I work in the Learning and Performance Support Systems program at the National Research Council, a multi-year effort to develop personal learning technology and learning analytics. I am one of the originators of the Massive Open Online Course, write about online and networked learning, have authored learning management and content syndication software, and am the author of the widely read e-learning newsletter OLDaily.

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Evaluation of Edtech: What Technology Means to Educators Across America

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This report (21 page PDF) is based on interviews with "500 U.S. education professionals". What do teachers want? Presentation tools, textbooks an d classroom technologies. What don't they want? Social learning, gamification, and maker tech. Barriers to tech include the concern that it is a distraction to learning and costs too much. These tie into the decision-making process, where ease of use, cost and compatibility are the major factors. They are guided in their decisions by word of mouth, online reserach, and conferences. I'm not sure how much I trust this report (there is almost no information on methodology). Note that if you go to the website you have to register with them, but the direct link to the PDF works (for now) without registration.

Today: 160 Total: 160 Walker Sands Communications, 2017/08/18 [Direct Link]

Asleep at the Switch: Schoolhouse Commercialism, Student Privacy, and the Failure of Policymaking

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A new report from the National Education Policy Center (55 page PDF) argues that schools should be prohibited from collecting student data unless rigorous safeguards are put into place, that algorithms used in personalized learning should be openly available for examination, and that the use of such technology shoulds require thirs-party assessments for validity and utility, including examinations of the technology (including, presumably, data sets) for bias and error. It's hard to disagree with such requirements (and I don't), but there are some open questions: who does the assessing? And how do we prevent the cost of such assessments from effectively elimining free and open source technology from the options available to schools?

Today: 127 Total: 127 Faith Boninger, Alex Molnar, Kevin Murray, National Education Policy Center, 2017/08/18 [Direct Link]

Louis Rossetto

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Om Malik emerges from a year-long hiatus with an interview with Wired co-founder Louis Rossetto. It's an interesting look at the state of media and technology then (in the 1990s) and now. Where are we going? Malik opines, "The next achievements of the world are based on environments. I think most of the verbiage as we know it, which is text and some photographs, goes away and becomes much more visual. It becomes more interactive on a visual plane." Rossetto replies, "The idea that linear thought stems from books stems from the Gutenberg era. Logic and rationality are an important method of storytelling and conveying ideas, we’re going to need those kind of forms in the future." This makes me wonder what non-linear logic and ratuionality are like? The concepts of parallel processing and distributed representation give us an idea. Recognition is a type of non-linear rationality. Something to think about.

Today: 160 Total: 160 Om Malik, Pico, 2017/08/18 [Direct Link]

How to become a Bayesian in eight easy steps: An annotated reading list

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I learned about Bayes Theorem while studying probability in the 1980s, but I never imagined it would have the influence it has today. It's a mechanism for calculating the probability of X given Y. For example (as Sherlock Holmes would say), if you've ruled out all the other possibilities, the probability of the one that remains, no matter how unlikely it seems, equals 1. Anyhow, I found this paper an interesting, if dense, read. Instructional designers will find the diagram of the path through 40 major papers (end of the article) interesting. It starts out with 'easy and theoretical', but at paper 4, jumps into 'really difficult and theoretical'. Is that the best path through the material?

Today: 239 Total: 239 Alexander Etz, Quentin Gronau, Fabian Dablander, Peter Edelsbrunner, Beth Baribault, arXiv, 2017/08/18 [Direct Link]

Digital Learning Research Network

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Helge Scherlund links today to the Digital Learning Research Network, part of Ireland's National Institute for Digital Learning (NIDL). The Network "fosters a network of leaders and strong communities of practice at the forefront of research on new models of teaching and learning." Projects include Mahara analytics, MOOCs in open education, Lego innovation, and more. Keep up to date by following the NIDL blog (the most recent post is from two days ago, an encouraging sign of life).

Today: 121 Total: 266 National Institute for Digital Learning, 2017/08/17 [Direct Link]

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.