Landing : Athabascau University

Jon Dron

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Teaching Crowds cover Latest book - Teaching Crowds: Learning & Social Media: buy the book or download for free

  • Jon Dron commented on the file Two very proud fathers... 2 days ago
    Thanks Mary - yes, I am loving it!
  • Interesting MSc funding opportunity: quite a nice bursary available for a qualified candidate, to assist with some important research. From the site (see link for further details)... Master studentships in modelling of microflow and biofilm...
  • Jon Dron bookmarked Learnium April 25, 2017 - 4:55pm
    Learnium is yet another attempt to overlay a cloud-based social medium on institutional learning, in the same family as systems like Edmodo, Wikispaces Classroom, Lore, GoingOn, etc, etc. I deliberately exclude from this list the far more excellent,...
    • Jon,

      Your words echo my own experience with our version of the Landing, called Pace Commons.

      Although the Landing is often used for teaching purposes, it deliberately avoids things like institutional roles, and deliberately blurs such distinctions when its users make use of them (eg. when they create course groups). It can be quite confusing for students expecting a guided space and top-down structure, and annoying if you are a teacher trying to control the learning space to behave that way, but that's simply not how it is designed to work. The Landing is a learning space, where everyone is a teacher, not an institutional teaching space where the role is reserved for a few.


      I am hoping that the community feeling more comfortable (or at least more inclined to participate) in this learning space.

      Gerald Ardito 2 days ago

  • Researchers analyzing millions of posts across an assortment of popular social media assert that 63% of antisemitic posts were to be found on Twitter. The writers suggest: "The larger proportion of such hate speech found on Twitter could be because...
    • Jon,

      I agree with your comments:

      The only thing that the researchers could really have been looking at here was not the extent of antisemitism on different social media, but the ease with which they could find it.

      Thanks for sharing.


      Gerald Ardito March 29, 2017 - 5:01pm

  • 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,...
    • 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...