OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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August 14, 2013

Twitter invades online learning with new engineering training tool
Lauren Hepler, Silicon Valley Business Journal, August 14, 2013

This is becoming a trend. "On Tuesday, a company blog post by Senior Vice President of Engineering Chris Fry announced that the social media company has acquired open-source training company Marakana to launch a technical training tool called Twitter University." Worth noting is how an open source project became a corporate learning initiative, and how the transaction was completed after a period of engagement with the company.

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The Collaborative, Sharing Economy
Irving Wladawsky-Berger, August 14, 2013


This may appear to be a post on sociaty and economy, but it's actually a post on how educational technology will eveolve over the next decade. For the clearest picture of this, see the Collaborative Economy Vlaue Chain diagram from page 11 of this presentation. In broad strokes, the idea is that no company poperates on its own any more; it joins up with a series of other companies who combine to provide a service to the marketplace. “An entire economy is emerging around the exchange of goods and services between individuals instead of from business to consumer,” writes Owyang.  “This is redefining market relationships between traditional sellers and buyers, expanding models of transaction and consumption, and impacting business models and ecosystems.  We refer to this trend as the Collaborative Economy, defined as ...an economic model where ownership and access are shared between corporations, startups, and people. This results in market efficiencies that bear new products, services, and business growth.”

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Here’s how to ‘shake up’ higher ed
Joanne Jacobs, Community College Spotlight, August 14, 2013

The next stage in the privatization of education: "Colleges are expensive screening devices, writes [economist Richard] Vedder [in Bloomburg]. There should be other ways to demonstrate potential workplace competence.  'Why doesn’t someone (College Board? Educational Testing Service? Google Inc.?) develop a national college equivalency examination that tests for the critical learning skills, literacy and basic knowledge that all college graduates are expected to have?'" The answer is twofold. First, this isn't what colleges are designed to produce. So it would be an extra credential, not a replacement of the college and university system. And second, if you allow recognition of college credentials in such an open system, this puts the riff raff, the plebes, and (gosh!) foreigners on an equal footing with elite (aka rich) students attending Yale and Harvard, and this is something the college system is definitely not intended to produce (... and that defines economists to a tee - measuring exacty the exact wrong thing).

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This Student Project Could Kill Digital Ad Targeting
Kate Kaye, Ad Age, August 14, 2013

Nice - a student develops an extension that scrambles your identity to fool advertisers. "It's a bit like the ad blocker extensions of yore, except it scrambles information to trick ad targeters, all in service of an addictive game deemed 'Site Miner,' which allows players to fish for cookies visualized as sea creatures." You can't get it now - it's just a demo and is insecure. But I do hope to be able to use it before they make fooling advertisers illegal.

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Chick Lit Remixed: The Simple Brilliance of Gender-Flipping
Emily Matchar, The Atlantic, August 13, 2013


One of the more formative influences on a much younger me was the video documentary Not a Love Story, which describes tyhe depiction of women in the media. Since then I have been sensitive to portrayals not only of women but of cultures and communities generally. The propagation of stereotypes by media - especially traditional news media - is one of the major reasons for my deep scepticism of what I read or view from such sources (and which leads me to embrace and even produce alternative media). So this item is of interest to me, featuring various online projects that 'gender-flip' - that is, they portray men in the way media portrays women, and vice versa, by rewriting or revising actual news and other media (the long analysis of a politician's husband's hairstyle had me rolling in the aisles).

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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