27 septembre 2019

“The Linux of social media”—How LiveJournal pioneered (then lost) blogging

By Stephen Downes - Stephen's Web. “The Linux of social media”—How LiveJournal pioneered (then lost) blogging
Steven T. Wright, Ars Technica, 2019/02/05
I was never really a LiveJournal person but I might have been. It was a coin toss when I opted for Blogger instead. LiveJournal competed well with blogs but weren't able to match social media. It wasn't lack of features; it was usability. "We had basically all the major features you see today, like a friends page. But we didn’t quite figure out how to tell the story or keep people interested. We had every option, but nobody could get it to work." Eventually the site was sold to Russian investors. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 14:08 - - Permalien [#]


Using Artificial Intelligence to Generate Alt Text on Images

By Stephen Downes - Stephen's Web. Using Artificial Intelligence to Generate Alt Text on Images
Nino Ross Rodriguez, CSS Tricks, 2019/02/05
The title of this post makes it irresistable, but the content doesn't really match the title. The idea is that we can use Microsoft's AI service to automatically generate captions for images. I've tested it and it's actually pretty good, but it's not especially easy to see how easy this is. Yes, there's Take Sarah Drasner’s generator, which show you in a CodePen, but it's pretty complex. And yes, the sample in the article works, if you know what you're doing. And the Microsoft page is really heavy. So what I did is create a really simple version of it. Here it is. You will have to get a subscription key from Microsoft (there's a link on the page), but it's free and easy. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 14:08 - - Permalien [#]

Has Social Learning Been Forgotten?

By Stephen Downes - Stephen's Web. Has Social Learning Been Forgotten?
Mark Britz, The Simple Shift, 2019/02/05
This article is pretty light and at times awkwardly written, but it does raise the interesting question, "has social learning been forgotten?" It's a good question. "Social learning isn’t seen first as learning but rather the emphasis is on the 'social' which to many still means chit-chat, Facebook friends and cats on a Roomba GIFs." And "Social learning, unlike its counterpart, formal learning, is a messy many-to-many rather than the neat one-to-many model of training." So it's hard to measure. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 14:07 - - Permalien [#]

Past the Point of No Return: The Not-So-Shadow Education Sector

By Stephen Downes - Stephen's Web. Past the Point of No Return: The Not-So-Shadow Education Sector
Sasha Thackaberry, WCET Frontiers, 2019/02/05
This came up on Bryan Alexander's podcast, it came up in a post I wrote yesterday, and it keeps coming up as people talk about the "future of education" and "the future of colleges" as though they're one and the same thing. They're not. That's why Sasha Thackaberry writes, "The point-of-no-return has been reached in higher education; most institutions just don’t know it." What we're seeing is a constant increase in the range and volume of alternatives. "Into this landscape comes the 'Shadow Education Sector,' which is increasingly less shadowy," writes Thackaberry. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 14:06 - - Permalien [#]

I Subscribed To Push Notifications From 12 News Outlets For 3 Months — Here’s What I Learned

By Stephen Downes - Stephen's Web. I Subscribed To Push Notifications From 12 News Outlets For 3 Months — Here’s What I Learned
Cassie Dagostino, Medium, 2019/02/08
Though this article is focused on push notifications about U.S. politics from U.S. mainstream media, the lessons to be drawn are, I think, more widely applicable. Take the time to read the sample notifications. I think that if you study anything - yes, including math and science - you're going to get a similar range of perspectives (this certainly applies in the field of ed tech). Some sources are inherently untrustworthy, some sources focus on specific types of stories, some sources have a certain point of view, and some sources are generally reliable (but with some glaring blind spots). More...

Posté par pcassuto à 14:05 - - Permalien [#]


Connecting Personalized Professional Learning to a Bigger Purpose

By Stephen Downes - Stephen's Web. Connecting Personalized Professional Learning to a Bigger Purpose
George Couros, The Principal of Change, 2019/02/08
I thought this was a good conversation on the pull between personal learning on the one hand and ensuring all learning aligns with the institutional mission on the other hand. The problem I see in the workplace is that employers sometimes equate the latter - 'learning that aligns with vision' - with 'learning what you are told to learn'. But of course the two are not synonymous at all; visions are broad and aspirational, while specific mandates are task-centered and focused - and of limited value. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 14:04 - - Permalien [#]

An e-textbook scandal rocks Antigua

By Stephen Downes - Stephen's Web. An e-textbook scandal rocks Antigua
GEM Report, World Education Blog, 2019/02/08
There's no shortage of e-textbook companies willing to prey on the smaller and poorer nations of the world, it seems. Here we have a case where e-textbooks were bought from FortunaPix for $9 million, but where they levied "an additional licensing fee of US$250 for every eBook user per year." That is a lot of money for textbooks. The UNESCO authors note that "the 2017/8 GEM Report on accountability dedicated a whole chapter to the need to hold private actors to account in education". More...

Posté par pcassuto à 14:04 - - Permalien [#]

Fragmentary Thoughts on Data (and “Analytics”) in Online Distance Education

By Stephen Downes - Stephen's Web. Fragmentary Thoughts on Data (and “Analytics”) in Online Distance Education
Tony Hirst, OUseful Info, 2019/02/08
What's the purpose of using data and analytics on online learning? This seemingly simple question hides a deep divide. On the one hand, we could use it to improve our online materials. That's the approach we almost never take. "That approach also stands in marked contrast to the learning analytics view," writes Tony Hirst, "which is more akin to the current dystopia being developed by Google et al. In this world, data is collected not to improve the thing we control (the course content, structure and navigation) but to control the user so they better meet our metrics. Data is collected not so that we can make interventions in the thing we control (the course content, structure and navigation) but “the product” — the student. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 14:03 - - Permalien [#]

The News From Second Life

By Stephen Downes - Stephen's Web. The News From Second Life: An Interview with Peter Ludlow
Interesting set of interviews with Peter Ludlow (Part One, Part Two), who is both "muckraking journalist in Second Life [and] a professor in the department of Philosophy and Linquistics at the University of Michigan." The conversation is both fascinating and infuriating. I nod with agreement when Ludlow says, of the Avastar (a PDF-based Second Life newspaper), "They had an opportunity to come to this strange and fantastic new place where all the rules can be rewritten, and the only thing they could think of doing was coming up with a product that mimics meat space newspapers as much as possible." But I dislike the combative response to criticisms of Second Life. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 13:58 - - Permalien [#]

Can You Plagiarize A Photograph?

By Stephen Downes - Stephen's Web. Can You Plagiarize A Photograph?
You stand in the same place as someone did once before, point your camera in the same direction - usually at something obvious, like the Eiffel Tower or the Sydney Opera House - and you take what amounts to the same picture as your predecessor. Is it plagiarism? The answer is not so obvious as you might think. Certainly, there is a premium for originality - I was really pleased in 2004, for example, to have been able to take this photo of the opera house from a different angle than the thousands of shots taken before mine. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 13:58 - - Permalien [#]