OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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January 23, 2014

Where are all the classroom teachers at BETT 2014?
Leon Cych, Vimeo, January 22, 2014


Reviews of Bett (or the Bett Show, or formerly the British Educational Training and Technology Show show, or cynically, Better Education Through Tablets) (link here - caution, autoplaying video with sound) are coming in, as the show is now on in London. Here's the Bett Blog (featuring iPads, apps, competitions, simplicity, competitions, big data, and apps). This post is to a video of Bett outtakes. Leon Cych writes, "Don't take it too seriously folks - these are outtakes - however I only managed to talk with 1 classroom teacher in 2 hours - all the rest were headteachers, business to business people and consultants/ foreign teachers." He says, "No wireless, no teachers... this is not very good."

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More Competition for Online Certificate Students
Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed, January 22, 2014

Original title (before being probizwashed(*)): "After failed talks academic partnerships and coursera both introduce online course [specializations]". Notwithstanding the messy way in which these were created (there's no honour among education providers) the concept of the 'specialization' is interesting and could pose a longer-term challenge to the traditional form of credential. "In Academic Partnerships' idea of Specializations, students can earn a Specialization over nine months by collecting three certificates, each of which is awarded to the student for taking three one-month courses." Basically, we're in an alternative credentialing land rush. Most colleges and universities don't even realize this is happening. When they next look at the landscape, they will find that their unique value proposition has disappeared. (*) New word invented here: 'probizwashed' - story or headline that reflects badly on business ethics rewritten to describe the same practice as extolling the virtues of competition and capitalism.

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Global OER Remix Challenge: STE{A}M
January 22, 2014


I found this site really frustrating. The idea is really good, on the surface: to provide a bunch of OERs, maybe some remix tools, and encourage people to use these to make something new (and in particular, "a standards-aligned, integrated STE{A}M lesson that incorporates various media, draws on existing open resources, and supports inquiry-based learning"). But none of the links ever seems to take me where I want to go. The big "Collaborate" link takes me (after two clicks) to ISKME's 'remake lab' which (several links later) seems to be teachers working with construction paper (pictured) (other links just take me back where I was). The 'View the STE{A}M Collection' link takes me to a bunch of sites, many of which are (like Arts & Ecoology) 'all rights reserved' sites. The 'View open author remixes' link takes me to no such thing; instead it links to the same site the 'Collaborate' link takes me to. The four links at the bottom seem promising - but the Nature Journaling link takes me to an 'all rights reserved' PDF by John Muir Laws, Global Nomad takes me to another ISKME resource, Road to Doha, and the final two are views of the OER 'collection', much the same as the STE{A}M collection link. Going though this site in good faith really makes me feel like I am being scammed, and I don't like feeling like I'm being scammed. I'd take the whole site down.

Oh, and p.s. - the very next link in the OER Commons newsletter is a link to the ISKME GoPro Learning Challengewhere "all you'll need is to create a great idea for educational content that makes use of a GoPro camera." Exactly the same page design; the links are different, though - if you click you just go to GoPro. p.p.s. ISKME is the 'Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education'. The ISKME board is chaired by Lance T. Izumi from the Pacific Research Institute ("a California-based free-market think tank"; do click the link), and includes Mark David Milliron is Chief Learning Officer at Civitas Learning (and previously the Gates Foundation), Lisa Petrides, a former professor at Columbia University, Teachers College, and a post-doc fellow at the Educational Testing Service, and Marshall "Mike" S. Smith, "visiting scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching", and previously the program director for education at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. He's also on the board of the Silicon Valley Education Foundation.

Interestingly, in her most recent blog post, The Elephant in Education: Open Source Pillaging (July, 2013), Petrides writes, "What we are seeing more frequently these days is an OER storefront, supporting a freemium model with something that isn’t even theirs. It’s as if Barnes and Noble were to invite the local public library to set up a display in the front of the store, so when you first walk in you see this terrific selection of highly curated books, serving as a public good. But then when you step past the facade, you see it’s just provided as an entryway to the commercial store — akin to using OER as a marketing mechanism for a future sale." That's really what I felt I was seeing with the OER Commons site.

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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