Discourse – rebooted forum software

Discourse is an extremely cool and open source reinvention of forum software that is replete with modern features like real-time AJAX loading of threads (which are not the usual tree-like things but more a flat form with contextual threading as and when needed), lots of collective features including reputation management, tagging, rating and ranking, what’s-hot lists and so on. Looks slick, hooks into plenty of other services. I’d like to see something like this on the Landing instead of its simple discussion boards. Not trivial to integrate, but it does have an open and rich API so can be called easily from other systems.

Address of the bookmark: http://www.discourse.org/

Spy ebook reader

I like this device but I love the way it is being sold. This and other products on the site are sold (at exhorbitant prices, incidentally, that can all be greatly bettered elsewhere) as devices intended to help people to cheat in exams. Excellent.

While a cheat reading carefully from a watch of this size is unlikely to fool any but the least attentive of invigilators, it and other technologies available on the site demonstrate rather nicely that the arms race between examiners and cheats will never be won by either side. It inevitably leads to spiralling costs that cannot be sustained for schools, universities and other organizations that use them and some cheats will always be caught. This is in the nature of technological evolution. It cannot be otherwise. Sometimes cheats will be on the ascendent, sometimes invigilators, but neither faction can ever win.

I think there is a place for summative exams in some limited areas like driving cars or for journalists, where the method of assessment is authentic for the task being assessed. For formative assessment purposes, they can be a good idea, as long as nothing rides on them, they are ungraded, and the resulting feedback is positive and helpful.  In most other cases, decades of research proves that they are antagonistic to motivation and thus to learning. Studies reveal that the majority of school students, a large number of undergraduates, and a smaller number of post-graduates admit to having cheated in exams. Even the least sophisticated exams are expensive because there is less-than-no contribution to the learning process so costs are always in addition to the cost of teaching. Most even fail in their most basic role, to provide a reliable measure of skill or achievement. It’s way past the time to get rid of them.

Address of the bookmark: http://www.spystudy.com/ebook-reader-Mp3/Mp4-spy-watch.html