OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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by Stephen Downes
March 26, 2014

What All the Outrage Over the Oculus Deal Says About Facebook, the Brand
Simon Dumenco, Ad Age, March 26, 2014

People are really upset that Oculus Rift (a prototype virtual-reality headset) has been acquired by Facebook. Oculus VR, the parent company, got its start on KickStarter via the contributions of some 9,522 backers (who receive none of the $2 billion purchase price). Now they and other supporters feel betrayed. As Minecraft creator Markus Persson, wrote on his blog, "I definitely want to be a part of VR, but I will not work with Facebook. Their motives are too unclear and shifting, and they haven't historically been a stable platform. There's nothing about their history that makes me trust them, and that makes them seem creepy to me. And I did not chip in ten grand to seed a first investment round to build value for a Facebook acquisition." (Emphasis his.) And as Simon Dumenco writes, "it seems to me that various sentiments... that Facebook is creepy, untrustworthy, unethical, predatory and vaguely desperate... have gone mainstream." Language warning for numerous obscenities in this article.

[Link] [Comment]

How Does PISA Put the World at Risk
Yong Zhao, Creative, Entrepreneurial, , Global: 21st Century Education, March 26, 2014

Three-part series on the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA):

Part 1: Romanticizing Misery

Part 2: Glorifying Educational Authoritarianism

Part 3: Creating Illusory Models of Excellence

"While the dispute over PISA’s technical flaws continues, some argue that even if PISA did everything right technically, it still could not possibly claim to be measuring the quality of entire education systems, let alone their students’ ability to live in the modern world."

[Link] [Comment]

Kenya: Working to break the poverty-education cycle.
Julie Lindsay, E-Learning Journeys, March 26, 2014


Related to the NVCER study is this post on the impact of poverty on early childhood education. From the he UNESCO Education For All Report: "Wealth affects whether primary school children learn the basics... poverty holds back learning in secondary school.... (the) poorest girls face the largest barriers to learning."  Why? "A child whose parents are working means the child is fed, they are literate, they are able to follow up on their child’s education and learning." Even things like basic nutritional differences between rich and poor students impact learning outcomes.

[Link] [Comment]

Ethics in the Open
Rob Farrow, OER Research Hub, March 26, 2014


Ethics to me depends on epistemology - what counts as right and wrong depends in an important way on what we know and how we can know it. So I haven't said a lot about ethics and learning technology, because there is so little agreement yet as to what constitutes success and what we know about that. This post considers some of the differences in ethics in work carried out inside and outside institutions. For many thee insstitution provides the ethics frameowrk. But what about outside the institution, and what about he wider framework? I think there's room, as suggested here, for an approach based on 'ethics in the open'. "There is a real need for using one’s own judgment and reflecting on the ethical dimensions of research for oneself.  When working in the open – potentially beyond institutional reach – an awareness of ethical principles and how they should be applied is essential."

[Link] [Comment]

Cloud, Services and the Transformation of Production
Irving Wladawsky-Berger, March 26, 2014

Good article that describes the rise of cloud computing not only as a change in the delivery of online resources, but also as a change in the organization of computing generally, and with it a gange in the organization and understanding of production and work generally. "IT-based tools are bringing major technology- and organizationally-driven productivity increases to services. A fundamental transformation in services in underway."

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Strength in Numbers
Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed, March 26, 2014

It has been a long time since I've had occasion to refer to XanEdu in thesse pages, but news comes today that "XanEdu and AcademicPub will merge as quickly as the two parties can sign the paperwork -- a response to a textbook market still clamoring for an all-of-the-above solution to course materials." XanEdu always had a good idea, but was eclipsed by self-publishing systems such as LuLu and while quietly building a respeectable market based for its educational publishing products is now looking toward greater access to learning materials directly. Hence the merger.

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Intergenerational mobility: new evidence from the Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth
Bruce Bradbury, Gerry Redmond, Ilan Katz, Melissa Wong, National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), March 26, 2014

Interesting long-term study of the impaact of education on intergenerational mobility. What this study asks is whether increased access to education, and imporved educational outcomes, lead to changes in students' socio-economic standing: do they get better jobs? Do they assume more influential positions in society? Are they wealthier? The study's conclusion is negative: dispite improving educational outcomes since the 1970s, intergenerational mobility has not improved. Why? Because the reltion works the other way: "Socioeconomic status is a major influence on educational attainment. This was true in 1975 and is still true today... he findings in this report are consistent with the international evidence, which indicates remarkable stability in the level of intergenerational inequalities over time in different countries, despite changes in social and educational policies."

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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