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A decade of living in the gift shop, Dean Groom, Playable, Feb 05, 2018
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"Exit through the gift shop." The phrase says everything that needs to be said about the commercialization of culture and heritage. The same phenomenon seems to be inhabiting Ed Tech and things like the #EdTech discussions, suggests Dean Groom. "The culture of online discussions (especially those being directed by individuals (they call themselves ‘founders’) is to repeat the most popular ‘trend’ statements, rather than make any real effort to evaluate&... [Direct Link]


The punk rock internet – how DIY ​​rebels ​are working to ​replace the tech giants , John Harris, The Guardian, Feb 01, 2018

Count me as being among the punk rock rebels on the internet - even though my punk anthem might be something like Walking on Sunshine. As Laura Balkan says, " I want to be able to be in a society where I have control over my information, and other people do as well." And she adds, "Being a woman in technology, you can see how hideously unequal things are and how people building these systems don’t care about anyone other than themselves." The story focuses a lot on ... [Direct Link]


Dock.io, Dock.io, Feb 01, 2018
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This is an alpha release of an application that uses blockchain technology to link the data in your various accounts around the internet.  "Most people have dozens of profiles online, many of which include information that is not up to date, resulting in lost time and opportunities. dock.io solves this by connecting different websites and apps you use, allowing you to save information to one source, and control how and where your information is used across the web," wrote ... [Direct Link]


Blockchain – don’t ask how, ask why, David Kernohan, Wonkhe, Dec 27, 2017
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Why Blockchain? That's the key question. "In this case," writes David Kernohan, "the problem is trust." For example, what do you do if you don't trust your bank? "Cryptographic encryption (hiding information using the power of really difficult maths) lends anonymity and security, but the openly visible nature of transactions lends reliability." Except - it doesn't. In the cases where the currency fluctuates wildly, or where millions are stolen from ... [Direct Link]


Ten years in, nobody has come up with a use for blockchain, Kai Stinchcombe, HackerNoon, Dec 27, 2017
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This is a pretty thorough debunking of the idea that blockchain technology will disrupt industry. Kai Stinchcombe looks at several putative use cases - payment and banking, anonymous transactions, micropayments, bank-to-bank transfers, smart contracts, distributed ledgers and storage, stock transfers, authentication - and in each case shows that the hard parts are not addressed by blockchain. For example, blockchain is no more efficient than the existing system of payments and ... [Direct Link]


Blockchain in Education, Alexander Grech, Anthony F. Camilleri, Joint Research Centre, Nov 23, 2017
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This is a long (136 page PDF) and detailed report on blockchains in education. The authors work slowly and deliberately in their pursuit of accuracy and clarity, which results in a presentation that will be easily understood by most readers. There is a wealth of examples in the document describing use cases, scenarious and pilot projects, and companies involved in the space. The study is a result of a literature serach, desk reserach and interviews. The recommendations display a knowledge of ... [Direct Link]


MIT Introduces Digital Diplomas, Lindsay McKenzie, Inside Higher Ed, Oct 19, 2017
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People have using blockchain for certification for a number of years now so it's no real surprise to see MIT's new digital diplomas. "Using a free, open-source app called Blockcerts Wallet, students can quickly access a digital diploma that can be shared on social media and verified by employers to ensure its authenticity. The digital credential is protected using block-chaintechnology. The block chain is a public ledger that offers a secure way of making and recording ... [Direct Link]


26 Innovation Breakthroughs at the World's Open Universities, Contact North, Sept 21, 2017
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This is a short post (6 page PDF) with one-paragraph descriptions of innovations at open universities around the world. Together, the set provides others with a sort of menu of options they can follow. Most usefully, each one has a link you can follow. Some of the items aren't eactly innovations (such as the Switching from Moodle to Azure item). Others are more aspirational than innovative (such as the Use of Blockchain in credentials). It's hard to describe closing support centres (...


Sony wants to digitize education records using the blockchain, Jon Russell, TechCrunch, Aug 11, 2017
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TechCrunch reports that "Sony said today that it has finished developing a digital system for storing and managing educational records on the blockchain." It's now looking to commercialize the technology. The idea has been around for a while, but this is the first concrete development. "The system is managed by Sony Global Education, and is built on top of IBM Blockchain using IBM’s Cloud and The Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric 1.0 framework.&... [Direct Link]


A Strategist’s Guide to Blockchain, John Plansky, Tim O'Donnell, Kimberly Richards, Strategy+Business, Aug 08, 2017
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This is a pretty good introduction to blockchain, now characterized as "any distributed electronic ledger that uses software algorithms to record transactions with reliability and anonymity." More specifically, "blockchain is a self-sustaining, peer-to-peer database technology for managing and recording transactions with no central bank or clearinghouse involvement." There are some good examples of how blockchain may sustain a variety of recordkeeping functions, but the &#... [Direct Link]


Hyperledger Fabric 1.0 is Released, Chris Ferris, Jonathan Levi, Hyperledger, Aug 01, 2017
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From the website as Fabric 1.0 is released: "Hyperledger Fabric is a blockchain framework implementation and one of the Hyperledger projects hosted by The Linux Foundation. Intended as a foundation for developing applications or solutions with a modular architecture, Hyperledger Fabric allows components, such as consensus and membership services, to be plug-and-play. Hyperledger Fabric leverages container technology to host smart contracts called 'chaincode' that comprise the ... [Direct Link]


Hyperledger Fabric 1.0 is Released, Chris Ferris, The Linux Foundation, Jul 11, 2017
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According to the website, "Hyperledger Fabric is a platform for distributed ledger solutions, underpinned by a modular architecture delivering high degrees of confidentiality, resiliency, flexibility and scalability." Basically, it's a mechanism for implementing biusiness functions supported by blockchain for security and verifiability. "Hyperledger Fabric 1.0 offers a modular architecture allowing components, such as consensus and membership services, to be plug-and-play. ... [Direct Link]


Blockbench: a framework for analyzing private blockchains, Adrian Coyler, The Morning Paper, Jul 05, 2017
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This is a daunting post, and the article it summarizes is more daunting still. But don't worry about following all of it. Here are the main things. First, in addition to 'public' blockchain networks, like Bitcoin, there can be 'private' blockchain networks, used (for example) for internal recordkeeping. Blockchain's immutability and transparency make it attractive for this purpose. Second, in non-public settings, you don't need such an elaborate mechanism for ... [Direct Link]


How Your Data is Stored, or, The Laws of the Imaginary Greeks, Yonatan Zunger, Hacker Noon, Medium, May 26, 2017
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I could tell you that this article describes distributed data management as defined by Leslie Lamport’s invention in The Part-Time Parliament (33 page PDF) known as the Paxos algorithm, and the master election protocol called Chubby. But it's better to say that this article is an accessible description of different ways people can keep their records up to date. The systems described form the basis not only of modern file management but also distributed blockchain&... [Direct Link]


I Don’t Believe in Blockchain, Onging, May 18, 2017
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I'm sure Don and Alex Tapscott don't want to read this, but Tim Bray (who has a long history of internet standards development) has called the recent attention being paid to blockchain "an over­pro­mot­ed niche sideshow." He writes, "I’ve seen wave after wave of landscape-shifting tech­nol­o­gy sweep through the IT space: Per­son­al com­put­er­s, Unix, C, the In­ter­net and We­b, Java, REST, mo­bile, pub­lic cloud. And with­out ex­cep­tion, I ob­served that they ... [Direct Link]


The Blockchain Revolution and Higher Education, Don Tapscott, Alex Tapscott, EDUCAUSE Review, Mar 21, 2017
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This is an overview article of the potential of the blockchain in higher education. We've covered the blockchain in OLDaily before. In a nutshell: a transaction (contract, credential, whatever) is encrypted in a block, and the block is added to a chain of encryptions. So the transaction is public and verifiable, but secret and secure. It's tempting to imagine a network of competencies, badges and blockchains, as Doug Belshaw did last year, but the Tapscitt version is a lot ... [Direct Link]


9 Top eLearning Trends of 2017 from 49 Experts, Bryan Jones, eLearning Art, Feb 28, 2017
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I amde a small contribution to this as one of the "49 experts". The top three over all were mobile, microlearning, and video. I can't criticize that list too much, except that I would have pegged it as the 2016 list, not 2017. My own predictions were mobile, subscription-based learning, and e-learning platforms. The full e-book (101 page PDF) is available but the textual content is pretty sparse. My full comments: "These are core trends, not fads like VR or blockchain. They reflect both ... [Direct Link]


Education Technology and the Year of Wishful Thinking, Audrey Watters, Hack Education, Dec 11, 2016
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This is the first of Audrey Watters's series on trends in education for 2016 and it's pretty good, even if I disagree with the main metaphor. She depicts 2016 as "a terrible, terrible year" because of the celebrity deaths, bad election results, war and killings. My own observation is that it's business as usual with a bit of a demographic kick as the post-war baby boom reaches its inevitable conclusion. But her observations about the danger of quackery in ed tech are spot on, ... [Direct Link]


Towards a Trusted Framework for Identity and Data Sharing, Irving Wladawsky-Berger, Nov 14, 2016
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Good article discussing the emerging distributed framework (a la resource profiles, now known as trusted data ecosystems) for digital identity. Two specific technologies are discussed: a blockchain enabled system called Enigma, and a lighter weight framework called OPAL. "Enigma, is a decentralized computation platform enabling different parties to jointly store and run computations on data while keeping the data completely private... a much simpler and easy-to-deploy version called OPAL (... [Direct Link]


“Edublocks” Could Change How We Learn by Adapting Bitcoin Model to Continued Education, Eliana Osborn, Education News, Sept 05, 2016
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You will want to have a look at this video from the Institute for the Future and ACT Foundation. It describes The Ledger' as it is used in education to define 'edublocks'', which in turn are basically blockchain credentials. What's significant is that it enables anyone to give  learning credits to anyone. I have to think that this is the beginning of a huge debate: "The idea of a ‘national learning economy’ isn’t new—America has been moving in ... [Direct Link]

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