A Model of Personal Learning
Stephen Downes, May 16, 2017, 1er Simposium Internacional de Investigacion, Desarrolle e Innovacion en la Sociedad Digital, Mexico City, Mexico
If there's a constant in our field, it's the claim by service providers that they aren't tracking students for the purpose of selling the data to advertisers. Sometimes this comes back to bit the vendors, as it did this week when Edmodo was hacked. Now they face some hard questions. "How aware are teachers in the Edmodo community that they are being tracked by ad brokers permitted on the site by Edmodo? How aware are students, teachers, and parents that ad brokers can collect data on students while using Edmodo?"
When you partner with a large corporation you put the future of your company in their hands. It's not a good place to be, as Knewton is discovering this week. "Pearson will no longer use Knewton’s adaptive learning engine for some of its digital offerings.... Now, Pearson is 'investing heavily in product development and is developing its own in-house adaptive learning capability,' Scott Overland, Pearson’s Director of Media and Communities, wrote." Knewton currently has 32 partners, so it will probably survive.
The problem with flagging fake news as "disputed" is that it encourages people to try harder. "A bunch of conservative groups grabbed this and said, ‘Hey, they are trying to silence this blog – share, share share,’” said Winthrop, who published the story that falsely claimed hundreds of thousands of Irish people were brought to the US as slaves. “With Facebook trying to throttle it and say, ‘Don’t share it,’ it actually had the opposite effect.”
From where I sit, Facebook faces an unsolvable problem. You can either have both advertising and fake news, or you can have neither. There isn't an in-between. If you have advertising, then you have to have a centralized broadcast network, but unless you control all content (like a TV station) you open the door to fake news. Facebook's problem is structural, and there's probably no way out of it.
This is quite a good read, moving from the hype ("bots are the new app") to the practical application ("'Good morning,' says the Language Learning Bot, in Chinese") and quite a bit in between. The latter half of the article has a number of good examples from Microsoft: the Calendar.help bot (helps set meetings and other events), bots in Teams, Microsoft’s work messaging platform, WhoBot, which identifies people in Microsoft’s workforce who have a desired skill set.
This is a bit of a throw-away article but I'm including it here, first, to make the point that an increasing number of people and platforms are focused on selling online courses, and second, to preserve a list of 20 platforms offering this service. A number of them were new to me, so this post fills a gap in the e-learning landscape.
As I was reading this overview (12 page PDF) it occurred to me that despite all the attention being paid to learning analytics the major impact of analytics and machine learning in academic institutions will be in much more mundane areas: the physical plant, facility allocations, faculty workload allocations, and the like. The traditional academic institution is like a factory, and so the first applications of AI will be factory-like applications. That thought aside, this report is well worth the read. It's accurate, it's compelling, and it has useful data points.
I clicked on this post by accident but while I'm here I may as well comment. Joshua Kim asks "why haven’t the MOOC robots taken the faculty jobs?" The first thing you should always ask of a why-question is: is it really true? Inside Higher Education itself reports on a tightening PhD job market, so maybe job losses are actually occurring. Also, terminology matters. What are "MOOC robots"? Does he mean robot tutors, which appear to be everywhere? This is more evidence that job losses are probably already taking place. Image: Birmingham Mail.
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Copyright 2017 Stephen Downes Contact: firstname.lastname@example.orgThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.