by Stephen Downes
[Sept] 16, 2015
Is Moodle “Bigger than Martin”?
Interesting posts that to me suggests that Moodle is at a turning point. Most of the post is about the Moodle community's loyalty to Moodle founder at person-in-charge, Martin Dougiamas. And for the record, he was more than gracious when I showed up at a Moodle conference and gave a talk titled 'After Moodle'. But there is also, suggests Michael Feldstein, talk afoot that "Moodle is bigger than Martin now". This suggests, he argues, that people are thinking that money for Moodle development, which currently mostly flows through Moodle headquarters, should flow through other agencies. And if sso, this could (emphasis could) mean Moodle moves in directions unintended by its benevolent founder.
New landmark OECD PISA study on 'Students, Computers and Learning: Making the Connection'
Here's the study. Michael Trucano summarizes: "Students, Computers and Learning: Making the Connection finds that, despite the pervasiveness of information and communication technologies (ICT) in our daily lives, these technologies have not yet been as widely adopted in formal education. And where they are used in the classroom, their impact on student performance is mixed, at best." I don't blame him for that summary, but it's a ridiculous conclusion based on the data. What does it mean to say "used a computer"? The OECD authors, at least, recognize that there are different types of computer use (though they ignore this in several sweeping overgeneralizations of their own). But I fear most of the mainstream coverage will not. For my own part, I refuse to believe that a person who never uses a computer has better computer navigation skills than a person who uses it every day (slide 44, image). I think we will find explanations for the data via systemic bias in the tests. See also Peter Skillen, who also points to this ridiculous conclusion as it appeared in headlines around the world.
Student Builds Clock, Is Cuffed for Bomb Hoax, and Ends Up Invited to White House
Peter Baker, Christine Hauser,
New York Times,
It actually says in the New York Times that the boy who built a clock will not be charged. That must be a huge relief. On the bright side, he is being invited to the White House - a totally appropriate and necessary response to an unthinking and prejudiced action that could have left permanent scars. To their credit, most Twitter users are standing with Ahmed. As do I; a home-built clock is a fantastic project, exactly what we want to encourage from children, and people who think "bomb" when they see a young child should have their prejudices checked by a professional, because they are seriously impaired. See also Will Richardson, who keys in on this assertion from Mohamed: “Here in high school, none of the teachers know what I can do.” Says Richardson: "That just speaks volumes. And it begs the question, why are we ok with that?" Also, Alan Levine: "Our collective cycle of social ignorance/stupidity/racism/ goes sadly through another Lather Rinse (Do Not Learn from Mistakes) cycle."
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