Elearnspace

What’s next for educational software?

Most educational software instantiates physical learning spaces. This is reflected in learning management systems, virtual classrooms, and interactive whiteboards. Essentially, we use new tools to do the work of old tools and largely fail, at first, to identify and advance the unique affordances of new technology.

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A learning system to meet the needs of a complex knowledge era

I had the opportunity to stop by edX last. I gave a talk on the type(s) of learning system(s) that are needed to address complex knowledge needs. A video the talk is available here. A key point that I wanted to communicate in the presentation is the importance of thinking about the intended needs of knowledge in society when talking about the future of higher education.

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Neoliberalism and MOOCs: Amplifying nonsense

I’ve said this many times over the past six months: If 2012 was the year of the MOOC, 2013 will be the year of the anti-MOOC. Things are unfolding nicely according to plan. Faculty don’t like MOOCs. Critiquing MOOCs is now more fashionable than advocating for them. Numerous quasi-connected fields that thrive on being against things have now coalesced to be against MOOCs.

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Join us: Stanford Learning Analytics Summer Institute

While MOOCs are sucking all of the oxygen out of the educational technology conversation, significant trends are developing under the radar. One of the most significant trends is around learning analytics. Next week, we (SoLAR, IEDMS and others) are organizing a Learning Analytics Summer Institute (LASI). A call for attendance was held earlier this year and the event was/is (massively) oversubscribed. We were only able to accept 100 attendees due to space and cost constraints.

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EdTech Innovation Conference

Our edtech innovation conference, held in Calgary May 1-3, is now more or less planned: http://edinnovation.ca/
I don’t think I’m overstating things when I say that there won’t be an edtech innovation conference in Canada this year that will have as stellar a line up of keynote speakers and panels: http://edinnovation.ca/conference/edinnovation-2013/

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Coursera needs to start acting like a platform

Coursera is now in an enviable position among MOOC providers: they have more students than all the other providers combined (Udacity, edX, FutureLearn, peripheral players like LMS companies). At this stage, Coursera is most like Google in its positioning (edX most like Apple in its attention to detail and quality).

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Group work advice for MOOC providers

The most valuable aspect of MOOCs is that the large number of learners enables the formation of sub-networks based on interested, geography, language, or some other attribute that draws individuals together. With 20 students in a class, limited options exist for forming sub-networks. When you have 5,000 students, new configurations are possible.

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Responding to the fragmentation of higher education

In early February, I had the pleasure of delivering a presentation to University of Victoria on the state of higher education and challenges of fragmentation. Thanks for Valerie Irvine and Jillianne Code from TIE Lab and the Faculty of Education for hosting me. Video and slides are embedded below.

Slides from the talk:

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Request: Partners and Pilot

Kuhn emphasized how most activity in science is evolutionary, operating within an existing framework. At a few rare points, anomalies arise that can no longer be addressed by existing frameworks and entirely new conceptions of a field arise. This model of change is relevant in education today.

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Negating the learner in the learning process

Yesterday, a Coursera course was closed after the first week of delivery. 40,000 students were left somewhat confused. I posted a few thoughts on this on our xeducation site. The interesting stuff is in the comments and that’s what I’d like to emphasize here.
Sarah Pravitra states:

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