by Stephen Downes
Feb 09, 2015
Creativity and ingenuity know no bounds at UofTHack
It's not really online learning, but it is learning with technology, and the experience-oriented and project-based approach is one I enthusiastically support. Also, it's Canadian. "During UofT Hacks, a hackathon held at the University of Toronto, more than 480 students from high schools, colleges, and universities across Ontario gathered from Jan. 30 to Feb. 1 to flex their hacking skills – and to prove some of their ideas can become businesses in themselves, not just projects to be graded and then swiftly forgotten."
The Next Internet Is TV
"What was even the point of websites, certain people will find themselves wondering. Were they just weird slow apps with nobody in them?? Why?" This is from an article on the Awl that is making the rounds. Steve McCarty wrote me to say that it was "dangerous if not delusional." He adds, "if the Net were more like TV, a centralized monopoly of few-to-all broadcasting, would it not be a regression from the increasingly participative Net?" The problem with apps, in my mind, is two-fold: first, access to gated app marketplaces is limited; your app must be 'approved'. And second, the apps do not form a seamless network the way the web does, but instead creates a gazillion incompatible silos. So I'm hoping the web remains relevant.
Interestingly, some related writing: The Web is Dead (Wired, 2010), The Mobile Web is Dead (Business Insider, 2014), The Web is Dying (Wall Street Journal, 2014), Why the Web is Dead (TEDx, 2014), The Corporate Website is Dead (Forbes, 2014), Firefox Creator Says the Web is Dead Meat (ReadWrite, 2011), The Mobile Website is Dead (ZDNet, 2014), The Web is Dead, Long Live the Cloud (Big Think, 2010), Is the Web Dead? (NY Times, 2010), The Web is Dead? No (Pew, 2012), Don't Pull Out the Coffin Just Yet (TechCrunch, 2010), The Web is Dead, Long Live the Web (Gartner Symposium, 2012). There's a pretty persistent desire in some parts of the business press to kill the web. Not surprisingly. But the web is resilient.
Chinese expert Yong Zhao warns standardized testing 'destroys schools'
What caught my eye in this headline was the phease "Chinese expert," making it one of few to acknowledge that such a thing exists. But of course it would be far more surprising if they didn't! Just as interesting is the message, that we should do away with standardized testing, and that the basics or 'core'of learning should come only after a passion for the subject has been generated. "My extreme advice, we should do away with all of (standardized testing)," Zhao said, "It's a waste of money, very little value, destroys parents, destroys schools too, and puts students and teachers in a bind for high-stakes testing." Instead, as summarized by Academica, "He suggested instead that the education system should pursue personalized learning to allow each child to pursue his or her passions."
Ad hoc encounters with big data: Engaging citizens in conversations around tabletops
Morten Fjeld, Paweł Woźniak, Josh Cowls, , Bonnie Nardi,
I think we can all agree that "interactive tabletops will allow users to explore data in familiar places such as living rooms, cafés, and public spaces." So how will we use these when they become commonplace? "Instead of convincing citizens to leave pubs, bars, and cafés to attend meetings in dedicated discussion spaces, mobile tabletops could create arenas for interactive, improvised deliberation. These can take place around the table already being used, with personal devices playing an active role in the discussion." The idea is that, with the right technology, any tabletop can become an interactive tabletop.
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