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Stephen's Web ~ OLDaily

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Recent Posts

Quality For News Is Mostly About Solving The Reputation Issue
Stephen's Web ~ OLDaily

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Monday Note, Medium, Mar 26, 2017


I hear this sort of sentiment a lot, and also with respect to learning resource quality as well. The idea is to be sure you're depending on authoritative sources, or at the very least, reliable sources. But how is this established. "A close look at a precise set of signals can reveal a lot about journalistic quality," says the authors. What signals? Awards, newsroom size, years of operation. But wait, I say to myself. Awards can be manipulated, you have to pay to qualify, and they reward conformity and compliance, usually. Continue to the bottom and you see the advertisement for the data journalism awards. Coincidence? As it turns out, no. The author, Frederic Filloux, is  affiliated with the awards, and is on  the board of Global Editor News, the sponsor of the awards. OK, it's not Watergate. But this is how you evaluate whether whether journalism is credible.

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Sat, 25 Mar 2017 12:: -0400

Twitter Exploring Premium Subscription Service
Stephen's Web ~ OLDaily

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Mike Murphy, Market Watch, Mar 25, 2017


The suggestion is that Twitter might roll out an enhanced 'tweet-deck' application for a monthly fee. "The premium version would be aimed at marketers, journalists and professionals." Twitter is stalled at just over 300 million users and low ad revenue. This news comes on the heels on an announcement that Medium will start charging a 'membership' fee no long after officially giving up on an ad-supported business model. The move has drawn some  harsh criticism from pundits. But here's the problem: it's really hard to find any other sustainability model. I suggested a  number of possibilities a decade ago, but most do not fit the private enterprise VC-funded model.

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Fri, 24 Mar 2017 08:: -0400

Voice Is The Next Big Platform, Unless You Have An Accent
Stephen's Web ~ OLDaily

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Sonia Paul, Backchannel, Mar 23, 2017


I have mixed feelings about the importance of voice commands. Yes, we will need voice - we frequently need to communicate with a computer when we are otherwise occupied, as for example when we are driving. And a computer can be a participant in a conversation, as for example on Star Trek. But voice commands can be appropriate in crowds and public spaces, or for activities where privacy is important. Also, voice, like a lot of things, depends on artificial intelligence (AI), and as this story suggests, bias can be built into AI. Hence Alexa's inability to understand an accented voice. This will eventually become a security feature, as voice learns to train on specific voices, accent and all. But for now it's a problem.

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Thu, 23 Mar 2017 11:: -0400

This Article Won’T Change Your Mind
Stephen's Web ~ OLDaily

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Julie Beck, The Atlantic, Mar 23, 2017


Some time about 20 years ago I decided that i would stop arguing, and start explaining. It was no longer about convincing others, it was about making my own reasoning clear. Why? because after almost two decades in philosophy I concluded that nobody is convinced by argumentation. Yes, I have relapses, because I'm temperamentally argumentative, but these are exclamations, not exhortations. "Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point..." This, in a nutshell, is the history of philosophy. What will change minds? Personal experience, interactions with friends, and cognitive dissonance. That's why to teach really is 'to model and demonstrate'. Anyhow. Good article. Won't change your mind, but is worth reading in any case.

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Thu, 23 Mar 2017 09:: -0400

Brace Yourself For The Bitcoin Hard Fork
Stephen's Web ~ OLDaily

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Rob Blasetti, Decentralize Today, Mar 23, 2017


There's a lot of history behind this one, but essentially  the split is between the original developers, who want to keep the size of a block limited, and Bitcoin miners (ie., the people who actually encrypt the blocks), who want the size of the block to grow. This can happen in distributed systems. It's not necessarily a bug; think of it as being like mitosis, where a simple network begins to develop into a complex network. But the short term message is risk. Lots of it, because this sort of thing hasn't happened a lot yet (though  it has happened to Ethereum).

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Thu, 23 Mar 2017 08:: -0400

Thoughts On The Umuc It Spin Off
Stephen's Web ~ OLDaily

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Joshua Kim, Inside Higher Ed, Mar 23, 2017


This article offers reflections on a recent University of Maryland University College (UMUC)  initiative to spin off its IT department into a for-profit company.  Joshua Kim writes, "The new company, to be called AccelerEd, will be made up of the 100 or so professionals who work for UMUC’ s Office of Information Technology. This moves follows the previous spin off of UMUC analytics unit into a for-profit company called HelioCampus." What about online learning, though? "In online learning, there is not a place where teaching ends and technology starts. How do you separate the two?" I don't see this experiment working out well.

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Wed, 22 Mar 2017 18:: -0400

Scholars Behind Bars
Stephen's Web ~ OLDaily

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Jonathan Zimmerman, New York Review of Books, Mar 23, 2017


Summary and discussion of two books about teaching college classes in prison. "Just as a poor education transports people into prison, a rich one can transform them beyond it." It's focused especially on the  Bard Prison Initiative (BPI). It shades into an interesting discussion of the value of an arts-focused education as compared to business or trades.

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Wed, 22 Mar 2017 17:: -0400

Linked Data Notifications
Stephen's Web ~ OLDaily

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World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), Mar 23, 2017


Linked data Notifications (LDN) is a little standard with big potential. It's very simple: you send a message to a server. I receive a notification. I access the server and retrieve the message. That's it. It sounds a lot like email, but it isn't email. In many ways it's better than email. It can be used to announce publications. It can be used to build a decentralized  social network like sloph. From where I'm sitting, it could help a MOOC communicate with a PLE.

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Wed, 22 Mar 2017 16:: -0400

A Continuum On Personalized Learning: First Draft
Stephen's Web ~ OLDaily

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Larry Cuban, Larry Cuban on School Reform, Classroom Practice, Mar 23, 2017


Larry Cuban describes a continuum between "teacher-centered lessons within the traditional age-graded school.... switching back and forth between phrases on 'competency-based education' and 'personalization'" and 'student-centered classrooms, programs, and schools often departing from the traditional age-graded school model'. The latter is what I have been calling "personal learning" and while Cuban stresses he will place "no value for either end (or the middle) of the personalized learning continuum" I've been pretty clear in my support for personal learning (though this hasn't earned me many friends).

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Wed, 22 Mar 2017 14:: -0400

Do Healthy Lunches Improve Student Test Scores?
Stephen's Web ~ OLDaily

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Melinda D. Anderson, The Atlantic, Mar 23, 2017


While cautioning that test scores are a partial and often biased indication of learning, it has nonetheless been shown on numerous occasions that proper nutrition aids learning. This is a report on another study making the same point. "Students at schools that contract with a healthier school-lunch vendor perform somewhat better on state tests." I would add that the time to make this work is during pregnancy and in early childhood, but as a policy providing support to mothers and infants is required it is more difficult to find political support for this.

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Wed, 22 Mar 2017 12:: -0400

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