New Learning, New Society

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Widening Wealth Gap
Kellie Woodhouse, Inside Higher Ed, May 23, 2015
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I come back to this story from time to time because people insist that we (promoters of free and open learning) should be supporting the existing system of higher education. The problem with that premise is that the existing system works mostly to promote itself and to stay true to its real mission: to "reward the inside game, and ensure that the advantages enjoyed in one generation can be passed safely onward to the next." And as we read today, "We expect the trend not to change dramatically until there’s a significant change in the higher education model," said Pranav Sharma, an analyst with Moody’s. "The gap will continue to increase and those who are not well endowed will continue to struggle." So let's change the higher education model.

http://theory.cribchronicles.com/2015/05/20/for-shame/
Bonnie Stewart, the theoryblog, May 23, 2015
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Really good set of notes on the phenomenon of public shaming. "First, public shaming is in no way a new or online phenomenon," writes Bonnie Stewart. "We’re not gawking because it’s new. We’re gawking because it’s uncomfortable." Second, public shaming is used to exert control, either to force people to conform to the status quo, or to push back against the status quo. She writes, "We don’t want a society entirely driven by shame. Those always turn out dangerous. But I am wary of the ways that pundits and media are lining up to denounce shame at this juncture, particularly when their words tend to sympathize with the risks that white, middle class Justine Saccos face in this 'mob morality,' rather than with the risks and shame that those #FHRITP guys were trying to inflame as they aggressively asserted their own right to complete and utter shamelessness."

Here’s the difference between research and innovation
Richard Mackenzie, University Affairs, May 23, 2015
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As Canada's Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada announces the recipients of "$28 million in job-related training for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows" a Quebec physicist takes to the pages of University Affairs to criticize the agency's new focus on 'innovation' as opposed to 'discovery'. "I have a very different view, one that I suspect is shared by many, if not most, of your clients: that discovery, rather than being a component of research, IS research, while innovation is a completely different activity, one largely concerned with taking scientific discoveries and other ideas and developing useful products out of them."

The K12 Education Market
Rachel Norris, PILOTed, May 23, 2015
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Short article making the impoirtant point that the K-12 education market is a complex array of interplaying forces, including several levels of government, corporations, lobbyists, school boards, and finally, teachers and children. If anything, I think the diagram under-represents the complexity of the market. The diagram is focused on the U.S. system but I think that the schooling system in other markets is no less complex. This diagram helps us understand why reform in education is so difficult - it means aligning a wide variety of agencies, many of which are working to serve particular outcomes and interests.

Speaking out on Elsevier’s Article “Sharing” Policy
Heather Joseph, SPARC, May 23, 2015

About three weeks ago, Elsevier released a new policy governing open access publication. The response from the academic community was immediate and unfavourable, including this statement, signed by a couple dozen groups, criticizing the policy. More. SPARC argued that "Despite the claim by Elsevier that the policy advances sharing, it actually does the opposite." The Elsevier policy extends the embargo period to as much as 48 months, and requires that authors apply a "non-commercial and no derivative works" license to self-archived work. Elsevier responded to the criticism today. Meanwhile Emerald is going after harvesting itself, requiring authors agree that "I/We will not permit others to electronically gather or harvest and save to a separate server my/our Work." The backstory here is that publishers are facing a threat from services like Academia and ResearchGate, which harvest and store works from wherever they can be found, and compile a list of publications for each author. The aggressively seek to upload versions of the works, provide access only to versions on their own website, and do not link back to original copies. The perfect walled garden.

'Hack or be hacked': Why kids need to know how technology works
Jesse Hirsh, CBC, May 23, 2015
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Whose responsibility is it to prevent hacking and to promote security? I have two stories in my inbox today - this one and this one - that suggest it's the user's responsibility. In one, " Jesse Hirsh makes the case for a deeper understanding of technology as a civic duty. He says 'hack or be hacked.' The choice is yours." The rest of the story is an advertisement for Kano, a $150 computer that you build yourself. In the other story, we are told "End users are widely seen as a weak link in the enterprise security chain." The argument is that employees should receive security training. Maybe. But end users are the "weak link" because they're trying to get their job done, whether than means teaching 6-year-olds or writing reports. Network security is often a problem they need to overcome, rather than a shield that protects them. There needs to be some accord here.

Americans’ Attitudes About Privacy, Security and Surveillance
Mary Madden, Lee Rainie, Pew Research Internet Project, May 23, 2015
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Privacy is really important to Americans, according to this Pew report based on two new surveys (which study only Americans), but they don't trust either governments or corporations to protect their privacy. "They have a pervasive sense that they are under surveillance when in public and very few feel they have a great deal of control over the data that is collected about them and how it is used."

The Human Capital Report 2015
Various authors, World Economic Forum, May 23, 2015
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Just for the record, if there's any term I like less than the term 'human resources' (or as it's abbreviated around here, 'resources'), it's the term 'human capital'. The term implies the commodification not only of the talents and skills people possess and can apply in the workplace, but of the people themselves. But that's what we get from the World Economic Forum. So now I haven't read the full 319 page PDF (I spent the day writing a quarterly report - yay!) but it's not the sort of report you read cover-to-cover anyways, as it's mostly a set of league tables comparing countries. They employ three major concepts: learning and employment outcomes, demographics, and a standardized 'distance to the ideal state'. Learning is measured by enrollment, literacy rates (tests like PISA and TIMMS are only available for a few nations), educational attainment and workplace learning. In demographics they look at economic participation, skills, and vulnerability. So who are the 'top 10'? In order: Finland at the top, then Norway, Switzerland, Canada, Japan, Sweden, Denmark, New Zealand, the Netherlands, and Belgium.

Links and Resources

(presentations include slides and audio recordings)
Videos: http://www.downes.ca/me/videos.htm
RSS Feed: http://www.downes.ca/news/OLDaily.xml
Podcast: http://www.downes.ca/news/audio.xml

Key Articles

Scholarly Articles

Cites:294 Educational Blogging (Local copy)
264 Learning objects: Resources for distance education worldwide (Local copy)
134 E-learning 2.0 (Local copy)
126 Models for sustainable open educational resources (Local copy)
88 The future of online learning (Local copy
75 Learning networks and connective knowledge (Local copy)
70 Design and reusability of learning objects in an academic context: A new economy of education (Local copy)
59 Resource profiles (Local copy)
40 Learning networks in practice (Local copy)
33 Semantic networks and social networks (Local copy)
35 An introduction to connective knowledge (Local copy)
27 Design, standards and reusability (Local copy)
23 EduSource: Canada's learning object repository network (Local copy)
22 An introduction to RSS for educational designers (Local copy)

(Cites from Google Scholar for an H-Index = 14)

Recent Popular Articles

The Purpose of Learning, February 2, 2011.
The Role of the Educator, December 6, 2010.
Deinstitutionalizing Education, November 5, 2010.
Agents Provocateurs, October 28, 2010.
What Is Democracy In Education, October 22, 2010.
A World To Change, October 19, 2010.
Connectivism and Transculturality, May 16, 2010.
An Operating System for the Mind, September 19, 2009.
The Cloud and Collaboration, June 15, 2009.
Critical Thinking in the Classroom, June 5, 2009.
The Future of Online Learning: Ten Years On, November 16, 2008.
Things You Really Need to learn: http://www.downes.ca/post/38502

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Contact: stephen@downes.ca Stephen.Downes@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca
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About Stephen Downes

Stephen Downes is a senior researcher for Canada's National Research Council and a leading proponent of the use of online media and services in education. As the author of the widely-read OLDaily online newsletter, Downes has earned international recognition for his leading-edge work in the field of online learning. He developed some of Canada's first online courses at Assiniboine Community College in Brandon, Manitoba. He also built a learning management system from scratch and authored the now-classic "The Future of Online Learning".

At the University of Alberta he built a learning and research portal for the municipal sector in that province, Munimall, and another for the Engineering and Geology sector, PEGGAsus. He also pioneered the development of learning objects and was one of the first adopters and developers of RSS content syndication in education. Downes introduced the concept of e-learning 2.0 and with George Siemens developed and defined the concept of Connectivism, using the social network approach to deliver open online courses to three thousand participants over two years.

Downes has been offering courses in learning, logic, philosophy both online and off since 1987, has 135 articles published in books, magazines and academic journals, and has presented his unique perspective on learning and technology more than 250 times to audiences in 17 countries on five continents. He is a habitual photographer, plays darts for money, and can be found at home with his wife Andrea and four cats in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.

Biographie

Stephen Downes travaille pour le Conseil national de recherches du Canada, où il a servi en tant que chercheur principal, basé à Moncton, au Nouveau-Brunswick, depuis 2001. Affilié au Groupe des technologies de l'apprentissage et de la collaboration, Institut de technologie de l’information, Downes est spécialisé dans les domaines de l'apprentissage en ligne, les nouveaux médias, la pédagogie et la philosophie.

Downes est peut-être mieux connu pour son bulletin quotidien, OLDaily, qui est distribué par Internet, courriel et RSS à des milliers d'abonnés à travers le monde. Il a publié de nombreux articles à la fois en ligne et sur papier incluant The Future of Online Learning (1998), Learning Objects (2000), Resource Profiles (2003), et E-Learning 2.0 (2005). Il est un conférencier populaire, apparaissant à des centaines de manifestations à travers le monde au cours des quinze dernières années.

Vision Statement

I want and visualize and aspire toward a system of society and learning where each person is able to rise to his or her fullest potential without social or financial encumberance, where they may express themselves fully and without reservation through art, writing, athletics, invention, or even through their avocations or lifestyle.

Where they are able to form networks of meaningful and rewarding relationships with their peers, with people who share the same interests or hobbies, the same political or religious affiliations - or different interests or affiliations, as the case may be.

This to me is a society where knowledge and learning are public goods, freely created and shared, not hoarded or withheld in order to extract wealth or influence. This is what I aspire toward, this is what I work toward.


Canadians who gave their lives in service in Afghanistan

Hundreds of my IAAF Track & Field Photos from Moncton 2010

My calendar

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