by Stephen Downes
Oct 10, 2016
This is an excellent article that takes a deep look at the concept of merit and 'the achievement gap' in education. In a nutshell, the argument begins with the observation that cuurent programs operate on a 'deficit model' of learning - students are judged to be deficient, and then it is the task of education to address that deficiency. But this system perpetuates the gap "because the paradigm reinforces and reproduces educational and social inequity by design." Yong explains: "The ideal of meritocracy is built on four assumptions. First, a society/authority can correctly identify the merit. Second, there are ways to accurately measure the merit. Third the merit is only individuals’ innate potential plus their efforts. In other words, it has nothing to do with their family background. Fourth, everyone has the same opportunity to develop the merit. None of these assumptions is true." Keep this article in your citations list; you'll be referring to it again and again. Also posted at the National Education Policy Center; Journal of Social Issues Vol. 72, No. 4, 2016, pp. 716–735. Download the PDF version.
Facebook is launching an enterprise version of its software called Workplace in a bid to replace emails in the office. Everybody wants to replace workplace emails, of course, but there is a wide range of products already in the marketplace that already do that. The sector is called 'enterprise social' or 'enterprise collaboration' and includes well-known products and companies such as Jive, Yammer from Microsoft, Chatter from Salesforce, Hipchat and Jira from Atlassian, Slack, and more. Facebook, frankly, feels like a toy when compared to these products. But against that, there's this: "Facebook has become a de facto platform for billions of consumers globally to communicate with each other in the digital world, and now it is aggressively moving to be the same in the working world." More from BBC, Fortune, Engadget, Recode, CNet, CBC.
Transcript of an excellent talk by Michael Caulfield. He begins with a historical perspective, first with a description of some of his own projects from the 90s, then a more general account of web history, leading ultimately to MOOCs and open learning. The point of his talk is to question the typical argument for OERs, specifically, that we can create a learning resource once and then reuse it over and over. For practical reasons, this doesn't really work - the 'human core of open', he says, is based on belonging, relevance and diversity of experience. Simply showing a video from Yale won't satisfy these needs. What does resonate, though are what he calls 'choral explanations'. We covered these in July. These support "what we called 'loosely-coupled coursesl — courses that were connected not in this lockstep we-read-everything-on-the-same-day way, but through mutual meaningful activities," he writes. "These loosely-coupled courses did a lot better at engaging connected classes."
I get that Clark is trying to be cute, layering the objections to diversity into a series of objections to diversity training. Had he given his writing a bit more effort and thought this intent may have shone through. But it did not, and I am not convinced that he cared. Clark is free to oppose diversity. If he wants to align with the likes of Elizabeth May and Nigel Farage, he should just say so. This little dance around diversity training is a sham not worthy of the little effort it took to write.
I'm not sure whether I have enough data collected to achieve the same result, but I have a lot, especially if we include all the paper notes from the first half of my life still collected in cardboard boxes in the basement. For what, you ask? A digital avatar built using a neural network and stocked with all my writings, comments, emails, talks, and, of course, OLDaily posts. "Someday you will die, leaving behind a lifetime of text messages, posts, and other digital ephemera. For a while, your friends and family may put these digital traces out of their minds. But new services will arrive offering to transform them — possibly into something resembling Roman Mazurenko’s bot." What I wonder is: could my avatar earn a living? Would it have to, in order to stay switched on?
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.