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Dear Mr. Ford…
Doug Peterson, doug — off the record, 2018/07/20

This is the title of one link in Doug Peterson's weekly wrap-up but all of the posts reflect, in one way or another, on the sea change in Ontario education being caused by the new government. It's not just about curriculum change - consider the segment where he talks about different things stressing different people (contra the old instructivist model of everything). Consider the discussion of taking different approaches to solve math problems. Same sort of thing. And, of course, there are the topics that need to be covered in 2018 that just didn't exist in 1998.

p.s. and as a complete aside, I've been noticing how much language online is presented in the form of a command. I get this in email a lot (as in Facebook saying "you need to update your page listing" or LinkedIn "tell us whether so-and-so is a friend." I saw some in Peterson's post - that's what made me think of it. "Show some blog loving to Gerry and check in," he says in a tone that I perceive as demanding compliance. And "Make sure that you're following these great bloggers on Twitter." I wonder how much more we're ordering each other about these days, and I wonder how much of that is influenced by commercial online discourse.

Web: [Direct Link] [This Post]

Tracking Disinformation by Reading Metadata
Amelia Acker, Data & Society, Medium, 2018/07/20

It's still pretty easy to distinguish between human spammers and bots (which is why the excuses given by Facebook and Twitter ring hollow). For example, "'Joey' has tweeted more than 500 times every day for three years." Pretty clearly a bot. A bot, in fact, that was one of the army of bots influencing the U.S. election. And a bot that remained, as of the writing of the article, still online on Twitter. As I write this post, I can still link to @Joe_America1776. In the future, it will be a lot harder to detect the bots. So the social media companies' reluctance to act even in the face of obvious evidence is worrisome, and it shows me pretty clearly that we need an alternative mechanism for online interaction and discourse.

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‘Find Your Passion’ Is Awful Advice
Olga Khazan, The Atlantic, 2018/07/20

This article summarizes Carol Dweck's recently published opposition to the idea of 'finding your passion', suggesting that you need to build your passion for your career. The argument is based on a false dilemma, "the difference between the two mind-sets. One is a 'fixed theory of interests' — the idea that core interests are there from birth, just waiting to be discovered — and the other is a 'growth theory,' the idea that interests are something anyone can cultivate over time." This disjunction may be true at birth, but by the time we are looking for careers we have already developed our passions.

So why pose the argument this way? It's to sell mindsets. "People who have a growth mind-set about their own intelligence tend to be less afraid of failure," according to Dweck. Maybe. But fear of failure is not why people don't want to be dishwashers or street sweepers. Having said all that - yeah, you have to choose what you are going to be passionate about. It's just that part of choosing is finding, not just taking what you're given and accepting that.

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How Unity Is Building its Future on AR, VR, and AI
Rob Marvin, PC Magazine, 2018/07/20

Unity has been around for a while - I've written about it before. It's "a democratized 3D creation tool for developing immersive content. There are Free, Plus, and Pro versions you can buy for monthly subscription fees, and it's royalty-free. So what you build with Unity is yours." As augmented and virtual reality become more mainstream, its importance is increasing. If you aren't aware of the basic concept of Unity and where it is headed, and if you are interested in learning technology, you should review this article to get the lay of the land, and in particular, how adding AI to the mix will have a significant impact in the future.

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Ontario librarian creates online guide for teachers to find available Indigenous course content
Rhiannon Johnson, CBC News, 2018/07/20

In response to "the recent cancellation of Truth and Reconciliation curriculum writing sessions that were to build upon Ontario's curriculum by infusing Indigenous knowledge and pedagogy across all subjects and grades," a librarian at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) has compiled a list of available Indigenous course content. Once again, the CBC is coyly failing to run a link, but after a bit of a search I found it and you can view the material here (I seem to have stumbled on a regressive CBC policy of not publishing links to open resources - I wonder why that is). Desmond Wong, who created the resource, says "I compiled these items so that teachers would have something that they could look to that are largely created by Indigenous educators, artists, and authors to bring those authentic world views into their classrooms."

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Copyright 2018 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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