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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Where is Technology Taking the Economy

Irving Wladawsky-Berger offers projections about the new technological environment. "Machines have started to exhibit associative intelligence," he writes, "Associative intelligence is no longer just housed in the brains of human workers, but emerges from the constant interactions among machines, software and processes." It made me think of e-Trucks interacting with each other to form convoys, for example. Then I began to imagine road construction priorities being automatically determined by automated vehicles reporting bottlenecks and slowdowns. Anyhow, Wladawsky-Berger identifies several key changes in our political economy that result from this trend (quoted):

  • The criteria for assessing policies will change from 'growth' to 'job creation' (or maybe simply access to goods and services)
  • The criteria for measuring the economy will change, as virtual goods "generate unmeasured benefits for the user, cost next to nothing, and are unpriced"
  • Free market economies will be regulated. “In the distributive era free-market efficiency will no longer be justifiable if it creates whole classes of people who lose.”
  • "The next era will not be an economic one, but a political one... until we’ve resolved access we’re in for a lengthy period of experimentation"

I think these changes mught be even more significant than depicted here. If we're looking decades ahead, as Wladawsky-Berger, we may be looking at the replacement of money as a mechanism for exchange, as the assumulation of trillions of unused dollars in secret accounts has undermined its effectiveness for the purpose of regulating commerce.

Today: 114 Total: 114 Irving Wladawsky-Berger, 2017/11/20 [Direct Link]

Pearson, WTF? Badges, patents, and the world’s ‘least popular’ education company


Doug Belshaw has two bits of news about Pearson in this article. First, he reports on Pearson's new application to patent digital credentials (you know, like badges). It's only something Belshaw and others have been working on for years now. "he ‘background’ section uses language very similar to the Open Badges for Lifelong Learning working paper published in 2012 by Mozilla."  Additionally, he notes that " they have closed their DRM-Free ebook store, and will now proceed to delete all ebooks from their customers’ accounts." Well, I'm glad I didn't buy any eBooks from Pearson! "Perhaps I should have been more cynical, as they obviously are," writes Belshaw. "I note, for example, that Pearson waited until Mozilla handed over stewardship of Open Badges to IMS Global Learning Consortium (who have said they will not contest the patent) before filing." Will not contest? Seriously, IMS?

Today: 114 Total: 114 Doug Belshaw, Open Educational Thinkering, 2017/11/20 [Direct Link]

Innovation Culture


This website, and the associated project around it, are an outcome of the previous Governor-General of Canada, David Johnston, working with Tom Jenkins (of the Jenkins report on science and technology in Canada). The site says "Innovation is the creative combination of anything that, once done, makes something better." I have mixed views. The Canadian Museum of Science and Technology, now part of co-sponsor Ingenium, was one of my favourite childhood destinations. It just reopened (yay!). I should visit. And you can submit Canadian Innovation Stories (note that the site is slow). But innovation seems to me to be more than just 'combining' things, and more than just 'making something better'. The Governor-General's Innovation Awards, associated with the site, are almost exclusively for medical innovations and/or businesses. There are education resources, including a children's resource, that defines innovation as "creating or improving a thing (product) or action (process) to make a difference (impact)." This seems even narrower to me. It's not all about business. Disclosure: I was peripherally involved with the education resources and my name appears in the acknowledgements.

Today: 101 Total: 101 Rideau Hall Foundation, 2017/11/20 [Direct Link]

Open In Order To...

These are all papers submitted to OpenCon2017 in response to an essay competition that closed today. The conference is tomorrow. You might be able to vote but I encourage reading rather than voting. The papers run in the 500-1000 work range.

The conference is subtitled 'Empowering the next generation to advance open access, open education and open data'. I like how the essays represent a variety of different agendas and benefits all revolving around the idea of open access.


Today: 90 Total: 90 OpenCon2017, 2017/11/20 [Direct Link]

Learning Experience Platform – WRONG


The 'wrong' in this article refers to the term 'experience'. Craig Weiss argues that the term houl be 'engagement' instead. Beyond that first argument he offers a pretty good overview of the platform, what is is, what it contains, and what it's supposed to do. He names a number of them at the end of the article: Learn AmpDegreedGrovoPathgather and Linkedin Learning. Based on both the description and the examples, my inclination would be to call them Learning Resource Platforms, because they are for the most part providing or selling access to learning content and resources.

Today: 119 Total: 119 Craig Weiss, The Craig Weiss Group, 2017/11/20 [Direct Link]

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