by Stephen Downes
Dec 25, 2014
10 Trends to Personalize Learning in 2015
There are some interesting thoughts in this post. The ten trends are divided into four quadrants: learning culture, learning environments, partnerships, and deeper learning. This allows Barbara Bray to look beyond technology and think about things like belief systems, competencies, advisories, project-based learning and assessment as learning. She writes, "It is about the learner making learning personal for his or herself. It is about teacher and learner roles changing....The current system of content delivery and focusing on performance instead of learning is not making positive changes for our children and their future."
Five Reasons the Conversations Have Moved from Twitter to Voxer
I don't know whether Voxer will replace existing social networks, but John Spencer's five reasons were enough to convince me to pay the $2.99 a month (quoted from his post):
- The lack of badges, and metrics "likes" or "favorites" means we aren't playing Relational Fantasy Football. There are no rockstars.
- We don't have to put on a public persona. On Twitter, it often feels less about talking with one another and more about talking to the public.
- While Twitter feels like this massive, loud meet-and-greet, Voxer feels like a hangout.
- The multimedia element allows it to still be asynchronous (similar to Twitter or Facebook) while still feeling like the person is physically there.
- Sometimes someone has a longer thought that deserves a little extra time.
My user name on Voxer? Downes.
A 2014 (Personal) Blogging Retrospective
Michael Feldstein writes a detail, clear and really honest blog post about the history of his own blog and the role it played in his career. I guess there are three major stages there: his early blogging days, in which he became part of the educational blogging community; his "war" against the Blackboard patent (and we all owe him a debt for that); and his post-lawsuit days in which the blog matured and his career flourished. I've always enjoyed Feldsteins informed and in-depth analyses; he is the type of blogger who goes well beyond the superficial to understand not just how things work the way they do, but also why. I still think he is more corporate-friendly and big-institution-friendly than I am, but there's no reason he needs to agree with me on these points, and the world is a far more interesting place with his perspective in it.
If you were to Start a School from Scratch….
Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano,
I've actually thought about this question quite a bit. New Brunswick has legislation that makes it comparatively easy to start colleges and even universities, so I've idly scoped out all the buildings in the city, pondering amenities and sitelines, and thinking about the possibilities. Moncton could use a polytechnic (I always thought Saint John made a mistake in refusing one a few years back) with a strong liberal arts element, along the lines of MIT. I'd develop on an engaged and community-focused curriculum focused on projects rather than content. It would be bilingual. And I'd take the advice in this post:
- hiring teachers "who can demonstrate skills (not just talk about them) and are experiencing a connected learning network as they are building their own digital presence "
- supporting networked students
- "including documenting and reflecting as an integral part of the student work flow /learning process"
I think it would be good, and it's the sort of core presence (and not a withdrawn and distracted academia) that is key to a region's cultural and economic growth.
MOOCs are closed platforms… and probably doomed
"Do not be fooled by how savvy MOOC advocates sound," cautions Daniel Lemire. "They do not understand what they are doing." He doesn't me me, of course. "The actual MOOCs that colleges publish are closed platforms, as per Wikipedia’s definition," he writes. Interestingly, you can walk into any university classroom and sit in on a lecture, and nobody will care (if they notice at all). That's because lectures are a hard sell, he writes. And consider this thought experiment: what if the degrees were free, if you passed the tests, but each hour of lecture cost twenty dollars. "You know what is going to happen? Nobody but the instructor will show up." Colleges are still selling the content - and that's why they canot afford actual open MOOCs. But this will change. "Colleges that try to lock down course content, let alone the content of their MOOCs, are signalling that they have no clue about the business that they are in."
How to Write a Resume That Stands Out
Harvard Business Review,
Yes I know, there's a million of these articles out there already. But this is short, clear, and really good. It made me rethink how I wrote my own c.v. (you get to call a resumé a c.v. is you're looking for an academic position). Not that I'm looking for a job (I have really enjoyed the last year at NRC as a program leader) but it makes me rethink how I would organize my accomplishments and those of the people who work with me. As the article says, "'I managed a team of 10' doesn’t say much. You need to dig a level deeper. Did everyone on your team earn promotions? Did they exceed their targets?"
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