by Stephen Downes
Apr 05, 2016
My time as the leader of the Learning and Performance Support Systems program has come to an end, and while I am still employed by NRC, I find myself a bit adrift at the moment. Which is natural. "People want to be respected and honored for who they are, and one’s chosen career is a big part of that. They also want to feel that their work has meaning and positive impact." For me, the main thing will be to navigate the emotional waters - the regret over opportunities passed over while I pursued this work, the disappointment that somehow my best wasn't good enough, the fear that maybe I was never qualified in the first place, the hurt of anger and betrayal. I'll be OK; I'm had much worse things happen to me. For now, though, a time to pause, and reflect.
Doug peterson says there should be pushback on the post What does the fox say? "The challenge," he writes, "was that I showed how to use the two of them at the simplest possible level. If you’re a regular reader here, you know that I haven’t bought into the theories that some are so happy to demonstrate as 'research' when, in fact, no research has been done." Yeah, I can think of a lot of that sort of 'research'. But I don't really hold blog posts to that standard - it's OK to say "hey, here's something neat." Having said that, it is worth looking more deeply at applications that teach animal sounds. Our representation of animals sounds is highly culturally-specific. So is the tool cross-cultural, or is it promoting a hegemony of one animal-sound culture (and, yeah, guess which one)?
I wonder how much data is fake. This is what makes me wonder: "Crowds on Demand brands themselves as "the experts at celebrating your top salesperson, your best clients or a family member with a memorable and fun event!" But it's not that simple. Not surprisingly, staged protests are the company's "growth sector." The concept seems to place them on the edge of a pretty slippery slope." More here.
Researchers know how to do analytics on large data sets, but doing useful analytics on individual people still eludes them. "despite small dataset size, the QS domain should be appealing to re- searchers (because it opens up interesting issues) and significant in its impact on the real world (because it can have a direct effect on people’s lives)." But it's not, because it's hard. But people want useful information (and not simply which Netflix-produced video they'd like to watch). "How can I eliminate headaches? How can I make evidence-based decisions to in-crease my energy levels?" And so on. Good article, worth a careful read.
Of course, I would make my usual distinction between personal and personalized, but beyond that, I can't say the story is a surprise (though you'd be hard-pressed to find technology supporting this objective). "Only seven percent would give an A to their organization's ability to individualize customer experiences; 57 percent said they'd rate their ability at a C or worse. Only 10 percent would score their ability to individualize the employee experience as an A; 37 percent would rank it as a C or lower." Plug and play people; that's the current reality.
I watched a presentation this morning from Labster - "Students can freely perform experiments in a self-directed virtual lab. Labster works directly in the web browser and on iPads, and can be accessed anywhere, anytime." Good concept, good idea, and an example of how learning will be more distributed in the future. Also - no more explosions in chem class. According to Samuel Butcher, who presented for Labster, hey got $4.7 million to work with MIT (of course) and theree's a TEDx talk (of course). More.
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