Landing : Athabascau University

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  • Jon Dron bookmarked Every attempt to manage academia makes it worse March 22, 2017 - 12:09pm
    Excellent post from Mike Taylor on the inevitable consequences of the use of incentives to shape a system (in this case, an educational system). As Mike notes, the problem is well-known and well understood, yet  otherwise intelligent people...
  • Jon Dron commented on a bookmark Babies in the learning-style bathwater March 15, 2017 - 10:18am
    I'd still love to supervise a comparative study into the use of learning styles vs use of astrology or phrenology to pick a teaching strategy. I strongly suspect there'd be no significant difference. It would be equally good fun to invent a...
  • Jon Dron bookmarked Babies in the learning-style bathwater March 14, 2017 - 1:00pm
    A recent Guardian article reports on a letter sent to the paper by 30 eminent academics from neuroscience, education, and psychology disciplines, voicing concerns about the absurd popularity of learning styles among teachers. They are, of course,...
    Comments
    • I'd still love to supervise a comparative study into the use of learning styles vs use of astrology or phrenology to pick a teaching strategy. I strongly suspect there'd be no significant difference. It would be equally good fun to invent a plausible but totally unfounded learning style theory and compare that. Maybe something based on the big 5 personality types so that it seems sciencey.

      Your comment on personalization is spot on. In some ways it would actually be worse if it worked. Even if a system does increase the speed/efficiency of learning as a result (as measured in tests) the assumption that the teacher-specified outcome is the one and only point of the learning process describes pretty much everything that is wrong with our educational systems today. Not a recipe for cognitive flexibility, not transformative, not life-changing, just a better form of indoctrination.

       

      Jon Dron March 15, 2017 - 10:18am

    • I think we could get a grant for a phrenology study. Surely, it will be resurrected as a new fad in education any day now.

      So, you are saying indoctrination is a bad thing? Laughing

      Gerald Ardito March 15, 2017 - 12:35pm

    • Interesting article Jon. I can believe that 80% of teachers in the UK and the Netherlands believe that student learn best in their prefered style. (I wonder what the percentage would be in Canada.)

      I used various learning style inventories for quite a few Septembers for a couple of reasons. They gave me a chance to learn a lot about students and their approaches to things like following directions in a way that engaged them - who doesn't like thinking about themselves? It also gave me the opportunity to introduce the concept of metacognition and using strategies for learning. I was also curious about the whole idea and noticed that although I had inventories that were designed to be age appropriate, students didn't develop preferences until they were 10 or 11. Until then their profiles were flat. 

      In the end, if they prompt teachers to accept learning strategies that are different from their own and encourage students to think about how they learn, there is some good in them, but they're a long way from science. 

      Mary McNabb March 15, 2017 - 10:30pm

  • Jon Dron uploaded the file The teaching crowd vs the teaching mob February 24, 2017 - 6:30pm
    Slides for my keynote at ICRPE, Islamabad, today. In this talk I will be talking about fundamental weaknesses in both existing educational systems - especially the notion of the course - and in the open online social alternatives that are currently...
  • Jon Dron commented on the blog University Culture in the group AU Anthropology Interest Group February 20, 2017 - 10:31am
    A very important discussion. I've cited the same show in a post I'm writing (if I find the time, should be on the Landing today or tomorrow but, if not, quite soon) in part because I devoutly share the authors' concerns about the corporatization of...
  • Machines might be very good at *identifying* problems, and that's great, but humans are needed to react to and deal with them: there are infinite possible ways to do that, and there are always vastly many opportunities to heal rifts, and make things...
  • Jon Dron commented on the file Jon Dron February 14, 2017 - 4:43pm
    Hi Hooper - I think you need to contact your tutor, Mushtaq (mushtaqa@athabascau.ca) who will be able to help you. I'm sure it will be no problem! Jon
  • Jon Dron bookmarked Free download of 'Digital Habitats'! February 13, 2017 - 6:50pm
    Wenger, White, & Smith's excellent "Digital Habitats: stewarding technology for communities" is now available for free, in major ebook formats! I really like this book: though it is a bit of a patchwork in places, longer than it needs to be,...
    Comments
    • Jon,

      Thanks for sharing the book. I look forward to reading it.

      Thanks also for sharing your stand about readings not being required. I have been trying to communicate same to my students and they both like and fear the freedom.

      Gerald Ardito February 13, 2017 - 7:06pm

  • Reporting on a very interesting study (linked from the article) on aggressive comments on Wikipedia pages, revealing that less than half of all personal attacks on the site are from anonymous users. Although it is true (as conventional wisdom...
    Comments
    • Hi Dr. Dron,

      Interesting topic. Your comment about having reserve if this was automated reminds me of Linus Torvald's concerns when his lieutenants wanted to use automated code merges. He resisted for a while and then wrote Git. It's become common place to just trust code merges now with high degree of confidence. 

      What concerns you with an automated system for detecting and responding to attacks when there are known patterns? Assume of course that there these changes still hit the Wiki history and there is some way to appeal. (I'm not enticing you to write this tool though ;-) )

      -dc-

      Daryl Campbell February 15, 2017 - 12:57pm

    • Machines might be very good at *identifying* problems, and that's great, but humans are needed to react to and deal with them: there are infinite possible ways to do that, and there are always vastly many opportunities to heal rifts, and make things positive again. It's about humans socializing with humans and the smartest AI in the world does not yet (and likely never will) know what it is like to be a human, so will not be able to respond creatively or appropriately to that unique social context.

      Jon Dron February 15, 2017 - 1:54pm

  • Jon Dron commented on the file Two very proud fathers... February 4, 2017 - 12:53pm
    I sure hope so, Shauna! Sometimes, when my kids were being difficult, I used to console myself with the thought that, one day, they would have children of their own, and I would be the grandparent that spoiled them rotten. My hour has come around at...
  • Jon Dron commented on the file Two very proud fathers... February 2, 2017 - 10:07am
    Thanks Viorel, thanks Shauna! Indeed, it all comes flooding back. Amongst other things, I had almost forgotten how, as a new parent, so much of your world revolves around the quality and frequency of your baby's poops :-). I must say that these two...
  • Jon Dron commented on a bookmark TSUGI - Tsugi Framework for Building Learning Tools January 31, 2017 - 11:53am
    ps. for lovers of analytics, this is of course integrally supported. You can use any analytics tools you like.
  • TSUGI is a very interesting approach to building a NGDLE (Next gen digital learning environment). It is another in a long line of fine projects by Chuck Severance, who is one of the leaders of Sakai (last gen digital learning environment), and who...
    Comments
    • ps. for lovers of analytics, this is of course integrally supported. You can use any analytics tools you like.

      Jon Dron January 31, 2017 - 11:53am

  • Jon Dron commented on the file Two very proud fathers... January 31, 2017 - 10:28am
    Thanks Gerald, Louis, and Stu! Yes, so lucky.
  • Jon Dron commented on the file Two very proud fathers... January 30, 2017 - 8:31pm
    Thanks Mary and Mike - yes, indeed, every time I see him I smile or cry or both. Still feel the same way about his father, as it happens. Both parents still shattered and shell-shocked but utterly joyful. They only moved into their new home a couple...
  • Jon Dron commented on the file Two very proud fathers... January 30, 2017 - 7:23pm
    Jasper would like to say thanks, Terry, though, disappointingly, he doesn't yet have the typing skills (but he does have the most beautiful, perfect little fingers), so I thank you and Susan on his behalf!  And thanks Simon - yes, we're pleased...
  • Jon Dron commented on the file Two very proud fathers... January 30, 2017 - 6:29pm
    Jasper
  • Jon Dron commented on the file Two very proud fathers... January 30, 2017 - 5:57pm
    Thanks Simon - I could not be more pleased!
  • Jon Dron uploaded the file Two very proud fathers... January 30, 2017 - 5:03pm
    ...and two very beautiful sons. I'm now grandparent to a perfect little Canuck. Best. Thing. Ever.
    Comments
    • Thanks Viorel, thanks Shauna!

      Indeed, it all comes flooding back. Amongst other things, I had almost forgotten how, as a new parent, so much of your world revolves around the quality and frequency of your baby's poops :-). I must say that these two are so much readier and more capable than we ever were, but I don't think any parent can be fully prepared for the seismic upheaval it brings to everything. So nice as a grandparent to just get the good bits and not have to deal with that again.

      Jon Dron February 2, 2017 - 10:07am

    • For sure!  It seems more these days than when I was a kid that kids really enjoy spending time with their grandparents.  My kids see their grandparents as buddies, they call my mother-in-law to come over and tell them jokes at bed time just when I am trying to shut the house down for the night!  You will have fun!

      Shauna

      Shauna Reckseidler-Zenteno February 3, 2017 - 10:25pm

    • I sure hope so, Shauna! Sometimes, when my kids were being difficult, I used to console myself with the thought that, one day, they would have children of their own, and I would be the grandparent that spoiled them rotten. My hour has come around at last :-)

      Jon Dron February 4, 2017 - 12:53pm

  • Jon Dron commented on the blog Social Media as cage January 29, 2017 - 8:00pm
    A really interesting set of connections - a line of thought worth pursuing. I'm mildly sceptical of the notion of Internet (or social media, or game) addiction, though I've supervised projects and adjudicated on a few papers on the topic, so I...
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