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New and opinions from the world of instructional technology and new learning media

A feed by Stephen Downes


The End of the American Experiment

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-26 15:25

Patrick Watson gave us the same message some three decades ago: democracy requires prosperity - universal prosperity - in order to survive. Umair Haque expresses this using the term 'moral universals': "Moral universals are simply things that people believe everyone should have," he writes. And this, he argues, is what separates the United States from the democracies of the world. "Moral universals anchor a society in a genuinely shared prosperity. Not just because they “spread the wealth”, though they do: because, more deeply, moral universals civilize people... in America today, there are no broad, genuine, or accessible civilizing mechanisms left... the natural consequence of failing to civilize is breaking down as a democracy — democracy no longer exists in the sense of “people cooperating by voting to give each other greater prosperity”. They have merely learned to take prosperity away from one another." See also: Rolling Stone on Justin Trudeau.


The Algorithm That Makes Preschoolers Obsessed With YouTube

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-26 15:08

You might read this article on the level it's presented: an expanation of the popularity of YouTube Kids in the fact that it allows kids to make choices. Or you might read it a bit more deeply and see how the selection algorithm is actually shaping the nature of the videos that made available for seecton. Or even more deeply and see how advertisers already understand this very well and are using YouTube Kids to pump marketing content straight into their subconscious by having them select their advertisements over and over and over (This video of a person pressing sparkly Play-Doh onto chintzy Disney princess figurines has been viewed 550 million times).


What if MOOCs Revolutionize Education After All?

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-26 14:54

Some pragmatic thinking with a pinch of a push for content knowledge. The premise is that MOOCs are actually going to challenge the classroom model, and ultimately, universities and the teaching professors. "Once they begin becoming broadly available for college credit, it's going to start changing the scenario of higher education." Best line in the post: "The thing is, moving a university is a little bit like moving a cemetery. You can't expect any help from the inhabitants." Professors, who have a vested interest, are going to resist, not help, the transition to MOOCs. But not just any type of MOOC: "look at a problem and pace through it in my mind as if I was playing a song. I could pull it instantly to mind, pull all the solution steps. I kind of knew it inside and out, and when you do that with enough problems, you begin to internalize the material at a very in-depth level."


A hacker stole $31M of Ether — how it happened, and what it means for Ethereum

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-26 14:45

Hackers robbed Ethereum of $31 million of Ether. "They found a programmer-introduced bug in the code that let them re-initialize the wallet, almost like restoring it to factory settings. Once they did that, they were free to set themselves as the new owners." Eter is crypto-currency, like Bicoin, but Ethereum uses this concept to allow people to create contracts, and it was one of these contracts that was hacked.



Permalink - Posted on 2017-05-17 17:08

OLDaily, HTML edition