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You'd think Harvard's Berkman Center could spring for text transcripts of audio material, but I guess noty. Anyhow, the Chronicl;e's Jeffrey R. Young "takes a closer look at who is taking MOOCs and why, and examines how free courses fit into broader Internet trends." So what's the take? "After months of hype and hope about MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses, one thing is clear: they aren’ t very good at teaching those most in need of education. Instead, they’ re serving the education 'haves': About 80 percent of people taking MOOCs already have a college degree." Of course, this was the observation - and argument - about the internet in general in the 1990s.[Link] [Comment]
I don't see anything unusual in the idea to have students work during studies to pay off their tuition fees - I spent the entire time I was studying also working, variously as a dishwasher and pot washer, 7-Eleven clerk, editor, programs coordinator, and instructor. At 100 hours a semester at $11.10 an hour the students are not exactly getting rich (and one wonders whether a pay increase would result in a corresponding tuition fee increase). One thing I am wary about when work is tied to an educational program - when I worked at what were frankly some awful jobs, I was always able to quit (and did, several times, when time came to move on). I'm not sure students here can get out of bad employment situations. Anyhow, you know what would be better? Proper living wages for the staff at these colleges, and proper education funding for these students.[Link] [Comment]
Review of what looks like it would be an interesting book, José van Dijck's The culture of connectivity: A critical history of social media. The book "seeks to disclose the aspects of mediated culture that are hidden from — or ignored by — common users, and which have deep cultural, political, and economic implications. Examples can be found in her discussions about the blurring of boundaries between public and private spheres of personal life, about new media governance and about the complex business models underlying social media corporations."[Link] [Comment]
Sanderling is an online community for, it says, the prrofessional development community. Here's the 'Getting Started' link (I include it here because if you close the box without reading it you'll never see it again). The site has been around for a few days at least. I went to form a community but found out "The Communities page is the place where all the organizations who offer courses through Hedgehog can be found." There are no links (that I could find) to 'Hedgehog' on the site - but you can find it here. Both are the product of a company called Anestuary, which produces Edcamps and far-too-cutesy names for things. Via David Kapuler.[Link] [Comment]
Nice post that isn't really a neat package (but it probably wouldn't be effective if it were) discussing the new 'networked individualism'. Here's a sample: "Listening simultaneously to each individual and to the entire networked world is beyond complicated. Beyond Burning Man. Beyond fan\dom. Beyond occupy. Beyond us. Perhaps it’ s crazy to imagine a mechanism that could ground that much chaos/complication, and yet still be always listening without an agenda. Imagine all of us together – interconnected – 24/7, as well as alone – echo chambered – 24/7. free ness. Perhaps it’ s crazier to not give it a try."[Link] [Comment]
Nice description of the role, with lots of links: "the role of a tech integrator is all about finding ways that technology can assist learning, and helping teachers and students make the most of it. To do that we try to think about things like the SAMR Model, the TPACK Model, Blooms Taxonomy, Multiple Intelligences, Visible Thinking, Dweck’ s Mindsets, etc, etc, and figure out how technology can assist to make them work even better."[Link] [Comment]
Adam Cooper points to an article in Times Higher education entitled More data can lead to poor student choices (I love the use of modalities in headlines; they could easily have written 'less data can lead to poor student choices'). Anyhow, the reference is to research that was conducted for Hefce and posted here. Cooper points to the artificial nature of the study (and therein the lesson for learning analytics): " it does not match the decision-making process as it really is for prospective students. The design feels too data-centric and insufficiently user-centric. I get the same kind of feeling when I see many analytics dashboards."[Link] [Comment]
Someone asked me this week whether I thought the skills mismatch realluy exists. The idea of the skil,s mismatch is that despite persistent unemployment, there are high-skilled or specialized jobs that go unfilled in large numbers because people with the skills aren't available. My response was that the existence of hundreds of colleges and universities is de facto evidence of a skills mismatch. So when a publication like the Globe and Mail calls the skills mismatch a fairytale, it is referring to one specific statistic in one particular industry, which may or may not be misleading. But in fact, there have always been skills mismatches, and while we can't predict precise job markets, we can do our best - government, industry and educaion - to prepare people to adapt and grow into the new needed skills. "What you can try and do is ensure that you are as resilient as you can be and that you have the broad set of flexible skills that allow you to take advantage of an opportunity when it comes along."[Link] [Comment]
In this talk I discuss the thinking behind the design of MOOCs and explain how these choices lead to the development of a personal learning environment fraework. Quite a bit of this talk is a reworking of 'The MOOC of One' and I'm trying to develop the ideas regarding pedagogy and theories of knowledge more explicitly. No slideshare yet; uploads are being interrupted every 300K or so (Filezilla just reconnects and continues, but Flickr Uploadr and Slidehare can't recover).EDUCON2014 – IEEE Global Engineering Education Conferenc, Istanbul, Turkey (Keynote) April 3, 2014 [Comment]
This is interesting. After a talk on the Mozilla Open Badges community call Phil Barker notes that their (Mozilla's) "assertion specification, which includes a pointer from each badge to 'the educational standards this badge aligns to, if any' ... parallels the LRMI alignment object very closely." This naturally leads to the suggestion that the two systems can be, and ought to be, more explicitly aligned. "Not only do the LRMI and Open Badge alignment objects both do the same thing they seem to have have the following semantically equivalent properties relating to identifying the thing that is aligned to."[Link] [Comment]
I never post donation drive news (so please don't ask) but the Public Knowledge project has very quietly and very effectively been providing Open Journal Systems and Open Conference Sustems for years now. And as they write, "We will never charge for its download and use. All of our community support, including the online help forums, documentation, and instructional videos are free for everyone."[Link] [Comment]
I was just going to ignore this but now I see it's getting some pickup, so I feel obliged to point out (to people who really should know better) that one small study of something does not 'show' anything. Here's the Chronicle: "new research suggests that even if laptops are used strictly to take notes, typing notes hinders students’ academic performance compared with writing notes on paper with a pen or pencil." The new study suggests, at best, the need for another study.[Link] [Comment]
Continuation of the series (see How Does PISA Put the World at Risk: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3). Yong Zhao writes, "Unlike what the report claims, the fact that 'students in some education systems, regardless of what their parents do for a living, outperform children of professionals in other countries' cannot be used to show 'that it is possible to provide children of factory workers the same high-quality education opportunities that children of lawyers and doctors enjoy.'" So what about Shanghai? Look at the distribution of parent professions - and understand, he says, that a quarter of the students were left out of the survey.[Link] [Comment]
I can only assume they're not talking about our MOOCs: "A study by researchers at Glasgow Caledonian University and Harvard University published April 2014 found that massive open online courses (MOOCs) encourage passive learning among professionals." And the criticisms of these traditional MOOCs are exactly why we structure our MOOCs the way we do: "MOOCs miss the opportunity to exploit the knowledge and expertise diverse groups of healthcare professionals bring to the course." The report findings can be found here. And do follow the link for Allison Littlejohn's comments.[Link] [Comment]
"Don't advocate for libraries," says Doug Johnson, "advocate for library users." Good advice in general, and can be applied to other domains. Eg: "Don't advocate for schools, advocate for school users." Or, "Don't advocate for OERs, advocate for OER users."[Link] [Comment]
Michael Feldsetin writes, "The combination of the obsession with disruption and the phobia of institutions is a particularly bad one for the education markets... it leads to consistently unprofitable investment decisions." It leads to direct-to-consumer strategies, he argues, hence avoiding institutional and educational system complexities. "But in education, complexity is unavoidable, which means strategies that attempt to avoid it usually result in risk-increasing ignorance rather than risk-avoiding safety." Good post, mostly correct, and includes an also-recommended link to Rethink Education’ s Matt Greenfield. I have just one caveat. My observation is that VCs invest in people, not products. So in the case of education, it's not the case they are investing in the wrong ideas, but rather, they are investing in the wrong people. What people? Well (and here is where Feldstein is right) exactly those people who eschew complexity and recite what are now mantras about disruptive innovation and (yes) "some Ayn Randian fantasy where technology unleashes the power of the individual."[Link] [Comment]
Mozilla - the organization that makes Firefox - has been roiled recently by the appointment of a new CEO who supports a Californian law called 'Prop 8', which eliminates same-sex marriage. Erin Kissane makes it clear that the concept of 'open' is central to Mozilla and are enshrined in the principles of the organization. And yet opposition to same-sex marriage seems to run counter to this. It's the classic dilemma of openness - what happens if people use the open system to promote some way in which it should be closed? What if (to ciite Socrates) people use democracy to argue for dictatorship? The answer is, in my view, that the meanings of 'freedom', 'openness' and 'democracy' are not so clear that they are beyond debate. We need to be constantly testing what we believe these things to be. If we do not allow the opponents of some right or freedom to make their case as well as possible, we risk others using those same laws to stifle those people arguing for more freedom. 'Open' means allowing people to advocate unpopular positions, even if they are CEO. If it really bothers people, they can vote him out. But, you know, people can have redeeming features despite being wrong on important issues.[Link] [Comment]
James Paul Gee looks at the problem of evil from a secular perspective and comes up with the old Taoist maxim that life in the balance is the recipe for good. "Cooperation on a large scale— that is, any sort that could lead to cultures, institutions, cities, and states— requires solving what I will call 'hard continua problems'. These are problems where too much of something is bad and too little of it is bad, but finding the 'middle-ground' is hard." But this isn't the answer to the question of why there is evil - it's the answer (or an answer) to the question of why it's so hard to eradicate. But if he wants the answer to the deep question, it's this (also, I would say, found in ancient Taoist texts): good and evil are something we create. The world is neither inherently good nor evil, but as soon as we begin to describe it, we begin dividing according to our perceptions, tastes, and objectives and needs. And hence we create out of natural events the classification of 'good' and 'evil'. And, over time, it becomes something we recognize, more like a feeling than like a law.[Link] [Comment]
Adam Cooper reports: "Last week was a significant one for UK academics and those interested in accessing scholarship; the funding councils announced a new policy mandating open access for the post-2014 research evaluation exercises. In the same week, Cetis added its name to the list of members of the Open Policy Network, (strap-line, 'ensuring open access to publicly funded resources')." One day, maybe my employer will adopt the same policy.[Link] [Comment]
Young Canadians in a Wired World, Phase III: Experts or Amateurs? Gauging Young Canadians’ Digital Literacy Skills
As we suspected: "Canadian youth are not as digitally literate as adults may think they are, according to new research released today by MediaSmarts. Though today’ s young people have grown up immersed in digital media, they still rely on parents and teachers to help them advance their skills in areas such as searching and verifying online information." 64 page PDF.[Link] [Comment]
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