by Stephen Downes
[Sept] 02, 2016
Terry Anderson is right. I should have used the word 'education' instead of 'learning'. "In fact only a very tiny fraction of the “learning” that has ever taken place historically and of course 100% pre-historically, has occurred in a classroom. Only beginning in the 19th Century have a few children of rich minorities been able to learn part of what they learned in life in a classroom. " (p.s. the possessive form of my name is "Downes's". :) )
He also writes, "Strangely, this overview chapter ends without a summary or conclusion." I thought about that when I wrote it. What would a good summary or conclusion for this material be? I decided that there wasn't one - the material is itself a summary, and to try to wrap it up in a single paragraph or so would be to take the abstraction too far. So I settled on what was essentially an ellipses...
Readers of the OLDaily Twitter account are receiving tweets from what is essentially a Twitter bot - sure, the posts are copies of what I write for the newsletter, but the rest of it is automated. This Twitter bot takes it a step further, creating new posts from a set of sample posts using what is known as a Markov Chain - this is a type of artificial intelligence that detects similarities in a base set of data and generates new and still similar content. It also generates nonsense, but that's half the fun, right? The thing wit Twitter bots is that they are not always used for good. Consider the case of the author who tweeted about former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper and faced a deluge of hate tweets launched by a bot.
In 2005 I gave a talk at Northern Voice "deflating a few pet concepts of the blogerati, such as the value of the long tail and the utility of tagging." people actually shouted at me when I criticized the future of hashtags (well, it was Marc Canter shouting, but he counts as people). But maybe I was right? "A decade in... hashtags are widely regarded as useless noise, with Toronto infographic company Venngage going so far as to say that the hashtag has outlived its usefulness entirely, saying that 'for businesses, they are more trouble than they are worth. And honestly, at this point, they look unprofessional.'"
It's Friday. Time for some weekend music. How about it being 25 years since the release of Smells Like Team Spirit? As Jason Kottke said on his site when he posted this, “There’s a freight train bearing down on those boys and they don’t even know it.” I was never really a Nirvana fan (when the song came out it was tied to advertising for a deodorant, and the marketing campaign just turned me off). But I appreciate this gig, before it all started. A lot. The big song starts at 34:30 in the video.
A Montreal company called GradeSlam has raised $1.6 million in seed funding after launching last fall. According to its website, "GradeSlam provides unlimited tutoring at a fixed cost, one-tenth the cost of traditional models, making one-to-one learning financially accessible in a way that has never been done before."
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