by Stephen Downes
Dec 23, 2014
Developing Personal Learning
Stephen Downes, Dec 20, 2014,
6th IEEE International Conference on Technology for Education, Amrita University, Kerala, India, online via A-View
In this online presentation I discuss the evolution of personal learning technology and then itemize in more detail the elements of the NRC Learning and Performance Support Systems program, including the personal learning record, personal cloud, resource repository network, competency detection and recognition, and personal learning assistant.
Strength in numbers
John De Jong,
So what's the link between Pearson and the PISA assessments? I don't know either, but after reading this odd post I begin to suspect there is one. Why is it odd? Well, first, it conflates the emergence of the World Wide Web with a political campaign, saying (erroneously) that they both "show the power of a shared ambition and a collective approach." The web is exactly the opposite of a "collective" approach; each site is developed independently, the only links between them being, well, links. So why this odd definition of "collective"? Because the author thinks it applies to PISA as well. "Every three years around 70 countries volunteer to take part in PISA, which looks at the skills and knowledge of 15 year olds." Well, yes, but they don't represent any sort of collective effort (otherwise we'd see Americans involved in the testing of Chinese students, and vice versa). And the respective countries don't share common goals. It's unlikely even that they share the definition of "skills and knowledge" imposed on them by PISA (because otherwise national curricula would reflect these same topics, which they do not). Since I presume that the author knows better than to make such facile comparisons, I conclude they are deliberate, which makes me suspect something is up.
"For decades," begins this article, "the idea of a language instinct has dominated linguistics. It is simple, powerful and completely wrong." There is no language instinct - yes, we have the capacity to learn a language, but what`s key here is that language is something that is learned, and not the basis for learning. And the arguments against Chomsky`s theory of a universal grammar`should also cause you to doubt theories of learning based on similar ideas (especially, for example, Piaget or Pinker). We learn language the way we learn everything else: by observing examples of language being used, by imitation and practice, and finally, by reflection. And the ability to use language is a type of recognition, no different from recognizing Aunt Lucy, and not some artful manipulation of codes and rules. If this long article doesn't convince you to abandon the innateness-of-language theory, then I don't know what will.
The conundrum of creating an open course in a closed site – Storyboard OOC update
Art of e-learning,
So this, I think, is the opposite of a MOOC: "We chose to use a platform that requires people to have accounts and sign in, in order to be able to set up and manage the groups effectively." Ironically the letter they choose to drop MOOC is not 'O' for 'Open' but 'M' for 'Massive'. It's true that if the course is not open, it won't be massive, but the really important bit is whether or not it's open. Additionally, setting up a course in such a way as to require management of groups is also contrary to the intent of MOOCs. So why not just call it an 'OC' (Online Course)? Well, it wouldn't be very interesting if it were just one of those, would it? And that's why we're getting so much false-MOOC pollution.
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