eLearning and Technology

Could CIO position become a new presidential pipeline?

By Jarrett Carter, Education Dive

The role and responsibilities of campus Chief Information Officer has changed dramatically over the last 20 years, with some saying the CIO position has shifted from a practical technician focus to cabinet-level oversight on budget and strategic planning. The growth of the education tech industry has pushed CIOs into new territory around contracts and service provision, and building relationships with tech vendors and campus constituents. Most CIOs quoted for Campus Technology’s report on the evolving role of the CIO said understanding the business of higher education is critical to staying power in the challenging role.

http://www.educationdive.com/news/could-cio-position-become-a-new-presidential-pipeline/421522/

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Google’s online nanodegree course will teach newcomers how to write Android apps

By Rob Thubron, Tech Spot

If you’ve got an idea for a killer app that’s going to make millions but are held back by a total lack of coding knowledge, Google could have the answer. The search giant is teaming up with online learning platform Udacity to offer a course that teaches people with zero experience how to create Android apps. The Google Android Basics Nanodegree is aimed at that those who are new to programming looking to eventually become an Android developer. The course covers topics such as interactivity, layouts, object-oriented programming basics, data storage, and multi-screen apps.“We built this program with Google specifically to support aspiring Android Developers with no programming experience. Our goal is to ensure you get the real-world skills you need to actually start building Android apps,” Udacity says.

http://www.techspot.com/news/65318-google-online-nanodegree-course-teach-newcomers-how-write.html

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Crowded Out: The Outlook for State Higher Education Spending

By: Dan White and Sarah Crane, Moody’s Analytics

The report includes 10 papers and the final report focus on answering three primary questions related to reaching the 60 percent goal. First, how do we realign incentives and retarget existing public funding to make the entire system more efficient and to increase graduation rates for students generally and students of color and from low-income families in particular? Second, what are the new, innovative models to deliver postsecondary education that can both lower the cost and increase the productivity of the entire system? Third, what options do federal and state governments and the private sector have for increasing funding for higher education? It is important to stress here that the interest is in the “ value proposition “ that underlies these three primary questions. The” value proposition “ focuses on the national imperative of building a more highly skilled and educated work force not merely a more credentialed one.

http://web1.millercenter.org/commissions/higher-ed/CrowdedOut.pdf

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Business Leaders Have Abandoned the Middle Class

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - 21 hours 12 min ago


Umair Haque, Harvard Business Review, Jun 30, 2016

It's so nice to see Umair Haque emerge from the shadows, so to speak. And isn't this true of education? "The truth is that today’ s business leaders have failed in the simplest, starkest, hardest terms... business needs to play a more active, engaged role in creating the kind of thriving, vibrant economies that inoculate societies from self-implosion... The backlash from people who’ ve been left behind by a broken model of prosperity is too sharp, too fierce, and too destructive. Just as it will be when climate change really accelerates, when the next financial crisis rolls around, when unemployed, education-debt-burdened young people reach their breaking point, and so on... There will come a point when abandoned people are willing to see the whole playing field  burn down, so that it can be level again. And they  might burn you down with it." (p.s. Haque says the 'middle class' - it should not be forgotten that they abandoned the poor and indigent a long time ago.)

[Link] [Comment]

Can a Classroom Be a Family? Race, Space, and the Labour of Care in Urban Teaching

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - 21 hours 12 min ago


Kathleen Gallagher, Canadian Journal of Education, Jun 30, 2016

"Does the idea of 'family' as a pedagogical compass get a classroom more efficiently from one idea to another, or safely through the sometimes turbulent seawaters and challenging relationships of an urban classroom?" asks  Kathleen Gallagher. "I arrive ultimately at a qualified yes," she writes. "For better and for worse, the logic of the family and the 'bond of obligation' in the classroom holds us to account and serves to raise the stakes on classroom relations and possibly widen compassion for human frailty." This is a lot to draw from a single case, but I get the fact that Gallagher is trying out an analytic strategy linking broader theoretical themes with specific practice. The family analogy, though, doesn't resonate with me. There are  many different conceptions of family, and many different experiences of family. The term is being used here as a vague catch-all to describe an atmosphere of caring. In this particular case, it works. In many cases, it would not. See more articles from the  special issue of CJE on Reflecting Canadian Diversity.

[Link] [Comment]

What media companies don’t want you to know about ad blockers

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2016-06-30 22:31


Trevor Timm, Columbia Journalism Review, Jun 30, 2016

I've made this case before but this article substantiates with data and examples the three major benefits of Ad Blockers:

  • they protect you from scams and malware that are served by news media and content sites
  • they protect your privacy from trackers and bugs
  • they speed up page load time a lot

As I've said before, news media need to find a new business model, a new advertising model.

[Link] [Comment]

What does a CBE course look like?

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2016-06-30 22:31


Karen Yoshino, Blackboard Blog, Jun 30, 2016

Pretty basic but if you don't set out a baseline it's hard to progress. So here's what would probably be regarded as a basic framework for competency-based courses (all quoted, as usual):

  • a welcome section and course map
  • an order to program competencies and the learner’ s pathway
  • communications protocol and assistance resources
  • standard delivery model across CBE courses
  • alignment among competencies, sub-competencies, content, and assessments
  • visibility of progress

Now you could go a couple of ways here. You could say this description omits this or that, which is fair enough. Or alternatively you could ask what problem is solved by this framework as opposed to some other. This is where I lean - it's an awful lot of overhead to reach results that could have been obtained without that overhead.

[Link] [Comment]

Gameful Design

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2016-06-30 19:31


Edmond Manning, Allen Interactions, Jun 30, 2016

There are some nice tricks in this article that convince you to read to the end (I won't reveal them because that would be to give away the game). The conclusion is ultimately disappointing, but there's enough clever here to make it worth passing along.

[Link] [Comment]

Critical Design Decisions for Successful Model-Based Inquiry in Science Classrooms

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2016-06-30 19:31


Ronald W. Rinehart, Ravit Golan Duncan, Clark A. Chinn, Trudy A. Atkins, Jessica DiBenedetti, International Journal of Designs for Learning, Jun 30, 2016

I like this post because it embraces a much more contemporary account of scientific work than most typical research in learning and design. The traditional account "often lacks the social epistemic practices embraced by scientists that are integral to the production of knowledge." But through reference to documents such as Next Generation Science
Standards [NGSS] along with reference to writers I have found personally influential, such as  Ronald Giere and Philip Kitcher, the authors embrace an account of science as a "combination of evaluating evidence, coordinating evidence and models, and arriving at evidence-based judgments that are communicated through argumentation." They refer to the corresponding pedagogical approach as "modeling or model-based inquiry." OK, that's just the introduction. The paper presents a case including two lessons designed according to the Promoting Reasoning and Conceptual Change in Science (PRACCIS) model. Guidelines are described for choosing phenomena to be studied, developing models, developing evidence, and productive disciplinary engagement. This is a terrific paper, carefully considered and thought out, clear and insightful. Don't miss it. More from this IJDL  special issue on K-12 Classroom Implementation.

[Link] [Comment]

Makerspace Classrooms: Where Technology Intersects With Problem, Project, and Place-Based Design in Classroom Curriculum

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2016-06-30 19:31


Christian McKay, Tarrence D. Banks, Scott Wallace, International Journal of Designs for Learning, Jun 30, 2016

You have to read all the way to the end to get the money quote from this article: "As these two teachers engaged in their
everyday practices in designing this tiny house project, they were involved in the very cycles and processes they worked to make explicit to their students. What is interesting they is not simply that they were doing this, but that they did not appear to be aware of the parallels between their own design practices as teachers and those they were explicitly encouraging the students to engage." It's a good argument for working openly - documenting what you do allows for reflection on practices that might not be noticed while they are being practiced. I also like the use of 3D printing to create models of houses - I used to do this with construction paper and glue. But the technology these students had allowed for the creation of much better models (I'm envious). More from this IJDL  special issue on K-12 Classroom Implementation.

[Link] [Comment]

#GoOpen District Launch Packet

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2016-06-30 16:31


U.S. Department of Education, Jun 30, 2016

The U.S. Department of Education has launched its #GoOpen initiative District Launch Packets. "The U.S. Department of Education’ s #GoOpen campaign encourages states, school districts and educators to use openly licensed educational materials to transform teaching and learning." I find it interesting that they refer throughout to "openly licensed educational materials" rather than "open educational resources" - I wonder what the reasoning was behind that. Via EdSurge.

[Link] [Comment]

Freakonomics author: 4 ways data could be tricking you

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Thu, 2016-06-30 02:10

By Meris Stansbury, eCampus News

Stephen J. Dubner, Freakonomics co-author, explains why using data to predict future trends is trickier than you may think. When higher ed leaders discuss big data these days, as well as its potential to help predict future trends and, therefore, courses of action, stories about turkey breasts, hand washing and monkey sex don’t also make the rounds; but according to the Freakonomics author, they should. “What people say they feel or say they do versus what they actually do are often two completely different things,” explained Stephen J. Dubner, journalist, author and this year’s Infocomm 2016 Las Vegas keynoter. “And this is what makes the use of data tricky whenever industry looks to it for answers in behavior.”

http://www.ecampusnews.com/technologies/freakonomics-data-tricking/

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Matching degrees to jobs adds up to much higher lifetime earnings

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Thu, 2016-06-30 02:05

By MARK SCHNEIDER, CHERYL OLDHAM AND BRANDON BUSTEED, Tribune News Service

Recent graduates often wonder whether all the money and time they spent pursuing a degree was worthwhile. Meanwhile, employers across the nation are having difficulty filling millions of jobs because of a mismatch in the skills students have and the skills employers need. As a result, we have people without jobs and jobs without people. Discussions about the value of college need to focus on enabling students to make informed choices that lead to well-paying careers and meaningful lives. This means choosing the right college and the right major. While students have every right to pursue their passions, they should also have information to see what their future might look like if they do.

http://www.ecampusnews.com/mcclatchy/degrees-jobs-earnings/

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Lifeliqe Creator Allows Educators to Create Their Own 3D Content for Free

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Thu, 2016-06-30 02:02

By Richard Chang, THE Journal

Lifeliqe, a platform for interactive, educational 3D, virtual reality and augmented reality, today launched Lifeliqe Creator, a program that gives teachers the power to create and publish interactive presentations and e-books that integrate 3D models, rather than 2D images. Lifeliqe users can explore objects — such as dinosaurs or the inside of a shark — with interactive 3D views. They can zoom deep into the structure of objects, experience augmented reality, view supplementary text on a subject and change the language for a bilingual view in English or Spanish. With the Lifeliqe Creator feature, any of the 1,000 interactive 3D models can be dragged and dropped right into a presentation, e-book or lesson plan, so teachers can provide students with interactive 3D experiences.

https://thejournal.com/articles/2016/06/21/lifeliqe-creator-allows-educators-to-create-their-own-3d-content.aspx

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How to use metaphors to generate badge-based pathways

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2016-06-30 01:28


Doug Belshaw, Open Educational Thinkering, Jun 29, 2016

The Periscope video may have expired before you see this (why wouldn't people use Hangounts, which don't expire?) but the overall concept is worth a look. Doug Belshaw describes a workshop that leads people through the use of badhes in the creation of learning paths. "Participants will be expected to come up with as many metaphors as they can which could be used to demonstrate progression," for example, the subway stop metaphor. The metaphors are examined, classified, and (if you're lucky) insights are generated. The point is to reinforce the idea that learning is non-linear, and that there are many (if you will) routes to your destination.

[Link] [Comment]

Looking back to move forward: A process for whole-school transformation

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2016-06-29 22:27


Andrew Robertson, Microsoft in Education blog, Jun 29, 2016

This post from Microsoft highlights "a series of whitepapers which show examples of successful transformation and how technology can enable progress under two broad areas: Leadership and policy and 21st century pedagogy." There's a sweeping agenda behind these documents. The policy agenda proposes "a public-private education partnership (that) has the potential to be a significant catalyst for systemic change" along with the associated technology investment. The pedagogy agenda pushes schools towards "cloud solutions that manage infrastructure with services and learning allows schools to operate more effectively." All of this is cast under the heading of personalized learning, capacity building and "responsive and creative use of technology." There are white papers and more for each of the ten sections. I can see how the presentation would engage school leaders looking for a way to address current trends in learning, but they need to look beyond the single-vendor approach proposed here, and they should be clear that technology companies are service providers who are held accountable for delivery, not partners taking a hand in pedagogical and educational decisions.

[Link] [Comment]

A neural conversation model

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2016-06-29 22:27


Adrian Colyer, The Morning Paper, Jun 29, 2016

One of the key questions in learning and technology, from my perspective, is whether a neural network needs domain knowledge in order to function effectively. This article summarizes a paper describing an effort to create an effective conversational tool that operates without domain knowledge, "a bot that is trained on conversational data, and only conversational data: no programmed understanding of the domain at all, just lots and lots of sample conversations." As we see from the examples, "The surprising thing is just how well it works." It's far enough from reliable, though, that the author concludes "any real service is going to need to some more complex logic wrapped around it."

You might be asking, why is this question so important? The answer is complex, but in a nutshell, if we require domain knowledge in order to learn, then we require memorization; by contrast, if learning can be accomplished without domain knowledge, then it can be accomplished by practice alone, without memorization. You might say "so who cares? Just memorize some stuff." You could do this, but this makes it a lot harder for the learner to correct memorized stuff that is wrong, and makes them less able to learn on their own or think critically. The learner's knowledge becomes based more on their pre-constructed model or representation of the world, not experience or evidence. So if you can get to the same place without rote memorization, that would be preferable.

[Link] [Comment]

Evernote clampdown causes anger

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2016-06-29 19:26


BBC News, Jun 29, 2016

"An Evernote free basic account is now basically useless," wrote Gizmodo's Gerald Lynch. You'd think there would be no need to recite this lesson again, but here it is. "Evernote has restricted the use of the free version of its note-taking app and raised prices for the paid-for ones. But it faces a backlash from users unhappy at being limited to synching notes across two devices - rather than an unlimited number - unless they pay." More. What people really need is their own stand-alone application to manage and sync resources, so this problem doesn't happen to them again and again. I had hoped this would be part of LPSS, but well, you know...

[Link] [Comment]

Here’s how to shape the future of higher education in India

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2016-06-29 19:26


K Vaidya Nathan, The Financial Express, Jun 29, 2016

Based on his experien ce teaching a MOOC this business writer identifies "five trends that stand out to possibly exert a genuinely transformative impact on higher education in the times to come" (quoted):

  • online learning platforms will democratise higher education;
  • benchmarks for classroom teaching are becoming higher because of this democratisation of higher education;
  • industry and academia could come closer with industry folks getting to learn as and when they choose to, on topics relevant for their workplace;
  • platforms like Coursera can disaggregate course content and make teaching assets available to any faculty to use; and
  • enhance our understanding of student motivation, instructional design and the personalisation of learning pathways.

It is, frankly, a narrow vision, and one not always supported by the evidence. The "democratisation" of education cited several times runs counter to learning as a form of workplace training. And Coursera is making it harder, not easier, to make assets available for any teacher to use. Online learning isn't just about making stuff available for teachers to use in classrooms. Funny how it's so hard to convince anyone otherwise, though.

[Link] [Comment]

Amazon Launches 'Inspire,' a Free Education Resource Search Platform for Educators

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2016-06-29 16:26


Mary Jo Madda, EdSurge, Jun 29, 2016

Amazon's e-learning plans - described  earlier this year - are coming to fruition. It's learning  -  Amazon Inspire - has officially launched. "A free, mostly-OER platform (see below for why it’ s “ mostly OER” ), Amazon Inspire works like a search engine for educational videos, lesson plans and games. Users can search by criteria like topics (say, 'fractions' or 'the Constitution'), standards, grade level, and time to complete, as shown below; additionally, they can rate materials with 1 to 5 stars." There was  quite a bit of discussion when it was first announced in February. Something like this is what I had hoped we could have developed with the LPSS program at NRC. More.

[Link] [Comment]

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