Doug Peterson sees the essence of personal learning: "In so many ways, learning with online folks is the antithesis of the traditional professional learning model. Here, you determine the time you want to engage. You determine the topics you wish to explore. You decide when to turn off the noise. You determine which links, videos, or blog posts shared are of interest. You decide where you need to grown and learn. You decide just how deeply you need to dive to fully understand. You decide who your presenter or folks for a group discussion will be. You decide when someone is just a puppet for edu-babble and ignore them. You decide when to turn the computer off." This is the fract of online learning. It's also how people online learn.
2025 is only eight years away, and it's not clear that large parts of the world (including possibly Puerto Rico) will even have reliable power and water by then, so the definition of "world" in this article is very narrow (and probably a 25-block radius around the author's house). The shopping scenario isn't realistic either: your house detects when you've run out of something and automatically orders a replacement. Now tell me that wouldn't be abused by marketers and advertisers! For example: "Your connected razor will know when its blades have gone rusty." No. It will tell you your blades are rusty. But it will be lying! All these things that work automatically (including educational technology) will not be working for our benefit. They will be selling - hard selling - to us.
I remember having a conversation once with a friend who was having an existential crisis because she wasn't sure whether any of her thoughts were her own. She had realized (as do I) the extent to which her ideas, beliefs and habits were influenced, even controlled, by external influences. This was before the days of Facebook addition, but all the means were still present: online and mass media, social pressures, the news hype cycle, expectations at home or in the office. So while this article describes the phenomenon on social media addition, my perspective is that it's the same story in new clothing. Since when has social approval not been addictive? Since when has this not been leveraged by advertisers, educators and propagandists to entice people into working against their own best interests? I think of the Civitus Vetus of Rome, the playing grounds of Eton, and the halls of West Point all in the same breath. The only thing that changes is who is in charge.
Summry and a bit of commentary on the Skills, Competencies and Credentials report from Alan Harrison (Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario) referenced here last week. The key bit is this: "Universities must come to terms with two facts: their undergraduate programs are where general skills are developed and second, it is these skills that make the graduates of these programs employable." Universities test for the content of these courses, but it isn't the content thata makes them employable, it's the skills. What sort of skills? Well, that's where everybody gets really vague: they include things like critical thinking, communication, collaboration, resreach and learning how to learn, and the like. But instead of enumerating the skills, both Harrison and Creelman focus on assessing them. "The answer lies probably in providing more comprehensive credentials that describe both the knowledge and skills acquired."
Eventually all of this will be a black box, and we'll work with features and services rujnning on top of it, but it's useful to look at the details now, so we can understand the capacities that will be avaiklable in the future. What Mighty Womble describes is essentially a hub for virtualized services; these services will be available to any device or appliance in your home or on your network, and they will support your interactions with the rest of the world. There are too many layers to list, but important ones include the virtual servers, storage and directories, firewalls, routers, VPNs, security, and authentication. These are the things that today an enterprise infrastructure contains, but what's described here is almost all open source, which means it is affordable for individual users, and eventually will be paxkaged for them.
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