Searching for Lost Knowledge in the Age of Intelligent Machines

As search engines are radically reinvented, computers and people are becoming partners in exploration. “I’m absolutely convinced that knowledge is a big chain starting from … the neolithic times, even earlier, and reaching our times.”

Scholars have long wrestled with “undiscovered public knowledge,” a problem that occurs when researchers arrive at conclusions independently from one another, creating fragments of understanding that are “logically related but never retrieved, brought together, [or] interpreted,” as Don Swanson wrote in an influential 1986 essay introducing the concept. “That is,” he wrote, “not only do we seek what we do not understand, we often do not even know at what level an understanding might be achieved.” In other words, on top of everything we don’t know, there’s everything we don’t know that we already know.

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Posted in Intelligence, Internet, Knowledge, Machine learning, Search | Tagged , , , ,

How Video Production Affects Student Engagement

Videos are a widely-used kind of resource for online learning. This paper presents an empirical study of how video production decisions affect student engagement in online educational videos. To our knowledge, ours is the largest-scale study of video engagement to date, using data from 6.9 million video watching sessions across four courses on the edX MOOC platform. We measure engagement by how long students are watching each video, and whether they attempt to answer post-video assessment problems. Our main findings are that shorter videos are much more engaging, that informal talking-head videos are more engaging, that Khan-style tablet drawings are more engaging, that even high-quality pre-recorded classroom lectures might not make for engaging online videos, and that students engage differently with lecture and tutorial videos. Based upon these quantitative findings and qualitative insights from interviews with edX staff, we developed a set of recommendations to help instructors and video producers take better advantage of the online video format.

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Posted in Engagement, MOOC, Online learning, Students, Videos | Tagged , , , ,

Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other

A wake-up call from a cyber-expert: our use of technology is fueling disturbing levels of isolation, leaving us incapable of distinguishing between true human connection and digital communication.

I am a psychoanalytically trained psychologist. Both by temperament and profession, I place high value on relationships of intimacy and authenticity. Granting that an AI might develop its own origami of lovemaking positions, I am troubled by the idea of seeking intimacy with a machine that has no feelings, can have no feelings, and is really just a clever collection of “as if ” performances, behaving as if it cared, as if it understood us. Authenticity, for me, follows from the ability to put oneself in the place of another, to relate to the other because of a shared store of human experiences: we are born, have families, and know loss and the reality of death.7 A robot, however sophisticated, is patently out of this loop.

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Posted in Humans, ICT, Relationship, Technology | Tagged , , ,

Who Pays for Open Access?

The theory of Open Access (OA) predates the Internet, but the web has made it a full-fledged phenomenon for scientific and medical journals. Driven in large part by mandates from government and institutional funding entities, OA theoretically lowers the subscription cost barrier for peer-reviewed content. Academic libraries and their constituents—especially researchers—are the prime beneficiaries, but so also are general public libraries and “citizen scientists” who simply have Internet access.

Like a politician’s promise, however, the benefits of OA have to be paid for—typically through an Article Processing Charge (APC) charged to the author or, more commonly, the author’s employer. These can average between $2,000 and $3,000 per article. “These are increasingly a line item in research grant funding proposals,” she said, pointing out that funding entities are themselves often proponents of Open Access. The financial shift from subscribers to authors will have long term and potentially positive effects on peer-reviewed scientific and medical reporting.

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Posted in Open access | Tagged

Technology Enhanced Learning: A-Z of apps

Here are some apps and online tools we think you might find useful in your teaching and/or learning. We have included information about availability on iOS, Android, and the web, however, some apps are also available on additional platforms. All apps listed here are free unless stated otherwise, with most giving you the opportunity to upgrade to a paid version. If you have any suggestions for apps you would like us to add or would like to discuss how you might use mobile devices and apps in your teaching and learning please contact tel@sussex.ac.uk.

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Read also: Working together online

 

Posted in Collaboration, ICT, Learning, Online, Uncategorized, Work | Tagged , , , ,

Intelligence and Technology: the impact of Tools on the Nature and Development of Human Abilities

In this volume, Robert J. Sternberg and David D. Preiss bring together different perspectives on understanding the impact of various technologies on human abilities, competencies, and expertise. The inclusive range of historical, comparative, sociocultural, cognitive, educational, industrial/organizational, and human factors approaches will stimulate international multi-disciplinary discussion. Major questions that are addressed include:

*What is the impact of different technologies on human abilities?
*How does technology enhance or limit human intellectual functioning?
*What is the cognitive impact of complex technologies?
*What is the cognitive impact of the transfer of technologies?
*How can we design technologies that foster intellectual growth?
*How does technology mediate the impact of cultural variables on human intellectual functioning?

Part I addresses the history of cognitive technologies and how they have evolved with culture, but at the same time helped culture evolve. Part II focuses on how educational technologies affect the ways in which students and others think. The topic of Part III is technology in the world of work. Part IV deals with the interface between intelligence and technology. The diversity and richness of technology relates to different forms of abilities, competencies, and expertise. In consequence, many psychologists, educators, and others are interested in exploring the ways in which technology and human abilities interact, but lack a handy source of information to satisfy their interest. This book provides researchers and students in these areas with relevant perspectives and information.

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Posted in Abilities, Humans, Intelligence, Technology | Tagged , , ,

Wikipedia in Education: Acculturation and Learning in Virtual Communities

The present study investigates on the learning impact of utilizing Wikipedia’s community in education. Today, many instructors assign their students editing Wikipedia’s articles as part of their coursework. Participation in a cyber-community during an educational assignment exposes students to a brand new culture and netiquette, to a set of explicit and tacit rules and cultural norms. This requires students to internalize the embedded online culture in order to join the community — a form of acculturation which may cause stress, but which can lead to opportunities for growth, learning and development. By taking advantage of a virtual community, educators can literally bring a whole thriving community into their classrooms. The acculturation of the educational group into the culture of a hosting virtual community, through collaborative actions, conflicts and disturbances, results to the formation of a collective zone of proximal development: what the students’ group manages to perform today with the aid of the community’s members will be performed independently tomorrow. The formation of a virtual learning community through the procedural and structural coupling of two discrete activity systems opens a new space for participatory learning.

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Posted in Acculturation, Culture, Education, Learning, Virtual community, Wikipedia | Tagged , , , , ,

How has Google Affected the Way Students Learn?

Now, with the advent of personal assistants like Siri and Google Now that aim to serve up information before you even know you need it, you don’t even need to type the questions. Just say the words and you’ll have your answer. But with so much information easily available, does it make us smarter? Compared to the generations before who had to adapt to the Internet, how are those who grew up using the Internet — the so-called “Google generation” — different? Heick had intended for his students to take a moment to think, figure out what type of information they needed, how to evaluate the data and how to reconcile conflicting viewpoints. He did not intend for them to immediately Google the question, word by word — eliminating the process of critical thinking.

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Read also: How Google impacts the way Students Think

Posted in Critical thinking, Google search, Learning technologies, Students | Tagged , , ,

Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture

A participatory culture is a culture with relatively low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement, strong support for creating and sharing creations, and some type of informal mentorship whereby experienced participants pass along knowledge to novices. In a participatory culture, members also believe their contributions matter and feel some degree of social connection with one another (at the least, members care about others’ opinions of what they have created). A growing body of scholarship suggests potential benefits from these forms of participatory culture, including opportunities for peer-to-peer learning, a changed attitude toward intellectual property, the diversification of cultural expression, the development of skills valued in the modern workplace, and a more empowered conception of citizenship. Access to this participatory culture functions as a new form of the hidden curriculum, shaping which youths will succeed and which will be left behind as they enter school and the workplace.

Schools as institutions have been slow to react to the emergence of this new participatory culture; the greatest opportunity for change is currently found in after-school programs and informal learning communities. Schools and after-school programs must devote more attention to fostering what we call the new media literacies: a set of cultural competencies and social skills that young people need in the new media landscape. Participatory culture shifts the focus of literacy from individual expression to community involvement. The new literacies almost all involve social skills developed through collaboration and networking. These skills build on the foundation of traditional literacy and research, technical, and critical-analysis skills learned in the classroom.

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Posted in Collaborative learning, Informal learning, Media literacies, Networking learning, Participatory culture | Tagged , , , ,

Uberizing Organizational Learning – Thinking Beyond Courses

Designing courses is passé! In a world where the shelf-life of knowledge and skills are rapidly shrinking, where best practices of yore yield increasingly little or no return on investment, where exceptions are the norm, and constant change and flux the new normal, designing set courses using SME-defined content is like trying to build a dam to rein in the surging waves of a tumultuous ocean. We have to think agile, instant, accessible, contextual, micro-sized, real time… We need to uberize organizational learning.

“Uberization” has taken off as the new term that according to me has come to stand for – disruption, innovation, lean operating model, harnessing of the affordances of the sharing economy, and a hyper-connected world driven by imagination and creativity where everything is a mobile-click away – including learning.

In summary, the world of L&D has dramatically changed. Just as the rules of business and leadership have changed in the networked era, so has the rules for how to enable employees to deliver with efficacy. The L&D department can no longer sit in an isolated bubble designing courses for skills that are fast becoming redundant. It is time to build an entirely new set of skills in oneself as well as in the workforce.

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Posted in Courses, Organizational learning, Uberization | Tagged , ,