OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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January 16, 2012

Learning, Freedom and the Web
Anya Kamenetz, Website, January 16, 2012.

files/images/Learning_freedom_web.PNG, size: 213851 bytes, type:  image/png So Anya Kamenetz has another book out. This one is called Learning, Freedom and the Web, and it is available by PDF download. It was sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation and the Mozilla Foundation and is basically a write-up of a conference featuring selected participants from the charitable-OER community. It's not as much a book about free learning (or even learning at all) as much as it is a book about Mozilla's thoughts about learning, Cathy Davidson, a few other people (Ismael Peña-López, Jack Martin, Carolina Botero). David Wiley and Joi Ito are introduced to give the Creative Commons perspective. If we understand that this is a snapshot of a certain perspective (the foundation - Creative Commons - P2PU nexus) then it's a very good book. It is not, and should not be construed to be, a broadbased look at learning, freedom and the web.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Open Educational Resources, Books, Online Learning]

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Zany times in the for-profit college business
Jay Cross, Internet Time, January 16, 2012.

Jay Cross notes some of the more unsavory aspect of unaccredited online institutions, mentioning Frederick Taylor University ("entirely online, has no classes, and measures student performance with open-book, multiple-choice exams") and Full Sail University (which has been slamming my inbox with recruitment notices). While I think he makes the point, we need to learn a lesson from online music and books: if a legitimate alternative is not available at a reasonable price, people will turn to the illegitimate alternative.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Assessment]

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files/images/code_year.PNG, size: 53193 bytes, type:  image/png
You Know You've Secretly Wanted to Learn To Code! (Info, links, video!)
Lynn V. Marentette, Interactive Multimedia Technology, January 15, 2012.

This is a massive open online course of a different sort. Rather than relying on social media and interaction (though there is a Twitter and Facebook component), it provides an interface where people advance step by step through a series of activities designed to teach them to write software (also known as "learning to code"). I took the first few activities, and they look pretty good; the introduction is natively object-oriented, interactive, and will be a useful foundation for Java and Javascript, Python and Ruby. You can find the material at Code Year - the idea is you spend a year and come out of it knowing how to code. Even if you don't write software (though you will once you know how, because it's so useful) you will gain habits of mind and thought that will be invaluable in other disciplines.

It's interesting that recommends instead that you "take an introductory course at your local community college or university extension program, preferably with a friend" because "there is much more to coding than what you'll learn through Code Academy's Code Year process." The same could be said of any introductory program. The question is, would it be better to take this stuff online or in a classroom. I've done both. My thinking is that CodeYear would work a lot better. And there's no searching around for parking at the College on a cold darl January evening.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Traditional and Online Courses, Vocational Education, Twitter, Interaction, Books, Video, Ruby]

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Why Google is ditching search
Peter Yared, , January 15, 2012.

files/images/Google_Trends_000016767537_610x458.jpg, size: 466481 bytes, type:  image/jpeg From a connectivist perspective, the changes to Google search make sense. Google search, the old way, involved scanning the entire web and then ranking results. Like any mass-based phenomenon, it was particularly vulnerable to gaming and abuse - hence, the rise of search engine optimization (SEO) as a discipline. The new Google search looks for results within your social network. It is a localized search, not web-wide (unless you ask for that). It is based not on overall trust (PageRank) but on the trust you have for various sources. The connection, rather than the content, becaomes the basis for results ranking. That's what sites like Twitter and Facebook tapped into, while trying to build something else. That's what Google is explicitly leveraging. (And that's why I disliked 'pages' in Google+ so much - they were reintroducing the mass to these very personalized networks, which I felt undermined them.)

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Gaming, Twitter, Personalization, Books, Google, Networks]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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