OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

[Home] [Top] [Archives] [Mobile] [About] [Threads] [Options]

July 5, 2012

files/images/Don_Tapscott.JPG, size: 41751 bytes, type:  image/jpeg
Don Tapscott: The arc of history is a positive one, towards openness
Ross Dawson, Trends in the Living Networks, July 5, 2012.

I haven't said much about Don Tapscott's four principles for the open world partially because it's a TED video and partially because there's little evidence he actually practices any of the four principles (he does tweet regularly, but it's mostly promotional). For the record, here they are:

  • Collaboration. The boundaries of organizations are becoming more fluid and open, with the best ideas often coming from outside.
  • Transparency. Open communication to stakeholders is no longer optional, as organizations become naked.
  • Sharing. Giving up intellectual property, including putting ideas into the commons, is a massive source of value creation.
  • Empowerment. Knowledge and intelligence is power, so as they are distributed, we gain freedom.

Now as regards the first, I would be more inclined to say "cooperation" rather than "collaboration", for reasons I've offered at length in the past. Thus modified, they are principles I would love to see embraced by my own organization, but they run counter to hierarchy, political power, and management control. (p.s. I love the pompous pointed-finger Tapscott photo that illustrates the video, presumably an accident, but so telling). Related: Harold Jarche's aligned principles for an open, networked society.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Video, Patents, Networks, Copyrights]

Share |

files/images/22968249.jpeg, size: 49202 bytes, type:  image/jpeg
Critiquing Khan Academy: Teacher Theater and the Power of Satire
Audrey Watters, Hack Education, July 5, 2012.

Audrey Watters writes, "I think MTT2K, the Mystery Science Theater 3000-style video campaign satirizing Khan Academy, is one of the most interesting developments in education technology so far this year." I'm inclined to agree. They idea here is that people (presumably students) have created videos wherein they watch Hkan Academy videos and make, um, comments, simular to the style made famous by Mystery Science Theater 3000. It's not just that they're laughing at the videos, though there is that - and in so doing, they are undermining the idea that "Sal Khan is education’s 'Moses.'" But more, in my view, they are fundamentally creative acts, which is the antithesis of learning-by-Khan.

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

Share |

files/images/92083571-620x424.jpg, size: 91615 bytes, type:  image/jpeg
Blogging is the New Persuasive Essay
Shelley Wright, MindShift, July 5, 2012.

The thesis statement - stated in the title and defended in the post - makes sense on the face of it, but I wonder what's different about blogging and the persuasive essay. True, the format is certainly different: blogs have shorter paragraphs, they're written less formally (thank goodness), the ordering is different (though I think in a good blog as in any good writing the thesis ststement, if you have one, is at the top, front and centre), and yes, the voice is different. Also, blogs, unlike persuasive essays, typically have a readership to which you have to be accountable. But here's the kicker, to me: not all blog posts are persuasive essays. Sometimes they set the scene, define terms, flesh out detail, and a host of other non-persuasive tasks such that, once the reader hits a blog post intended to persuade, they have some sense of wherre the author is coming from. And a blog might not even have a point it is trying to make; not everything in the world is about persuading people. Blogging is more complex - far more complex - than the simple persuasive essay, because a blog is not a single blog post, it is a totality of blog posts, with a myriad of purposes, all blended together.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Web Logs, Blended Learning]

Share |

files/images/4776703880_f4ae97c7d4_n.jpg, size: 23689 bytes, type:  image/jpeg
Developing Work based Personal Learning Environments in Small and Medium Enterprises
Graham Attwell and Ludger Deitmer, Pontydysgu, July 5, 2012.

This is a good paper and useful to those thinking about how to design personal learning environments (a topic in which I'm still interested even as work in it is drawn under the NRC's ever-widening cone of silence). In particular I note the following: "In high performance work systems (Toner 2011, Arundel 2006, Gospel 2007, Teece et.al 2000)  the following qualification profiles are emerging:

  • High levels of communication, numeracy, problem solving and team working are required...
  • Allow functional flexibility by limiting occupational demarcations and requiring workers to be competent across a broader range of tasks...
  • Capturing the learning and work experiences of individual workers and teams of workers...
  • Flat management hierarchies

The paper also contains some useful remarks on approaches to developing a PLE in the workplace and "the Learning Layers concept: an approach to support informal learning through PLEs."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Experience, Online Learning, Personal Learning Environment]

Share |

files/images/flsch.JPG, size: 22417 bytes, type:  image/jpeg
Flawed and Uneasy Compromise
Karl Fisch, The Fischbowl, July 5, 2012.

Karl Fisch has an interesting problem (to which I will offer a solution). "I haven't been able to figure out how to design assessments that not only test the skills that students are required to learn, but with problems that can't be solved effortlessly with Wolfram Alpha (and thereby don't give me enough information to tell what my students have learned about the Algebra)." It's a bit funny to me, because Wolfram Alpha is like a graphing calculator on steroids. So, the solution is to undertsand what it is when we're teaching algebra. It is not, I assert, how do do manipulations in algebra. It's like logic that way: you could sit there and endlessly derive theorems from axioms, or manupulate the square of opposition. But the real underlying skill being taught is how to formalize and how to reason formally. Doing the calculations constitute the mechanical bit you complete only after you have successfully formalized. So, to put the answer a bit simplistically, the answer to Fisch's dilemma is to assign word problems, preferably in contexts where the word problems arise as a natural part of trying to complete some authentic real-world task. (Photo from the video Bermuda Skype Research.)

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Assessment]

Share |

Student press doing business with mainstream media? Not in Canada
Angelina Irinici, J-Source, July 5, 2012.

I have always found fascinating the very doifferent natures of the student press in Canada and the United States. As this story notes, in Canada, student newspapers are owned and managed by students, functioning either autonomously or as branches of their student unions. In the U.S. they are run by the college or university. The difference has resulted in great differences in the nature and content of their coverage and also, not surprisingly, their advertising. Now there's an additional change - in the U.S., student newspapers appear to be more likely candidates to be acquired by commercial media organizations such as Gannett. It's hard to imagine this ever happening in Canada.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: United States, Marketing, Canada]

Share |

Declaration of Internet Freedom
Various Authors, Website, July 4, 2012.

I find the latest 'declaratiuon of internet freedom', promoted by dozens of companies and individuals, to be too simplistic, written (honestly!) and what appears to be a grade four level (and about as sophisticated). The first principle, for example, is:

  • Expression: Don't censor the Internet.

Seriously? The term 'censor' - referring as it does to a legal practice and set of laws - is far too vague. Does it mean I should remove posts from my discussion board? That we should allow the propagation of spam, viruses, and phiushing attacks? Is hate literature OK? I have long preferred my own Cyberspace Charter of Rights. Which, I admit, has zero take-up.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Spam]

Share |

This newsletter is sent only at the request of subscribers. If you would like to unsubscribe, Click here.

Know a friend who might enjoy this newsletter? Feel free to forward OLDaily to your colleagues. If you received this issue from a friend and would like a free subscription of your own, you can join our mailing list. Click here to subscribe.

Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.