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

A feed by Stephen Downes


2nd World Open Educational Resources (OER) Congress

Permalink - Posted on 2017-09-19 21:48

This is video from the 2nd World OER Congress, now in progress, subtitled, "OER for Inclusive and Equitable Quality Education: From Commitment to Action." As Indrajit Banerjee opens the 'Ljubljana OER Action Plan' session: "For a knowledge society to become reality, there should be shared information." As Cathy Casserely summarizes, there are two key dimensions: equalizing access to informatiuon across the world, and improving teaching and learning. These days, there's more of an emphasis on the second, which makes sense given the institutional focus. I'm still more interested in the first. See also, from the OER Knowledge Cloud, the five regional consultations on OER leading to summit: AmericasAfricaAsiaEuropeMiddle East & North Africa.


Photos of the Sky

Permalink - Posted on 2017-09-19 21:31

Like Tim Bray, I've been playing No Man's Sky. The recent update is much improved over what was released last year, and updates have been added since (I turned it on yesterday to discover the mechanics of flying the space ship had changed). It's a simulation in which you fly from planet to planet, explore the planet, collect resources, and complete quests. The most recent version allows players to build based and recruit aliens (I have several working for me). As Bray says, it's easy, and that's a part of its attraction; it's very relaxing. But I'm also playing with an eye to the future. It's a fully generated environment, which means it's essentially endless, and it has the potential to be an immersive environment. It will also support interactivity between players. I can imagine playing it with a virtual reality viewer. That's when No Man's Sky makes the transition to something that's interesting to something that everyone's playing. 


63 easy steps to digital literacy

Permalink - Posted on 2017-09-19 21:17

I don't think that there are 63 "easy steps" to anything, much less digital literacy. And some of these steps require 100-league boots. One, for example, is to "distinguish fact from opinion, and know the importance of each" - a task that has eluded philosophers for millenia. Even more difficult, there's "how to identify what’s worth understanding." My own work is ties up in "how to remix, mash, reimagine, tweak, hack, and repurpose media in credible, compelling, and legal ways." Maybe not always legal. ;)  Also: "when it is socially-acceptable to check messages, update statuses, check scores, and so on" (answer: always). Other difficult tasks: "how to identify and fully participate in critical familial and social citizenships," including your own. And finally, "passive-aggressiveness, snark, arrogance, unjustified brazenness, cyberbullying-without-being-obvious-about-it, blocking-for-dramatic-effect, ignoring people, and other digital habits." Doug Peterson writes, "This is highly recommended reading and an opportunity to start planning lessons that address the issues on an ongoing basis." Which takes us back to the first item.


Here are 9 email newsletters about data… I think you’ll like at least 4 of them

Permalink - Posted on 2017-09-19 16:10

This list is focused mostly on data journalism, but it also overlaps into open data, and this is of significant interest here because one of the applications of open data is (or will be eventually) to feed directly into personal learning resources such as simulations, discussion rooms, and personal learning. Among the other resources, I would point in particular to the Open Knowledge Foundation (OKFN), which as the author reports "has been working in the field of open data for some time, and their newsletter taps into a global network of partners and projects to provide updates on events, initiatives, reports and tools."


We've failed: Pirate black open access is trumping green and gold and we must change our approach

Permalink - Posted on 2017-09-19 15:44

This is another article on Sci-Hub (beyond the one cited here) asserting essentially that illegal open access is succeeding because legal open access is failing. The author points to a recent OpenAire report (77 page PDF) identifying six roadblocks to open access what all need to be addressed: these include author and publisher incentives, transparency, pluralism, and infrastructure. The key reform needed, he argues, is unbundling. "If everyone could read all scholarly content for free, is there sufficient value in additional services to generate the revenues needed to fund both a read-only service and for those other elements of the scholarly communication process that, once unbundled, survive exposure to market forces?" The argument is that there is, if there is a larger readership, and this larger readership can come into existence only if there is access at no cost.


Subscription Learning as Performance Support Coaching

Permalink - Posted on 2017-09-19 15:14

Will Thalheimer describes an interesting performance support application called Trek. "Using employee's smartphones’ sensors (camera, audio and video recorder, and GPS)... employees captured evidence of their critical actions at each step in their learning path. This evidence was submitted through TREK to each person's designated manager-coach. As each step was completed, managers were notified and were prompted to review their direct reports' submissions. Managers provided brief feedback--either written or in a recorded audio nugget--and this feedback was presented to the learners." The managers, meanwhile, are proivided with libraries of support materials and curricula to support their coaching. Thye employment of human managers in this role is probably just a stepping-stone to generate acceptance; the same task could be performed in the future by an analytics engine and/or AI.


World Wide Web Consortium abandons consensus, standardizes DRM with 58.4% support, EFF resigns

Permalink - Posted on 2017-09-19 14:47

Should digital rights management (DRM) be a world wide web standard? It's a tough question and so it's not surprising that the WWW Consortium (W3C) split almost down the middle on it. Now I've done work in DRM; I even have a patent in the area. But I have also argued consistently that DRM should be enforced in the resource, not the network. This decision violates that principle, and if implemented, would have the effect of converting the web from a public resource to a private network. Combine this with upload filters and there is end-to-end lockdown. This is what publishers want, and it's why they won't compromise. Their position should have been rejected. Their private interest does not outweigh public good.


Canada needs a national overhaul of university IP policies

Permalink - Posted on 2017-09-19 14:28

According to the authors, young scientists and innovators have difficulty obtaining funding. This could be addressed by revising institutional intellectual [property (IP) rules to that they have full ownership of anything they create, even if they're working at a university (or government research lab?), which would attract investors and given them incentive to commercialize their innovations. In such a scenario, university technology transfer offices (TTO) could act like venture capitalists, providing the marketing and business development researchers often lack, in exchange for a stake in the innovation.An example of this is the University of Waterloo’s IP rights policy. Sitting where I sit, I see both sides of the argument. It would be nice to see government investments flow toward innovators, rather than to major corporations, as is currently the case. On the other hand, why should government investments end up in the hands of private enterprise at all? 



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

OLDaily, HTML edition