by Stephen Downes
Apr 22, 2016
Good post on some of the challenges inherent in what has been called variously 'reclaim hosting' or 'personal API'. "When Boone Gorges and D’Arcy Norman did their aggressive acts of Reclaiming a few years back, my thought was 'That’s impressive' as well as 'That looks like a lot of work'." This is a concern. The core of the article is a 'domain of one's own consideration sheet' which is worth looking at in its own right.
This isn't a post about religious studies, but rather an examination of how much grammar people can learn without explicit instruction. And as Arika Okrent reports the answer is: quite a bit. "People, even as babies, are good at pulling out grammatical structure from patterned data." data are limited on this, but there is a large scale data set available in the form of people who had memorized the Qur'an. "Had they absorbed the rules of how they worked simply by hearing and repeating them in memorized text? Yes. The memorizers without classroom Arabic did better than any of the other groups at demonstrating knowledge of the rules." With LanguageHat I agree, "I welcome this as another nail in the coffin of the Chomskyite dogma that grammar must be innate because we couldn’t possibly learn it from simply hearing a language spoken." Learning is not rule-based.
I can't say I'm a great social listener. But if I were interested in promotion rather than, say, design or discovery, I would want to focus a lot more on it. "Social media listening (or social media monitoring) is the practice of paying close attention to digital channels when conversations relevant to your cause are being discussed. Whether the debate surrounds a keyword, organization or issue, understanding the dialogue can help you engage the people driving the conversation."
Today's new word is 'agnotology', the deliberate spreading of ignorance. In internet and education technology, it has traditionally been known as FUD - "fear, uncertainty and doubt," which are the major means of manufacturing ignorance. I see it every day, often reflected in the words of people who should really know better. This article describes the practice. "Ignorance can often be propagated under the guise of balanced debate. For example, the common idea that there will always be two opposing views does not always result in a rational conclusion... ignorance spreads when firstly, many people do not understand a concept or fact and secondly, when special interest groups – like a commercial firm or a political group – then work hard to create confusion about an issue."
102 slide presentation (!) looking at a number of projects dedicated to open learning. It, however, takes a quality focus, defining 'open education' as "innovations for changing and opening up education to improve the quality." Having said that, there's a good understanding of the multiple dimensions of open education and the presentation is thorough and methodical.
Good article again questioning the concept of 'rigor'. "In our collaborative article, “Beyond Rigor”, Jesse Stommel, Pete Rorabaugh, and I argue that: Intellectually rigorous work lives, thrives, and teems proudly outside conventional notions of academic rigor." A lot of my own work is like this: “To see what would happen.”
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