OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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November 29, 2011

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Multi-Point Live Mix
Brian Lamb, Abject, November 29, 2011.

I'm not exactly sure how this works. But it's too good not to share. Take an ordinary webcasting environment, and set it up so multiple streams run concurrently off of the same server and IP address. "With multiple streams, the listener becomes a mixer as well, conceivably able to spin out yet more streams — which is where I see some real potential for future experimentation. I kept the streams more or less distinct, but you can also check out a more integrated mix." You might ask, why would anyone do that. But it's about allowing the listener to define the focus, the way Lytro's light-field camera captures all the light in an environment, allowing the viewer to focus the photo after the fact. Call Grant Potter's invention "sound-field audio," I guess.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Audio]

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Constraints and Change in ChangeMooc
Jenny Mackness, Jenny Connected, November 29, 2011.

Really good summary of the discussion in the #Change11 MOOC around the presentations made last week by Jon Dron. According to Dron, a weakness of an approach such as the MOOC is that there are insufficient constraints created by the software, and so the result is too 'soft' - people wander around, not knowing what to do. He recommends mechanisms that 'parcellize' the content, creating local environments. For example, suggests Mackness, "Tagging could be one answer. Tags can separate out spaces, so for example a ‘good for beginners’ tagged space could emerge." I offered a longish response, also posted in my blog.

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

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Cigarette smoking: an underused tool in high-performance endurance training
Kenneth A. Myers, Canadian Medical Association Journal , November 29, 2011.

I get to read a lot of 'research articles' in this line of work, and have sadly come to the conclusion that the vast bulk of them resemble the sort of research parodied in this article. The author makes use of published academic research - and a slightly skewed view of the world - to argue that cigarette smoking has tremendous potential to improve academic performance, but it has been ignored by practitioners everywhere. "More research is needed to clearly delineate when and how cigarette smoking should be integrated into high-performance training programs. Despite substantial federal financial support for endurance athlete development, we are aware of no such research programs at present." Via Scholarly Kitchen.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Books, Research, Academia]

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Statistics Canada Data to become OpenData – Background, Winners and Next Steps
David Eaves, eaves.ca, November 29, 2011.

I think the open data is going to become an education story. David Eaves writes, "this is the real hope. That a whole new category of winners emerges. That the barrier to use for software developers, entrepreneurs, students, academics, smaller companies and non-profits will be lowered in a manner that will enable a larger community to make use of the data and therefor create economic or social goods." I agree. Just think of the value open government data could have inside educational offerings.

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Suppose there was a place where there wasn't even space... what is that?
Neil deGrasse Tyson , Metafilter, November 29, 2011.

The new face of online learning. "'...I'm here to present to you - not lectures that are part of some curriculum; but in fact, I've combed the universe for my favorite subjects, and I'm going to spend twelve lectures bringing those favorite subjects to you.' Renowned astrophysicist and television host Neil deGrasse Tyson discusses the various aspects of our universe in twelve separate half-hour long lectures (MLYT)."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Video, Wikipedia, Online Learning]

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Why Is the Research on Learning Styles Still Being Dismissed by Some Learning Leaders and Practitioners?
Guy W. Wallace, eLearn Magazine, November 29, 2011.

This is a longish and very good article summarizing the research and discussion on learning styles. The message is simple: no research has proven the efficacy of differentiating instruction by learning styles. Now I would like to add the article does not offer any argument that learning systems do not exist, only that they are not useful in an instructional context. See Ryan Tracey's comment to this effect. As he argues, 'learning styles' is a poor (and overly prescriptive, I would add) way of describing student preferences.

There is discussion of Will Thalheimer's $1,000 challenge, but even he sees that it stacks the cards, and that there are some relevant differences between learners:
- It seems clear from the research that learners who are new to learning sometimes need different instructional supports from learners who have had experience
- diagnosing a learner's misunderstandings—and providing different feedback/guidance based on such a diagnosis creates faster understanding
- Motivational differences may also require different interventions.
It's just that none of these are allowed to count as 'learning styes' - or he would have lost his money ages ago.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Learning Styles, Research, Experience]

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Occupy the Future
Various Authors, Boston Review, November 29, 2011.

Boston Review is running a series of articles called 'Occupy the Future'. Two of them have been released so far. I haven't reviewed thm but I'm noting this here so I don't forget.

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iPad App Goes Viral
Melissa Reese Scott, My Learning Journey, November 29, 2011.

By 'goes viral' Melissa Reese Scott means 'was used by the class after I taught them how'. That said, the application is nonetheless interesting and creating books is a great classroom exercise (my writing career was started 40 years ago by my 'creating books' with my friends by handwriting them on construction paper). Ignore the links to 'guided discovery', they're just ads. Oh, and I never spelled as poorly as the people creating the examples, not even when I couldn't spell! It's so bad it actually feels fake. Come on, let's correct that stuff before putting it in a blog to show the world!

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

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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