OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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October 17, 2012

Learning There
Clark Quinn, Learnlets, October 17, 2012.

Andy Clark is great; I remember his Microcognition and Associative Engines from the late 1980s. I haven't followed his work recently though so I haven't read Being There. Based on this review from Clark Quinn, I should. I should get my hands on new copies of his earlier works, too - I sold my copies when I dispossessed myself in 1996.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Wikipedia]

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Discovery learning is the new higher learning
Don Tapscott, Globe and Mail, October 17, 2012.

Don Tapscott wrote an odd column in the Globe and Mail this week touting discovery learning as "the new higher learning." Maybe he's playing straight man to people like Willingham and Kirschner, who like to attack anything new under the heading (and straw man characterization) of 'discovery learning'. Or maybe he just doesn't have a 21st century vocabulary to describe what he's seeing: "university should be part of a network and an ecosystem, not a tower... universities and professors should contribute to an open platform of world-class educational resources that students everywhere could access throughout their lifetime." I love how he decides to give this a name, as though he's the first person to land on its untouched shores. I'm glad Tapscott is exploring new vistas. But maybe the Globe and Mail should consider hiring someone who spends less time in the boardroom and more time working with schools and teachers and technology - a Doug Peterson, for example. (p.s. the Globe and Mail will be instituting a paywall in a few days, at which point all coverage of Globe and Mail articles in these pages will cease. Sorry. Write them).

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Schools, Thomson Corporation, Networks]

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San Jose State U. Says Replacing Live Lectures With Videos Increased Test Scores
Alisha Azevedo, Chronicle of Higher Education, October 17, 2012.

This of course is exactly what the experts tell us cannot happen. "The midterm-examination scores of students in the flipped section were higher than those in the traditional sections, said Mr. Ghadiri. Although the midterm questions were more difficult for the flipped students, their median score was 10 to 11 points higher." The format, notes the article, generates a lot of resistance from students - some because they have to learn more, others because they have to move at the speed of the class, rather than letting it all slide and cramming at the last minute. But it's interesting, it seems to me - in a certain sense, all my philosophy classes were like this. No, we didn't watch videos. But we were expected to do the readings, and come into class prepared for a discussion. There's a discipline you get when you have to be 'on' on a regular basis - for me it was derived from my classes and from my work on the newspaper. Today it's derived from OLDaily and my conference presentations (two activities, interestingly, viewed as having no value by my employers, especially the latter).

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Video, Silicon Valley]

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B.C. to lead Canada in offering students free, open textbooks
Press Release, Government of British Columbia, October 17, 2012.

This is very nice. "British Columbia is set to become the first province in Canada to offer students free online, open textbooks for the 40 most popular post-secondary courses." I had thought Ontario was going to lead here, but they're still buying $180 art books from Pearson that have no art in them. B.C. is also the home of the Free Learning website. Pearson, meanwhile, is using its revenues from blank universe books to buy out the e-learning industry - or at least a part of it (today) for $650 mil.Meanwhile, read Katie Ash for more on the Open Education conference currently happening in B.C.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Great Britain, Canada]

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We Approach Diversity the Wrong Way
Liz Ryan, Harvard Business Review, October 17, 2012.

I think there's a good point here, though it's handled with ham-handed clumsiness. Here's the good point: diversity is neither addressed nor defined by "dicing the workforce into pre-set categories." As readers know, I believe diversity is key to cognition. This means that for networks to function well, diversity needs to be encouraged. It means that for a person to learn well, diverse experiences should be available. To me, slicing and dicing people into categories is the opposite of this: it's a method of segmenting people based on perceived sameness - sameness of ethnicity, sameness of religion, etc. But the ham-handedness comes in when it is argues that these distinct features should be ignored, that people shouldn't form affinity groups, that the purpose is "to encourage working together." Simply getting people into a room to talk about their diversity doesn't create the benefit diversity brings. It isn't just cultural awareness. There is as much diversity within a culture as there is between them. The point of diversity is, each person has a unique perspective, and it is this perspective that is valuable to the conversation. I need to talk about diversity more, to draw out a fuller understanding of it.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Networks, Experience, Ontologies]

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Ed Radio Show Notes, October 17, 2012

Ed Radio for October 17 - we go electronic (I used to listen to these albums over and over again in my 20s)

Yeah, it was a long day.

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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