I'm not sure whether Catrhy Davidson's description of MOOC as "Massive Open Online Courseware" is a deliberate commentary or an accidental oversight. I prefer to think it's the former, especially in the context of her denunciation of tech hyperbole. But in adition to criticizing technophilia she is equally harsh on technophobia. "Most of the technophobic responses to devices assume that school should be cordoned off from the real world," she writes, and they make claims about whether tech improves or hams students' grades. But "that’s the wrong metric," she argues. "The purpose of education should not be better grades or a diploma. It should be the best possible preparation for thriving in a complex and changing world." And we should be focusing on improving practice. "The best pedagogical research we have reinforces the idea that learning in the classroom is most effective when it proceeds pretty much the way it does when we try to master something new outside of school: learning incrementally, being challenged, trying again." I'm in broad agreement with all this.
The gist of the announcement is this: "Blackboard has made a series of announcements and releases to make it easier to code functionality for the commercial LMS. They are wrapped into what Blackboard calls the 'Open Innovation Initiative' that gives developers access to REST and LTI integrations to expand Blackboard services without upfront costs." The unnamed Moodle News author suggests it has the "likely goal of enticing more learning developers to adopt its platform." Of course, it's institutions, not developers, that adopt platforms. What Blackboard wants to do is to extend its reach into other applications, and it need to help the developers of those applications write the interfaces that will make this possible. It's always a good strategy to create an open API, but I would never write an application that depends on a single company's API, because it's too easy for them to turn off the taps.
Michael Dummett wrote some of the most dense prose I ever had the displeasure of reading, so it's hard to imagine enjoying his book on grammar. But as Geoffrey Pullum writes, although Dummett's book contains a fair degree of crank, it also offers some surprisingly lucid advice on defining parts of speech. Verbs are not 'doing' words, they're words that can vary in tense. Subjects are not 'things', they are words that play a specific role in a sentence. "Being a subject is not an enduring trait of any word, like being an adverb; it is a role played within a sentence by a word or phrase, which may play a different role in other sentences." Good stuff. Image: Columbia.
Overall this article makes some good points, though it is a bit unfocused. Kenya Ramsey defends the idea of personal choice in personalized learning. So personalized learning is not merely selection of options from a list, nor is it having teachers design individualized lesson plans. She also things it should be organic and fluid, and therefore, not something that can only happen with technology, and not something that can be neatly defined in a textbook. That's as far as this article goes, which leaves the reader wanting more.
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Copyright 2017 Stephen Downes Contact: email@example.comThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.