by Stephen Downes
Jan 24, 2017
Papert called it "hard fun". We;ll, it has been fun but I've been swearing a lot recently. Getting to understand technologies like Docker and Vagrant - and all the associated middleware and protocols and conventions - has been a lot to undertake. I have a simple objective to start - create an image of gRSShopper and serve it from AWS. Why do it it this way? Why not just study what I need? Because if I want to truly understand it I have to build it. That's the point of Karl Kapp's argument in this post. "When you really want learners to understand content or concepts, force them to struggle with the concept or the idea. The act of struggling and manipulating and engaging with content will make it more meaningful and more memorable." And if I want to be credible when I talk about these technologies, I have to know them, inside and out.
I think this vision of the future of educational technology is fundamentally correct, though the description in this article is lacking. "We are using Canvas as a thin layer and laying apps on top of it. For instance, we needed a better way to record video, so we developed an app to record video on an iPhone or iPad. Once you upload it, it automatically gets bounced into your Canvas account. We are using Canvas as the core glue to hold together a bunch of other things."
'Microlearning' is the new buzzword in the rapid e-learning community, but be careful. As this article shows, it is often realized as a quick Flash animation. I, however, am viewing the internet on a 4K screen. These animations appear like postage stamps in the middle of my screen (which makes sense, since they were designed for mobile). Designers, however, should create learning resources that can be viewed well on any screen - from a tiny handheld to a living-room television. This takes more care than dashing quick Articulate animations provides. By contrast, look at my presentation pages, which show (imperfectly) how presentations and videos can be sized up and down to fit any screen.
This is a good two-part article (part one, part two) discussing some of the divisions in the open access movement. Part two lays them out quite nicely: are embargoes permitted, yes or no; is charging for access permitted, yes or no; and is the non- commercial license permitted, yes or no. Me, I can live with embargoes and I certainly allow for non-commercial licenses, but I am opposed to a definition of 'open access' that permits enterprises to put up tolls blocking access. I am opposed by primarily commercial agencies seeking to monetize open access by banning non-commercial licenses and enabling tolls for access.
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