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Open Learning in the Fediverse
Stephen Downes, Oct 19, 2022, Open Education Conference, Online, via Zoom

As a new generation of digital technologies evolves we are awash in new terms and concepts: the metaverse, the fediverse, blockchain, web3, acitivitypub, and more. This presentation untangles these concepts and presents them from the perspective of their impact on open learning.

[Link] [Slides] [Audio] [Video]

Neurons in a dish learn to play Pong — what’s next?
Heidi Ledford, Nature, 2022/10/19


This has been all over popular science media over the last week or so, but I want to flag it here. "Hundreds of thousands of human neurons growing in a dish coated with electrodes have been taught to play a version of the classic computer game Pong." Now sure, playing Pong doesn'rt require a towering intellect. But it requires some intellect, and rather more than we would normally associate with a pile of disembodied neural cells. Learning is much more basic that commonly assumed, and yes, it's something very simple organisms can do. Our understanding of learning ought to reflect that.

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The future of AI and education: Some cautionary notes
Neil Selwyn, European Journal of Education, 2022/10/19


The purpose of this post is mostly to note the existence of this article (12 page PDF), as the characterization of potential issues associated with AI doesn't raise questions that haven't been raised before (see here for a complete list). But it's a good source for people to cite if they need the obligatory version of reference for their literature review. I do note, however, the length Neil Selwyn goes to in order to argue that AI faces some hard limitations in the future, quoting things like, for example, "AI can't predict how a child's life will turn out even with a ton of data." It's not a criticism of AI to argue that it's not God. Neither are most people. He also says, "we are now faced with the challenge of engaging with the complex problem of how to make different use of AI technologies for more just education outcomes." Well, that's one objective, and one way to be ethical. But the possibilities are not exhausted with this one perspective.

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Microsoft Announces the General Availability of Azure Automanage Machine Best Practices
Steef-Jan Wiggers, InfoQ, 2022/10/19


I'm not sure it has occurred yet to managers just how much of their job function will be automated by artificial intelligence (AI). This is especially true of hierarchical organizations where managers act mostly as instruments of policy objectives set at a higher level. This article describes pretty basic management - balancing needs and priorities to allocate system resources in an online environment. But if we take a mechanistic view of the institution (which on many accounts we can) it's no great leap from allocating CPU time to a service to allocating budget resources to a project and supervision of the project lifecycle. And (arguably) the machine could do it more equitably and less arbitrarily. Still willing to spend 50K on an executive MBA? Think twice.

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2022 EDUCAUSE Horizon Action Plan: Hybrid Learning
Jenay Robert, Kathe Pelletier, EDUCAUSE, 2022/10/19

Daniel Christian offers this quick summary of the goals of this plan (10 page PDF):


Students, Instructors, and Staff

There is a model there, but the question is, is it the right one? I'm mindful of Phil Hill's recent comments about the Gates Foundation and its links to EDUCAUSE. See also: Rhea Kelly, 16 Actions to Achieve a Hybrid Future.


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Connected Learning at Scale
University of Sydney Business School, 2022/10/19


From the website: "This collection of patterns is a practical resource for teachers and educational developers in higher education to support Connected Learning at Scale (CLaS). It offers educational design patterns and contextual examples that can be reused and adapted. Browse the site to access the patterns and learn about the CLaS project at the University of Sydney Business School."

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Copyright 2022 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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