OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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December 15, 2010

Feature Article
Fairness and Equity in Education
Stephen Downes, December 15, 2010.

Though we may not always follow it perfectly or completely, we tend to try to make our classrooms fair: fairness in learning, fairness in assessment, fairness in reward. But what are the grounds for fairness and equity in education? In this article, I argue that they represent the conditions necessary for a dynamic, active and living society. Posted to Huffington Post, December 15, 2010.

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Feature Article
My Dystopian Future
Stephen Downes, December 15, 2010.

Around this time of year, a lot of people are making predictions. Here are mine, from my dystopian future. Posted in half an Hour, December 15, 2010.

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Article 26
Konrad Glogowski, blog of proximal development, December 15, 2010.

"Whenever Human Rights Day comes along," writes Konrad Glogowski, "I think of Article 26: Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit."

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Is lurking ever indefensible?
Jenny Mackness, Jenny Connected, December 15, 2010.

If lurking were disallowed I wouldn't be able to do half the things I do. I frequently follow along in groups, conferences, committees, etc., in lurker mode. Yes, it irritates active participants sometimes (sorry about that, SCC-ISO people). But it's how I need to manage my time if I am to participate in the event or discussion at all. And don't think it isn't participation - think of it as being akin to the role of scrutineer. My very act of watching has an impact (the desired impact) on the outcome of the proceedings. So I'm with Jenny Mackness - lurking should be tolerated, and people who don't like it should deal with their control issues.

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Video Primers in an Online Repository for e-Teaching and Learning
Curtis J. Bonk, TravelinEdMan, December 15, 2010.

Curt Bonk has made a library of e-learning videos (YouTibe versions) available. The 27-video series "Video Primers in an Online Repository for e-Teaching and Learning" covers, writes Bonk, "topics for both novice and more expert online instructors and educators. Those watching them can learn how to engage learners with Web 2.0 technologies, build instructor presence, prepare highly interactive and relevant online activities, access free and open course resources, plan for the future of e-learning, and much more. See below for links as well as show descriptions." They took about a year to produce and the experience, he writes, was like writing a book. I can believe it.

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Publisher rewrites the book on degrees
Hannah Fearn, Times Higher Education, December 15, 2010.

Technology, they say, eliminates the middle-man. Fair enough. But from a certain perspective, everyone can be seen as the middle-man. That's why major publishers, instead of seeing themselves as the intermediaries between author and reader, see see schools, colleges and universities as the intermediary between themselves and students. What does this mean, in practice? How about degrees handed out, not by some university, but by Thompson, Pearson or Kaplan (which such reorganized and rebanded its learning units this week). Far-fetched? Well, it would be, except that, as this story reports, Pearson is already doing it.

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The next big battle in Higher Education (it's not the fees)
Simon Bostock, Hypergogue, December 15, 2010.

If you think about it, you realize that this is correct. And when you realize that this is correct, you begin to rethink what you're doing. What is it? This: "Higher Education is actually a 'bundle' consisting of a library, some professors, a social life, a transformative experience, a curriculum and an accreditation. Most people want the accreditation and would be willing to sacrifice the rest." meanwhile Jack Uldrich predicts that a student without a degree will sue for admission into law or medical school strictly on the basis of test results.

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15-Year-Old British Protester Is Now A YouTube Star
Carol Scott, Change.org, December 15, 2010.

I watch that video of fifteen year old student protester Rodney Owen McCarthy, and I think, "That's me. That's me!" Well, me of 36 years ago, and with better technology. But you get the point. "We are no longer that generation that doesn't care, we are no longer that generation to sit back and take whatever they give us. We are now the generation at the heart of the fight back," he says in the video to an enthusiastic crowd at the Coalition of Resistance National Conference in Camden, U.K. Rock on.

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How Much Do People Forget?
Will Thalheimer, Will at Work Learning, December 15, 2010.

Good stuff from Will Thalheimer as he extracts data from 14 studies on how much people remember and what causes them to forget. As he notes, "Rules-of-thumb that show people forgetting at some pre-defined rate are just plain false. In other words, learning gurus and earnest bloggers are wrong when they make blanket statements like, 'People will forget 40% of what they learned within a day of learning it.'" Forgetting varies widely. Prior knowledge matters. Motivation matters. Context matters. Learning methods matter.

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The Case for Nudge Analytics
Colleen Carmean and Philip Mizzi, EDUCAUSE Quarterly, December 15, 2010.

Wjat is the role of analytics in education? This excellent article provides a non-Orwellian (and hence, refreshing) way to think about analytics. I like the way it is summarized, as well, as follows:
- Developed as a concept in the science of choice, subtle interactions - or nudges - can influence people's actions without infringing on their freedom of choice.
- he wealth of digital data in higher education enables the use of that data to nudge students toward better achievement and persistence.
- The next step is to figure out correlation characteristics from machine recommendations, and determine practices based on patterns found in the data.
- A vibrant community is forming for action, basing new practices on successful models of pattern analysis, implementation, and evaluation.

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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