OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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June 30, 2011

MOOCs as ecologies - or - why i work on MOOCs
Dave Cormier, Dave's Educational Blog, June 30, 2011.

Dave Cormier adds to the discussion around MOOCs that has flared up in recent days, responding especially to David Wiley's challenges to MOOCs here and here and George Siemens’ response. He says what I would say, were I inclined to write on the topic:"If the MOOC challenges anything, it challenges the idea that a teacher can decide what people need to know, how much they currently know and what they should get out of the learning process. You can’t. You just can’t do it, not consistently, not over time, not for the majority of your students, not for millions of teachers. The solution presented by the MOOC is that the learner should begin to take control of how and what they are to learn."

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet] [Tags: Connectivism, Open Content, Online Learning]

The Existential Ed-Tech Pursuit?
Ian Quillen, Digital Education, June 30, 2011.

I think people need to understand that this is normal, that this is not going to change, and to roll with it: "Whether or not educators are catching up with technology, they don't feel like they are... 'What [the findings] tell me is that because this is such a dynamic world out there, the end point keeps moving out on them,' Billings said at a Tuesday press briefing across the street from the Pennsylvania Convention Center, site of this year's annual ISTE conference. 'The more they do, the more they're aware of how much more they should be doing.'"

What I think happens is that when a person first embraces a technology, he or she does so as an enthusiast - now this is fine, but being an enthusiast takes a lot of time and effort, and when the technology in question passes out of favour, as they all do, it's a bit daunting to work up the energy to become an enthusiast again with something new, to catch up with all those people who are already enthusiasts. You have to pick your battles. I was an enthusiast, for example, of Basic, then C, then LPC, then Perl, but not of C++, Java or PhP. I was an enthusiast of LMSs and Learning Objects, then blogging and RSS, and distributed MOOCs, but not of online facilitation, e-portfolios, Second Life, Twitter and Facebook, or competency frameworks. Not everybody can be an enthusiast, much less an expert, in everything. The key is to let go, to find something that works for you now, to embrace that, and to not worry about 'keeping up' (because people will be 'keeping up' with you!).

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet] [Tags: Twitter, Web Logs, Second Life, E-Portfolios, RSS]

XO Helicopter Deployments? Nicholas Negroponte Must be Crazy!
Wayan Vota, OLPC News, June 30, 2011.

files/images/olpc-xo-bombing-afghanistan.jpg, size: 68032 bytes, type:  image/jpeg Nicholas Negroponte must be crazy, writes Wayan Vota. "That is the only way I can explain his continued insistence on pursuing implementation miracles with his "Gods Must be Crazy" deployment plans," he says. Vota argues that Negroponte disregards "thought leaders who all agree that ICT should only be 10% of a solution - that infrastructure, maintenance, content, community, teacher training, and evaluation should command more attention and resources than XO laptops." And he cites studies attesting to the failure of laptop-only programs. As Ben Colmery writes, "Just inserting computers is not really a game changer. Not in my experience. Not when skills are not included." All this may be true, but I have to wonder, what would the impact have been had the OLPC been better technology?

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet] [Tags: Gaming, Portable Computers, Experience, Tests and Testing]

Enhanced virtual self
Matthieu Cherubini, Geneva University of Art and Design, June 30, 2011.

files/images/replicants.jpg, size: 6174 bytes, type:  image/jpeg Marketers already use bots and agents on social networks extensively. It is fair to assume that the clear majority of Twitter traffic is generated automatically (if you're only following friends you might not notice this but if you do any sort of search the pollution becomes readily apparent). How else do you think people like Andy Carvin scale? Now the average user can fight back with a bot of his or her own. But I have to ask: is it cheating if students use a bots to complete their social network homework? From the site:

"rep.licants.org is a web service allowing users to install an artificial intelligence (bot) on their Facebook and/or Twitter account. From keywords, content analysis and activity analysis, the bot attempts to simulate the activity of the user, to improve it by feeding his account and to create new contacts with other users. The bot [is] not born with a fictitious identity, but will be added to the real identity of the user to modify it at his convenience. Thus, this bot can be seen as a virtual prothesis added to an user's account."

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet] [Tags: Twitter, Books, Cheating, Networks, Web Services]

Open-Access Textbooks and Financial Sustainability: A Case Study on Flat World Knowledge
John Hilton III and David Wiley, , June 30, 2011.

files/images/hilton_wiley.jpg, size: 7075 bytes, type:  image/jpeg From the newest issue of IRRODL, John Hilton III and David Wiley offer up a case study on Flat World Knowledge, the open content publisher with which they have been associated over the last few years. "57,690 students in 1,153 different classes used FWK textbooks during the first year the company was open to the public (10 textbooks were available at the time of this study)... A total of 16,461 print textbooks were purchased over the three semesters, generating $479,259 of revenue." However, "FWK published its first 10 textbooks at an average cost of approximately $150,000 per book." So we can see it would take about three years to recoup the cost of a textbook - if sales hold.

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet] [Tags: Open Content, Books]

Civil Society Groups Reject OECD Internet Policy Principles
Michael Geist, Weblog, June 30, 2011.

The OECD has been he OECD is meeting this week on the Internet economy and has released a statement asking ISP's to 'voluntarily' monitor internet traffic for copyright violations. Rights organizations such as the EFF are outraged. As reported here, "The Civil Society Information Society Advisory Council (CSISAC), a group of over eighty members within the OECD, said they could not endorse the draft Communiqué." The CSISAC's statement is here. I'm not sure why OECD would feel we want to live in a surveillance society, but the recommendations are consistent with its pro-business stance in other areas.

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet] [Tags: Information, Copyrights]

7 Minute Segments & Experts
Nancy White, Full Circle Associates, June 30, 2011.

Nancy White links to a Fast Company article called Training Secrets From Inside The Googleplex. I'm not sure there's anything to show that Google does training better than anyone else, but everyone's curious about how Google does things... A moderator interviews a product manager about a particular new feature, as sales agents across the country, and around the world, listen in." But also, "Google breaks the information into bite-sized chunks lasting no more than seven minutes each, so agents can download and peruse them at their desks, on their commutes, even on their cell phones... And quizzes following each training make sure the agents are absorbing the new information." The interview format, I think, makes the audio a lot nicer to listen to than a single 'expert voice' would be.

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet] [Tags: Google, Newsletters, Audio]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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