by Stephen Downes
Nov 21, 2016
Post-Truth And Fake News
Stephen Downes, Nov 21, 2016.
Yes, by all means, do something about the fake news that is propagating through Facebook and Twitter. But let's not forget that we have been in the post-truth era for some time (indeed, one wonders whether we ever entered the truth era in the first place).
It's like Ed Radio, but written by real programmers and available to whole communities. RadioPublic has three objectives: "improving show discovery, improving how (and how deeply) listeners engage with their favorite shows, and improving channels through which show creators can make money." It was introduced Friday. It's avaiulable for iOS and Android. "We are featuring curated episode playlists across myriad topics, activities, moods, genres, artists, publishers, and networks." That's great - but I don't want to do my curating on a phone. Still. Installing. Listening. Via Ben Werdmuller.
Substantial and weighty article from Michael Feldstein dealing with the topic of the day south of the border: the failure of analytics. Or, I guess, we should call it the failure of people to understand analytics, raising "the question of whether we put too much faith in numerical analysis in general and complex learning analytics in particular." This is an oft-made critique, of course (we see it also, for example, in criticisms of grades and test scores). But Feldstein also suggests that it represents "a fundamental limiter on the future growth of the ed tech industry." I think this is true only if you think that ed tech is fundamentally an analytics industry. Many of my colleagues think it is. But I disagree. But do take the time to read this article - it's literate, informed, and as a well-formed opinion should, goes well beyond the data.
I thought this was an interesting idea, so though the story is a few days old I thought it worth a mention. The idea of the pop-up - as in pop-up restaurant and pop-up store - is that it is occasion-specific and temporary. It's a bit like those calendar shops that, um, pop up ever fall in the mall. "Pop-ups allow students to dip into rigorous introductions that may be outside their disciplines. And pop-ups aren’t limited to social sciences -- Bennington professors also have taught courses about measles and gravitational waves, for instance." When we need a bunch of well-informed people to talk about a given event, pop-up courses are just the ticket.
This article describes some projects that support the new local digital technologies curriculum in New Zealand. The program depends on community involvement and "to boost our students’ skills and confidence to identify local and global problems and opportunities, and design and develop digital solutions in response." As is always the case with projects like this, each of them has a local champion (or two) driving them forward. We don't say enough about them (probably because there are some in most every community) but most of the work in ed tech would be impossible without them.
When Avatar came out the 3D effect was pretty incredible. Now the same 3D effect in movies is ordinary, and you need to have some special reason (ie: CGI effects) to use it. I think things like the hololens are similar. Nurse interactions with patients, or archaeologists interacting with artifacts might qualify. Maybe even visualizations of mathematical formulae. But the normal classroom experience will not benefit from the 3D treatment. Via Inside Higher Ed, where Joshua Kim warns that the product Pearson is touting is more like augmented reality than virtual reality.
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