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October 29, 2012

Learning in the Digital Age: The Reality and the Myth
Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, October 29, 2012.

"We project our thoughts, our ideas, our beliefs, our features onto the chaos. This is how we understand the chaos. We look at the chaos and we see ourselves. In seeing ourselves in the chaos, we comprehend the chaos, but it's a myth. A lot of the time these patterns, these projections, are primal and basic like bears, like tragedy, like fangs and hooks."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Project Based Learning]

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Yahoo, Microsoft Tiff Highlights the Epic Failure of ‘Do Not Track’
Scott Gilbertson, Webmonkey, October 29, 2012.

I think we're learning an important lesson in web economics this week, and it's this: if consumers simply ask for privacy and security on the part of web service providers, it will not be granted. There's no such thing as a user's 'terms of service' that imposes obligations on providers. The closest analogy I can think of was 'robots.txt' on my web server, which was routinely ignored. Now we also have the 'do not track' header on web browsers politely asking service providers not to issue and read tracking cookies. And the result: request ignored. (It's a bit like the telephone 'do not call' lists - that were prized by telemarketers as accurate lists of active telephone numbers they could call). We should have learned by now that corporations do not 'self-govern'. It simply doesn't happen. Corporations will opt for short-term self-interest over social good every time, unless constrained by law. Hence: "The DNT specification has become a joke. It has seriously been proposed that one of the 'Permitted Uses for Third Parties and Service Providers' be 'marketing.' So one of the permitted uses for Do Not Track might be to allow advertisers to track you."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Yahoo!, Microsoft, Marketing, Web Services, Online Learning, Security Issues, Privacy Issues]

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Changing Learning: the Making of the Learning Genome Project
Kelly Tenkely, Dreams of Education, October 29, 2012.

The idea proposed in this post - the 'Learning Genome' - is similar in many ways to the Personal Learning Envrionment proposals being floated around over the last few years (indeed, I would place it squarely in that category). Like the rest of them, it remains a proposal, not a product. Aagin, we catch a glimpse of the complexity of such a product, as well as the potential.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Ontologies]

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Formerly Known as Students
Alison Byerly, Inside Higher Ed, October 29, 2012.

If you were to review my writing on MOOCs and similar phenomena you would see me most frequently refer to (what we would call) 'students' as 'participants'. The term 'participant' to me most accurately represents the relation between MOOC and an individual person - they are not 'students' because that implies studying and the master-student relationship, which are antithetical to MOOCs. Nor either are they referred to (much) as 'learners', as this suggests that learning is the dominant paradigm at work here. In fact, the logic of MOOCs is not the logic of learning, but rtaher, of participation, and that's why I use the word. (Not always, of course, because a needless 100% consistency here would confuse people). The Inside Higher Ed article looks at the same question, but with respect to Coursera, EDx, and the rest of the America MOOCs. In this regard, may I respectully suggest that the best and most appropriate word is 'customer'.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Paradigm Shift]

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Q’s & A’s about “TIMN in 20 minutes” (4th of 7): creation of a new sector?
David Ronfeldt, Visions from Two Theories, October 29, 2012.

One thing that's useful about the TIMN model (tribes, hierarchical institutions, markets, and networks) is that it makes it clear that markets are not networks. This isn't always clear in discussions of network mechanics; often people represent network effects as market effects, and confuse (say) the 'invisible hand of the marketplace' with 'the wisdom of crowds'. But the former is a mathematical principle, while the latter is a relational principle. The former counts while the latter associates. The marketplace embodies a logic of competeition, but a network emplodies a logic of cooperation (not, note, collaboration, which is an artifact of institutional organization). That's why a 'commonwealth of networks' makes sense, while a 'commonwealth of markets' is an oxymoron.


[Link] [Comment][Tags: Networks]

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Various Authors, Website, October 28, 2012.

This is a cloud-based social media application for teachers. It's very simple and would be useful for teachers and students without a lot of technical background. However the free version is functionally useless (no mass mail, maximum 10 photos, maximum two files). So while I wouldn't recommend this one, it's a sign of where the field is headed in the future.

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Open Access Explained!
Nick Shockey and Jonathan Eisen, YouTube, October 28, 2012.

Great little video describing the principles of open access, including the motivation for using it and the explanation for the slow embrace by authors and researchers. Via Seb Schmoller.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Video, Research, Open Access]

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Who Needs Facts Anyway?
Anonymous, Irreverent Science Writer, Neurobonkers, October 28, 2012.

This new blog looks like it could be a good read. "Neurobonkers is a blog focusing on issues of the mind, scientific controversies and journalistic misrepresentation of science. This post is the first in a series at the Big Think, the new home of the Neurobonkers blog." The first post starts off well, reporting on exaggerated claims being made for political effect. "Suggesting that ecstasy is hundreds of times more dangerous than it really is or that cod is 210,000 times more overfished than it is utterly undermines the arguments one is trying to make." The same is true of statements, both pro and con, made about educational technology.

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

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Ed Radio Show Notes, October 29, 2012

Ed Radio for October 29, 2012

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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