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News and opinions related to online learning and new media.
Actualizado: hace 3 horas 52 mins

Media bias

Hace 4 horas 30 mins
Doug Peterson, Jul 07, 2020

The focus of this post is the latest version of the Interactive Media Bias Chart. You may have seen it before (or perhaps just a flat image). This resource is interesting not only because it demonstrates how an interactive chart can be a valuable learning tool but also because it demonstrates how such tools can manipulate or obscure one's perception of reality. As Doug Peterson notes, it's mostly based on U.S. sources, and therefore reflects a U.S. reality. The placement of hard-conservative sources like the Wall Street Journal, ABC News, and the Economist at the centre (ie., 'neutral or balanced biased') demonstrates a definite skew to the right. You can see this clearly if you drop everything with 'reliability issues' from the chart (34.00 and below) and redraw the 'centre' line. I've redrawn it as such and included some sources omitted in the chart; the image is here. The result shows a much more accurate picture with most of the news media (and especially corporate media) biased to the right, with a few alternative sources to the centre and left.

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3 Documentaries you must watch to understand the pain fueling the BLM movement

Hace 4 horas 30 mins
Kevin “NivekPro” Jackson, Medium, Jul 07, 2020

This article is interesting not only because it offers a glimpse of three stories underlining the need for the Black Lives Matter movement, but also because it points us to kweliTV, a video streaming service that is not Disney+, and which offers "400+ undiscovered, award-winning indie films, documentaries, web series & kids shows celebrating global black culture from anywhere in the world." The three stories, meanwhile, document the attacks on Black Wall Street, the massacre in Wilmington, and Bessie Coleman, the first black woman pilot. The need for such channels shows what a disservice the consolidation of online content into a few major players is, and why it's important to learn about the world from a diverse array of perspectives.

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Digital learning environments, the science of learning and the relationship between the teacher and the learner

Hace 4 horas 30 mins
Jason M Lodge, Gregor Kennedy, L. Lockyer, ResearchGate, Jul 07, 2020

This is a pretty good paper (rendered almost unreadable by ResearchGate's spamwall but there's a 12 page PDF available and the direct link should work - if not, please send me an email). I'm less interested in their conclusions about the 'science of learning' than I am about they discussions about future learning environments. Students, the authors write, "will need to be self-directed in their learning. This includes making sound judgements about how much they know compared to how much they need to know, how they are progressing towards completing quality work and whether or not they need to shift strategies." Image: Educause.

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GO-GN Research Methods Handbook

6 Julio, 2020 - 22:37
Robert Farrow, Francisco Iniesto, Martin Weller, Rebecca Pitt, Open Education Research Hub, The Open University, Jul 06, 2020

I'm sure this will be a popular work (79 page PDF) describing research methods in education, but the philosopher of science in me wishes that it had been much tighter and academically informed; contrast, for example, this book's account of 'positivism' as some sort of realism (p. 14) with a proper treatment of the subject written by Herbert Feigl. The misunderstandings of positivism render the book's account of 'intepretivism' equally incoherent. But it's all for naught, anyhow, because we are presented with a relatively unsorted list of research methods (p.19) in a taxonomy that boils down to 'quantitative' and 'qualitative' methods (p. 21). And after a look at some processes and tools, a completely different taxonomy is presented anyway (p. 32). The reader is advised to just skip to page 33 and read the research method insights from the Global OER Graduate Network, which is where the real value in this volume lies. Or maybe better, read Research Methods in Psychology, an open text from BCcampus, or perhaps Choosing & Using Sources: A Guide to Academic Research, from Ohio State.

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Practitioner Perspectives: OER and a Call for Equity

6 Julio, 2020 - 22:37
Robin DeRosa, New England Board of Higher Education, Jul 06, 2020

I have always thought of my work in online learning as work for social justice. That's what the whole vision thing for this site is about. Now maybe there's a wider recognition of that facet of education and technology. Here's Robin DeRosa writing in support of OER: "We have a chance to redistribute our resources away from surveillant educational technology and corporations that mine student data for profit and think more about the value of education in terms of how healthy and safe and sustainable it can make the publics outside the walls of the academy.... I am working on a vision for the future of higher education that is deeply responsive to the inequities that are threatening the heart of our country." Yes - but maybe focus on the world, not just one nation.

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Decision for 2020-21 Academic Year

6 Julio, 2020 - 22:37
Harvard University, Jul 06, 2020

Harvard University has roiled the academic twittersphere with its announcement today that all classes for the 2020-2021 academic year will be conducted online. What will not change is the institution's undergraduate tuition of $US 49,653. This has prompted a deluge of criticism, but support comes from an unexpected quarter - Audrey Watters saying "I don't understand why people think that tuition should be lower for an online semester." But as Ryan Cordell responds, "it’s because they don’t see tuition as *actually* payment for instruction—it’s the membership fee to the whole college experience—they only want to pay for instruction, which feels like a fraction of what they’re *actually* paying for." In fact, Harvard is inviting 40% of its students to live on campus, including its entire first year class, to "recapture the residential liberal arts and sciences experience that is core to our identity.... to build their Harvard network of faculty, advisors, and friends or learn about life in the Yard."

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Get A Comfortable Chair: Permanent Work From Home Is Coming

6 Julio, 2020 - 22:37
Uri Berliner, NPR, Jul 06, 2020

For me the big change came a month or two ago when I put on my mask, drove into the office, and brought home my ergonomic chair. My home office chair, a Costco 'executive', had broken down from use. This one won't break, and it looks like it will be in my home for a while. "It's three months into a huge, unplanned social experiment that suddenly transported the white-collar workplace from cubicles and offices to kitchens and spare bedrooms. And many employers now say the benefits of remote work outweigh the drawbacks." I'm more connected with my colleagues working from home than I was in the office, because now everyone is using videoconferencing, Slack, collaborative authoring, and the rest. I don't want to go back. I'm happy where I am, looking at green trees outside my window, able to step out my door and be in the country.

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Dislocating the self

6 Julio, 2020 - 22:37
Shaun Gallagher, iai, Jul 06, 2020

This is a good article looking into just what constitutes the self. Ultimately, it will conclude that we should "to think of the self as a pattern of different processes, dynamically related to one another." What's key here is the self is "both everywhere and nowhere in the brain. That is, so many areas of the brain activate under different conditions involving self-reference or self-related tasks that no one area can be defined as self specific." What this should dissuade you from thinking is that there is a functional information processing architecture - there isn't an 'executive function', for example, and short-term memory is nothing like an 'information buffer'. These are examples of a homonculus theory of cognition, which should be discared in favour of an emergentist account. See more from iai magazine's issue 89 In search of the self.

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Designing a personal “memex” with Foam

6 Julio, 2020 - 22:37
David T. Jones, Some assemblage required, Jul 06, 2020

David Jones documents his investigations into Foam (discussed here last week) along with some other tools that support the same sort of model. I have called it the Aggregate-Remix-Repurpose-Feed Forward (ARRFF) model of personal learning in a network environment, though other names are offered (including Jarche's 'Seek Sense Share' and SecondBrain's CODE). It's a tentative post, and as Jones remarks, "the technical knowledge required to get going is relatively high." But maybe - as these tools evolve and become more useful - we'll have the core of the long awaited personal learning environment (PLE) to look forward to. See also Zettelkasten and SecondBrain.

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Reddit and LinkedIn to stop copying iPhone clipboards

6 Julio, 2020 - 22:37
BBC News, Jul 06, 2020

You may have read a week or so ago that TikTok is reading clipboard data on your iPhone (and presumably sending it back to Beijing?). Before you start banning Chinese apps, it may be worth taking a breath and reading about the other 52 apps taking advantage of  the clipboard that is "designed to be silently readable by any app". Today, Reddit and Linked in announced that they will stop copying the data (and presumably sending it back to Washington or Redmond?). Here's the full list of apps discovered (there are probably many more), including the list of those who have stopped. This is why, when I use my mobile phone, I access these services through my Firefox web browser.

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Paradigm shifts in education and educational technology: Influencing the students here and now

6 Julio, 2020 - 22:37
Mark Guzdial, Computing Education Research Blog, Jul 06, 2020

Mark Guzdial writes that a paradigm shift " is happening (and maybe has already happened) in research around education and educational technology from the world of Papert and Bruner to the world of learning sciences." But don't think this means anything like a general theory of learning. It's too context-specific. "This shift from the general to the specific, and from what could work to what does work is true in my research too," writes Guzdial. What bothers me, though, is fixing this context to "the reality of school in the U.S., where Thorndike won and Dewey lost." I don't think you can start from "where schools are now." I think that, in the long term, if there is a paradigm change coming, it will come from outside schools. Ceratinly outside U.S. schools. Image: Bond. et.al.

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Champions in Higher Education of XR (CHEX)

6 Julio, 2020 - 22:37
Immersive Learning Research Network, Jul 06, 2020

This is a new consortium set up under the auspices of the Immersive Learning Research Network (iLRN) that "that brings together both administrators as well as faculty/staff grassroots leaders who are championing the adoption and use of XR and immersive technologies at colleges (and) universities" (XR, or eXtended Reality, is the combination of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality). The consortium advocates for XR growth, fosters collaborations, represents higher education in XR industry partnerships and collaborations, and identifies best practices. Image: Gourmet Sleuth, rice chex.

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He, She, One, They, Ho, Hus, Hum, Ita

6 Julio, 2020 - 10:37
Amia Srinivasan, London Review of Books, Jul 06, 2020

What we need to understand is that everything is like this, not just language: "While no single individual can, by fiat, change the meaning of a word, groups of individuals, by changing patterns of usage, can... What words mean and which words exist is not up to any single person. But it is up to us, collectively." This is understood by conservatives, writes Amia Srinivasan, "who love to make fun of linguistic innovators as if they were divorced from reality, privately recognise and fear," just as it is understood by progressives, "in which too much hope can be invested." Anyhow, this is a long and interesting read about gender in language and especially in pronouns. And it shows how we teach and learn through every sentence we speak or hear. Every action we take both at once displays and informs our understanding of the world.

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The startup taking on Apple and Snapchat in a mini-app war

5 Julio, 2020 - 22:37
David Pierce, Protocol, Jul 05, 2020

The idea of a mini-App is that it is a small program that runs inside another program. To date, only WeChat has built a successful mini-App ecosystem. But in the last few weeks, Apple has announced 'App Clips' and Snap has launched 'Minis'. The appeal of a mini-App is that it is "a better version of a browser, where you're signed in and payment-enabled for every site you visit." This article describes  Koji, "a twist on the mini-app idea. Rather than make apps that work inside a messaging app, Shapiro wants to make apps that work everywhere. Imagine a dating app you could embed in a text thread and browse with your friend, or a Twitter clone just for you and your friends." It's easy to see the parallels with the Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) ecosystem. Of course, if we flip it, we could have learning tools run anywhere, and not just in an LMS. Which really is what we want.

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Normalising pro-diversity ideas creates tolerant society

5 Julio, 2020 - 22:37
Open Access Government, Jul 05, 2020

What's significant about this story beyond the obvious social and cultural importance is that it shows how education is about much more than simply offering courses. As has often been observed by various pundits, diversity and inclusion courses, however well-intentioned, are most often ineffective. Learning requires a community. Thus we read, "Showing people how their peers feel about diversity in their community can make their actions more inclusive, make members of marginalised groups feel more like they belong, and even help close racial achievement gaps in education, according to a new study" (the study - despite the name of this feed - is behind a paywall).

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A plan to redesign the internet could make apps that no one controls

4 Julio, 2020 - 06:37
Will Douglas Heaven, MIT Technology Review, Jul 04, 2020

I think the headline is a bit overstated, but there is something interesting in this plan. "Dfinity is building what it calls the internet computer, a decentralized technology spread across a network of independent data centers that allows software to run anywhere on the internet rather than in server farms that are increasingly controlled by large firms, such as Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud." It's a bit like taking the cloud, and putting it into the cloud. And it's the sort of model we've seen before - "It joins a list of organizations developing a range of alternatives, including Solid, SAFE Network, InterPlanetary File System, Blockstack, and others. All draw on the techno-libertarian ideals embodied by blockchains, anonymized networks like Tor and peer-to-peer services like BitTorrent." But these aren't easy to build, they aren't easy to manage, and they aren't easy to prevent from doing more harm than good.

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What Makes an Excellent Online Teacher?

4 Julio, 2020 - 06:37
Emily Boudreau, Usable Knowledge, Jul 04, 2020

I think this is an unusual perspective, and I'm not sure I agree with it, but it's worthy of note. Excellent instruction, according to Rhonda Bondie, "is based on decision-making — how teachers decide to respond to and engage with students, select curriculum materials, organize learning, and use communication strategies." This article summarizes Bondie's book Differentiated Instruction Made Practical (co-authored with Akane Zusho). The role of decision-making is only accentuated in an online environment. “Now, teachers need to make deliberate decisions about how students will feel belonging in a classroom community in a space without walls, see themselves reflected in the virtual space, feel both independence and belonging, and share power dynamics intentionally.” Teacher as decider. No, I'm not sure I agree at all.

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MIT apologizes, permanently pulls offline huge dataset that taught AI systems to use racist, misogynistic slurs

4 Julio, 2020 - 06:37
GeoffreyRockwell, Theoreti.ca, Jul 04, 2020

Theoreti.ca reports, "Another one of those 'what were they thinking when they created the dataset stories' from The Register tells about how MIT apologizes, permanently pulls offline huge dataset that taught AI systems to use racist, misogynistic slurs." The problem, in my view, is not merely that they were careless in creating this dataset, but that they are being educated in an environment where these sorts of things simply aren't considered. So long as elite educational institutions are reserved for the wealthy, these sorts of incidents are going to continue to happen. Cause. Effect.

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Global Citizenship Education after the COVID-19 crisis?

4 Julio, 2020 - 06:37
Marta Estellés, World Education Blog, Jul 04, 2020

It makes sense that we should revisit the idea of Global Citizenship Education (GCED) after the end of Covid. But what would that education look like? asks Marta Estellés. That's the problem, she writes. " most GCED models have been framed as evolutionary and redemptive models, reinforcing neo-liberal perspectives of minimizing both the public sphere and governments’ obligations toward their citizens. With some noted exemptions, GCED models tend to promote an 'entrepreneurial self'." But that's the sort of thinking that got us into the current crisis. "The problem is not only that there are individuals who are not able to imagine and carry out forms of cooperation with other citizens around the world, but also –and perhaps more importantly– that many governments are not willing, nor demanded, to do so." We need to learn to cooperate, to form consensus, and work toward the global good.

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The Ultimate Guide to Copyright, Fair Use, and Creative Commons for Educators

4 Julio, 2020 - 06:37
Kathleen Morris, Sue Waters, Ronnie Burt, The Edublogger, Jul 04, 2020

I'm sure people will like this new guide to copyright, and that's why I'm passing it along. At the same time, though, I think that it and similar resources have the wrong focus. They're all about convincing people to avoid violating copyright. Sure, that's fine, but the "5 main rules" are overly publisher-centered. If I really wanted you to learn about copyright, I would begin with how copyright protects you. So my 5 main rules would be something like:

  1. Everything you create and post online is automatically protected by copyright. This means other people can't use it without your permission.
  2. You can share something you create by licensing it. For example, a Creative Commons license tells people they can use what you created for free.
  3. You can share what you create with conditions. For example, you can tell people they cannot charge money for what you created, or you can tell people they cannot alter or change what you created.
  4. If you share your content on a website, that means you are giving people permission to view what you created, but not to take it for their own use.
  5. If you share content on a platform like Facebook, YouTube or Twitter, that means you are using their license to share your work, which gives them permission to use it however they wish, and to share it with whomever they want.

These are to my mind probably the most important things to remember about copyright. Remember, it's not about publisher rights - it's about your rights. If we can start there, we create a genuine reason to respect copyright, rather than an abstract 'here are the rules' reason.

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