OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

[Home] [Top] [Archives] [Mobile] [About] [Threads] [Options]

February 21, 2011

files/images/acrlvisualliteracy.jpgw472h192h192, size: 12208 bytes, type:
Critical Thinking: More than Words?
Ryan Bretag, LeaderTalk / Education Week, February 21, 2011.

"We hear it all the time," writes Ryan Bretag. "Critical thinking. We educators let it roll off our tongues with great ease and leverage it as a clear target of our educational philosophy, goals, vision, etc." But what, he asks, is critical thinking? Whe you press for a definition, things become much less clear. Bretag gives us a daunting chart of more than 100 concepts from more than 20 sources.

Looking at the list, it seems to me that most are process-oriented, either based on simple learning taxonomies such as Bloom's, or a wider range of "21st century skills." The different sorts of literacies, such as the visual literacy competency standards, pictured above, are similar. But I don't think simply enumerating a series of processes is illuminating (as Plato would say, you cannot define 'clay' by pointing to clay pots, clay images, and other instances of clay).

From my perspective, critical literacies consist of six domains of expertise (not merely skills or practice, and not merely facts or knowledge either):
- syntax - detecting and using forms, rules, operations, patterns and similarities
- semantics - sensing and referencing, interpreting, associating and deciding
- pragmatics - speaking, acting, expressing, declaring, asking, meaning, using
- cognition - description, definition, argument, explanation
- context - theorizing, framing, identifying possibilities, environment, reference space, ontologies and categorization
- change - relation and connection, flow, historicity, directionality, progression, logic, games, scheduling, events and activities, See more here. Each of these works across language, not just text-based language, but visual languages, metaphoric languages, and 'skills' generally - performance, simulation, appropriation (all of which are interpretable as languages).
files/images/literacy.jpg, size: 15162 bytes, type:  image/jpeg

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

files/images/web3.0.jpg, size: 214782 bytes, type:  image/jpeg
Destination semantic web
Frédéric Cavazza, Company 20 Fr, February 21, 2011.

The world is beginning to catch up to the structure of metadata I described long ago in Resource Profiles - this paper (original in French; the main link points to a translation) is the closest I've seen to it thus far. As I look at the diagram, I see the suggestion that the output of such a system is a knowledge representation, which would then be queried - I have my doubts about that. Watson notwithstanding, I don't think that we'll ultimately build a world-wide semantic engine - knowledge is too complex for that. If these metadata form the inputs for anything, it will be a worldwide data graph. Via Blogue Du GTA.

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

Acceptable Use Policies in a Web 2.0 & Mobile Era: A Guide for School District
Various Authors, Consortium for School Networking, February 21, 2011.

From the press release: "The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) today released its Acceptable Use Polices in a Web 2.0 & Mobile Era: A Guide for School Districts, which is aimed at assisting district leaders develop, rethink or revise Internet policies to address the growing use of mobile devices and Web 2.0." Here's a direct link to the guidet, which has links to a number of pretty good examples in section 7, near the end of the document.

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

files/images/172698_10150399031655084_761175083_17420044_594452_o.jpg, size: 82268 bytes, type:  image/jpeg
Why America's teachers are enraged
Diane Ravitch, CNN, February 21, 2011.

I think I can offer an explanation in a few sentence, rather than the full article Diane Ravitch offered: teachers in the U.S. wonder why the brunt of the cost of rescuing the banks and financial sector must be borne on the backs of the public service, rather than those who bilked the system out of billions in the first place. Meanwhile, there is this supposition that the unions are the cause of low test scores and poorly performing schools, but the data does not bear this out. Quite the opposite; it is the non-union schools that occupy the bottom of the effectiveness ladder. According to this report, the five states that have "right-to-word" legislation (ie., anti-union legislation) occupy the following positions: South Carolina – 49th, North Carolina – 38th, Georgia – 48th, Texas – 45th, Virginia – 34th. "Actually," Ravitch argues, "the states with the highest performance on national tests are Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Vermont, and New Hampshire, where teachers belong to unions that bargain collectively for their members."

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

Learning Networks In Practice
Stephen Downes, Emerging Technologies for Learning, Volume 2, February 21, 2011.

With the closure of BECTA the link to one of my papers published by BECTA has expired. Rather than following the corporate URL merry-go-round, I'll just place the version of record for the paper on my own website, available here. A copy also remains in the National Archives, and NRC has its own version.

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

OER for Assessment and Credit for Students
Various Authors, Wikieducator, February 20, 2011.

I'm liking this; if successful, such an initiative could redefine higher education: "Through our community service mission we will open pathways for OER learners to earn formal academic credit and pay reduced fees for assessment and credit. In this way the OER movement can contribute to addressing the global demand for higher education where traditional delivery models are unable to respond to the need for post-secondary education." Such an approach becomes even more powerful if combined with an open learning system such as is being pioneered with our Connectivism courses. #OERU

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

This newsletter is sent only at the request of subscribers. If you would like to unsubscribe, Click here.

Know a friend who might enjoy this newsletter? Feel free to forward OLDaily to your colleagues. If you received this issue from a friend and would like a free subscription of your own, you can join our mailing list. Click here to subscribe.

Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.