OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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March 9, 2012

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Stephen Downes, Flickr, March 9, 2012.

I have been a few days in Delhi now, exploring mostly New Delhi but also parts of the old city. There's too much to relate in a few words, but I have dozens of photos to tell my story. As usual I recommend the slide show version, or you can opt for the photoset.

I will be in India for another week as George Siemens, Dave Cormier, and a bunch of other naer-do-wells have gathered here for the EdgeX conference in New Delhi. The conference is being webcast live, there's a Google Group, and as well there's a ton of resources. We recommend you follow this conference as this week's theme - join the discussion, follow the Twitter list, and take part online.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Connectivism, Flickr, Twitter, Google]

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A Critique of the Community of Inquiry Framework
Cindy Xin, The Journal of Distance Education, March 9, 2012.

This is a very nice critique of the Community of Inquiry framework (CoI) advanced by Garrison, Archer and Anderson about a decade ago. "Online discussion consists of a flow of relatively disorganized improvisational exchanges that somehow achieve highly goal-directed, rational course agendas... the apparent chaos and order are in fact one and the same process of knowledge construction combining the informal logic of conversation with the formal rationality of academic discourse." Every discussion post, just like every utterance, serves multiple purposes, forming the basis for future communications as well as serving the intent of the current one.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Academia]

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Definitory Power on MOOCs
Matthias Melcher, x28's New Blog, March 9, 2012.

Matthias Melcher comments on the watering-down of the term MOOC. My observation is that the theft of any concept by commercial interests is inevitable, because this is what they do; they did it to punk, they did it to edupunk, and they'll do it to MOOCs and whatever else we come up with.

This is more interesting thinking: "I would be more interested in new methods of emphasizing the network connections of varying strengths between the concepts, instead of hierarchically organized pigeon-holes, or snap-in jig-saw puzzle pieces." I used to do this, creating gigantic concept maps, but the problem is that you're tied to the sign, word and symbol. The interesting connections are subsymbolic, beyond conceptual, but there's no easy way to bring that out.

Bryan Alexander meanwhile relates a discussion on MOOCs, but I fear this is a symptom of the media mis-messaging. He writes, "Is there a culture/discipline split in MOOC curricula? So far STEM fields seem to be the first coming on line. Not much in the way of law or humanities so far." This is true if you consider the domain of MOOCs to be Stanford-MIT, but in the real world of MOOCs we see titles like 'Connective Knowledge' (humanities), 'Critical Literacies' (humanities) and 'Digital Storytelling' (humanities) and Creativity and Multicultural Communication (humanities).

On a related note, George Siemens writes, "If I was Alec Couros, Will Richardson, Vicki Davis, Steve Hargadon, or any of the thousands of K-12 educators that have been pushing for networked/connected learning for years (in Will’s case, more than a decade), I’d be fairly irritated to have been written out of the vision of connected learning that is now emerging from DML. I don’t see any mention of the folks that have been pushing for open, social, networked, and collaborative pedagogical models on the site’s connected learning principles... Alec Couros, as an example, did his dissertation on the topic.... Julie Lindsay and Vicki Davis have just published a book on the topic. [But] basically, a new initiative seems to arise out of nowhere with this brilliant vision of connected learning." Like I said; this is what they do.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Edupunk, Networks, Visualization]

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Rich sharing at Open Education Week webinars
Gabi Witthaus, Toucans Project, March 8, 2012.

Received by email, this excellent set of links summarizing recent OER week activities:
- Jim Taylor, University of Southern Queensland, (Video including a taster of the "pedagogy of discovery" planned for USQ's OERu prototype course: Regional Relations in Asia and the Pacific)
- Vasi Doncheva, NorthTec (Slide show presentation on why NorthTec has joined the OERu network and anticipated return on investment.)
- Sandra Wills, University of Wollongong (Slide show highlighting what joining the OERu network means for a top 200 research university and blended learning.)
- Gabi Witthaus, University of Leicester (Slide show summarising progress on the Toucans research project on the OERu).
- Rory McGreal, UNESCO-COL Chair for OER and team at Athabasca University showcased the new OER Knowledge Cloud.
- Wayne Mackintosh, OER Foundation (Due to travel commitments, recorded an informal asynchronous video profiling our international OERu partners.)
- And even More! on the web page.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Open Educational Resources, Open Content, Project Based Learning, Video, Research, UNESCO, Networks, Blended Learning, Queensland]

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Connected Learning: A New Research-Driven Initiative
Jackie Gerstein, User Generated Education, March 4, 2012.

Overview of a program looking at connected learning describing a "gap between the more engaging social learning environments young people encounter outside of school, and the top-down and standardized curriculum that they encounter in most classrooms." It's much more communal and participation-oriented than the approach I take, promoting:
-- "Equity — when educational opportunity is available and accessible to all young people, it elevates the world we all live in.
-- Full Participation — learning environments, communities, and civic life thrive when all members actively engage and contribute.
-- Social connection — learning is meaningful when it is part of valued social relationships and shared practice, culture, and identity."
While I value both creativity and participation, I think it's important to allow that more or less participation are equally valuable. And I don't agree that "shared" practice, culture, and identity is essential.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Schools, Accessibility]

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Not Your Daddy's Science Classroom!
Stacy Jannis, ScienceBlog, March 4, 2012.

This post illustrates to me just how large the world of educational technology has become. The point is to show how much science classrooms have changed in the 21st century. It points to services like the Concord Consortium , Promethean World, Project Lead the Way and Epals. If you follow the links and look at them (and you should!) you'll see that each involves a range of technologies, typically involves a large user community, and typically involves a level of corporate support. They often involve contests enrolling students for small prizes, promoting entries like this to the this one to the Kavli Science Video Contest. I have mixed feelings about all this - I love the new technology and the energy and thre involvement. But there's a social and political element that concerns me.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Video]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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