by Stephen Downes
Dec 05, 2016
This is a good article dealing with the implications of the backlash against diversity in the wake of recent populist victories. The premise of the anti-diversity argument is that " liberals must appeal 'to Americans as Americans.' But of course, "Lilla 'overlooks the fact that Americanness itself is a particular constructed identity." So is Britishness. Etc. So I don't think the populist appeal opposes diversity, notwithstanding the clumsy way is is supported by its proponents. It is an appeal to the support of 'people like us' who are getting a raw deal. These people are, variously, white, or poor, or lowlanders, or Oceanians.
But the best bit is in the comments by: "the question then becomes: How do we, from the place of BEING a woman, or a black person, or gay, or whatever, relate to OTHER kinds of identities, but always from within that coverall political umbrella, and where we all can pursue a vision of the common good--from the general to the particular in our own lives and as history moves forward?"
Readers are probably familiar with the distinction I've drawn between personal and personalized learning. This proposal draws a distinction along very much the same lines, as follows:
As the author writes, "We each have our own specific digital, numerical, information and visual literacy. We may have disabilities, and become disabled as we age. We each still need domain over our unique personal data, created in part by our unique interactions with our unique environs, and the facility to make sense of it to help in some way make sense of our unique lives. And many of us relish the opportunity to do that without intermediation, with unfettered personal agency, and appreciate from a societal point of view others having similar facility."
Only a few months after passing the 5 million user mark a new white paper projects that XuetangX, China's largest MOOC provider, will have 10 million users by year's end. "The white paper estimates that some 1,200 MOOCs have so far been developed by around 30 universities and an unspecified number of colleges, with a much greater focus on higher education rather than vocational courses." Class Central ran a background report on XuetangX a few months ago.
I think this is a pretty important development. LinkedIn has been collecting professional and resum data through its social network service for a number of years and is now marketing its learning services (I got the promotional email again today). The course selections are of course tailored to my profile, and designed to match my career aspirations. But it's not cheap; more than $25 Canadian per month. It won't let you see the courses without credit card or PayPal authorization. The courses appear to be mostly video content presentations, but I'm signing up and I'll probably report back. Or f I really like it, maybe I'll offer a course via the service.
As readers know, I dropped out of Facebook at the end of the summer. It felt lonely but it was a good move - the people who were missing my posts on Facebook came back, and viewership on downes.ca went from the 25K per month it had averaged to more like 40K per month. That's a big difference compared to the single-digit reads I was getting on Facebook. Anyhow, D'Arch Normal is also lookibg at alternatives, having dropped off both Facebook and Twitter. He lists four services he's been looking at: Known, Mastodon, Quitter.no, and GNO Social. I've set up my own account on Mastodon; you can find me here: https://mastodon.social/users/Downes
I've been using IFTTT as a useful tool to connect my various social network services for several years now. As it migrates from a free service to something more self-sustaining, though, IFTTT is shifting its focus. It remains an open question whether it will continue to be useful. According to this article, "IFTTT has been backing away from its do-it-yourself roots, and catering more to the companies whose services it connects... 'We want to become a PayPal for access,' says Linden Tibbets, IFTTT's founder and CEO. 'A trusted third party that facilitates an exchange from one service to the next.'"
Nik Peachey has written a new guide to a lovely application distributed around four years ago by Clément Delangue and Arnaud Breton. It allows the user to view a YouTube video and take time-stamped notes in the same environment. The notes can be saved, shared, reviewed, or exported to Evernote. It's the sort of thinking that will eventually lead toward a proper personal learning environment (PLE). You can download Peachy's PDF and video guides here. Or even better, go straight to videonot.es, sign in with your Google ID, and start using it right away. The code is open source and is on GitHib. Peeach also offers additional articles in his Digital Tools Series on PayHip (scroll down).
Good summary of the Friday plenary at Online Educa Berlin. What strikes me most about the four speakers - Alec Couros, Diana Laurillard, Martin Eyjolfsson and Mark Surman - is their incongruity. Couros talks about open and connected learning, Laurillard advises we let teachers direct us, Eyolfsson talks about Iceland and Surman talks about digital literacy. The topic of the seminar was 'owning learning' but nobody seemed willing to embrace that concept.
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