agregador de noticias

Harnessing the Power of Collaboration

Campus Technology - 1 Diciembre, 2017 - 13:00
Founded in 2014 by Colorado State University, Indiana University, the University of Michigan, and the University of Florida, Unizin is a nonprofit consortium dedicated to improving the learning experience with technology and creating a common, interoperable infrastructure for education.

Hack Education Weekly News

Audrey Watters - 1 Diciembre, 2017 - 12:10
(National) Education Politics

Via Chalkbeat: “DeVos calls America still ‘a nation at risk,’ cheers GOP tax plan.”

As I type this up, the Senate has not yet voted, but it does appear to have enough votes to pass the measure.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “How the Tax Bills Would Hit Higher Ed.”

Via The Washington Post: “Taxing college endowments will hurt red-state kids more than coastal elites.”

Via NPR: “Graduate Students Across The Country Protest GOP Tax Plan.”

Via The Washington Post: “Universities are also to blame for the GOP’s ‘grad student tax’.” That is, writes Yale University’s Sarah Arveson, "Charging us tuition, only to waive it, helps to define us as students instead of the essential workers we are.

Republicans in Congress are also working on a re-authorization of the Higher Education Act. From The Wall Street Journal, “Five Things on the House’s Higher Education Bill.” It’s good news for for-profits, says the WSJ and also moves towards “simplifying FAFSA.”

From the Department of Education press release: “Secretary DeVos Praises Senate Action on FAFSA Simplification.”

Also from the Department of Education’s press office: “U.S. Department of Education Announces Vision to Transform Federal Student Aid, Improve Customer Service.” Apparently the FAFSA will soon be available on mobile devices.

Via The Wall Street Journal: “Trump Administration Looks Beyond Traditional Servicers for Student-Lending Help.” A. Wayne Johnson, the head of the department’s financial aid division and a former executive at a student loan company, says that those “non-traditional” servicers could include companies like Visa, Amazon, or Goldman Sachs.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Education Department Signals Possible Changes to Gainful-Employment Rule.”

Via US News & World Report: “DeVos Racks Up More Than a Dozen Visits to Florida Schools.” Remember: Jeb loves Betsy.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Education secretary calls for more emphasis on work-force training. Many experts – including those focused on careers – say general education matters more than she suggests.”

Via The Washington Post: “Elitists, crybabies and junky degrees – A Trump supporter explains rising conservative anger at American universities.”

Via Politico: “ Victorious Trump moves to reshape consumer bureau.” That’s the CFPB, whose new leader is also addressed in this story from NPR: “What The Upheaval At A Federal Consumer Watchdog Could Mean For Students.”

Via Education Week: “U.S. House Hearing on Algorithms & Big Data: 5 Takeaways for Schools.”

More on the FCC’s plans to end “net neutrality.” Via Wired: “Ajit Pai’s Shell Game.” From Education Dive: “ How repealing net neutrality will disrupt higher education.” Via Education Week: “FCC Plans to Weaken ‘Net Neutrality’ Provisions, Raising Questions for K–12.”

Via USA Today: “Lunchroom bosses across the nation are getting a bit more flexibility in what they serve under a new federal rule unveiled Wednesday amid criticism that easing restrictions means less healthy young Americans.”

(State and Local) Education Politics

Via Education Week: “K–12 Spending in Most States Still Far Below Pre-Recession Levels, Report Says.”

Via Chalkbeat’s Colorado outlet: “Fate of Douglas County’s high-profile voucher program to be weighed at special meeting.”

Man, the offers that cities have made to lure Amazon HQ2 to their municipalities. So much for democracy, I guess.

More on California’s lawsuit against Bridgepoint Education in the for-profit higher ed section below.

Education in the Courts

Via Boing Boing: “Epic Games is suing a 14 year old for making a cheat tutorial and his brilliant mother is PISSED.”

More on lawsuits in the for-profit higher ed section below.

The Business of Student Loans (and Financial Aid)

There’s been quite a bit of news this about potential changes to FAFSA and financial aid. That’s all in the national politics section above.

Via The Washington Post: “Colleges puzzled by surge in FAFSA verification requests.”

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

Via Buzzfeed: “California Is Suing A Giant For-Profit College For Allegedly Misleading Students.” That’s Bridgepoint Education, which runs Ashford University.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “3 Startling Claims From California’s Lawsuit Against a For-Profit College.”

The Wall Street Journal profiles InfiniLaw, a company that runs for-profit law schools. According to the article, it’s looking to sell off its two remaining schools, Arizona Summit Law School and Florida Law School. Its third school, Charlotte School of Law shut down this summer.

Commentary via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Selling Swampland: For-Profit Colleges in the Age of Trump.”

“Why Betsy DeVos Just Might Be A Cosmetology School’s Savior” – Buzzfeed’s Molly Hensley-Clancy profiles Pro Way Hair School in Stone Mountain, Georgia.

More on the politics of higher education in the national politics section above.

Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”

These headlines just kill me. Via The 74: “How an Online Personalized Preschool Experiment Could Change the Way Rural America Does Early Education.”

More MOOC data in the “research” section below. And an update from Udacity in “the business of job training” section.

Meanwhile on Campus…

Via NPR: “What Really Happened At The School Where Every Graduate Got Into College.” The school in question: Ballou High School in DC.

An investigation by WAMU and NPR has found that Ballou High School’s administration graduated dozens of students despite high rates of unexcused absences. We reviewed hundreds of pages of Ballou’s attendance records, class rosters and emails after a district employee shared the private documents. Half of the graduates missed more than three months of school last year, unexcused. One in five students was absent more than present – missing more than 90 days of school.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Anthony Scaramucci resigned Tuesday from his position on an advisory board at a Tufts University graduate school.” Disclosure: the Mooch now follows me on Twitter.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Fresh Off Failed ‘Washington Post’ Sting, James O’Keefe Will Speak at SMU.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “A controversial speech at the University of Connecticut Tuesday night ended up in chaos, with students in the audience shouting at the speaker and the speaker arrested over an altercation with an audience member who appeared to take his notes.” The speaker was Lucian Wintrich, whose presentation was titled “It’s Okay to Be White.”

Via The Houston Chronicle: “Male studentsuncomfortable’ on Texas campuses, education official says.” Really.

Via NPR: “Parents Allege Sexual Abuse At Chinese Kindergarten.” The kindergarten is run by a private school chain, RYB Kindergarten, which incidentally was one of the handful of education IPOs this year.

Via Buzzfeed: “Cornell University Is Investigating This Controversial Research About Eating Behaviors.” That’s Brian Wansink, about whom Retraction Watch has counted eight corrections to published work so far this year.

Testing, Testing…

From the OECD: “PISA 2015 Results.”

Via The Hechinger Report: “U.S. ranks No. 13 in new collaborative problem-solving test.”

Go, School Sports Team!

The University of Tennessee dropped its plans to hire Greg Schiano as its new football coach following outcry about Schiano’s role in covering up – or at least turning a blind eye to – the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse while Schiano was at Penn State.

Via USA Today: “College football coaches owed more than $70 million in buyouts after run of firings.”

“Lawsuits could lead to changes in the NCAA’s concussion rules and threaten some athletic conferences, while broader questions about college football’s viability begin to emerge,” says Inside Higher Ed.

From the HR Department

Via Education Week’s Market Brief: “Scholastic Education Revamps Its Executive Leadership Team.”

The Business of Job Training

Udacity’s, A Freelancing Platform for Nanodegree Alumni, Shuts Down,” Class Central reports.

In their ongoing quest to convince people that VR is really going to be a thing, we get stories like this: “College teachers-in-training prep with virtual students.”

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

“Can Fan Fiction Bridge the Gaps in Sex Education for Marginalized Communities?” asks Pacific Standard.

(Reminder: according to Betteridge’s Law of Headlines, “Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.”)

Upgrades and Downgrades

Although much of the focus of ed-tech involves what happens at school, it’s important to remember that the corporate and consumer markets for “learning technologies” are much larger. This sort of thing, from Buzzfeed – “Here’s What Baby Food Of The Future Looks Like” – or this from from Techcrunch – “12 of the best baby tech gifts for the little ones in your life” – is pretty pervasive and should help remind us of how ed-tech (and tech more generally) serves to exacerbate inequality.

Speaking of ed-tech exacerbating inequality, Edsurge looks at PowerMyLearning’s plans to give parents homework – “family playlists” – to do alongside their children. (No disclosure that Edsurge shares funding – from the Gates Foundation – with this organization.)

Seems like most people spent the last couple of weeks talking about this op-ed. Articles about laptop bansfor or against – are not quite the worst. (The worst is definitely the Beloit Mindset List.) But stop anyway. Stop.

Grovo has apparently secured the trademark for “microlearning.”

Mozilla is ending its Web literacy work.

Via Vice: “YouTube kills ads on 50,000 channels as advertisers flee over disturbing child content.”

Via Techcrunch: “Jellies is a kid-friendly, parent-approved alternative to YouTube Kids.”

According to Edsurge, Knewton is now a courseware company and not a “robot tutor in the sky.” Knewton has raised some $157 million in venture capital. (No disclosure that Edsurge shares investors – GSV Capital – with Knewton.)

Via Think Progress: “Textbook co-authored by Roy Moore in 2011 says women shouldn’t run for office.” Moore is Alabama’s Republican Senate candidate.

Via Edsurge: “New Company Says by Using Its Service, Students Can Test Classroom Tech Before Arriving on Campus.” The company is called, and it scans your computer to make sure it meets all the requirements for an LMS and so on. No discussion of privacy or security, which would sure be nice.

Via Bloomberg: “Uber Investor Shervin Pishevar Accused of Sexual Misconduct by Multiple Women.” It’s just the latest in a long line of venture capitalists who’ve been accused of harassment this year.

Via The New York Times: “Andy Rubin, Android Creator, Steps Away From Firm Amid Misconduct Report.” The Information reported that Rubin was “involved in an inappropriate relationship with a female subordinate while he was at Google.”

Bitcoin Hype is Ushering in Demand for Cryptocurrency Education,” says MIT Technology Review. Let’s hope this education includes some of the underlying conspiracy theories and anti-Semitism that fuels the “anti-banking” rhetoric among cryptocurrency supporters.

Speaking of terrible ideas, “It Takes a Village: Parenting on the Blockchain,” says The Coin Telegraph.

Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF

“How AI and Eye Tracking Could Soon Help Schools Screen for Dyslexia,” according to Edsurge, profiling one company, Lexplore.

Via Getting Smart: “Ask About AI: The** Future of Learning and Work**.”

Maha Bali writing for Prof Hacker: “Against the 3A’s of EdTech: AI, Analytics, and Adaptive Technologies in Education.”

Via the CBC: “Virtual infant BabyX prompts question: how do we feel about AI that looks so much like us?”

There’s some robot news in the privacy section below. I’m putting it there because it’s not “LOL, robots” it’s more “holy shit, Facebook why are you so consistently terrible.”

(Venture) Philanthropy, “Dark Money,” and the Business of Ed Reform

It’s not “venture philanthropy,” so I’ve added “dark money” to the header this week. But it is worth following Robert Mercer’s investments, as several involve education (funding Milo to wreak havoc on college campuses, for example) or technology (backing Cambridge Analytica). This week, on the heels of a failed attempt by James O’Keefe’s media company to conduct a “sting” on The Washington Post, we learn from Buzzfeed that “Conservative Megadonor Robert Mercer Funded Project Veritas.”

Via International Business Times: “Who Funds Conservative Campus Group Turning Point USA? Donors Revealed.” Funders include the Ed Uihlein Foundation, the family foundation of Republican Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, the family foundation of healthcare products company CEO Vince Foglia, Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus’ foundation, and the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation. Gee, that last name seems familiar.

Via Foreign Policy: “This Beijing-Linked Billionaire Is Funding Policy Research at Washington’s Most Influential Institutions.” Think tanks. The Chinese Communist Party. Etc.

Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech

Pearson is selling its language learning company Wall Street English to Baring Private Equity Asia and CITIC Capital for $300 million (although Pearson will get about $100 million of that as the rest goes to debt relief).

Noodle Partners has raised $14 million from Owl Ventures. The company, founded by former Princeton Review and 2U exec John Katzman, has raised $18 million. Noodle Partners helps universities set up online degree programs. (Sorta like what 2U does, I guess.)

BetterLesson has raised $10 million from Owl Ventures, The Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, New Markets Venture Partners, and Reach Capital. The professional development company has raised $21.3 million total.

Tutoring company Upswing has raised $1.5 million from Lumina Impact Ventures, Stanford Graduate School of Business, Rethink Education, and Village Capital. It’s raised $2.97 million total.

Private school chain Fusion Education Group has raised an undisclosed amount of money from Leeds Equity Partners.

Tech Edventures has raised an unknown amount of money from unknown investors. The after-school coding program has previously raised $775,000.

WeWork, which recently acquired the coding bootcamp Flatiron School and has plans to launch a private K–12 school to teach kids how to be entrepreneurs, is buying the meet-up company Meetup.

European private equity firm IK Investment Partners has acquired acquire the tutoring company Studienkreis GmbH.

Via The Scholarly Kitchen: “PLOS Reports $1.7M Loss In 2016.”

Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security

“Once you have a student’s name, birthday and SSN, the US Department of Education will give you EVERYTHING else,” says Boing Boing. “Name+DOB+SSN=FAFSA Data Gold Mine,” says Krebs on Security.

Oxford and Cambridge are said to be illegally spying on students for money,” says Quartz.

Via Education Week: “Schools Struggle to Keep Pace With Hackings, Other Cyber Threats.”

Via THE Journal: “Report: Ed Tech Startups Stink at Student Data Privacy.” The report comes from Carnegie Mellon’s Heinz College.

“When Is The U.S. Going To Ban The Internet Of Things For Children?” asks Fast Company. Maybe when trade publications like Fast Company stop promoting these products as revolutionary? I don’t know.

Via The Hechinger Report: “Fitbit for education: Turning school into a data-tracking game.” That’s horrific.

Via Techcrunch: “Facebook rolls out AI to detect suicidal posts before they’re reported.” There’s no way to opt out apparently. This from a company that was found earlier this year to be enabling advertisers to target teens who felt “worthless.”

Research, “Research,” and Reports

Via CNBC: “This start-up raised millions to sell ‘brain hacking’ pills, but its own study found coffee works better.” The company isn question is called HVMN (formerly Nootrobox). Its backers include Marc Andreessen.

How to Get Your Mind to Read” – an op-ed by UVA’s Daniel Willingham. (Spoiler alert: it does not involve taking venture capital-backed “brain hacking” pills.)

I’ve calculated the numbers for “the business of education technology” – investments, acquisitions, mergers, IPOs, and so on – for the month of November.

Via Campus Technology: “Study Uncovers How Ed Tech Decision-Making Works.” The study was conducted by the EdTech Efficacy Research Academic Symposium, which is housed at the University of Virginia.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The work of research institutions led to the formation of 1,024 start-up companies in 2016 as invention disclosures and patent applications also rose, according to an annual survey from the Association of University Technology Managers.” Well good thing the GOP tax plan will kill that off.

Via The Washington Post: “Private school enrollment contributes to school segregation, study finds.”

Class Central surveyed its users: “MOOC Users Highly Educated, Have Experienced Career Benefits.”

Predictions! This one via The 74: “By 2022, America Will Need 1 Million More College Grads With STEM Training Than We Are on Track to Produce.”

The Hechinger Report and Columbia Journalism School’s Teacher Project have a new research project out on “The Terrible Twos.”

I love it when people list “collaboration” as a top ed-tech trend – as though until this very moment in the history of technology, humans have been utterly unable to work together.

Icon credits: The Noun Project

“ crush a 14-year-old would appear to be a step too far.”

OLDaily - 1 Diciembre, 2017 - 11:09

Kotaku, Metafilter, Dec 01, 2017

This story essentially involves a large company suing a 14-year old for cheating on a video game. Actually, it's not clear to me that it's 'cheating' - he simply used a piece of software to automate some activities. But the main argument here revolves around the use of licensing agreements and terms of service contracts. I personally don't recognize their validity, first, because nobody reads them, second, because they are deliberately obscure and misleading, third, because they often contain terms that are not enforceable (because, for example, they may violate charters of rights, or other legislation), and fourth, because we are not in a position to comply (we may be minors, we may be working in organizations, etc.). I recognize that some courts may disagree with me. But I have long since given up on the fairness of the courts in matters such as this; no matter what the document actually says, in the main, the party with the most resources will win.

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Towards an Ethical Framework for Open Recognition

OLDaily - 1 Diciembre, 2017 - 09:57

Serge Ravet, Medium, Dec 01, 2017

Though I think this project is a good idea, I am always wary when people use the phrase 'ethical framework', as there is no universal ethical perspective on which we will all agree. So this raises the question of what "an ethical framework for Open Badges in support of Open Recognition" would look like. For example, what are we to make of Alfie Kohn's remark in the context of open badges?: "Pitting students against one another for the status of having the best grades takes the strychnine of extrinsic motivation and adds to it the arsenic of competition.” I personally prefer to define a legal framework rather than an ethical framework. This defines the conditions required to live in a society together, while leaving morality as a matter of personal concern.

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Nuevo SPOOC “Enseñar y evaluar la competencia digital”

INTEF - 1 Diciembre, 2017 - 08:00

Desde el uno de diciembre está abierta la inscripción en el SPOOC (Self-Paced Open Online Course) “Enseñar y evaluar la competencia digital” (#CDigital_INTEF) Se trata de una experiencia de aprendizaje abierto y 100% a tu ritmo. La fecha de inicio del curso será el lunes 4 de diciembre de 2017. A partir de ese día cualquiera podrá realizarlo sin limite temporal.

Después de 4 ediciones en formato MOOC, con una notable participación hemos actualizado y enriquecido, con las aportaciones de ediciones anteriores, los contenidos del mismo para ponerlo a disposición de todos en formato SPOOC. En este curso “Enseñar y evaluar la competencia digital“, se trabajan entre otras diversas cuestiones como por ejemplo: ¿Cómo formar a la ciudadanía futura de la sociedad digital? ¿Cómo enseñar y cómo trabajar en torno a la tecnología digital?. ¿Eres docente? ¿ Sí? ¿Consideras que estás preparado para enseñar adecuadamente la competencia digital en tus clases? ¿Cómo lo estás haciendo? ¿y tus compañeros? ¿Podrías intercambiar y compartir información al respecto con tus colegas? Reflexionaremos también sobre la relevancia y principales caracterísiticas de la competencia digital. Además, planificaremos actividades didácticas para trabajar la comeptencia digital en el aula y tendremos la posibilidad de analizar e intercambiar experiencias pedagógicas en competencia digital. Indentificaremos también las dimensiones del aprendizaje a desarrollar en el alumnado con relación a la competencia digital.

Puedes profundizar en los contenidos de este curso en su video de presentación:

Al finalizar con éxito el SPOOC INTEF conseguirás una micro-credencial digital abierta que almacenarás en la mochila EducaLAB Insignas y que que reconoce los logros alcanzados y las competencias profesionales desarrolladas y/o adquiridas.

Es importante que tengas en cuenta que en esta modalidad abierta de formación no hay facilitación ni dinamización, a pesar de lo cual tienes a tu disposición el hashtag #CDigital_INTEF, para seguir la conversación en las redes sociales, así como un Espacio de Ayuda dentro del entorno digital de aprendizaje, para interactuar con otros participantes que se estén auto-formando en el mismo eje temporal.

Os animamos a inscribiros en esta experiencia de aprendizaje abierto a tu ritmo que, entre otras cosas, permitirá desarrollar y mejorar vuestra Competencia Digital Docente, y que esperamos encontréis de utilidad.

Para participar basta con inscribirse gratuitamente en SPOOC INTEF., donde además de esta propuesta formativa, podrás explorar otras igualmente abiertas y disponibles gratuitamente para todas aquellas personas interesadas: ¡Te esperamos!

The reproduction fee hustle

OLDaily - 1 Diciembre, 2017 - 07:33

Bendor Grosvenor, The Art Newspaper, Dec 01, 2017

This is an example of the phenpmenon of 'enclosure', which I have talked about in the past. The copyright on these paintings has long since expired, so they are in the public domian, however, by restricting access and threatening legal action, museums demand licensing fees. "For an academic to use a single image from the Tate in a single, free lecture, the fee is £20. A whole lecture could cost hundreds of pounds." 

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MIT Researchers Speed Up 3D Printing 10 Times

Campus Technology - 30 Noviembre, 2017 - 21:47
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a desktop 3D printer that they say is up to 10 times faster than those currently commercially available.

Moodle 3.4 Lets Teachers Override Student Activity Completion

Moodle News - 30 Noviembre, 2017 - 20:12
One of the top selling points of Moodle and similarly featured LMS is that they automatically turn work by students into completed activities, grades, and an eventual pass/fail statement. This...

Lackawanna College Offers Students Income-Sharing Deal

Campus Technology - 30 Noviembre, 2017 - 17:59
Students at Lackawanna College, a private nonprofit institution in Northeastern Pennsylvania, can now fund part of their college costs with an income share agreement, an arrangement that pays the institution a set percentage of their income after graduation.

The Surgeon Who Wants to Connect You to the Internet with a Brain Implant

OLDaily - 30 Noviembre, 2017 - 17:12

Adam Piore, MIT Technology Review, Nov 30, 2017

According to this article, "Eric Leuthardt believes that in the near future we will allow doctors to insert electrodes into our brains so we can communicate directly with computers and each other." He is based in the U.S., so the surgeon probably doesn't want to do it unless you pay him a lot of money. But the idea, whether supported by public health care or not, has intriguing possibilities. "What you really want is to be able to listen to the brain and talk to the brain in a way that the brain cannot distinguish from the way it communicates internally, and we can’t do that right now,” Schalk says. “We really don’t know how to do it at this point. But it’s also obvious to me that it is going to happen." Some great photos with this article.

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Toma Ventaja de Cron y Este Complemento para Diagnosticar Tareas Necias en Moodle

Moodle News - 30 Noviembre, 2017 - 17:00
This story in English. En Moodle (y otros sistemas abiertos basados en Linux), Cron podría equivaler a su corazón de hojalata. Es el componente del sistema encargado de ejecutar tareas programadas y...

Digital Debt, Personal Online Sustainability, and an Archive of One’s Own

OLDaily - 30 Noviembre, 2017 - 16:47

Jim Groom, bavatuesdays, Nov 30, 2017

The number one reason to blog: "I’m really lucky I start blogging 12 years ago, because I could not imagine the fresh hell of having all of these memories strewn across third party social media services without the overarching organizing archive of my work that is the bava—it’s a mess, but its my mess."

[Link] [Comment]

Three Slack Bots to Try

OLDaily - 30 Noviembre, 2017 - 16:38

Prof. Hacker, Chronicle of Higher Education, Nov 30, 2017

This was a fun read. I likes especially Anamak bot: "Occasionally, a student will have a question that, for whatever reason, they don’t want to ask. Not because they fear they’ll get in trouble, but sometimes because they feel embarrassed. Simply, AnamakBot allows users to ask anonymous questions of other users. Yep, that’s it." Related: The Church of the Subgenius Finally Plays it Straight. "For some of us, Slack is not actually sitting around watching TV with a beer in hand. For some of us, Slack is doing the work, but the work we wanted to do."

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Why You Left Social Media: A Guesswork

OLDaily - 30 Noviembre, 2017 - 16:32

Sofia Samatar, Catapult, Nov 30, 2017

"Sometimes at night I’ll spend an hour or more on social media, not posting, just looking, drifting through people’s feeds. I attach myself momentarily to certain personalities. They’re so clever, funny, observant, wise. I just want to be near them. Someone else." 

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Remembering Juhani Kirjonen and our cooperation – Jussin muistolle

Pontydysgu - Bridge to Learning - 30 Noviembre, 2017 - 15:38

Yesterday morning I got from Finland the sad news that my former boss, professor Juhani Kirjonen – Jussi, as we used call him – had passed away. It so happened that his life span came to end just one month before Finland celebrates the 100th anniversary of its independence. To me, there is another striking coincidence with the news of Jussi. At the end of October I had just written out my memories of the period that I had worked together with Jussi at the University of Tampere in the years 1986-1987.

At that time Jussi took the initiative to develop a post-graduate Master programme with focus on ‘Work Sciences’ (interdisciplinary consortium for research on working life). This was an interesting pilot initiative to engage researchers into cooperation with practitioners – HRD professionals, Health and Safety professionals, Training professionals. The aim was to get the participants shape developmental projects with conceptual and methodological support. Jussi, who had a long track record in interdisciplinary research on health and safety issues in working life, was convinced that the time was ripe for such a novelty – at that time there were hardly any postgraduate Master programmes in Finland (except the worldwide spread MBA programmes).

Jussi had got funding for a planning project from the Ministry of Education and the rector of the University of Tampere had set up an interdisciplinary planning committee consisting of researchers from different faculties and of external experts from the competent bodies for Health and Safety. In the year 1986, just after graduating as an MA from educational and social sciences, I started as the curriculum planner for this initiative. That period – one and a half year – was quite an adventure for both of us. We didn’t take this just as a ‘local’ curriculum initiative but as an intellectual mobilisation to get a better institutional backing for research on working life. From this point of view I was exploring also international models and made a lot of use of the German innovation programme “Humanisation of Work” of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Also I provided information on the German debates on integrative approaches to ‘work sciences’ (Fürstenberg: Konzeption integrativer Arbeitswissenschaft) and on the efforts to bring conflicting views from ergonomy vs. work psychology together. This work with literature was important for my further career development.

Alongside the planning work Jussi and I had several contacts with other interested researchers and with Social Partners. Also, after we had submitted the final report, we got involved in the discussion on launching a special research unit for research on working life. In that phase the initiative to set up a postgraduate Master programme got sidelined. Instead, the idea of a new interdisciplinary “Work Research Centre” got wide support and a this new centre was set up in record time bypassing all other earlier priorities of the university. However, in this final phase other researchers got the lead and Jussi retreated and took other duties. For me the new centre provided new opportunities to work in the research field “education and working life” and to create new international contacts – firstly in the joint initiatives of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden) and then with German research institutes – in particular with ITB. And this then brought me deeper to European cooperation in the field of vocational education end training (VET). And from 1994 on I worked several years in Cedefop (the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training).

– – –

Looking back, I could not have dreamed of making such career steps without the pioneering work with the curriculum planning initiative with Jussi. Also, during that period I enjoyed his strong support. Surely – there were also periods when we were not quite on the same page. But, what was more important, we got over those periods and we were happy to conclude our work with a good spirit. And, although the launch of the Work Research Centre was not a direct follow-up of our initiative, something of the good spirit was taken over during the ‘golden’ pioneering years. Therefore, I feel the loss of my former supervisor, but at the same time I am thankful for having experienced that interesting period of work with him.

Jussin muistoa kunnioittaen


A (Quite Literal) Moodle Spa Day. MoodleMoot US 2017-Miami

Moodle News - 30 Noviembre, 2017 - 13:44
In one of the most eye-catching names (and teasers) for a presentation at MoodleMoots this year, Karla Fribley, Seminaries Librarian, Academic Technologist, and “frontline Moodle support” at Earlham...

UnGoogleable questions

Steve Wheeler - 30 Noviembre, 2017 - 12:24
Image by Jim Groom on FlickrA perennial challenge for teachers everywhere is how to engage students and keep them engaged. Wherever I travel, I hear the same stories about how students are not engaged, and how they can be so easily distracted. Recently, technology (the handheld, personal variety) has come under fire from those who claim that it is a distraction in the classroom and lecture hall. Others have retorted that if teaching was engaging there would be no distractions - students would be completely focused and intent on their learning.

One of the remedies for lack of engagement is to present students with wicked problem to solve, or a irresistible question to answer. Some teachers have said to me that everything is searchable on Google, and that it doesn't take students long to crack such challenges or questions. My response is - oh really? You're probably asking the wrong questions then! I'm going to argue here that there are many questions that are unGoogleable.  I wrote about this idea 5 years ago, when I discussed some of the issues around the nature of knowledge and knowing. There were several responses, many of which were searching and considered about the role of teachers, the process by which we come to know and the function of technology in education.

Let's start with the simple ones. I'm sure you can come up with some simple, unGoogleable questions for your students. Anyone can, if they spend a little time thinking about what they want students to learn in any given knowledge domain. One of my favourite unGoogleable questions has been posed to audiences across the globe, and specifically to medical colleagues. No-one has arrived at the answer without a great deal of thinking, searching and analysis. It is this: In the normal human body, what do each of us have exactly five of?

Common responses are digits on the hand, which is not strictly the answer, because most people have ten. Some might respond with senses in the body, to which my answer is no - there are at least seven, and some claim there are more than twenty senses in the human body. Another response is systems of the body, but again this is incorrect, because there are eleven systems. Some try for lumbar vertebrae - but strictly, this is also incorrect, because there are more than 5 vertebrae, and 'lumbar' is a medical categorisation. Most people are stumped at this point.

Once you know the answer, you will then see that it is a gateway into deeper questions around anatomy and physiology - how the human body is constructed and functions. As with all unGoogleable questions, the challenge is to provide students with a significant challenge, after which the process of learning will escalate to a point where students are critically questioning and analysing their knowledge. Teachers who wish to engage their students, should ask unGoogleable questions. The learning is in the struggle, and students will not find it easy. How will they meet the challenge when they can't simply search for it online? What will they do next? And what other learning will it lead to when they discover an answer?

UnGoogleable questions by Steve Wheeler was written in Plymouth, England and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.Posted by Steve Wheeler from Learning with e's

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The next generation of OERs will take a step beyond traditional media and classroom support and begin to take advantage of the unique properties of virtual learning. Using examples such as virtual containers and actionable data books, I sketch the future for the next generation of OERs as a distributed and interactive network of applications, algorithms and data. Education Ouverte: Ressources Educatives Libres et Ingenierie de Formation, Hammamet, Tunisia (Keynote) Nov 30, 2017 [Comment]

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