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                                                            Knowledge, Learning, Community

                                                            Stephen Downes Photo
                                                            Stephen Downes, stephen@, Casselman Canada


                                                            How to win the culture wars

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                                                            I just want to point out that while this article depicts the 'culture wars' as a battle between 'freedom of expression' versus 'freedom from harm', this is very much a misrepresentation. In fact, both sides have very distinct things they want to be allowed to express, and they both have very distinct harms they wish to reduce. And when people argue (say) that universities should support 'freedom of expression' what they mean is that 'universities should say (or allow to be said) these things' and when they argue that universities are are biased or prejudiced they are saying 'universities should not do those things'. It's not about freedom of expression, it's about what kinds of expression are allowed, and it's not about freedom from harm, it's about what kinds of harm are tolerable. Why would WonkHE misrepresent it this way? You tell me.

                                                            Today: 38 Total: 38 Jim Dickinson, WonkHe, 2022/06/17 [Direct Link]

                                                            Importance of Context and Concrete Manipulatives From Kindergarten Through Grade 12

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                                                            People think of things like language and mathematics as basic and foundational, but they're actually examples of very high level abstract thinking. That's what you should take away from this post (while ignoring the fact that it's marketing for a math skills company). And why is this important? It informs our understanding of AI. Consider this claim: "While deep learning require large amounts of training data to perform at the level of humans, children can learn from a small number of examples. A few storybook pictures can teach them not only about cats and dogs but jaguars and rhinos and unicorns... One of the secrets of children's learning is that they construct models or theories of the world. … even 1-year-old babies know a lot about objects."

                                                            Well, that's old-school constructivist thinking, and it's not wrong, exactly, but we need to remember: a 1-year old baby has had a year's worth of near-constant data input. The ability to construct models or theories, like language and mathematics, is a high-level skill. We don't get to it without a lot of pattern-recognition having happened first. It's just that we pretend it hasn't happened in the child, while in AI it is explicitly done. Via Doug Peterson.

                                                            Today: 35 Total: 35 Kyle Pearce, Make Math Moments, 2022/06/17 [Direct Link]

                                                            Thinking About Ed Tech

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                                                            This is a continuation of Jim Groom's thoughts about edtech (I could have combined them into one post I suppose, but I didn't). The term 'edtech' feels a lot like the term 'open', he says. "More recently when folks talk about edtech it's often associated with venture capital buy-outs, start-ups, and the broader LMS market," write Groom, "Edtech, on the other hand, was a brave new distributed community of bloggers that were narrating and sharing their practices for others to benefit from freely." But "To see the avant garde of that movement so willingly consign themselves to venture capital and the inevitable professional perdition that follows is a shame, but it's also a choice. There are a lot of edtechs, in the true sense of that word for me, that have willingly resisted the lure of exchanging cachet for cash (and embrace) edtech as an approach that is exploratory, experimental, and creative, not to mention generous and unbolted to the logic of licensing and litigation."

                                                            As someone who has spent some 30 or so years in the field, I can say that as you become successful (or if you start successful by graduating from some elite university) there's a lot of pressure, both internal and external, to become a 'success' by launching a startup, partnering with industry, signing a publishing deal, filing a patent, etc. But I also see is that this is also the end of that person's creative career; now they're just profit-taking. And it's a choice, and it's OK, but I douldn't look to them to define the field any longer. There's an old saying, "You can create change or get credit for it, but not both." I think it could be adapted to say "You can create change, or create profit, but not both." I know it looks like teach billionaires have created a lot of change, and they did, before they got rich, but they got rich by entrenching existing structures of power and wealth, not by challenging them.

                                                            Today: 39 Total: 39 Jim Groom, bavatuesdays, 2022/06/17 [Direct Link]

                                                            Is Edtech Dead?

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                                                            The answer to the question really depends on what you mean by 'edtech'. Focus too narrowly on the world of e-learning startups, institutional learning management systems, and the marketing and hype found in commercial edtech media and yeah, you might think there's no real hope for it. But, if like Jim Groom (and I) you think it's "the creative and committed folks at the schools we work with (and) the next generation of edtechs (that have) come into their own" then you're less likely to think so. It depends where you focus your attention. As Taylor Jardin says, "being bought out seems like the inevitable end-game for a company that launched as a startup at TechCrunch disrupt." What is in essence a corrupt system will lead to corrupt outcomes. Better to look to those on the fringes who neither benefit from being in on the system nor are led astray by it.

                                                            Today: 50 Total: 50 Jim Groom, bavatuesdays, 2022/06/17 [Direct Link]

                                                            Equity is Quality in Education

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                                                            This post opens a series to commemorate Juneteenth, "a historic benchmark in Black Americans' journey to freedom in the United States." It makes the point that "associating quality with rigor or academic excellence... is not an exercise in political neutrality." Rather, they are ways of setting a conception of 'quality' against a conception of 'equity', as though equity creates challenges to quality assurance. But: "Who defines quality? Who determines what is needed? Who is impacted by change? Whose voice is heard?" I think these are really important questions.

                                                            Today: 49 Total: 49 Chantae Recasner, WCET Frontiers, 2022/06/17 [Direct Link]

                                                            We need a news utility

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                                                            There are some good points in this article. Lucia Walinchus argues convincingly that dependence on advertising has distorted and undermined the value of journalism, and that philanthropy raises only a fraction of the money that is needed, and so argues that there should be a tax on internet advertising to pay for public interest journalism. To me it doesn't matter where the money comes from (and it's probably better that it not depend on one questionable source). The idea of publicly funded journalism is a good one (we have it in Canada with the CBC and subsidies for other media), and for many of the same reasons a publicly funded education system is also a good one. The problem, though, is that there is a potential conflict of interests, where governments want to manipulate journalism (and education!) to keep their own parties in power. But I will say that there is a much greater potential for conflict of interest in advertiser-supported journalism, and we're seeing the ill effects of that conflict of interest today (where, for example, a foreign power can purchase influence and sow social discontent). This should serve as a warning to those questioning the value (and need) for publicly funded education.

                                                            Today: 41 Total: 41 Lucia Walinchus, Poynter, 2022/06/17 [Direct Link]

                                                            Ethics, Analytics and the Duty of Care

                                                            This MOOC covers all applications of analytics in learning, surveys criticisms, describes ethical approaches, and examines the ethics of analytics with a view to recent ethical theory.

                                                            Connectivism

                                                            This paper presents an overview of connectivism, offering a connectivist account of learning and a detailed analysis of how learning occurs in networks.
                                                            Coronavirus / Covid19 quick reference kit, to take your class or conference online cheaply and in a hurry:

                                                            Creating an Online Class or Conference - Quick Tech Guide

                                                            Stephen Downes works with the Digital Technologies Research Centre at the National Research Council of Canada specializing in new instructional media and personal learning technology. His degrees are in Philosophy, specializing in epistemology, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of science. He has taught for the University of Alberta, Athabasca University, Grand Prairie Regional College and Assiniboine Community College. His background includes expertise in journalism and media, both as a prominent blogger and as founder of the Moncton Free Press online news cooperative. He is one of the originators of the first Massive Open Online Course, has published frequently about online and networked learning, has authored learning management and content syndication software, and is the author of the widely read e-learning newsletter OLDaily. Downes is a member of NRC's Research Ethics Board. He is a popular keynote speaker and has spoken in three dozen countries on six continents.

                                                            • The Future of Online Learning 2020, April 28, 2020.

                                                            • TSupporting Open Educational Resources, January 7, 2022.

                                                            • The Agile Approach to Learning Design, Online Educa Berlin, December 7, 2015.

                                                            • Your Instant Decentralized Learning Community, April 6, 2021.

                                                            • The MOOC Ecosystem, Association of Medical Educators of Europe (AMEE) E-Learning Symposium, Glasgow, Scotland, September 6, 2015.

                                                            • LMS vs PLE, July 10, 2012.

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                                                            Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.

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                                                            Last Updated: Jun 17, 2022 4:30 p.m.

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