OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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April 9, 2013

How to Create Your Reason
Umair Haque, Harvard Business Review Blogs, April 9, 2013

You may have noticed in the past that I've dedicated myself to "a society where knowledge and learning are public goods, freely created and shared, not hoarded or withheld in order to extract wealth or influence." This is an example of what Umair Haque would call 'a reason' - "a radically simple statement of why your life matters enough to you to fully, dangerously live it... past the edge." And, writes Haque, "Here's the trick. The reason isn't found, or discovered. It is created. It is the great act of a life; the culminating act that joins our choices and decisions into a trajectory that resonates." It doesn't have to involve a Great Work - it can be anything from dedicating yourself to raising your family to serving your God to bring art into hair styling. What matters is that it be something that matters enough to you to spend your life doing it. because - really - what else are you going to do with your life? Kill time while you wait for it to end?

[Link] [Comment][Tags: none]

IMS Global Announces the Educational App Store Project
IMS Global, April 9, 2013

Educational institutions have good reason to be wary of commercial app stores, according to this press release from IMS. "The 'take it or leave it' proprietary vertical integration strategies of consumer-oriented providers of digital books and applications, that maximizes their ability to create revenues from sales of such resources, have left educational institutions with a conundrum. Do we dare dictate to our students and teachers a "preferred platform?" Of course, the answer to that question needs to be 'no.'" Quite so - and so I see the value in this project. The design phase begins right away, with designs presented at the May conference, with development planned to follow over the summer.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Project Based Learning]

A Matter of Perspective — Elsevier Acquires Mendeley . . . or, Mendeley Sells Itself to Elsevier
Kent Anderson, The Scholarly Kitchen, April 9, 2013

Once again my reluctance to embrace what appeared to be a really good project has been justified. According to their website, "Mendeley is a free reference manager and academic social network that can help you organize your research, collaborate with others online, and discover the latest research." As Wikipedia notes, "Mendeley requires the user to store all basic citation data on its servers - storing copies of documents is at the user's discretion. Upon registration, Mendeley provides the user with 1 GB of free web storage space, which is upgradeable at a cost." Now your uploaded citations are in Elsevier's hands. Surprise!  Your data has just been sold to one of the world's largest publishers.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Books, Project Based Learning, Research, Networks, Wikipedia, Academia]

The Realities of MOOCs
Ben Betts, Stoatly Different, April 9, 2013

Some interesting early results in a MOOC run by University of San Diego (USD) based on a course called "Sustainability in the Supply Chain." The post is a bit awkwardly written, but essentially, they started with three cohorts, one of 300, one of 150, and one of 50 students. All three lost members, as expected, but the smaller cohorts lost members more rapidly than the larger ones - by the two-week period, the 50-member cohort was down to four students! "If engagement is any measure to go by, then small class sizes don’t make for a great experience in the world of MOOCs."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Experience]

Learning to Teach online
Cristina Costa, April 9, 2013

A really good point in a nutshell: "If we believe that learning is anchored in engagement, then we really need to design for engagement. I think this is where creating learning contexts becomes key. I think that the role of the teacher is to create challenges that encourage learners to take responsibility for their learning because that activity becomes enjoyable, appeals to them, they can identify themselves with. Hence, it becomes fun. It is not a hahaha fun, but rather a I am hooked to it kind of fun!" The six-minute video was posted in 2011 by the College of Fine Arts at UNSW.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Video]

Ten Commandments for Educators
James Paul Gee, April 8, 2013

I think the statements could have been made in a less culturally-specific way, but I can say I disagree with them. I'm neutralized the 'commandments' a bit and made them over into statements requiring neither a diety nor jurisprudence to accept:

  • Good schools also require high levels of equality and civic participation in society. 
  • No school or college knows enough to “train” students for jobs.
  • Use motivation, interest, and passion to persist past failure to gain lots and lots of practice.
  • Humans learn through experiences in the world.
  • Support learning with a well-integrated set of tools, technologies, interactions, and practices.
  • Network with each other and with good tools and technologies in good environments.
  • People need to know how to avoid being duped by the rich, the powerful, and the greedy.
  • Producing and proactively participating are core self-protection skills.
  • Gain a sense of agency through civic participation and as members of interest- and passion-driven affinity spaces.
  • If the cost of failure is not too high, it allows people to take risks.



[Link] [Comment][Tags: Schools, Interaction, Quality, Experience]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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