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I've seen so many "so-and-so turned around a district" stories that proved to be chimeras I am more inclined to greet the next one with more than a little scepticism. Still, this is aa strategy that should have worked, given that we know socio-economic standing is the top predictor of education outcomes. "Anderson has embraced a holistic approach to solving the problems of low-performing students by focusing on poverty above all else, and using the tools of the school district to alleviate the barriers poverty creates." He focused on food aid, a homeless shelter, and a health clinic. There's also support and training for staff.[Link] [Comment]
Thinking Together: A Duoethnographic Inquiry Into the Implementation of a Field Experience Curriculum
As an empiricist, I am both fascinated and challenged by the papers in in education. They do not, to say the least, follow the typical pseudo-scientific methodology of sample group, interventions and analysis employed by putative research journals in our field. This is good. At the same time, they go so far out there it's hard to bring them back to some sort of ground or centre. This paper is one that comes the closest to where I sit (it reminds me of the methodology I applied in Connective Knowledge, in the sense that it "uncovers and reinscribes the complexity and emotionality as well as the time-consuming, life-altering, and deeply challenging personal nature of such pedagogical curriculum work." But we can go further - we can look at ways of seeing Innu poetry in our ways of seeing (it makes me think of the dissertation published as graphic art). Or this account of Bush Cree storytelling methodology, told using Bush Cree storytelling methodology. I like stuff like this, and I think you can't understand learning unless you can understand how to embrace it. But it's hard to evaluate, or to turn around and present in terms of a business model. Which may be the point.[Link] [Comment]
I just received an invitation (via Google+ surprisingly) to attend an event on Blab. I wanted a few 'blabs' and have a good first impression overall (though, on the other hand, most of tghe shows were about marketing - sigh). Basically, two people have a conversation, and this can be watched by viewers, who also interact with them by posting comments and questions (questions can be upvoted). The product has been around for about four months and appears to have started well.[Link] [Comment]
Short article describing how Thomson uses technology to "losten" for competencies, as expressed by activity reports. "To date, approaches to competency-based training applications involved a challenging and large-scale design process and complex workflows to evidence how competency is attained. With the advent of xAPI, however, working with competencies becomes a more interesting project as we slice through the complex workflows." Related: Data-driven reuse with xAPI. Also: full table of contents from the current xAPI Quarterly.[Link] [Comment]
This article is draped in Americana, which international readers will need to ignore, but at its core there's a good argument. Mathematics, writes the author, is currently taught as a means of calculating values for use in the sciences (if it is ever used at all) and is thus taught as formulae and operations. But it is better understood as an art. "Mathematics is about starting with an empty universe, and building abstract structures from scratch. These can be shapes, or ways to count things, or ways of guessing what will happen when you do things randomly, but it’ s not looking for patterns; it’ s about creating them." Why is this useful? Because once you've explored mathematics, you see the world in a different way, just as any art will influence perception. Related: discussion in Quora, Image: Seb Perez-Duarte.[Link] [Comment]
Recognizing personal learning styles and using learning strategies while learning english in an electronic environment
I'll admit, I'm posting this item mostly to tweak the people who say there are no learning styles. Like here and here. Because if learning styles are so definitively refuted, why do they keep appearing in peer reviewed papers? This item discusses the use of learning styles (the traditional set - visual, auditory, kinesthetic) through the use of recommendations in language learning. Note that in language learning you have to do more than simply parrot back answers on a test in order to pass. In this case, the use of learning styles is linked to motivation. "All possible activities need to be done frequently or as often as possible. Therefore we stress that self-motivation and self-discipline are essential for achieving any possible success in learning a second language."[Link] [Comment]
I found this via Doug Belshaw's weekly newsletter. It identifies the similarities between cooking and coding. According to Brett Terpstra, "There are algorithms that cross all boundaries in cooking. Understanding things such as glucose breakdown, deglazing, and ordering ingredient combination to allow the optimal heating time for different cellular structures are all valuable skills across any genre of cooking." Quite so. But the importance isn't just, as Belshaw suggests, "the ways of thinking it encourages." Rather (and importantly): the ways coding and cooking are the same is an expression of the critical literacies underlying all thought. These algorithms fall under the heading of pattern and syntax. The differences between Italian and Thai are reflections of context.[Link] [Comment]
According to this article, " we can borrow from Sir Isaac and posit that in terms of student outcomes, Achievement equals Quality Instruction times Innovation (A = QI x I)." The point the author is trying to make here is that "Both of these variables— good teachers and good technology— can transform a student’ s learning experience. Each of them are also compromised by the absence of the other." Why is this important? They argue, "Providing just-in-time support while also assessing growth over time and providing appropriate supervision and evaluation are key to ensure that continual growth is underway."
Both this item and the next one is a result of a confusion and obfuscation between the language and logic of is and ought. I discuss this briefly here. But with that in mind, we ask, why does the author of this article take such pains to represent what is surely a statement of values and expectations about achievement in the form of a scientific formula? It's obviously to represent it as a fact. And why do this? Because that fact becomes the beginning point for an action plan (even though it is not a fact!). I hate stuff like this. It seems so transparent, and so deliberately misleading.[Link] [Comment]
This review basically shreds the recent Center for American Progress (CAP) report outlining a vision for elevating and modernizing the teaching profession. According to the review, the CAP recommendations "include policy changes that would increase surveillance of teachers, reduce teachers’ job security, evaluate teachers by students’ test scores, and create merit pay systems that would likely have the opposite effect." Additionally, "the report relies too heavily on popular rhetoric, sound bites, opinion articles, and advocacy publications."[Link] [Comment]
This will be my first and last article featuring psychics in OLDaily. But I have to admit Joseph Volpe's article in Engadget held me spellbound. It's actually two psychics making predictions and one psychic trying to scam him, but it is Las Vegas, after all. But what was most interesting is that is I didn't know the predictions were coming from psychics, it would be hard to distinguish them from actual pundits (although actual pundits would be able to remember and pronounce 'Oculus'). So why would these readings be so convincing? Well, for one thing, we're reading this through the interpretation of a tech writer who prompted the psychics. And the psychics are good at understanding human nature and in reading and mirroring their clients. Put this all togetjher and yoiu get pretty reasonable tech predictions. No spirit world required.[Link] [Comment]
We could probably substitutre the word 'education' for 'nutrition' in this headline and still have the same article. I read (and you probably do too) a lot of articles relating this or that think to educational outcomes. The more data we get, the more we are seeing these (along with the scatter plots educational economists love so much). But “ Big data sets just confer spurious precision status to noise,” wrote John Ioannidis in his 2013 analysis. Sure, this article is about foods and nutrition. But it also 'cites' data to show potato chips are linked to higher scores on SAT math vs. verbal. As if. But how many educational studies are reporting noise as if it were fact? A preacher who advised parishioners to avoid trimming the fat from their meat, lest they lose their religion, might be ridiculed, yet nutrition epidemiologists often make recommendations based on similarly flimsy evidence."[Link] [Comment]
I had a long and interesting conversation with someone from a technology company on Thursday and he asked me for examples of connectivist-style learning networks in practice. The closest think I could think of was the cMOOC, but on reflection I was able to think of two really good examples: the telephone network, and email. Why? Well, consider how these differ from traditional learning management systems or social networks: each person has their own identify (a number, or email address) and manages their own client (phone, or email reader). They have connections (in a rolodex or contact list). It's mostly peer-to-peer. But a lot of other services have been built around these networks (phone-in shows, mailing lists). And that - if I may be so bold - is what explains the success (and persistence) of email.[Link] [Comment]
The solution is a technology called ORCID - Open Researcher and Contributor ID. "The letter published today is signed by the American Geophysical Union, eLife, EMBO, Hindawi, the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers, the Public Library of Science, and the Royal Society— the latter began mandating used of ORCID IDs as of 1 January but the rest have just pledged to reach that stage by year’ s end." My ORCID IS is http://orcid.org/0000-0001-6797-9012 (for what it's worth).[Link] [Comment]
This article is worth reading for the opening quote alone:The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed, the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually slaves of some defunct economist.”
― John Maynard Keynes
As Larry Cuiban says, "Economists Krugman, Robert Reich, and others see the prevailing ideas of new technologies powering economic growth and productivity– the theories that have fueled the 'human capital' thrust to school reform for over thirty years– as flawed." All very good, but what replaces it? The prevailing alternatives seem very shallow.[Link] [Comment]
The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is on in Las Vegas, and this article (as the title suggests) highlights some of the innovations with an impact on education. Because I like to play spoiler with listicles, here's the list:
To me this list is a mixture of meh and wow, mostly meh. But the Klaxoon looks like a big step forward ("Based on your content, you can propose simple, playful and effective activities: quizzes, surveys, challenges, brainstorming activities, live messaging..."), and the DAORI smart helmet might catch on as well.[Link] [Comment]
Given that OLDaily and pretty much everything else I produce is powered by coffee, this is very good news for me.[Link] [Comment]
On the Dell Foundation blog: "Cortex is a secure, dynamic, web-based platform that brings together instructional tools, digital content through playlists, student goal-setting and feedback, formative assessments, and administration applications... Our Personalized Math program exemplifies this approach." The idea is to promote a type of mastery-learning using student data and analytics to enable students to self-manage their learning. It's based on the the MyWays Framework, which codifies the key competencies to postsecondary success: habits of success, content knowledge, creative know-how, and wayfinding activities. These in turn are reflected in a set of 20 competencies in core areas. Via EdSurge. (As an aside, I find it odd that Cortex is using the depreciated hashbang style link).[Link] [Comment]
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