OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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July 26, 2011

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Stephen Colbert: It Gets Better
Stephen Colbert, YouTube, July 26, 2011.

Stephen Colbert does a good thing with this video aimed not only at gays, lesbians trans and bi, but at anyone who has been bullied by being called "queer" or whatever: if you don't allow words the power to hurt you, they stop hurting you. What matters is not what people call us, but who we are inside. Yes, being bullied sucks, but it gets better. Via Russo.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Video]

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Should Students Use Pseudonyms Online?
Audrey Watters, Hack Education, July 26, 2011.

files/images/dooley-names.jpg, size: 34244 bytes, type:  image/jpeg With the mass purge of fake (or allegedly fake) user identities on Google+ over the weekend the question of anonymity and identity has come to the fore once again. I pretty much summarized my own view here, with an addendum here, and if you really want, a remark yesterday in here. Anil Dash came out with a profanity-filled post blaming site owners for the abuses of their comment sections. Flickr founder Caterina Fake, meanwhile, came out with a defense of anonymity. "AKA or “Also Known As” is a common use case. It’s like a stage name or a nom de plume. Say your Nom de Web is Kryptyk Physh. It’s not your 'real name', but you’ve staked your claim to it." Some writers, like the Guardian's Tim Adams, suggest that everybody on the net should use their real names. files/images/gplus.jpg, size: 3901 bytes, type:  image/jpeg In this article, Audrey Watters comes out in favour of anonymity in education and notes "At the time, I was a graduate student, and it was safer for me to not reveal my identity. In an infamous op-ed that appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education, 'Ivan Tribble' made it clear that 'bloggers need not apply' for academic jobs." So why is Google so interested in identity? Dave Winer explains, "Simply put, a real name is worth more than a fake one... It means it's possible to cross-relate your account with your buying behavior with their partners, who might be banks, retailers, supermarkets, hospitals, airlines. To connect with your use of cell phones that might be running their mobile operating system. To provide identity in a commerce-ready way." Which is why Skud is not acceptable to Google. Which - in my mind - is wrong.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Flickr, Operating Systems, Google, Academia]

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School colour-codes pupils by ability
Rowenna Davis, The Guardian, July 26, 2011.

We usually associate learning technology with computers and digital resources, but sometimes technology can be as simple, and devastating, as the colour of a tie. "The gifted and talented go to Delamere. They have purple badges on their smart blazers. The rest go to Ashwood, which wears blue, or Sherwood, which wears red." The headmaster explains, "I felt if we made explicit the provision for high-ability children, we would be able to attract those children and their parents who would rather not put them in to take the Bexley 11-plus." The story suggests that some students ask to be placed in the lower tiers, so they can "earn their stripes," but to me the focus seems to be on attracting the alphas by including built-in subgroups for them to look down upon. "One girl aged 15 who attends Sherwood school says that students in the top school "look down" on students in the other ability schools like hers. She says arguments and fighting have broken out between different schools."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Schools, Online Learning]

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Mycorrhizal networks and learning
David Wiley, iterating toward openness, July 26, 2011.

files/images/willow.jpg, size: 68450 bytes, type:  image/jpeg David Wiley has posted a thoughtful and deep article on biological models of self-organization. The bulk of the paper is devoted to an examination of three forms of biological communities: mycorrhizal networks, transitory superorganisms, and stable superorganisms. From these Wiley derives "important principles of association that can be applied to group learning, and show how each of the three biological systems provide insights into three types of learning groups": communities of practice, activity groups, and Online Self-Organizing Social Structures (OSOSS). This is great work, persuasively argued, and thoughtfully written.

Of all three forms of organization, Wiley concludes, "There also has to be a legitimate need for the individuals to aggregate in order for associations to function mutualistically. This is important to bear in mind when designing learning activities involving group work. A legitimate need for group activity is essential for a successful outcome. In addition, they type of role taken on by members of the group must be considered. In transitory superorganisms, individuals specialize in function to solve a problem, whereas in stable superorganisms, members sharing a common environment bring in whatever resources they can find for the benefit of the community as a whole."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Networks]

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Explore A New Learning Frontier: MOOC
Inge de Waard, Learning Solutions, July 26, 2011.

files/images/id_721_608.jpg, size: 47808 bytes, type:  image/jpeg The work that we've been doing in learning networks is beginning to attract a wider audience. This article in Learning Solutions magazine has resulted in a spate of new subscriptions to this newsletter - welcome, everyone. It focuses on the MOOC - massive open online course - that a group of us, including George Siemens and Dave Cormier, have been developing over the last few years. The MOOC is the practical extension of a theoretical approach to online learning sometimes called Connectivism. But we will soon see additional practical applications, such as the data analytics stream George has been working on, as described in this O'Reilly article. Learning providers and managers are salivating over analytics, but I think the biggest beneficiary will be students themselves, once systems are designed to make analytics accessible to them.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Connectivism, Traditional and Online Courses, Subscription Services, Networks, Online Learning, Newsletters]

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Class Dismissed
Serena Golden, Inside Higher Ed, July 26, 2011.

Good article in Inside Higher Ed that makes the simple point that increasing education outcomes is not a good route to ending income inequality in society. It used to be the case that obtaining a higher education was a ticket to success, but as more and more people do so, this success becomes less and less certain, due to other factors in society. "Poverty and economic inequality are about the distribution of resources — jobs and income," says John Marsh. "The U.S. economy has never produced anywhere close to the number of jobs — let alone decent-paying jobs — it would take to move the non-working poor into the ranks of the gainfully employed... Education plays a role in where people end up on the ladder of incomes, but it cannot much change the distance between rungs on the ladder." Via Laura Gibbs.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Google, Quality]

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Ed Radio Show Notes, July 26, 2011

Ed Radio back on the air
- musical selections from Bic Runga, Birds
- Futurist conversation: Ross Dawson and Gerd Leonhard on the future of money
- OECD, Introducing PISA, via Derek Wenmoth
- Good reasons to try Google+, via Wesley Fryer
- How the internet is changing advertising, also via Wesley Fryer
- IT Conversations, Ed Boyajian, Bruce Momjian - The State of the Elephant (Postgre SQL)
- Stephen Colbert, It Gets Better, via Russo
- Ed Allen, 21st Century High, the Shift Begins
- Teachers Teaching Teachers, Cooperative Catalyst - TTT 256 - 07.20.11

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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