By Stephen Downes - Stephen's Web. In which I finally stop using Patreon
Fluffy, Plaidophile, 2019/04/15
The title refers to the author (someone called 'Fluffy'), not me - I considered but never did use Patreon. I was about to, but their misstep a year ago scared me off, and I never did set up a creator account. And I can certainly feel Fluffy's angst about "using a platform, Patreon, that had absolutely no integration with outside sources. There was no way to republish RSS on Patreon, there was no way to subscribe to Patreon via RSS, it doesn’t even provide a way for a creator to export their own content off the platform. More...
In which I finally stop using Patreon
By Stephen Downes - Stephen's Web. In which I finally stop using Patreon
A Blockchain Enhanced Framework for Social Networking
By Stephen Downes - Stephen's Web. A Blockchain Enhanced Framework for Social Networking
Renita M. Murimi, Ledger, 2019/04/09
This paper (15 page PDF) proposes "a framework for secure, trustworthy social networking that also creates value for user-generated content by using a blockchain-enhanced framework for social networking." Obviously a similar approach could be used in educational networking. The framework proposes mechanisms for authenticating authorship, sharing options, recognition or reward, and algorithms for nuisance management (sentiment, trolling, spam). Where blockchain comes into play is in enabling these functions in decentralized systems while protecting user privacy. More...
Content Getting a New Personalized Voice, Image
By Stephen Downes - Stephen's Web. Content Getting a New Personalized Voice, Image
Miles Weston, Digital Producer Magazine, 2019/04/08
I've had a podcast for many years - here it is. It's not a nice neat podcast with weekly episodes and such - that's far too organized for me. But any time I give a talk I record the audio and throw the result into my podcast, and you can use the RSS feed to subscribe to it in your favourite podcatcher. All this by way of saying that I'm invested in the podcast genre, and it's something that resonates with me. This article points to and documents therise of the medium. "The popularity of special interest audio/video podcasts has grown steadily among both sexes and all age groups. With more than half of the world’s population now online, the breadth of audio and video shows capturing audience attention continues to grow." Podcasting will in the future be increasingly challenged by content silos with paywalls. More...
The Answer for Schools Is Not More Technology. It’s Teachers and Human Connection.
By Stephen Downes - Stephen's Web. The Answer for Schools Is Not More Technology. It’s Teachers and Human Connection.
Danielle Arnold-Schwartz, EdSurge, 2019/12/26
This item hits all the right buttons but it's fundamentally wrong. Yes, business-minded people thing of ed tech as a way to save money. Yes it's true that in many cases people need a human connection. Yes it's true that education is a core requirement for democracy. But it does not follow that "We need educational technology that puts highly trained teachers at the center of product design and implementation." And it does not follow that we should "forget the efforts to appeal to fiscal reforms." We need to lower costs, if education is to reach seven billion people. And there are many ways to create the necessary human connections without requiring teachers - our friends, family, co-workers, peers, mentors and online community are all made of people, and in many cases in a much better place to help us learn. More...
The Stories We Were Told about Education Technology (2019)
By Stephen Downes - Stephen's Web. The Stories We Were Told about Education Technology (2019)
Audrey Watters, Hack Education, 2019/12/25
Audrey Watters has amassed an impressive list of ed tech failures of one sort or another for the year and comments, "So much innovation and 'edsurgency.' And if we’re not careful, if we do not hold these entrepreneurs and barkers and politicians accountable, if we do not remember their failures and falsehoods, then we will find that all this will just repeat itself on into the next decade". More...
Mojo Vision’s AR Contact Lenses for your Eyes
By Stephen Downes - Stephen's Web. Mojo Vision’s AR Contact Lenses for your Eyes
Emory Craig, Digital Bodies, 2020/01/22
This is another item to put under the heading of 'future technology'. Not because it's impossible - the proofs of concept are already available. But because it will still take a lot of work to finish and commercialize. The technology in question is the augmented reality (AR) contact lens - that is, a contact lens that projects computer-generated data right into your field of vision. "The first versions will include a tiny single-core ARM-based processor and an image sensor. Later versions will add an eye-tracking sensor and a communications chip. More...
Deep learning 3: teaching to develop students’ mental models – responsive teaching update
By Stephen Downes - Stephen's Web. Deep learning 3: teaching to develop students’ mental models – responsive teaching update
Harry Fletcher-Wood, Improving Teaching, 2020/01/22
The focus of this article is on ways to help students develop mental models. As a strategy for remembering, having a model is useful - it's a lot easier to remember things when they're placed into a structure. But must remember this (this was the whole of my Master's Thesis) the model is not the reality. It's not a 'lens'. It's a aid for remembering, just in the same way the memory palace is a aid. The real skill here is being able to navigate from one model to another (a bit like depicted in the diagram), seeing the subject first from one view, then from another, keeping in mind all along that no view is the 'right' view. More...
How I write backends
By Stephen Downes - Stephen's Web. How I write backends
Federico Pereiro, GitHub, 2020/01/23
This is a good reference document for myself as I begin to think about how I want to write the next generation gRSShopper. It outlines a basic startup server configuration using a Linux OS, Redis database, Nginx server and Node.ja applications, with backup/sync on Amazon S3. I've looking at architecture B. Since this is in essence a personal application, it shouldn't need to scale beyond that (though there are scaling options if I'm wrong). More...
Samsung’s Neon Project – Artificial Humans or Chatbots?
By Stephen Downes - Stephen's Web. Samsung’s Neon Project – Artificial Humans or Chatbots?
Emory Craig, Digital Bodies, 2020/01/15
Though “fictionalized and simulated for illustrative purposes only”, products like Samsung’s Neon are being called ‘artificial humans’, “a computationally created virtual being that looks and behaves like a real human, with the ability to show emotions and intelligence.” This article talks about the potential and also raises some (much-needed) scepticism. As the author writes, "If you’re going to give us artificial humans, then, by all means, do so. We have enough illustrations from SciFi to tide us over in the interim." If we extrapolate to the world of artificial teachers (and why not?) we should ask, do we want our AI teachers to have feelings and emotions? Does that help them become more sympathetic. More...
New year, new browser – The new Microsoft Edge is out of preview and now available for download
By Stephen Downes - Stephen's Web. New year, new browser – The new Microsoft Edge is out of preview and now available for download
Joe Belfiore, Microsoft Windows Blogs, 2020/01/15
The new Microsoft Edge browser - the first built on the Chromium browser engine - has been released and is available for general download. Features include "AAD support, Internet Explorer mode, 4K streaming, Dolby audio, inking in PDF, Microsoft Search in Bing integration, support for Chrome-based extensions, and more." What I want to know is how well ad-blocking works. More...