OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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January 18, 2012

Book review: Learning Theory and Online Technologies
Linda Harasim, Tony Bates, January 18, 2012.

files/images/Harasim-book.jpg, size: 78039 bytes, type:  image/jpeg Linda Harasin has been completely absent from my view of the world of online learning. But she must have been active somewhere because she has just come out with a new book about online learning theory. I'd read it, but the open-access version on her website is broken. She writes (as quoted by Tony Bates) "Educators who restrict their use of the Internet and the Web to making traditional didactic teaching easier or more efficient are missing opportunities to introduce better, different or more advanced ways of learning," and "There are few theory-based or research-based guidelines to assist educators to develop more effective pedagogies for online learning environments." So there must be a whole world out there of educators using online learning in only this restricted way, and in which there are no alternative theories of online learning. Bates says, "This book is essential reading for anyone teaching online, especially those with no background in educational theory." I don't see it. Sure, it's "a new theory of learning that focuses on collaborative learning, knowledge building, and Internet use as a means to reshape formal, non-formal and informal education for the Knowledge Age." But is it grounded in any real world experience at all? "It should be noted that there is no discussion of other theories of networked learning, such as connectivism, which is a pity." A pity indeed.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Connectivism, Books, Research, Networks, Experience, Online Learning, Teaching Online]

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Power Up Student Learning with Web 2.0: Kevin Jarrett Talks about His PLP eCourse
Uattributed, Powerful Learning Practice, January 18, 2012.

files/images/KJarrett-150x200.jpg, size: 22280 bytes, type:  image/jpeg Here's the other approach to online learning a five-week $249 course offered by Kevin Jarrett on student learning with web 2.0. "In our sessions we strive to dream up engaging, practical, scalable lessons. To be honest, since I teach elementary, my bias is towards grades K-4/5. But we’ve had teachers across the K-12 spectrum join in and collaborate successfully." I have to temper my first critical reaction, because if I ever need a new day job offering online courses for money might be my best bet.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Traditional and Online Courses, Web 2.0, Networks, Assessment, Online Learning]

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Sweden Debuts First Classroom-less School
Various Authors, Architizer, January 18, 2012.

Of course - if you get rid of classrooms, you've probably gotten rid of classes as well. That's what really makes this school without classrooms great. "elefonplan, one of 30 schools from the Swedish education company Vittra, has replaced the classroom with loosely designed learning spaces in which students can come and go. The school considers the laptop to be a key learning tool, enabling students to learn virtually anywhere." It would be a great community space for adults as well, suitable for both day and evening use. Via.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Sweden, Schools, Portable Computers, Adult Learning, Online Learning]

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Embedding Videos in #Moodle 2.2
Miguel Guhlin, Around the Corner, January 18, 2012.

If you're using Moodle and want to embed videos of all types, you will want to read these instructions from Miguel Guhlin. He writes, "Implementing this solution--training the end users--was FAR easier than the Moodle solution I jumped to."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Video]

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Great Video of Haiti's Solar Installation For Powering 500 XOs
Christoph Derndorfer, One Laptop Per Child News, January 18, 2012.

files/images/Solar_Power.png, size: 367189 bytes, type:  image/png Interesting. It's the world's largest solar laptop installation. Christoph Derndorfer writes, "Recently I spoke with Laura Hosman, one of the project's leads and an assistant professor at IIT, about another very interesting power-related project her students have been working on. In the process she also mentioned the following 12 minute video which provides a great overview of their project in Lascahobas and is well worth watching." There's an interesting bit about the way it goes directly from DC to DC, preventing what would normally be a 30 percent loss of energy. Also discussions about how hard it was to mount solar panels to a tin roof. Watch the end of the video explaining how the installation was also turned into practical learning in solar energy for the students.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Portable Computers, Project Based Learning, Video, Dublin Core]

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Babies Learn To Talk By Reading Lips, New Research Suggests
Lauran Neergaard, Huffington Post, January 18, 2012.

Well, I found this to be a fascinating research result! "Babies don't learn to talk just from hearing sounds. New research suggests they're lip-readers too.... "The baby in order to imitate you has to figure out how to shape their lips to make that particular sound they're hearing," explains developmental psychologist David Lewkowicz of Florida Atlantic University, who led the study being published Monday. 'It's an incredibly complex process.'"

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

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Facebook Makes You Smarter, Thanks to Friends You Don’t Talk To
Joann Pan, Mashable, January 18, 2012.

This is the way it's supposed to work. "Information being shared on Facebook is highly diverse and coming to you mostly from people you rarely talk to, says the latest Facebook Data Team Study.... Facebook users are more likely to consume and share information from their close contacts (frequent interaction), but people also consume more novel content — about new products and current events — shared by weaker contacts (infrequent interaction) because of their 'abundance' on the network."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Interaction, Books, Information, Networks]

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Pulling for Better E-Textbook Prices
Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed, January 18, 2012.

As universities adopt e-Books over traditional texts, they need to band together to reduce prices and force them toward a platform-agnostic format. This follows from a challenge issued at the Educause conference in October by Indiana CIO Bradley Wheeler. "If somebody [does not] speak up for students in the move from print to digital, the students [are] going to get killed," he said. This article reports on a pilot project to pool resources and sales. "The texts will be available via Courseload, a device-agnostic platform that will integrate with the universities’ learning-management platforms (LMS)." The company describes itself thus: "Offering a common set of tools for use with proprietary, open source, and self-published content, Courseload operates on any web-enabled device."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Books, Project Based Learning, EDUCAUSE, Open Source]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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