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In this presentation I outline the characteristics of innovation and consider them in the light of educational technology. I survey some major innovations and question them from the perspective of idea, benefit and execution. Then I look at the changing nature of benefits in education and take learning beyond innovation and into transformation., Bangkok, Thailand (Keynote) Jul 27, 2016 [Comment]
Why shouldn't 7-year-olds learn to code? "They learn the basics by dragging and dropping simple instruction boxes into blocks of code that tell a computer what to do. And the toys they work with show them an immediate, tangible result from their commands. "[Link] [Comment]
The story is in the headline rather than the content, but there's an important undercurrent. "Reactor Core, which currently has about 210 students on multiple campuses and online, offers 12-week programs in software engineering and mobile app development." So far so good. But they are one of several organizations asked to cease and desist. "The primary concern so far has been that bootcamps have not been sufficiently transparent about student outcomes."[Link] [Comment]
In this presentation I outline the major elements of connectivism as a learning theory, show how this informed the development and design of our massive open online courses (MOOCs), and then discuss the role played by open educational resources in a learning community. Video of the talk is available here.MOOC and Innovation Conference, Chiang Mai, Thailand (Keynote) Jul 25, 2016 [Comment]
This document (64 page PDF) is more of a framework than a final statement on the topic of recognizing individual achievement, but as such it's a great start and will likely become a document of reference in the field. The structure constitutes the areas most people can agree on (for example: the four stages of validation are identification, documentation, assessment and certification) while the questions it leaves open are precisely those that need to be solved at a national or even a domain-specific level (for example: how is the credibility of the authority/awarding body assured?) The section on the centrality of the individual goes a bit further than the rest, and correctly so: "Validation aims at empowering the individual and can serve as a tool for providing second chance opportunities to disadvantaged individuals... The individual should be able to take control of the process and decide at what stage to end it."[Link] [Comment]
The idea of the social contract was introduced by Thomas Hobbes in the 1600s as a means of justifying the continued rule of the monarchy. Without the stern rule of the monarch, he wrote, we would return to the state of nature where the lives of men were "solitary, poore, nasty, brutish and short." The myth of the social contract persists to this day, and is used for the same purpose. This is important, because when authors of articles like this one reference the unequal access to educational technology, and education, in terms of the social contract, it has to be noted that the prevailing social contract in western democracies is that there will be two-tiers, indeed multi-tier, access to everything. And there is no appeal against the social contract - as Locke said, you have two choices: rebellion, or emigration.[Link] [Comment]
As you can see, I wasn't willing to see Heather Ross's blog self-destruct. More to the point, I wanted to share her thoughts on digital citizenship, thoughts which go well beyond digital literacy. She cites Mike Ribble’ s list of the Nine Themes of Digital Citizenship, a list which includes digital access, digital commerce, digital communication, and more. She ends with "video about the 'filter bubble' that explains why you see a lot of what you as an individual see online." I don't really experience the filter bubble - there are days when I wish I did. But this isn't one of the posts I'd filter.[Link] [Comment]
George Siemens gets this right. "This is where adaptive learning fails today: the future of work is about process attributes whereas the focus of adaptive learning is on product skills and low-level memorizable knowledge. I’ ll take it a step further: today’ s adaptive software robs learners of the development of the key attributes needed for continual learning – metacognitive, goal setting, and self-regulation – because it makes those decisions on behalf of the learner." As I (and no doubt many other people) have been saying, learning is about becoming a certain sort of person, not acquiring a certain body of content. So learning management is not a content selection and delivery problem.[Link] [Comment]
Stephen Heppell is Professor of New Media Environments at Bournemouth University and has a long and good reputation in the field. "Lots of people spend time talking about 21st century skills," he says. "I don’ t think any of that has changed very much. In the last century we thought about 20th century skills. I think pace is the thing that has changed, the speed of change is so great... I think the role of the teacher is to be passionate about learning. If you look around the world, teachers have become more and more driven to just deliver the curriculum, mark the books, organise the children, to do governance, and some of that passion has been lost."[Link] [Comment]
This article runs through some of the standard pronunciations to the effect that the MOOC is not disruptive, throws out some stats attesting to their popularity, and then shifts into a discussion of what can be done to make MOOCs work, for example, by employing them in the flipped classroom model. Most of the article is structured around a conversation with Stanford University president John Hennessy, which I think explains the focus on traditional education models. The middle part of the article focuses on the Stanford model for universities. "If you look at the threat to most universities, it’ s that their cost model currently grows faster than their revenue model," Hennessy says. "So now the question is, can you find a way to introduce technology and help reduce your cost growth?" Which brings us back to MOOCs, and Rick Levin, chief executive of Coursera. "Yale professors, instead of teaching a 15-person seminar three or four times a year, can teach 6,000 people in one sitting," he says.
(Note: to disable the sites limit on articles, search for and delete cookies with the string 'timesh' in your browser.)(The broken image accompanying the article is deliberate; I'm not sure why.)[Link] [Comment]
The first two thirds of this post constitute a pretty good discussion of the Common Core emphasis on close reading (that is, reading where sentence construction and word selection are studied closely in order to understand the author's intent). A good reader reads closely naturally, and instances of ambiguity or errors of reasoning glare red like red scars over the text. But a sole focus on close reading dismisses as irrelevant what the readers themselves bring to the work, rendering it a performance and not a dialogue. "Why should students be denied this same opportunity to 'break away' from the text as they make comparisons to personally relevant and timely issues related to a broader and more lively discussion of who and what determines an unjust law," asks Jonathan Chase? This, he suggests, is a result of the focus of Common Core on outcomes, as defined by standardized testing, rather than on process, where "students’ thoughts and feelings matter a great deal."[Link] [Comment]
Meetings on work integrated learning (WIL) are "are beginning to resemble discussions of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin," according to this article from HEQCO. "we need to refocus the WIL and EE conversation from counting to the far more fundamental question of why we are promoting these experiences in the first place," write the authors. This is perhaps in response to this article from the Business/Higher Education Roundtable (covered in these pages here) where they argue "We need a common set of definitions and metrics to assess our performance, to ensure that we’ re on the right track, and to learn what makes the best work-integrated learning programs truly valuable." The HEQCO argues, "the dominant question should not be the number of students having these experiences but rather whether these experiences are actually resulting in the development of the desired skills." Via Academica Group.[Link] [Comment]
I'm not sure what to make of this except to agree that "much remains uncertain". The suggestion is that "some test questions are likely harder to answer on tablets than on laptop and desktop computers." I expect that if they included pen and pencil answers in the survey they'd find more of the same sort of result (by the end of my career as a student the only time I was using a pen was on an examination). We are told "the key to avoiding potential problems is to ensure that students have plenty of prior experience with whatever device they will ultimately use to take state tests." Thinking more outside the box, I would be more inclined to reconsider whether tests are an accurate means of assessment at all.[Link] [Comment]
The The Khanty-Mansiysk Declaration Media and Information Literacy for Building Culture of Open Government (3 page PDF) has been released in English and Russian. It is the outcome of a recent conference on the topic, held in June, and asserts the importance of related competencies such as "reliable information access and retrieval; information assessment and utilization; information and knowledge creation and preservation; and information sharing and exchange using various channels, formats and platforms." Obviously these are institutional competencies as well as individual. Media and Information Literacy was found to be important in contributing to open government, which includes "the transparency and accountability of state governance", "increasing opportunities for citizens' direct participation", and "effective and efficient monitoring of public authorities by civil society". All of this sounds reasonable - if ambitious - to me.[Link] [Comment]
“ People should be able to express diverse opinions and beliefs on Twitter. But no one deserves to be subjected to targeted abuse online." Quite right. This is not a question of free speech. Let's call this what it is: hate speech. It's designed to hurt. There's no place for this. It is violence disguised as words, and it causes real harm. It's long past time social networks began to take action on this sort of thing. More.[Link] [Comment]
Ah, this post takes me back to the days of correcting student writing. Commentary requires clarity of thought, which is revealed only in clarity of expression. This piece displays neither, and serves as a good example of the standard to which pundits and academics alike ought to be held. For example, the sentence "In Paul Tough’ s new book, he writes..." is badly constructed. Instead, write "In his new book, Paul Tough writes..." (thus making it clear who was writing). Also for example, the word "engendering" is misused. It means 'to cause' or 'give birth to'. But teachers don't "cause" grit to appear in students. They 'promote' it or 'support the development' of it. Also for example, the argument "But what has been left unsaid..." is a non-sequitur. If Tough is relevant at all, it's for what he said, not what he didn't say. Or for example, the phrase "instilling these skills in students" is misused the way "engender" was. Another example, "we could naturally embed..." suggests a very puzzling understanding of the role of the teacher. Or for example, "by moving to a competency-based learning system..." is again a bad phrasing, where the author means "by changing to..." or "by employing instead...". That's the first two paragraphs.[Link] [Comment]
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