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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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: 127 Total: 127 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: 117 Total: 117 Kate Schwass, Education Next, 2017/06/26 [Direct Link]

Relaunching E-Learn: A magazine and online platform designed for and by the teaching and learning community

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This should not be confused with eLearn Magazine, which has long been published by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and in which my paper E-Learning 2.0 appeared all those years ago. It is the E-learn Magazine, a product of Nivel Siete, a Blackboard company. We read, "Functioning as a cooperative, E-Learn works with contributors to create and share meaningful dialogue, and action, around current topics in education. Topics and trends are determined by the community. E-Learn is built to be a voice for the frontline of education and technology — what’s current, what’s challenging, what’s working?" It's supposed to be "an openness initiative" but I don't see any copyright information beyond the full copyright mark at the bottom of the page.

Today: 115 Total: 224 Laureano Díaz, Blackboard Blog, 2017/06/23 [Direct Link]

Iris.ai

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The idea behind Iris.ai is that you provide it with the URL of a research paper and it provides you with a set or related papers (from a database of 60 million open access papers)  organized by category. For example, I gave it New Models of Open and Distributed Learning and got 259 related papers grouped by concept.Some of them didn't relate directly. Now, given that it didn't ask me to log in, I assume you will get the same results I did. Which raises the question: does the content of a research paper (or anything, actually) determine the best set of associated resources? Probably not. I think that the easy AI question is to associate things based on their properties. That's where we get algorithms like Nearest Neighbor (NN) and the like. But the hard AI question is to associate things based on the already existing set of associations (for example, the fact that I've already read such-and-such a paper, or the fact that George cited it in a paper he wrote in 2014, etc).

Today: 104 Total: 233 Iris AI AS, 2017/06/23 [Direct Link]

Why EdTech Sucks

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Over the last few months Graham Brown-Martin has authored a number of posts critical of the existing education technology (edtech) industry, and it's hard to disagree with his core points. "EdTech today doesn’t really exist," he writes. "At best it’s just education using modern appliances but at worst it’s focus is the reductive standardisation of teaching and learning to 'teacher-proof' content distribution and testing... EdTech as a thing has been hijacked and whilst there has been a period of more investment than at any time I can remember this hasn’t been matched by a commensurate increase in innovation." I think this is true. And while I wouldn't say there is no edtech any more, I think it's harder and harder to find in and among those vendors who treat education as a search problem and technology as a way to force people to ingest the right content.

Today: 91 Total: 221 Graham Brown-Martin, Learning {Re}imagined, 2017/06/23 [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.