by Stephen Downes
Apr 29, 2016
This is an interesting effort that is well worth following over the course of the next year. A school district in South Dakota is eliminating grades in favour of personal learning. To support this, they have developed a model incorporating alternative learning methodologies for active, collaborative and learner-driven learning. Instead of classes they have things like 'the daily dish', a meeting where learners plan their day around the on things happening in each of the studios, and 'CT Circles', "critical thinking discussion groups to help learners deepen their understanding of specific learning." I hope that when they review the outcomes they don't just look at standardized tests (which of course still presume classes and grade levels) and take a more all-encompassing look at student progress. I also hope they give it more than just a year.
This item shows the dangers of platform dependence. World of Warcraft (WoW) is a popular computer game. People buy the software, but it requires a web server to act as a platform for in-game interactions with other people. As time went by, new versions of WoW came out. Normally you could just play the older version of a game if you want, but in this case the original WoW server was shut down, making all those computer games worthless. An independent version of the server called Nostralius was set up, but the owners of WoW ordered it shut down, claiming it was piracy. So now the user have no legal way of playing their own purchased versions of the game. Sure, it's just a game. But it still represents millions of dollars of value simply obliterated because the company wants to push a new version of the software.
Reading this article reminded me of the day my father and I built a baseball diamond on the front lawn of our ballpark-sized front lawn. Sure, he did the heavy work, but I was involved in the design and made sure there was a pole for the flag (which would fly over innumerable baseball games through the decades that followed). Not everybody needs to be a full-on design thinker the way I am - the world also needs people who do things like take measurements, check facts, and apply rigor. But everybody probably needs some, and people like me need a lot.And, as John Spencer says, "All we needed was a little freedom, some encouragement, and a few random supplies. And time. Tons and tons of time"
According to Tim Klapdor a technopedagogue "can oversee the design, implementation and even the implementation of interfaces, environments and the digital tools that support learning or various processes." But there's a sense in which the technopedagogue has a foot in two incommensurate camps. As David Jones says, "The techno is interested in scale. On systems and practices that work for the whole organisation or the whole of learning and teaching. The pedagogue is interested – as much as they can be within the current system – in the individual, the specific." But I don't think those traits are inherent in either discipline - I've very interested in personal technology, and mass pedagogy. See also Tim Klapdor, From Us to We and Administrivia and APIs.
Good comprehensive article on web conferencing in education. Unlike other software sectors, there's never been a runaway leader in web conferencing. The most effective solutions tend to be too expensive for casual use, and those that are free or affordable don't have the fidelity required for professional use. Most conference systems are hosted (or as we say today, provided as cloud services) though on-premises solutions have been growing. And the key improvement in recent years has been "convergence of synchronous and asynchronous communications due to greater user demand for better knowledge/content management." GoToMeeting, Adobe Connect and WebEx remain the market leaders. A couple dozen systems also compete.
This newsletter is sent only at the request of subscribers. If you would like to unsubscribe, Click here.
Know a friend who might enjoy this newsletter? Feel free to forward OLDaily to your colleagues. If you received this issue from a friend and would like a free subscription of your own, you can join our mailing list. Click here to subscribe.