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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]
Un compromiso por la educación debería abordar, precisamente, lo que hasta hoy ha venido arrojando a la escuela al ojo del huracán: la titularidad de los centros, el lugar de lo laico y lo religioso, la coexistencia de las lenguas propias y la lengua común, el alcance y límites de la comprehensividad, las bases económicas de una expansión sostenible, la autonomía y transparencia de los centros y la reestructuración de la profesión docente. Formular los términos es ya otra historia, tema para otro día.
Much of the concern expressed by UK universities regarding Brexit is linked to free movement of researchers and to the loss of income from European funded research. these are important issues and while Brexit campaigners promised national money to meet any funding shortfall, the credibility of such promises is doubtful.
But there are other important issues raised from the probable exclusion, or at least downgrading, of UK institutions in European funded projects. In the 40 or so years since the UK joined the European Union, research has changed. The days of the lone researcher, labouring away in their office or laboratory are long gone. Research today is largely comprised of distributed and cross disciplinary teams, often at a large scale. Internet technologies have facilitated communication between distributed teams and made knowledge sharing much easier. Not only does Brexit threaten to isolate researchers in the UK from participating in such projects, but it also makes the UK institutions less attractive for ambitious researchers. And at the same time, especially in an age of austerity, core national funding for full time researchers has been greatly reduced, with the rise of short term appointments based on European and other project based research funding.
Of course European funding is not perfect. As with any such funding programme, the bureaucracy can be annoying (to say the least). Competition to get projects is high. And the short term nature of project funding often condemns promising prototypes to a silo, whilst seeking more resources to continue the work. Despite various attempts by the EU to prompt sustainability, research exploitation routes remain perilous. But one of the great benefits of the European research programmes in education has been for professional development, although this is rarely or ever picked up in evaluation reports. Many of those leading research and teaching in European universities today have benefited from the informal learning from discourse and exchange with peers in different countries. Exclusion from that opportunity for UK researchers will be one of the greatest losses for education from Brexit.
IBM Journal Of Research And Development Focuses Issue On Technologies For Educational Transformation
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]
UNESCO, Jul 20, 2016
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]