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January 18, 2013

#diffimooc Launches next week: Differenting instruction in a MOOC
Vicki A. Davis, Cool Cat Teacher Blog, January 18, 2013

Vicki Davis introduces a post describing a new MOOC from the frozen north: "Next week will be the official start of the Differentiating Instruction through Technology #diffimooc offered by the University of Alaska Southeast. This class is designed to help pre-service, in-service, formal or informal teachers in gaining strategies to differentiate student instruction through the environment, through process and through product. We’ll be exploring ways to collect, aggregate, and manage student information, models for differentiating the classroom process such as the flipped classroom and problem based learning, and giving students a choice of products to demonstrate their content knowledge through technology." And I can say "frozen north" even though it's -20 today (giving me a nasty sinus headache).

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Google, Student Record Systems]

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The Learning Technologist Becomes A Luddite
Lanny Arvan, Lanny on Learning Technology, January 18, 2013

Lanny Arvan has never learned to write concisely (I've written to him about this - he says it's his style) so you'll have to wade through mounds of verbiage to get to the essential point. Which is this: "you're a Luddite if you are ok in using the technology but think it largely should be a complement to face-to-face instruction, not a substitute for it." He's responding to a post by Nathan Harden in American interest touting the end of the university as we know it. There's a lot of self-gratification in these kinds of posts celebrating the rise of MOOCs as we know them, as too-eager reformers tout the long-awaited defenestration of the tenured professoriate and the system that supports them. But supporting writers like Harden isn't the same as supporting learning technology, and opposing them doesn't need to mean seeing everything as an adjunct to the traditional institution. They're both Luddites, both the smug sycophant from Yale and the wordy academic who sees no good coming from anywhere outside his own classroom.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: United States, Academia]

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My Philosophy and My Context
John Spencer, edrethink, January 18, 2013

John Spencer writes about his philosophy of education. He writes, "As a teacher, I become a guide to help them become the connective, critical, creative problem-solvers that a democratic society needs in order to flourish." It makes me think about what my own philosophy of education might be - an especially pertinent question, given that I'm a real philosopher and all. My philosophy, though, has nothing to do with what I am (teacher, researcher, whatever) not does it have anything to do with 'what society needs' (because, really, who cares?). It is, rather, to view each person as an end in him or her self, as inherently valuable (and not valuable as this or that) and thus to see my own role is flowing whatever skills and capacities I have into their needs, empowering them to live their lives to the greatest and happiest (as they see it) extent possible. This is not about self-sacrifice; it's about finding meaning and purpose in life. I guess that's not really a philosophy of education - but if not, it's only because it makes a philosophy of education redundant.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Research]

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Lessons learned from wrestling with a MOOC
Robert Talbert, Casting Out Nines, January 18, 2013

I think it's useful to include opportunity cost when calculating the cost of an eductaion. A case in point: the free MOOC. Robert Talbert reports, "this week has me reconsidering the notion that MOOCs are “free”. They may not cost anything, but there is an expense, namely time. That '3–5 hour workload' estimate turned out to be wildly underestimated, at least for newbies like me." It makes me think of my own university experience - while other people used weekends to socialize, work on projects and network, I was pulling my two weekend night-shifts at 7-Eleven. Sure, I did fine - but it was only after I quit my night job that I scored a perfect 4.0 GPA. Makes me wonder what I could have done had my background been silver spoon rather than Splurpee straw.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Project Based Learning, Push versus Pull, Networks, Experience]

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Brick-wall-010.jpg, size: 37370 bytes, type:  image/jpeg
Hiding your research behind a paywall is immoral
Mike Taylor, The Guardian, January 18, 2013

As the title suggests, Mike Taylor argues in the Guardian that publishing scientific papers in subscription-based journals is immoral. "Dammit, we're scientists. Our job is to make knowledge. If we make it, then brick it up behind a wall, we're wasting our time and our funders' money – which ultimately means we're squandering the world's wealth. Publishing behind paywalls is immoral. More than that, it's oxymoronic: if it's behind a paywall, it hasn't been published. We have to stop doing it, now and for always." Needless to say, I agree. I especially appreciate the remarks about journal "impact factors", which are mistakenly taken to represent the importance of published scientific works.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Books, Research, Subscription Services]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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