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Jul 19, 2017
As the EdSurge article says, "After more than a year of invitation-only private beta, Amazon just opened its free library of open-education resources, called Amazon Inspire." You can't post your own resources on the site yet - but a statement from Amazon says this feature is coming soon. While site calls these open education resources, they are locked behind a subscription wall - they may be free, but you have to login to Amazon in order to view them, providing your name and email, zip code, the name of your school and the grades you teach, thus giving them your browsing and download information. This will be especially useful to Amazon when they include the non-free for-pay resources to the site. The site currently includes public domain and Creative Commons resources, including Non-commercial licensed resources, like this one.[Link] [Comment]
I have to believe that Facebook will be a lot more diligent about policing 'pirated' news content in user posts and groups than it ever was abusive content and fake news. Because combating unauthorized file sharing is the real crisis we all face today. What I have noticed in general is that newspapers and magazine websites have begun to clamp down again with subscription paywalls, anti-ad-block barriers, and more. If I encounter one of those I just close the tab. And I do my very best to keep such links from appearing in OLDaily.[Link] [Comment]
A little over a week ago, I wrote a “recommended reading” post pointing to a piece from Inside Higher ed and The Times Higher Ed called “Fear of Looking Stupid” about research from Carnegie Mellon University anthropologist Lauren Herckis about faculty resistance to “innovative” approaches. (I use quotes here not to imply a value judgement but to indicate that “innovative” was the word used in the article.) The title of the article gives you a pretty good sense of the angle taken by the author. The comment thread on that article was fascinating, as was John Warner’s terrific column in response.
We are lucky to have a guest post from Dr. Herckis and her colleagues Richard Scheines and Joel Smith with some additional perspective and follow-up information. I took the liberty of adding a title to their post.
We were delighted that Times Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed reported on the anthropological research being conducted at Carnegie Mellon on the roadblocks to implementation of demonstratively effective pedagogical innovations. We’d like to take the opportunity to expand the conversation.
Our research exposes multiple factors behind faculty resistance to making changes to their teaching practice, including the institutional barriers encountered by faculty adopting evidence- or research-based practices and especially where technology is involved. There are, of course, many effective teaching practices in use, and current research helps to explain why they work when they do. But that research also points to many other tools and practices that increase teaching effectiveness.
Our aim is to develop a detailed and actionable understanding of what impedes and what helps faculty adopting research-based practices.
The idea that faculty are invested strongly in avoiding embarrassment, and are thus sometimes reluctant to adopt innovative tools or practices – as reported in the THE/IHE article – is true. But the story is richer.
Faculty do not want to waste students’ time; they want to teach well. Using methods that they have honed is therefore important. Faculty learn to teach over years of practice, as most of us have little or no training in teaching. Tried and true methods are appealing because faculty have reason to think that they work.
If students have seemed to enjoy the material and report learning from the course, why change? Methods that leave students feeling good about the course (and the professor) are appealing, both because they are validating (“yes, I AM a good professor!”) and because happy students provide good evaluations of teaching, which are vital for faculty job security.
Until we change the incentives and provide alternative sources of personal identity affirmation, faculty will not be motivated to invest time and energy in changing their teaching to adopt practices shown by research to be more effective.
Our research on implementation of research-based instruction shows that faculty care about their students, and want to ensure that students have a good experience. Yes, some faculty at Carnegie Mellon hesitate to use unfamiliar methods or technology because they don’t want to embarrass themselves in class. Few of us want that. But they also don’t want to waste students’ time if something goes awry, want the validation of satisfied students, take student satisfaction as a sign that things are going well, fear the professional consequences of poor teaching evaluations, don’t think alternatives are a good fit, are sceptical of literature that supports alternatives, and believe that institutional support for alternatives is lacking.
Innovation for the sake of innovation doesn’t serve faculty or students. But the use of research-based, effective teaching methods does serve students, and it is in our interest to learn how to support faculty in adopting and sustaining the use of such methods.
To do this, we need to step back, look at the big picture, and address the multiple contributing factors to success and failure in implementing evidence-based practice. Our research shows that systematically incorporating anthropological analysis is an important and rarely used tool for understanding roadblocks to, and enablers of, meaningful innovation in higher education. Without it, we are flying blind.
The research results that we had time to report in our brief presentation at the Global Learning Council meeting (and reported in THE/IHE) are only a small part of what we have learned about implementation of instructional innovation. A full report detailing our findings will be available in September 2017 at http://cmu.edu/simon. Academic articles regarding methodology and results will be submitted for peer review in the coming months; these articles will be shared at http://www.cmu.edu/simon/projects/flagship-projects/barriers-to-tel.html as they are published
Lauren Herckis is Simon Initiative research scientist and adjunct instructor, Richard Scheines is dean of Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and Joel Smith is distinguished career teaching professor, all at Carnegie Mellon University.
Jim Groom and Brian Lamb are working on a position paper challenging traditional models of higher education. This is Lamb's contribution, also in the context of the white paper on NGDLE. "Describing the emerging needs as “ interoperability; personalization; analytics, advising, and learning assessment; collaboration; and accessibility and universal design” , the white paper promotes “ a “ Lego” approach to realizing the NGDLE, where NGDLE-conforming components are built that allow individuals and institutions the opportunity to construct learning environments tailored to their requirements and goals.” There's a lot of substance in the discussion that follows, but it could be summarized as: that's just learning objects (with all their attendant problems) all over again. "It’ s hard not to feel we are at a very dangerous inflection point," he writes.[Link] [Comment]
Jim Groom and Brian Lamb are working on a position paper challenging traditional models of higher education. This is Groom's contribution, which he sets out in the context of the EDUCAUSE Next Generation Digital Learning Environment (NGDLE), which he notes, was the subject of an entire issue of EDUCAUSE Review. He says it "could be one way to imagine the power of what Kin Lane defines as the Personal API." Beyond the LMS (which we're all tired of bashing) he finds some promise in Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI). Maybe there's a way (and he cites numerous sources) for this to support personal data management, but more sceptically, "NGDLE offers a way for institutions to more easily extract and share their learning community’ s personal data," which isn't really a desirable outcome.[Link] [Comment]
Although this post touts a solution to the complexity of branching scenarios (specifically: Twine) the post illustrates the core problem with them, and with rule-based systems in general. The problem is called the combinatorial explosion and is essentially the exponential multiplication of outcomes. Tucker gives an example: "If each choice has 3 options, you end up with 9 slides after just 2 choices, and 27 after 3 choices. This is 40 pages total with only 3 decisions per path." Twine (and similar systems) allow paths to merge, reducing the number of possibilities, but at the cost of making the scenario more like a narration and less like a game.[Link] [Comment]
Facebook's response to the eruption of trolls and worse in social media is to give them some privacy. "Facebook recently changed its mission to emphasize the role of private groups." Joining the group shifts the algorithm to favour posts from the group. Some, like beekeepers and self-help groups, are benign. Others are not. For example, "In a political group called Pinochet’ s Anti-SJW Beach Resort (36,059 members), members cruelly evaluated the physical appearance of women and made racist and anti-Semitic jokes." Nice people.[Link] [Comment]
At a entertain point, if current trends hold, salaries offered to temporary 'adjunct' or 'sessional' academic staff will fall below the willingness of PhD graduates to accept them. This may be such a case. At that point, the traditional university business model fails. Universities will no longer be able to afford to teach the thousands of students they attract every year. What then?[Link] [Comment]
This post contains some good advice. While "policy makers in developing countries look for strategies to improve learning by engaging with private providers," the authors argue that education should continue to be publicly funded "and sensibly provided through a mix of providers, including local NGOs and “ mom and pop” schools." There's no single model that works well everywhere. For example, while Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) are widely touted, the evidence " does not allow us to draw strong and universal conclusions about the impact of PPPs on learning outcomes," according the Ark Report (135 page PDF). Partnerships can start out well but evolve in a negative direction over time, as for example in the case of Colegios en Concesió n (CEC), a contracting out model in Colombia, where "there has been progressively more room for student selection in each tender for the selection of providers."[Link] [Comment]
Veure el que han fet altres equips, pot inspirar les solucions als reptes que tenim als nostres centres educatius. A continuació trobareu una sel·lecció de bones pràctiques que de ben segur despertaran la vostra creativitat.
For the second year in the UK, secondary (high) school numbers have grown, and it's expected that over the next 8 years there will be a 19% rise in these numbers, with over 600,000 additional students. The sudden increase in births from 2002 onwards is largely responsible for this trend, and this was an expected rise. However, at the same time, funding for schools (regardless of the recent announcement for additional funding - which is simply being siphoned from elsewhere in the education budget - a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul) is paltry, and hardly makes a dent in the urgent problems we have in our British schools. There is a teacher shortage, and it's worsening.
A recent report from the National Union of Teachers reveals some disturbing statistics. Recruitment of new teachers is a growing problem. Maths teacher specialists are down to 84% and computing specialists are only at 68% of the capacity required. In many secondary schools, students are now being taught mathematics by teachers who are not qualified to do so. Retention of teachers is also a problem according to the report. In 2016, the UK government confirmed that 30% of teachers who had joined the profession in 2010 had left within five years. The report holds many other equally worrying statistics which are beyond the scope of this discussion.
What can be done? There are some solutions to these problems. The British government should urgently fund the building of new schools, and should do so with money from elsewhere than the already stretched education budget. If they can find £1billion to buy the support of another party to prop up a minority government then they can find more. The British government can also reduce (or preferably eliminate) the tuition fees for students for those wishing to study to become a teacher. Many prospective trainees are simply dissuaded from training as a teacher because of the huge debts they will run up as a university student. Alternatively, the government could decide to offset the tuition fees by offering some form of bursary. By far the biggest problem though, is the failure to retain teachers in the profession. Training a teacher is an expensive business, so retaining their expertise and knowledge once they qualify should be the main priority. Teachers are currently surveilled and scrutinised beyond decent boundaries. They are weighed down with bureaucracy and work extraordinarily long hours, mainly spent at home marking exercise books and tests to try to keep up with the punishing assessment regimes the government imposes on all schools.
If as a society, we don't address these problems soon, education in the UK will be stifled, children will be deprived of a good education, and we will all suffer. The UK government must urgently intervene, before winter is here.
Winter is here 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