by Stephen Downes
Mar 16, 2015
Learning and Connectivism in MOOCs
Stephen Downes, Mar 16, 2015,
Hackademia, Online, to Brazil
In this presentation I argue that learning a domain is like learning a language (as opposed to remembering facts and content) and presupposes the learning of various literacies; the talk then outlines the major literacies MOOCs are designed to support.
Developing students’ digital literacies
In my presentation today I discussed what I call the 'critical literacies' and put them in context with other aspects of the connectivist pedagogy I have been describing over the years. You can see this diagram here. This can be contrasted with 'digital literacy' (or any of the other literacies that have been touted over the years) which, from my perspective at least, represent content areas rather than literacies. So how do they get to be called literacies at all? Well I think if we see them in a certain light, we can see the relation. Here, for example, is a guide released last year by JISC on the seven elements of digital literacies. To understand them as literacies (or as elements of a literacy), we have to understand the critical literacies for each of those. This creates the following grid:
Why do I represent it this way? Well, I argue that the underlying literacies are the new literacies in today's environment. They are what traditional literacy, digital literacy, numeracy, emotional literacy, and all the other literacies have in common. To become digitally literate, you must become literate in syntax, semantics, and the rest. (I would also argue JISC should reconsider their categories - why put collaboration and carfeer together? Why join identity and career?)
Pearson’s Yellow Brick Road
"I have never been happier that we refused to allow my fourth grader to take the PARCC," writes Sarah Blaine. This is just the tip of the iceberg of the storm that's beginning to build up against Pearson's practice of monitoring students' social media for discussion of 'test elements' (which might be as simple as stating that the test uses excerpts from The Wizard of Oz. And Blaine asks, "It seems an odd person who would choose to make his or her living by delving into individual children’s social media use to the extent that the person can figure out the school the child attends." Image: Donna Mace.
Five Labs Facebook Analysis
According to this analysis, my Facebook posts reveal that I am inventive, analytical, and reserved. All true but how accurate is the analysis? I have to wonder a bit about the categorization - for example, the key words the site uses to identify 'Agreeableness' include "prayers, awesome, lord, amazing, great, christ, thanksgiving, psalm, proverbs, christmas, amazing, church, praise" and the like. That may indicate religiosity, but I'm sure most people would not equate religiosity with agreeableness.
Walmart pledges $100 million to boost jobs
This story is revealing because of what WalMart says about the initiative as it launches it: "'The education-to-employment system is broken,' says Walmart Foundation president Kathleen McLaughlin... Harvard Business School’s Bridge the Gap report details the pressing need: 51% of retailers have trouble filling middle-skills roles." It would also be nice to see the company raise wages further to provide a stimulus for people; there's not a lot of incentive to take training for a $9/hour job, but a return to the days when a person could make a decent living working in a store would be a welcome change in the social landscape.
$1.55M MOOC Project to Expand Global Education
At Whit's End,
I think it's interesting that a course review site has achieved enough legitimacy to be able to use its data to develop a MOOC-centric training network (I'm less thrilled that international development funds are diverted to do this). But maybe it will provide a lasting benefit. "The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and CourseTalk.com, an online course review company, are launching a two-year, $1.55 million project to expand quality education and career training globally..." The Technology & Social Change Group "will analyze more than 70,000 course CourseTalk reviews from students to study awareness and usage of MOOCs among 18 to 35 year olds in Colombia, the Philippines and South Africa."
Coursera's Stiglitz: MOOC revolution is just beginning
Coursera's director of business and market development Julia Stiglit says the MOOC revolution is not over. "I think it’s just beginning. I really do... It’s something that’s still evolving, but the place where I see Coursera and MOOCs in right now is in the space of lifelong learners, who are really looking for educational opportunities." I think that open online learning will continue, and maybe even a form created specifically for older learners who like traditional courses. My vision of the future of open online learning, though, is wider than this.
Bob Braun Reports that Pearson Is Spying on Social Media of Students Taking PARCC Tests
The site that broke the story has been "attacked and closed", but this is what Bob Braun wrote: "Pearson, the multinational testing and publishing company, is spying on the social media posts of students–including those from New Jersey–while the children are taking their PARCC, statewide tests." The original post is here (link still down) and the full text of the article has been reposted here. The spying appears to be sanctioned by the Department of Education (DOE) in the U.S. also from Bob Braun: "Hmmmm. Coming to a school near you. http://www.tracx.com/... Pearson Streamlines Social Media Listening and Monitoring With Tracx." More from Daily Kos. Jersey Jazzman says the story "proves the inferiority of their (Pearson's) products." After a bit of a delay, the story has broken on the Washington Post Blog and... well, that's it. More from Kevin Jarrett. Response from Watchung Hills Superintendent Elizabeth Jewett.
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