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Can a Test Ever Be Fair? How Today's Standardized Tests Get Made
Stephen Noonoo, EdSurge, 2018/01/12


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This post interviews Mark Moulton, who works for Educational Data Systems, a company that makes exams in California. It's a good discussion of how bias can enter into testing and how it's detected. I appreciate the discussion of how difficult the problem of biias in testing can be. Also interesting was the discussion of how topic areas are chosen. Moulton discussed the lack of testing dfor 'soft skills' that are more in demand today. "For the most part, states want to keep it simple. They want to keep it politically uncontroversial and so the kind of constructs that end up getting measured tend to be your basic math and language and that’s it.

Today: Total:

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Task Analysis or “How DO you do that?”
Brett D. Christensen, Workplace Performance, 2018/01/12


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Today's new word is "scalaring", not only new to the author's colleagues but to me as well. It is part of the process of analyzing a task to see what the person actually has to do. It's a term from military training design and injvolves the process of creating a scalar diagram while competing a task analysis, where a scalar diagram "clearly defines the overall structure of the course content by graphically illustrating the hierarchy of EOs and teaching points for each Performance Objective" (the term 'EO' is left undefined but I assume it means something like 'Educational Objective'). As Brett Christensen notes, "One of the great challenges in task analysis is getting the expert to fully explain all the required knowledge, skill and abilities involved in successful task completion."

Today: Total:

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WeChat reaches audiences conventional media in China cannot
Mia Shuang Li, Columbia Journalism Review, 2018/01/12


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It's an interesting time in the world of social media. News agencies today are reporting that Facebook is changing it's news feed to show you more content from family and less from news sources (many of which were untrustworthy). They, along with Twitter and Google, are also being called to account for extremist content. But with Twitter, fame trumps discretion. The opposite is happening in China, as WeChat is becoming a major news source, despite the potential for misinformation spreading on WeChat just as it does on Facebook. But the tide is turning in China as well. In October, China banned anonymous social media registrations. That still leaves the problem of findind actual news not covered by authoritative news sources. In China there are Key Opinion Leaders (KOL) who dig up these stories. In the west we follow celebities and sports figures.

Today: 79 Total: 79

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Making Virtual Reality a Reality in Today's Classrooms
Meredith Thompson, THE Journal, 2018/01/12


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This afrticle shares "three vignettes of three different approaches: a social studies class in a suburban school district, a district-wide perspective from an urban school district and a class designed entirely around understanding and implementing VR for other classrooms." I like the virtual field trips idea where students create theor own trip on their own phone and then share the experience with the entire class. Pro tip: ""I make sure to tell the students to turn off their notifications before they share their screen with anyone.

Today: 101 Total: 101

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Building a trusted skills network in the humanitarian sector with Open Badges
Don Presant, Open Badge Factory, 2018/01/12


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This post looks at the issue of accrediting people who work in the humanitarian sector but who receive only informal training through workshops and on the ground experience. It's a way of helping people affected by crises play a bigger part in responses. It's a problem identified by ALNAP, a global network of aid providers. According to the article, learning programs and platforms mapped to skills frameworks such as the Core Humanitarian Competencies Framework are provided free to individuals by agencies like DisasterReady.org and Kaya. A proposal now "incubating" at the Humanitarian Leadership Academy called HPass is a 'community edition' of Salava's Open Badge Passport. Via Badge News.

Today: 99 Total: 99

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Turnitin User Agreement: I disagree
Hans de Zwart, 2018/01/11


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This clause - not unique to TurnItIn - is a problem: "You acknowledge and agree that the form and nature of the Services and the Site which Turnitin provides may change from time to time without prior notice to You." I've seen it just about everywhere, and exercised by various service providers fairly frequently. It allows them to change the terms of the contract whenever they wish. The question here is: if you've accepted the terms in order to submit your paper and get a grade, how do you object or cease using the service if TurnItIn later changes the terms?

Today: 129 Total: 236

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5 big ideas for education innovation in 2018
Julia Freeland Fisher, Christensen Institute, 2018/01/11


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It's getting past time to be predicting what will happen in 2018 but I wanted to add one more here. This article talks about what needs to be done in 2018, and as such, is a useful contribution. Included in the list: being clear about what we mean when we talk about just-in time supports; changing the debate from 'technology bad-or-evil' to 'constructivism or behaviourism'; talk about accountability; talk about student networks; and look internationally for dusruptions in education. All good advice.(It seems also to have been published in Education Next).

Today: 154 Total: 292

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Repository for Prior Art for Digital Credentials and Open Badges - Patents or Applications
IMS Global, 2018/01/11


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From IMS today: "it has become known that one or more patents or patent applications have been filed that relate to the issuance, management, and display of digital credentials including Open Badges... IMS is making this location available to accumulate prior art—documented records or examples of designs and implementations of ideas similar to those described in a patent or application." The application in question might be the one from Pearson I reported on last November.

Today: 131 Total: 266

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National Research Council lays out a four-year reform plan
Brian Owens, University Affairs, 2018/01/11


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This post covers recent developments at the National Research Council (NRC), where I work. It's generally accurate and reflective of the changes happening at the Council. Yes, there is an effort to re-engage with universities, as well as to begin hiring post-doctoral fellows. The former 'portfolios' are becoming research centres. But the core of the changes made in the Harper years remains. NRC continues to be program-based, with an emphasis on corporate partners and revenue generation, and is still pretty centralized. I am now attached to the 'Digital Technologies Research Centre'. The Learning and Performance Support Systems program I started has been discontinued (notwithstanding a strong set of research projects and revenues of more than a million dollars last year) and I am advised NRC will not be working on e-learning at all in the future.

Today: 99 Total: 232

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This is what a 50-qubit quantum computer looks like
Nick Summers, Engadget, 2018/01/10


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This is a fascinating set of photos from a display at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Normally the computer would have a case, but here we can see the coils and coolant arrangements needed to keep this 50 quantum bit (qubit) computer functioning. The system cools from top to bottom, down to 10 millionths of a degree above absolute zero. 

Today: 36 Total: 325

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Google And Lenovo Unveil The First High-Quality Stand-Alone VR Headset
Daniel Terdiman, Fast Company, 2018/01/10


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According to this article, "Google and Lenovo pulled back the wraps on their entrant into the stand-alone VR world, the Mirage Solo, a device that has all its computing onboard, and which is capable of positional tracking with no external sensors." These aren't available commercially yet, but it won't be long. Meanwhile, "HTC said it was focusing its stand-alone work on a device called the Vive Focus, which it plans on selling only in China."

Today: 30 Total: 279

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https://mfeldstein.com/top-hat-marketplace-care/
Phil Hill, e-Literate, 2018/01/09


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I've had a few people send me emails about Top Hat recently so I've been keeping an eye out for independent reporting on the company. This article looks at the company's business plans (there's another post about Top Hat and open educational resources to follow). The model is one we've seen from a few other providers: the Top Hat marketplace "provides a series of textbooks and ancillary material, (course notes, question packs, presentations, etc) that instructors can browse, adopt, modify, and share with students either as mandatory or recommended resources. Students pay fees between $0 and roughly $65 for the materials." 

Today: 49 Total: 422

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Advertising In Schools: This Parent Says It’s Time to Embrace It
Steve Ostler, Blackboard Blog, 2018/01/09


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Nothing appears in a corporate blog by accident and so I am left wondering why Blackboard blog is running a post making the case for advertising in schools. It's OK, says Steve Ostler, because "advertising in schools already happens, and has happened for decades." Things like banner ads on school websites "can generate revenue to fund some of the programs you wouldn’t even dream of being able to provide your students." What would be nicer would be were schools adequately funded through tax reveniue raising funds from these same corporations. Yes, they would have to pay taxes for this to work. But it's better than making today's lesson be about the Chick-fil-a cow. 

Today: 25 Total: 321

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Student-Centered State Funding: A How-to Guide for State Policymakers
Bruce D. Baker, National Education Policy Center, 2018/01/09


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What's important here is how the term 'student centered' has been appropriated by agencies advocating for private and charter schooling. This takes place through the use of the term 'student centered funding', which is the idea that the money follows the child, whether the child is educated in a public school, a private school, or by a trio of monkeys playing ukuleles. We find the argument laid out in Student-Centered State Funding: A How-to Guide for State Policymakers, published by the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd). The report is criticized by Bruce Baker in National Education Policy Center (NEPC) Review. "The brief advances the false dichotomy that advocates for state and district school finance systems to focus on funding the child, not funding the essential institutions that serve those children," he writes.

Today: 27 Total: 324

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5 AI trends to watch in 2018
Ben Lorica, O'Reilly, 2018/01/09


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One thing that caught my eye here was the use of the word 'pedagogy' to refer to machine learning. I'm thinking they should maybe have used the term 'machinagogy' or 'aigogy' instead. Anyhow, most of these predictions are of the "current trends will continue" sort. But there are some good points about the need for improvements in hardware to improve AI, since it is so computationally intensive, and the use of automation "for creative pursuits like AI-generated music, images, and visual arts, which will also start appearing in commercial products." 

Today: 25 Total: 348

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High Quality PBL Framework on the Horizon
Ben Lenz, Getting Smart, 2018/01/09


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According to this report, "a steering committee of 25 PBL experts and organizations has created a framework called High Quality Project Based Learning, or HQPBL."  The actual framework won't be released until this coming March; in the meantime we have titles like "authenticity", "public project" and "collaboration", among others. It's hard to see how HQPBL differs from project-based learning generally in any way other than marketing. We are told at the bottom of this article that "This post includes mentions of a Getting Smart partner." It reads to me like advertising content and should be more clearly labeled. The blog should tell us who the advertiser is. Authors should remember that such coy and misleading marketing undermines the credibility of the entire website, including all other authors who post on that site.

Today: 21 Total: 264

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Laptops in Class are the New Second-Hand Smoke
Paul A. Kirschner, 3-Star Learning Experiences, 2018/01/09


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Paul Kirschner's schtick is promoting the idea of compkete focus on learning with no distractions (which he believes cause extraneous cognitive load). Hence the reasoning behind this misplaced analogy: "Disrupting one’s own learning is an individual choice; harming the learning of other students in the class is disrespectful. Laptop distractions due to movement of images and laptop screen lighting and multitasking activities may cause involuntary shifts of attention among students in close proximity to laptop users." I'm thinking we should also ban loud clothing, shifting and fidgeting in your seats, air-conditioning turning off and on, windows, and clocks. Especially clocks.

Today: 19 Total: 260

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EVE Online
Mark Richard Johnson, Robert Mejia, Aleena Chia, Ian Gregory Brooks, Journal of Virtual Worlds Research, 2018/01/09


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I thoroughly enjoyed this special issue of the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research (JVWR) focusing on the massively multiplayer online games (MMOs) Eve Online. The game is set in space and is generally a free-for-all of space mining, pirates and corporations. The play and the politics become complex, as documented in Making Science Fiction Real: Neoliberalism, Real-Life and Esports in Eve Online by Mark Richard Johnson and Robert Mejia. Similar themes are explored in Scaling Technoliberalism for Massively Multiplayer Online Games, by Aleena Chia. Meanwhile, Ian Gregory Brooks asks Is Betrayal in EVE Online Unethical? Answer: yes. 

Today: 18 Total: 237

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Why Do Cartoon Villains Speak in Foreign Accents?
Isabel Fattal, The Atlantic, 2018/01/09


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With the recent news that Disney will acquire the lion king's share of American cultural assets it becomes relevant to ask about the messages it uses this content to send. History does not reassure us. From the ideology of Donald Duck to the sexism of Disney princesses to their issues with dark skin, Disney has been sending messages of dubious ethical value to children for decades. This article examines another aspect: why Disney villians all have 'foreign' accents. Note that "stereotyped uses of language aren’t an industry-wide norm; they said that networks such as PBS make a concerted effort to prioritize racial and ethnic diversity and accuracy." 

Today: 14 Total: 243

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On 'Experiential Learning'
John Kijinski, Inside Higher Ed, 2018/01/09


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The comment thread is far and away the best part of this article. Working without data or evidence, the author argues that in-class learning is more valuable than experiential learning. "The most valuable thing we can teach students is the ability to think through, with patient focus, demanding intellectual challenges." But even the examples provided - as the commenters argue - have real-life experiences that are every bit as demanding as the in-class alternative. 

Today: 14 Total: 286

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Patterns of Inclusion: Fostering Digital Citizenship through Hybrid Education
Alex Young Pedersen, Rikke Toft Nørgaard, Christian Köppe, Educational Technology & Society, 2018/01/08


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This is an erudite and intelligent paper combining three major threads. First, the idea of digital citizenship as an extension of T.H. Marshall's influential conception of social, economic and political rights and responsibilties. Second is the elucidation of hybrid education based on the concepts of 'becoming', which leads to plurality ("nobody is ever the same as anyone else who ever lived, lives or will live.”), and 'belonging', as seen in the concept of community ("this reconsideration of digital citizenship takes aim at the philosophical and ethical foundations for a reconfiguration of education"). And third is the mechanism of patterns and pattern languages, draw brom Alexander's ideas of patterns as bound to the problem, linked to the community, and connected to other patterns. The outcome is an EduPLoP(Pattern Languages of Programs) workshop, which is described and assessed in this paper.

Today: 2 Total: 476

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Creating Interactive E-Books through Learning by Design: The Impacts of Guided Peer-Feedback on Students’ Learning Achievements and Project Outcomes in Science Courses
Gwo-Jen Hwang, Nien-Ting Tu, Xiao-Ming Wang, Educational Technology & Society, 2018/01/08


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A couple of things are going on in this article. First is the design of the interactive e-book itself, which serves as an illustration of this approach in learning technology. Second is the assessment of the "quasi-experimental design method" employed in the design of the interactive e-Books. The result is assessed for learning outcomes, student satisfaction, cognitive load, and various other factors. It's a good read, detailed and informative.

Today: 0 Total: 437

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MOOCS as Accelerators of Social Mobility? A Systematic Review
Karmijn van de Oudeweetering, Orhan Agirdag1, Educational Technology & Society, 2018/01/08


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This study shows that "The literature substantiated that there are fewer barriers to MOOCs than to higher education. Still, the remaining barriers seem to specifically hamper access for underprivileged populations." Which is no surprise, really, and goes to show that open access solves only part of the problem of inequity. But do look at the numbers. For example, we see measurements of as much of 20% of the participants being unemployed, or (in other studies) as many as 12 percent being from India. Would we ever see these numbers on a typical U.S. campus?

Today: 3 Total: 453

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Discovery Should Be Delivery: User-Centric Principles for Discovery as a Service
Lisa Janike Hinchliffe, The Scholarly Kitchen, 2018/01/08


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I have a fierce dislike for discovery services that lead me to resources I can't access. That's why on OLDaily I am careful to ensure that if you click on the link, you are taken straight to the resource - no subscription paywalls, no registration or signin, no whitelist-me content blocker. It's something that publishers do particularly poorly, and has a direct impact on my work at NRC. We actually pay for subscriptions to expensive journals, but I have no straightforward way to access the articles at my desktop. And as for people without corporate access, well, they are not served at all. Sopcial network services as well block access to people who are not signed in. That's why you never see Facebook content here. Discovery should be access. If it shows up on Google, in a mailing list, on your enterprise desktop, whatever, then the click of the button should take you to the resource. Any other outcome is the result of greed.

Today: 1 Total: 319

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How to Fix Facebook—Before It Fixes Us
Roger McNamee, Washington Monthly, 2018/01/08


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In a country that just ended net neutrality there is probably zero chance of regulating social networking platforms. That said, the recommendations here are good advice to help us avoid making the same mistakes in education technology. Among the recommendations: "it’s essential to ban digital bots that impersonate humans"; "be transparent about who is behind political and issues-based communication"; "be more transparent about their algorithms"; and "consumers, not the platforms, should own their own data". And more. It's good advice. 

Today: 1 Total: 336

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Copyright 2018 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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