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Tero Toivanen

Digital Citizenship | the human network - 0 views

  • The change is already well underway, but this change is not being led by teachers, administrators, parents or politicians. Coming from the ground up, the true agents of change are the students within the educational system.
  • While some may be content to sit on the sidelines and wait until this cultural reorganization plays itself out, as educators you have no such luxury. Everything hits you first, and with full force. You are embedded within this change, as much so as this generation of students.
  • We make much of the difference between “digital immigrants”, such as ourselves, and “digital natives”, such as these children. These kids are entirely comfortable within the digital world, having never known anything else. We casually assume that this difference is merely a quantitative facility. In fact, the difference is almost entirely qualitative. The schema upon which their world-views are based, the literal ‘rules of their world’, are completely different.
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  • The Earth becomes a chalkboard, a spreadsheet, a presentation medium, where the thorny problems of global civilization and its discontents can be explored out in exquisite detail. In this sense, no problem, no matter how vast, no matter how global, will be seen as being beyond the reach of these children. They’ll learn this – not because of what teacher says, or what homework assignments they complete – through interaction with the technology itself.
  • We and our technological-materialist culture have fostered an environment of such tremendous novelty and variety that we have changed the equations of childhood.
  • As it turns out (and there are numerous examples to support this) a mobile handset is probably the most important tool someone can employ to improve their economic well-being. A farmer can call ahead to markets to find out which is paying the best price for his crop; the same goes for fishermen. Tradesmen can close deals without the hassle and lost time involved in travel; craftswomen can coordinate their creative resources with a few text messages. Each of these examples can be found in any Bangladeshi city or Africa village.
  • The sharing of information is an innate human behavior: since we learned to speak we’ve been talking to each other, warning each other of dangers, informing each other of opportunities, positing possibilities, and just generally reassuring each other with the sound of our voices. We’ve now extended that four-billion-fold, so that half of humanity is directly connected, one to another.
  • Everything we do, both within and outside the classroom, must be seen through this prism of sharing. Teenagers log onto video chat services such as Skype, and do their homework together, at a distance, sharing and comparing their results. Parents offer up their kindergartener’s presentations to other parents through Twitter – and those parents respond to the offer. All of this both amplifies and undermines the classroom. The classroom has not dealt with the phenomenal transformation in the connectivity of the broader culture, and is in danger of becoming obsolesced by it.
  • We already live in a time of disconnect, where the classroom has stopped reflecting the world outside its walls. The classroom is born of an industrial mode of thinking, where hierarchy and reproducibility were the order of the day. The world outside those walls is networked and highly heterogeneous. And where the classroom touches the world outside, sparks fly; the classroom can’t handle the currents generated by the culture of connectivity and sharing. This can not go on.
  • We must accept the reality of the 21st century, that, more than anything else, this is the networked era, and that this network has gifted us with new capabilities even as it presents us with new dangers. Both gifts and dangers are issues of potency; the network has made us incredibly powerful. The network is smarter, faster and more agile than the hierarchy; when the two collide – as they’re bound to, with increasing frequency – the network always wins.
  • A text message can unleash revolution, or land a teenager in jail on charges of peddling child pornography, or spark a riot on a Sydney beach; Wikipedia can drive Britannica, a quarter millennium-old reference text out of business; a outsider candidate can get himself elected president of the United States because his team masters the logic of the network. In truth, we already live in the age of digital citizenship, but so many of us don’t know the rules, and hence, are poor citizens.
  • before a child is given a computer – either at home or in school – it must be accompanied by instruction in the power of the network. A child may have a natural facility with the network without having any sense of the power of the network as an amplifier of capability. It’s that disconnect which digital citizenship must bridge.
  • Let us instead focus on how we will use technology in fifty years’ time. We can already see the shape of the future in one outstanding example – a website known as RateMyProfessors.com. Here, in a database of nine million reviews of one million teachers, lecturers and professors, students can learn which instructors bore, which grade easily, which excite the mind, and so forth. This simple site – which grew out of the power of sharing – has radically changed the balance of power on university campuses throughout the US and the UK.
  • Alongside the rise of RateMyProfessors.com, there has been an exponential increase in the amount of lecture material you can find online, whether on YouTube, or iTunes University, or any number of dedicated websites. Those lectures also have ratings, so it is already possible for a student to get to the best and most popular lectures on any subject, be it calculus or Mandarin or the medieval history of Europe.
  • As the university dissolves in the universal solvent of the network, the capacity to use the network for education increases geometrically; education will be available everywhere the network reaches. It already reaches half of humanity; in a few years it will cover three-quarters of the population of the planet. Certainly by 2060 network access will be thought of as a human right, much like food and clean water.
  • Educators will continue to collaborate, but without much of the physical infrastructure we currently associate with educational institutions. Classrooms will self-organize and disperse organically, driven by need, proximity, or interest, and the best instructors will find themselves constantly in demand. Life-long learning will no longer be a catch-phrase, but a reality for the billions of individuals all focusing on improving their effectiveness within an ever-more-competitive global market for talent.
  •  
    Mark Pesce: Digital Citizenship and the future of Education.
Ted Curran

[Must Read!] Advice for Small Schools on the LMS Selection Process | e-Literate - 0 views

  • Migration is inevitable:
  • Migration can be an opportunity:
  • All of these systems are pretty good: It’s easy to get worried about making a “wrong” decision and picking the “inferior” product. The truth of the matter is that, given the needs of your institution (both present and foreseeable future), any of the major systems available in the US that I have some familiarity with (ANGEL, Blackboard, Desire2Learn, Moodle, and Sakai) will provide you with adequate functionality.
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  • Accept the possibility that you may have Stockholm Syndrome:
  • If you are an LMS support person, then it is likely that you are too close to the day-to-day operations to have good perspective on all aspects of how well your current system is meeting your school’s needs. Make sure you get input from people with a broad range of experiences, roles, and perspectives.
  • All of these systems are pretty bad:
  • all of these systems will probably fare pretty well. But part of that is because our expectations are low. The state of the art in LMS design is frankly not great.
  • Having a system with 39,000 seldom-used features that require a course to learn how to use is not as valuable to you as having a system with 39 features that most people will find useful and can figure out how to use on their own.
  • You may not be a good judge of usability:
  • a system seems easy to use once you know how to use it.
  • Your current faculty LMS heroes may be the worst judges of usability: There is nobody on your campus more likely to have Stockholm Syndrome than the faculty member who taught her first online class using your current LMS, has never used anything different, and has devoted literally hundreds of hours to optimising her course—squeezing every ounce of value out your current system by exploiting every weird little feature and even figuring out how to turn a couple of a couple of bugs to her advantage. There are ways in which her perspective will be extremely valuable to you (which I’ll get to shortly), but judging usability is not one of them.
  • Somebody who has taught using multiple LMS’s could be a good judge of usability: Faculty members who have taught using 2 or 3 (or more) LMS’s generally have some sense of what differences between platforms really matter and what differences don’t in a practical sense.
  • The quality of the support vendor is almost certainly more important than the quality of the software:
  • Don’t assume that you know what the deal is with open source:
  • Your relationship with your LMS is not that different than your relationship with GMail or Yahoo! Mail. It’s hosted on somebody else’s servers; you don’t know anything about the details of the software—the programming langauge it’s written in, how much of it is open source, what the architecture is, what hardware it runs on, etc.—and you don’t care.
  • What matters to you is that the thing that appears in your web browser works reliably and does what you need it to do. Go to the open source LMS support vendors. Tell them what your requirements and capabilities are. Either they will be able to meet your needs or they won’t. Don’t decide in advance of getting the facts.
  • Don’t worry too much about the long-term financial viability of the vendors:
Dennis OConnor

Wikipedia:Notability - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - 0 views

  • This page in a nutshell: If a topic has received significant coverage in reliable secondary sources that are independent of the subject, it is presumed to satisfy the inclusion criteria for a stand-alone article.
  • General notability guideline Shortcut: WP:GNG If a topic has received significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject, it is presumed to satisfy the inclusion criteria for a stand-alone article. "Significant coverage" means that sources address the subject directly in detail, and no original research is needed to extract the content. Significant coverage is more than trivial but may be less than exclusive.[1] "Reliable" means sources need editorial integrity to allow verifiable evaluation of notability, per the reliable source guideline. Sources may encompass published works in all forms and media. Availability of secondary sources covering the subject is a good test for notability.[2] "Sources,"[3] defined on Wikipedia as secondary sources, provide the most objective evidence of notability. The number and nature of reliable sources needed varies depending on the depth of coverage and quality of the sources. Multiple sources are generally preferred.[4] "Independent of the subject" excludes works produced by those affiliated with the subject including (but not limited to): self-publicity, advertising, self-published material by the subject, autobiographies, press releases, etc.[5] "Presumed" means that substantive coverage in reliable sources establishes a presumption, not a guarantee, of notability. Editors may reach a consensus that although a topic meets this criterion, it is not suitable for inclusion. For example, it may violate what Wikipedia is not.[6] A topic for which this criterion is deemed to have been met by consensus, is usually worthy of notice, and satisfies one of the criteria for a stand-alone article in the encyclopedia. Verifiable facts and content not supported by multiple independent sources may be appropriate for inclusion within another article.
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