eLearning and Technology

Nietzsche For Tots

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - 1 hour 20 min ago


Justin W., Daily Nous, Feb 23, 2017

What I like about the current age is that people have started thinking about different ways of representing (and different audiences) for all sorts of information. Today we have by way of example   Nietzsche in Shapes and Colors, "a board book aimed at introducing Nietzschean themes to children by way of simple phrases and beautiful illustrations, including naturalism." And why don't we teach young children about the wonders of nature, the varieties of perspective, and personal empowerment? I had to wait until I was in university before I discovered these things had names and weren't the products of my imagination.

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Battle of the Classrooms: Apple, Google, Microsoft Vie for K-12 Market

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2017-02-23 16:19


Sydney Johnson, EdSurge, Feb 23, 2017

As this article suggests, it's probably no coincidence that Google, Microsoft and Apple each have a product named 'Classroom'. Though all are listed as 'free', each requires the purchase of an expensive application or software suite. The products are being targeted aggressively at schools (especially in the U.S.) and the companies have created associated 'classroom' communities. The tools are mostly used to help students collaborate on documents and to submit homework assignments. Related: are we innovating or just digitizing traditional teaching?

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Language ArtsTechnology in School Who Says I Don't Like to Read? Sparking a Love of Digital Books Across Detroit

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2017-02-23 16:19


Deborah L. Winston, EdSurge, Feb 23, 2017

This article describes the deployment of  MyOn in the Detroit public school system. MyOn provides access to a library of 13,000 titles for young readers. It works "by initially  prompting students to take an interest inventory to decide what types of books they are interested in reading, and a placement test to determine reading ability." We are told that "since adopting the platform, the district has seen the number of books being accessed and read by our students increase dramatically." Interestingly, MyOn has no Wikipedia page. Previously a division of Capstone, it has  just been sold to Francisco Partners, a private equity firm.  More coverage of MyOn from various media.

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The Copyright Lobby’s IIPA Report: Fake News About the State of Canadian Copyright

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2017-02-23 01:19


Michael Geist, Feb 22, 2017

Michael Geist writes about this year's annual misrepresentation of the state of copy protection and media in Canada by the the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), a lobby group that represents the major lobbying associations for music, movie, software, and book publishing in the United States. In particular, he focuses on three areas:

  • The state of Canadian Piracy, which the IIPA reports as rising, when in fact the Business Software Alliance’ s annual report last showed Canada at its lowest software piracy rate ever 
  • The notice-and-notice system, which the IIPA says is not receiving full compliance from ISPs, and which hurts licensed services, when in pact there is nearly full compliance by ISPs, and licensed services are earning strong returns in Canada
  • Fair dealing, which the IIPA has attacked on several grounds, but which consistent with fair dealing regimes around the world, and are more stringent than many, including fair use in the United States

As Canada routinely states every year, "Canada does not recognize the 301 watch list process. It basically lacks reliable and objective analysis. It’ s driven entirely by U.S. industry."

 

 

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Kaltura Launches Lecture Capture Solution

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2017-02-23 01:19


Rhea Kelly, Campus Technology, Feb 22, 2017

This is just something I want to keep handy for when I talk to people who already have a Kaltura system running. It seems like a pretty easy way to make a lot of learning resources. Or course the quality and value might vary, but creating something is infinitely better than creating nothing.

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The Challenge of Non-Disposable Assignments

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2017-02-23 01:19


Alan Levine, CogDogBlog, Feb 22, 2017

Non-disposable Assignments (NDAs, though he agrees a better acronym is needed) are assignments that ase seen by more than just the student and the person grading them. They can be thought of as open educational resources, but the status as OERs connotes qualities that may not be there. The challenge of NDAs is to create these assignments in such a way that they are actually non-disposable, and not just disposable assignments published in an open way. "It takes a lot of effort to move past the first impulse of writing ones that sound like they are answering a question or a series of questions. Those have an odor of 'disposable-ness'."

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These Top Schools Are Offering Big Savings On Master’s Degrees, But There’s A Catch

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Thu, 2017-02-23 01:06

by KIRK CARAPEZZA, NPR

There’s an experiment underway at a few top universities around the world to make some master’s degrees out there more affordable. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for example, says the class of 2018 can get a master’s degree in supply chain management with tens of thousands in savings. The university’s normal price runs upwards of $67,000 for the current academic year. But it’s not as simple as sending in a coupon with your tuition bill. There are big hurdles for students, and clear benefits for the universities.

http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2017/02/15/504478472/how-to-get-20-000-off-the-price-of-a-masters-degree

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UW class on how to spot fake data goes viral within hours

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Thu, 2017-02-23 01:05

by Katherine Long, Seattle Times

Two University of Washington professors are taking aim at BS in a provocatively named new course they hope to teach this spring. The professors would like to push the course materials online — teaching it as a MOOC, for example, a freely available course taught over the web. When it came to picking a title for the course they will teach this spring, University of Washington professors Carl Bergstrom and Jevin West decided to abandon academic stodginess and get edgy. Their new course title? “Calling Bullshit in the Age of Big Data.” Bergstrom and West figured using a minor profanity was a surefire way to draw attention to the course. And sure enough — within hours of unveiling a wickedly funny webpage they created for the proposed class, and announcing it via Twitter, the BS course went viral. The webpage went live at midnight, and “we woke up the next morning and it was over the whole planet,” West said.

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/education/uw-class-on-how-to-spot-fake-data-goes-viral-within-hours/

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RECORD GROWTH FOR UK ONLINE LEARNING COMPANY

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Thu, 2017-02-23 01:01

by ICS

A leading UK online learning company ICS Learn experienced record levels of growth last year – with revenue rising 48%. The company, which caters for over 11,000 students, saw its students invest £11.3m in courses ranging from A-levels to industry qualifications – a £3.59million hike on the previous year. Across its faculties, HR saw the biggest upturn with spend on courses increasing 60 per cent between 2015 and 2016, while Accounting rose by 55 per cent, and Marketing jumped 45 per cent.

http://www.beattiegroup.com/workplus/press-releases/record-growth-for-uk-online-learning-company/

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Anthony Johnson Brings 'Johnsonville' to Life

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2017-02-22 22:19


Richard Chang, THE Journal, Feb 22, 2017

My grade 8 class created a model society. I was one of the two banks in our community. It was too much work, I didn't clear the cheques, and the town economy collapsed. But the idea was sound in principle. Later, as part of my MuniMall project, I created something called MuniVille, which again could be a simulated environment for town managers and elected officials. Once again, my ambition far exceeded my abilities, though fortunately no economies collapsed (and the MuniMall community I developed ran for the next ten years). So I like the concept of Johnsonville as described in this article and wish founder Anthony Johnson the best in his "world where each student must find a job, pay the bills, pay mortgage and taxes, and learn by doing projects."

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Looking (again) to Domain of One’s Own

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2017-02-22 22:19


Martha Burtis, The Fish Wrapper, Feb 22, 2017

it's good to see a look at a project some time after it has launched and some time after it has (largely) passed into new hands and new ownership. Such is the case with this post on Domain of One's Own. "As faculty have continued to integrate DoOO into their classes, students have continued to engage with the project in a variety of ways." Fer what it's worth, I've been working recently on properly virtualizing gRSShopper - basically setting it up in a complete self-sustaining box that can be easily ported to new environments. I have applications like Domain of One's Own in mind (not that I've told them any of this).

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25 Years Without a Raise

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2017-02-22 19:19


Colleen Flaherty, Inside Higher Ed, Feb 22, 2017

Adjunct instructors at Youngstown State University threw themselves a party this week to mark 25 years without a pay increase. "It’ s 'fair to say that our president and provost recognize that that's a problem and, while we are facing some difficult budget challenges like most in higher ed, [we’ re] committed to trying to rectify that situation," said university spokesperson Ron Cole. It's hard to see how you could recognize something as a problem and do nothing about it for 25 years. A more honest statement would probably say something about how embarrassed they are by this situation and how much they wish it hadn't attracted international attention. Image: Michelle N.

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Philosophy and the Illusion of Explanatory Depth

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2017-02-22 01:18


Justin W., Daily Nous, Feb 21, 2017

After reading this I was motivated to look up  how a toilet works on YouTube. I'm fairly confident I understand the mechanics, but I don't really have an explanation. Why doesn't the bowl simple lose water when the flapper is opened; why does the water rush out as though it is being sucked out of the toilet? Everything in the toilet is actually pulled uphill.  I think it has something to do with pressure differentials or gravity (the way a siphon does) but I'm not sure, and the videos didn't help me. And that's why this article is interesting. Knowing the facts doesn't give me the explanation, which is why a mere presentation of the facts  doesn't change (or inform) opinions. "Confronting and working through the complicated details of an issue... may be the only form of thinking that will shatter the illusion of explanatory depth and change people’ s attitudes."

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Ransomware: Should you pay up?

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Wed, 2017-02-22 01:09

By Stephanie Condon, ZD Net

The use of ransomware has spiked in recent years: Roughly A high percentage of spam emails in 2016 contained ransomware, according to a recent IBM Security study. Part of the reason is simply that it works: Nearly 70 percent of business victims surveyed by IBM said they paid hackers to recover data. The incentives of hackers are straightforward — they’re looking for a big payday — but it’s less clear whether their victims should cooperate. “It’s very simple in my mind,” said Michael Duff, the CISO for Stanford University, on a ransomware panel at the RSA Conference in San Francisco on Monday. “If you’re not able to reconstitute a system in the timeframe you need, and you need it up and running, pay the ransom.” Neil Jenkins, of the Homeland Security Department’s Enterprise Performance Management Office (EPMO), said that, “From the US government perspective, we definitely discourage the payment of ransom.”"From a national perspective… paying ransom encourages the business model,” he said. “The reason this has become such a popular thing to do is they’re actually making money off of this.”

http://www.zdnet.com/article/ransomware-should-you-pay-up/

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What educators can learn about effective teaching from a Harvard prof

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Wed, 2017-02-22 01:05

BY ALAN NOVEMBER, Campus Technology

Harvard professor David Malan has managed to pull off a neat trick: His Computer Science 50 course is the most popular course at both Harvard and Yale. By examining his success, we can learn some important lessons about effective teaching. CS50 assumes no prior knowledge or skill in computer programming, yet it’s extremely demanding. Despite its rigor, CS50 regularly attracts thousands of students each year. While some aspire to become software engineers, others enroll just to experience the course. Why is Professor Malan’s course so popular, even with students who don’t plan a career in computer science—and even though it requires a lot of work? Here are three keys to Malan’s effective teaching that I think all schools everywhere should apply, from K-12 schools to colleges and universities.

http://www.ecampusnews.com/curriculum/effective-teaching-harvard-prof/

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Harvard Tailoring the MOOC Experience With Adaptive Learning

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Wed, 2017-02-22 01:03

By Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

Harvard University has begun experimenting with the use of adaptive functionality in one of its massive open online courses (MOOCs). The initial finding is that students using the adaptive assessments learned more than those who didn’t — and spent less time overall getting through problems. Adaptive technology uses information gained as the learner interacts with the system to change up how a concept is presented by level of difficulty, order and types of help provided. The experiment took place in a single HarvardX course, “Super-Earths and Life” (now available as an on-demand course), deployed in the current academic year.

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2017/02/02/harvard-tailoring-the-mooc-experience-with-adaptive-learning.aspx

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Bots: What you need to know

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2017-02-21 22:18


Jon Bruner, O'Reilly, Feb 21, 2017

This is a pretty good overview of the current bot ecosystem (which contains far more than bots) along with a good graphic drawing out the major contenders and relations between them. "Bots use artificial intelligence to converse in human terms, usually through a lightweight messaging interface like Slack or Facebook Messenger, or a voice interface like Amazon Echo or Google Assistant. Since late 2015, bots have been the subject of immense excitement in the belief that they might replace mobile apps for many tasks and provide a flexible and natural interface for sophisticated AI technology."

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Four Reasons Why a Library Makerspace Makes Perfect Sense

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2017-02-21 22:18


Robert Schuetz, Nocking The Arrow, Feb 21, 2017

If a library isn't really useful for storing books any more (because who needs books when entire libraries can be stored on a single flash drive?) then what can we do with the space? In this article Robert Schuetz suggests using it to create a makerspace (what we used to call a project room, workshop or lab). "School media centers provide open, flexible space," he writes. "Collaboration, interaction, and hands-on engagement need space for versatility and movement. Visible, transparent learning will ignite curiosity and interest from teachers and students." At a time when governments are  closing schools maybe they should be thinking of providing better community support instead.

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Have Spare Time? Try To Discover A Planet

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2017-02-21 19:18


Joe Palca, NPR, Feb 21, 2017

I spent an hour last night searching for a planet. I did not discover one. I did, however, look at  lot of bad photographs of stars (at least, to me they were bad photographs; they might be state of the art for all I know). It's a project called  Backyard Worlds: Planet 9. Basically they show you sequences of four photos from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) telescope. Spot the moving dot and you win the prize of being the person to discover the mysterious tenth planet. What's interesting about this project is that it requires the human eye (and human pattern detection).

 

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4chan: The Skeleton Key to the Rise of Trump

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2017-02-21 16:18


Dale Beran, Medium, Feb 21, 2017

Celebrating the fail is the new win. This is the core value being embraced by 4chan members, alt-right supporters and Trump voters. That's the thesis of this insightful and well-argued essay by almost-loser Dale Beran in this long but engaging read. Those who hold to the (often empty) promise higher education offers should consider this perspective. It forms part of the narrative of failure that defines a substantial body of young men, the same men who constitute things like Anonymous and Gamergate. I am not sympathetic with the 4chan perspective, but I can understand it, having lived through the same broken promises, the same periods of extended unemployment, the same challenges and the same frustrations. But instead of embracing failure I  embraced diversity and equality, and found myself a cause to fight for.

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