OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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by Stephen Downes
Jun 27, 2014

Who is using LRMI metadata?
Phil Barket, Sharing, Learning, Jun 26, 2014

You may have heard of LRMI (Learning Resource Metadata Initiative) but you may not know who is using it. This post offers a short selection of sites where it can be found. Despite Barker's qualification ("there are others using LRMI properties in their webpages that I happened not to find (t.b.h. I didn’t spend very long looking) ") this seems to me to be a very short list.

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ALT issues first Open Badges as part of ocTEL and releases plugin to the community
Unattributed, ALT Online Newsletter, Jun 26, 2014

Nice. "Badges designed and awarded using BadgeOS are now exposed as Open Badges compliant Assertion - Assertions are the DNA of Open Badges. They are data files which describe the badge and identify who it has been awarded to." P.S. The headline writers should note the difference in meaning between saying "issue first badges" and "issue our first badges" or "issue their first badges." English: it definitely needs to be clear. Related: Alan Levine writes, "But to me badging, nanodegreeing, calculating massive course dropouts remains overweighted on one side of the system."

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What is the problem for which MOOCs are the solution?
Diana Laurillard, ALT Online Newsletter, Jun 26, 2014

Diana Laurillard offers the answer to the question in terms of what problems MOOCs have solved, which seems to be a bit of an odd way to address a nascent technology. "The problem MOOCs succeed in solving is: to provide free university teaching for highly qualified professionals." Well, yes. And that's the problem the internet had solved by 1990, and the web by 1999. But surely that's not the extent of the problem-solving being does by open online content and services. I have always intended open online learning so address issues of access. Laurillard writes, "by 2015 there will still be 53m children out of school... UNESCO estimates that we need 1,600,000 teachers to achieve universal primary education." At $10K per teacher, that's an additional $16 billion in salaries; at $100K that's $160 billion. I see no sign anyone is prepared to pay this kind of money. So we need to address access in some other way than simply hiring teachers. Can MOOCs help here? Maybe. As Laurillard says, "If we are to have any hope of reaching our most ambitious educational goal of universal primary education, we have to find innovative ways of teaching." (p.s. - if you charge "even the modest cost of $49" it's not a MOOC).  (p.p.s. this was posted on the ALT newsletter today; previously posted at IOE London blog May 14).

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The History of Ed-Tech via Patent Applications
Audrey Watters, Hack Education, Jun 26, 2014


I once did a quick survey of how long it would take me to get completely caught up reading patent applications in just one area of ed tech. It would be, I discovered, several lifetimes. Calling it a 'patent thicket' is an understatement, by far. But this article is a fun read, picking up nine or so influential patents over the years, from the Skinner apparatus for teaching spelling (1866) to Blackboard's Internet-based education support system and methods (1999).

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More money won’t fix need for change in education
Kevin G. Lynch, Globe, Mail, Jun 26, 2014

Kevin G. Lynch, vice-chairman of the BMO Financial Group, writes in the Globe and Mail: "When discussing the challenges facing the education system in Canada, we often seem to accept the false premise that the only problem is funding... This challenge is much more than an incremental program here or some fine-tuning there; it involves a culture change in how we all take more accountability for educational outcomes." It may be true that more money alone won't improve our educational system, but it would be wrong to infer that the system can be improved without making the investment up front. As bankers well know, it takes money to save money.

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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