by Stephen Downes
Dec 30, 2016
I've talked quite a bit about the Personal Learning Record (PLR) over the last few years as part of the overall concept of the Personal Learning Environment (PLE). I've talked about systems that track all your work - your practice, your actions, your results - and store it in a single record store. I would give examples like FitBit, which monitors your exercise and health. We're approaching this with technologies like xAPI. But I always insisted that the data be private and personally owned. Some people dismiss this. But this article shows exactly why it needs to be private.
So - I don't know. Do I want my mobile phone to accept bluetooth messages from the ambient environment? This article touts it as a good thing. "If a beacon is addressing your mobile device, you won’t even know it’s there until your device responds, possibly offering up some information that you’re only just realizing you need. If you’re holding the beacon, personalized content might instantly appear as you approach a learning station." The problem with such systems in the past has always been spam and malware. There's no reason to believe these won't plague the current iteration.
I've always had in mind the idea to allow OLDaily subscribers to pick the topics they're interested in, and send them only that. I haven't, for two reasons. This article addresses the first: actually makng it work for thousands of topics and/or thousands of subscribers is a bear. The obvious method - called the "naive hashmap" - takes too long to work (I've tried it). But there are certainly speedier solutions. But the second reason I haven't done it is even harder: I want OLDaily readers to be surprised. Nobody would have selected this topic, for example, but aren't you glad you learned about it? Via Vedalgo.
Some of these are my most-used applications, so I thought I should pass this along. The following will no longer be supported (which means no downloads, no patches, no security updates - but you can still use them). Here are the apps impacted: Movie Maker, Photo Gallery, OneDrive, Family Safety, Mail, or Live Writer. Two of them - Family safety and OneDrive - are built into Windows 10 (so you can continue renting them). For Mail you can use Outlook, but better might be eM Client, Mailbird, and Thunderbird. I use Thunderbird. For photo gallery you can use Flickr (which I use) but there is no good replacement for simple photo viewing. To replace MovieMaker, the article recommends Ezvid or DaVinci Resolve. And LiveWriter has an open source fork, called Open Live Writer.
This is a high-level overview of how artificial intelligence works (some of it, at least) and how it will shape e-learning in the future. The article cautions (and I agree) that AI is just a tool. "Holding the creators of algorithms liable is not technically fair though. The systems learn from the data being processed, not from the algorithms themselves. And in verticals where safety and compliance is non-negotiable, such as a learning environment, this could present a radical problem." The same applies to human learning. We don't have built-in content algorithms. Learning depends on the experiences we present to learners (or the experiences they are able to find for themselves).
I think this is probably a useful service but only Forbes would call starting a for-profit education business as "paying it forward". Anyhow, here's the gist: "FrontLearners offers schools an out-of-the-box, end-to-end e-learning solution. Participating classrooms receive a kit that includes a server loaded with content, a router to establish a wi-fi connection, and tablets that students use to follow their teachers’ lessons." The software offering, which is based on a Moodle platform, offers what they call a "blended mastery learning method."
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