I have been following the bitcoin evolution with some curiosity but without really looking at the underlying technology being used.

Having been involved in the Open Badges for Higher Education WG, I follow Carla Casilli posts to check what is happening with open badges, namely the launch of @badgechain. Being currently involved in a project to support Syrian refugees to attend online accredited courses and MOOCs, in Jordan, I became less active and more of a practitioner looking at ways to use them to support the engagement and motivation of these students, who have been sometimes through traumatizing experiences.

Today, while reading one of Carla’s posts, she directed to W. Ian O’Byrneexcellent post What is blockchain? https://goo.gl/yZFdwi and to ethereum.

Ethereum moves blockchain technology from a financial application (bitcoin) to contracts (I am new at this so please bear with me), and this shift suddenly made all the sense to me and to its huge, even life saving application in higher education in emergency contexts.

One of the main problems faced by Syrian students who wish to enroll in higher education or who attended higher education is to be able to produce their certificates of high school completion and/or attendance of university. In order to obtain these certificates, they need to return to Syria, at great rick of being caught, even killed and paying enormous sums to be able to obtain them. Without these precious documents, they are simply not allowed to enroll and pursue their education most of the times.

Blockchain technology with its peer2peer network and distributed database, time and date stamped blocks may have an enormous potential to allow these students (and mobile students around the world), or the higher education institutions where they wish to enroll, wherever they are, to be able to access the certificates, authenticated to be used as proof of their education, becoming sometimes even a life saving instrument…

Now, I will let the experts talk. Does this make sense? Is it possible from a technological perspective?

Getting the Ministries of Education and Higher Education Institutions to move with this, it is another story…

First published in medium.com https://medium.com/@pmorais/blockchain-and-higher-education-in-emergency-environments-4a5e47b84176#.4dz2edg3f


How a collaborative learning experience can inspire to move to new challenges…the butterfly effect

Kiamaria thinks and reflects

Another late blog-post from my side. And I have to sort my thoughts about collaborative learning in this one. First of all, sounding like an actor after receiving the Oscar statuette, I would like to thank my PBL group and the facilitators for a true collaborative learning experience online. Yes, ONL181 has been, at least for me, an occasion when real collaborative learning did take place and it did move my own thinking forward.


As an educator I use different collaborative methods in the classroom to deepen the learning experience for my students. I urge for dialogue and critical questions and try to push all of us to the next level. In the classroom it feels quite easy to involve the students in collaborative learning and co-creation of knowledge. This was actually one of the reasons why I joined during this hectic period of time the experience of ONL181 –…

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ONL181 is starting in September 2018.

Open Networked learning

Registration for the next iteration of Open Networked Learning, ONL181, is now open. The participating universities this time are:  Karolinska Institute, Lund University, Linnaeus University, Stockholm University, Luleå University of Technology, Linköping University, Mälardalen University and Karlstad University  (Sweden), Arcada University of Applied Sciences and Aalto University (Finland), and Independent Institute of Education (South Africa). If you belong to one of these institutions you register for the course via internal registrations and each institute has a contact person for the course.

If you do not belong to one of the partner universities you register as an open learner.

The course starts 17 September.

Registration ONL181.

More information about ONL181.

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Paul Prinsloo thoughtful post and considerations on the World Conference on Online Learning and first key note speaker Laura Czerniewicz on “the importance of looking at pedagogy and online pedagogies, as political.”. There are a lot of misconceptions regarding distance and online learning, being the most dangerous one, that they are completely separate, therefore exclusive, and distance stops making sense. This is a dangerous separation as it stops bringing theory and practice together, they coexist and distance may encompass, face to face learning, using OERs that were downloaded using mobile devices from an online environment…unfortunately, these separation leaves us all poorer and in particular those who need the most to be creative and innovative in their practices, who are limited by lack of connectivity and prohibitive internet costs…


Recently I’ve had the privilege of attending the World Conference on Online Learning in Toronto, organized and hosted by Contact North I Contact Nord. What a conference it was! At times, it resembled a medieval marketplace or bazaar with a variety of voices and opinions demanding attention. In addition, amid the noise and excitement, if one listened closely, one heard silences, things that were not said, things that were left out, or things you just missed hearing because you were at a different part of the conference.

So what did I hear? What did I somehow miss? Moreover, what did I wish I heard?

What I heard…

In our discussions about online learning, we have to put pedagogy central and first, and not technology.

The first of the five presenters in the opening plenary of the conference, Laura Czerniewicz (University of Cape Town) posed, at least for me, the most…

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Tim Unwin's Blog

group-smallThe ITU is preparing a new book, provisionally to be entitled “ICT4SDGs: Economic Growth, Innovation and
Job Creation” in advance of the WTDC meeting in Buenos Aires in October 2017 http://www.itu.int/net/events/eventdetails.asp… . This has been explored in some detail over the last two days at a fascinating discussion convened in Geneva.

sdg-groupI have been invited to lead on a 6,000 word chapter, provisionally entitled “Sustainability in Development: Critical Elements” that has an initial summary as follows: “the chapter identifies how ICTs engage with the sustainability agenda and the various elements of the ecosystem (such as: education, finance/capital, infrastructure, policy, market, culture/environment, opportunities) and the stakeholders that are indispensable for ensuring resilient and sustainable development activities in developing countries in spite of some chronic shortages coupled with fast changing and fluid situations that can negatively hamper the efforts”.

I want this chapter very much to be a collective, bottom-up effort, and…

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excellent reflection! the problem of quick fixes and being ruled only by analytics and tunnel vision…this is the reason, I appreciate so much the Finnish model…

A Manifesto for Digital Messiness

It’s not just cities, politics and civic life that suffer from an excess of technological determinism and techno-utopian visions. In education, too, ‘digital by default’ thinking tends to dominate decision-making, and technology is frequently looked at as either a cause of, or a solution to, many apparent ‘problems’ in schools, and in further, higher and continuing education.

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DFID financing education in Punjab, requiring to be further investigated and properly evaluated on the field.

Tim Unwin's Blog

Shia TretOne of the most interesting aspects of my visit to Pakistan in January this year was the informal, anecdotal information that I gathered about educational change in the Punjab, and in particular DFID’s flagship Punjab Education Support Programme II.  I should declare right at the beginning here that I used to work for DFID (between 2001 and 2004), and I am a member of their Digital Advisory Panel.  I have many friends in the Department, and I admire much of the work that they do.  I was therefore indeed shocked by what I was told and what I summarise below.

When ever the subject of this particular programme came up in conversation in Pakistan, it was always greeting with severe criticism, even derision.  Most of my conversations were with educationalists, academics, landowners, and rural people in the Punjab.  I have not shared these comments before, because they were indeed…

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Horizon 2020 Open Access guidelines. Thanks for sharing, Veronica.


Open Wires

Created by Libby Levi for opensource.com

This topic I experienced that our PBL group has a lot of own experience to share with the rest of the group and that´s real interesting to take part of and to have a more “direct” use in. But I also yhink, as the scenario tells us, many people are afraid of use and share and publish, and get a feeling of loneliness with this, while they give up. That´s a sad situation. Cause using these sources of OER has so many potentials, benefits like saving money, a shared possibility to develop new and productive ideas, get a lots of help from each other, teamwork and collaborating, you have to communicate in any kind of way, I think it’s a good way to get a picture of how creative the learners are and how much the collaborate and help each other, the “classroom is…

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To hope and new possibilities… “As we’ve seen with the horrific experience of jelly babies, sometimes, women give birth to the traumas they’ve experienced. And sometimes, if given support (and even sometimes without it) they give birth to a new life, to fresh possibilities. For this International Women’s Day, I celebrate the resilience and strength of our Marshallese women.”

Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner

*originally published on The Elders website to coincide with a blog post by Mary Robinson, former Ireland president and climate activist, for International Women’s Day. 

Here in the Marshall Islands, International Women’s Day immediately follows a national holiday. On March 1, Nuclear Victims Remembrance Day commemorates the legacy of US nuclear testing on our islands. As these two events collide, I find myself wrestling with connections between gender, international power, nuclear legacies, climate change, and lost land.

From 1946 to 1968, 67 nuclear weapons were detonated, which is the equivalent of 1.7 Hiroshima bombs being exploded daily for 12 years in terms of radiation exposure. Just the Bravo shot alone, a 15-megaton hydrogen bomb, was 1,000 times more powerful than the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima.

Women disproportionally bear the burden of the trauma their society has been exposed to – in this case, they bear the burden…

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