resources, free access, or some such thing. But no. It's fully commercial - you pay your money, you access your learning. So maybe we should leave the term 'open learning' (and maybe even 'open learning resources') to the commercial providers, and adopt instead 'free learning' (and 'free learning resources') to denote the resources we are really trying to create (and all of a sudden, I have that much more sympathy for Richard Stallman's insistence on the use of the phrase 'free software'). Link to the video via Ray Schroeder, who copied and pasted without any analysis, as usual.

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

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How Open Educational Resources Can Increase Opportunites for Everyone
Richard Rowe, Educational Technology Debate, December 27, 2011.

files/images/library_blur.jpg, size: 9315 bytes, type:  image/jpeg There's a good comment thread following this article on open educational resources (OERs). Instead of asking whether OERs actually increase the digital divide, Richard Rowe prefers to focus on whether they can be used to reduce the digital divide? "Or more importantly, how can OERs be used to increase the opportunities for everyone to maximize their potential?" I agree that this is a better focus (but in large part because I don't think they're actually increasing the digital divide). And we need to understand that OERs are just one part in a more comprehensive strategy. "First, we need learners who are fed, healthy, and safe. Then we need access to quality content that is aligned with the goals of the society’s educational system, including its examinations and certificates, plus teachers who are comfortable with and able to employ effective approaches to learning and the technical infrastructure required to sustain the physical and social learning system."

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Learning About Blogs FOR your Students: Part VII – Quality
Silvia Tolisano, Langwitches Blog, December 27, 2011.

Silvia Tolisano is producing a nice series of posts all about bloggers for teachers who are helping their students blog. I especially like the rubric images in part VII.
- Part I: Reading
- Part II A: Writing
- Part II B: Student Writing
- Part III: Commenting
- Part IV: Connecting
- Part V: Reciprocating
- Part VI: Consistency
- Part VII – Quality

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Web Logs]

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On-Demand is the Future of Online Learning
Bill Cushard, Mindflash, December 27, 2011.

files/images/1220_watchingTV_D.Reichardt.jpg, size: 18490 bytes, type:  image/jpeg If I had to summarize the best advice I could give to e-0learning developers, it would be this: "here are two key lessons for learning professionals:
1. Adapt to the on-demand world.
2. Embed learning into the context of people’s work."
It's amazing how much resistance there is to this, especially to the former, because it amounts to allowing people to decide what they want to learn when they want to learn it. But if television channels and advertisers can adapt, so can educators.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Video, Marketing]

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Ask Slashdot: Is E-Learning a Viable Option?
samzenpus , Slashdot, December 27, 2011.

At first blush this Slashdot thread seems to mirror public opinion on technology in the classroom: "NO study has shown that students benefit - and many have shown that the diversion of resources hurts them." But the collective view is more nuanced: "The problem with many (maybe most?) attempts to put technology in schools and even home learning environments is that people don't think through the implementation. Technology is not magic. You cannot expect to get good results simply by dropping a chunk of technology into a classroom without spending a lot of time and energy rethinking how teaching and learning is going to work in that classroom." Or, to put it another way: "Using Logo increased procedural literacy, but whether Number Munchers increased mathematical literacy is more questionable." It's interesting that the commentators on Slashdot don't reflect on whether they learn anything form the site they are currently commenting upon.

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

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.