History is full of faulty proclamations about the future of education and technology. (No doubt, Silicon Valley and education reformers continue to churn out these predictions – many prophesying doom for universities, many actively working to bring that doom about.)
What’s striking about these early 20th century predictions is that Thorndike set the tone, over one hundred years ago, for machines taking over instruction. And while he was wrong about films replacing textbooks, Edison was largely right that the arguments in support of education technology, of instructional technology would frequently be made in terms of “efficiency.” Much of the history of education technology, indeed the history of education itself, in the twentieth century onward involves this push for “efficiency.” To replace, to supplant – to move from textbooks to film or from chalkboards to interactive whiteboards or from face-to-face lecture halls to MOOCs or from human teachers to robots – comes in the name of “progress,” where progress demands “efficiency.”
Stop thinking of Silicon Valley as an engineer's paradise. There's far more work for liberal arts majors -- who know how to sell and humanize.
Throughout the major U.S. tech hubs, whether Silicon Valley or Seattle, Boston or Austin, Tex., software companies are discovering that liberal arts thinking makes them stronger. Engineers may still command the biggest salaries, but at disruptive juggernauts such as Facebook and Uber, the war for talent has moved to nontechnical jobs, particularly sales and marketing. The more that audacious coders dream of changing the world, the more they need to fill their companies with social alchemists who can connect with customers–and make progress seem pleasant.
“Studying philosophy taught me two things,” says Butterfield, sitting in his office in San Francisco’s South of Market district, a neighborhood almost entirely dedicated to the cult of coding. “I learned how to write really clearly. I learned how to follow an argument all the way down, which is invaluable in running meetings. And when I studied the history of science, I learned about the ways that everyone believes something is true–like the old notion of some kind of ether in the air propagating gravitational forces–until they realized that it wasn’t true."
Project based learning lessons (PBL) involve giving students a complex question or problem and having them take a long period of time to solve it. Students are allowed to use various collaboration methods as well as their critical thinking skills. In today’s age and time, however, many teachers have started giving their students another valuable resource—social media.
The realities of the “digital divide” are increasingly apparent. In a consumer culture that equates status with early adoption of the newest iPhone, access to new technology necessarily splits pretty clearly along socio-economic class lines. According to U.S. census data, for example, more than 30 million homes have no broadband access, most of them concentrated in some of the poorest parts of the country.
Digital tools are not only changing the way we learn, they are also changing the way we behave. Students who learn with laptops, tablets and other digital devices will internalize particular social and emotional skills, specific thought patterns and ways of interacting with the world that will eventually become the new ‘ordinary.’ Students who do not have access to these technologies, or who receive exposure only in a minimally integrated way, will find themselves disadvantaged.
Creative Commons license image source There are Many Reasons Why Flexible, Active Learning Classrooms Should be Widely Adopted We’ve converted a few classrooms to more collaborative spaces over the last few years at The College of Westchester, and faculty reaction has generally been quite positive. These initial room changes have revolved around modifying the layout of a few classrooms from the row-by-row footprint of the traditional lecture room to a more interactive, group-oriented layout of round tables.
The area of learning has a justifiable claim to be a special case in how it can be enhanced or supported by technology. In areas such as commerce and web design the aim is usually to ensure efficiency and support specific actions such as purchasing or accessing information as quickly and easily as possible. Working with technology for the purpose of learning, the user is expected to spend time facing challenges, struggling through them and in almost every case the interaction with the technology is only one of many influences in achieving success. This does not mean that computing and the Internet has not had a major impact on how we learn and the choices available to learners. On the contrary, the area of formal learning is undergoing a period of rapid change, and the barriers between formal and informal learning are showing signs of falling away, in part due to the changes in the access to information or alternative modes of delivery.
A four-year research effort at the University of California, Irvine will test out the impact of changing the formatting of text to help middle school students improve their reading and writing abilities.
let's investigate this systematically ... Back in 2005, I helped put together a 'quick guide to ICT and education challenges and research questions' in developing countries. This list was meant to inform a research program at the time sponsored by the World Bank's infoDev program, but I figured I'd make it public, because the barriers to publishing were so low (copy -> paste -> save -> upload) and in case doing so might be useful to anyone else.
That said, in general the list seems to have held up quite well, and many of the research questions from 2005 continue to resonate in 2015. In some ways, this resonance is unfortunate, as it suggests that we still don't know answers to a lot of very basic questions. Indeed, in some cases we may know as little in 2015 as we knew in 2005, despite the explosion of activity and investment (and rhetoric) in exploring the relevance of technology use in education to help meet a wide variety of challenges faced by education systems, communities, teachers and learners around the world. This is not to imply that we haven't learned anything, of course (an upcoming EduTech blog post will look at two very useful surveys of research findings that have been published in the past year), but that we still have a long way to go.
Innovator and designer forging a new creative future.
I first discovered architecture in 1948, but wasn’t able to join a drafting class until high school. I managed to get a job at an architecture firm in my junior year and never left the field or returned to a formal classroom. This showed me that by insisting on a learning process, people are not able to learn what they are truly interested in. I have been a reader to this day; literally many books a week. My education was closer to that a 19th century gentleman’s son might have. I went directly to the sources of the knowledge I was seeking.
The beginning of the school year is a time to set the tone for a student’s learning experience, including what teachers expect from students and families. But that first week of school is also the time to teach valuable learning skills that will be used throughout the year.
Arguments for the dual-role professor seem logical. Knowledge production should make one a better instructor. Students should benefit from teachers producing the latest knowledge. But there’s precious little data to support that adding the research job to the instruction job improves student outcomes.
The downside is that both jobs require significant expertise and commitment to do well. And so I often think about this question: would faculty be better teachers and produce superior student outcomes if we asked them to focus solely on instruction? If today’s answer is “maybe,” tomorrow’s will be “probably” due to three shifts that will make instruction more complex and involved, requiring specialized knowledge and skills and unquestionably a full-time commitment.
Many teachers, parents and administrators say that laptops, tablets and the various apps help engage and motivate special ed students, while also making it easier for teachers to individualize instruction and track progress.
But some specialists believe that children with certain kinds of disabilities, such as those on the autism spectrum, respond especially well to technology programs because the programs behave in consistent, predictable ways. And unlike earlier technologies for students with special needs, the tablets and laptops are portable and indistinguishable from devices used by other students.
Students once learned more out of the classroom than in it.
Is this old-fashioned culture of self-improvement making a comeback? The mainstream school system - with its barrage of tests, Common Core and "excellent sheep" - encourages learning as a passive, standardized process. But here and there, with the help of YouTube and thousands of podcasts, a growing group of students and adults are beginning to supplement their education.
School isn't going away. But more and more people are realizing what their 19th-century predecessors knew: that the best learning is often self-taught.
Do teachers grasp edtech concepts as swiftly as they think they do
In this study, researchers measured teachers’ ability to develop their TPACK, or technological pedagogical content knowledge, in math and science classrooms. The teachers, who taught grades K-8, were in a three-year-long online Master’s program for practicing teachers of math and science, and worked to apply their own increasing knowledge of the benefits of technology in the classroom throughout the three-year duration of the study.
The findings of the study demonstrated a disconnect between teacher perceptions of their own TPACK development and their actual implementation of technology within their lessons. Many teachers indicated on their self-assessments that they were farther along in their TPACK than the observers found while watching the same teachers in the classroom.
As some of you might know, I’ve been working on a book for a while now called Teaching Machines that explores the history of education technology in the twentieth century. In part, the project grows out of my frustration with the claims made by the latest batch of Silicon Valley ed-tech entrepreneurs and their investors that ed-tech is “new” and that education – I’m quoting from The New York Times here – “is one of the last industries to be touched by Internet technology.” This is a powerful and purposeful re-telling and revising of history, I’d contend, designed to shape the direction of the future. In fact, education was one of the “industries” – I loathe that word, that framing too – that helped create Internet technology in the first place. Education – or more accurately, I suppose scientific and technical research at universities – was one of the first industries to be “networked” by the Internet.
Encouraging kids to develop their natural creativity.
Dave Peth, founder of Symbolic Studio, is exploring the intersection of art, education, and technology and helping people to learn the design process through media. With degrees from Harvard and Cornell Universities and an Emmy under his belt, Peth has been a Senior Producer of Interactive Media atWGBH where he worked on numerous projects including Curious George, NOVA, Martha Speaks, Medal Quest, and Design Squad Nation.
Los Angeles' iPad program was a debacle for many reasons, but one that's less talked about is the effect on students.
To explore the aftermath of the scandal that put them front and center of that cautionary education technology tale, students at Theodore Roosevelt High School in Boyle Heights conducted their own research on how the rollout was handled, talking to peers and family members and ultimately painting a very different picture of the lasting consequences.
Roosevelt students chose to investigate the lingering effects of the iPad rollout as part of a program called Council of Youth Research, a participatory research project started by two UCLA professors. Theparticipatory research model recognizes that people living within a context have just as much to add to research as outside academics. Researchers train young people on social theories during the summer and help them apply research methodologies to their school communities to investigate aspects of education that matter to their lives.
“When students do research they know what they’re looking for,” Carrasco said. “With people on the outside there are a lot of little things that get missed. If a student and a researcher did the same research, they’d get very different answers.”
I suggest that “book people” like you and I, who benefited so much from our nearly unlimited access to books, have a responsibility to help figure out what’s worth preserving from the print era and how to transform it so that it enhances future forms of communication. I realize that’s what you’ve in effect devoted much of your working life to, which is why I was particularly dismayed by your current tack, which seems to suggest an impossible divide between long-form texts and new networked modes.
Remind yourself of what it feels like to step into a place of creativity, knowing that just the act of taking that risk helps you feel aligned, calm, and even a little more confident than you were before.
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