OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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August 21, 2012

Lake Louise, Alberta
Stephen Downes, Flickr, August 21, 2012.

Photos from Lake Louise, one of my favorite places in the world.

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Using Vygotsky to Understand Connectivism: Proximity and Duration
Glenyan, A Point of Contact, August 21, 2012.

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Interesting paper, and I agree with most of it, but I'm going to focus on a bit that I disagree with, because it's relevant. Glenyan (sorry, no more precise author name is provided) writes, "The process of valuing information doesn’t change when the model moves from ZPD theory to Connectivism theory, only the focus of internalization dries up." Except - it does. What is valued (for lack of a better word) in connectivism isn't information, it is practice and (most of all) experience. To y mind at least. This ties into another Glenyan post, where Glenyan cites, "the body is a frontier between myself and everything else." This to my mind is the wrong understanding of the relation between the body and the world. The body is the perceptual device, and there is no distinction to be drawn between the perception and the 'information'. The brain is a sophisticated perceptual device; what we know is what we perceive; there isn't some sort of 'channel' through which (entirely fictitious) 'information' flows.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Connectivism, Experience]

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Redefining College Readiness
David T. Conley, Educational Policy Improvement Center / Gates Foundation, August 21, 2012.

Interesting look at the current metrics used to measure college-readiness, what's wrong with them, and what should be used instead. The paper raises a bit of a dilemma: since college courses are very different from high school courses (consider the workload alone!) tests of high school achievement may not be good indicators of college readiness, yet because the tests are so important, students focus on passing them rather than obtaining the real competences needed to succeed in college. So what are the complences? The report lists cognitive skills, key content areas, academic behaviours, and contextual awareness. I think there's merit to this argument (I will withhold judgement on the mechanisms proposed to measure these competences). T cognitive skills, for example, include intellectual openness, inquisitiveness, interpretation, precision and accuracy, and problem solving - all things not really value in today's "tell and test" methodology. The paper is from 2007 but I'm seeing it today thanks to Lisa Michelle Nielsen.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Schools, Patents, Assessment, Academia]

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Professor Reg Cahill's Process Physics site
Reg Cahill, Flinders University, August 21, 2012.

An outcome of my talk the other day was that I was introduced to the concept of process physics, the idea of a "dynamic model where space and quantum matter emerge from a fundamentally random but self-organising system." According to process physics, which is derived from 'process' interpretations of other domains (such as, say, biology), "The key insight is that to adequately model reality we must move on from the traditional non-process syntactical information modelling to a process semantic information modelling; such information is `internally meaningful'." Thanks to James Leeuwen for pointing me to this.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Semantic Web]

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Free Online Course Will Rely on Multiple Sites
Tamar Lewin, New York Times, August 21, 2012.

The New York Times covers a new type of MOOC that looks a lot more like the connectivist MOOCs. "The new course, “A Gentle Introduction to Python,” will blend content from M.I.T.’s OpenCourseWare, instant-feedback exercises and quizzes from Codecademy, and study groups organized by OpenStudy, and will be coordinated through an e-mail list operated by Peer 2 Peer University."

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Learning: the Google Way
Unattributed, Elearning!, August 21, 2012.

Overview article on learning for managers at Google with an emphasis on the less hierarchal structure at the company. "Thus Google offers a special class for new managers and executives where they are taught how to exert influence in more subtle ways, says May. 'One of the practicalities of a less hierarchical company is that you aren’t necessarily going to have the position power to decree something or dictate something.'"

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.