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Learning and teaching content: requirements and reshaping the marketplace

Caren Milloy, isc, Mar 11, 2021

"There is absolutely no question about it," writes Caren Milloy. "the current e-book marketplace needs a fundamental shift to move to a more transparent and sustainable footing." That's the lesson to be drawn from "the sheer frustration voiced through the #ebooksos petition" (also on Twitter). At the same time, the main message we hear from publishers is that a sustainable business model "isn’t something that will be solved quickly, and requires a concerted, collaborative effort across the community." Maybe we should stop trying to think of ways "to help shape a better marketplace" and start thinking of electronic books, at least in research and education, as infrastructure, not products. Forget about 'rebalancing' and approaches that 'inject choice'. Those are sops to satisfy entrenched interests, but don't portend real change. Start with the presumption that these resources will be free for the people who need them, and them work backward from there.

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How Facebook got addicted to spreading misinformation

Karen Hao, MIT Technology Review, Mar 11, 2021

The cause was Zuckerberg's constant drive toward more growth and greater engagement, to the point that nothing else mattered. The result was inevitable: "The models that maximize engagement also favor controversy, misinformation, and extremism: put simply, people just like outrageous stuff." While I would be the first to agree that this was irresponsible, it is hardly the first irresponsible use of media to foster divisiveness, rumours, and hate. Tabloid journalism, talk radio and cable news all engaged in the same practices for the same reasons. It isn't, in other words, the specific medium that's the problem, nor even some specific individuals or companies. It's the system of incentives that's the problem, and could probably be addressed by (say) putting limits on scale (or at least, creating diminishing returns). But don't expect to read anything so radical as that in MIT Technology Review. Related: Columbia Journalism Review, What should we do about the algorithmic amplification of disinformation?

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A Worldwide Journey through Distance Education—From the Post Office to Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Realities, and Education during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Agnieszka Pregowska, Karol Masztalerz, Magdalena Garlińska, Magdalena Osial, Education Sciences, Mar 11, 2021

This article was published as part of a special issue on Online Communities and E-Learning. I think it's useful to have included a history of distance education, but I don't think this article should be cited as authoritative; it cites, for example, the Canadian Encyclopedia as its source for Canada, which is OK maybe, but gets the information wrong, which isn't (they misread 'BC minister of education' as 'minister of education', and mistakenly claims that the first the provincial consortium, Ontario Learn, was the first college that used the Internet as a learning source). I didn't check every claim for every country, but readers are advised to be cautious. Still, the article is a useful collection of historical examples, provided they are verified before being cited.

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Dr Jill MacKay, from Open Science to OER and Open Textbooks

Stephanie (Charlie) Farley, Teaching Matters blog, Mar 11, 2021

This is just a short interview, but it highlights an important point of transition from scientific content to learning content. Not all scientists will produce learning resources, of course, though in my view the more that do, the better. In an ideal world, I think, open learning resources could be produced through the simple practice of open science (perhaps, say, through automated summarization technology, or open data feeds being incorporated into learning materials, or open scientific conference presentations).

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Autonomy, Accountability & Self-Regulation in my Classroom

Joel Speranza, Leveraging Technology for Learning, Mar 11, 2021

This post is an account of a day in Joel Speranza's classroom. Each student works at their own pace through videos and lessons shared in OneNote, while the teacher walks around, looks at their work, and sometimes organizes groups to work together on the board. I think this would be very hard for most teachers (including me) who are most at home when explaining something to a group. I'm not sure how I would feel about it as a student - anything would be better than listening to the teacher explaining something to everyone at once, but I wouldn't like him peering over my shoulder and looking at what I'm doing. Also, I personally would rather be working on projects rather than just working through content.  Via Aaron Davis, who asks whether it can be used in other subject areas, such as English.

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