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David Remnick on Democratic Socialism, DSA, Ocasio-Ortiz
Norm Scott, Ed Notes Online, 2018/07/19

There's a certain orthodoxy often represented in press and media coverage that the New York Times, Vox and Media Matters are "left wing" publications. This definition of what counts as 'left versus right' is pure fiction, from my perspective, as I might call Media Matters centerist and would certainly call the others all right wing publications. I grew up on a media diet that included the venerable New Internationalist and Mother Jones, publications not even listed on the left-right spectrum because.... ??? well, I don't know. And there are more, like Monthly Review, Adbusters, Truthout and Center for American Progress. Never heard of them? This might be why the shockwave of the election of a democratic socialist in New York caused ripples even into the education blogosphere. This might be why it feels as though democratic socialism is coming from nowhere. But we've been here all along, working for a better future. This isn't the 'Silicon Valley Socialism' caricatured by pubs like Fast Company, or the Seattle socialism given this hatchet job by the Ringer. This is the real thing. Some of my writes: Everyday socialism (1998), Decomposting Socialism (2005), What Socialism is All About (2011).

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Analysis of 450 MOOC-Based Microcredentials Reveals Many Options But Little Consistency
Laurie Pickard, Class Central, 2018/07/19

A microcredential "is any one of a number of new certifications that covers more than a single course but is less than a full degree." According to this article, EdX launched the first microcredential (which, of course, is false - microcredentials existed long before MOOCs, as my Boy Scout sash full of badges attests). But it may have been the first MOOC platform to do so. We didn't do badges with gRSShopper until 2014, with our French-language REL course (currently offline as I move to the new server). Of course, as the article makes clear, microcredentials were immediately associated with payment. But hey, what's a MOOC for, if it's not to raise money?

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The Seven Myths Keeping Teachers from Designing Makerspaces
John Spencer, 2018/07/19

This is a listicle, yes, but it's worth keeping the idea of makerspaces in mind as it reinforces the idea that learning technology isn't simply about what we display on computer screens for students to read. The idea is that students should be finding, making and sharing with each other. As John Spencer says, "There’s power in problem-solving and experimenting and taking things from questions to ideas to authentic products that you launch to the world. Something happens in students when they define themselves as makers and inventors and creators."

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Engage Your Community with Parent Digital Citizenship Academies
Ben Cogswell, George Lopez, Common Sense Education, 2018/07/19

This is advocacy for Common Sense Media, so read it with that in mind. That said, I like the idea of setting up a 'parent digital citizenship academy' to healp teach parents about the same resources and practices their children are being taught about. In the case described here, the "goals for the academies were to introduce parents and families to the components of digital citizenship (e.g., internet safety, digital footprints and reputation, privacy and security) and give them some ideas on how to work with their children on these topics." The site throws up a login screen before allowing you to download PDF resources, but at least the PDFs themselves are openly licensed.

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Mindset Marketing, Behaviorism, and Deficit Ideology
Ryan Boren, 2018/07/19

This is a longish discussion and (mostly) collection of resources on the idea that successful learning requires a particular mindset (such as a 'growth mindset' or 'grit' or some such thing). These mindsets, argues Ryan Boren, become products that are marketed as part of learning technology. But they are misdirections. "These campaigns are veneers on the deficit model that ignore long-standing structural problems like poverty, racism, sexism, ableism, and childism." To a certain degree, I'm inclined to agree. That's not to say learner attitude and motivation are nothing. But people are far to quick to say that a failure to succeed in the education system represents a deficit in the person, rather than in the system.

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Copyright 2018 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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