OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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February 14, 2011

It's a new chapter
Monique Ebrington, Maroondah Weekly, February 14, 2011.

files/images/2011-02-14_212443.png, size: 185755 bytes, type:  image/png It's hard to emphasize how quickly this is going to spread now that people have actually realized that you can read a book in digital form. I don't know why it took the arrival of the iPad - perhaps the devices had to be smaller than a book - but now there's no turning back. This story will be typical: "schoolbags are a thing of the past for Ringwood Secondary College students, with technology replacing textbooks. The school's 240 year 7 students began using Apple's iPad in classes when school returned last week." And if you don't like the iPad, which can create some issues for students, perhaps the new Acer Adnroid tablet, or any of the other much cheaper and much more versitile tablets available soon. A couple of years from now, the print textbook market will have collapsed completely. Yes, that quickly. Via Helge Sherlund. See also From Notepads to iPads. And see also Tablet computers to make education more interactive.

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E-learning That Makes You Make Tough Choices
Christy Tucker, Experiencing E-learning, February 14, 2011.

files/images/spent.jpg, size: 89260 bytes, type:  image/jpeg This game is intended as a lesson in poverty, but it's also a lesson in how hard it is to make good games. The premise is that you are unemployed and homeless and need to get through the month. I think I did well in the game because I've been there. I made sure I had some income by taking the lowest rung job, made sure I had health insurance and good food, and managed to get through the month despite a huge rent increase, damage caused by my child, a car accident, and being fired for talking to a union organizer. There was no way in the game for me to get rid of the car - my single largest expense - even though I opted to live downtown (thinking I could walk or use transit). Other aspects of the game were equally simplistic and offered irrational choices. I like games like this, but when they aren't very realistic they undercut the lesson they are trying to teach.

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The Tertiary21 Manifesto for Higher Education
Robert Cosgrave, Tertiary21, February 14, 2011.

What Robert Cosgrave posts here may be a manifesto, but as he says at the conclusion of the post, "these changes are going to happen anyway. Global higher education systems will look like what I've described by about 2030." Now the model will not be exactly as he describes, but it will be close, I think. Here's what's in the manifesto:
- all higher education institutions need to be entirely autonomous, as non profit entities;
- a state supported student loan model, largely following the Browne Framework;
- to be eligible for loan funding, all of a modules material must be open access
- an open rating and reviewing system;
- an ideal of Deep Modularisation - the Bologna Process taken to it's logical extreme;
- by picking off the bottom rung prerequisites online first, you can access higher education without bothering with the Leaving Certificate;
- tripart governance: student loan and funding systems; labour markets and outcomes; quality management agency;
- tax incentives are strong for donations to long term institutional endowments.

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What We Talk About When We Talk About Business Models: A Bestiary of Revenue Streams
Joseph Esposito, The Scholarly Kitchen, February 14, 2011.

files/images/447302275_e52d6e2cc0_m.jpg, size: 24258 bytes, type:  image/jpeg This is ground I covered in Models for Sustainable Open Educational Resources, but is a good update, a much quicker read, and contains new information. Also, this article covers publishing in general, while I was looking at open educational resources specifically. But the basic lessons remain: "there are only a few ways to derive revenue and that digital technology and appealing to organizational mission do not change that. Whether a publication is the product of a commercial publisher or a not-for-profit educational institution, the publisher must determine how it will generate revenue and align its cost structure appropriately."

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Networks, Groups and Social Interaction
Jonathan Martin, Connected Principals, February 14, 2011.

files/images/kegley100910stg2162-300x199.jpg, size: 15224 bytes, type:  image/jpeg The 'flip', as I have been reading in various K-12 blogs, is the idea of offering content and lectures at home, while using class time for activities. This, of course, is the opposite of traditional learning in schools, where class time is taken up in presentations and lectures, and activities are reserved for homework. There's a lot to be said for the flip - for example, it is much more conducive to cooperative activities than is working at home by oneself. The risk is the same as always: students with unstable homes, who work after hours, or who are undisciplined, will not spend the time at home. This article links to a number of resources on the flip, and in particular points to the Khan Academy as a natural for implementation of the flip.

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What's the Perfect Width for Your Online Content?
Derek Halpern, Social Triggers, February 14, 2011.

I've actually given a lot of thought to things like column widths in online publications. My own website features content a but wider than what's recommended in this article - 75-80 characters a line, as compared to the recommended 40-55 characters, though if I bumped it up a point size (as it was until recently) it would be pretty close. Things like line length and character size become a lot more important as your audience gets older - I can say that as a reader I much prefer the recommended style than the wide swath of text that is your typical article or journal publication.

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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