by Stephen Downes
Jun 04, 2015
E-books: Histories, trajectories, futures
Michael M. Widdersheim,
"Commercial e-books are a product of history that resulted from concerted efforts by the publishing industry to control products and customers," writes Michael M. Widdersheim. "The book publishing industry sought to find a way to reduce production and shipping costs, avoid overproduction, reduce storage costs, increase revenue, maintain scarcity, and lower risk." And they have been largely successful, prevented from monopolizing the industry only by e-book vendors, such as Amazon. But they still have their niche: "E-books will likely continue to intersect with the education industry, whose interest in the student surveillance economy calls for control and prediction — exactly what that the data-capturing potential of e-books offers."
How to Fix a Racist Frat
This story (a must read!) is about racist American fraternities, but its themes are limited to neither racism nor the United States. "Racism among Southern Greek organizations—or in Greek organizations across America, or American organizations in general—comes down to people; people who want power, people who want their lives to stay the same, people who let a group mentality corrupt their lives. To get anything to change, you’d have to get thousands of college kids to band together and demand it—college kids who, by nature of their designation, are only inclined to care about their community in a whole-hearted way for a brief period of time. 'It’s all tribal, it’s all pageantry. It’s people trying to freeze-dry cultural aspects of their life,' Greg told me. It’s working." I've written about this before, at length. But schools and educators love their groups.
Large-Scale, Government- Supported Educational Tablet Initiatives
Rana M. Tamim, Eugene Borokhovski, David Pickup, Robert M. Bernard,
Commonwealth of Learning,
This report is "a systematic review of current government-supported tablet initiatives around the world was conducted to understand their origins, underlying principles, financial and organisational models, and expected outcomes." The bulk of the report is a country-by-country survey of tablet initiatives. Comparisons were drawn regarding motivating factors, cost and finances, and educational impact. The results so far, write the authors, are encouraging but not conclusive. "The majority of the initiatives were launched in a hasty and uncalculated manner, similar to the uncritical enthusiasm that surrounded the One Laptop per Child initiatives." This has impacted the literature available for review and the quality of the data from which to draw conclusions.
(E-)learning strategy for the future
It shows that even the best can learn. Teemu Leinonen writes, by email, "In Finland we are in a middle of redesigning the national educational system. It is happening in all levels, from schools to Universities. I am somehow involved in this and wrote some ideas about it in my blog. Some international media has wrote about the school reform emphasizing "phenomenon learning", instead of tradition academic school subjects. Here: The Independent, EdWeek, The Conversation." I love the 'three points' for learning (do not select just one way of learning, do it all online, get rid of stupid things). Leionen comments, "The hardest part is to get rid of the old: the long tradition of teaching and learning from the times when information was a scarcity and finding a place for everyone in an industrial society was one of the main reason to have an educational system."
What it’s like to have the social network of a celebrity, without actually being famous
A Blog About Making Culture,
This is really important to understand: "The thing that’s forgotten is, people don’t have huge social networks because they’re good at using the Internet. Beyonce got to having millions of Twitter followers before she ever even wrote her first tweet. The fact is, online celebrity is just a simple reflection of the existing networks of privilege that confer benefits on people in every other realm of life. In my particular case, being picked as a suggested user on Twitter changed the trajectory of my online life, but how is having a friend who was an early Twitter employee any different from the Old Boys’ Club? It ain’t." People who think I should be more (nice|smart|insightful|deep) than I am should understand that I am not, and have never claimed to be, any more (nice|smart|insightful|deep) than any of you. I've just been around longer, and got to know some of the right people at the right time. (p.s. I joined Twitter in 2007 - I waited so long because I thought it was stupid).
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.