OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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April 19, 2011

httpID: adding identity to standard HTTP requests
Ben Werdmuller, benwerd, April 19, 2011.

Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. This is exactly what I proposed with mIDm (which I trot out every two months whether people have forgotten about it or not). "I'd like to be able to report, as an option, the identity of the person making an HTTP request, as part of the headers to that request. This might come from the browser itself, eg via an identity plugin, or it might come from a web-based identity proxy." We'll probably have to wait for someone from the Stanford-MIT-Harvard nexus to 'invent' this before it ever gets adopted. But it sure would make life easier, and leverage a slew of network applications.

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Will You Unwire for a Day? Please issue the challenge and take our survey.
Vicki A. Davis, Cool Cat Teacher Blog, April 19, 2011.

files/images/sheep3.jpg, size: 32341 bytes, type:  image/jpeg People always talk about going unwired, or internet free, or screen free, or whatever. What I'd like to do is go commercial and marketing free for a day. No intrusions of advertising or messaging of any sort into my personal space. It turns out that that is a lot harder to do - even in my most isolated camping trips I'm still surrounded by marketing, as everything must have brand identification on it these days. Commercial and marketing messages are, in my view, a lot more harmful to society than text messages from friends or unfiltered news from local bloggers.

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Connective Learning: Challenges for Learners, Teachers, and Educational Institutions
Claude Almansi, educational technology & change, April 19, 2011.

Lengthy and interesting discussion of issues raised in the recent IRRODL special issue on connectivism. The author writes, "However, connective learning in a digital world that hugely increases the number of possible connections does pose several challenges to learners, teachers, and educational institutions. These challenges must be met because learners are availing themselves of this digital connectivity anyway (and at times any way). Ignoring this fact won't make it disappear." Related: Luis Suarez on "The Power and the Beauty of Connectedness." And see also Steve Wheeler, who writes, "Everyone who participates enjoys the experience, and everyone goes away with more questions than they arrived with. That's learning. That's connectivism too, according to Siemens and Downes."

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QuickWire: Blackboard Is Considering Takeover Proposals
Josh Keller, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 19, 2011.

Interesting: "Blackboard Inc., the course-management software company, announced on Tuesday that it was considering proposals to acquire the company. It did not disclose the source of the proposals. Blackboard's stock jumped by nearly 30 percent early on Tuesday afternoon to its highest point since 2007." Any bets on possible suitors?

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But Who Champions Citizenship?
David Warlick, 2¢ Worth, April 19, 2011.

It's the same question I ask almost every day at our office: "Who's putting mega-bucks and weighty influence behind education that prepares learners for civic responsibility, community awareness and the ability to artistically and passionately express oneself, and appreciate the expressions of others?" Or as Shelly Blake-Plock says, "We need a development of human capacity, not an adherence to the rules of our established profession. We need to build our relationships for the purpose of furthering our humanity, not furthering our careers."

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Busting the Myth of College Admissions
Kevin Carey, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 18, 2011.

files/images/photo_11706_landscape_large.jpg, size: 19867 bytes, type:  image/jpeg If only students got better information about college success rates, writes Kevin Carey. Then they would not be applying at inappropriate schools and the problems of low admission rates and high tuition wouldn't be issues. If only more people knew about the financial aid available at elite schools like Harvard or Yale. Then they 94 percent rejection rate wouldn't be a chronic embarrassment. Crock. It's not like getting more information out to students will lead Harvard (say) to enrol more low-income students; the new low-income earners will simply push out other low-income earners. And steering students away from liberal arts colleges and toward business schools won't increase their ROI, it will simply relocate the enrolment crunch. Carey would have readers believe the real problem is one of consumer information. But that's just a fiction, a free-market fantasy.

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files/images/hoppe.png, size: 128135 bytes, type:  image/png
Applying learning design to work-based learning
Yongwu Miao and Heinz Ulrich Hoppe, Learning, Media and Technology, April 17, 2011.

"Learning design is currently slanted to reflect a course-based approach to learning," write Yongwu Miao and Heinz Ulrich Hoppe. But there are other approaches to learning design than those (such as LVDS) developed for teachers and those (such as IMS-LD) developed for automated learning processes. In particular, the authors examine whether learning design (and in particular IMS-LD) can be adapted to a workplace learning (WBL) paradigm (at least, one understood as "based on the socio-cultural understanding of learning rooted in Activity Theory as well as situated learning and the community of practice approach").

The idea is that "A WBL project may be defined and implemented in parallel to a real work project in the workplace," write the authors. I have long advocated an approach to learning where knowledge is developed and acquired in the application context. "The best place to learn forestry is in the forest." This paper is a good beginning to a model that describes how learning in such environments may be structured. As the authors argue, IMS-LD does not easily support an artefact construct. (p.200) "it is necessary to extend the language, at least, in the following dimensions: introducing the construct of ‘artefact', using a general construct ‘activity', adding more types of activity structures and replacing the ‘personal-property' with the ‘role-member-property'."

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What Yuri Gagarin Saw on First Space Flight
Victoria Jaggard, National Geographic Daily News, April 17, 2011.

I was alive when this happened but a little too young to appreciate its significance. Today, fifty years later, the significance is evident to all (except perhaps a two-year old). The video is well worth experiencing, not so much for plot or content (photography from space has become old hat by now, so much so that more than an hour of it seems excruciating) but for the sheer experience of reliving Gagarin's first flight. As you spend 108 minutes with the video - the actual duration of the flight - imagine how that fraction of a human life would define Gagarin (who never flew in space again) and humanity.

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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