I work in the Learning and Performance Support Systems program at the National Research Council, a multi-year effort to develop personal learning technology and learning analytics. I am one of the originators of the Massive Open Online Course, write about online and networked learning, have authored learning management and content syndication software, and am the author of the widely read e-learning newsletter OLDaily.

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~ ~ Vision Statement ~ ~

Distinctively human?

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Matthias Melcher makes a good point. " Only standardized, easily assessable learning can be optimized, and in particular, content knowledge is the ideal example... But jobs that only rely on such content storage, are probably the first to be eliminated." 

Today: 89 Total: 89 Matthias Melcher, x28's new Blog, 2017/06/27 [Direct Link]

HowToons

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The people at O'Reilly write, "this is brilliant! An amazing kit in the mail each month, with an interesting project each time. It's given me some priceless moments with my nephew. They're not so long that the kid loses interest, nor so mundane that you lose interest." The kits contain basic materials and comic-style instructions and you can build things like toy guitars, cars, and whatnot. Doing this is a subscription box is a good idea, and I like the hands-on element. Related: CS Unplugged teaches children computer science without a computer "through engaging games and puzzles that use cards, string, crayons and lots of running around."

Today: 134 Total: 134 Various authors, 2017/06/26 [Direct Link]

Data Visualization Pitfalls to Avoid

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This is a really interesting slide deck (63 page PDF) on some topics in data visualization. It breaks roughly into three parts. The first is a survey of data visualization techniques, with a focus on different visualization tools or elements. The second focuses on colour ("The first rule of colour: don't talk about colour.") The third looks at the use of 3D data visualizations (general rule: don't use 3D data visualizations). Not to be missed by anyone working in big data or human-computer interaction. Related: Bad design of everyday things. Also related: data journalism in broadcast news and video.

Today: 144 Total: 144 Tamara Munzner, University of British Columbia, 2017/06/26 [Direct Link]

Give Teachers Credit: They Know Learning Is Social

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This post in EdSurge reads like they said "yes" to one of those emails offering free articles for their website. It has nothing to do with whether learning is social (aside from ridiculous statements like "the ability to harness ideas they learn from peers") and is mostly a  paean to the poisonous startup culture: "As more individuals organically buy into the movement, a second layer of investors, opportunists and outright charlatans get involved... This is also a very good thing. Railroads, telephone networks and the internet could not have been built without financial and emotional excess." Ridiculous. The scammers and charlatans aren't builders. They're parasites. I think EdSurge would do best to keep its distancce from them.

Today: 69 Total: 279 Brad Spirrison, EdSurge, 2017/06/26 [Direct Link]

Will Free Community College Really Help Low-Income Students?

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Whenever I read an article arguing against providing a benefit to poor people I look for the hidden agenda, and in this article I find it in the fact that the author is an executive director for CollegeSpring. We are told by Education Next that it "helps students from low-income backgrounds pursue college degrees" but in fact it's a test-preparation service. So why would they care? "Free tuition will likely motivate more low-income students to enroll in community college." And they don't need test-prep to do that. And if they do decide to go on to university-level studies (as happens a lot in Canada) their (free) college will give them a back-up career and much better prospects in their SATs. What we don't need are test-prep services siphoning money from the poor.

Today: 47 Total: 221 Kate Schwass, Education Next, 2017/06/26 [Direct Link]

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.