18 octobre 2019

Casualties of the future: college closures and queen sacrifices

By Stephen Downes - Stephen's Web. Casualties of the future: college closures and queen sacrifices
Bryan Alexander, 2019/02/26
The primary value of this article is that it lists a welter of college closures and cutbacks, a list suitable for reference when encountering a person who says that the existing system is secure and unchanging. Bryan Alexander postulates that we are now in a boundary zone, "right in the midst of a switching period, a liminal space, marked by uncertainty and instability". More...

Posté par pcassuto à 09:33 - - Permalien [#]


It’s about Trust, Stupid! Why Blockchain-based BlockCerts are the wrong solution to a false problem (2/3)

By Stephen Downes - Stephen's Web. It’s about Trust, Stupid! Why Blockchain-based BlockCerts are the wrong solution to a false problem (2/3)
Serge Ravet, Learning Futures, 2019/02/26
Serge Ravet offers an extended and well-argued case against the use of blockcerts in education. The term 'blockcert' refers to a specific approach using blockchain to validate digital credentials. The question being posed asks what advantage they have over badges and (especially) the Verifiable Claims W3C specification. The problem, argues Ravet, is different from the solution offered by blockchain: "A credential is not fungible, i.e. its ownership can’t be transferred to someone else or transformed into something different, like exchanging a credential for a bowl of lentil stew. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 09:33 - - Permalien [#]

Do Better at Conference Diversity

By Stephen Downes - Stephen's Web. Do Better at Conference Diversity
Hopper, 2019/02/26
This is good advice not just for conference organizers but for educational facilitators generally. Suggestions range from the obvious (have women on your organizing committee) to the unexpected (consider alternatives to the conference t-shirt). I like that they recommend not just gender diversity but also "racial diversity, age diversity and other forms of diversity." I would add that you don't just want different colours and shapes, you want people offering diverse perspectives. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 09:32 - - Permalien [#]

Once hailed as unhackable, blockchains are now getting hacked

By Stephen Downes - Stephen's Web. Once hailed as unhackable, blockchains are now getting hacked
Mike Orcutt, MIT Technology Review, 2019/02/21
One of my colleagues, Andriy Drozdyuk, has been saying all along that there is only one real blockchain, Bitcoin, because the innovation is as much social as it is technical. It is the investment and number of distinct users that makes it secure, not the technology. The recent Ethereum Classic hack may be proving him right. In this hack, bad actors took over more than half of the nodes and then began to write 'double spend' transactions, effectively defrauding the system. Ths is th sort of attack blockchain technology - though not necessarily Bitcoin - is vulnerable to. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 09:31 - - Permalien [#]

Vast amounts of data about our children are being harvested via apps used by schools. This is what is being collected and stored

By Stephen Downes - Stephen's Web. Vast amounts of data about our children are being harvested via apps used by schools. This is what is being collected and stored
Jamie Manolev, Anna Sullivan, Roger Slee, EduResearch Matters, 2019/02/21
This article references a recent report published by the UK Children’s Commission on data collection in schools, but the bulk of the article is dedicated to the data-collection activities of ClassDojo. The authors write, " New research examining ClassDojo is raising concerns about how student data about behaviour may be collected, accumulated and then used." The range of data collected is a bit astonishing, and includes such things as "working hard, on-task, and displaying grit". More...

Posté par pcassuto à 09:30 - - Permalien [#]


The Unstoppable Rise of Sci-Hub: How does a new generation of researchers perceive Sci-Hub?

By Stephen Downes - Stephen's Web. The Unstoppable Rise of Sci-Hub: How does a new generation of researchers perceive Sci-Hub?
David Nicholas, LSE Impact Blog, 2019/02/21
The author is not a Sci-Hub fan (calling its appeal "ideological" and its business model " a pure and unashamed ‘pirate’", but he does accurately capture the value of Sci-Hub vis-a-vis other reserach article sharing sites such as ResearchGate. "Sci-Hub’s attraction, unlike RG’s, is not its social media features (it has none), but that it offers free and relatively easy access to millions of papers harvested (illegally) from publishers’ websites". More...

Posté par pcassuto à 09:29 - - Permalien [#]

2019 National High School Big Data Challenge: Big Data de Terre

By Stephen Downes - Stephen's Web. 2019 National High School Big Data Challenge: Big Data de Terre
STEM Fellowship Journal, 2019/02/21
I spent the day today as a judge in the Big Data Challenge for high school students at SAS in Toronto. This publication contains the abstracts of the finalists. "This year’s challenge provided a multidisciplinary competitive opportunity; over a period of three months, teams analysed sustainability data through the prism of computational methods. Teams worked to reveal the impact of environmental conditions on human health and well-being, diving into predictive analytics of optimal envi-ronmental characteristics for long-term, long-distance space travel. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 09:29 - - Permalien [#]

◇ф(3ψ2)=666

By Stephen Downes - Stephen's Web. ◇ф(3ψ2)=666
Metafilter, 2019/02/20
My first thought when I looked at this was, "Yow, this is hard." I still think it's pretty hard, but I also think that it's a nice way to get people to think about math and to reframe math problems in an interesting way. The idea is that the diamond represents a function which, when defined, will yield a value of '666' when combined with the rest of the problem. So if you have, say "◇665" then the correct answer is "f(x) = x+1". See that I mean? You're thinking of math in terms of functions, not just numbers and variables. It's been made into an app, but you don't actually need the app. If I were a teacher, I'd offer one of these a day, starting with easy ones, and progressing through the year with more and more complex problems, rewarding the class (not an individual) if it's solved by the end of the day. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 09:28 - - Permalien [#]

Getting Clearer Signals From Employers

By Stephen Downes - Stephen's Web. Getting Clearer Signals From Employers
Paul Fain, Inside Higher Ed, 2019/02/20
This is another step in an iterative process that is tightening the linkage between employers and education institutions. The idea is that the network’s goal is to use standardization about needed job skills, or competencies, and open data systems to 'better align student, work-force and credentialing data with the needs of the economy.'" The next step, obviously, is to describe students' skills in terms of these standards. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 09:27 - - Permalien [#]

Actually, Higher Ed is Not That Similar to the Newspaper Industry

By Stephen Downes - Stephen's Web. Actually, Higher Ed is Not That Similar to the Newspaper Industry
Steven D. Krause, 2019/02/20
Steven Krause response to a point raised in the Chronicle this week (and a point I've made numerous times over the last two decades) about the similarities between education and news media. First, he says, "while content 'scales,' education and assessment do not."  Second, he writes, "people who make this comparison to journalism... underestimate the depth and breadth of higher education." Third, he says, "while most people seeking news don’t like to pay for it, almost all would-be college students (and their families) are more than willing to pay." I think there are responses to each of those arguments. I  would note, especially, that when I was a young paper carrier, everybody paid for news. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 09:26 - - Permalien [#]