New Learning, New Society

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The peer review drugs don’t work
Richard Smith, Times Higher Education, May 30, 2015

This is an interesting way to put it: "If peer review was a drug it would never be allowed onto the market." I'm not a great Cochrane Report supporter but I think they're right here. As the article says, peer review " it is ineffective, largely a lottery, anti-innovatory, slow, expensive, wasteful of scientific time, inefficient, easily abused, prone to bias, unable to detect fraud and irrelevant."

Positive leap second
Daniel Gambis, Observatoire de Paris, May 30, 2015

What will you do with the extra second that's being added to your life at the end of June? Via Jeff Barr, via AOL (warning - autoplay video), via K95.

A Future Twitter Full of Bots
Alan Levine, CogDogBlog, May 30, 2015

At the rate we're going, 99 percent of Twitter traffic will be robots retweeting each other. Why? Because it's not a social platform, it's a publishing platform (albeit, true, one that convinced people for a long time that it is a social platform). (GNA comments: "I’ve considered this, not the Bot-takeover, but the loss of Twitter. As you know, Twitter is my main and daily SM. Thus, sometimes I think about not having a quick, communal way to interact with folks. I wonder what medium I would use to stay in regular contact with my newest friends.") As for image attribution, as always, the image is from the article, unless otherwise noted. Follow the link to the article to find out where they got it from (most people don't say). Levine suggests we not trust Google about whether things are licensed for reuse, but I'm less and less interested in licenses, and more and more interested in asserting fair use.

Decolonizing Critical Participation and Writing: A Year of Open Access Publishing on the Margins
Marlana Eck, Hybrid Pedagogy, May 30, 2015

I don't know if there is necessarily a right answer here but on one hand we have the imperative of writing and publishing about what is being taught in class, and on the other hand we have the imperative of preserving student privacy. Marlana Eck finds herself right on that dividing line. She writes, "This was probably the point where I had to ask myself whether this was really the job for me. I knew that as a pedagogical method, blogs were highly effective with demonstrating the importance of engaging with the writing process. Personally, nothing pushes me to want to edit my writing more than being on public display. I saw the students become more concerned with the quality of their work, and felt I was getting somewhere as far as teaching methodology. When I was told 'you can’t do that,' it really cemented that I was not made “teacher” of the course, but I was more a distributor of administrator-prepared materials."

Don’t mess with the right to link:
Timothy Vollmer, Creative Commons, May 30, 2015

I thought we were done with this bit of silliness. But apparently not. "Copyrighted content holders (including news organizations, media, and entertainment sites) around the world are working to remove the right to free and open linking, and the threat is more present than you may think." Sign. This is why we can't have anything nice.

Towards a taxonomy of Open Badges for City & Guilds
Doug Belshaw, May 30, 2015

There is nothing that is every created that somebody won't classify and order shortly thereafter. So too with badges. Witness: Doug Belshaw offers a simple taxonomy of badges for cities and guilds, dividing them into awards for membership, achievement, participation and capability. Is this useful? Doubtful. Would it qualify as an academic paper in a leading journal? Absolutely (provided you has a student sample size of at least 9 psych students in a midwestern university).

Learning's blind spot
nick shackleton-jones, aconventional, May 30, 2015

This is a very nice diagram that (coincidentally) compares traditional education with what we're doing with performance support. Nick Shackleton-Jones isn't writing about LPSS but he may as well be. "In the first case, traditional course content is broken into smaller pieces and distributed using technology. In essence though, nothing has changed. The problem is that people aren’t data squirrels - they don’t work by hoarding knowledge, rather they look for guidance when they need it. Dumping content on people does not become a good idea by virtue of breaking it into smaller pieces. Instead the focus has to shift from content to context. Specifically, spending time getting to know your audience, their ‘performance context’ and spotting the gaps - i.e. the points in their working day where there is an opportunity for you to help. To redesign the experience. Resources slot neatly into these performance gaps."

Being more human at work
Leisa Reichelt, disambiguity, May 30, 2015

Here's a good rule: "If the process insists that humans act more like machines/robots/spreadsheets than real human beings, challenge that process." I approach design that way. Designers often want people to adapt data to pre-existing categories, to follow prescribed procedures, etc. But life isn't like that, and our tools shouldn't try to force us. "Insist on speaking and acting like a human being, especially in the workplace. Any time you’re not listening or not being heard, or being forced to communicate in a method or manner that doesn’t feel natural, throw up the red flags."

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(presentations include slides and audio recordings)
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Key Articles

Scholarly Articles

Cites:294 Educational Blogging (Local copy)
264 Learning objects: Resources for distance education worldwide (Local copy)
134 E-learning 2.0 (Local copy)
126 Models for sustainable open educational resources (Local copy)
88 The future of online learning (Local copy
75 Learning networks and connective knowledge (Local copy)
70 Design and reusability of learning objects in an academic context: A new economy of education (Local copy)
59 Resource profiles (Local copy)
40 Learning networks in practice (Local copy)
33 Semantic networks and social networks (Local copy)
35 An introduction to connective knowledge (Local copy)
27 Design, standards and reusability (Local copy)
23 EduSource: Canada's learning object repository network (Local copy)
22 An introduction to RSS for educational designers (Local copy)

(Cites from Google Scholar for an H-Index = 14)

Recent Popular Articles

The Purpose of Learning, February 2, 2011.
The Role of the Educator, December 6, 2010.
Deinstitutionalizing Education, November 5, 2010.
Agents Provocateurs, October 28, 2010.
What Is Democracy In Education, October 22, 2010.
A World To Change, October 19, 2010.
Connectivism and Transculturality, May 16, 2010.
An Operating System for the Mind, September 19, 2009.
The Cloud and Collaboration, June 15, 2009.
Critical Thinking in the Classroom, June 5, 2009.
The Future of Online Learning: Ten Years On, November 16, 2008.
Things You Really Need to learn:

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About Stephen Downes

Stephen Downes is a senior researcher for Canada's National Research Council and a leading proponent of the use of online media and services in education. As the author of the widely-read OLDaily online newsletter, Downes has earned international recognition for his leading-edge work in the field of online learning. He developed some of Canada's first online courses at Assiniboine Community College in Brandon, Manitoba. He also built a learning management system from scratch and authored the now-classic "The Future of Online Learning".

At the University of Alberta he built a learning and research portal for the municipal sector in that province, Munimall, and another for the Engineering and Geology sector, PEGGAsus. He also pioneered the development of learning objects and was one of the first adopters and developers of RSS content syndication in education. Downes introduced the concept of e-learning 2.0 and with George Siemens developed and defined the concept of Connectivism, using the social network approach to deliver open online courses to three thousand participants over two years.

Downes has been offering courses in learning, logic, philosophy both online and off since 1987, has 135 articles published in books, magazines and academic journals, and has presented his unique perspective on learning and technology more than 250 times to audiences in 17 countries on five continents. He is a habitual photographer, plays darts for money, and can be found at home with his wife Andrea and four cats in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.


Stephen Downes travaille pour le Conseil national de recherches du Canada, où il a servi en tant que chercheur principal, basé à Moncton, au Nouveau-Brunswick, depuis 2001. Affilié au Groupe des technologies de l'apprentissage et de la collaboration, Institut de technologie de l’information, Downes est spécialisé dans les domaines de l'apprentissage en ligne, les nouveaux médias, la pédagogie et la philosophie.

Downes est peut-être mieux connu pour son bulletin quotidien, OLDaily, qui est distribué par Internet, courriel et RSS à des milliers d'abonnés à travers le monde. Il a publié de nombreux articles à la fois en ligne et sur papier incluant The Future of Online Learning (1998), Learning Objects (2000), Resource Profiles (2003), et E-Learning 2.0 (2005). Il est un conférencier populaire, apparaissant à des centaines de manifestations à travers le monde au cours des quinze dernières années.

Vision Statement

I want and visualize and aspire toward a system of society and learning where each person is able to rise to his or her fullest potential without social or financial encumberance, where they may express themselves fully and without reservation through art, writing, athletics, invention, or even through their avocations or lifestyle.

Where they are able to form networks of meaningful and rewarding relationships with their peers, with people who share the same interests or hobbies, the same political or religious affiliations - or different interests or affiliations, as the case may be.

This to me is a society where knowledge and learning are public goods, freely created and shared, not hoarded or withheld in order to extract wealth or influence. This is what I aspire toward, this is what I work toward.

Canadians who gave their lives in service in Afghanistan

Hundreds of my IAAF Track & Field Photos from Moncton 2010

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