OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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September 17, 2012

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Sweden’s Newest School System Has No Classrooms
Jeff Dunn, Edudemic, September 17, 2012.

Nice set of photos illustrating how many of the ideas inherent in online learning are applied in actual schools. Note that you can't just integrate these ideas into existing classes; you have to reimagine what you mean by 'school' before you can even start. "The newest school system in Sweden look more like the hallways of Google or Pixar and less like a brick-and-mortar school you'd typically see. There are collaboration zones, houses-within-houses, and a slew of other features that are designed to foster 'curiosity and creativity.'"

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

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K-12 MOOCs and Communities
Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, September 17, 2012.

With the recent publicity around MOOCs I've been flooded with enquiries. Some of them (like the ones asking me to outline all relevant theories and practices) I can't really answer. Others (asking for specifi courses) I can't help with either. But I've been able to respond to some of the more directed enquiries in some blog posts, including this one on the subject of K-12 MOOCs and communities, and this one with a series of questions on social networks and learning generally.

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

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Caves paintings: Savants not savages. Were caves and their paintings early simulators?
Donald Clark, Plan B, September 17, 2012.

I can't count how many times I've used the images from Kakadu (see my photo above) to illustrate points about learning and communication. One thing I've said is "we learning about the future the same way we learn about the past, by reading and understanding the signs." I have also commented on the use of diagrams of fish guts painted on cave walls as a form of educational communication. I don't think of their painters as the "last of the innocents" but rather the first users of language (if not symbold and signs) to communicate what they've learned to others. As Donald Clark says, we "have to get over the modern idea that this is 'art' in the sense of deliberately produced aesthetically pleasing images." He adds, "Cave paintings are therefore remarkable teaching and learning aids. They are the earliest classrooms and show that social cohesion may well have been fostered through the need for collective learning."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Online Learning]

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Open source education software unveiled by Google
Adario Strange, IT Pro Portal, September 17, 2012.

Google has release a course authoring tool. "The Course Builder project came by way of another program Google ran earlier this year called Power Searching With Google. The Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), which attracted approximately 155,000 students from 196 countries, allowed Google to marry some of the practices now common to online instruction with the company's robust array of collaboration and communication tools." The tool builds failr traditional courses, as this guide to developing courses demonstrates.  The tool runs on the Google App Engine, which means that while it's free to run at a small scale, costs would begin to accumuulate with more use. I ran a test version on my desktop and it's basically a set of scripts that integrate a content database with presentation tools.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Project Based Learning, Google, Online Learning]

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Twitter’s dilemma: We own our tweets, but it still wants to control them
Mathew Ingram, GigaOM, September 17, 2012.

I've received some enquiries about how I deal with Twitter feeds in MOOCs. One of the ways we support community is to reprint tweets in our newsletter. In theory, this is against Twitter's terms of service, which says tweets cannot be stored anywhere outside of Twitter. In practice, it's not, as people own their own tweets (and store them and share them frequently on their blogs, in emails, and wherever they fele like storing them). People in one of our MOOCs tell us clearly they want their tweet included in the newsletter by using the course-specific hashtag. So this article is directly relevant. To summarize: "Twitter has argued that it doesn’t own a user’s tweets, but at the same time the company wants to control what users do with their content so that it can monetize the network. There’s an inherent conflict there that is becoming increasingly difficult for Twitter to avoid."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Traditional and Online Courses, Twitter, Web Logs, Networks, Newsletters]

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MOOC Course: Fundamentals of Online Education
Thomas Jerome Baker, Profesorbaker's Blog: A Bit of Everything, September 17, 2012.

Keeping you updated with new MOOCS: "In this course you will learn about the fundamentals of online education. The emphasis will be on planning and application. In the planning phase, you will explore online learning pedagogy, online course design,privacy and copyright issues, online assessments, managing an online class, web tools and Learning Management Systems. In the application phase, you will create online learning materials. The final project for the course will consist of you building an online course based on everything that you learned and created in the course." The instructor Dr. Fatimah Wirth is the Instructional Designer for Georgia Tech Professional Education and an Instructor for one of the NASA Electronic Professional Development Network (ePDN) courses. Dr. Wirth joined Georgia Institute of Technology in 2008.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Traditional and Online Courses, Project Based Learning, Copyrights, Assessment, Online Learning, Privacy Issues]

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Universities in the Digital Age
Various Authors, CBC Sunday Edition, September 17, 2012.

Discussion in CBC's 'Sunday Edition' about MOOCs and new models for universities. According to the website the airdate was September 9, but according to the flurry of registrations the listener mail from September 16 was equally popular. Maybe more so.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Hackers]

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A new way of doing things on campus
Miriam Schneider, Google Blogs, September 16, 2012.

According to Google, seven of the eight Ivy League universities and 72 of this year’s top 100 U.S. Universities have adopted Google's cloud applications: specifically, GMail, Google Drive, Google Calendar and Google Sites. No doubt may of the students are also using services such as search, Google Docs, and G+. The key for universities is the cloud environment, reducing their infrastructure overhead. Also, says Google, "By going Google, students and teachers have access to a whole new way of doing things: They can better collaborate in and out of the classroom; office hours can be held via hangouts; e-portfolios can be created and maintained in a Google Site; professors can give real-time feedback in a Google document (no red pen necessary); and group projects can take place across continents instead of side-by-side in a library." Via Edudemic.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Project Based Learning, Google, E-Portfolios]

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What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland's School Success
Anu Partanen, The Atlantic, September 15, 2012.

I don't think this can be repeated enough. "Herein lay the real shocker. As Sahlberg continued, his core message emerged, whether or not anyone in his American audience heard it. Decades ago, when the Finnish school system was badly in need of reform, the goal of the program that Finland instituted, resulting in so much success today, was never excellence. It was equity." Pasi Sahlberg is director of the Finnish Ministry of Education's Center for International Mobility and author of the new book Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland?

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Schools, Books, United States]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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