It has taken a couple of weeks to get to this item, for which I apologize, but UNESCO has released the 'Incheon Declaration' and framework for action toward inclusive and equitable education and lifelong learning for all (yes, all of that is in the title). 52 page PDF. "We reaffirm," write the authors, "that education is a public good, a fundamental human right and a basis for guaranteeing the realization of other rights. It is essential for peace, tolerance, human fulfilment and sustainable development." It's a comprehensive plan, includes language for inclusion, quality, contributions from civil society, open learning resources, the role of government, funding, and more. I'm basically in agreement with its recommendations (though not so sanguine as the authors about the role of the private sector). See also the Open Education Consortium's blog post which also supports the declaration. Image: Kenya Delegation.
I participated in a couple of the conferences where this document was discussed and thoroughly harangued the drafting committee through several online versions, and while they've blended seamlessly with the rest of the document I can see the evidence that the perspectives I advanced were listened to and respected. This makes me happy. Not just because I like to be listened to and respected (though I do, who doesn't?) but because it resulted in a stronger and much more inclusive document. And because it is so inclusive, and respectful of diverse perspectives and approaches to open educational resources, while at the same time underlining the value the community as a whole sees in OERs, I think it's a particularly strong work, and one I have no difficulty endorsing. Image: Pierre-Yves Cavellat via Wordnik.
OK, this is one of those pointless Facebook applications, and it overstates IQ by a good 40 points or so, at least in my case. So don't take it seriously. Having said that, this is an illustration of a principle that I've often described in theory, the idea that our skills and abilities can be assessed by our presence on social media. Imagine the same sort of concept as this game, but much more sophisticated, doing more than just an analysis of the semantic density of Facebook posts, but looking at appropriateness of word use, evenness of temper, following and reflection of ideas by peers and (better) experts, and more, and for all social media, not just Facebook. Now we begin to approach something that may provide assessment of qualifications more easily - and more accurately - than traditional tests or evaluations.
Just in case you thought technology was slowing down for a bit, along comes LiFi - it's like WiFi, except it uses visible light instead of radio waves. It has two advantages. First, it provides network speeds many times faster than WiFi - up to a gigabit per second. And second, it can be installed in lights, meaning that everywhere we have a light bulb, we could have internet access. Oh sure, there are many things that could go wrong - remember WiMax? - but the existence of the possibility should suggests that the speed of connectivity will continue to increase. "Li-Fi was invented by Harald Haas from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland back in 2011, when he demonstrated for the first time that by flickering the light from a single LED, he could transmit far more data than a cellular tower." See also this TED talk and more in Wikipedia.
As Ben Werdmuller says, setting up self-hosted web applications is hard. This is one of the major reasons why, say, personal web servers have never become mainstream. The new redesign of WordPress sounds like a step in the right direction. As Werdmuller writes, "we'll start to see more examples of this data-interface separation, where the logic and data will sit wherever you want, and the beautiful apps and interfaces will be powered by centralized services." It's the opposite of the classical content management service model, where the data is managed by a central server, and the interfaces sit wherever you want. It takes a bit to wrap your mind around.
So this seems exactly right: "The unfortunate equation of open education w/ free text books has made the movement seem more and more myopic and less and less compelling." It's Jim Groom, and cited within this Cliont Lalonde wrap-up of the recent OpenEd conference in British Columbia. And as Lalonde responds,. "textbooks are so deeply ingrained in our education systems that trying to find others ways of doing education for many is very difficult, especially in an education world where we continually remove capacity for those faculty who DO want to change and experiment and try different things." Image: The Peak.