Monday, April 27, 2015

USDLA Keynote


Hal Plotkin, with experience in the Obama administration, is now with Creative Commons.  His abbreviated history of the copyleft movement (skipping the GNU / GPL chapter) led to this punch line:  in some scenarios, dropping proprietary content in favor of equally high qualtiy open content saves enough money to assure students get a properly equipped personal workspace to get on-line.

That's a lesson learned in the software industry a generation ago.  Perhaps the Linux / GNU chapter got skipped given Microsoft's interests in this area?  Free software and free curriculum content (free in the sense of liberated) certainly have a lot in common.

A focus of Hal's keynote was CC-by within TAACCCT, a US Department of Labor program.  We got to watch a fun little video (above) and learn about some success stories.

Translating into computerese, he's into gamification of learning e.g flight simulators for everything (chemistry etc.).  "Nobody can cheat on a flight simulator".

The geek world memes of "Ignite" (as in Ignite Portland, or Ignite.gov) and "open licenses" appear to have permeated this education world.  Several of the talks have the word "ignite" in them.

I'm here with some of my co-workers from O'Reilly School of Technology, nothing to do with the auto parts company, everything to do with publishing e.g. Safari On-line.

We got some statistics that only 7% of the world's humans have post secondary school education, but that's measured in terms of having academic degrees.

If you're like my friend Lindsey in Nepal, deeply involved in the study of Newar Buddhism, you might not have a PhD in that, yet still be highly educated.

Education and academic schoolwork are overlapping non-synonymous concepts in my book.  That might be heresy in this group, not sure (I'm a newbie).  The pro open source ignite flavored memes we're getting here are quite familiar to me however.

OSCON will be in Austin TX next year.  Portland and Austin have a lot in common.  They're both into staying weird.

The first talk I attended after the keynote was about "the four stages of SAMR" meaning Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition, an approach to giving new technology a foot in the door into course delivery.  Share PDFs with Dropbox, use a Learning Management System (e.g. Blackboard) for grading.  Basic stuff.

We're hearing a plug for Microsoft Office Mix + Powerpoint + Notepad, adding to my sense that F/OSS (free and open source software) is not a primary focus here.  "All students use Evernote or OneNote for all notes" (Powerpoint slide) -- that's Augmentation, after Substitution lets them use any app for notes. 

OneNote is free as in beer at least, if not open source.  I'll first need to upgrade my OS to use it though.