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Learning 3.0 and the Smart eXtended Web

This slide show accompanied a keynote presentation given for the ICL conference in Villach, Austria on 28 September, 2012.

Via Anne Whaits
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Ken Robinson: How to escape education's death valley | Video on TED.com

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.”


Great Talk!

Tatiana Kuzmina's curator insight, September 7, 2013 2:58 PM

Worth watching..

Laurent Picard's curator insight, January 22, 2014 12:22 PM

Une vidéo trés intéressante (et amusante) où Ken Robinson parle du système éducatif américain. Mais ses propos s'appliquent aussi au notre...

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Peer Grading in a MOOC: Reliability, Validity, and Perceived Effects | Distance-Educator.com

Peer Grading in a MOOC: Reliability, Validity, and Perceived Effects | Distance-Educator.com | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it
Peer grading offers a scalable and sustainable way of providing assessment and feedback to a massive student population. However, currently there is little empirical evidence to support the credentials of peer grading as a learning assessment method in the MOOC context. To address this research need, this study examined 1,825 peer grading assignments collected from a Coursera MOOC with the purpose of investigating the reliability and validity of peer grading, as well as its perceived effects on students’ MOOC learning experience. The empirical findings provide evidence that the aggregate of student graders can provide peer grading scores fairly consistent and highly similar to instructor grading scores. Student survey responses also indicate peer grading activities to be well received by a majority of MOOC students, who believe it was fair, useful, beneficial, and would recommend it to be included in future MOOC offerings. Based on the empirical results, this study concludes with a set of principles for designing and implementing peer grading activities in the MOOC context.
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Donald Clark Plan B: 7 reasons: Why we need to kill boring ‘learning objectives’!

Donald Clark Plan B: 7 reasons: Why we need to kill boring ‘learning objectives’! | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it
At the end of this course you will….” zzzzzzzzz……. How to kill learning before it has even started. Imagine if every movie started with a list of objectives; “in this film you will watch the process of a ship sail from Southampton, witness the catastrophic effect of icebergs on shipping, witness death at sea but understand that romance will be provided to keep you engaged”. Imagine Abraham Lincoln listing his objectives before delivering the Gettysburg Address. Imagine each episode of Breaking Bad starting with its objectives. It makes NO sense.
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5 Ways to Kill an eLearning Course - eLearning Brothers

5 Ways to Kill an eLearning Course - eLearning Brothers | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it
We at eLearning Brothers do our best to teach you the best way of doing things. But today we’re going to switch things up and tell you the worst ways to develop eLearning courses. Here are five ways you can kill an eLearning course.

1. Little to No Interaction

This is a deadly sin to be avoided at all costs. A good course needs to keep the learner engaged, not just mindlessly clicking “Next” over and over while passively staring at a screen. If a learner has actual tasks and objectives to meet in the course, they are more likely to retain their new knowledge because they have actually put it to use.

2. Overpowering Visuals

Visuals should work with the material, not distract from it. Choose images, graphics, and color schemes that cooperate with the text and overall themes of the course, making sure they don’t compete with each other.

3. Overloading Learners with Too Much Info

Nobody likes drinking from a firehose. Don’t bombard your learners with a barrage of facts or figures. If every page is stuffed full of text and images, they can’t possibly hope to retain everything. Keep things concise and feed the information to the learner in manageable bite-sized chunks.

4. Word-for-Word Narration

This one isn’t quite as intuitive as the others, but it’s just as important. In most cases, text should not be treated as closed captioning. Think of the text as a short summary of the narration. Perhaps the narrator gives a certain bullet point about a paragraph’s worth of explanation. It’s the job of the text to give the same information in an abbreviated form, a small sentence at most. Too much more, and you risk becoming needlessly redundant.

5. Over Use of Clipart and Freebies

If you don’t already have them, it is imperative that you get a graphic designer and an eLearning Template Library subscription. Clipart and other one-size-fits-all freebies are handy to have but can only take you so far. Since computer clipart became a thing in the early 80′s and 90′s, it has been used millions of times over as cheap illustrations for both personal and professional projects. New clipart is getting created all the time, but most people can sense when an illustration is an original design or a free stock image if they look at it long enough. You don’t want to showcase the same groan-inducing pictures we’ve seen since our middle school PowerPoints. Stop looking for images that portray a message kind of similar to what you want to get across. Hire a real professional and get premium eLearning Templates that are spot on.

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Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement

Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it
This article proposes a continuum of ‘Visitors’ and ‘Residents’ as a replacement for Prensky’s much‐criticised Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants. Challenging the basic premises upon which Prensky constructed his typology, Visitors and Residents fulfil a similar purpose in mapping individuals’ engagement with the Web. We argue that the metaphors of ‘place’ and ‘tool’ most appropriately represent the use of technology in contemporary society, especially given the advent of social media. The Visitors and Residents continuum accounts for people behaving in different ways when using technology, depending on their motivation and context, without categorising them according to age or background. A wider and more accurate representation of online behaviour is therefore established.
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Moodle 2.9Dev now available for testing and development

Moodle 2.9Dev now available for testing and development | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it
If you’ve developed a plugin or theme and want to get a jump start on testing that theme against the changes that will be released in Moodle 2.9, the 2.9Dev branch is for you and is available now. This non-production-ready version of Moodle’s future major release is available almost two months in advance of the mid-May launch date.

Download it for testing here: https://download.moodle.org/releases/development/

If you’re interested in the fixed issues that will be released with Moodle 2.9 (enhancements, bug fixes, etc.) the full list of 200+ is right here.

One enhancement that I think is pretty cool: New page that shows all browser sessions of a current user (a bit of a security and user authenticity enhancement).
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Rescooped by Miloš Bajčetić from Digital Delights - Digital Tribes

Sir Ken Robinson – Learning {Re}imagined (video)

Sir Ken Robinson – Learning {Re}imagined (video) | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it
As a treat for the readers of this blog here is a longer and more complete interview with Sir Ken Robinson that was recorded as part of the Learning {Re}imagined book where he discusses educational technology, creativity, assessment and the future of learning (15 minutes).   There are more exclusive videos contained within the book…

Via Ana Cristina Pratas
Agron S. Dida's curator insight, March 26, 4:57 AM

Patjejtër të shikohet: Sir Ken Robinson flet për edukimin, kreativitetin, ndikimin e teknologjisë në edikim.

Phil Buckley's curator insight, March 26, 10:07 AM

Interesting reflections on the nature of learning and the direction of education in the future.

Lisa Gorman's curator insight, March 26, 7:02 PM

I have a great admiration for the thinking of Sir Ken Robinson... He speaks so eloquently and argues for creative learning...and so much more...


A stand out quote for me from this interview;


"What tends to dull the appetite [for learning] is being force fed things that people can't see an immediately relevance in or don't have an immediate interest in it...or where they are forced to learn in situations where they are inimitable... you know, 8 hours a day, sit still, do as you're told."


Bring on different ways of engaging with people around learning so that they not only 'get it' but they really enjoy it and become life long learners.


I recommend this 15 minute video to you!

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The dark side of gamification

The dark side of gamification | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it

It’s a ridiculous question, I know, but in the short film Sight the protagonist plays an augmented reality game that awards him points for the consistency in the thickness of his slices.


The scene irked me. The last thing I would want while preparing dinner is a computer judging me. Really, who cares how wide I cut the slices, and who judged that distance to be the perfect width anyway? It’s certainly not my idea of fun. And besides, it all tastes the same.


It’s a clear case of gamification gone too far – and of course that was the film’s message. The plot continues to delve into much darker uses of the technology, raising the spectre of what appears to be utopia on the surface hiding dystopia underneath.


In my previous post Game-based learning on a shoestring, I advocated the use of games to support learning in the workplace. I believe they have much to offer in terms of motivation, engagement and the development of capability.


However, I also recognise another side of games that can in fact impede learning. They may be downright inappropriate for several reasons…


1. Life is not a game.

Points, badges and leaderboards may be critical elements of game mechanics, but they have little bearing on real life. Firefighters don’t save people from burning buildings for 200 digital hats; soldiers can’t heal their shrapnel wounds with a beverage; and utility workers who die of asphyxiation in confined spaces don’t scrape into the Top 10. So if you want your game to be authentic, dispense with the inauthentic.


2. Games can trivialise serious issues.

While serious games such as Darfur is Dying shine a light on worthy causes, sometimes even the best of intentions can backfire.

Take Mission US for instance. In one of the missions you play a slave girl in 19th Century Kentucky who tries to escape to the north. Prima facie it sounds like a way of encouraging young folk to appreciate the horrors of slavery. In practice, however, it’s gone over like a lead balloon.


3. Games may reinforce the wrong mindset.

The concerns that many people have over Grand Theft Auto are well documented.

What is less documented, however, is the undesirable influence that work-based games can have on your employees. Do you really want them to compete against one another?


4. Games can contaminate motivation.

Forcing those who don’t want to play a game is a sure-fire way to demotivate them. If you’re going to gamify my chopping of cucumbers, I’ll chop as few cucumbers as possible as infrequently as possible. Even encouraging those who want to play the game might promote their extrinsic motivation over their intrinsic. This begs the question… How will they perform on the job without the prospect of external rewards?


5. Games will be gamed.

Regardless of the purpose of your game, or its sound pedagogical foundation, someone will always seek to game it. That means they’re focused on “winning” rather than on learning.



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Rescooped by Miloš Bajčetić from Professional Learning for Busy Educators

BrainStuff - HowStuffWorks - YouTube

BrainStuff - HowStuffWorks - YouTube | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it

"Whether the topic is popcorn or particle physics, you can count on the HowStuffWorks team to explore - and explain - the everyday science in the world around us on BrainStuff."

Via John Evans
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Rescooped by Miloš Bajčetić from Content Curation World

You Can Be a Trusted Guide To The Most Relevant Information Online: Not Google

You Can Be a Trusted Guide To The Most Relevant Information Online: Not Google | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it

A lot of people think Google Search is like a map: An objective guide to the best and most important material on the internet.

It's not.

Google Search is the most important product of a very wealthy and successful for-profit company. And Google will use this product to further its own commercial ends

Via Robin Good
Robin Good's curator insight, March 23, 3:22 PM

Matt Rosoff writes on Business Insider UK:

"A lot of people think Google Search is like a map: An objective guide to the best and most important material on the internet. It's not.

Google Search is the most important product of a very wealthy and successful for-profit company. And Google will use this product to further its own commercial ends." (Not to help people find the most relevant info to their own learning needs.)

This is an excellent article that should be read a couple of times slowly to remind oneself of Google key aspirations and limits.

In it, the author illustrates with relevant references how Google uses whatever means it has to further the interest and revenues generated by its search engine ad business (AdWords / AdSense).


It also highlights, that like any other dominant, monopoly-like company it risks of being challenged in courts around the world, and this is "what Google desperately wants to avoid. If a government body issues a formal legal ruling that Google Search is an anticompetitive monopoly that needs to be regulated, it opens the floodgates".

Meanwhile Google Search is and will be increasingly challenged by smaller but more relevant, specialist search engines, like Amazon or Yelp.

But Google, hungry by its profit-driven goals, keeps also increasing the amount of information it provides itself inside search results, versus original content and resources that are out there on the web.

In four years time Google has doubled the amount screen real estate that it uses to promote its services or ads.

All of this to say, that Google is a for-profit company and not a humanitarian endeavour built and maintained to provide a true guide to the best information available online. 

For whoever has the interest, passion and skills to search, filter and organise information this is important news. 

There's an opportunity to provide higher quality, better vetted information results than Google presently does. At least in some areas. 

If Google is too busy about serving ads and pushing its own services, there will have to be someone else who can provide to Google, or other search engines, trusted quality search results on specific subject matters. 

As for Google there is one area where it cannot really compete with talented humans: trust. 

True information curators, of the expert kind, may indeed become in great demand in the near future. And personal trust will determine which one you and I will rely on. Whether Google will exist or not.

Right to the point. Informative. 9/10

Full article: http://uk.businessinsider.com/google-is-not-a-charity-2015-3 

Stephen Dale's curator insight, March 24, 4:54 AM

Put simply - Google (and for that matter any commercial search engine) may skew search results to promote their own commercial interests. The question to ask yourself is "are the (search) results good enough?" - I'd say in Google's defence "yes they are".


Reading time: 5mins

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5 Tips to Engage Your Online Learners- An Infographic

5 Tips to Engage Your Online Learners- An Infographic | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it
It is difficult to maintain learner engagement in an online learning environment as compared to classroom training,. During classroom training, the trainer engages participants using anecdotes, stories, creating some scenarios or by sharing personal experiences. But, how do you engage learners in an online learning environment, where they are learning all by themselves?

This is where the instructional design plays a key role. Effective instructional design should be able to done the role of a class room trainer in a self-paced environment. As instructional designers, we need to keep learner’s engagement in mind when designing eLearning courses.

So, how can we design such courses? Well, here are 5 tips that help to design engaging eLearning courses for your learners.
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Rescooped by Miloš Bajčetić from Digital Delights - Digital Tribes

How do You Choose Good Online Sources? (Infographic)

How do You Choose Good Online Sources? (Infographic) | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it

Students often ask how to determine which websites and articles are good sources to cite. My answer is always, “Well, what do you think?” Students need to be able to think on their own. So, if your student offers some questionable sources, ask, “Why did you choose that one?” Try to get the student to think about the who, what, why, and when of the article and website. Let the student use critical thinking to come to a valid conclusion. They might just have a good reason for using the source.



Via Ana Cristina Pratas
Ivon Prefontaine's curator insight, March 25, 10:21 PM

There are good ideas. What I find interesting, is I know some Internet sources i.e. blogs that are followed extensively and are written by people who spent little time in the classroom and no nothing about teaching.



Joyce Valenza's curator insight, March 26, 12:05 PM

Mia MacMeekin's useful poster for student assessment of credibility

Sally Tilley's curator insight, March 26, 6:13 PM

We need to continually reinforce these skills for our students to master this, thanks for sharing


Rescooped by Miloš Bajčetić from Australian Curriculum Implementation

Web 2.0 Presentation Tools: A Quick Guide

Selected Web 2.0 presentation tools

Via Dr Peter Carey
kkclibrary's curator insight, March 23, 4:55 PM

Comprehensive guide to some presentation tools. 

Fenia's curator insight, March 23, 7:30 PM

A useful guide to the most popular presentation tools 

Annie Gual-Arnoux Gwynn's curator insight, March 26, 2:35 AM

you can get 1 year free for educators with emaze edu plan

Rescooped by Miloš Bajčetić from Learning and Teaching in an Online Environment

New Vision for Education - Unlocking the Potential of Technology

New Vision for Education - Unlocking the Potential of Technology | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it
To thrive in a rapidly evolving, technology-mediated world, students must not only possess strong skills in areas such as language arts, mathematics and science, but they must also be adept at skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, persistence, collaboration and curiosity. All too often, however, students in many countries are not attaining these skills. In this context, the World Economic Forum has taken on a multi-year initiative, New Vision for Education, to examine the pressing i

Via Peter Mellow
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Rescooped by Miloš Bajčetić from Eclectic Technology

Emotional IQ and You

Emotional IQ and You | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it
You may be surprised by how much your emotional intelligence affects your career. If you’re getting your online MBA degree to develop your managerial and

Via Beth Dichter
Beth Dichter's curator insight, March 25, 10:40 PM

Emotional IQ is a skill that is often mentioned as a key skill for the 21st century. This infographic shares information on emotional intelligence and is divided into a number of sections.

* What is emotional intelligence (EI)?

* Does higher EI mean improved job performance?

* Why do employers value EI over IQ?

* How EI affects your image?

* Take stock of your EI.

* Improve your emotional intelligence to improve your life

Although this infographic is geared to students in college there is information that you may find to share with students across many grade levels. Emotional intelligence plays a role in our classrooms and providing learners with more skills in this area may improve their ability to more actively participate and be engaged.

Rescooped by Miloš Bajčetić from Into the Driver's Seat

27 effective ways to get students to pay attention - Daily Genius

27 effective ways to get students to pay attention - Daily Genius | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it
Despite all your planning, hard work, grading at home, housekeeping in the classroom and (physical and virtual) paperwork world, and killer teaching skills, learning isn’t going to happen if your students aren’t really paying attention.

They have to listen and participate in order to learn – at least a little bit. So what do you do with students who just aren’t paying attention? Each student and each situation may require a little bit of a different approach – you wouldn’t address kindergarteners the same way you’d address and deal with high schoolers.

Via John Evans, Jim Lerman
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E-learning Visually Explained for Teachers

E-learning Visually Explained for Teachers | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it
Electronic Learning, conventionally known as e-learning, is a digitally mediated type of learning. The standard way of lesson delivery in e-learning was and mostly still is computer and hence the traditional definition of e-Learning as computer mediated learning. However, now with the huge advancement in web technologies and the emergence of several other devices that have more or less the same computational functionalities as computers (e.g tablets, Chromebooks, hand-held devices…etc), e-learning now can be facilitated through different devices.

e-Learning has several advantages. Some of which , according to Virtual College, include: it is cost effective and saves time, it is available anytime/anywhere with Internet connection, and it makes it easy to track course progress.As a form of digital learning, e-learning is divided into two main categories: synchronous e-learning (involves real-time interaction between participants) and asynchronous e-learning (participants can take the course at their own time and pace). Check out the visual below to learn more about what e-learning is all about and how it can be implemented in different learning settings.
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Rescooped by Miloš Bajčetić from Curation & The Future of Publishing

The 7 attributes of highly effective curated posts

The 7 attributes of highly effective curated posts | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it

If you’re limiting your content curation to sharing third-party content on social media, you’re missing out. Content curation is also a great way to enrich your blog or website: don’t just list great resources on your home page, turn them into curated posts.

Via Guillaume Decugis
Alessio Carciofi's curator insight, March 25, 2:27 AM

via @massimo facchinetti

Marco Favero's curator insight, March 25, 4:32 AM

aggiungi la tua intuizione ...

Neil Ferree's curator insight, March 25, 11:59 AM

7 Content Curation Tips from those in the Know. What they call annotating the piece, Scoop.it calls adding your "Insight" to the shared piece of content. I like to address the WiiFM factor, so the reader knows what's in it for them by opting to open and read the piece.

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Virtually unlimited classrooms - Pedagogical practices in massive open online courses

Virtually unlimited classrooms - Pedagogical practices in massive open online courses | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it

Massive open online courses (MOOCs) have become a prominent feature of the higher education discourse in recent years. Yet, little is known about the effectiveness of these online courses in engaging participants in the learning process. This study explores the range of pedagogical tools used in 24 MOOCs, including the epistemological and social dimensions of instruction, to consider the extent to which these courses provide students with high-quality, collaborative learning experiences. Findings suggest that the range of pedagogical practices currently used in MOOCs tends toward an objectivist-individual approach, with some efforts to incorporate more constructivist and group-oriented approaches. By examining MOOCs through the lens of engaged teaching and learning, this study raises concerns about the degree to which MOOCs are actually revolutionizing higher education by using technology to improve quality, and challenges educators to strive for more creative and empowering forms of open online learning.

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Rescooped by Miloš Bajčetić from Digital Delights for Learners

15 Digital Storytelling Tools for Educators

15 Digital Storytelling Tools for Educators | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it
Engaging, multimedia-rich digital stories can capture the attention of students and increase their interest in exploring new ideas. Combining storytelling with powerful digital creates a truly authentic learning experience that helps students develop a wide range of intellectual skills. Digital Storytelling Tools Share your comments or join us in our Facebook Group. We’d love to …

Via Ana Cristina Pratas
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eCampusAlberta Quality Rubric for Online Courses ~ Stephen's Web

eCampusAlberta Quality Rubric for Online Courses ~ Stephen's Web | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it
We're just now waiting for the final report from this group which has been looking at quality in online courses. They launched the eCampusAlberta Quality Suite 2.0 in 2014. "The suite is comprised of the Essential Quality Standards, the eLearning Rubric, the Quality eToolkit, an online review and database system, and many quality-related professional development resources and opportunities." Sheri Oberman writes asking "I wonder how much the quality rubric factors in the connectivism and heutagogy." It's a good question. She suggests a course leaves "long tail of relationships, questions, and methodologies." But must it? Is more better? I've always shied away from discussion of 'quality' connections - I really dislike the concept. If quality in a course isn't process-based (ie., isn't based on evaluations of autonomy, diversity, etc) then what is it? I haven't seen a good answer.
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Rescooped by Miloš Bajčetić from Digital Presentations in Education

How to Create a Powerpoint Presentation that Won't Put People to Sleep

How to Create a Powerpoint Presentation that Won't Put People to Sleep | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it
Before a presentation your nerves become fired up and your heart starts to pound. While the audience may be sizing you up, they are only hoping for an engaging presentation. They want you to succeed and quite frankly they need you to succeed. The infographic provided by Udemy walks us through the three critical points to creating a great presentation.

Via Baiba Svenca
Baiba Svenca's curator insight, March 23, 12:42 PM

Attractive and informative infographic on PowerPoint presentations.

Thanks for the suggestion to Ivo Novy.

Nedko Aldev's curator insight, March 24, 5:31 AM


Fenia's curator insight, March 24, 2:37 PM

Useful guide to good presentations - not only for ppt but also for other presentation tools 

Rescooped by Miloš Bajčetić from Connectivism

From Disruptor to Bestie: How Instructors are Learning to Leverage MOOCs (EdSurge News)

From Disruptor to Bestie: How Instructors are Learning to Leverage MOOCs (EdSurge News) | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it
Only a handful of sessions at SXSWedu this year used “MOOC” in their titles or descriptions, but those four letters were still mentioned quite a bit.It is safe to say, MOOCs have been passed over as the disruptor du jour of higher education. But this is a good thing, because now we can get on with t

Via Dr. Susan Bainbridge
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Rescooped by Miloš Bajčetić from the plastic brain

Be happy - your genes will thank you for it: Doing good leads to strong immune cells

Be happy - your genes will thank you for it: Doing good leads to strong immune cells | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it
UCLA research found people who derive their happiness from helping others have strong antibody genes, while people who get their kicks from self-gratification can suffer from low antiviral and antibody gene expression.

Via iPamba
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Coding is not the new literacy

Coding is not the new literacy | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it

Despite the good intentions behind the movement to get people to code, both the basic premise and approach are flawed. The movement sits on the idea that "coding is the new literacy," but that takes a narrow view of what literacy really is.

If you ask google to define literacy it gives a mechanical definition: the ability to read and write.

This is certainly accurate, but defining literacy as interpreting and making marks on a sheet of paper is grossly inadequate. Reading and writing are the physical actions we use to employ something far more important: external, distributable storage for the mind. Being literate isn't simply a matter of being able to put words on the page, it's solidifying our thoughts such that they can be written. Interpreting and applying someone else's thoughts is the equivalent for reading. We call these composition and comprehension. And they are what literacy really is.
Coding is not the fundamental skill

When we say that coding is the new literacy, we're arguing that wielding a pencil and paper is the old one. Coding, like writing, is a mechanical act. All we've done is upgrade the storage medium. Writing if statements and for loops is straightforward to teach people, but it doesn't make them any more capable. Just like writing, we have to know how to solidify our thoughts and get them out of our head. In the case of programming though, if we manage to do that in a certain way, a computer can do more than just store them. It can compute with them.

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Schools in Finland will no longer teach 'subjects'

Schools in Finland will no longer teach 'subjects' | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it

For years, Finland has been the by-word for a successful education system, perched at the top of international league tables for literacy and numeracy.

Only far eastern countries such as Singapore and China outperform the Nordic nation in the influential Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) rankings. Politicians and education experts from around the world – including the UK – have made pilgrimages to Helsinki in the hope of identifying and replicating the secret of its success.

Which makes it all the more remarkable that Finland is about to embark on one of the most radical education reform programmes ever undertaken by a nation state – scrapping traditional “teaching by subject” in favour of “teaching by topic”.

“This is going to be a big change in education in Finland that we’re just beginning,” said Liisa Pohjolainen, who is in charge of youth and adult education in Helsinki – the capital city at the forefront of the reform programme.

Pasi Silander, the city’s development manager, explained: “What we need now is a different kind of education to prepare people for working life.

“Young people use quite advanced computers. In the past the banks had lots of bank clerks totting up figures but now that has totally changed.

“We therefore have to make the changes in education that are necessary for industry and modern society.”

Subject-specific lessons – an hour of history in the morning, an hour of geography in the afternoon – are already being phased out for 16-year-olds in the city’s upper schools. They are being replaced by what the Finns call “phenomenon” teaching – or teaching by topic. For instance, a teenager studying a vocational course might take “cafeteria services” lessons, which would include elements of maths, languages (to help serve foreign customers), writing skills and communication skills.

More academic pupils would be taught cross-subject topics such as the European Union - which would merge elements of economics, history (of the countries involved), languages and geography.

There are other changes too, not least to the traditional format that sees rows of pupils sitting passively in front of their teacher, listening to lessons or waiting to be questioned. Instead there will be a more collaborative approach, with pupils working in smaller groups to solve problems while improving their communication skills.

Marjo Kyllonen, Helsinki’s education manager – who will be presenting her blueprint for change to the council at the end of this month, said: “It is not only Helsinki but the whole of Finland who will be embracing change.

“We really need a rethinking of education and a redesigning of our system, so it prepares our children for the future with the skills that are needed for today and tomorrow.

“There are schools that are teaching in the old fashioned way which was of benefit in the beginnings of the 1900s – but the needs are not the same and we need something fit for the 21st century.”

The reforms reflect growing calls in the UK – not least from the Confederation of British Industry and Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt – for education to promote character, resilience and communication skills, rather than just pushing children through “exam factories”.

But there would currently be little appetite in the UK for going as far as ditching traditional subjects.

Even in Finland, the reforms have met objections from teachers and heads – many of whom have spent their lives focusing on a particular subject only to be told to change their approach.

Ms Kyllonen has been advocating a “co-teaching” approach to lesson planning, with input from more than one subject specialist. Teachers who embrace this new system can receive a small top-up in salary.

About 70 per cent of the city’s high school teachers have now been trained in adopting the new approach, according to Mr Silander.

“We have really changed the mindset,” he said. “It is quite difficult to get teachers to start and take the first step… but teachers who have taken to the new approach say they can’t go back.”

Tony R Faint's curator insight, March 21, 10:48 PM

Reformation to the needs of the future is paramount in the ability of humans to adapt to the ever changing environment that is involved with the work place. We need to be ahead of current progress and have to adapt our teaching styles to suit the audience that we are trying to communicate with. It is no longer acceptable to talk down to people in the workplace along with ridicule and criticism but to offer a constructive overview of how the task could have been completed easier and to offer encouragement whilst performing the required tasks.