Friday, March 25, 2011

Too many things to think about

Finishing up reading through Open Content Licensing for Educators

Wondering about the conversation going on around the
postponed SCoPE seminar on Engaging Students in Inquiry Learning
Does enquiry-based learning overlap with self-directed learning? Should students have their own objectives if the learning is self-directed?
Some of these discussions make me fear that one day I'll get into a "course" only to find that it has no beginning and no end and I'll be trapped inside
the course and never get any sense of completion.

Still concerned about unschooling and deschooling, etc. I can't shake the feeling that the end of the argument is that everyone's responsible for their own learning - and that lets society off the hook - and that taxpayers would be happy to have a reason to defund public schools since they really don't wish each other's children well anyway. Larger permanent underclass? Here we come!

Thinking about Douglas Ruskoff's Don't Give Up on the Humans video especially thinking about his comments on self-publishing at about 50:50.... He sees himself eventually skipping the traditional publisher route and hiring himself an editor - which he'll be able to afford since his share of the profits of self-publication will be better than the deal he's getting from traditional publishers. What would that job title be? Concierge editor? It sounds like there might be jobs for English majors after all!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Public education under duress

Stephen Downes "Governments should stop funding higher education" has a link to a Dallas Observer News article by Jim Schutze (March 17, 2011) with this quote "Up until this very moment I don't think many real people understood the magnitude of the ferocity of the attack being mounted on the basic institutions of our democracy by the ultra-right" That does seem to be the endgame. We've got items like this: What if public schools were abolished? with the argument that society means to take over our children and "indoctrinate them into civil religion." It seems in line with John Taylor Gatto's views about school as "indoctrination." Stephen Downes promises a longer paper soon with the argument that public education should be defended. I think this is what Jim Groom and Alan Levine were also defending in earlier comments concerning EduPunk. To the extent that EduPunk rails against "school," it plays into the hands of those who want to undo public education.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

OER quality

There's been a discussion about quality of open education resources - Tony Bates, Terry Anderson, Rory McGreal and others. Rory McGreal points out that OER do not have to be perfect in order to be useful. I'm struck with that idea. I was on a committee for a first year composition program and every semester there was a discussion of "textook." Not even most expensive, traditionally published textbook was considered perfect by all instructors. The committee was constantly on the look-out for a better textbook - or looking for a means to produce their own set of readings. What's "perfection"? Why not start with OER or create OER and refine the material as needed? Terry Anderson makes that point in a discussion of "produsage" - Axle Bruns' term used to describe materials that are produced by the people who use them. Isn't that the point of OER - take what you can use and re-write or produce what you need?

Some recent discussions:

Tony Bates: OERs: the good, the bad and the ugly

Tony Bates: A defence of the OER movement: Any which way you can

Terry Anderson: Quality of Open Educational Resources

David Wiley: The General Confusion around "Open"

Wayne Macintosh pointed to Sir John Daniel's "Will Higher Education Split?"

Friday, March 4, 2011

Filesharing Literacy

Quote du jour: "If libraries instituted a national policy of Filesharing Literacy, things could be worse for publishers..." - the Annoyed Librarian
. I like the filesharing literacy idea. It makes me want to start offering workshops on using Calibre ebook management (grin)

QR codes and augmented reality

Over the last couple of days, some of the librarians on the ILI-L discussion list are wondering about the use of QR codes in libraries. Some say it hasn't caught on yet, so why bother? I think QR codes - or something similar - are bound to become more ubiquitous. QR codes are showing up everywhere. The "wait until later" attitude was enough to get me to sign up for the March 16 session at Lori Bell and Tom Peters are involved. That's an excellent endorsement - and ought to be enough of a cue to make sure you know about QR codes and augmented reality right now.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

FIRST on the Diane Rehm show

Diane Rehm show on NPR today had something POSITIVE about education: Neal Bascomb: The New Cool (Thursday March 3, 2011). Dean Kamen and Amir Abo-Shaeer were the other guests discussing FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). Comments from callers were largely from students, parents, and other teachers involved in the robotics competition - and most were very excited about the program. There are YouTube videos and other materials about the program posted on the Diane Rehm website.