by Stephen Downes
March 7, 2014
Explaining the LRMI Alignment Object
Phil Barker CETIS Blog,
March 6, 2014
LRMI stands for 'Learning Record Metadata Initiative' and is a (yet another) mechanism for describing learning resources. See more here. This post describes the LRMI Alignment Object, which is intended to describe how a given resource fits into curricular or educational standards requirements, such as the US Common Core State Standards or the English National Curriculum (the article has a good set of links to similar standards). A number of alignment object syustems have come on stream recently (since everyone thinks it's the 'holy grail' of resource metadata) including Kritikos and OER Commons (both of which are described in the article).
Plan to move from #quantified self to Qualified self
Inge de Waard,
March 5, 2014
OK, this is ambitious. "My ultimate scientific breakthrough dream would be the Qualified Self in the analogy of the Quantified Self." Given a provisional nod, what would such a qualified self look like? "All the gathered data would gather data on: emotions, creativity, understanding, progress, personal character." Well, I did a test like that recently (the Hermann Brain Dominance instrumnent) and while it was nice to test off the scale for creatity, the point here is that there was a scale. Is there a way to qualify self without it descending into qualtification? We are so permeated with metrics, we cannot fathom - well, what would we even call them - matrics? (p.s. what made me look at this item was the image - I was intrigued by the way some people are following the program (which looks like, "act like you're walking") while others aren't really making an effort. Such things interest me - what motivates a person to participate fully in something like that, and why would others be reticent?)
Can You Solve This?
March 5, 2014
I like this video a lot. It gets at an important element of the scientific method (not the only element - the scientific menthod is much more complicated than one simple rule) and it also gets at why so many people reason poorly. In a nutshell: when we look for evidence, we very often look for evidence that confirms out theories, and that's often pretty easy to find. But the confirmation is an illusion. It's only when we try to find evidence that disproves our theories that we can know whether we're getting closer to the truth. Via ScienceDump.
Why I care about edtech
D’Arcy Norman dot net,
March 5, 2014
It's interestging to see how in recent years the concept of 'innovation' is being rewoeked such that, if it doesn't involve some commercial component, it isn't innovation. But this post from D'Arcy Norman offers an alternative perspective. "Many in the edtech field see innovation as something like 'working out creative licensing deals with vendors and/or publishers,'" he writes. "No. It isn’t. Edtech is important because it can be transformative." He continues, "It can literally change the nature of the learning experience. It can shift people from consume mode, into collaborate and publish mode. It can knock down walls. Evaporate silos. Connect people across campus, across campuses, and across the globe." The whole commercialization thing puts the cart before the horse. It's not things that have commercial potential that are importnat. It's things that are important that have commercial potential. Commercialization is (or may be) the result of innovation, not the driver.
Daniel C. Dennett: The De-Darwinizing of Cultural Change
Daniel C. Dennett,
March 4, 2014
I don't agree with everything Daniel Dennett says, but what he says is never trivial (in the way, say, Jerry Fodor or David K. Lewis are trivial) - the postulates he offer require serious thought, because they are genuine possibilities, and not just semantical tricks. "If I ask you," he says, "'What is it like to be a termite colony?' most people would say, 'It's not like anything.' Well, now let's look at a brain, let's look at a human brain—100 billion neurons, roughly speaking, and each one of them is dumber than a termite and they're all sort of semi-independent." So what's the difference? Human brains, he says, co-evolved with culture, and termite colonies did not. "In bringing up a child in a social world, what you're basically doing is installing thousands of apps and meta apps, and apps on top of apps on the hardware of the brain."
March 4, 2014
The proof is in the reading: it does work. "With compact text streaming from Spritz, content can be streamed one word at a time, without forcing your eyes to spend time moving around the page. Spritz makes streaming your content easy and more comfortable, especially on small displays."
Today's eLearning: Michael Allen & Experts Say "Enough is Enough"
March 4, 2014
Someone will have to wake me up when the date finally rolls around, but on March 13 Michael Allen and three others will release the "serious e-learning manifesto". They are rallying, they say, against bad e-learning design. "While there are a few shining examples of instructional design, a large percentage of elearning created today is woefully inadequate. Instead of deep and meaningful learning, most elearning encourages learners to stay away in droves, unless of course the training is mandatory."
Writing with Expresso
doug - off the record,
March 4, 2014
Doug Peterson writes about Expresso, an interesting writing analytics project created by Mikhail Panko, a PhD student in computational neuroscience (you can see the open source for yourself on GitHub.) Give it a few paragraphs of your own writing and it will analyize it for weak verbs, filler words, negations, modals, passive voice, and more. Not all of these are bad (I was pleased to have a substantially high rare word count) but many of them are (and hence I had 5 percent weak verbs and 0.1 percent passive voice).
Does ‘discovery learning’ prepare Alberta students for the 21st century or will it toss out a top tier education system?
March 4, 2014
The National Post has never been one to objectively present a story, and it doesn't do so here, but reading between the lines (and a so-called "prominent critic of discovery learning") we have the good news here that Alberta officials have "vowed that the “traditional” teaching methods of textbooks-and-chalkboards will be dead, replaced instead by a unstructured system design to craft 'engaged thinkers,' 'ethical citizens' and 'entrepreneurial spirits.'" I'm not sure why the newspaper would be so blatant in its support of the older approach (unless it's to sell textbooks). The same approach has been adopted elsewhere in Canada, and the nation continues to outperform most of the world on standardized tests despite a much broader curriculum. Oh, but you have to love the way the Post spins the news ("'We’re changing everything,' says a perky voice in a two-minute Government of Alberta video outlining the new program.")
Nuevo servicio de Google Meet Oppia bloqueado para Cuba
Raidell Avello Martínez,
Tú puedes usar las TIC,
March 3, 2014
So it looks like Oppia, which I mentioned last week, doesn't exactly allow anyone to create a new interactive learning experience. In particular, it doesn't allow people in Cuba to do this (nor probably in a few other countries, notably Iran, Syria and Sudan). Raidell Martinez writes, "Nuevamente he sido privado de acceder a un servicio de Google a causa del injusto bloqueo de EUA a nuestra hermosa isla de Cuba." (Again I have been deprived of access to a Google service because of the unjust U.S. blockade to our beautiful island of Cuba). Surely we can do better than this, can't we? Google, how about it?
U.S. Education Department Issues Guidance on Student Data Privacy
March 3, 2014
As summarized by The guidelines are relatively complete, referring to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) as a baseline, identifying what information may be disclosed, and looking at exceptions (such as click-wrap licenses). Though it is U.S.-specific, the document provides a good guideline for other jurisdictions.
, "the U.S. Department of Education released new guidance Tuesday on the proper use, storage, and security of the massive amounts of data being generated by new, online educational resources."
Meet Oppia, Google’s New Open Source Project That Allows Anyone To Create An Interactive Learning Experience
March 2, 2014
The whole story is in the title (which is a nice contrast from those Ipworthy headlines). More, you have to like Google's approach here: "No trial periods, no freemium plans, no advertisements. Writing, editing, or learning from explorations on oppia.org is 100% free of charge! Additionally, all lessons on oppia.org are licensed CC-BY-SA, which means that you are allowed to copy, modify, and reuse lesson content. Want to host an Oppia instance yourself, or make modifications to it? The code behind oppia.org is licensed under the Apache License 2.0. You are encouraged to download, modify, and reuse Oppia's software to your heart's content!" OK, the lessons created by Oppia are really basic (I tried a bunch of them). But it's an interesting start.
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