OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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January 3, 2013

The Year Ahead in IT, 2013
Lev Gonick , Inside Higher ed, January 3, 2013.

I'm always thinking about the future of learning technology, even if I don't write about it so much these days. This is partially because it has become a bit predictable. Learning will become more open and content cheaper and easier to produce - hence, the move to flips, MOOCs and son-of-flips-and-MOOCs will continue. Computer hardware will continue to outpace need, so we'll see an increase in cloud and virtualization. Always-connected and mobile will continue to grow and increase capacity with LTE and processing power, so we'll see always-on learning. And then of course there are the things that have happened in the past, which are the easiest to predict, things like 3D printing, gamification and analytics. All good. These are the easy predictions, and everyone is making them. So what are the hard things that nobody is predicting?

I think the impact of HTML5 will be widely felt - the New York Times article from the other day is just the thin edge of the wedge - we're going to see widespread integration of multimedia and text in ordinary things like books, posts and articles - leaving print-based media behind completely. This will be very good for publishers, because for now it's still pretty difficult for amateurs to do (I'd love to see ds106 focus on this rather than retread Twilight Zone episodes). What else? We will also see dynamic learning materials (and dynamic reading materials generally) - multimedia posts and articles connected to live data sources. We've seen these already in things like weather bugs, Yahoo stock charts and Google Maps mashups, but it will become widespread. Again, this will favour publishers, because they will have priority access to live data. So, expect a rebound year for commercial content. Expect the pay media sites begin to prosper and for publishers to begin rolling out high-quality dynamic learning resources non-professionals cannot easily emulate.

That's the hard prediction - a reversal of existing trends. It will happen this year. You might think I oppose it, but I don't. Commercial media quite properly should focus on the difficult and high-quality. Where it has gone wrong in the past was in trying to monopolize easy media against a growing tide of open content. Once it enters into a proper research-and-development cycle (something it hasn't needed in a century) it will begin to prosper again, without harming openness, and this is good for all of us.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Yahoo!, Open Content, Books, Research, Google, Quality]

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Grom Social: Why An 11-Year-Old Built His Own Social Network
Jeff Dunn, Edudemic, January 3, 2013.

OK, let's be clear: an 11-year old did not build his own social network. This design team did. The 11-year old thing is a marketing angle. I really dislike stuff like this - 11-year olds are capable of some pretty great stuff on their own, but their potential to contribute is actually diminished when they are given credit fr stuff they did not create. Edudemic should have rejected this article as a bald marketing ploy.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Marketing, Networks]

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Are CAPTCHAs a good idea?
Daniel Lemire, Weblog, January 3, 2013.

I hate capchas, partially because they prove machines are better than I am at unscrambling text, and partially because they don't work. Daniel Lemire meanwhile points to the recent trend that will spell the end of capchas: "spammers appear to be recruiting human beings. There is a large pool of people on Earth who will gladly get paid just to post spammy comments on minor blogs." (Cartoon) In the comments: this alternative.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Web Logs, Spam]

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What would be the implications of MOOCs on Higher Education?
Sui Fai John Mak, Learner Weblog, January 3, 2013.

A couple of interesting points in this one. First, "If the mooc is better than the existing teaching and learning in the elite or most universities, wouldn’t that be the greatest disruption to their own 'mainstream' teaching and pedagogy?" And, all else being equal, that would be the case. Next, from this perspective, the difference between xMOOCs and cMOOCs "seems to be a race between technology affordance and professors and the associated pedagogy employed in the conversation and engagement of learners in the MOOCs." All else being equal again, whichever is better should suvive. But all else is rarely equal. The marketplace is full of inefficient solutions.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: none]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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