OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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October 18, 2013

Rob’s Report from Educause #edu13
Rob Farrow, OER Research Hub, October 18, 2013

Any attempt to summarize a conference as large as EDUCAUSE will necessarily reflect a partial perspective, but in some sense that's good, because I like the way a description formed of many different threads takes form - so much better than an Official Narrative. So this is Rob Farrow's view, and his interest is in open educational resources - and from his experience, it seems he was at the wrong conference. "Needless to say there are some very big corporations spending a lot of money here.  Might this explain the lack of conversation about open education?"

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Howard Gardner: ‘Multiple intelligences’ are not ‘learning styles’
Valarie Strauss, Washington Post, October 18, 2013

"In this important post, Gardner explains why the former is not the latter." He writes: "multiple intelligences assumes that we have a number of relatively autonomous computers—one that computes linguistic information, another spatial information, another musical information, another information about other people, and so on... there is strong evidence that human beings have a range of intelligences and that strength (or weakness) in one intelligence does not predict strength (or weakness) in any other intelligences." The concept of "learning styles," he writes, is not coherent, and isn't the lesson to be drawn from multiple intelligences. So what should instructors do? "  Individualize your teaching as much as possible...  Pluralize your teaching. Teach important materials in several ways...  Drop the term 'styles'."

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How science goes wrong
Unattributed, The Economist, October 18, 2013


Ever the purveyor of the skewed insight, the Economist reports that science has "gone wrong" because of the pressure to produce new results rather than verifying previous results. Utterly nothing in the way of statistical analysis is offered to substantiate that claim (here's the article - read it carefully and you'll see what I mean); the article focuses mostly on anecdotes, putative causes and ill effects. I'm no defender of the status quo in science, but from my reading the Economist focuses a lot on the cost and scale of the research, which to me reads as suggesting that if science were smaller it might be more successful. "The obligation to 'publish or perish' has come to rule over academic life. Competition for jobs is cut-throat." The Economist's shrill tone might be justified had scientific discovery ground to a halt, but we are in the midst of the greatest era of discovery in the history of humanity. Their complaints about the cost of all this progress run hollow, and posted as they are on their digital edition, hypocritical.

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Before the Fact
Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed, October 18, 2013

At a certain point we will need to ask how much we want to tell our institutions about our lives. Take this University of Kentucky app, for example: "Every time students open the app to check their course schedule or the date for the next Wildcats game, they may be faced with a quick question: Have you bought all your textbooks already? Do you own a tablet? On a scale from one to five, how stressed are you?" You don't have to enter the data, but there may be a price to pay for that: "Analytics could identify high-performing students who could get paid to serve as on-demand tutors." So, one wonders, if you don't tell your institution your sleeping patterns, does this mean you are unqualified for employment?

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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