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Sir Ken Robinson outlines 3 principles crucial for the human mind to flourish -- and how current education culture works against them. In a funny, stirring talk he tells us how to get out of the educational "death valley" we now face, and how to nurture our youngest generations with a climate of possibility.
Creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson challenges the way we're educating our children. He champions a radical rethink of our school systems, to cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence
Miloš Bajčetić's insight:
“The real role of leadership in education … is not and should not be command and control. The real role of leadership is climate control, creating a climate of possibility.”
For millennia humans have relied on one another to recall the minutiae of our daily goings-on. Now we rely on “the cloud”—and it is changing how we perceive and remember the world around us
A couple receives an invitation to a birthday party. Through long experience, each intuitively knows what to do next. One partner figures out whether the dress code is formal or casual. The other makes a mental note of the time and place of the gathering so that they don't forget.
To some degree, we all delegate mental tasks to others. When presented with new information, we automatically distribute responsibility for remembering facts and concepts among members of our particular social group, recalling some things on our own and trusting others to remember the rest. When we can't remember the right name or how to fix a broken machine, we simply turn to someone else charged with being in the know. If your car is making a clunking noise, you call Ray, your gearhead friend. can't remember who starred in Casablanca? Marcie, the movie buff, knows. All types of knowledge, from the prosaic to the arcane, get apportioned among members of the group, whether the social unit in question is a married couple or the accounting department of a multinational corporation. In each case, we don't only know the information stored within our own minds; we also “know” what kinds of information other members of our social group are entrusted with remembering.
Teaching is both craft and profession -- and more.
Thus teaching is a deeply social and emotional activity. You have to know your students and be able to read them quickly, and from that reading make decisions to slow down or speed up, stay with a point or return to it later, connect one student’s comment to another’s.
Simultaneously, you are assessing on the fly Susie’s silence, Pedro’s slump, Janelle’s uncharacteristic aggressiveness. Students are, to varying degrees, also learning from each other, learning all kinds of things, from how to carry oneself to how to multiply mixed numbers.
How teachers draw on this dynamic interaction varies depending on their personal style, the way they organize their rooms, and so on—but it is an ever-present part of the work they do.
Via Gust MEES
Miloš Bajčetić's insight:
To recap: in 2008, Dave Cormier coins the term “MOOC” to describe George Siemens’ and Stephen Downes’ course “Connectivism and Connective Knowledge.” In the Fall of 2011, Stanford offers open enrollment in online versions of three engineering classes: Artificial Intelligence (taught by Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig), Machine Learning (taught by Andrew Ng), and Databases (taught by Jennifer Widom). In December 2011, MIT unveil MITx. In January 2012, Thrun announces he’s leaving Stanford to launch Udacity. In April 2012, Ng, along with Stanford colleague Daphne Koller, launch Coursera. In May 2012, Harvard and MIT team up for edX. In December 2012, 12 British universities partner to launch their MOOC platform, FutureLearn. And in 2013…
Whenever a linear, unproblematic causal relationship is assumed to take place (e.g. educational performance = economic performance) the need to measure, compare, monitor and predict becomes paramount and undermines education at its very core. The assessment cultures that derive from this “control mentality” have had a very conservative impact on school practice in many countries, narrowing curricula, disempowering teachers and students, and encouraging an instrumental and strategic use of test scores and examination results. The line separating control mentality from extreme cases of “juking the stats” is still very easy to cross.
Massive open online courses, or MOOCs, are the latest effort to harness information technology for higher education. While they are still in a nascent stage of development, many in academe are enthusiastic about their potential to be an inexpensive way of delivering an education to vast audiences.
Yet one aspect of the MOOC movement has not been fully analyzed: who controls the knowledge. MOOCs are largely an American-led effort, and the majority of the courses available so far come from universities in the United States or other Western countries. Universities and educators in less-developed regions of the world are climbing onto the MOOC bandwagon, but it is likely that they will be using the technology, pedagogical ideas, and probably significant parts of the content developed elsewhere. In this way, the online courses threaten to exacerbate the worldwide influence of Western academe, bolstering its higher-education hegemony.
Approaches to curriculum, pedagogy, and the overall philosophy of education differ according to national traditions and practices, and may not reflect the approaches offered by most MOOC instructors or their providers. No doubt, those that are developing MOOCs will claim that their methods are best and reflect the latest pedagogical thinking. Perhaps. But there are a range of approaches to learning and many traditions.
Why is this important? Neither knowledge nor pedagogy is neutral. They reflect the academic traditions, methodological orientations, and teaching philosophies of particular academic systems. Such academic nationalism is especially evident in many social-science and humanities fields, but it is not absent in the sciences. While academics who develop MOOC courses are no doubt motivated by a desire to do the best job possible and to cater to a wide audience, they are to a significant extent bound by their own academic orientation.
Via Hybrid Pedagogy
With the upcoming MOOC Research Initiative Conference starting tomorrow (or today for the pre-conference cool kids), I wonder how much attention will be given to the history of MOOCs? Seems that most people only go back to the 1980s – or maybe even the 1920s or 1890s – for the roots of the ideas behind MOOCs. Lately I have been pondering if that is not far enough.
The truth is, the idea of free, open massive courses that are shared through whatever “lines” of communication were available as well as through personal learning networks goes back for centuries. Many, many centuries. Not with me? Let’s look at the Bible.
Now, whatever you think of religion, hang with me for a second. Jesus Christ would teach in open areas where anyone could join the class and interact with other participants. People would hear those teachings and then go out and tell others. Paul would write letters and then tell the recipients to read his teachings aloud at meetings and then have his “learners” send the writings to other cities so that others could read them. Paul would also go to public areas and teach his lessons and then people would leave to debate these teachings elsewhere. Of course, this was really just a part of the Greco-Roman society at the time – open air gathering places where anyone could stand up, teach, and then the crowds would debate with each other or even the teacher. People would come back to learn more or even request that teachers come to their town to share. Some would even take ideas they heard and teach it themselves in their own meeting places.
Sure, the “lines” of distribution were much slower that our current internet “lines,” but all of this was still an early version of “online.” These “lines” were just dusty stone-paved roads and verbal communications instead of electronic fiber-optics and digital interactions. But the massive and open part of these “courses” still existed.
Not to mention that I am being ethnocentric for brevity sake here – many other cultures and religions had open teaching through whatever means they had at the time. As long as people have been able to write, teachings were copied down and passed on to those that wanted to learn. And what about the pre-historic oral societies before that? Were cave paintings the original MOOCs?
Computer scientists have discovered a way to number-crunch an individual’s own preferences to recommend content from others with opposing views. The goal? To burst the “filter bubble” that surrounds us with people we like and content that we agree with.
The term “filter bubble” entered the public domain back in 2011when the internet activist Eli Pariser coined it to refer to the way recommendation engines shield people from certain aspects of the real world.
Pariser used the example of two people who googled the term “BP”. One received links to investment news about BP while the other received links to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, presumably as a result of some recommendation algorithm.
This is an insidious problem. Much social research shows that people prefer to receive information that they agree with instead of information that challenges their beliefs. This problem is compounded when social networks recommend content based on what users already like and on what people similar to them also like.
This the filter bubble—being surrounded only by people you like and content that you agree with.
And the danger is that it can polarise populations creating potentially harmful divisions in society.
Blended Professional Development Just Might Have Some Answers by Paul Moss, edmerger.com, and Terry Heick Curating new and relevant content and tailoring it to their own, unique needs will become a key skill required by future...
Curating new and relevant content and tailoring it to their own, unique needs will become a key skill required by future teachers.
Why? Professional development becomes attractively cost effective in such a process, and money and budgets are powerful influencers for change.
Soon enough, large institutions will realize that the most effective professional development (PD) happens through networks, networks accessed through social media. More PD happens on Twitter for example in one night than a teacher is likely to get in a year through formal conferences and staff meetings.
Presently, departments of education around the world spend phenomenal amounts of money of professional development, yet many teachers for whom such development is “designed” for gain little from it, and are often left to their own device to self-direct their own improvement. To be clear, self-directed “training” is fine, provided it doesn’t occur while struggling against school and district-led training, one pulling in one direction, the other in another.
No matter the presenter, all teacher professional development must provide teachers with authentic and personalized opportunities to satisfy current theoretical understandings about their practice. It’s a logical sequence that when budgets are looking to be cut, expensive PD, when it can be gained elsewhere, will suffer the chop.
There are key questions for professional development moving forward in the 21st century:
1. What resources are considered acceptable, and why?
2. Are time requirements the ideal way to measure and credit training?
3. What role should teacher choice play in school training?
4. How can schools better leverage the social networks and curated resources teachers already have to direct school and district-wide PD?
5. How can we offer better teacher training in less time, for less money?
We live in a society of information overload with technological access at every corner and, more than ever, people complaining that they simply "just don't have the time." We are expected to filter the constant bombardment of mostly insignificant information, making it difficult to find out what is relevant, important, and crucial to our everyday lives.
Over time we are changing the way we interact with information. We are becoming pullers of information rather than accepting that which is pushed to us. A further extension of this behavior is our taste for succinct information (or the lack of waffle). One of the biggest drivers of this behavior has been the introduction of the smartphone and the ease of access to "Google" from a device sitting in our pockets and bags. This change in behavior has created a challenge for learning and development, as in many cases we can no longer push information onto the learner as it will simply go through one ear and out the other.
A recent survey in the United Kingdom stated we are remembering less because of our reliance on the Internet . While this supports the idea we are now pullers of information, it is scary to think we are remembering less. By breaking information into concise, entertaining chunks, infographics aim to increase the amount of information people remember. The more a learner remembers, the more they can take back to their working environment, increasing the chance of improving their capabilities
Infographics are learning tools that provide a great way to supply learners with quick, concise, and key information in a memorable and engaging way. There are many resources out there to create infographics that provide information aligned to the modern day learner. With many key advantages over traditional eLearning, why not consider Infographics for your next learning product
Via Nik Peachey
Technology in education gets plenty of hype, but let's not forget the importance of teaching and learning, says Pamela Wright
At a recent British Council debate, Is teaching obsolete?, executive headteacher Pamela Wright, called for caution around technology in teaching. Here is a transcript of her argument.
I am a passionate believer in the teaching profession.
Teachers do not simply impart information and knowledge; teaching is not merely about systems, facts, figures and certainly does not exist to promote insularity and lack of social interaction.
If any of these elements were true, then my argument would fall down immediately. It is because the teaching profession is the complete antithesis to all of these ideas, that my argument is strong and compelling.
Our goal as teachers fundamentally is to encourage independent thought, independent enquiry and ultimately independent learning. It has been argued that new means of learning will be the way to facilitate this in the future. I say resoundingly no.
Aristotle said "man is a political animal" – central to that idea was mankind's innate desire to interact with one another and learn from one another, socialise with one another. Some may say that social media does this – but does it really?
Put at its simplest, if future models of learning means encouraging young people to spend prolonged periods in front of faceless computer screens, exposed to largely unregulated material in an inherently unsafe environment, then that is clearly not the way forward.
Education is much more complex than that. It is about the trust and bond between a teacher and young person (and parents) that creates the environment where learning can occur and grow. Virtual learning simply cannot do that. I would argue that in a world now where young people are retreating more and more into virtual unreality, the teaching profession is more important than it ever was. It is teaching that keeps it real – teaching that keeps young people alive. In short, teachers and the profession will never die.
"From reminding us of what to pack for a trip to helping doctors perform surgery, checklists are crucial for projects that require sequential steps or a series of tasks. As Atul Gawande points out in his book “Checklist Manifesto,” checklists break down complex tasks and also ensure consistency and efficiency if more than one person is working on a project."
Education specialist Dr. Kathleen Dudden Rowlands believes checklists are more than just a way for students to stay organized and on-task. As she explains in ”Check It Out! Using Checklists to Support Student Learning,” checklists can aid students in developing metacognitive awareness of their own learning process.
“Used effectively, checklists can help students develop metacognitive awareness of their intellectual processes,” Rowlands explained. Metacognitive awareness is essentially people’s understanding of both the process of learning and how they can optimize their learning of certain knowledge or skills.
“Metacognitive research consistently suggests that students who know how to learn, know which strategies are most effective when faced with a problem or a task, and have accurate methods of assessing their progress, are better learners than those who don’t,” Rowlands noted. She also discussed checklists’ role in the process of fostering strong metacognitive awareness: “By articulating and labeling operational steps, checklists scaffold students’ metacognitive development.”
Via Beth Dichter
The hype to use the latest and greatest digital tools – rather than the meaningful use of technology – is like driving a cool car without any vision for where we want to go.
Let’s take the focus off the tool; Instead, let’s focus on:
- the pedagogy behind the tool and use it because it addresses our students’ cognitive needs, not because it is available or exciting.
- developing critical thinkers with the ability to find, reflect on, curate and synthesise information.
- developing lifelong learners who will be able to create and use their Personal Learning Networks to self-educate and grow.
- educating digital citizens, that is, responsible members of an increasingly global and interconnected world who know their rights and responsibilities; people who can make informed decisions about the content they create or share and its impact on themselves and on the other members of a digital community.
Via Gust MEES
The question of learner evaluation in MOOC environments is quite big. Yet, it all comes back to one fundamental question: What is the final outcome of your MOOC? The “C” in MOOC is for “c”ourse. We have this notion in our heads that courses have evaluations and grades. Perhaps it’s time to reassess this aspect, just as we need to reassess the significance of retention rates in MOOCs. Some self-check feedback is probably worthwhile in any course, MOOC or not. In smaller courses, establishing that you are on the right path might be as simple as a discussion forum or discussion with peers and the instructor, so no test is needed. In MOOCs, depending on the subject, some automated testing may help. Peer reviews (not peer grading) may help in building a community of learners that help scaffold each other’s learning endeavors.
Evaluation as a means of self-check has its place. The proof, however, on whether you can put this knowledge to use, is in practice. A piece of paper saying you participated in a MOOC is for now not worth the paper to print it. Institutions offering MOOCs do not give you credit for the course, other institutions don’t accept it for credit, and no one recognizes, at this point, that piece of paper. Even Coursera’s signature track, with proctored exams, does not yet gain recognition. So, at the end of the day, if learners aren’t getting some external recognition of their learning, what is the point of formal graded evaluations in MOOCs? I would argue that it’s time to go back to the drawing board. When designing MOOCs, do a learner and learning outcome analysis, and work toward development of MOOCs that makes sense for that environment. Then work on evaluation mechanisms that make sense for your stated course goals.
Quiz is one of the possible interactions that gives great results for long-term knowledge. There are four basic types of questions: multiple choice, single choice, true/false and fill in the blanks. As I’ll explain, these types serve slightly different purposes, but the main purpose of all quizzes is assessment. You can and should mix it up with different types of questions – as it engages the students mind in multiple ways. There are however some basic principles to follow.
Where does the quiz belong?
There are three ways to position the quiz, and they serve the three different types of assessment: for learning, as learning and of learning.
- Quizzes can be put at the end of a specific learning topic or a specific module to gauge the students received knowledge. This is the most common use of quizzes, however, you shouldn’t overuse them. This is assessment of learning and it belongs to the end of a lesson.
- Quizzes can also be an appropriate element of motivation challenging students to make critical judgment on a learning topic. In such cases, quizzes should include only a few questions. This engages the attention and creates reflection throughout the lesson. Stephen Casteron, a biology teacher, wrote about use of online quizzes for assesment as learning. He uses results to see students progress as they learn and if the student scores poorly, he is able to »sit with and support their further learning.”
- Quizzes can be at the beginning of a certain module or learning topic to evaluate students prior knowledge. In that case this should be known to the student, so it doesn’t create pressure but curiosity.
Online instructors face the challenges of keeping a course up to date, engaging students, and maintaining integrity. Having students generate some of the course content can address all three of these challenges.
Student-generated quiz questions
Having students write quiz questions can increase the course’s bank of questions, which decreases the likelihood of cheating. But beyond that, it can engage students in ways that improve the learning experience.
For almost everyone who is a part of the online world coming up with fresh content consistently is a big challenge. Practically every guideline advises that content should be engaging, informative and relevant every single time. Consequently, content curation has taken off in a big way.
Simply put, content curation is the process of curating relevant and interesting content from various sources on the web and putting them together and publishing them on a personal site or blog. As a result of the popularity of the content curation process, a number of content marketing tools have been introduced. These tools are meant to help in the process of content marketing and SEO and facilitate the process of curation...
Via Lauren Moss
Even in a traditional classroom setting, today’s students expect an online space to complement their classes, and more and more, they expect that space to be social and collaborative. For my students, I’ve found that tools, from simple file-sharing like Dropbox to something more elaborate like journaling applications, are something they increasingly ask for, since their comfort zone is to communicate online as well as in person. For educators, it’s an added tool in the arsenal to use collaboration technologies, from dedicated platforms to existing social media, to engage students, especially in higher ed.
Many schools of course now use some form of LMS (learning management system), offering a collaborative space for students and instructors. However, sometimes an LMS doesn’t offer the right features, for instance, supporting an offsite, or they’re too feature-heavy. There are several affordable or free tools beyond the LMS that keep students connected to your class when they’re not in the classroom. They range from absolutely basic to full-featured. These tools range from file-sharing and organizing, to managing educational travel, to project management. You’ll need to tailor the technology to course goals—for instance, journaling apps if writing is core, a travel app for a study-abroad program.
They key is to find ones that work for you. Students like practical applications that help them accomplish an immediate task—they then see immediate benefits, and are more likely to use the tools, increasing their participations in the class. The key is to introduce technology early, so that it becomes a part of the class that helps facilitate learning from the beginning—it’s this early and consistent use is what helps students make a technology their own.
Beyond using the right tools, however, goes having a strategy for online collaboration. We need to honor the new way students learn, which is very collaborative, but often uses technology to mediate collaboration. Building technology into the classroom fosters collaboration, if it’s integrated well. Here are practical ways of using technology-mediated collaboration that work well for me:
What do you do when you fail? How do you approach a new problem in life or in the classroom? You may tell yourself that you already have figured out a way to solve a problem or, perhaps, you’re not going to even attempt to solve a problem because you don’t want to fail.
What if you could change your mindset and figure out a new way to approach learning and life as a whole?
This chart helps lay out the basic idea behind changing your mindset. You can use a 'fixed' or a 'growth' mindset to enhance your life. Which will you choose?
Via Gust MEES
How exactly does the technology we use to read change the way we read? How reading on screens differs from reading on paper is relevant not just to the youngest among us, but to just about everyone who reads—to anyone who routinely switches between working long hours in front of a computer at the office and leisurely reading paper magazines and books at home; to people who have embraced e-readers for their convenience and portability, but admit that for some reason they still prefer reading on paper; and to those who have already vowed to forgo tree pulp entirely. As digital texts and technologies become more prevalent, we gain new and more mobile ways of reading—but are we still reading as attentively and thoroughly? How do our brains respond differently to onscreen text than to words on paper? Should we be worried about dividing our attention between pixels and ink or is the validity of such concerns paper-thin?
Why not keep paper and evolve screen-based reading into something else entirely? Screens obviously offer readers experiences that paper cannot. Scrolling may not be the ideal way to navigate a text as long and dense as Moby Dick, but the New York Times, Washington Post, ESPN and other media outlets have created beautiful, highly visual articles that depend entirely on scrolling and could not appear in print in the same way.
Via Nik Peachey