OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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June 1, 2012

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Snapshots from Toronto
Stephen Downes, Flickr, June 1, 2012.

Photos from my brief visit to Toronto this week. Also new: images from Lake Erie, Lake Huron, and Waterloo.

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Feelings of Science
Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, June 1, 2012.

When we talk about connectivism and related matters we tend to focus on the links and the network. But this philosophy also forces us to redefine how we go about doing things like measuring success and validating research methodologies. In this post I describe how success is something that we perceive rather than something we measure.

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The eLearning Africa 2012 Report
Isaacs, S. and Hollow, D., (eds), ICWE, June 1, 2012.

An e-Learning Africa report has been released, based on 447 survey results, and described the practical and economic factors driving e-learning, as well as the importance of connectivity. "This links to those for whom connectivity is the key defining factor, suggesting that ICT-enhanced learning is ‘any kind of learning, training, knowledge-sharing, or knowledgecreation that we could not do if we did not have access to the Internet’." Unsurprisingly, "the large majority of people, 74%, make use of ICT within the classroom to aid teaching and learning. Some 58% make use of ICT in order to access online resources for teachers, 52% of respondents use ICT for collaboration and networking, and 52% use ICT for their data collection." perhaps more interestingly, the report includes fifteen opinion pieces from writers across Africa (for example, Critical content and communication capabilities: foundational for African education in a digitally-mediated age, by Laura Czerniewicz).

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Networks, Online Learning, Africa, Privacy Issues]

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Sandy Shugart: Can Our Institutions Accommodate to People Who Don't Believe In Them
Sandy Shugart, YouTube, June 1, 2012.

I listened to this presentation this afternoon - the musical bits near the beginning are interesting but the best bit is near the 50 minute mark when Sandy Shugart talks about the scepticism people have begun to show in the institutions that serve them - when students (say) walk in and instead of wondering what they can learn, look at the teacher and think to themselves, "what's your scam?" Of course, decades of untrustworthy behaviour on the part of our institutions has resulted in this sort of attitude, and as much as I am concerned about the implications for society, there's a big part of me that says to those institutions, "you asked for this."

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Why Daydreaming Isn’t a Waste of Time
Mind/Shift, Annie Murphy Paul, June 1, 2012.

If I didn't have daydreams, I'd have nothing. Sadly, children oare often taught the opposite of that. "What adults don’t do, according to University of Southern California education professor Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, is teach children the value of the more diffuse mental activity that characterizes our inner lives: daydreaming, remembering, reflecting."

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College enrollment shows signs of slowing
Jon Marcus, Hechinger Report (Reprint from Time), June 1, 2012.

With the end of the echo boom in North America college enrollemnt is declining and the bloom is coming of the academia rose. Some are hearing the distance sounds of bubble bursting. It's mainly money that’s responsible. "Are we at a crisis yet? No, but the gap between what colleges and universities charge and what families can afford to pay is just going to keep growing," Dysart said.

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Do Not Listen to Peter Cohan and Cut the Humanities Departments
Rahim Kanani, Forbes, June 1, 2012.

In 1982 I made a decision that felt right at the time but which made no objective sense at the time: to switch majors from physics and instead to study philosophy. Here's what Peter Cohan, an author at Forbes, would have advised me: "Those students could skip college and go right to their jobs as waiters and receptionists." What he fails to understand is that I could not have become the researcher I am today without that philosophy degree. Hence the rather more sane advice from Rahim Kanani, also in Forbes: "the humanities instill a rigor of the mind that is purposeful, logical, independent, and creative (and hence) the need for the study of humanities has never been greater."

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10 Inexpensive Ways to Be Kind
Vicki A. Davis, Cool Cat Teacher Blog, June 1, 2012.

Some nice advice from Vicki A. Davis. "Everyone wants to be appreciated and encouraged. You can do it too." Now, note, that while she suggests "the habit of being kind and thoughtful can do a lot to improve your workplace, school, or home" it's important that being kind not be about what you get back. Not even the feeling of satisfaction you get from being kind (because then you just start doing it for 'kindness points' and lose track of the quality of the kindness). Also note that everybody can be kind in their own way - it isn't about everyone giving nice little presents to everyone. Find your own way to be kind, and practice it as a form of inner perfection.

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

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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