OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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November 24, 2011

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SchoolTool 2.0 Released!
Tom Hoffman, SchoolTool, November 24, 2011.

SchoolTool 2.0 has been released with a "complete rethinking of SchoolTool's web interface from the organization of the application as a whole to the layout of each form and button." In you're not familiar with SchoolTool, it's "an open source, web based student information system designed for schools in the developing world, with strong support for translation, localization and automated deployment and updates via the Ubuntu Linux installer and package management system." Via.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Schools, Open Source, Student Record Systems]

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Call Me At The Station … The Lines Are Open
Grant Potter, Network Effects, November 24, 2011.

The secret to enabling call-in access from phones to a live online forum is to have a valid account with a SIP provider - in other words, a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) telephone account. If you have an IP phone, you have one. Using a Mac App called Telephone you can get VoIP into your computer, and from there, everything is routine. Heh.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: VoIP, Wikipedia]

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Yeah, but who pays?
Martin Weller, The Ed Techie, November 24, 2011.

The question of "who pays?" is always at the top of everyone's list. And I agree that the $5000 cost for an open access publication is too high. But these questions should be reframed. Let's look at XKCD's amazing 'Money' diagram. There's a lot to learn from it, but I've illustrated the big lesson (for me) below: in the United States, the richest 1 percent has wealth of $19.6 trillion, the richest half $57 trillion, and the poorest half $1.4 trillion. But even all this pales to insignificance against the derivatives market, which was worth $439 trillion (in 2009). The financial elite has absorbed most of the money in society and is currently using it for high stakes gambling. If they chose instead to invest in science, they could fund almost 100 billion open access publications (alternatively: a 1 percent tax on the richest one percent in the U.S. would fund four million open access publications). When someone says "the costs under this model are high" we need to view this in the light of the enormous concentrations of wealth that are available, but being used elsewhere.
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[Link] [Comment][Tags: United States, Open Access]

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Metaphors, Models, and Flows: Elements for a Cartography of Technology In Learning
Ruben R. Puentedura, Ruben R. Puentedura's Weblog, November 24, 2011.

Interetsing set of presentation slides (PDF) well worth a look, though I wish we had more of the narrative to tell us what's going on. There's three major parts. The first deals with models, and specifically a pattern of increasing utility, where technology progresses from substitution to augmentation to modification to redefinition. Good set of examples. The metaphors section is weakest, looking at 'the lively sketchbook' and 'the curiosity amplifier'. The idea of flow, in the third segment, is the most interesting, looking as it does at workflows through various technologies. I don't think anyone has done flow well, but the presentation hints at possibilities. The whole presentation should have been on flow, in my opinion.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Web Logs]

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Have We Gotten It Wrong on School Reform?
Jack Jennings, Huffington Post, November 24, 2011.

Brief article that summarizes the main points of Surpassing Shanghai: An Agenda for American Education Built on the World's Leading Systems, edited by Marc S. Tucker. The systems of schooling in Shanghai (China) Finland, Japan, Singapore, and Ontario (Canada) are analyzed. This bit accords with my own understanding:

According to this analysis, six key factors underlie the success of those top performers:
1. Funding schools equitably, with additional resources for those serving needy students
2. Paying teachers competitively and comparably
3. Investing in high-quality preparation, mentoring and professional development for teachers and leaders, completely at government expense
4. Providing time in the school schedule for collaborative planning and ongoing professional learning to continually improve instruction
5. Organizing a curriculum around problem-solving and critical thinking skills
6. Testing students rarely but carefully -- with measures that require analysis, communication, and defense of ideas

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Schools, United States, China, Mentors and Mentoring, Quality, Canada, Online Learning]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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