by Stephen Downes
May 21, 2015
The K12 Education Market
Short article making the impoirtant point that the K-12 education market is a complex array of interplaying forces, including several levels of government, corporations, lobbyists, school boards, and finally, teachers and children. If anything, I think the diagram under-represents the complexity of the market. The diagram is focused on the U.S. system but I think that the schooling system in other markets is no less complex. This diagram helps us understand why reform in education is so difficult - it means aligning a wide variety of agencies, many of which are working to serve particular outcomes and interests.
Speaking out on Elsevier’s Article “Sharing” Policy
About three weeks ago, Elsevier released a new policy governing open access publication. The response from the academic community was immediate and unfavourable, including this statement, signed by a couple dozen groups, criticizing the policy. More. SPARC argued that "Despite the claim by Elsevier that the policy advances sharing, it actually does the opposite." The Elsevier policy extends the embargo period to as much as 48 months, and requires that authors apply a "non-commercial and no derivative works" license to self-archived work. Elsevier responded to the criticism today. Meanwhile Emerald is going after harvesting itself, requiring authors agree that "I/We will not permit others to electronically gather or harvest and save to a separate server my/our Work." The backstory here is that publishers are facing a threat from services like Academia and ResearchGate, which harvest and store works from wherever they can be found, and compile a list of publications for each author. The aggressively seek to upload versions of the works, provide access only to versions on their own website, and do not link back to original copies. The perfect walled garden.
'Hack or be hacked': Why kids need to know how technology works
Whose responsibility is it to prevent hacking and to promote security? I have two stories in my inbox today - this one and this one - that suggest it's the user's responsibility. In one, " Jesse Hirsh makes the case for a deeper understanding of technology as a civic duty. He says 'hack or be hacked.' The choice is yours." The rest of the story is an advertisement for Kano, a $150 computer that you build yourself. In the other story, we are told "End users are widely seen as a weak link in the enterprise security chain." The argument is that employees should receive security training. Maybe. But end users are the "weak link" because they're trying to get their job done, whether than means teaching 6-year-olds or writing reports. Network security is often a problem they need to overcome, rather than a shield that protects them. There needs to be some accord here.
The Human Capital Report 2015
World Economic Forum,
Just for the record, if there's any term I like less than the term 'human resources' (or as it's abbreviated around here, 'resources'), it's the term 'human capital'. The term implies the commodification not only of the talents and skills people possess and can apply in the workplace, but of the people themselves. But that's what we get from the World Economic Forum. So now I haven't read the full 319 page PDF (I spent the day writing a quarterly report - yay!) but it's not the sort of report you read cover-to-cover anyways, as it's mostly a set of league tables comparing countries. They employ three major concepts: learning and employment outcomes, demographics, and a standardized 'distance to the ideal state'. Learning is measured by enrollment, literacy rates (tests like PISA and TIMMS are only available for a few nations), educational attainment and workplace learning. In demographics they look at economic participation, skills, and vulnerability. So who are the 'top 10'? In order: Finland at the top, then Norway, Switzerland, Canada, Japan, Sweden, Denmark, New Zealand, the Netherlands, and Belgium.
This newsletter is sent only at the request of subscribers. If you would like to unsubscribe,
Know a friend who might enjoy this newsletter? Feel free to forward OLDaily to your colleagues. If you received this issue from a friend and would like a free subscription of your own,
you can join our mailing list. Click here to subscribe.