I wrote this essay for the World Conference on Online Learning in Toronto next week. This essay is addressed to both the teachers of today and to the students of tomorrow. It is addressed to policy makers and pundits, to technology designers and developers, and to those who by virtue of office or inclination have the voice to speak to the future, to inform the weld of what we can do and what we want to do.
I read a little while ago an article describing the the 'rise of the useless class' of people who have no gainful employment in an automated world. This sort of thinking is offensive on several levels, but it's the sort of value set that underlies things like the current proposal wherein people would be induced to train for socially valuable jobs, like teaching, by the mechanism of tax incentives on employment. "Socially useful" in the current context is defined as the generation of "spillovers," for example, how "good teachers raise the eventual incomes of their students." Of course, we could simply tax high earners, like hedge fund managers, and use the money to pay more to teachers, but the whole purpose of this article (it seems to me) is to make sure we don't raise top tax rates or raise taxes on top earners. Hence the convoluted morality of an HBR article.
One thing a lifetime working as a philosopher has taught me is that advances in thinking are truly incrental. Even the greatest thinkers - Descartes, Hume, Kant, Wittgenstein - advanced the state of the art only a few inches. So I'm not at all surprised to see so many of the 'new' ideas of today reflected in writers from the past. In the present case, as outlined by Will Richardson, it's Carl Rogers, who though "best known as a psychotherapist who championed 'client-centered therapy,' was also a vocal advocate for one of today’s most prevalent edu phrases, 'student-centered learning.'" Some of what he wrote would fit perfectly in a contemporary blog post. For example: "Learning is facilitated when the student participates responsibly in the learning process. When he chooses his own directions, helps to discover his own learning resources, formulates his own problems, decides his own course of action, lives with the consequences of these choices, then significant learning is maximized."
A lot of this looks familiar to me. "Becky (Willis) explains that the next generation learning platform aggregates internal, external, informal, and formal, peer to peer content. It helps to curate it with AI and uses machine languages to personalize what the employees see." The diagram of the platform is from a slide show by Josh Bersin. The article is mostly a series of audio clips. While I love audio I really think something like this needs transcripts as well. It serves mostly as advertorial content for EdCast (which explains the audio, I guess). I'm linking mostly for the Bersin diagram.
Interesting post about an interesting paper (17 page PDF) on something called TrustBase, a proposal to repair the existing flawed mechanism for internet security. "TrustBase aims to fix these problems by moving authentication from an application responsibility to an operating system responsibility, where an administrator can define policies." I think it's an interesting idea, and there are prototype implementations for various languages.
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Copyright 2017 Stephen Downes Contact: firstname.lastname@example.orgThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.