Tag Archives: Education

bitcoin blockchain

Bitcoin and Blockchains explained

A slightly off-camber post here, but someone I trust mentioned that we ought to understand the bitcoin and blockchain development as it could be about to hit the mainstream. Here’s some explanation and videos to help.

The main point I hadn’t fully appreciated or understood is that bitcoin and the underlying blockchain is not just financial, although it is all about transactions – the transaction can be financial, but also information, knowledge, subscriptions, etc.? I think? It’s about the trust the chain has based on the underlying technology.

Bitcoin: “The system is peer-to-peer and transactions take place between users directly, without an intermediary. :4. These transactions are verified by network nodes and recorded in a public distributed ledger called the blockchain, which uses bitcoin as its unit of account.”

Blockchain: “The blockchain is seen as the main technological innovation of Bitcoin, since it stands as proof of all the transactions on the network. A block is the ‘current’ part of a blockchain which records some or all of the recent transactions, and once completed goes into the blockchain as permanent database.”

Watch this, see if it makes sense?

YouTube: The Bitcoin and Blockchain Technology Explained

“A block chain is a transaction database shared by all nodes participating in a system based on the Bitcoin protocol. A full copy of a currency’s block chain contains every transaction ever executed in the currency. With this information, one can find out how much value belonged to each address at any point in history.”

From this video I liked the section from 5:27, where I was thinking about the disruption to learning and education, especially how this fits in to the Internet of Things:

“Internet technology is disruptive and breaks the status quo. It opens markets and breaks the position of middle men all the time. Bitcoin and crypto-currencies have caused a paradigm shift. It’s time to explore this new technology constructively and critically and openly discuss potential applications.”

Here are some more links/videos to help explain bitcoin and blockchains:

  • Blockchain for dummies: “Non technical explanation of the block chain concept underlaying the Bitcoin network. This video is meant for people who want to get a grasp of this new technology.”
  • Understand the blockchain in two minutes: “Over the past decade, an alternative digital paradigm has slowly been taking shape at the edges of the internet. This new paradigm is the blockchain. After incubating through millions of Bitcoin transactions and a host of developer projects, it is now on the tips of tongues of CEOs and CTOs, startup entrepreneurs, and even governance activists. Though these stakeholders are beginning to understand the disruptive potential of blockchain technology and are experimenting with its most promising applications, few have asked a more fundamental question: What will a world driven by blockchains look like a decade from now?”
  • Blockchain: “It’s Going to Radically Transform Our Society’s Institutions” (Don Tapscott): “Don Tapscott, a leading theorist of the digital age, explains why the blockchain technology will fundamentally transform the institutions our societies are built upon. Because the blockchain technology powers the digital currency Bitcoin, it will not only affect how business is being made, but also our legal systems. Ultimately, the effect of the blockchain technology will be much more far reaching; it will also transform governance, healthcare, education, and various other pillars of our societies.”
  • The trust machine: “The blockchain is an even more potent technology. In essence it is a shared, trusted, public ledger that everyone can inspect, but which no single user controls. The participants in a blockchain system collectively keep the ledger up to date: it can be amended only according to strict rules and by general agreement.”

What do you think? Is there merit in the simplification of the ‘chain’ and trust of the networks that a blockchain can provide?

Image source: Dimitry (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Sir Ken Robinson

Teachers are like gardeners …

Another wonderful sound-bite from Sir Ken Robinson:

” A great gardener, a great farmer, depends upon plants growing under their care, otherwise they’re out of business. But the irony is that every farmer and gardener knows you cannot make a plant grow. You cannot do that – you don’t stick the roots on, paint the petals, attach the leaves, you know. The plant grows itself. What you do is provide the conditions for growth. Great farmers know what the conditions are and bad ones don’t. Great teachers know what the conditions of growth are, and bad ones don’t. With bad teaching all this potential of students shrivels in the face of it. With great teaching all this stuff starts to flourish and flower. And that, to me, is the great gift of teaching: to recognise that growth is possible, at any time.”

Sir Ken Robinson – Teachers are like gardeners

Image source: Sebastiaan ter Burg (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Steve Wheeler: Learning with 'e's

Book review: Learning with ‘e’s

On my shelf (virtual and real) are a series of books that I know I just don’t have time to read. I’ve recently started to use Shelfari to organise my real and virtual book shelf, where I can easily refer to books I’ve read, I am reading, or want/plan to read.

Indeed (if this embed works) here they are:  Continue reading

The Future of Higher Education in a Digital Age

If the student voice has so much power, as I keep reading that it does (when it comes to module feedback, learning resource development, pricing, etc.) then it stands to reason that the voice of students yet to reach Higher Education also have a voice that should be heard?

This is a great video, students and staff alike, saying what their ‘digital age’ education should be … note the accessible, flexible, personal, social, and collaborative  attitudes these students ‘want’ from their learning. Yes, they’re talking about what HE should be in the future, but it’s grounded in their understanding in what is currently available, and possibly what they wish they had already?

“I see technology as the accelerator, the expander, the multiplier.”

YouTube: The Future of Higher Education in a Digital Age

Thanks to Anne Hole for sharing this on G+ earlier today.

The Education of Tomorow

Infographic – The education of tomorrow

Infographics are great, when they have something worthwhile to say, and show the data in a worthwhile way. This is one of the better ones – The Education of Tomorrow.

Here are some of the headline details from the infographic:

  • 90% of college students and high school seniors (yes, another US centric dataset) see tablets as valuable educational tools.
  • 63% of college students and high school seniors believe tablets will transform the way college students learn in the future.
  • 60% of college students prefer digital formats when reading books inside or outside of class.
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Education and the Internet

Reading: Education and the Internet

The 2014 IGGY Junior Commission report on Education and the Internet is an important read. I’ve not had chance to digest all of it yet, but what I have read makes for some uncomfortable reading for Higher Education – take note: children understand the technology they have access to, the understand the possibilities (and challenge them), and know how they want to use it and bring it into all aspects of their lives, including learning / classroom / education.

“The IGGY Junior Commission enables ten of the brightest young minds to collaborate with one another to achieve a global goal. These young people are the potential leaders of the future and deserve an opportunity to share their views and recommendations.”

Research and interviews from 289 school children and 109 teachers from 14 different countries helped form the conclusions of the report which include:  Continue reading

The Bookcase

Technology In Education: The Future Is Now #edtech

A good article on education and technology, on the Chattanoogan website – ‘Technology In Education: The Future Is Now‘:

“Because we now live in a technology-based world, we believe in the smart use of technology in the classroom to facilitate student engagement is no longer optional. The use of online education and technology can also effectively address the age-old problem of having students on various levels in the same classroom and allow for the simplified creation of personalized learning plans.”

“As educators, and as an association, we understand that questioning basic assumptions and asking difficult questions are what education leaders are expected to do.  We should regularly analyze advantages and disadvantages of the benefits and growing dependence on technology in the classroom, workplace and society as a whole.”

“However, technology can act as an impediment to education as well.  All is not equal with technology.  Some students have unlimited access to computers and internet at school and home while others have very little to none … technology infrastructure varies widely from urban to rural areas. How can you create a technologically-based curriculum for all if all do not have access to computers / software / broadband? How do you make sure the teachers are trained on the ever changing apps and software that are available? And if you have a school where most every student has a device, how do you make sure each student stays on task and their data is safe?”

Image source: The Bookcase (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The NMC Horizon Report: 2014 Higher Education Edition

The Horizon Report 2014 – Your reviews

The annual feast of what is hot (or not) for the next 1, 2, or 5 years in educational technology has been released. You can access and download the full NMC Horizon Report for Higher Education, 2014, here.

From the contents page you  can get enough of an idea of what is in it, namely:

  • Social Media & Social Learning
  • Flipped Classroom
  • Learning Analytics
  • Games & Gamification
  • Evolution of e- or online-learning

“A key criterion for the inclusion of a topic in this edition is its potential relevance to teaching, learning, and creative inquiry in higher education.”

YouTube: The NMC Horizon Report :: 2014 Higher Education Edition

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Are We Failing Superman?

This great little video highlights some of the themes and discussions that are going on (and have been going on for some time) around education and how ‘we’ can improve it from the ‘one size fits all’ attitude. Enjoy!

YouTube: Failing Superman

 “Are we failing Superman with a traditional one-size-fits-all curriculum? People are different, their interests are different… Why wait 11 years to truly differentiate the curriculum? In this video inspired by the worlds of Peanuts and DC Comics, I offer some of my thoughts on a solution.” Marc-Andre Lelande

Educational Technology

Educational Technology #LTHE

As I research around my role I often find some great resources, and sometimes some are pointed out to me. Thank you to Flea Palmer (@fleapalmer) for this Educause article: “Educational Technology: The Hype, the Reality, the Promise” (Shwiff  & Larkin 2013)

  • This is also very topical as part of my ‘what is a Learning Technologist’ series of blog posts, and as a resource for the collaborative research with Rachel Cullen and Geraldine Murphy from Loughborough College.

The article comes with  quick reference ‘take-away’ notes to make it easy for most of us to not read the full article, but I urge you to read it, it is full of good information and research.

These three take-away notes of interest are:

  • Within universities, there’s a growing tension between faculty, who typically focus on what is taught, and educationalists and technologists, who focus on how things are taught.
  • To realize the opportunities that technology offers, we must first re-imagine higher education’s long-standing learning model and ensure that all stakeholders make educational quality and critical thinking a priority.
  • Educational entrepreneurship can offer a way forward by offering incentives for educationalists, technologists, and faculty members to collaborate, experiment, and innovate.

“We should never confuse education with training or the “tools” that educators use.”

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