While I was in Poland I joked with the translator that he would need to find a new job soon. He assured me he was find for now. Well, maybe not. Here's Orion. "Starting today, all customers have access to a preview of Translator, Orion’s new real-time voice translation bot. Orion’s Translator gives users the ability to speak in English and have their message instantly translated to Spanish, or the other way around." It's by the company which makes Onyx, "a compact, lightweight wearable for real-time, heads-up walkie-talkie-style communication over any distance with other Onyx users." Onyx is currently shipping to the U.S. and Canada; the Android app works with Onyx to provide access to Orion.
You might think there's a lot I like about this tuition-free school, where the curriculum consists of nothing more than projects given go students (at 8L:42 a.m.; they get 48 hours to complete them). The students manage everything else, up to and including the design of the elevator ("hip-hop blaring from the speakers and blue and green lights piercing the darkness") to grading to the food truck out back. It does work (100% of the students get jobs) but it's easy to be successful when you're very selective (1,000 of 64K applicants) and when the students have independent income ("three years is a long time to forego a salary, even if students get internships along the way"). I also don't agree that "the ultimate gauge of success, of course, is jobs." The ultimate gauge is more like satisfaction in life. This article doesn't report on that. Still, "for thousands of young people who have limited options, School 42 offers a wealth of opportunity: an education, a community, and real-life skills that are in high demand among employers." That's not nothing.
Audrey Watters points to this patent granted to SalesForce for digital badges, or more specifically "a computer-implemented method of facilitating virtual recognition of an achievement implemented in a database system communicatively coupled with a social networking system." It has a priority date of 2014 (in other words, well after digital badges were invented). It also refers to users using Netscape's Navigator browser, so there's a bit of cookie-cutter language in there. I don't really have much use for the patent system in our field; it's basically a way for people with enough money to file patents to claim ownership of stuff other people have invented. But hey, my hat's off to John Arlan Brock, the "inventor" of digital badging for facilitating virtual recognition of an achievement.
This is a nice discussion of feedback based on the example of traffic signs. Brett Christensen talks about the signs in his town that display your speed as you drive by; they're used to encourage better behaviour in things like school zones. And they work, but only under certain conditions. The sign should provide feedback on your actual performance. It should be located where there's a real need, and if it's a permanant installation, people will get used to it, and it will be ignored. That explains why the speed sign in my village of Casselman is moved around town. And it explains why it strobes when I'm going too fast (but not why it strobes when I am travelling at precisely the speed limit). "The key," says Christensen, "is (1) appropriate feedback can increase performance, (2) too much won’t have that same positive effect and (3) when you are the person providing the feedback, asking your employee... could help you find that sweet spot!"
According to the website, "OPERAS is a distributed research infrastructure project in Europe to support the development of open scholarly communication," especially in the social sciences and humanities (SSH). The design studiy was released over the summer, and has four parts: a landscape study that "identifies recent developments and challenges within the scholaly communication framework," a technical mapping that "provides a global description of the technical, organizational and information systems within the OPERAS consortium," a usage study "describing current practices regarding open access, the evaluation of existing services, the missing services, and the level of interest for integrated new services," and a European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) landscape study. There's a wealth of information here and it wouldn't be the worst idea to use this project as a template for similar projects elsewhere. OPERAS stands for "open access in the European Research Area through scholarly communication," though I doubt this full title is used very much. Note that it would be nice to see the project use an RSS feel or some sort of syndicated communication over and above its monthly PDF newsletter and social media accounts.
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Copyright 2017 Stephen Downes Contact: firstname.lastname@example.orgThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.