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Comment: Re:More non-fiction now, for complicated reasons (Score 1) 164

by IRGlover (#49096081) Attached to: How is your book reading divided between fiction and non-fiction?
The Flashman books by George Macdonald Fraser are a great mix of fiction and non-fiction. A fictional, cowardly British officer who happens to be a significant player in most of the main aspects and campaigns of the British Empire during the mid-19th century. Funny and informative romps through an interesting historical period. In a similar, but more serious, vein are the Sharpe and Starbuck novels by Bernard Cornwell - set during the major battles of the Napoleonic and American Civil wars respectively.

Comment: Not without precedents (Score 1) 46

by IRGlover (#48794467) Attached to: Chicago E-Learning Scheme Embraces Virtual Badges For Public Schoolers
It is partially based on the Scout badges concept. Like those, I think that the biggest impact will be in providing a way to showcase skills rather than academic achievements. This means that they are likely to have more value for those who aren't the academic high-flyers, but who have a great set of skills, interests and achievements that they want to make people aware of.

In some ways, the badges are an alternative to paper certificates (or sew-on patches) but, being digital, have some significant advantages such as being easily shareable, verifiable and have links to evidence for earning them. Raising awareness of the potential among the general public and employers will be key to whether they take off or die on the vine.

Full disclosure: I've done a bit of research into the use of digital badges in universities. For anyone interested in reading a bit more, freely accessible versions of my papers should be available from

Comment: Re: name and location tweeted... (Score 1) 928

It wouldn't take that long. The tweet was directed at SWA so they would have access immediately. It mentions the city, gate and name of the employee, so it would probably be very quick to get in touch with the gate crew and get the other details from them - I doubt that there were many people on the flight with small kids who got arsey because they couldn't jump the queue

Comment: Re:Eh? (Score 1) 137

by IRGlover (#47522645) Attached to: Internet Explorer Vulnerabilities Increase 100%
the graph compares all of 2013 with the first half of 2014. The implication being that, if so far this year there have been as many vulnerabilities as all of last year, then by the end of the year there will be twice as many. It is very poor analysis as there might be no more bugs found this year, a million bugs found this year, or something in between.

Comment: MOOCs more about Teachers than Learners (Score 3, Interesting) 73

As social creatures much of our knowledge is built from social interactions, where we integrate our own experiences and beliefs with that of others to build new knowledge and understanding (i.e. Social Constructivism). The current dominant MOOC model is extremely procedural, teacher-centred and discourages these types of social interactions. While this works well for some subjects (particularly at introductory levels), it is much less effective in other situations. How can the large MOOC platforms, and EdX in particular, encourage a more social method of learning?

Comment: Re:Then why didn't that happen with notebooks? (Score 1) 150

by IRGlover (#42546847) Attached to: College CIO Predicts Tablets Will Kill Smart Boards
Educational Technology is my field and this has been gaining traction for a few years now (often under the name 'Bring Your Own Device [BYOD]') and, to be honest, it is attractive to institutions because they feel it will reduce the amount of hardware that is purchased and unused (or, worse, is switched on 24/7 but doing nothing). I don't think that it is something that lecturers or students would really want if they thought about the (many) downsides. However, the reason that laptops didn't take off is because of the patchy Wifi coverage when they were first becoming mainstream, the relatively poor battery life and few places to charge in most institutions, the weight of the devices and the startup time. With a tablet it is possible to switch it off, put it into your bag and start it up instantly in your next class - not so with a laptop. Tablet use is obviously going to continue growing as they become more affordable lifestyle devices, but for many people they will be unlikely to replace the general-purpose abilities that you get from a full-fat PC. That Smartboards are rubbish doesn't mean that tablets will replace them. Perhaps there is a fundamental problem with 'smartboard-style' teaching so that there will always be issues...

Comment: Re:speed power expandability (Score 1) 56

by IRGlover (#42462535) Attached to: Raspberry Pi Gets an Open Source Educational Manual
you are thinking of a processor simulator. here is a GPL'd one for the 8085 processor THere are also others for other chips, including the Z80, just search for 'assembler simulator'. I remember using one at Uni about 12 years ago and it was a very useful tool.

Hacking's just another word for nothing left to kludge.