OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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April 12, 2013

Reclaim Open Learning
Jim Groom, bavatuesdays, April 12, 2013

If I had a simple way of reclaiming open learning I would do it. Though I'm not sure I'd be seeking out the MIT Media Lab as the place to do it (strictly my own bias, but I don't really associate MIT with 'non-commercial'). But anyhow, Jim Groom (who I still have faith in after all these years) descended into Babylon to chat with Audrey Watters and Philipp Schmidt on Jöran und Konsorten on Vimeo. "The theme that emerged," writes Groom, "is reclaim, as in reclaim the web, reclaim your data, reclaim open learning, etc. This is a topic very much in line with (and at least for me inspired by) Boone Gorges and D’Arcy Norman‘s Reclaim Project." See also coverage from Audrey Watters, as well as D'Arcy Norman, who writes, "Yes, there are silos and commodifcation and icky corporate stuff that would be easy to rail against, but what if we just let go of that and (continue to) build the web we want and need? Yeah. Let’s (continue to) do that." Remember, that's how MOOCs originated, they were something we created to reclaim learning from the institutions. Until places like Stanford and, um, MIT, turned them into what they are today. #indieweb #reclaimopen

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Project Based Learning, Chatrooms, RSS]

Learning Styles, ha, ha, ha, ha
Jay Cross, Internet Time Blog, April 12, 2013

I still think there's something to the basaic idea of learning styles, but the most effective criticism that can be levied against them is offered here, as Jay Cross reviews some of the dozens of dichotomies that define different learning styles theories. Of course the problem is not limited to learning styles, as Creating Categories and Drawing Distinctions continue to be the dominant forms of Education Research (properly so-called) resulting in 'this taxonomy' and 'those criteria' whether they be of pedagogies, literacies or schools of thought (and hence the deep-seeded need to define 'open' or 'course' ratrher than to serve up examples of good technology (or even technique) for actually doing it. Meanwhile, regarding the criticism of learning styles, the fact that researchers do not yet understand the domain does not entail that there is no understanding to be had. There may yet be reserach that validates the intuitive understanding that the way people learn may have an impact on how well people learn. But yeah, not yet. Not by a long shot.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Schools, Learning Styles, Research]

Learning: A Field Guide
nick shackleton-jones, aconventional, April 12, 2013

This is more a first draft than a finished book (or half-book) but I like the idea and the presentation is engaging. Learning, A Field Guide steps the reader through the varities of the learning experience, including simulations, scenarios, story-telling and a dozen or so more. It's presented online as some sort of a cross between PDF and Google Docs, which I don't quite get, but is an interesting reading experience.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Books, Simulations, Google, Experience, Online Learning]

What do you mean… open?
Dave Cormier, Dave's Educational Blog, April 12, 2013

This is generally a pretty good discussion of the concept - and complexities - around the term 'open'. I have some issues with it - see my comment at the end of the article. But I like the account quoted near the end: "Perhaps the most commonly used sense of ‘open’ has been the idea of creating opportunities for study for those debarred from it for whatever reasons, be it lack of formal educational attainments or shortage of vacancies, poverty, remoteness, employment or domestic necessities," from Mackenzie, Postgate and Scupham, 1975. Of course this merely reinforces my own observation that the various definitions of 'open' that have come into currency since then are mainly ways of making something in some way not open and yet still being able to call it 'open'.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: none]

Foursquare Planning to Offer Check-in Data to Target Ads on Other Platforms
John McDermott, Ad Age, April 12, 2013

It should be no surprise to people to find that their FourSquare checkin data is being sold to advertisers and marketing agencies. For those who are still surprised by such news, here's the article in today's Ad Age, showing once again that if you use online platform services, your data belongs to others.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Marketing]

Global University Rankings and their Impact
Andrejs Rauhvargers, European University Association, April 12, 2013

Over the years I have found the deference people show to institutions like Harvard, MIT and Standford to be quite remarkable. Yes, the people who work there are smart, but they are not uniquely smart, and they are as often more important for their biases (such as, for example, a pro-commercial affiliation) than for their academics or teaching. This report on university rankings points to instances of this phenomenon. "It is worth noting that the high ranking positions achieved by a small group of universities are often self-perpetuating. The more intensive use of reputation indicators and reputation rankings means that the chances of maintaining a high position in the rankings will only grow for universities already near the top (p.18) ... it should be borne in mind that the indicators reflect the same biases and flaws as the data used to prepare them. (p.26)" Via Inside Higher Ed.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Academia]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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