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by Stephen Downes
April 8, 2014

Free report durable Technology Enhanced Learning #Telearning
Inge de Waard, Ignatia Webs, April 8, 2014


Inge de Waard summarizes "the Beyond Prototypes report provides a UK-based in-depth examination of the processes of innovation in technology-enhanced learning (TEL) with a special emphasis on building online learning solutions that are durable. The focus is also on design-based research." Here's the full PDF. The report's key insights are worth reviewing:

  • "TEL involves a complex system of technologies and practices...it is necessary to look beyond product development and pay close attention to the entire process of implementation.
  • Significant innovations are developed and embedded over periods of years rather than months. Sustainable change is not a simple matter of product development, testing and roll-out.
  • TEL innovation is a process of bricolage... It also requires engagement with a range of communities and practices.
  • Successful implementation of TEL innovation requires evidence that the projected educational goal has been achieved."

This is advice well worth heeding on the part of those funding and sustaining learning technology initiatives.

[Link] [Comment]

Authentic Learning in Primary Science
Simon Crook, Simon Crook's eLearning Blog, April 8, 2014


It's the little things that count. Note just this: "students recorded myself performing the procedure using their school's iPads, photographed the equipment and also diagrams on the board to assist them in carrying out the experiment themselves." But if you look at the photo, they're all wearing their lab coats. You may think it doesn't matter, but I think that it does - when they look at their videos of themselves, they see themselves as scientists. (p.s. I think a better ice-melting experiment would have been to have them take the temperature of the air before, during, and after the ice has finished melting - this would explain quite nicely how global warming can produce an unusually cold winter).

[Link] [Comment]

EdTech: Startups On Track To Raise $2B Despite Challenges
Alexander Russo, This Week In Education, April 8, 2014

Interesting. Alexander Russo summarizes Jonathan Shieber 's article in TechCrunch: "What's super-hard to pull off but really attractive to venture capitalists? Edtech, apparently. Creating and sustaining a successful startup is not nearly as easy as it may look, as described recently in EdWeek... And yet, edtech startups raised over $500M in just the first quarter of 20014, according to TechCrunch." I could probably spend some of that money to good effect...

[Link] [Comment]

What We Really Need To Know About Ed Tech
helly Blake-Plock, Mind/Shift, April 8, 2014

I'm not sure I agree with every element on the list, but it raises questions that need raising. Here are the five things:

  • There's no such thing as 'free'
  • 'Open' isn’t so much about content as it is about the distribution arrangement.
  • Ed-tech companies need to make money
  • You are being exploited
  • Most of the important stuff is under the hood.

There is such a thing as 'free' - air is free, language is free, and the ideas that form inside your own head are free. And 'open' osn't about the distribution arrangement, it's about the priorities that went into the thing in the first place. Companies need to make money - but governments don't (at least, not through the sale of products), and we need to keep that in mind.

[Link] [Comment]

What Books Should Every Intelligent Person Read?: Tell Us Your Picks; We’ll Tell You Ours
Dan Colman, Open Culture, April 8, 2014

I find the lists offered by Dan Colman and Neil DeGrasse Tyson to be a bit parochial, steeped in (their) local culture and issues of the day. Why else include Darwin and de Tocqueville? Why else include the Bible but not the Qu'ran or the Upanisads, or Sun Tzu but not Lao Tze? So, what would my list of (say, top ten) must-reads be? How about this?

  • Rene Descartes, Meditations
  • David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
  • John Stuart Mill, On Liberty
  • Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness
  • Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
  • Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex
  • Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
  • On Certainty and Philosophical Investigations, Ludwig Wittgeinstein
  • Confucius, Analects

Why these? Balance. Yet I suppose my list is parochial as well, reflecting a Canadian heritage (and yet, no Canadians) and philosphical background. I regret not adding Gibbon, McLuhan, Kant, Chomsky, Ruark, and many more. And my list would probably be different tomorrow.

[Link] [Comment]

Digital Canada 150
Press Release, Government of Canada, April 8, 2014

The Canadian government announces its digital economy strategy: "our vision is for a thriving digital Canada, underscored by five key pillars: connecting Canadians, protecting Canadians, economic opportunities, digital government and Canadian content." View the interactive version here, or read the PDF. It is under this umbrella that our LPSS program is being officially announced. Google's Canada blog is mostly positive; CATA says it's a good start; Michael Geist is mostly negative. He writes, "For a strategy document, it is curiously lacking in actual strategy. The government updates Canadians on what it has done and provides some insight into what it plans to do, but there are few new strategies articulated."

[Link] [Comment]

Web Literacy Learning Pathways
Doug Belshaw, literaci.es, April 8, 2014


What's interesting here are not the web literacy learning pathways themselves, though no doubt many people will find them worth reading. Rather, it's the way this one paragraph article opens up into the pathways map itself, which in turn opens up into the web literacy mapper. These are resources tagged with Web Literacy Map metadata on webmaker.mofostaging.net. There's a lot of really smart thinking behind the arrangement of these resources (though I have to ask, why can't you simply click on the Pathways learning objective and access the learning resources? Are we still waiting for them to be developed?)

[Link] [Comment]

Humor That Dare Not Speak Its Name
Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, April 8, 2014

Last week I argued that Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich should be able to have and express views opposing gay marriage. Since then, he has resigned. Now here's the other side. It's not simply that Forbes is using the case to argue against financial disclosure laws, though that's bad enough. No, the other side is in South Carolina where a show by a lesbian humourist was shut down because legislators in the state "view the humorist's show -- 'How to Be a Lesbian in 10 Days or Less' -- literally as an event designed to recruit people to become lesbians." Many people, including myself, quite rightly believe this to be ridiculous. But how can Mozilla staff and supporters oppose this, when they have just finished hounding their CEO out of a job for expressing views that are, frankly, more mainstream than the lesbian comedian's?

[Link] [Comment]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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