news (external)

Bad practices in mobile learning

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2014-08-10 20:11
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Michael Trucano, EduTech, Aug 10, 2014

Yes, there are failures in the deployment of learning technology, writes Michael Trucano. For example, "the one tablet per child project in Thailand 'has been scrapped' [and] the decision of the school district in Hoboken, New Jersey (USA) to 'throw away all  its laptops'." But "Learners would not be terribly well served if educational planners in 2014 simply decided to emulate the impulses and actions of Silesian weavers back in 1844 and smash all the machines in reaction to the spread of new technologies."

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Content and continuous learning: The cornerstones of a learning architecture

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2014-08-10 20:11
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Melanie Moffett, Dawn of Learning Blog, Aug 10, 2014

I sort of wonder about this observation: "What separates powerful learning and development organizations from the middling crowd? A May 2014 report... identifies what high-impact learning organizations (HILO's) are. In short, they actively make use of their technology, modalities and learning architecture in support of L& D objectives." I doubt that this is what distinguishes them. Perhaps what distinguishes them is that they do it successfully. But from my observation, they're all using the technology, and all pursuing L& D objectives.  The superficiality of analysis is choking the discipline!

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From Open To Connected

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2014-08-10 20:11
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Gardner Campbell, Gardner Writes, Aug 10, 2014

One of the points I've tried to make over the years is that open learning requires commented learning, and vice versa. That's why the drive to trivialize the 'open' in MOOC isn't just an accessibility problem, it's a pedagogical problem. Campbell writes, "we may well have missed the greater and more important aims that “ open” strives toward. And while there’ s no way to protect words from being twisted or co-opted, the phenomena of “ openwashing” and the long long O in MOOC are troubling indicators that what initially seemed to be the language of openness may have fought shy of the question of what the openness was for. How otherwise to explain a world in which broadcast lectures are touted as innovations or disruptions?"

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Incredible Images via Wellcome

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2014-08-10 20:11
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Doug Peterson, doug - off the record, Aug 10, 2014

Another source of free (Creative Commons licensed) images. Doug Peterson writes, "You would be hard pressed to find a comparable collection.    I came across the site while looking for some World War I images the other day and, I’ ll confess, I stayed and explored the site far longer than I ever expected."

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Mobile Learning - No Pedagogy Required!

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2014-08-10 20:11


Brent Schlenker, Corporate eLearning Strategies and Development, Aug 10, 2014

There's a bit of a discussion following this short post, not surprisingly. The core of the argument is this: "Pedagogy is defined (according to a quick Googling) as a method or practice of teaching.   Mobile learning is not about teaching.   Mobile learning is about...well...learning. What's the word for 'a method or practice of learning'?" Learnagogy? Learnology? The idea is that mobile learning is not about teaching... well, ok, but then, what's this?

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Models for teaching by doing (labs, apprenticeship, etc.)

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2014-08-10 20:11


Tony Bates, online learning and distance edcuation resources, Aug 10, 2014

Tony Bates continues with his online book and the topic of this bit is as the title suggests: "There are a number of different models that focus on helping learners to learn by doing things, such as co-op or workplace programs, field trips  or  internships,usually under the supervision of more experienced mentors or instructors. Here I will touch briefly on only two, the use of laboratory classes/workshops/studios, and apprenticeship programs."

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Federal Reserve Board backs up e-Literate in criticism of Brookings report on student debt

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2014-08-10 20:11


Phil Hill, e-Literate, Aug 10, 2014

The 'Brookings Report' has been cited by some as a reason to doubt that student loan repayments pose a significant economic risk. The authors write, "Despite the tremendous interest in the perceived problems in the student loan market, there is relatively little empirical evidence to support the discussion." My own view is that we will see dramatic and immediate evidence of the risk should interest rates rise significantly. But we don't need my intuition; there is data showing the Brookings Report is misleading. There is, writes Phil Hill, "clear evidence that the student loan crisis is real and will have a big impact on the economy and future student decision-making."

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BlendKit 2014: Choose Your Own Teaching and Learning Adventure

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2014-08-10 20:11


Melissa Loble, Canvas by Instructure, Aug 10, 2014

There was once this think called 'programmed learning' which was essentially designed as a series of branches and options (like a computer program). Originally pioneered by B.F. Skinner, it was all the rage for a while, but has virtually disappeared. Easly computer games followed the same design - I still remember seeing a 'laser disk' game that was again a set of options and branches. With both, participants quickly learned to game the system; you couldn't program enough options to make the game unpredictable. And so now we visit today's announcement from Canvas by Instructure, which is exactly the same thing, which is proving once again that it doesn't have any corporate knowledge of the history of the field, what approaches have been tried, and why they were abandoned.

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The nurturing and social reform models of teaching and their relevance to connectivist online learning

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2014-08-10 20:11


Tony Bates, online learning and distance edcuation resources, Aug 10, 2014

More from Tony Bates, who is having a productive 'retirement'. This post focuses on 'the nurturing approach', "a strong emphasis on the teacher focusing on the interests of the learner, on empathizing with how the learner approaches learning, of listening carefully to what the learner is saying and thinking when learning, and providing appropriate, supportive responses in the form of 'consensual validation of experience.'"

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Using technology in music teaching – my workflows

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2014-08-10 20:11


Simon Dring, drummer / teacher, Aug 10, 2014

As I read posts and articles on education technology and digital pedagogy I find myself often wishing that writers would be more reflective. In an article about, for example, the workflow involved in teaching music online, the important bits aren't the broad overviews that anyone could figure out - creating handouts on  Sibelius, storing notes on box.com, typing quick notes using of Drafts. What's interesting and relevant are the details that come of direct experience. That's what's missing in this article, and so many other articles like it. Go deep - how do you use these technologies, where do you do your writing and teaching, what mindset to you adopt to frame your lesson?

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Amway Journalism

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2014-08-10 20:11


Corey Pein, The Baffler, Aug 10, 2014

I'm not even remotely a fan of Jeff Jarvis, but I think that this criticism of him is a bit unfair. Curey Pein writes, "In their long and seemingly hopeless search for answers, journalists have internalized the abusive rhetoric of the 'disruption' brigade. Jarvis tells beleaguered journalists that they themselves, the lowly content-serfs— not short-sighted newspaper proprietors, not the Wall Street backers of corporate media conglomerates, not the sociopathic unchecked tech monopolies, not hostile politicians and prosecutors— are to blame for their sudden loss of livelihood." On the one hand, it's quite true that the technological age has led to exploitation (but mind you, what age has not?). And like Pein, I "criticize Jarvis for his tiresome 'cyber hustler' persona or his shameless grave-dancing amid mass layoffs." On the other hand, old media was "a vicious and ugly beast" and needed to be replaced. And in that, at least, Jarvis (himself a prototypical product of that era) was right.

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Personalization and the 2 Sigma Problem

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2014-08-10 20:11


Arthur VanderVeen, EdSurge, Aug 10, 2014

"Personalization." writes Arthur VanderVeen, "is defined as differentiating instruction and providing regular corrective feedback based on the needs of each student." But it's very expensive to do effectively for groups of students. According to Benjamin Bloom,  the best response is mastery learning: identify and address gaps in prerequisite knowledge, increase participation and ownership, find something positive in students’ responses, check for understanding, and provide additional clarification as needed. Opposed to this, we have the  argument from people like Benjamin Riley that "students don’ t have the requisite knowledge schemas to effectively direct their own learning (path)" and that "students generally won’ t push themselves to learn without external oversight." But VanderVeen responds, it's a cooperative enterprise.

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Let’s stop trying to teach students critical thinking

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2014-08-10 17:11


Dennis Hayes, The Conversation, Aug 10, 2014

This idea surfaces from time to time and is commonly found with the same central tenets as are found here:

  • critical thinking is not a skill - thinking of it as a skill reduces it to second-rate applications of tricks of logic
  • critical thinking means some form of indoctrination, typically feminist or Marxist
  • critical thinking is itself uncritical and typically involves adopting some perspective

As a long-time teacher of critical thinking as well as a student of the ideas behind it, I think I can unequivocally say that these three points are nonsense. Critical thinking is a set of tools that help you correct errors in your own reasoning and resist being persuaded by errors in others. It has the same status as mathematics, and failing to teach it has similarly devastating consequences.

 

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Community Teaching Assistants: Coursera’s Student Warriors

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sun, 2014-08-10 02:10

by ELISE MUELLER, Duke

Before the start of the second run of English Composition I: Achieving Expertise, the Duke staff went on the hunt for students from the first offering of the course who would be good candidates for the volunteer position of Community Teaching Assistant (CTA). With the help of analytics from Coursera, we invited 25 students who had a high number of forum posts and a top GPA. Thirteen students volunteered to monitor the discussion forums and provide technical and content support for the 89,000 students who signed up.

http://cit.duke.edu/blog/2014/07/community-teaching-assistants-courseras-student-warriors/

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UPenn Professors Say MOOCs the Future of MBA Programs

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sun, 2014-08-10 02:03

by Kristin Decarr, Education News

According to a recent study by two professors from University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, online learning could benefit students in ways separate from the benefits gained from traditional classroom learning. The study, titled “Will Video Kill the Classroom Star? The Threat and Opportunity of MOOCs for Full-Time MBA Programs,” looked at the video technology used for massive open online courses (MOOCs), which the authors call “SuperText”, and discovered that it could make MBA courses 40% cheaper to produce. Currently, a full-time traditional MBA involves many professors giving in-class lectures. Each course costs about $1,500 to produce, while “it costs just pennies to register a new student in a MOOC,” writes Seb Murray for website Business Because.

http://www.educationnews.org/online-schools/upenn-professors-say-moocs-future-of-mba-programs/

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The Top 5 MOOC Finders

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sun, 2014-08-10 02:02

by IBL Studio

Here is a list of the top 5:

Class-Central.com. It tracks more than 50,000 courses. It has a great feature called “Mooc tracker”, which allows you to build your own catalog of courses and get notified.

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Accredible.com. It tracks free and paid video courses from the nine best course providers. It highlights the idea of collecting certificates and getting references.

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CourseBuffet.com. It includes MOOC providers such as Saylor.org Academy, India’s NPTEL and the OpenCourseWare consortium, that aren’t well represented by other aggregators.

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edHoop.com. It covers an extensive offering of video-based courses, both free and paid. So far, RedHoop has collected over 21,400 courses, of which 3,600 are free. It features an interesting top 100 list.

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TopFreeClasses.com. It ranks courses in terms of popularity.

http://iblstudios.com/moocs-offer-grows-exponentially-the-top-5-moocs-finders/

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All Things in Modulation

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sat, 2014-08-09 20:10


Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed, Aug 09, 2014

It's hard not to be a bit cynical about the University of Wisconsin's strategy to reduce MOOC dropouts by making courses more locally focused and a lot shorter. “ We’ ve got to pick the greatest hits, as it were, of your course and find some of the material that you think, 'Boy, if [students] only have one exposure to me or my course, here are four things I want them to know,' ” said Joshua Morrill, a senior evaluator at UW-Madison.

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Punished for Its Mission?

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sat, 2014-08-09 20:10


Ry Rivard, Inside Higher Ed, Aug 09, 2014

There's more than a little hyperbole in this story, which describes a small liberal arts college that does not score well on metrics because it's designed to help people get jobs or university placements outside the state of Florida, where it's funded. The real lesson here is that metrics reflect the interests of those who set them, and as a consequence often predict what they attempt to measure, missing what may be relevant or valuable. As for the college itself, it's not clear to me that a small hands-on college designed to send students to Oxford is the best use of public funds in any case. But as one person says on the comments, if the president can make the case, the metrics will be changed.

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Harvard pilot study put blended-format courses to the test

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sat, 2014-08-09 02:10

By Michael Patrick Rutter, Harvard Gazette Correspondent

Bergeron’s research team developed a set of recommendations for faculty who are planning to blend existing courses, designing new ones, or are interested in critically assessing new teaching approaches. Foremost is planning, which should address questions such as how time is spent in class or sections; the instructor’s role as facilitator; what form of content — media, lecture, or text — works best for what purpose; what physical environment best promotes learning objectives; how to ensure in-class engagement. The study found that expectations about participation and time commitments should be well-defined across all components, especially those that are online. Grading systems for online components should also be transparent. Likewise, instructors must be clear about the nature of the course and why and how it is blended, as many of the students regarded the digital component as an attempt to supplant rather than supplement the in-class experience. Lastly, digital materials and in-class activities must be evenly balanced.

http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2014/07/a-virtual-analysis/

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MIT: What 6.9 million clicks tell us about how to fix online education

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sat, 2014-08-09 02:05

by Adam Conner-Simons, CSAIL

The rise of online education and massively open online courses (MOOCs) have prompted much naysaying on their effectiveness, with detractors citing single-digit completion rates and short-lived pilot programs. Amidst all the arguments about “flipped classrooms” and “hybrid learning,” however, few people have actually analyzed what makes MOOCs work (or fail): the content. Online learners spend most of their time watching videos — but are the videos any good? This year edX, the online learning platform co-run by MIT and Harvard University, gave researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) data on the second-by-second viewing habits of more than 100,000 learners perusing more than 6.9 million video sessions. In a paper published this spring, the CSAIL team outlined some key findings on what online learners want from videos.

http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2014/what-69-million-clicks-tell-us-about-how-fix-online-education

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