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Has Consciousness Lost Its Mind?
Tom Bartlett, Chronicle of Higher Education, 2018/06/21


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This review of the Science of Consciousness conference, held recently in Tucson, illustrates everything that is wrong with academia. The Chronicle of Higher Education seems offended that people outside the orthodoxy of what he styles as the "field of consciousness studies" would gather and discuss the topic in a serious way. I get that he thinks a lot of the content is nonsense. A lot of the content in most conferences is nonsense. But if it's approached earnestly and carefully, it sometimes turns out that this nonsense is valuable. And that's why people have conferences like this, and hatchet jobs by Chronicle reporters do far more harm to scholarship that people thinking hard about the idea of consciousness out there in the desert.

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Virtual memory palaces: immersion aids recall
Amitabh Varshney, Eric Krokos, Catherine Plaisant, Virtual Reality, 2018/06/19


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The research being cited (15 page PDF) is about a very specific technique: memory palaces. The idea of a memory palace is to create an image in your mind, and to then associate each element of the image with something you want to remember. In the study, virtual reality is used to create a memory palace. This story says "people recall information better when it is presented to them in a virtual environment, as opposed to a desktop computer." Donald Clark says "This points towards possible improvements in efficacy, compared to 2D screens and tablets." All true - but we need to remember that the recall of a list of facts is a very minor part of learning.

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At E3, video gaming's bigots have lost
Dave Lee, BBC News, 2018/06/22


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This is how an institution gets better. Four years ago, Gamergate ricked the gaming industry. It was a harassment campaign intended to drive women out of gaming. It failed. "What were once referred to as the 'thinly-veiled' elements of Gamergate are now fully visible. But it no longer matters. As I leave Los Angeles, with another E3 behind us, it’s clear that the Gamergate way of thinking has lost. The industry has stepped up - and video games will be all the better for it." There will be longer term impacts as well. The rise of male-only gaming was followed by a male-only technology industry. It may be that we're seeing the end of that as well. Long overdue.

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https://medium.com/hci-design-at-uw/information-wars-a-window-into-the-alternative-media-ecosystem-a1347f32fd8f
Kate Starbird, Medium, 2018/06/18


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This is a detailed and compelling look at the alternative media ecosystem. Educators should pay close attention because there is a parallel underground effort to create an alternative education ecosystem. The core purpose is to prmote an anti-gglobalist and pro-nationalist agenda ("e.g. anti-immigration, anti-Western imperialism, anti-corporation, anti-media") and the tactic is to use botnets and alternative news sites to spread disinformation and sow confusion. Elements of mainstram thought are co-opted as needed (the way the term 'fake news' was adopted and turned around against traditional news media). It doesn't help that our institutions - government, corporations, media, universities - are such easy targets. People need to pay attention to what's happening, and to look at these institutions, fix them, and create a credible alternative to the disinformation being spread today. Because "a society who learns it cannot trust information can be easily controlled."

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Management alone can’t drive open culture change
Laura Hilliger, 2018/06/21


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All this is true: "targeted learning around how a non-hierarchical governance model practically works in a global organisation is required. This, in and of itself, is a learning expedition that needs to be highly personal. We have to be retrained to fail forward and without fear. We have to learn to criticize constructively, even our bosses. We also have to rethink things like typical management activities, job security and career pathways. Above all, we have to feel safe inside our organizations and that requires trust." It's the kind of culture change we need in  our offices (and that, I think, I

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Defining the IndieWeb
Aaron Davis, Read Write Collect, 2018/06/20


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I consider myself very firmly in the camp of the indieweb. But I wouldn't exactly say that I'm part of the indieweb community. And definitely not a citizen. So I don't define indieweb as a community. It see it more as an attitude and a loose set of values a number of people have in common (I won't say 'shared values' because that implies some sort of order). I see digital literacties as important. And some of these other things as important - owning your own data, making tools for yourself, open source, data agnosticism, plurality and fun.

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How to Get Your Students Thinking Deeply With Photography
Raymond Yang, The Art of Education, 2018/06/19


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People don't think of the camera as a type of technology, but of course it is, especially these days, and it has been an important tool in my learning technology toolkit for many years. So I appreciate this post on how to use photography to encourage students to think deeply about identity. I'm less a fan of the list of "the eight primary categories" listed. OK, so I resonate with some of the - age, social class, ability - but when I use the camera I see identity very very differently. And I look not only at individual identity but also collective or community identity. Place matters. One's relationship with nature matters. Food, history, architechure, commerce - these are all far deeper aspects of identity than the superficial properties listed in this post. And that's what I try to photograph.

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Dank Learning: Generating Memes Using Deep Neural Network
Abel L. Peirson V, E. Meltem Tolunay, arXiv, 2018/06/18


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I have a longstanding interest in memes as alternative forms of communication, and this paper demonstrating AI generated memes takes the conversation forward another step. The researchers fed the AI a series of images and associated captions, and the AI generated new captions. They are hard to distinguish from the original. Memes follow a set of implicit rules, and the AI learned the rules without explicitly representing them. So what's next? The AI will be about to generate memes at a rate far greater than humans can, and the AI could be tweaked to tilt the memes in a certain political direction just as social media has been tweaked in the last few years. Students will need to learn to read memes just as they read social media, and to be able to detect bias in both.

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Post-Soviet Higher Education
Alex Usher, Higher Education Strategy Associates, 2018/06/15


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I think there's a really important insight buried in this look at post-Soviet educational institutions: " a market-driven system does not necessarily lead to a differentiated system; in fact, it may be the opposite... Though subject to market competition, in all countries institutions became more homogenous." Once enterprises reach a certain size (larger than a family business but smaller than a college) specialization makes them vulnerable to competition. And "specialized institutions may not be very resilient in the face of economic shocks.  Avoiding specialization is thus a hedge against uncertainty in future demand."

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Advocates are becoming journalists. Is that a good thing?
Mathew Ingram, Columbia Journalism Review, 2018/06/15


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The way to read this post is to replace the word 'journalists' with the word 'educators'. So. Would it be a good thing if advocates became educators? Fopr example, consider a potential educational program about Amazon’s marketing of a controversial facial recognition software product to US law enforcement as provided to schools by the American Civil Liberties Union. Is this OK? What if the funding agency were the Koch brothers. Matthew Ingram argues "the world of journalism and the world as a whole are probably better off now that there are activist organizations that are trying to use the tools of modern media to tell stories." But the line between education and journalism and propaganda is a thin one.

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Does Higher Education need blockchain?
Chris Fellingham, Medium, 2018/06/15


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As the Class Central report suggests, this article reminds us of Audrey Watters's outline of blockchain in education dating from April of 2016 (where she wrote "One Bitcoin is currently worth about $415" - heh). "Decentralised trust systems may well be the future but I don’t see that it solves a core problem," writes Chris Fellingham. "Edtech...  does not have a problem of trust in its credentials — it has a problem of credibility in its courses." It may be that the decentralization blockchain enables might be valuable, he writes, but it may come with a cost, just as decentralization of news media brought with it the scourge of fake news.

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Propositional Content in Signals
Jeffrey A. Barrett, Brian Skyrms, UCI School of Social Sciences, 2018/06/15


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I cut my teeth on Choice and Chance by Bryan Skyrms, so I was naturally interested in this article on information and meaning. It's nice and clear and will give the reader a good sense of some of the issues involved in determining the informational content of a signal (and especially the informational content of a signal when the signaler is lying or deceiving). Personally, I don't think signals have informational content (that puts me very much in the minority). Or, if I had to say it a different way, I'd say the information is the signal. How can you say an animal crying a false warning in 'intending' to deceive? The signal is just what it does; the effect is to scatter the rest of the animals, allowing the animal access to the food. We don't need a parallel information-theoretic account to describe or explain what happened.

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The Existential Question: Why Do We Measure?
David Vance, Chief Learning Officer, 2018/06/15


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My interest in measuring things is pretty minimal, but that's probably because my interest in the six reasons outlined in this article is pretty minimal. The six reasons are: 1) to answer questions, 2) to show results, 3) to demonstrate value, 4) to justify our budget (or existence), 5) to identify opportunities for improvement and 6) to manage results. I don't focus on questions, I focus on discovery. My results are of the "it works or it doesn't" variety. Value is in the eye of the beholder, not a number. Budget (and price, for that matter) is based on willingness to pay, not value. I focus on improving affordances, not filling gaps. And I'm not a management person. That doesn't mean we should never measure. It just means it is vastly overrated.

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Cryptocurrencies Make Their Way to Campus, Bringing Flexibility and Risks
Erin Brereton, EdTech, 2018/06/15


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The headline pretty much says it all. The big risk (aside from wildly fluctuating currency values) is currency-mining malware. "If ransomware was the scourge of 2017, cryptocurrency mining could be the problem to watch this year — especially in higher education. In a recent Vectra analysis of the five industries showing cryptocurrency mining attacks, higher education had the majority of activity by far (85 percent)."

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Educational and Occupational Credentials should be in schema.org
Phil Barker, GitHub, 2018/06/15


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The current effort to match credentials to competencies, and digitize credentials, is ongoing. This is a discussion thread on GitHib addressing the question in the title. Of note is the most recent post in which Phil Barker outlines recent work done in the field by a W3C Community Group . There's also an earlier posts that lists a number of websites showing various educational and occupations credentials. Barker adds, "There is a draft on appspot with more details of the changes we would make, i.e. term definitions, ranges etc."

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Concentric Sky Announces BadgeRank - a New Search Engine for Digital Badges
Cision, Concentric Sky, 2018/06/14


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Quoted, with useless adjectives removed: "Following the release of the digital badge stacking tool - Badgr Pathways - BadgeRank allows anyone to explore the digital badges published by Open Badges compliant systems around the world." According to the release, "BadgeRank indexes over 100,000 digital badges from around the world and ranks them based on signals such as Endorsements by external organizations and Outcomes for credential holders" (their pointless capitalization).

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Open source community calls in the wake of GDPR
Doug Belshaw, Open Educational Thinkering, 2018/06/14


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So I ended up adding three comments to Doug Belshaw's post. He reports that the lawyers have said they have to delete all their meeting recordings because of GDPR. I firmly doubt that mass deletions of recordings are taking place in actual law offices, because the risk of not having a record exceeds the risk of not having deleted it. Anyhow, here's what my responses were: "I think that the first thing you need is a second opinion. The lawyer seems very over-cautious. It strikes me that what the lawyer is requiring go well beyond the provisions of GDPR. p.s. I want to call my bank and have them delete any records they have related to me. Especially the ones that say I owe them money.  p.p.s. What I have learned over the years is to never ask a layer what course of action to take. The lawyer will always recommend the path of zero risk. Instead, ask the lawyer what the risks are. Then you decide.

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Free MOOCs Face the Music
Lindsay McKenzie, Inside Higher Ed, 2018/06/15


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Inside Higher Ed reports very sympathetically on the new EdX subscription fee (covered here yesterday). It interviews Adam Medrox, edX COO and president, who says " here is a lot of evidence showing that having some ‘skin in the game’ is beneficial in online learning." It also interviews Phil Hill, who "doesn’t think edX will have a problem finding students to pay the support fee." And it quotes Class Central's Dhawal Shah writing that "the announcement was the latest in a phenomenon he termed “the shrinking of free.'"

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What Do Online Students Want? 3 Findings From a New Survey Offer Some Clues
Goldie Blumenstyk, Chronicle of Higher Education, 2018/06/14


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Watch out for the marketing with this one. The Chronicle article is simply a restatement of the first page of 'key findings' (p. 6) (except it changes the title of the third from "Online learning is providing a positive return on students" investment' to "Regrets" since it is the Chronicle, after all). The report (62 page PDF) is a lot more detailed than that. Learning House, which produced the report, wants your data in return for the download (though typing "no spam" works). The survey of 1500 online students is actually worth the time to read it. Not so the Chronicle article, which is mostly a vehicle for an advertisement for an expensive 'Future of Learning' report embedded right in the middle of the article (where it looks like the report being reviewed in the article, which it's not). It's hard to believe the Chronicle would accurately project the future of learning, but since I'm not about to pay them $179, I guess I'll never know.

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Blackboard Mobile Credentials: Cashless Solution or On-Campus “Big Brother”?
Cait Etherington, eLearningInside News, 2018/06/13


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In a press release yesterday, Blackboard announced that it's bringing Student IDs to Apple Wallet. " With Blackboard Mobile Credentials, student credentials in Apple Wallet offer secure access to facilities, residence halls and more, as well as payments for dining, laundry, vending and retail, creating a seamless experience while navigating campus.It will be piloted this fall in three universities." This article discusses the implications. It notes that "automated attendance monitoring is listed as one of the technology’s key features" and suggests while "most students will resist the heightened surveillance these new digital IDs make possible, there is little question that college and university administrators and postsecondary educators will welcome the arrival of the new technology." I'm also seeing this as a pretty effective way to lock in your customers, because now moving away from Blackboard would mean replacing your student ID system.

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WITHIN creates distribution platform using WebVR
Judy DeMocker, The Mozilla Blog, 2018/06/13


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It's still a novelty but we might be seeing much more virtual reality (VR) on the web soon using tech standards WebGL and WebAssembly. This is something that has been coming for some time with the development of the WebVR standards and the WebVR API. The experience will work with web browsers (I tested it with updated versions of Firefox, Chrome (which worked) and Internet Explorer (which didn't)) and also with VR headsets. Here's an example. But explore the Within website for a sense of what's to come - here's an immersive space experience, a taping of Saturday Night Live, and a song from U2. The key here is "is making VR content accessible to everyone, whether they’re watching on a laptop, mobile phone, or headset." Next: a shared group experience. There's (a lot) more to write about this, but for now let's just take a few minutes to admire.

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It’s easier than you think to craft AI tools without typing a line of code
James Vincent, The Verge, 2018/06/13


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OK, this isn't quite as easy as depicted in the article, and to actually use it to do anything you will have to type some lines of code, but the gist of the article points to an important new trend in software, specifically, the ability to use services to build features that are then accessible through other applications that you build. Scenario: suppose I'm building an elearning application to teach people how to use a drill, and I want them to learn how to hold it properly. I train the AI model using pictures of correctly and incorrectly held drills, then I connect my e-learning application to the AI model, and the application looks at people holding drills and tells them whether they're holding them correctly or not. Lobe is a service that creates the AI model; you still have to write your own e-learning application, though.

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Canada’s The Logic is a new subscription news outlet focused on the innovation economy, à la The Information
Shan Wang, Nieman Lab, 2018/06/13


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The difference between me an the people launching The Logic is that they think quality news and education should be sold to rich people while I think quality news and education should be distributed for free to poor people. It seems to me that the events of recent years should have taught us the wisdom of the second path, but the push (through such things as the previously mentioned Shattered Mirror report) is that we should be charging more subscription fees. I would love to do the same thing the people at The Logic are doing but I'm not willing to charge subscribers $300 per year for it, because I think it's wrong for the people, and wrong for democracy.

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Transparency and the Marketplace for Student Data
N. Cameron Russell, Joel R. Reidenberg, Elizabeth Martin, Thomas B. Norton, Fordham Center on Law and Information Policy, Social Science Research Network, 2018/06/13


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According to these four authors from various Fordham Centers, "Student lists are commercially available for purchase on the basis of ethnicity, affluence, religion, lifestyle, awkwardness, and even a perceived or predicted need for family planning services." According to the report (38 page PDF) some 14 separate data brokers sell access to student data. This results in email marketing to students from hundreds of sources. It's a business that would like to exist in the shadows; as the authors write, "transparency often exists solely because of regulator enforcement." Companies come and go and rise again under different names.

They get their data from surveys administered through schools, through student data brokers, and from self-reported data through honeypots (like scholarship information sites). Schools themselves don't seem to be a data source, but "organizations like the College Board and ACT, Inc. that administer college entrance exams and other standardized tests appear to be important sources of data for educational institutions advertising to students." See also the Hechinger Report.

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EdX Begins Testing a Paywall
Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology, 2018/06/13


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The problem with certain models of education is that they require commercial sustainability. Thus with EdX. "EdX has been struggling to figure out how to support its work ever since Harvard University and MIT first opened it for learning in 2012." I don't know how EdX burned through an initial startup of $60 million (by contrasts, the cMOOC initiative burned through $4.95). I do know that that at EdX there was never a thought that open online learning would be a social good worth funding for its inherent value. No. It has to be a company. It has to be a start-up. As though no other model exists. Here's the EdX announcement.

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Models for online, open, flexible and technology enhanced higher education across the globe – a comparative analysis
Dominic Orr, Martin Weller, Rob Farrow, International Council for Open and Distance Education, 2018/06/12


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This large report (65 page PDF) is a survey of what the authors are calling OOFAT - 'online, open, flexible and technology enhanced' resources. The unwieldy acronym should perhaps be seen as a warning. The authors define an 'OOFAT Model' combining content, deliver and recognition. Then by evaluating them along two dimensions - organizational flexibility and procedural openness - they created six 'OOFAT Types', which I won't list here. That gets you to page 10, and we're still in the executive summary. The authors then define five business strategies using OOFATs. So do we learn anything? We are told 'no one size fits all' and that 'the disruption model does not fit - a mixed economy is emerging.' Of course, only higher education institutions (HEIs) were surveyed - that's a bit like surveying nothing but taxi companies and concluding there's no disruption coming. The useful bit in the report is the list of technologies employed (p. 22). The OOFAT taxonomy, meanwhile, strikes me as arbitrary. Via Martin Weller, who offers a summary.

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The Ad Hoc Government Digital Services Playbook
Kaitlin Devine, Paul Smith, Ad Hoc, 2018/06/12


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This gotr passed around the office today and it's a pretty good guide (and required reading) for administrators of technical services. 'Ad Hoc' is the name of the company that drafted this. It's focused on understanding customer and user needs, designing simple solutions, and phased-in migrations. It also emphasises ongoing development, working with an open stack, and evergreening deployment. Managers especially should read the recommendations on understanding trade-offs, clarifying business rules, and ending outdated management practices.

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UF Online’s New Corporate Partner: Discover Financial joins Walmart with Online Education benefit
Phil Hill, e-Literate, 2018/06/12


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As mentioned here last week, Walmart is getting into the business of providing access to education for its employees. One of its partners is University of Florida (through UF Online). Today Phil Hill reports " UF Online announced another partner: Discover Financial Services, issuers of the Discover Card and Diners Club International, with its 14,000 employees."  UF Online calls this type of program Employer Pathways, and as Phil Hill remarks, "in the process (they) seem to be defining an alternate method of marketing and enrollment management." Additionally, he notes that the program is "managed by Guild Education, 'a tuition reimbursement and education platform that helps large employers extend education benefits, including tuition reimbursement, to workers.'" Read more about Guild Education at their home page and in CrunchBase

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Developing world leaders agree education is their top priority
World Education Blog, 2018/06/12


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This is a summary of a newly published report (120 page PDF) surveying priorities selected by citizens and leaders in the developing world. Education, along with peace and security, are at the top of the list. That said, "Poorer and less democratic countries are more concerned about ensuring access to basic public services — health, water, food, and energy." Interestingly, climate change just doesn't rank as a priority - this tells me that climate change and global development are linked. If we want people to care about climate change, then we have to make sure that their basic needs are met. Including education.

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The Second Annual Podcast Revenue Study by IAB and PwC
Interactive Advertising Bureau, 2018/06/11


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Podcasting started in 2003 (which was when I launched Ed Radio) or 2004 and became popular, then disappeared, and now is a global industry worth some $313 million. This rep[ort (20 page PDF) looks mostly at revenue models (especially advertising) but still offers a broad outline of podcasting trends generally. I find that I tend to bounce back and forth between podcasting (twit, trig, titus) and the radio (CBC, alt/indy), with some live audio (mostly baseball and comedy) thrown in.

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Reflective Learning as the New Normal
Eric Sheninger, A Principal's Reflections, 2018/06/11


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I've long said "to learn is to practice and reflect," and I am by no means the first to say such things. This article pursues that theme, and lists some different types of reflection. As John Dewey stated, “We do not learn from experience... we learn from reflecting on experience.” Eric Sheninger adds, "It is not a hard ask at all to ensure that students are provided with an opportunity to reflect on the learning target for the day." Having said all that, it's a biut jarring in 2018 to see images of paper-based reflection journals. I mean, really?

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Southern New Hampshire U Issues Blockchain Credentials to College for America Grads
Rhea Kelly, Campus Technology, 2018/06/11


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"SNHU partnered with Learning Machine for its digital diploma project; the software company co-developed Blockcerts with the MIT Media Lab in 2016." I'm seeing quite a bit more of this sort of thing, though I have to say I think that digital certificates are the least interesting application of these new technologies to online learning. But in any case, there's this: "In some ways, this is piloting what a modern transcript would be: digital, portable, owned by the student, can be verified using the encrypted assets. Employers ... don't need to call up SNHU and verify that information, it's self-verified."

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As Google for Education tools enter classrooms across Canada, some parents are asking to opt-out
Craig Desson, Josh Flear, CBC, 2018/06/11


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Google is not only creating new consumers in schools, it's creating a new consumer database from schools. "According to Google's privacy policy for their educational products, the company doesn't collect student data for advertising purposes or sell them to third parties. The apps are also ad-free. But that doesn't mean Google isn't collecting data on students. The policy allows for the collection of information including location or GPS data, what mobile network a user is on, or their phone number."

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Digital Portfolios and Content
Silvia Tolisano, LangWitches, 2018/06/11


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This is a good article introducing issues and approaches to content in digital portfolios in schools. "The content created and chosen to include in a digital portfolio can be free flowing or follow a more rigid structure... it depends on what the learner craves and feels more comfortable with. The worst seems to be, when a portfolio owner feels a lack of ownership, is so paralyzed and constrained from a given structure or to the contrary, a lack thereof, that they don’t create and publish anything" (the writing style is similar thoughout, different enough to be noted, a stringing together of phrases, conjoined with commas).

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Has Google Become a Journal Publisher?
Kent Anderson, The Scholarly Kitchen, 2018/06/11


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The answer to this question is "no". But Google does publish a fascinating journal called Distill - this article on AI and Interpretation distracted me for a good fifteen minutes before I could finish this post. And Distill seems to bother Scholarly Kitchen writer Kent Anderson a lot. The Scholarly Kitchen is, of course, largely an advocacy blog for publishing companies, so the take is not unexpected. If Distill wants to be taken seriously, writes Anderson, "adding an editorial board, a management layer, and more of the things publishers do would only help if they are serious about having a true academic journal." But Anderson's problem is that Distill is already taken seriously. Distill doesn't need to adapt. Scholarly publications do.

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CORE becomes the world’s largest aggregator
Balviar Notay, JISC, 2018/06/11


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According to this report, "As of May 2018, CORE has aggregated over 131 million article metadata records, 93 million abstracts, 11 million hosted and validated full texts and over 78 million direct links to research papers hosted on other websites." There's a link to a table comparing CORE with seven other open access paper harvesters: BASE, OpenAIRE, Paperity, SHARE, 1findr, OneRepo, and Unpaywall.

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What makes a great leader, explained in eight counterintuitive charts
Shane Snow, Quartz, 2018/06/11


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I'm not so sure the charts are counterintuitive, but the eight 'magic quadrant' tables capture aspects of diversity and adaptability that contribute to great leadership (or, maybe, great groups). Though there are eight charts, the theme is consistent throughout: it's better if individuals have diverse core values, because this brings in a variety of perspectives, but they need to stick to them (otherwise they're just panderers and opportunists). But they need to be flexible on things that aren't core, willing to change strategies and adapt to changing circumstances. This is what allows people with diverse values to work together.

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D2L Bets on The Cloud and Advances in User Experience
Phil Hill, e-Literate, 2018/06/08


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This is significant. Phil Hill described D2L's new technology deployments in contrast with Blackboard and (to a lesser extent) Canvas. As part of this he notes how the way institutions deoply LMSs has changed. "According to David Koehn, VP of Product Management at D2L:

What this means is that universities won't be running their own servers any more. But more to the point, it means that the back end can scale (or shrink) as needed, can link to sevrices as needed, and take advantage of other aspects of the AWS cloud environment.

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The Vast Potential for Blockchain in Libraries
Eric Hellman, Go To Hellman, 2018/06/08


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There is no such potential, writes Eric Hellman. " All the good attributes ascribed to magical 'blockchain technology' are available in 'git', a program used by software developers for distributed version control," he explains. "The folks at GitHub realized that many problems would benefit from some workflow tools layered on top of the git, and they're now being acquired for several billion dollars by Microsoft, which is run by folks who know a lot about that digital crypto stuff." The details are complex, but yes, he's right, to a point: "if you have a problem where you need to reach consensus (or disagreement) about information by the usual (imperfect) ways of humans, git repos are possibly the Merkle trees you need."

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Myths of Priority and Unity in Mathematics Learning
E. Paul Goldenberg, Cynthia J. Carter, Education Sciences, 2018/06/08


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I have in the past challenged the presumption that certain topics are instances of 'foundational' learning but suggesting that concepts like succession and substitution might be more basic in math than addition and multiplication. This article (12 page PDF) makes that case in a much more convincing form. It attacks "a false assumption: that mathematics is a fixed, linear sequence of skills that must be acquired ... building block by building block." And it argues against the idea "that topics are unitary things." And here's the point: "assumptions about pedagogical priority based on the structure of mathematics can create barriers to children’s learning, as can using statistical prevalence to make claims about cognitive necessity." What we call 'foundational' might be statistical or conventional, but it is not indispensable. Related: Jeannine Diddle Uzzi, We should teach math like it's a language.

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The L&D Global Sentiment Survey
Donald H. Taylor, 2018/06/08


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Donald Taylor's report (27 page PDF) asks "What do you think will be hot in L&D in 2018?" The top three responses were personalization/adaptive delivery (11.9%), collaborative/social learning (10.1%), and artificial intelligence (9.0%). I guess a lot of what constitutes 'hot' depends on your perspective, because these three barely move the needle for me. Even Taylor writes, "personalization/adaptive delivery remains top of the table – but for how long?" He devotes a page to 'microlearning', which has become more popular since 2015. And the wordle features 'xAPI' and 'data' over other options. Ultimately, though, he suggests that 2018 might be the year of AI.

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Simulation based education and expansive learning in health professional education: A discussion
Rob Burton, Angela Hope, Journal of Applied Learning & Teaching, 2018/06/08


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This paper (10 page PDF) offers a brief history of the use of simulation in education and then looks at its use specifically in health professional education. Simulation Based Education (SBE) is then discussed in the light of Engeström's theory of Expansive Learning, which the authors argue "can be utilised to theoretically and philosophically underpin the integration of SL into curricula, and ultimately into practice, therefore creating a process which breaks down the traditional boundaries between classroom learning and the reality of practical experiences within actual clinical environments." Note that this paper is from the first issue (Volume 1, Number 1) of the Journal of Applied Learning & Teaching (JALT).

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Technology engagement for academics in third level: Utilising the technological, pedagogical and content knowledge framework (TPACK)
Orna O'Brien, Matt Glowatz, Journal of Applied Learning & Teaching, 2018/06/08


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This article (12 page PDF) evaluates the use of the technological, pedagogical and content knowledge framework (TPACK) in academic learning contexts. The framework suggests that all three types of knowledge (ie., technological, pedagogical or content knowledge) may be needed in a given learning environment, and it is the role of the instructor to select and balance those. The authors suggest that "the current framework does not sufficiently account for the lecturer knowledge of students’ cultural backgrounds, their knowledge of student profiles and demographics of different student cohorts. This knowledge, depicted by the authors as 'craft knowledge' appears to mitigate against, say, a lack of technological knowledge.

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Connectively Full From First @ontarioextend Extended Lunch
Alan Levine, CogDogBlog, 2018/06/07


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One thing I'll be watching closely after tofay's election in Ontario is the future of eCampus Ontario. I most certainly hope their good work is able to continue. So on to the link: Alan Levine describes his first Ontario Extend Extended Lunch conversation. Example: " Laura is thinking (in public on her blog) about how to incorporate student blogging into an upcoming research class she is teaching– see #BSN4416 Plans: Engaging, Ungrading, and Empowering — and give her some good comment feedback, please."

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Using Telepresence Robots to Support Students Facing Adversity
Doris Cheung, Tarah Dykeman, Courtney Fell, EDUCAUSE Review, 2018/06/07


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At first I thought this was the sort of idea that was a very bad idea, something along the lines of replacing human advisors with bots. But this is actually the much more practical suggestion of attaching telepresence devices (ie., screens with our gfaces, cameras and speakers) to devices that can move around (ie., robots). The article describes some good experimentation with this technology. And I think we as a tech community need to get our terminology sorted out, because nobody knows what we mean by 'robots' any more.

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How Do Objects Connect to the Internet of Things?
Kenneth Evans, ReadWrite, 2018/06/07


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This article is written at a medium level of technical detail, which means it contains more actual information than most Internet of Things (IoT) articles, but you're not going to be lost reading equations and mathematical formulae. Consider this article in relation to the Doc Searls article. Can we connect things to the internet in such a way that they become the conduit for message exchange? What would that look like? Most of our current thinking (including this article) around the IoT is based on a fairly traditional understanding of internet connectivity and addressing. But what if all that's about to change...?

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How to Create a Reskilling Environment
Wendy Wickham, In the Middle of the Curve, 2018/06/07


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This is advice that could apply to learning generally, and certainly professional development and workplace learning. Wendy Wickham writes, "Reskilling is NOT about providing a library of online tutorials. Reskilling is NOT about providing courses. Or training. Or any of those other singular events. Reskilling is about developing new skills and knowledge to allow you to bring more value to the world." In a sense, this is a redefinition of the proceses based on benefits or (less ideal;ly)

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What’s wrong with bots is they’re not ours
Doc Searls, 2018/06/07


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That's probably not all that's wrong with bots, but it's certainly part of the problem. After all, the reason why it's creepy if a bot is listening to your conversation is that it belongs to Amazon or Apple or whomever. And the key question o ask, as Searls does here, is "Why didn’t we get bots of our own?" What we needed were bots that help us communicate with companies, but what we got were bots that allow companies to blast messages to us. Advertising. To fix this, Searls proposes a bot network based on the 'pico'. " The current code for this is called Wrangler. It’s open source and in Github. For the curious, Phil Windley explains how picos work in Reactive Programming With Picos."

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Three Things I Learned from Teaching Happiness
Discovery Education, 2018/06/06


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Related to the Wil Wheaton post (keeping in mind that 'happiness' is not the opposite of, nor the cure for, depression and anxiety). So what are the three things? First, "The first mistake that people make is equating happiness, the overarching quality of life, with the temporary enjoyment we feel in response to something pleasurable." Second, "people enjoy what they are doing more if they are focused on what they are doing, right when they are doing it" (the thing I really enjoy about giving talks is that they uniquely allow me to be in the moment as I speak). Third, "it takes commitment to strengthen and reclaim the function of our core “pro-social” demeanor—to learn skills around trust, reconciliation, and teamwork." The idea that these are skills - not innate amibilities - is key. So is the idea of reclaiming the ability to do them after a major setback.

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Copyright 2018 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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