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As a regular speaker on the international conference circuit, I am privileged to meet and work with some of the brightest minds in my field. It was a special pleasure to meet former head teacher Richard Gerver at a conference a few years ago, and as a added bonus, to spend time working together recording a video for the Saudi Ministry of Education. The video we made can be viewed on this website. I had already read Richard's first book, Creating Tomorrow's Schools Today, and had been challenged by his radical vision for the future of education. One of my favourite quotes from his book is a critique of the current school system and a clarion call for authenticity:
'To our children, learning is something they do at school. [..] it is a distraction from their real lives. When they look beyond the gates they don't see timetables, subjects, paragraphs and full stops. They see a huge, glistening, confusing world. They do not see how, by engaging in one, you can understand the other. They feel that they leave their real life at the gate. It is our job to move schools forward so that they are seen by our children as a development of their real lives.' (Gerver, 2011, p. 57)Richard and I spent quite some time together during those few days, and I learnt a great deal from him. He has subsequently gone on to achieve best seller status with his follow up book Change, and has developed into one of the most sought-after speakers in education. When Richard wrote the foreword for my latest book Learning with 'e's, he told the yarn about how we first met while riding camels in the Saudi desert. It's almost true - we did ride around on camels in a Bedouin encampment, and I have memories of Richard doing the Arabic Sword Dance around an open fire (I declined, owing to my aversion to sharp objects) - but we really met while travelling from Riyadh airport in a lot more comfort via limousine to a very nice hotel.
Gerver, R. (2011) Creating Tomorrow's Schools Today: Education - Our Children - Their Futures. London: Continuum.
Photo courtesy of ELI Conference, Saudi Higher Education Ministry
Selfie number 8 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
Luca Naso ha preparado una lista de las 50 cuentas “Top Big Data accounts on Twitter” (principales cuentas en Twitter sobre "Big data"). Utilizando la API de Twitter y algo de programación obtuvo una lista de los 50 sitios más importantes que habían enviado tweets con "big data", considerando el número de re- tweets, tweets, favoritos y seguidores, normalizado al mes de Julio de 2015. Un excelente trabajo, un gran trabajo, un impecable matemáticamente hablando trabajo, y , sobre todo, un trabajo totalmente inútil. Porque, si Vd. desea aprender algo sobre Big data, lo último que debería hacer en su vida es seguir esas cincuenta cuentas de Twitter.
Y eso se descubre en los comentarios.
Porque resulta que al final esa información no tiene sentido: aparecen muy bien situados sitios que han mencionado 5 veces “big data” pero que no aportan nada en relación a ese tema. Por el contrario, no aparecen sitios fundamentales sobre “big data” pero que, por la misma especialización de su contenido, tienen un público más reducido (= pocos seguidores, pocos retweets, …).
Por supuesto, podemos volver a modificar el peso de los parámetros y reconsiderar los criterios de selección. Podemos introducir millones de parámetros en superordenadores, pero, sabe, al final siempre parece faltar uno, justamente ese que hace que el resultado no sea una estupidez.
Me encanta el comentario del Dr. Vincent Granville cuando dice que prepararán su propia lista a partir de varias listas, “eliminando los falsos positivos e introduciendo los falsos negativos”. Es decir, trabajaran con millones de datos y varios estudios que utilizan grandes analíticas para al final arreglar los resultados “a mano”.
Pues sí, algo parecido pasa en Educación: utilizamos nuestras estupendas analíticas para estudiar datos de participación en Moodle y al final, de verdad, ¿qué sabemos?. ¿Qué hay un alumno que ha completado sólo la mitad de las tareas y apenas ha participado en el foro y de ahí concluimos que está en riesgo de suspender? Para ese viaje no hacían falta alforjas (2*).
Pero, ¿sabemos al menos cómo se llama? ¿cuántos hermanos tiene? ¿qué lugar ocupa? ¿qué papel adopta en la familia? ¿cómo son sus padres? ¿qué tiempo le dedican? ¿qué tiempo dedican en su casa a leer? ¿cuáles son sus aficiones? ¿está enamorado? ¿correspondido? ¿qué le pasa a esa edad? ¿le interesa algo lo que le queremos enseñar?... y siguen mil preguntas, algunas de las cuales son relevantes para que el buen profesor sepa qué necesita y cómo ayudarle.
Creo que recoger información del alumno y analizarla puede ser bueno. Ojala el LMS nos proporcione esa información. Pero más importante es observarle en clase, ver esa mirada perdida, ese gesto, hablar con él de fútbol o de música, notar el brillo en sus ojos al sacar un tema… Por eso el Blended learning y la clase invertida tienen que orientarse en otro sentido: dar más tiempo al profesor/a para encontrarse con el alumno/a, conocerle, orientarle.
Para ese viaje, bien vale la pena llenar las alforjas.
Naso, L. (2015). Top "Big Data" accounts on Twitter. En Data Science Central (3/8/2015).
“Para ese viaje no hacían falta alforjas”
Las alforjas eran el equivalente a las maletas, bolsas de tela u otros materiales con los enseres. El refrán hace referencia a cargar con mucho para algo que no lo necesitaba. O analizar millones de datos para llegar a conclusiones obvias.
Late last week I described the new plan from the US Department of Education (ED) and their Office of Educational Technology (OET) to “call for better methods for evaluating educational apps”. Essentially the ED is seeking proposals for new ed tech evaluation methods so that they can share the results with schools – helping them evaluate specific applications. My argument [updated DOE to be ED]:
Ed tech apps by themselves do not “work” in terms of improving academic performance. What “works” are pedagogical innovations and/or student support structure that are often enabled by ed tech apps. Asking if apps works is looking at the question inside out. The real question should be “Do pedagogical innovations or student support structures work, under which conditions, and which technology or apps support these innovations?”. [snip]
I could see that for certain studies, you could use the ED template and accomplish the same goal inside out (define the conditions as specific pedagogical usage or student support structures), thus giving valuable information. What I fear is that the pervasive assumption embedded in the program setup, asking over and over “does this app work” will prove fatal. You cannot put technology as the center of understanding academic performance.
Upon further thought as well as prompting from the comments and private notes, this ED plan has even more problems that I initially thought.Advocate or Objective Evaluator
There is a real problem with this plan coming out of the Office of Educational Technology due to their mission.
The mission of the Office of Educational Technology (OET) is to provide leadership for transforming education through the power of technology. OET develops national educational technology policy and establishes the vision for how technology can be used to support learning.
The OET strongly advocates for the use of ed tech applications, which I think is a primary cause of their inside-out, technology first view of the world. They are not an objective organization in terms of whether and when technology should be used, but rather an advocate assuming that technology should be used, but please make it effective. Consider these two statements, the first from the National Technology Plan and the second from the paper “Learning Technology Effectiveness” [emphasis added]:
- The plans calls for applying the advanced technologies used in our daily personal and professional lives to our entire education system to improve student learning, accelerate and scale up the adoption of effective practices, and and use data and information for continuous improvement.
- While this fundamental right to technology access for learning is nonnegotiable, it is also just the first step to equitable learning opportunities.
I have no problem with these goals, per se, but it would be far more useful to not have advocates in charge of evaluations.A Better View of Evaluation
Richard Hershman from the National Association of College Stores (NACS) shared with me an article that contained a fascinating section on just this subject.
Why Keep Asking the Same Questions When They Are Not the Right Questions?
There are no definitive answers to questions about the effectiveness of technology in boosting student learning, student readiness for workforce skills, teacher productivity, and cost effectiveness. True, some examples of technology have shown strong and consistent positive results. But even powerful programs might show no effects due to myriad methodological flaws. It would be most unfortunate to reject these because standardized tests showed no significant differences. Instead, measures should evaluate individual technologies against specific learning, collaboration, and communication goals.
The source of this excellent perspective on evaluating ed tech? An article called “Plugging In: Choosing and Using Educational Technology” from the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory and commissioned by the US Department of Education in 1995.
As Richard Parent commented in my recent post:
You’re exactly right to reframe this question. It’s distressing when the public demands to know “what works” as if there are a set of practices or tools that simply “are” good education. It’s downright depressing when those who should be in the know do so, too.
The post Ed Tech Evaluation Plan: More problems than I initially thought appeared first on e-Literate.
Need-to-Know News: Universities On Board with Micro Credentials, MOOC Report Highlights Pressing Issues & App Rewards Tech Non-Use
Huhn, J. (2013) A Guide to Superior e-Learning Graphics, BottomLine Performance, August 10
For those instructors or faculty new to online or blended learning, this is a very useful preliminary introduction to the importance of good graphic design for your online learning materials.
However, my advice is to team up with a graphic or web designer with experience in online teaching, before doing any development of materials. Not only will this save you a great deal of time in the long run, but it will also ensure that your materials look good and more importantly, students will learn better or more quickly as a result.
If you have a Centre for Teaching and Learning or a Learning Technology unit, they should have such specialists. It would also be sensible to make sure that an instructional designer also attends your first meeting, as their skills are somewhat different, although related.
I cannot stress though how important design is for online learning. Design includes the choice of ‘shell’ for your course in a learning management system (yes, you usually do have a choice!), font style and size, and general layout of web pages, as well as more detailed design issues such as consistent use of colours, placing and sizing graphics, and choice of tools for you to draft or create your own graphics.
This is why you should work with professionals trained in these areas if you can. If not, spend some time learning about basic design principles – and this article is a good start.
It is a shame notice to this is so short (6 September deadline) or I would have tried to do something. And anyway I guess this competition is really geared towards professionals but it would be cool to have a more crowd sourced (amateur) version. But in case anyone has already produced something here are the details (via LabourStart).
The third London Labour Film Festival will screen a selection of labour-related shorts throughout the film festival which takes place next month.
These short films will be screened between the feature length films.
We would like to invite you to be part of this.
We are asking people to submit short films to the festival.
The films and videos submitted can be made in the UK or anywhere in the world.
The films will be labour-related, they can be about any and every aspect of work, as well as those issues affecting unionised workers and those not represented by unions.
The selected (winners) will be chosen by a global panel of judges and shown as part of the festival.
The shorts selection competition is open to anybody. The purpose of the contest is to discover the hard work of filmmakers whose voices have yet to be heard.
This picture was taken in April 2011 at the start of the Plymouth Enhanced Learning conference (Pelecon), which was an annual learning technology event I chaired at Plymouth University. Our opening keynote speaker that year was Professor Stephen Heppell, and our Deputy Vice Chancellor was Bill Rammell.
Professor Stephen Heppell has been a regular mainstay on the keynote circuit for some time, due to his wide ranging and innovative research around education environments and learning technology. He has influenced my own work, encouraging me to be more aware of the entire learning environment. Stephen's research has resulted in some very useful insights into how children learn and why they don't. Consider for example his claim that red lighting in the morning wake students up, while blue lighting in the afternoon calms them down after lunch break. He also suggests that the entire sensory experience of school, including odours and configurations of wall spaces can positively influence children's learning. What resonates most for me though, is his statement that 'everything technology touches grows exponentially'.
Before joining Plymouth University as Deputy Vice Chancellor, Bill Rammell served as Member of Parliament for Harlow between 1997-2010. Among his other roles in government was his tenure as Minister of State for Higher Education under Labour prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. During his all too short stay at Plymouth, Bill developed our student experience services and was also responsible for international developments. I will never forget his great spirit of service and his willingness to go the extra mile. He not only opened our conference that day, but also returned twice more during the 3 day event to see how we were doing. He left the university in 2012 to become Vice Chancellor of Bedfordshire University.
Coming soon: Selfie number 8.
Photo by Jason Truscott on Flickr
Selfie number 9 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
Pero no es definitiva y puede tener muchos cambios.
Tras innumerables esfuerzos (en algunos momentos hemos tenido la duda de que pudiéramos ponerlo en la red) podemos decir que saldrá el número 46, especial dedicado al "pensamiento computacional" de RED. Fue precedido de una serie de posts en Hypotheses, Redes Abiertas, y en otros blogs, sessions en Academia.edu, Research gate, Mendeley,... y de debates y comentarios en redes sociales genéricas.
Los títulos y autores previstos son
PresentaciónWalter Bender. Squeakland Foundation, Sugar Labs, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. USA.Claudia Urrea. Squeakland Foundation, Sugar Labs, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. USA.Miguel Zapata-Ros. Universidad de Murcia. España.
Pensamiento computacional y alfabetización digitalMiguel Zapata-Ros. Universidad de Murcia. España.
Turtle Sensors How open hardware and software can empower students and communitiesTony Forster, Guzmán Trinidad, Andrés Aguirre, Facundo Benavides, Federico Andrade, Alan Aguiar, Gonzalo Tejera y Walter Bender. Squeakland Foundation, Sugar Labs, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. USA.
Robotics in voxel sandbox games: opportunities for mixing body-syntonic reasoning and game-based learningMiguel Ángel Sicilia. Universidad de Alcalá. España.
Pensamiento Computacional a través de la Programación: Paradigma de AprendizajeXabier Basogain Olabe. Universidad del País Vasco / Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea. España.Miguel Ángel Olabe Basogain. Universidad del País Vasco / Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea. España.Juan Carlos Olabe Basogain. Christian Brothers University. Estados Unidos de América.
Going from Bits to Atoms: Programming in Turtle Blocks JS and Personal Fabrication in Youth Maker Projects Josh Burker
Robótica Educativa. La programación como proceso.José Miguel García. CODICEN – ANEP. Uruguay.
Entornos de programación no mediados simbólicamente para el desarrollo del pensamiento computacional. Una experiencia en la formación de profesores de Informática de la Universidad Central del EcuadorHamilton Omar Pérez Narváez. Universidad Central. EcuadorRosabel Roig-Vila. Universidad de Alicante. España.
Dr. Scratch: Análisis Automático de Proyectos Scratch para Evaluar y Fomentar el Pensamiento ComputacionalJesús Moreno-León. Universidad Rey Juan Carlos. España.Gregorio Robles. Universidad Rey Juan Carlos. España.Marcos Román-González. Universidad Nacional de Educación aDistancia (UNED). España.
El pensamiento computacional y las nuevas ecologías del aprendizajeJesús Valverde Berrocoso. Universidad de Extremadura. España.María Rosa Fernández Sánchez. Universidad de Extremadura. España.María del Carmen Garrido Arroyo. Universidad de Extremadura. España.
Enseñando a programar: un camino directo para desarrollar el pensamiento computacionalPatricia Compañ-Rosique, Universidad de Alicante. España.Rosana Satorre-Cuerda, Universidad de Alicante. España.Faraón Llorens-Largo, Universidad de Alicante. España.Rafael Molina-Carmona, Universidad de Alicante. España. Estudio sobre diferencias de género en las competencias y las estrategias educativas para el desarrollo del pensamiento computacionalElisenda Eva Espino Espino. Instituto Universitario de Estudios de las Mujeres (IUEM)
Universidad de La Laguna. EspañaCarina Soledad González González. Instituto Universitario de Estudios de las Mujeres (IUEM). Universidad de La Laguna. España.
Representaciones de estudiantes de primaria y secundaria sobre las Ciencias de la Computación y su oficio.Ma. Cecilia Martinez. CONICET- Universidad Nacional de Córdoba. ArgentinaMa. Emilia Echeveste. CONICET- Universidad Nacional de Córdoba. Argentina
Rendimiento de los alumnos en el modelo 1 a 1Luis Rodolfo Lara. Universidad Nacional de Catamarca. Argentina.Marisa Elizabeth Krenz. Universidad Nacional de Catamarca. Argentina.Héctor Fernando Ortiz Avendaño. Universidad Nacional de Catamarca. Argentina.
Una vez más muchas gracias por tu colaboración.
Non-disclosure, plausible deniability and lack of transparency in leadership: UBC and the Duffy trial
Even if you have been holidaying in outer Mongolia, you are probably aware (if you are Canadian) of the trial of Senator Duffy and the sudden resignation of the President of the University of British Columbia. These two seemingly unrelated events however have common themes which I wish to explore.
First, let me be clear. I have no inside information on either event. I don’t know whether or not the Prime Minister knew about the $90,000 payment to Senator Duffy by his chief of staff, nor the ‘real’ reason for President Arvind Gupta’s resignation from his position as President of UBC, after only 13 months into a five year term. But that is exactly my point. Other than those on the ‘inside’, no-one knows. And we should.Plausible deniability
We don’t know whether Stephen Harper was a party to the deception being perpetrated by the Prime Minister’s Office about getting the Senator to appear to repay his expenses, because the whole premise of the PMO’s office is to enable ‘plausible’ deniability by the Prime Minister if anything should go wrong with the various scheming carried out by his office to protect the ‘brand’ of the Conservative Party. Damage control is the prime mandate of this office. The less the public knows of what it does and what the Prime Minster knows, the better – for the Conservative Party.Non-disclosure
The Board of Governors at UBC also has used a common tool to manage damage control, a non-disclosure agreement which prevents anyone involved in the decision-making that lead to the resignation of the President from speaking about it. To give some idea of the legal power of a non-disclosure agreement, not one of the more than 20 members of the Board, including student, staff and faculty representatives, has given any hint of a comment about this very unusual decision. Clearly, from the Board’s perspective also, the less the public knows about it, the better.
So here we have two clear instances of leaders hiding behind damage-control tools to avoid explaining their decisions and in essence denying their responsibility for such decisions. And it looks like they will both get away with not accepting responsibility or avoiding explanations if they can sit tight and keep quiet until the public gets tired, or gets distracted by other events.The consequences
I am angry about this, not because I feel I have a right to know what the Prime Minister or UBC’s Board of Governors does or why they did it, but because without the acceptance of responsibility for their decisions, our ‘governors’ have carte blanche to do what they like without restraint. All power corrupts and total power corrupts absolutely.The UBC case
With specific respect to the UBC context, it seems beyond plausible that the President voluntarily stepped down after only 13 months, and so soon after setting out a bold and personal vision for the university. The reason given in the only public statement by UBC is as follows:
This leave will enable him to focus on his research and scholarly work that will be of mutual benefit to Dr. Gupta and UBC.
If you believe that then you believe the Toronto Maple Leafs will win the Stanley Cup next season. There aren’t many plausible reasons why he would resign:
- overwhelming personal circumstances, such as a terminal sickness in the family
- malfeasance of some kind
- a sharp difference of views with at least the more powerful members of the board about the President’s policies or management decisions.
Let’s look at each of these reasons. It is hard to see why a non-disclosure agreement would be necessary for overwhelming personal circumstances. Most people would understand and feel great sympathy for the President in such circumstances, and the Board would really have no reason to feel responsible for this.
There has been no suggestion of malfeisance – wrongdoing by the President. However, in the unlikely and hypothetical case that it was malfeisance, then the Board might want to cover it up to protect the university’s reputation, but this would be totally the wrong decision. This would be a perversion of justice. I personally do not think this could possibly have been the reason. No Board would be that stupid.
So we are left with the most plausible reason – a disagreement between the Board and the President about policy and/or management. Now maybe the public and students (who after all pay the taxes and tuition fees that keep the university running) may not be in a good position to judge who is right on such issues, but certainly the faculty need to know whether or not there was a basic disagreement between Board and President, because faculty are tasked with moving the university in the direction set by the Board and President.
To give just one instance, two or so years ago, under the previous President, the university launched a visionary and ambitious flexible learning strategy that would transform teaching and learning at UBC. Do faculty continue to move in this direction, was it supported by the new President, or was it supported by the Board but not the President? The reason for the disagreement of course may have been over something completely different, but we don’t know and in such circumstances the university is on hold with regard to all its previous initiatives until a new (permanent) President and administration is in place.What should we do?
What can the public do about these decisions? In the case of the PMO’s office, I will vote for any of the opposition parties that comes forward with a practical plan that will make the Prime Minister and his/her office more accountable for the consequences of their decisions, and will put in place policies and procedures that will make government more transparent.
UBC is more difficult. I no longer work there, although I have a complex love/hate relationship with the institution. It is easy to be an arm-chair quarter-back over someone else’s decisions. Personally, though, I think there were problems with the new President, such as his firing the VP Administration within days of taking office (see here). If so, the Board should be commended for making the right decision in difficult circumstances (after all, they are the ones who hired him in the first place). However, the Board needs to come clean and give its reasons and not hide behind a non-disclosure agreement.
Lastly, I think politicians should look carefully at the use of non-disclosure agreements. They are too often used as a tool for covering up the paying off of incompetent leaders or for covering arbitrary firings when there are personal issues between a board chair and the CEO or President. Non-disclosure agreements too often encourage both bad governance decisions and above all a lack of transparency over how tax dollars are being used. But it will be a brave and clever government that finds a way to get rid of non-disclosure agreements while still protecting the charter rights of those involved.
In the meantime, both the Duffy and UBC cases point to a lack of transparency in decision-making at the highest levels in Canada. We should do better.
On the left of the picture is Harold Jarche, who is chair of the Internet Time Alliance and a champion of social learning. I have followed his work for some time, but the first time I met Harold was at the Learning Technologies event in London in 2013. He specialises in work based learning and has made quite an impact with his work on innovative leadership, networked business solutions, and personal knowledge management. I often quote from his work or retweet his blog posts, because he thinks deeply, writes clearly and has a unique approach to workplace learning.
In the centre of the photo is Joyce Seitzinger. I first met Joyce at the first Personal Learning Environment (PLE) conference in Barcelona in 2009 and we have been friends ever since. We were sat just a couple of seats away from each other, and were already friends on social media. I quickly realised that Joyce and I had a lot in common, including our passion for great learning, technology integration and creative applications in higher education. I have subsequently worked with her in New Zealand and Australia. Joyce is best known for her Moodle Tools for Teachers model which has been translated into more than a dozen languages. She now runs her own consultancy - Academic Tribe -which offers training and professional development for educators.
Far right is George Couros. I also met George for the first time at the Barcelona PLE event. He works as a divisional principal in Canada and is a regular speaker on the international conference circuit. On his blog 'Principal of Change' George is constantly posting articles and videos about innovative learning, and is a strong advocate for change and reform in school systems. I often share and repost content from George on social media. As the younger brother of Alec Couros, George has a big shadow to emerge from, but he is very much a keynote speaker, author and scholar in his own right, and deserves his reputation as a key mover and shaker in the world of education.
You may also recognise the other people in this selfie. Answers below in the comments box please :)
If you have any selfies with people you value, I encourage you to share them in a blogpost of your own, and say how they have inspired you.
Coming up: Selfie number 9
Photo by George Couros
Selfie number 10 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
Brief post outlining the importance of balance in game design. Balance refers to the fairness of a game (especially among multiple players) and the fine line between being too easy and too difficult. "Balancing a game is not an algorithmic calculation," writes Kapp. "As a fascinating article on Gamasutra states: A game being 'balanced' is also always, at best, a rough approximation."[Link] [Comment]