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According to this article, " innovative apps have been unable to displace archaic, inferior technologies in schools because of restricted funding and a general unwillingness of schools to disrupt the status quo." This, however, is beginning to change. "Schools are ripe for this new generation of intelligent software that uses data, analytics and intelligent algorithms to make teaching more informed and effective and to help students learn better." I think the gushing tone of this article is a bit overstated, and so, therefore, is the forecast "to grow 17 percent year-on-year to become worth $252 billion by 2020," if only because educators are more resistant to commercialization than they are to technology.[Link] [Comment]
If you can get past the come-ons and popups that litter this page (despite my Firefox settings) you'll enjoy the discussion of outcome-based versus process-based goals. The former focuses on short-term results, while the latter allows for more exploration and depth. " Instead of saying, “ I’ m going to run 25 miles this week,” I’ m said, “ I’ m setting aside 40 minutes five days a week to go running.” If I run slower, fine. If I run faster, okay. If something comes up and I can’ t get it done, that’ s fine."[Link] [Comment]
The more interesting part of this article is in the opening sections as we learn about the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) and in particular how it is positioned to meet government objectives of access and open education. Still, the survey provides some helpful information, suggesting that too few people in Nigeria are aware of the university (and hence recommending radio and TV advertisements), and the surprising result that people find the university website easier to access than the printed student handbook.[Link] [Comment]
Short article, maybe a 2-minute read, that will give you a good overview of xAPI. Something to pass along to an executive who needs to know but who doesn't have time.[Link] [Comment]
Ths paper looks at instructor uses and perceptions of open educational resources based on a survey of teachers and users of the lektion.se Swedish-language resource and support site. The authors determine that site users are working with a limied definition of open educational resources with "little awareness and no consensus of the definitions of the concepts of OER." So "the participatory culture is based on a restricted definition of OER, to state only sharing and reuse."[Link] [Comment]
While I agree that it is important to understand the values and principles that guide your life, I am cautious about formalizing them into rules, and I warn against self-serving rationalization. We see both in this article by Ray Dalio. At the core of his value set are two principles (one of which is stated explicitly): first, the value of seeking the truth, and second, the value of focused hard work. But is is equally an error to suppose that you have found the truth, and that your success is specifically due to hard work. I'm sure he believes "reality + dreams + determination = a successful life" but it also helps to get a job as a caddy at age 12 and to fill your summers as an intern on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. For me, empathy is as important as truth, and happiness is as important as hard work.[Link] [Comment]
This is one of the better things I've read in a while, and I also like the way it's presented. The point of departure is the concern, expressed by many, that artificial intelligence might exceed humanity and ultimately wipe us out. Maciej Cegłowski has very clearly thought about this in some depth, and the argument he lays out against superintelligence is a nimble application of demonstration and reason. The talk ventures into some interesting territory as well, including the foundational crisis in mathematics, and the surprising story of the great Australian Emu War. And there are some searing comments about the AI community that spawned the argument in the first place, "like nine year olds camped out in the backyard, playing with flashlights in their tent. They project their own shadows on the sides of the tent and get scared that it’ s a monster. Really it's a distorted image of themselves that they're reacting to." Awesome.[Link] [Comment]
Keep it simple. Yes, that excellent advice - but what exactly do we mean by "simplicity". As this article notes, on the one hand there's ontological simplicity, in which the fewest number of objects possible is contemplated. But there's also syntactic simplicity, in which the shortest formal principles are employed. And what about causal simplicity, which prefers the fewest number of causes for each event? This raises the question of why we would prefer simplicity at all. I face that a lot - education is filled with simply explanations and principles that are probably wrong.[Link] [Comment]
This is an entrant into the single-signon arena, and it does so by offering easier access to open educational resources (why anyone would need to sign on to access open educational resources is not explained). And it's not clear to me how all if this is "simplified". "Knovation maintains a collection of thousands of online lessons and learning objects for use by teachers, which are maintained in its Content Collection, searchable via netTrekker and organized and shared with icurio." Related: ISKME partners with Clever which offers - you guessed it - single sign-on for OERs.[Link] [Comment]
Wouldn't it be interesting if libraries and museums took over the bulk of the educational responsibilities we currently assign to schools? That's not exactly what Barry Joseph is suggesting here, but it seems like a logical consequence. He does make the case that "that museums are unique and influential informal learning institutions that can be powerful spaces for young people to learn, connect and create digital media." Why then would you also need schools and lessons and such. Oh sure, there's a scheduling and management problem, but young people could explore different fields of interest at different facilities over time.[Link] [Comment]
the use of digital textbooks in academia has faced two related problems: first, the textbooks are still more expensive that other options, such as buying and reselling physical textbooks, and second, students are in increasing numbers simply not buying the required texts. While Ryan Petersen and Jared Pearlman suggest that this may herald a new model for textbook publishing, it's not clear the solution they describe will be greeted with open arms. The model, called "Inclusive Access" offers a radical solution: force everybody to buy the digital materials, and add the cost to their course fees. Its a model only a publisher would love, and does nothing to address the core issues.[Link] [Comment]
This resource (169 page PDF) is in Spanish. Don't let that deter you. The actual list starts on page 43 and in the pages following there's a lot to explore. If you do read some Spanish it's also worth looking at the first 27 pages where they offer major themes and the lay of the land in educational technology. "Estamos seguros de que los resultados de este esfuerzo será n una herramienta que permitirá difundir un conocimiento que consideramos de gran valor para toda la comunidad educativa y la sociedad en general."[Link] [Comment]
This no doubt will attract criticism from the usual sources. "Rather than asking that students simply 'know' the science of reproduction, the NGSS requires that they 'develop models to describe' its processes." It's a constructivist approach; rather than simply being given models, students need to build them for themselves. The reason (in my mind) is that each student's cognitive environment is unique, and models developed from this environment - you can't simply impose it from above. Aligned with this, the NGSS creates "three dimensional learning" (3D learning). "in 3-LS1-1, the basic Core Idea is reproduction, the SEP is use of models, and the CCC is patterns of change."[Link] [Comment]
This is a pretty basic issue in our household. The targets set by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission - at least 50 megabits per second and upload speeds of at least 10 Mbps - are five time download (and 10 times upload) what we are currently able to reach here in Casselman, a rural community roughly half way between Montreal and Ottawa. There's no excuse for it, not when telecommunications companies made $8 billion in profit last year. Related: Michael Geist column.[Link] [Comment]
Fun toys: a list. I like the one where you saw your own balsa wood planks and build stuff. "We noticed an important shift in Maker Education. Once driven by STEM and makerspace in a box types of kits, we are seeing much more of an emphasis on open-ended exploration and stocking makerspaces with materials that foster that. "[Link] [Comment]
Design thinking is to a large degree what I do. “ It's not as simple as [just] identifying a problem. ‘ Yay! We found something that customers are frustrated with.'" You need to do more; you need to engage people and consider a wider set of possibilities. "Traditional business thinking methods can overemphasize analysis and deliberation, making it difficult for organizations to react quickly. In contrast, design thinking emphasizes learning by doing and agile, iterative solutions that can have startlingly effective results."[Link] [Comment]
Obviously the messaging coming out of the US Department of Education will be in a state of flux. But one thing unlikely to change much is the emphasis on personalized learning. And as always, teachers have to experience it before they will teach it. "Kettle Moraine School District in Wisconsin, Superintendent Patricia Deklotz found that they 'had to give teachers the opportunity to experience personalized learning' for themselves. This was an effective professional development model and cultivated buy-in from teachers."[Link] [Comment]
Here's some nice year-end reading for you. This collection of essays covers a range of perspectives on open learning around the world. The authors range froam a consideration of open learning as emancipation, to an analysis of open education users, to open assessment. As David Wiley says in his Preface. "The importance of openness in education is only now beginning to be appreciated, and I hope this volume can increase the pace of its spread. This volume contains stories of people and institutions around the world acting in accordance with the value of openness, and relates the amazing results that come from those actions."[Link] [Comment]
The inimitable Tony Bates offers his personal restrspective on 2016. Normally I don't post end-of-year stuff, but it's Tony Bates. And I really like that he begins with the Global Peace Index. He notes, " blended learning is not only gaining ground in Canadian post-secondary education at a much faster rate than I had anticipated, but is raising critical questions about what is best done online and what face-to-face, and how to prepare institutions and instructors for what is essentially a revolution in teaching."[Link] [Comment]
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