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

A feed by Stephen Downes


OER18 Open to all

Permalink - Posted on 2018-04-20 20:51

Phil Barker argues that we should not be recommending Eric Raymond's work. Raymond authored, if you may recall, the enormously influential The Cathedral and the Bazaar paper recommending distributed open source organization. Barker argues that Raymond is a libertarian, a gun nut, and has regressive views regarding women and gays. " I do not think we should be recommending this person’s work to the OER community," says Barker. Now I personally find Raymond's politics reprehensible (assuming the Wikipedia account is correct). And yes, I'll delete content that's racist or hateful. But if I were to require a purity test for everyone I quoted or recommended, this would be a very short newsletter. I think it's a far more progressive strategy to pay attention to one's own failings and to leave social condemnation to those more qualified to render judgement.


Open Invitation to Contribute to the Draft OER Recommendation Text

Permalink - Posted on 2018-04-20 20:37

According to this website, "A draft UNESCO Recommendation on Open Educational Resources (OER) text is currently being prepared. This open invitation is to call for inputs on the above-mentioned draft text." You can read the draft on the website (7 page PDF). Note the 'no cost' in the definition: "Open Educational Resources (OERs) are teaching, learning and research materials in any medium – digital or otherwise – that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions."


Knowble – a review

Permalink - Posted on 2018-04-20 16:13

Nice review of a language learning app providing a needed dose of scepticism. The app is called Knowble and is a browser extension that purports to improve English-language vocabulary. The problem is, it relies on Google Translate, so it often offers incorrect vocabulary advice. Google translates pretty well when the word is found in context, but " Knowble, however, have set their software to ask Google for translations of each word as individual items," which results in inevitable errors. "The claim that Knowble’s ‘learning effect is proven scientifically’ seems to me to be without any foundation," writes Philip Kerr. "If there has been any proper research, it’s not signposted anywhere."


Assessing the Potential Toward Open Educational Practices in Kyrgyzstan

Permalink - Posted on 2018-04-20 15:00

This is the first reference to Kyrgyzstan in the almost 30,000 posts in OLDaily over the last 20 years, and proof that open education has become a completely worldwide phenomenon. According to the abstract, "Analysis of the results revealed a higher than expected gravitation toward student-centered pedagogy than previously assumed. The study also identified broad use of digital downloads as learning materials, conflation of open educational resources with free online resources." This actually doesn't surprise me, because OERs and student-centered pedagogy go hand-in-hand. The paper discusses 'non-disposable' learning activities such as editing Wikipedia articles, though noting "the practice of using non-disposable assignments for learning is likely still a new idea for most instructors." 19 page PDF. Image: logo from a 2014 UNESCO OER conference in Kyrgyzstan.


Facebook moves 1.5bn users out of reach of new European privacy law

Permalink - Posted on 2018-04-20 14:36

Facebook has spent a lot of time apologizing in recent weeks but it should not be believed. In an appearance before a Parliamentary committee in Canada it would not commit to honouring European GDPR privacy protections. And in an even more telling move, it moved 1.5 billion user accounts out of Europe and into the United States. I think that countries, including Canada, should endorse and ratify GDPR. Because it is obvious that these companies will not police themselves with any sort of restraint.


The ‘Terms and Conditions’ Reckoning Is Coming

Permalink - Posted on 2018-04-20 14:30

One of the impacts of GDPR is that website terms and conditions will be required to be clearer. But this may just be the beginning of the end for book-length legal agreements. "If a typical user wouldn't understand the documents, the consent that companies rely on for their business activities would be legally invalid." The main beneficiaries here won't be users - who typically ignore the terms - but companies (including schools and colleges) who have to hire layers to parse the terms before using the site in their business.



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

OLDaily, HTML edition