by Stephen Downes
Mar 23, 2015
A Blogger's Springtime
Stephen Downes, Mar 21, 2015,
Spring Blog Festival, Online, via WizIQ
In this presentation I talk about the practice of blogging in a new and complex media environment. Contrary to what may be popular belief, blogging is not dead, nor even slowing down, though attention has shifted away from the form to new types of social media. But it is part of a much larger content ecosystem which as a whole is experiencing a golden age, and blogging is a major part of that. I show people how I blog, how I use blogs, and how I am encouraging student use of blogs in MOOCs.
Riipen: The LinkedIn for students
I thought the LinkedIn for students was Facebook - but I guess times have changed. "Riipen is an interactive way to pad your resume for students and recent grads.... With Riipen, students can build their online profiles and meet companies via short-term, skill specific projects and paid work opportunities. Companies will post projects on Riipen, who will then alert users by targeted email blasts or through one of the company’s social media channels." Of course, this could end up being 'the unpaid labour path for students', so there's a bit of a risk there. And actually, it seems more to me to be 'the Monster for students'.
Netflix and education
The corridor of uncertainty,
A lot of people have talked about 'the Netflix of learning'. But it's not that easy. As Alastair Creelman says, "Delivering content at scale and adapting it to personal preferences is the easy part really. It's what you do with that content that leads to learning. You can consume tons of content without necessarily becoming much wiser. You need to be able to put it all into context and draw conclusions and this generally needs guidance and a community to discuss with." A course isn't content. It's what you do with content.
Finland schools: Subjects scrapped and replaced with 'topics' as country reforms its education system
Even Finnish parents and teachers are protesting the change, we are told. But according to this article, students are already seeing benefits from the redefinition of learning from classes to 'phenomena'. "In the two years since the new teaching methods first began being introduced, pupil “outcomes” – they prefer that word to standards – have improved." This is moving learning in the opposite direction from 'back to basics', and away from subjects trhat were defined in the 1900s. "We really need a rethinking of education and a redesigning of our system, so it prepares our children for the future with the skills that are needed for today and tomorrow."
What If Education Reform Got It All Wrong in the First Place?
According to this article, "That’s the conclusion of a growing number of researchers who argue that 30 years of test scores have not measured a decline in public schools, but are rather a metric of the country’s child poverty and the broadening divide of income inequality." I have long cited data showing that socio-economic standing is the greatest predictor of education outcomes. For example, wealthier people can afford preschool, and "“You can see a big difference between students who have gone to preschool and who have not." And, "“It is definitely difficult to have a child come into kindergarten who’s never been read to,” Jones explained. “And it’s not that they haven’t been read to because their parents don’t want to—it’s just when you’re a single mom and you’re working four jobs, it doesn’t always work out that way.”
Doxxing to Defend Student Privacy
Bob Braun's website was inaccessible when I posted the story about Pearson's spying on schoolchildren last week, but it's available again and Audrey Watters raises some troubling questions about some of the follow-up coverage. She notes that NJ superintendent Elizabeth Jewett's work address and phone are contained in the image Braun posted, and that NJDOE commissioner Bari Anhalt-Erlichson's home address is posted (I personally don't see a home address in the story, just a property value and the fact that that it's located in Princeton). "Warning bells for me," writes Watters. "This was the second story in a row in which Braun had disclosed the personal information of a female edu employee of the state of New Jersey."
The connection between Anhalt-Erlichson and Pearson is very tenuous. She is married to Andrew Erlichson, who is a VP at MongoDB, which once did work for Pearson. You may equally well connect me to the Pearson spying case, because I've used MongoDB and have praised it in the past. But the tenuousness isn't the issue here; the doxxing is - the releasing of people's personal information and documents, their 'dox'. And even that wouldn't an issue were it not for the harassment that follows, which is disproportionately aimed at women. The information is "broadcast across the Internet with the express purpose of having that data be used for punishment." The very first comment in Braun's article talks about how to punish the offenders.
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