This article offers what could be an interesting explanation for the state of educational policy and while I can't say I necessarily agree with it I can't entirely dismiss it either. It tells the story of UCLA chancellor Raymond B Allen, who needed a reason to fire some Marxist professors during the McCarthy years. The argument he developed was that "members of the Communist Party have abandoned reason, the impartial search for truth." But what would 'reason' look like in this (capitalist) context? "Rational choice theory... was a plausible candidate. It holds that people make (or should make) choices rationally by ranking the alternatives presented to them."
The article doesn't extend the explanation to education policy, but I feel free to. It offers an explanation of the focus on STEM, as opposed to the non-rational theory-based disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. It explains the phenomenon of 'school choice' as an argument for privatizing schools. It explains the popularity of 'evidence-based' practice measuring concrete outcomes such as test scores. And it explains the rejection of 'social good' as an outcome in education. But as the article says, " there is much more to a good society than the affordance of maximum choice to its citizens." And indeed, offering choice (as compared to allowing people to create) is itself a mechanism of control.
I'm not sure how "stunning" the data are, nor do I thing the prediction is particularly specific. Still. The trend is worth observing - "a year-to-year online enrollment increase of 226,375 distance education students–a 3.9 percent increase, up over rates recorded the previous two years" and "more than one in four students (29.7 percent) now take at least one distance education course (a total of 6,022,105 students)." So, yeah. Online learning has arrived. P.S. don't bother with the infographic, which is just an advertisement for a cloud e-learning company.
What struck me in this post was this: "The amount of money that the Gates Foundation has awarded in education grants is simply staggering: some $15 billion across some 3000+ grants since the organization was founded in 1998." And so Audrey Watters comments, "the Gates Foundation remains one of the most influential (and anti-democratic) forces in education. As such, it gets to define what 'personalized learning' is – what it looks like." Maybe. Or maybe not. Some of us not funded by Gates still have a horse in this race.
This is an update of Armenia's education strategy in the years after it joined "the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and the Bologna Process by signing the Bergen Communiqué in 2005." Armenia - which I visited in 2014 - is a small country with few natural resources (though you can get pomogranates everywhere) and thus depends on developing its 3 million people and attracting students (and ideas) from neighbouring countries.
They're back! Google has relaunched Google Glass with Glass Enterprise Edition. As a fashion statement Glass was a failure, but the technology proved useful in the workplace. "Workers in many fields, like manufacturing, logistics, field services, and healthcare find it useful to consult a wearable device for information and other resources while their hands are busy." This is a use case that really makes sense, and would make even more sense with voice commands (there's no mention of this in the article). It's also a natural for on-demand context-specific e-learning. (As an aside, I find it interesting that the team at X.Company, which is a branch of Google/Alphabet, is using Medium as a blogging engine instead of Google-owned Blogger.)
As the EdSurge article says, "After more than a year of invitation-only private beta, Amazon just opened its free library of open-education resources, called Amazon Inspire." You can't post your own resources on the site yet - but a statement from Amazon says this feature is coming soon. While site calls these open education resources, they are locked behind a subscription wall - they may be free, but you have to login to Amazon in order to view them, providing your name and email, zip code, the name of your school and the grades you teach, thus giving them your browsing and download information. This will be especially useful to Amazon when they include the non-free for-pay resources to the site. The site currently includes public domain and Creative Commons resources, including Non-commercial licensed resources, like this one.
I have to believe that Facebook will be a lot more diligent about policing 'pirated' news content in user posts and groups than it ever was abusive content and fake news. Because combating unauthorized file sharing is the real crisis we all face today. What I have noticed in general is that newspapers and magazine websites have begun to clamp down again with subscription paywalls, anti-ad-block barriers, and more. If I encounter one of those I just close the tab. And I do my very best to keep such links from appearing in OLDaily.
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.
Copyright 2017 Stephen Downes Contact: firstname.lastname@example.orgThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.