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Better Ed Tech Conversations

e-Literate - 18 Noviembre, 2014 - 16:44

This is another follow-up to the comments thread on my recent LMS rant. As usual, Kate Bowles has insightful and empathetic comments:

…From my experience inside two RFPs, I think faculty can often seem like pretty raucous bus passengers (especially at vendor demo time) but in reality the bus is driven by whoever’s managing the RFP, to a managed timetable, and it’s pretty tightly regulated. These constraints are really poorly understood and lead to exactly the predictable and conservative outcomes you observe. Nothing about the process favours rethinking what we do.

Take your focus on the gradebook, which I think is spot on: the key is how simply I can pull grades in, and from where. The LMS we use is the one with the truly awful, awful gradebook. Awful user experience, awful design issues, huge faculty development curve even to use it to a level of basic competence.

The result across the institution is hostility to making online submission of assignments the default setting, as overworked faculty look at this gradebook and think: nope.

So beyond the choosing practice, we have the implementation process. And nothing about this changes the mind of actual user colleagues. So then the institutional business owner group notices underuse of particular features—oh hey, like online submission of assignments—and they say to themselves: well, we need a policy to make them do it. Awfulness is now compounding.

But then a thing happens. Over the next few years, faculty surreptitiously develop a workable relationship with their new LMS, including its mandated must-use features. They learn how to do stuff, how to tweak and stretch and actually enjoy a bit. And that’s why when checklist time comes around again, they plead to have their favourite corner left alone. They only just figured it out, truly.

If institutions really want to do good things online, they need to fund their investigative and staff development processes properly and continuously, so that when faculty finally meet vendors, all can have a serious conversation together about purpose, before looking at fit.

This comment stimulated a fair bit of conversation, some of which continued on the comments thread of Jonathan Rees’ reply to my post.

The bottom line is that there is a vicious cycle. Faculty, who are already stretched to the limit (and beyond) with their workloads, are brought into a technology selection process that tends to be very tactical and time-constrained. Their response, understandably, tends to be to ask for things that will require less time from them (like an easier grade book, for example). When administrators see that they are not getting deep and broad adoption, they tend to mandate technology use. Which makes the problem worse rather than better because now faculty are forced to use features that take up more of their time without providing value, leaving them with less time to investigate alternatives that might actually add value. Round and round it goes. Nobody stops and asks, “Hey, do we really need this thing? What is it that we do need, and what is the most sensible way of meeting our needs?”

The only way out of this is cultural change. Faculty and administrators alike have work together toward establishing some first principles around which problems the technology is supposed to help them solve and what a good solution would look like. This entails investing time and university money in faculty professional development, so that they can learn what their options are and what they can ask for. It entails rewarding faculty for their participation in the scholarship of teaching. And it entails faculty seeing educational technology selection and policy as something that is directly connected to their core concerns as both educational professionals and workers.

Sucky technology won’t fix itself, and vendors won’t offer better solutions if customers can’t define “better” for them. Nor will open source projects fare better. Educational technology only improves to the extent that educators develop a working consensus regarding what they want. The technology is a second-order effect of the community. And by “community,” I mean the group that collectively has input on technology adoption decisions. I mean the campus community.

The post Better Ed Tech Conversations appeared first on e-Literate.

CLAMP releases Liberal Arts Edition (LAE) for 2.7.3 and other minor releases

Moodle News - 18 Noviembre, 2014 - 16:00
The Collaborative Liberal Arts Moodle Project (CLAMP), a membership driven organization of liberal arts colleges, has released their Liberal Arts Edition for Moodle’s most recent minor...

Site News Block can bring more attention to announcements on the MyMoodle page

Moodle News - 18 Noviembre, 2014 - 14:38
This simple addon replicates the Site News thread as a block which can be added to your default MyMoodle page ensuring that students always have relevant information available upon login. Otherwise...

U.S. Students Rule in Annual Student Cyber Security Challenge

Campus Technology - 18 Noviembre, 2014 - 14:30
For the sixth year in a row Carnegie Mellon's students dominated the scoreboard for Capture the Flag at last week's 11th annual New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering Cyber Security Awareness Week.

Education in the Digital Era: opening a discussion on quality

Open Education Europa RSS - 18 Noviembre, 2014 - 14:04
Summary: 

The EC and the Italian Presidency of the EU are hosting a high level conference on Education in the Digital Era on December 11th. The pre-conference dialog has already begun on various online platforms and you are all welcome to participate. The main topic of discussion is quality and relevance in learning

Interest Area:  Higher Education Training & Work Learning & Society

Highlights of the MOOCs for Web Talent final conference

Open Education Europa RSS - 18 Noviembre, 2014 - 12:59
Summary: 

Experts from educational institutions, multinational companies, MOOC providers and MOOC platforms convened at Aalto University in Helsinki on 17 November for this final conference of the MOOCs for Web Talent Network.

Interest Area:  Higher Education Training & Work Learning & Society

Highlights of the MOOCs for Web Talent final conference

Open Education Europa RSS - 18 Noviembre, 2014 - 12:59
Summary: 

Experts from educational institutions, multinational companies, MOOC providers and MOOC platforms convened at Aalto University in Helsinki on 17 November for this final conference of the MOOCs for Web Talent Network.

Interest Area:  Higher Education Training & Work Learning & Society

Un modelo de ABP para todo el centro educativo

Un proyecto multidisciplinar para Secundaria centrado en las telas y la ropa. Utilizando la metodología ABP, los alumnos trabajan contenidos de Lengua, Geografía, Matemáticas, Historia y Educación Plástica. Al mismo tiempo, analizan el origen y consecuencias de las desigualdades económicas a nivel mundial o las consecuencias para el medio ambiente del desarrollo económico.

Los profesores del IES "Fuente Juncal" desarrollan este proyecto, que implica a diferentes cursos y diferentes materias, durante este curso 2014-2015. Continúan y amplían la experiencia iniciada el curso pasado con el proyecto "Pan para tod@s"

En esta propuesta encontramos ideas para nuestras propias clases y un modelo global que podemos intentar aplicar en nuestro centro educativo. ¿Conocemos experiencias similares? 

Introducing Tablets in Schools: The Acer-European Schoolnet Tablet Pilot

Open Education Europa RSS - 18 Noviembre, 2014 - 11:15
Summary: 

Following the successful implementation of the Acer-European Schoolnet Educational Netbook Pilot in 2010/2011, Acer and European Schoolnet carried out a new pilot study in 2012 on the use of tablet devices to enhance teaching and learning practices. During this study, Acer equipped 263 teachers in 63 schools from eight European countries with Acer Iconia W500 tablet computers.

Area of interest:  Higher Education Training & Work Learning & Society

Introducing Tablets in Schools: The Acer-European Schoolnet Tablet Pilot

Open Education Europa RSS - 18 Noviembre, 2014 - 11:15
Summary: 

Following the successful implementation of the Acer-European Schoolnet Educational Netbook Pilot in 2010/2011, Acer and European Schoolnet carried out a new pilot study in 2012 on the use of tablet devices to enhance teaching and learning practices. During this study, Acer equipped 263 teachers in 63 schools from eight European countries with Acer Iconia W500 tablet computers.

Area of interest:  Higher Education Training & Work Learning & Society

Personalize Learning: Proving Performance vs. ImProving Learning

Educación flexible y abierta - 18 Noviembre, 2014 - 09:26

Chris Watkins writes about the relationship between learning and performance in schools.

See it on Scoop.it, via Educación flexible y abierta

Rasmussen College Expands Competency-Based 'Flex Choice' Program

Campus Technology - 18 Noviembre, 2014 - 00:50
Rasmussen College will expand its offerings of self-paced and competency-based programs with the addition of four new associate's degrees.

The Wisdom of Jerome Bruner in “The Culture of Education”: Book Review

online learning insights - 18 Noviembre, 2014 - 00:40
Education is not an island, but part of the continent of culture  —Jerome Bruner The Culture of Education presents nine thought-provoking essays on the subject of cultural psychology and its implications for education. The essays embody Bruner’s experience, knowledge and wisdom … Continue reading →

EDEN research papers: OERs (inc. MOOCs), quality/assessment, social media, analytics and research methods

Tony Bates - 18 Noviembre, 2014 - 00:02

EDEN has now published a second report on my review of papers submitted to the EDEN research workshop in Oxford a couple of weeks ago. All the full papers for the workshop can be accessed here.

Main lessons (or unanswered questions) I took away:

OERs and MOOCs

  • what does awarding badges of certificates for MOOCs or other OER actually mean? For instance will institutions give course exemption or credits for the awards, or accept such awards for admission purposes? Or will the focus be on employer recognition? How will participants who are awarded badges know what their ‘currency’ is worth?
  • can MOOCs be designed to go beyond comprehension or networking to develop other critical 21st century skills such as critical thinking, analysis and evaluation? Can they lead to ‘transformational learning’ as identified by Kumar and Arnold (see Quality and Assessment below)
  • are there better design models for open courses than MOOCs as currently structured? If so what would they look like?
  • is there a future for learning object repositories when nearly all academic content becomes open and online?

Quality and assessment

  • research may inform but won’t resolve policy issues
  • quality is never ‘objective’ but is value-driven
  • the level of intervention must be long and significant enough to result in significant learning gains
  • there’s lots of research already that indicates the necessary conditions for successful use of online discussion forums but if these conditions are not present then learning will not take place
  • the OU’s traditional model of course design constrains the development of successful collaborative online learning.

Use of social media in open and distance learning

There were surprisingly few papers on this topic. My main takeaway:

  • the use of social media needs to be driven by sound pedagogical theory that takes into account the affordances of social media (as in Sorensen’s study described in an earlier post under course design)

Data analytics and student drop-out

  • institutions/registrars must pay attention to how student data is tagged/labeled for analytic purposes, so there is consistency in definitions, aggregation and interpretation;
  • when developing or applying an analytics software program, consideration needs to be given to the level of analysis and what potential users of the data are looking for; this means working with instructional designers, faculty and administrators from the beginning
  • analytics need to be integrated with action plans to identify and support early at risk students

Research methods

Next

If these bullets interest you at all, then I strongly recommend you go and read the original papers in full – click here. My summary is of necessity personal and abbreviated and the papers provide much greater richness of context.

 

 

U Oklahoma's Janux Flips the MOOC

Campus Technology - 17 Noviembre, 2014 - 23:52
The University of Oklahoma's Janux learning platform makes the university's online courses available to students all over the world for free.

NC State Researchers First To Drill into Gale Databases for Data Mining

Campus Technology - 17 Noviembre, 2014 - 22:53
Last week North Carolina State University Libraries became the first organization to sign a license with Gale that allows its researchers to mine the data in the historical archive collections held by the publishing firm.

Clemson To Add $10 Million in AV Tech for New Innovation Center

Campus Technology - 17 Noviembre, 2014 - 21:46
Clemson University's new Watt Family Innovation Center will be outfitted with audiovisual systems designed to enhance learning through immersive scenarios and encourage creative inquiry by allowing students to collaborate with others in different majors to solve problems for companies.

Smart Debuts Digital Dry Erase Board

Campus Technology - 17 Noviembre, 2014 - 19:59
Smart Technologies has begun shipping its newest device for classrooms, the Smart kapp, designed to update the dry erase board for the digital age.

Advanced 100 Gbit/s Network To Speed Data Across the North Atlantic

Campus Technology - 17 Noviembre, 2014 - 19:36
A new transatlantic network will allow research and education users to transfer data between North America and Europe at speeds previously only possible within the continents.

Innovating Pedagogy 2014 report cites open social learning as an important trend in education

Open Education Europa RSS - 17 Noviembre, 2014 - 19:04
Summary: 

The Open University conducts ongoing research on emerging trends in education. In their latest report, they highlight the "network effect" and how, with careful management, it could dramatically enhance the education experience. 

Interest Area:  Schools Higher Education Training & Work Learning & Society

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