Jon Dron's home page

Aggregated musings, news and stories, mostly about learning and technology

  • Open Education Resources, Massive Open Online Courses, and Online Platforms for Distance and Flexible Learning

    Ironically published in a closed and massively over-priced Handbook of IT in Primary and Secondary Education, here's a chapter from me and Gerald Ardito on open and distance learning in the...

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  • Unintelligent machines

    Unintelligent machines

    In 2012 there were roughly 100 million lines of code in an average car, a number that has been rapidly increasing for decades, and is no doubt significantly higher now. If you printed out 100...

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  • You Can Learn Everything Online Except for the Things You Can't

    A Wired magazine article from Rhett Allain that is big on metaphor (courses are the chocolate chips, the cookie is the on-campus experience) but very small on critical thinking. What it does...

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  • DT&L2018 spotlight presentation: The Teaching Gestalt

    My presentation slides for my Spotlight Session at the 34th Distance Teaching & Learning Conference, at Wisconsin Madison, August 2018. Appropriately enough, I won't be there in person, but will...

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  • Scholarly publishing is broken. Here’s how to fix it

    An article for Aeon by Jon Tennant on the heinous state of affairs that gives unscrupulous publishers profit margins that put Apple to shame while hiding publicly funded research from the public...

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  • Mindfulness Meditation Impairs Task Motivation but Not Performance

    Sadly published behind a paywall (but, happily, also available at SciHub) this is a fascinating sequence of studies from Hafenbrack & Voh that, firstly, appears to demonstrate that mindfulness...

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  • The ultimate insomnia cure: new GDPR legislation soothingly read by Peter Jefferson

    The BBC's Shipping Forecast is one of the great binding traditions of British culture that has been many a Brit's lullaby since time immemorial (ie. long before I was born). Though I never once...

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  • Tim Berners-Lee: we must regulate tech firms to prevent ‘weaponised’ web

    TBL is rightfully indignant and concerned about the fact that “what was once a rich selection of blogs and websites has been compressed under the powerful weight of a few dominant platforms.” The...

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  • Facebook has a Big Tobacco Problem

    A perceptive article listing some of Facebook's evils and suggesting an analogy between the tactics used by Big Tobacco and those used by the company. I think there are a few significant...

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  • Facebook’s days may be numbered as UK youth abandon the platform

    The end of Facebook couldn't come soon enough, but we've been reading headlines not unlike this for around a decade, yet still its malignant tumour in the lungs of the Web grows, sucking the air...

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  • Turns out the STEM ‘gender gap’ isn’t a gap at all

    Turns out the STEM ‘gender gap’ isn’t a gap at all

    At least in Ontario, it seems that there are about as many women as men taking STEM programs at undergraduate level. This represents a smaller percentage of women taking STEM subjects overall...

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  • terra0 – a forest that will one day buy itself

    I love this art project - a forest that owns itself and that makes money on its own behalf, eventually with no human control or ownership. From the blurb... "The Project emerged from research in...

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  • DADA – social networking through drawing

    DADA – social networking through drawing

    DADA is a social network where communication occurs through drawings. Conversations turn into collaborative artworks. It's wonderful.Address of the bookmark: https://dada.nyc/

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  • Black holes are simpler than forests and science has its limits

    Black holes are simpler than forests and science has its limits

    Martin Rees (UK Astronomer Royal) takes on complexity and emergence. This is essentially a primer on why complex systems - as he says, accounting for 99% of what's interesting about the world -...

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  • A Universe Explodes: A Blockchain Book, from Editions At Play

    A really nice project from the Editions at Play team at Google, in which blockchain is used both to limit supply to a digital book (only 100 copies made) and, as the book is passed on, to make it...

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  • Evidence mounts that laptops are terrible for students at lectures. So what?

    The Verge reports on a variety of studies that show taking notes with laptops during lectures results in decreased learning when compared with notes taken using pen and paper. This tells me three...

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  • Small talk, big implications

    Small talk, big implications

     An article from Quartz with some good links to studies showing the very many benefits of interacting with others, even at a very superficial level. I particularly like the report of a study...

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  • Addicted to learning or addicted to grades?

    Figure 1: Skinner's teaching machine It is not much of a surprise that many apps are designed to be addictive, nor that there is a whole discipline behind making them so, but I was particularly...

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  • Signal : now with proper desktop apps

    Signal is arguably the most open, and certainly the most secure, privacy-preserving instant messaging/video or voice-calling system available today. It is open source, ad-free, standards-based,...

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  • The Downfall of Doppler Labs: Inside the Last Days of a Hardware Startup | WIRED

    Oh drat. So Doppler Labs is no more. This is very sad. I love my Here One bluetooth earbuds, have recommended them to many people, and would do so again. For simple noise cancelling they run...

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