OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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April 4, 2012

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various Authors, Website, April 4, 2012.

Alec Couros mentioned this tool in today's #Change11 session. Witopia is a way to set up a virtual private network to route around censorship and other network blocking. But not only that: "a VPN is a method of protecting your online identity and data en route. Firewalls protect your data on your computer and anti-virus software protects you from viruses, but only a VPN provides security and privacy once your data leaves your computer." If you're on the road and use WiFi a lot, this is the tool that will keep your information safe.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Networks, Security Issues, Privacy Issues]

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Pockets of Innovation
Various Authors, Contact North, April 4, 2012.

Contact North lists a number of recent releases in their current newsletter, all of which are worth highlighting (especially don't miss the video):
- Five module course on LMSs, distruptive alternatives, and planning for the future
- a document highlighting lessons (not best practices ;) ) Ontario can learn from Australia, the U.S. and British Columbia
- three videos from former Commonwealth of Learning head John Daniel on what we think we know about education
- a document describing how iPads are being used at the University of Ottawa, part of the Pockets of Innovation series

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Great Britain, Video, Australia, Newsletters]

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Best Practices Are the Worst
Jay P. Greene, Educaion Next, April 4, 2012.

files/images/ednext_20123_greene_review_cover.jpg, size: 19414 bytes, type:  image/jpeg If you think my own reviews of things I don't like are scathing, you will want to read this review of Mark Tucker's Surpassing Shanghai: An Agenda for American Education Built on the World’s Leading Systems, where a new standard for takedowns is set by reviewer Jay P. Greene. Greene first assails the central premise of the book, attacking the idea of 'best practice' as scientifically unsound. In this he has an excellent point. He then attacks Tucker for actually ignoring the practices identified by his authors. In the countries being studied, for example - Shanghai, Finland, Japan, Singapore, and Canada - decentralization is an important feature of the educational system. But Tucker argues that these countries all feature a centralized system. Greene then attacks Tucker's methodology: "the equivalent of 'the think system,' is obvious quackery." He wonders why the Gates Foundation would be supporting Tucker "and are pouring their savings into a band that can never play music except in a fantasy finale."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: United States, China, Canada, Online Learning]

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Magazines Introduce a Netflix for Tablet Editions
Nat Ives, Advertising Age, April 4, 2012.

files/images/next_issue_media_newsstand_2.jpg1333493457, size: 105537 bytes, type:   Out there somewhere, someone is probably building a Netflix for e-learning. The model of one small (less than $10) monthly fee for a large buffet has been, I think, proven. Actually, there's probably a dozen projects in stealth mode racing to see who gets to market first. Marketing is going to play a major role in determining which service gains traction first. With the roll-out of a Netflix for magazines (which needs a much better selection to really be successful) we can see the day for the learning Netflix getting closer and closer.

"Digital delivery's instant gratification could make a buffet approach more appealing. 'What we know from consumers in other categories is that when they have an option to pay for something on an unlimited basis, they consume more in that category as a result,' said Steve Sachs, exec VP-consumer marketing and sales at Time Inc." That's a perfect recipe for online learning.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Project Based Learning, Online Learning]

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U of T Lip Dub
YouTube, Sandra Zhou, et.al., April 4, 2012.

It's not the first lip dub. It's not the best lip dup. It's not even done in one take, as per the rules. But the University of Toronto's lip dub, more of a dance dub than lip, is worth a mention nonetheless. It's beautifully put together, and represents not just the university but the city of Toronto at its best, as a diverse mosaic of talent and enthusiasm.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: none]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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