OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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August 27, 2012

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Eliminate Failure with “Flow”
Cale Birk, http://connectedprincipals.com/, August 27, 2012.

I get the concept of 'flow' as described in this article: activities that are too easy will be boring, and those that are too difficult will be discouraging, so to achieve maximal educational success, it's best to aim for that medium middle where 'flow' can occur. As diagrammed. What I'm not so good with is the idea that this can be programmed for the student by a teacher or an artificial intelligence. Cale Birk writes, "if we can get learners into the 'Flow Channel'...  we can truly engage them in the process of learning and executing the skill that we are teaching." He uses a ski hill to make his point, and it's a good analogy. But imagine the chaos is the ski hill operators tried to manage the hill-selection process! It would take dozens of staff to do the assessments and direct skiers to the right hill, and then you'd still have large numbers of people hot-dogging on the bunny slopes and breaking their legs on the black diamonds. Now if people select their own hill? Well, it's not perfect, people still make mistakes. But all in all, they do pretty well without the management. That is the lesson that should be applied to education.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Assessment]

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Home About Computing Education Blog Proposal in Texas to move higher ed classes to MOOCs
Mark Guzdial, Computing Education Blog, August 27, 2012.

Mark Guzdial comments, "Admittedly, this is Texas, whose state Republican platform recently recommended no teaching of higher-order thinking skills or critical thinking skills.  It may be an outlier. It may also be a leading indicator.  The Houston Chronicle has published an op-ed which proposes replacing more university courses with MOOCs." Via Texas can cut down on the cost of higher education – Houston Chronicle. I have it in mind to offer a MOOC sometime late in 2012 or 2013 on reasoning and critical thinking - an update and rewrite of the Critical Literacies MOOC we ran a couple of years ago. Anyhow, on the story, Mike Byrne notes, in the comments, "the op-ed in the Chronicle comes from the 'Center for College Affordability and Productivity,' an organization that expressly wants to mitigate 'the burden that colleges impose on society.' Warning bells there, at least for me. You can read a more complete version of their vision (which says nothing specifically about Texas)." But you know, I'm of two minds. I really dislike the attack on the school and university system being mounted by such organizations. But I also really dislike the almost total indifference to public good being demonstrated by these same school and university systems, especially the ones catering to the more affluent sectors of society.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Books]

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Samsung Finds the Silver Lining in Devastating Loss to Apple
Peter Pachal, Mashable, August 27, 2012.

I have a Samsung Galaxy SIII smart phone, which I bought about 6 weeks ago. It is an absolutely fabulous product - it has 4G (which the iPhone didn't), it multitasks (which iPhone doesn't) and it gives me full access to the OS and files (which the iPhone, well, you know...). Maybe the Galaxy Tab copies the iPad, I don't know, but if the Galaxy Tab compares the the iPad the way the phones compare, then using one is probably like a breath of fresh air and freedom, which Apple does not want. I see Apple's lawsuit against Samsung not as a way to protect the hardware, but to solidify lock-in to its online stores and media properties. And it's yet another example of the trend we see of American companies suing foreign competitors in U.S. courts and winning questionable - and very large - verdicts. So, Apple wins $1.05 billion from Samsung - minus whatever my future business and goodwill are worth (maybe not a billion, admittedly). I was enthused when Apple began to use the open source Linux as the core of its operating system. Now I just think of the company as just another megalith that takes and takes and gives nothing back. More on the verdict from the CBCE-Commerce Times, Mashable (on Android), BBC (on "abuse of law") and BBC (on Google's reaction), Doug Peterson ("Blogging today on a Macintosh computer just wouldn’t feel right."), and Wired (on the Korean verdict in an earlier hearing). The irony of all this is that Samsung is one of Apple's biggest suppliers (it invested $4 billion into a chip plant for the iPad, for example) - that's why I think it's about access to the content market, and not the tech.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Apple Inc., Operating Systems, United States, Open Source, RSS]

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Criminalizing Photography
James Estrin, New York Times, August 27, 2012.

Something worth remembering: "If you’re out in public, you can take pictures. And you can report to your heart’s content... If you’re in public, you have no reasonable expectation of privacy. That’s the difference between what is public and what is private. It’s the reason that all those security cameras that are on every city street are allowed to photograph us." I take photos a lot and this comes up from time to time. 

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Security Issues, Privacy Issues]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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