by Stephen Downes
Jan 20, 2015
Responsive Open Learning Environments
Sylvana Kroop, Alexander Mikroyannidis, Martin Wolpers,
I think this is the same book that was released in 2013 - the title is the same and the three editors are the same - but this time it appears through Springer rather than as a proprietary Apply-format iBook (the old link is no longer functioning). Maybe it's an edited version? The copyright on the Springer book is 2015. In any case, the book offers a good overview of the Responsible Open Learning Environments (ROLE) project. In addition to the case studies, the most relevant sections are the Visions and Concepts chapter, which outlines the idea of a widget-based PLE, and the Lessons Learned chapter, which talks about the interoperability framework and inter-widget communication, contextualized attention metadata (which would today be superseded by xAPI), the ROLE SDK, the Moodle plugin, and the contribution of ROLE software to open source projects.
The Coming Sandstorm.io
This is a very interesting project. As Jim Groom describes it, "Sandstorm is an open source platform that enables you to host open source applications that aren’t predetermined by more mainstream, highly controlled hosting software like CPanel... So, with Sandstorm you can basically provide an indie web distribution hub, kinda like the Merge or Dischord Records model for distributing alternative music." Related: Docker. "Docker is an open platform for developers and sysadmins to build, ship, and run distributed applications." So why are these significant? Imagine all of these functions - blogging engine, RSS reader, etc., in the hands of each student instead of merely in the hands of a teacher or class.
Transferring Expertise: The Best Way to Move Tacit Knowledge
"Even given a long history failed attempts to "capture" expertise," writes Nancy Dioxon, "we just can’t seem to get past this idea that an expert’s mind is like a filing cabinet where we can just wisk out a file and hand it over to someone else." That's why the picture of education and learning as knowledge 'transfer' is wrong. Sadly, I don't think Dixon proposes a better theory over the old one. She has the right idea - "experts, as well as the rest of us, store what we learn, not as lessons or answers, but as fragments or bits and pieces located throughout our minds.`But she has the wrong model: "think of an expert’s mind as a box of Lego pieces." Why is this the wrong model? Because we're right back to the 'storage' model of knowledge, using a lego box instead of a filing cabinet. But having said that, I think the "see, do, teach" model she describes is a good one. By seeing and doing, we don't try to transfer knowledge, we instead attempt to grow knowledge. We create something new instead of merely replicating the old.
MMCP: The “Critical” in Critical Pedagogy
Sean Michael Morris,
I pretty much agree with this: "Critical pedagogy could be thought of as a philosophy of teaching that shows more than tells.... 'Knowledge emerges only through invention and re-invention,' Freire writes, 'through the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the world, with the world, and with each other.” (53) To “tell” is to rob the learner of her capacity for inquiry.'" And yet, says the author, we tell, even if only to each other. This includes not only statement of fact, but criticism, fault-finding, and such. Isn't that what this post is?
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