OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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November 14, 2013

Facebook, professors, and students
Alex Reid, digital digs, November 14, 2013

Should teachers or professors complain about their students on Facebook? Alex Reid narrows down the debate to three basic positions:

  • abstinence: faculty shouldn’t remark about their students
  • positive-only: faculty should only say nice things about their students
  • in private: faculty who complain should severely limit access to those posts

Of these, the third is a self-contradiction: there are no private posts on Facebook (only people who have been deluded into thinking Facebook posts are private). This actually applies to the internet generally. To me, in the end, it boilds down to: if you wouldn't say the thing in front of the entire school assembly (and their parents, and everyone else) you shouldn't say it on Facebook. Which means, essentially, that complaints about students should be addressed in person, directly, to the student. If you can't do this, you don't really have a complaint.

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Patent Troll Sues Blackboard for Patent Infringement
Michael Feldstein, e-Literate, November 14, 2013


I know, I admit it, I'm one of the ones inclined to read this headline and jeer. But as Michael Feldstein warns, "Patent trolls like Marathon can come after any company and their customers. In this case, the Marathon patents appear to be broad enough to be important for countless educational applications and could be applied against a range of vendors and schools alike... We should all be rooting for Blackboard and the other defendants in this case."

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Big Data – bums on seats measures wrong end of learner
Donald Clark, Donald Clark Plan B, November 14, 2013

I'm linking to this item almost exclusively for the headine (which you can see above) which as pithy a critique of big data as I've seen.

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Domain of One’s Own presentation at TEDxUSagradoCorazon
Jim Groom, bavatuesdays, November 14, 2013


Jim Groom, while summarizing his TEDx talk: "I literally stumbled into the field as a wayward literature Ph.D. candidate, and the ideas I discovered during the first days of personal blogging, namely creating, openly sharing, remixing, and archiving, continue to drive the work I am part of a decade later. For all that has changed, the ethos has stayed the same."

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Charts: Racial Gap In Belief In Education Impact On Careers
Alexander Russo, This Week In Education, November 14, 2013

I see a lot of stuff like this in the education media and I frankly don't understand it. Do they do genetic screening to determine race, or a skin colour test? How did they classify people of mixed race? Do the racial classifications actually mean anything? What is 'Asian' anyways? What purpose is served by ordering responses into categories labled 'race' (instead of, say, family income, zip code ranked by mean income, etc.)? Can anyone identify a causal mechanism connecting skin colour (or other putative indicators of 'race') with (in this case) belief in benefits obtained from education? Why can't educators do real sacience instead of this sort of phrenology?

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The Effects of Peer - Like and Expert - Like Pedagogical Agents on Learners’ Agent Perceptions, Task - Related Attitudes, and Learning Achievement
Tze Wei Liew, Su-Mae Tan, Chandrika Jayothisa, Educational Technology & Society, November 14, 2013


"Pedagogical agents," write the authors, "are virtual characters embedded in multimedia learning environment that simulate human instructional roles." The idea is that "social cues exhibited by pedagogical agents can increase learner’s motivation, cognitive engagement, self efficacy and transfer achievement." But the realization of these benefits are impacted by agent design. This paper looks at two agent design archetypes: peer-like and expert-like pedagogical agents. It outlines the (scant) research comparing these types of agents, and some models describing the differences. A small study tests these models. Not surprisingly, the authors found "learners' social stereotypes and expectations of pedagogical agents mirrored the human to human relationship in the real world." See also Level Up, My Pet, on the impact of leveling and educational agents, by Zhi-Hong Chen, Po-Yao Chao, Ming-Chieh Hsu and Chin-Hung Teng. See more from the current issue of ET&S.

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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