by Stephen Downes
Dec 06, 2016
I've spent the last few hours wrapping my mind around GoMix. As Anil Dash says, "Think of Gomix as sort of an App Store connected to CodePen connected to Heroku." And if that doesn't help you, well you understand why it's taking me a bit. The idea is that you have an interface to write applications, in an environment where you can search for and copy other people's applications, and run them and share them with your friends, like this multi-user quest game. It's weird (to me) not having a server to set up and host my application; it feels like working without a net. Except that the code is portable, and I could run it pretty much anywhere in a similar environment. This isn't my first go at this; I messed around with it last June while it was still called HyperDev.
The PISA 2015 results are in, announced with a big splash this morning. Topping the charts across the three disciplines are Singapore, Japan, Estonia, Finland, and Canada, along with four Chinese cities and states. Interestingly, three Canadian provinces - Alberta, Quebec and British Columbia - are at the very top of the rankings. In addition to the tables - which of course all media will focus on - there is a lot of interesting reading in this report, especially with regard to the importance of social equity to achievement in education, the influence of parental income and education, the non-influence of the size of immigrant population, and the role of attitudes and self-efficacy in learning. There is also an associated speech and sample questions set (which you have no excuse for not getting perfect).
Before the internet you would never ever have seen something like this; the closest you would get would be the furniture-making shows on public television. This is a gorgeous set of videos describing the building and assembly of a large-wheel brass skeleton clock by hand. The explanations are good, and the video is crystal clear. Could you do it yourself merely by following these videos? Probably not; the show assumes knowledge of how to set and use the drills, taps and sanders. But they could inspire a similar project and help you visualize the work you need to do when you do it yourself. If you watch only one part of the 23-part series, watch the last one; it gives you the best flavour of the series as a whole and an appreciation for the final product. Via Metafilter.
When I was the editor of a student newspaper so many years ago I was amazed how sensitive people were to every word we wrote. I knew our influence was far less than people thought. The same is true today of social media, as this item shows. And the conclusion is good advice generally: "Don't do anything offensive or hurtful. Don't say anything offensive or hurtful on social media. And if you do do something stupid, especially if it's an accident, sit tight and give it a chance to blow over."
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