by Stephen Downes
Oct 27, 2016
So if there's no such thing as learning styles, why is a talk about introverts an EDUCAUSE keynote? "Susan Cain's keynote on the often-untapped potential of introverts was particularly relevant to an IT crowd that, when asked to raise hands, was roughly split 70/30 on introverts and extroverts." Interestingly, a survey of teachers will give almost the opposite result. It turns out there are differences between people, and some of them can classify us in some interesting, albeit superficial, ways.
The news today spread faster than any Vine video (it came and was over while I was watching a single Bill Mahar video). Twitter "said it would not delete any Vines that have been posted — for now, anyway. 'We value you, your Vines, and are going to do this the right way,' the company said in a Medium post. 'You’ll be able to access and download your Vines. We’ll be keeping the website online because we think it’s important to still be able to watch all the incredible Vines that have been made.'" Translation: download your videos now and put them in your own archive, before they disappear forever the way your Google Video, Blip and Ustream videos did. Interestingly, you can read the announcement on Medium but not on the Vine website.
I'll save you the suspense: they mostly use it to distribute course content and announcements. They also use it as a gradebook. Even in the 11% use of the 'social' course archetype, more than half the use is content distribution. John Whitmer writes, "in initial exploration we have found a similar distribution in final grades in courses across all categories, and uneven results across tool use by course category. This suggests, counter-intuitively, that grade may be independent of course category." It's not that counter-intuitive. The majority of courses are based largely on the transfer of content from instructor to student. Grades reflect suvvess using that methodology, and are not some sort of independent arbiter between methodologies.
The leading edge and obviously best use for this technology is of course to help amputees gain feeling in their artificial hands. But there is no reason why the technology developed would stop with amputees, especially if the interface between mind and machine were not excessively invasive. The applications could literally redefine what we mean by "hands on" training and development. Imagine working with a simulation that could respond to your touch exactly the way the real environment would. The work was published in Science Translational Medicine by Emily L. Graczyk, et.al.
"Looking at student work completed as part of course sounds much better than trying to create standardized assessments," writes John Warner. But "the massification and standardization of this kind of assessment seems likely to hold many potentially bad unintended, but entirely foreseeable consequences." This sort of focus would shape teaching into certain types of 'best practice', which is the opposite of what classes should be like. "We should be keeping it as diverse and exploratory as possible," he says. For example, students must find meaning in assignments, and this depends on their individual preferences and needs.
In this talk, delivered to the Technology Education Special Interest Council in Gander, Newfoundland, I discuss how the changing nature of knowledge and learning reshapes professional development. S5 Slides are available as is an MP3 Audio recording (13 meg).
Collaboration and Technology
Sadly, the audio for my presentation in Manchester died, so all we have are the PowerPoint Slides and some very useful blog commentaries, one by Derek Morrison, another by Christopher D. Sessums, more (in Dutch) by Marc Dupuis, and some stream of consciousness from Juliette White. Despite the glitches (which included a visit from the Fire Brigade just a few hours after having landed) I enjoyed my time in Manchester, and especially the jet-lag assisted bloggers meet-up. And if you enjoy my photos, you won't want to miss my stunning new collections from Britain: from Manchester, from Lancaster, and the pièce de résistance, from the Isle of Man
Principles of Distributed Representation
Learning object metadata will be rewritten. Or maybe bypassed entirely. It's going to be rewritten because it has to be, because as we work with learning object metadata as it is currently incarnated, unless we're working within a large monolithic entity like the U.S. military, learning object metadata will be found to be too rigid, too inflexible, too narrowly defined, to do the sorts of tghings that we want to do with it.
How to be a Good Learner
PowerPoint Slides and MP3 Audio from my talk at This Is IT in North Bay. The title is descriptive as I survey three major characteristics of good learning behaviour - generating interactivity, making your learning content usable, and ensuring relevance. The talk was given in an airplane hanger at the local airport, a huge concrfete block building with the accoustics of, well, a huge concrete block building. So the sound quality on the audio isn't great, which is too bad.
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