by Stephen Downes
Jun 27, 2016
I know a lot of people will want this to be true but it's not. I've been inspired by various people over time: John Lennon. Doug Gilmour. Neil Young. Arsinio Hall. Jose Bautista. These are my role models. These are (among others) the people who inspire me. Not one of them is a teacher. Ergo, one does not need teachers in order to be inspired. I don't think that the field of education understands, in general, how much of what it does is also done by parents, role models, friends, professional associates, and more. If the core function - to teach - can be performed by a machine, then the ancillary functions - motivation, inspiration, socialization, etc. - can be performed by everyone else in society. And, indeed, should be performed by everyone else in society.
It's hacks like this that make the world great. What we have here is basically a PHP script that read a Blackboard-produced common cartridge (the URL is hard-coded and inaccessible to me; you will need to substitute your own), creates an array of resources from the manifest, gets the resources as necessary, and then saves them as WordPress posts. There's no guarantee that this script would work on any cartridge other than the one which was tested. The point is, if you create resources using open standards, people will find a way to use them creatively. Even if they come from Blackboard. Related: Importing Moodle into WordPress.
I think I've always known this, but Tony Bates, who has a foot placed firmly in each camp, has the data to support it: "open, online publishing will almost certainly reach more readers than a commercial publication or an academic journal." FWIW this is probably the one and only time I'll ever be lumped in with Justin Bieber and Donald Trump. Good plug for the BC Campus Open Textbook Project.
Interesting thesis: "by elaborating mechanical processes and spelling out how things worked – in striking contrast to the well-documented secrecy of the guilds – writers began to transform the mechanical arts from personal know-how into scientific knowledge... The world of the crafts – like that of politics – lost its magic; it broke free of its yoke to the divine.... Because secularisation subverted the notion of cosmic and metaphysical order, the rise of how-to books sowed the seeds of a more open and tolerant view of humanity."
This is one of the better lines I've read today (applies equally to the internet and to Brexit): "What those of us unversed in Marxist theory at the time didn’t realize was if you get rid of government you create a very fertile soil for the unbridled growth of corporations." Rushkoff, of course, is talking about what happened to the world of the internet he talked about in Cyberia. "Cyberia lay the philosophical foundation for the internet as an opportunity for a new kind of liberation. Rushkoff argued that the web could generate a new renaissance by birthing a technological civilization grounded in ancient spiritual truths. But a different story emerged."
This post defines 'remix culture' and what it means to education. It is a follow-up to an earlier piece on digital literacies in remix culture. "Remixing is the act of taking previously created works or artefacts and adapting them in some way," writes Steve Wheeler. I woukld have used the word 'other' rather than 'previously created' because items found in nature can also be part of a remix. And as Wheeler says, even though some schools may see it as undesirable, "Remixing is a creative process. It takes imagination to adapt an existing piece of art or music into something new or apply it in a completely different context."
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