by Stephen Downes
Apr 05, 2017
Vodafone Zambia is launching something called the JUMP Academy, "an internet-enabled application that offers unlimited access to a wide range of educational materials, tailored to the local curriculum and accessible through any device." Access to the academy is free and it was planned and developed locally in Zambia. "The JUMP Academy is a major component of the company’s online portal dubbed JUMP, which is an educational and socially managed portal that serves to enhance e-learning for personal development and growth."
From the description: "Computer magazine's multimedia editor Charles Severance interviews Bob Metcalfe about the creation of the first Ethernet local area network 40 years ago at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center." We still use ethernet today, and Metcalfe, of course, is the namesake for "Metcalfe's Law", which states that"the value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system" (per Wikipedia). More on Metcalfe's Law.
Of course the answer to the question in the headline is 'yes'. If you've ever tested the water with a toe before diving in, you've done science. But what, exactly, is science? This article is a bit weaker on this front. True, it's not just measurement and units of measurement and it's not just description. But science isn't just about asking questions, either, not even if they're 'why' questions. And children aren't "naturally prone to being good scientists," as the author avers. Science is, at core, about method - it's a process of looking and discovering, trying things out, seeing what happens, and reasoning about that in a more or less systematic way. This is a process that takes skill and development; it needs to be learned.
I suppose the new form of fame and immortality will be to have someone create a bot based on your personality. The 'Downes' bot will visit websites randomly and give them negative reviews. More seriously, this article on bots focuses - as it should - on the growing acceptance of bots in society. It turns out that we don't mind communicating with bots if they give us the sort of experience we're looking for (and that experience is not 'press 1 if you want to renew your account'). "“As A.I. develops, everything is going to go into a mixed-reality world where you could dial up a hologram of your favorite pop star and have ‘real conversations’ with the artificially intelligent version of that person." Or as Steven Tyler would say, "Rock on!"
This is a long, detailed and technical post about what information your internet service provider (ISP, called 'BIAS' in this article) can gather about your internet use and sell to the government or other customers. It's written clearly, though, and it should be easy enough for most readers to follow. In a nutshell, here's what you should do to protect your personal information (quoted):
This is fairly comprehensive and not the easiest things for an average home user to set up (corporate users already do most of this, or should). At a certain point these need to be bundled into a 'secure' internet service. ISPs will be loathe to offer such a package. But a market exists.
The hardest thing to convince people of in education technology, it seems to me, is that students need a space to create. This is what i discovered in the years working on a PLE, where there were all sorts of ideas for content recommending and resource consumption, but outright resistance to creative workspaces of any kind. But this is what is needed, and this is what is behind initiatives such as Domain of One's Own. So I a, supportive of Audrey Watters's argument in this post.
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