Data governance, management and infrastructure

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash The big ed-tech news this week is the merger of Anthology, an educational management company, with Blackboard who produce learning technology. But as Stephen Downes said “It’s funny, though – the more these companies grow and the wider their enterprise capabilities become, the less relevant they feel, to me at least, to educational technology and online learning.” And there is a revealing quote in an Inside Higher Ed article about the merger. They quote Bill Bauhaus, Blackboards chairman, CEO and president as saying the power of the combined company will flow from its ability […]

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The teleology of ed tech?

We do far too few book reviews on this site and I am afraid this isn’t going to be one either. Instead we are plugging an eagerly awaited (and very timely) book be ed-tech journalist Audrey Watters which was published by MIT Press about two weeks ago. The MIT press blurb says: How ed tech was born: Twentieth-century teaching machines—from Sidney Pressey’s mechanized test-giver to B. F. Skinner’s behaviorist bell-ringing box. Contrary to popular belief, ed tech did not begin with videos on the internet. The idea of technology that would allow students to “go at their own pace” did […]

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People and Machines

One of the results of the rapid deployment of Artificial Intelligence is an increased focus on the relation between humans and machines. The Economist has published a podcast of an interview with Nobel prize-winning author asking about what his new book “Klara and the Sun” reveals about people’s relationship with machines. They say “he argues that people’s relationship to machines will eventually change the way they think of themselves as individuals.” And the University of Westminster Press have published a new book, Marx and Digital Machines: Alienation, Technology, Capitalism, by Mike Healy. This book explores the fundamental contradiction at the […]

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What is Machine Learning

I am copying this from Stephen Downes’ ever informative OLDaily newsletter digest. It features an article entitled What is machine learning? – A beginner’s guide posted on the FutureLearn website. This is quite a good introduction to machine learning. If you don’t know what it is and would like a quick no-nonsense introduction, this is it. Machine learning is depicted “as the science of getting computers to learn automatically.” It’s a type of artificial intelligence, which means essentially that they are software systems that “operate in an intentional, intelligent, and adaptive manner.” The third point is the most important, because […]

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