The original (and much better) title of this piece was "Legal questions raised over links to Sci-Hub". The article is about the story of Citationsy, covered here two weeks ago. The emphasis is on the legal threats being made by publishers over the service's linking to Sci-Hub. "Whether linking to materials that violate copyright law 'is or is not a copyright violation' doesn't have a straightforward answer," says an expert, and it's precisely that ambiguity that will allow publishers to limit speech in this way. The Sci-Hub website moves around a lot but you can always find it here.
This video from Richard Byrne explains how to extract the audio from a video. This way you could add it to a podcast. He uses an Apple computer and GarageBand. I have neither. So I created a video explaining how to convert an MP4 video to an MP3 audio using Windows 10 and ffmpeg. The text in this video is a lot clearer than my last one, and it's only 10 minutes long.
As this article says, "Many of the applications you run on Windows, Mac, and even Linux consist of outdated pieces of Chromium, the engine that forms the basis for Google Chrome." I cvovered this in a presentation a few months ago called Electron Express. This article suggests that these browser instances are out of date, but this is true of any application. More of an issue is the size and speed of Electron-based applications, but the ones I use (such as, say, Visual Studio Code) run just fine. To me, the larger issue is how to merge desktop and mobile applications, and how to synchronize data across applications.
How is Digitalisation Affecting the Flexibility and Openness of Higher Education Provision? Results of a Global Survey Using a New Conceptual Model
Dominic Orr, Martin Weller, Rob Farrow, Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 2019/08/15
The purpose of this exercise was to find out "how to represent the implementation of digital technology in such a way that it captures the wide range of practice globally." This article, a summary of a larger report (65 page PDF), has two major parts. The first is the development of the open, online, flexible and technology-enhanced (OOFAT) modes of learning model, which is used to structure the survey. The second is the application of the model to a survey of more than 69 responses from higher education providers. According to the authors, "The ‘disruption’ model of technological change in education, which promotes one universal revolution in application does not seem to be borne out, but rather a mixed economy with diverse approaches to OOFAT is observed." But given the study's purpose and design, it's hard to see how any other result could have been obtained.
David Wiley writes, "The failure of the internet to broadly transform teaching has led me to wonder – what was the impact of the prior transformative communications technology – the printing press – on teaching?" It's a good question. The answer, unsurpriusingly, is 'textbooks', and Wiley notes that "the key components of the modern textbook story have been in place for literally hundreds of years." Before textbooks, there was dictation, where a faculty member would read the textbook aloud while students copied it. How different is this from WordPress plugins for online book publishing and online annotation? What could we be doing instead? Wiley suggests (and I wholeheartedly agree) is practice. Practice with feedback, with reflection. "Providing students with lots of online interactive practice is absolutely one of the ways we should be leveraging the affordances of the internet in support of student learning. But – particularly when it comes to OER – we aren’t.
"It seems at this point that we’re wading into a rising wave of total video," writes Bryan Alexander. "How far do you think the screens and cameras will rise?" He considers a scenario he calls 'total video'. In this, "let’s envision video as our default setting in life. In this future we prefer to communicate through video, as opposed to all other mechanisms." In a certain sense, in my view, we can define the upper reach of video as 1:1 - each hour of video watched by one person for one hour. Otherwise, either we get unwatched video (more video produced than we can consume), or we get more than one person watching a video (less video produced than we can consume). But we can increase this maximum artificially - by video compression, for example, or by including artificial intelligences as legitimate viewers of video (in which case, there is no upper limit to the production of video).
No doubt there is nervousness today at companies like TurnItIn as Google announces a new originality reports service as part of its Classroom and Assignments products. "We create originality reports by scanning student work for matched phrases across hundreds of billions of web pages and tens of millions of books... After submission, a fresh originality report will automatically be available to instructors when grading the assignment. These reports will flag text that has missed citations and has high similarity with text on the web or in books."
Leaving aside the main question, there's an illustrative lesson in this article. One place the author says humans have the edge over machines is in 'empathy', which he defines as the “ability to walk a mile in another person’s shoes.” This a metaphor, not a definition, and it's terribly misleading. A better definition of 'empathy' might be "to be able to read the other person's values and feelings and reflect them back to the person." It certainly fits the story better. But if this is the definition, then machines win hands down, as we've already seen through the use of analytics-based advertising. The lesson here is that we will be forced to define what it is to be human much more precisely if we are to know how humans and machines will interact. Definitions of 'human' based on metaphor, story and folk psychology will not be sufficient.
What I like about this article is that it brings together different types of trends - mega trends, emerging trends and adjacent trends - in order to derive what the author describes as the four emerging trends. But while I like the method, I'm less about the outcome. The four trends are: responsive education, lean development, social (gig) economy, and growth communities. There's a grain of truth in each of these, but it feels like he started with these outcomes, and derived the trends that are supposed to lead tothem. For example, the idea of "educational opportunities grounded in the mastery of academic fundamentals," comes from a report, not this analysis. The idea where schools " sell off their facilities to a group like WeWork" is a lifelong dream of the Forbes set. The same with things like Seth Godin’s altMBA.
According to OECD, "The Learning Compass 2030 defines the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that learners need to fulfill their potential and contribute to the well-being of their communities and the planet." Mostly this appears to be set up as a way of standardizing discussion about learning, ethics and development. But I also find it prescriptive, where OECD is looking to define what skills, attitudes and values people need. Specifically, "a common thread emerges on the importance given to certain values, such as human dignity, respect, equality, justice, responsibility, global-mindedness, cultural diversity, freedom, tolerance and democracy." The Learning Compass is part of an overall Learning 2030 project, and the documentation here is well worth investigating.
When we last looked at Kaos Pilot , founded in 1991 by Uffe Elbæk, it was in the context of student choice and authentic learning. None of that has changed, however, today we see the release of the 'learning arches design' (36 page PDF), which describes the theory and application of the Kaos Pilot methodology, according to Simon Kavanagh, director of the Kaos Pilot Learning Design Agency (KPLDA). There's a lot to like in this work, and a lot that will confound. I found myself wondering why the same diagram is repeated over and over. And the arches design didn't really feel different from a hierarchal organization of learning content. At the same time, I appreciated the focus on practice and real-world application.
Just for fun, I recorded a video of myself working through this article and trying to recreate the chat app it describes how to build. Did it work? If you watch the hour-long video you can find out! You can view the video here. Is this useful? If it is, let me know, and I'll do some more videos like it. Update: I didn't record the video at a high enough resolution to make the text readable. So - imagine you are watching this, and let me know whether you would find it useful.
This the first version of a historical Student Information Systems (SIS) graph. An SIS tracks student records in a higher education institution. My first exposure to them was in the 1990s at Assiniboine, when we had to choose between Colleague and Banner, and then went through an excruciating implementation process. Anyhow, the market today is much larger and more varied. The one thing I would want to change with this graph is to indicate how popular each system was, with varying widths for each bar (much the way Feldstein does with his LMS graphs).
Summary of a keynote by Mr. Zhang Zhi, director of Shanghai Educational Technology Center. "While ushering in 3.0 era (in China), schools will be marked by individuation and innovation, embracing massive amounts of information. Campus boundaries are becoming more and more blurred, so is the role of teachers. Schools are no longer the necessities for students’ life, and traditional classroom is being disrupted by AI and other cross-border players." Students will still go to school, though. “Attending school is for communication, and exchanging ideas is for verification which can help us know ourselves. People cannot be taught but need to be guided to find the true self.”
edX CEO Anant Agarwal writes a listicle for Forbes.The 'four technologies' are: cloud computing, video distribution at scale, gamification, and social networking. He tries to say each is a part of edX, but it's a stretch. For 'social networking', for example, he references "a discussion board that was an integral part of the platform and learning experience," which predated edX by some 15 years. For gamification he cites "simulation-based games, virtual labs, and other interactive assignments," none of which was integral to edX. The next four high-impact technologies will be "AI, big data analytics, AR/VR and robotics," he says. This is a really lightweight article. It would be charitable to Agarwal to say it was ghostwritten.
With Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) a remote application is launched from your Learning Management System (LMS). Schools can get information about activity from the LTI tool provider, but as this site notes, "there are significant differences in the type and volume of data made available, the format in which the data is presented, the way certain data is defined, and the costs involved in obtaining the data." The idea of LTI Insights is to provide "a common approach for retrieving data from each learning product." The pilot starts in January.
This is the sort of headline that makes people tear their hair. First of all, there's no evidence that tech brands have any interest in saving public education. Most of what I see from that sector involves attempts to privatize it. Second, there's no evidence that tech brands have any particular knowledge that would give them a special insight into how to rebuild public education. Case in point: the main spokesperson cited is from a company called Learning Counsel. The fund "KnowStory, a new social media concept now in beta version offered in a freemium model to the education world. As a social media site with discussion forums about 'all the digital learning things." Just what education needs: freemium social media.
This is something interesting from Yishay Mor: "An EXP is a journey, a digital book, a community, and much more." You might be able to see this intro video on LinkedIn. They're accepting applications for a closed pilot; I might join and write about it.
One of the great things about podcasting is that you don't need any special logins or credentials. The podcaster simply publishes an RSS feed with a link to an MP3, and the listener simply finds the location of the MP3 and opens it. But there's nothing great that commercial media won't destroy, and so we have this proposal to replace podcasting with PodPass, a mechanism that requires that listeners authenticate before listening. "Identity-based access is increasingly required," writes Jake Shapiro. But by whom? No listener is out there saying "please block my access to a podcast with asubscription form."
"Micro-credentials alone will not meet any nation’s future educational needs," writes Beverley Oliver in this report (56 page PDF). "The key opportunity is to enable formal qualification systems to evolve to include short form credentials, some of which might be credit-bearing." What she calls for is essentially a system of stackable credentials. But more, she argues that there needs to be common credential standards (see p.15 for examples), and a mechanism for lifelong credentialing (see p.33 for a list of national initiatives already underway).
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Copyright 2019 Stephen Downes Contact: email@example.comThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.