by Stephen Downes
Jan 19, 2017
This document might become obsolete very quickly, released as it was just a few days ago. But it's the first major update since 2010 and hence represents a landmark. The complete document (111 page PDF) talks about what people need to learn, teaching with technology, innovation, assessment and accessibility. They recommend the use of technology to support anytime-anywhere-anybody learning, learning resources that embody design principles from learning sciences, alignment of learning resources to intended outcomes and support multiple pathways to expertise. The authors also support things like learning dashboards, embedded assessment environments such as simulations and collaborative systems,
Normally when we think of platforms we think of news or social media, but education too has drifted into the platform model and is influenced by the shifting business models. First, says John Hagel, the platform model will shift to a customer-pay model, since trust is required in order to collect the data to support learning, and unless the customer pays, the loyalties of the platform owner lie elsewhere (with advertisers, say). A flat fee for access is the typical model (think Netflix) but additional schemes may focus on usage time, impact and results, or other metrics. A lot of this is drawn from an earlier article. The business model will also require increasing value to subscribers, for example, the trusted advisor business model. I think the error in this model is in the presumption that customer payments buy loyalty and trust. We pay for our cable and phone service, but nobody thinks providers serve the interests of the consumers. I think we need to look beyond the subscriber model to platform ownership. Only when it's our platform will we trust it. Image, John Hagel on Deloitte in 2015
Post introducing readers to services like SkyFactor and VitalSource (formerly CourseSmart), data-driven learning analytics and retention systems. The point underlined in the article is that such systems represent an almost casual attitude of invasive surveillance on the part of British and American institutions. Instructors have access to a dashboard showing "class attendances, assessment grades, participation in sports practices, and visits to the campus financial aid officer." Such surveillance is not benign, writes the author; it is a source of disruption and stress for students. The justification, though, is the investment students make in education. “Do you just let them fall through the cracks,” he says, “or can you embrace technology that might help them deal with the stresses of college and progress?” Via internetactu (en français).
This is a Canadian government initiative, "a digital networking platform called GCcollab.ca, a site it’s pitching as an easy way for academics and students to connect and collaborate with Canada’s public service." The open source software referred to in the article is Elgg, which formed the backbone of GCConnex. I am signed up on the site and will be welcoming connections and groups linking the academic sector and learning and development in the Canadian public service.
This is a good non-technology based definition of personalized learning: "it occurs as leaders empower teachers to go beyond the traditional role of a 'content expert' and organically diagnose, analyze, guide, instruct, and coach students." This definition, however, makes personalization very labour-intensive, which it has in fact always been. Thus, writes Grant Rivera, "we need to maximize two finite, critical resources for student success: time and teachers." The rest of the article contains suggestions on how to do this: "break free from the constraints of the traditional school clock" and "gone are the days of a course-pacing guide that locks a team of teachers to a prescribed lesson plan."
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