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This is a summary of a study from Facebook, and it's important to keep in mind that Facebook is lobbying for a limited Facebook-only version of the internet in poorer countries. This is why it makes sense to say, for example, that "75% of the unconnected had never heard of the word 'internet.'" It's like they won't know what they're missing if they get only Facebook. That said, it is unacceptable that 4 billion don't have access to internet. And it's not because the internet isn't relevant ('reason 3') for these people, nor is it because they are not ready ('reason 4') for the internet. It has everything to do with a global model of resource distribution where the necessities of life and the means of producing them - not only internet, but food, energy, housing, and the rest - are provided only to those who can pay for them. Facebook's wealth, and the system that produced it, is the reason 4 billion people are offline.[Link] [Comment]
Kevin Kelly has a long history of being wrong about the future and his streak will continue with this article. The world he depicts here is not some sort Star Trek Federation economy or socialist ideal - it's an end-state for a capitalist dream, where all ownership has been consolidated in corporations and individual people have nothing of their own. It's a world where, if you don't pay, you don't have anything, which means that (as today) social control and individual labour will be secured by corporations through the threat of cutting access to food, housing, entertainment, and more. Security, continuity, affinity - these are important to people, and physical objects are tangible instances of them.[Link] [Comment]
Where: KICD, Nairobi, Kenya
When: September 12-16, 2016
Who: Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) is the conference host and convening partner. The Institute’s core function is to conduct research and develop curricular for all levels of education below the university. Website: http://www.kicd.ac.ke
- Prof. Erwin Sniedzins, Gamification Architect
- Gene Wade, CEO of One University Network
- Prof. John Traxler, Research Prof. Digital Learning
- Mr. Rajeev Gupta, CEO & Founder mElimu
- Prof. Peter E. Kinyanjui, Chairman, KICD Council.
- Mr. John Kimotho, Snr.Deputy Director / Deputy CEO, KICD
- Mrs. Esther Gacicio, Assistant Director, KICD e-Learning section
- Dr. Julius O. Jwan, Director & Chief Executive Officer KICD
- Dr. Penina Lam, Consultant World Bank, CGAP Gateway Academy
To register, go to http://elice.co/product/elice-2016-registration/
To make a presentation at the conference, go to: http://elice.co/speakers-application/. Applications must be received by 15 August, 2016
"It's at the intersection of machine learning and graph technology where the next evolution lies and where new disruptive companies are emerging," according to this article. These are neural network technologies, and they work by analyzing connections, not contents. But there's a difference between 'machine learning' and 'graph technologies'. "machine learning takes large quantities of data to make predictions about future events. While graph technology is more concerned with the relationship between different data points... Some ML methods use ‘ graphs’ to represent the learnings while others don't.” "[Link] [Comment]
Every day, someone new either thinks about doing an online course, or is pressured into doing one. You may have quite a lot of prior knowledge about online learning (or think you do), or may have no knowledge at all. The most important thing to know though is that you probably don’t know enough about online learning, especially if you are just starting out (which defines you as wise, according to Socrates).
I have been teaching and researching online learning for nearly 30 years (yes, online learning started that long ago). Over that time, a great deal of research and evaluation of online learning has been done. Although much more could be done, and not all the work has been of high quality, nevertheless there is a great deal now known about what works and what doesn’t in online learning. Learning by experience is often a good way to learn, but it can also lead to frustration and, more importantly, students may suffer from the instructors’ lack of experience or ignorance. Thus at least knowing the basics before you start can save you not only a lot of time, but also will help you develop better courses from scratch.
I have written a 500 page, free online open textbook on Teaching in a Digital Age, which draws extensively on the latest research into online learning, and is meant as a guide for practitioners. Unfortunately, though, there are very few short guides to online learning, to help you make the decision about whether you should make the effort to do it properly.
So this is the first in a series of blog posts aimed at those new to online learning, particularly but not exclusively for those in the post-secondary education sector. I am hoping that these blogs will not only provide some of the basic knowledge you need before starting, but will also lead you to go further by digging into the parts of Teaching at a Distance that are relevant to you at any particular time.Online learning: a definition
There is no Academie Française or Academy of Science or Technology that provides an ‘official’ definition of online learning. It is what people say it is, so I can only give you my personal definition, which is as follows:
Online learning is any form of learning conducted partly or wholly over the Internet.The continuum of online learning
I have deliberately chosen a very broad definition of online learning, because it can be seen that it comes in many different varieties. My definition means that learners will use a computer, tablet or some other device for their learning, and it also means that at some point in their studying they have to go online – through the Internet – to access information or communicate with an instructor or other learners.
I therefore see teaching as a continuum:
- at one end, there is teaching with no use of technology, which therefore is NOT online learning, but ‘pure’ face-to-face teaching. However, teaching without any technology is very rare these days, at least in formal education;
- then there is the use of technology as a classroom aid, which may or may not be online learning. For instance an instructor using a projector and Powerpoint slides would not be using online learning, but students being directed to use a device such as a laptop, tablet or mobile phone to look at a web site during a classroom lesson would be a form of online learning, but the classroom would remain the main means of delivery. However this could be considered a sub-branch of online learning, called blended learning;
- so, as with most continua, we get to a point where definitions become a little less precise, and this is blended learning, which again can mean a number of things, but in general means a combination of face-to-face teaching and a significant use of online learning, especially outside the classroom. This can take a number of forms:
- a flipped classroom is one where student do preparation online before a classroom session (for instance watching a pre-recorded video lecture, and/or online reading);
- hybrid learning is one where the whole classroom experience has been redesigned to focus on what the instructor thinks is best done online and what is best done face-to-face; in hybrid learning students may spend 50 per cent or more of their time learning on line;
- lastly, fully online learning, where students do not come to campus at all, but study entirely online, which is one form of distance education.
Note though that online learning can include learning with or without an instructor physically present, and that a computer lab where everything is already pre-loaded on the computer would not be online learning. (This form of learning is still found in some countries with poor or no Internet access).
The important thing to remember is that online learning is primarily a mode of delivery, a way of delivering education to learners, NOT a particular method of teaching. Online learning can support a wide range of teaching methods. For instance lectures can be delivered in class (face-to-face) or over the Internet, as can experiential learning, constructivist approaches and many other teaching methods. This will be a topic of later posts.
We shall also see that online learning, like face-to-face teaching, can be done well or it can be done badly, but that too is a topic for another post.Implications
With the increased use of online learning, every instructor now has to ask themselves two important questions:
- Where on the continuum of teaching should my course be, and on what basis should I make that decision?
- How do I decide, in any form of blended learning, what is best done online, and what is best done face-to-face?
Teaching in a Digital Age attempts to help you answer such questions, but in order to answer those questions well, you will need to read a lot of the book.Follow-up
So in the meantime, if you want to know more about what online learning is, here is some suggested further reading (no more than an hour). Just click on the link:
- From the periphery to the centre: how technology is changing the way we teach, Chapter 1.7, Teaching in a Digital Age
- The continuum of technology-based learning, Chapter 9.1, Teaching in a Digital Age.
‘Isn’t online learning worse than face-to-face teaching?’ (to be posted in the week July 18-22, 2016)Your turn
If you have comments, questions or just plain disagree, please let me know.
Athabasca University has the benefit of offering one of the first doctor of education programs, fully online, in North America. The program is cohort-based and accepts 12 students annually. I’ve been teaching in the doctorate program for several years (Advanced Research Methods as well as, occasionally, Teaching & Learning in DE) and supervise 8 (?!) doctoral students currently.
Applications for the fall 2017 start are now being accepted with a January 15, 2017 deadline. Just in case you’re looking to get your doctorate . It really is a top program. Terrific faculty and tremendous students.
The US Senate has voted to approve the nomination of Dr. Carla Hayden as the new Librarian of Congress.
Conservatives in Kansas are trying to rebrand public education with the label “government schools.”Presidential Campaign Politics
Donald Trump has chosen Indiana governor Mike Pence as his running mate. Inside Higher Ed has a story on Pence’s higher ed policies. Here’s an old article from Chalkbeat on Pence’s K–12 policies.Education in the Courts
Via Buzzfeed: “On Friday, the California attorney general won a groundbreaking $168.5 million settlement against the country’s largest operator of online charter schools. Or, after a lengthy investigation, it managed to collect only $2.5 million from a business that pulled in almost $1 billion in revenue in 2015 – with no fines, penalties, or admission of wrongdoing. Which one is true? It all depends on who you ask.” More on the settlement with the virtual charter school K12 Inc in Education Week and The Wall Street Journal.
“Ten more states sued the federal government on Friday over a directive to public schools on bathroom use by transgender students, adding their objections to those of 11 states that brought a lawsuit soon after the directive was released in May,” The New York Times reports.
“The Star Tribune is suing the Minneapolis Public Schools in an effort to force the release of data relating to student suspensions, school climate issues and district spending, among other concerns,” The Star Tribune reports.
Via The Wall Street Journal: “U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown (D., Fla.) and her chief of staff, Elias ‘Ronnie’ Simmons, were charged Friday with 24 counts of fraud and other crimes that federal prosecutors said allowed them to use a charity as a ‘personal slush fund.’” The charity in question: the One Door for Education-Amy Anderson Scholarship Fund.
Via Politico: “A federal appeals court on Tuesday revived a legal challenge by student loan debt collectors who accused the Education Department of unfairly terminating them last year.”
Corey Menafee, an employee at Yale, took a broomstick and smashed a stained glass window depicting slaves carrying bales of cotton in the university’s Calhoun residential college dining hall. He was arrested and facing felony charges, although according to The New York Times, Yale has declined to pursue the case against him.
More on legal cases in the sports and for-profit higher ed sections below.Testing, Testing…
“Nevada officials announced Tuesday that a common-core assessment consortium will credit the state $1.8 million as compensation for problems that derailed a spate of its assessments last year,” Education Week reports.
Via Education Next: “The Politics of the Common Core Assessments.” The article notes that “The number of states planning to use the new [SBAC and PARCC] tests dropped from 45 in 2011 to 20 in 2016.”Online Education (The Once and Future “MOOC”)
Via Edsurge: “Oklahoma Joins Ranks of States and Agencies Cracking Down on Virtual Charter Schools.”
There’s more on virtual charters, namely K12 Inc, in the legal section above.Coding Bootcamps (The Once and Future “For-Profit Higher Ed”)
Via Politico: “Advocates for Corinthian Colleges students are starting a new legal battle today to discharge the private loan debt students took on to attend the now-defunct for-profit college chain. An ex-Corinthian student is filing a federal class-action lawsuit against the firms that now own the private loans, as well as a collection company seeking to recoup the debt from borrowers.”
Via The Washington Post: “Justice Department is investigating whether a for-profit college company violated federal financial aid rules.” The company in question: Bridgepoint Education, which owns Ashford University and the University of the Rockies.
“Welfare Reform, For-Profit Education, and Community Colleges” by “Dean Dad” Matt Reed.
The for-profit Rasmussen College has been approved by the Department of Education to offer competency-based degrees in business management and accounting.
There’s more data on the “shrinking” for-profit higher ed sector in the research section below.Meanwhile on Campus
Via Catalyst Chicago: “The question of tech equity.”
Via The LA Times: “UC Berkeley chancellor under investigation for alleged misuse of public funds, personal use of campus fitness trainer.”
Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “New Mexico State U. Will Eliminate 126 Positions to Close Budget Gap.”
“U. of California Increases In-State Admissions,” says The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Via The Hechinger Report: “Five-year olds and laser cutters – perfect together? Welcome to the first early childhood fab lab.”
“Schools That Integrate Technology: Silicon Valley” by Larry Cuban.Accreditation and Certification
See the “for-profit higher ed” section above for news on CBE.Go, School Sports Team!
“The Fight Between Berkeley’s Academics And Its Football Team Is Getting Ugly,” says Deadspin. “Despite Controversy, Berkeley Renews a Football Coach’s $150,000 Contract,” The Chronicle of Higher Education reports.
Via Newsworks: “New court documents reveal that Penn State football coach Joe Paterno knew about allegations of sex abuse against assistant coach Jerry Sandusky in 1976 and did nothing about it.”From the HR Department
“Facebook’s third diversity report in two years shows its demographics have shifted very little, with African Americans and Hispanics still comprising a tiny fraction of the tech giant’s workforce,” USA Today reports. Facebook blames its lack of diversity on “the pipeline” (riiiiiiight) and so it’s giving $15 million to Code.org so that more kids learn to code.
CodeNow founder Ryan Seashore is stepping down as CEO. He’ll be replased by Neal Sales-Griffin, founder of the coding school the Starter League.
Via the Philadelphia Inquirer: “Temple University’s board of trustees on Tuesday took a unanimous vote of no confidence in president Neil D. Theobald during a private session, and announced its intention to dismiss him.”Upgrades and Downgrades
Via Education Week: “Ed-Tech Software Group Objects to Messages in Feds’ #GoOpen Campaign.” (For those keeping score at home, the SIIA is also challenging other aspects of the Obama Administration’s digital efforts, including 18F and USDS.)
One of the trends I’m watching this year is the investment – in venture capital and in PR – in “social emotional development” products and practices. See Edsurge this week, for example: “In the Age of ‘No-Excuses’ Schools: A Case for Compassion and Better Social-Emotional Learning” and “Don’t Teach Grit. Embed It.”
Oh look. Another startup accelerator program, this one a partnership between NYU’s Steinhardt School and StartEd.
Via Inside Higher Ed: “Virtual Reality on the Horizon.”
The Ed-Fi Alliance and IMS Global Learning Consortium have announced their plans to develop “a single, unified approach for rostering across the most adopted K–12 data standards and have now further solidified their joint support for IMS OneRoster™ as the cross-industry rostering API.” Hooray. Trademarked standards.
A “personalized learning explainer” from Mindwire Consulting.
Via Edsurge: “Not Sure What Courseware to Try? This Tool Wants to Make Your Decision Easier.” “This tool” is the Courseware in Context (CWiC) framework, “developed the framework in collaboration with the Online Learning Consortium and research firm SRI International, with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.”
“About The Blackboard Partnership With IBM And Amazon Web Services” by Mindwire Consulting’s Phil Hill.
In other Blackboard news: “Blackboard Releases ‘Ultra Experience’” – OMG, that name.
“5.3 Reasons Pokemon Go will Replace the LMS” by Tom Woodward.
More on Pokemon GO in the privacy section below. Sigh.Funding and Acquisitions (The Business of Ed-Tech)
Codecademy has raised $30 million from Naspers, Union Square Ventures, Flybridge Capital Partners, Index Ventures, and Richard Branson. The learn-to-code startup has raised $42.5 million total. (Noteworthy: this is the third recent ed-tech investment by Naspers – a South African media conglomerate and “the former mouthpiece of apartheid” – which recently backed Udemy and Brainly.)
Unique Heritage Media has acquired Pili Pop Labs.
Ray Business Technologies Pvt. Ltd. has acquired QuickEdmin.
Escala Educacional has acquired LeYa Educação.Data, Privacy, and Surveillance
“Pokemon Go wants to catch (almost) all your app permissions,” says Techcrunch. Bill Fitzgerald offers some “Concrete Steps to Take to Minimize Risk While Playing Pokemon GO.” (I really really really don’t want to have to weigh in on Pokemon and the ed-tech revolution, but maybe I’ll put something in the newsletter I send out tomorrow.)
The latest in bad blockchain ideas: the UK government will test using the blockchain to track welfare recipients.Data and “Research”
According to data released by the Department of Education (and reported by Inside Higher Ed), “the number of for-profit colleges eligible to award federal financial aid fell to 3,265 last fall, down from 3,436 in fall 2014, a decline of 5 percent. The number of public institutions grew by one and the number of private nonprofit colleges grew by 26 over that year (from 1,883 to 1,909).”
Google has released its 2016 Scholar Metrics.
EduKwest has its latest market report – this one on Chinese investments – available for sale.
Via the Pacific Standard: “Youth Suicides in Utah Are on the Rise.”
According to Forbes, the top five bestselling children’s authors are Jeff Kinney, J. K. Rowling, Dr. Seuss, Rick Riordan, and Rachel Renee Russell. Together, they sold some $73.6 million worth of books last year.
According to a survey by CDW-G, “67% of school IT solutions are now delivered either in part or in full through the cloud.”
A study has found companies are not happy with their corporate LMSes. Is anyone anywhere happy with their LMS?!
Icon credits: The Noun Project