This paper was presented at the International Society for Design and Development in Education (ISSDE) 2015 conference. It develops the claim that in DBIR, central aims of collaborative design are to create conditions for social innovation within and across levels of a system and to build "working infrastructures" within which educational designs can be equitably implemented.
IBM's New App Operates as a Cognitive System to Offer Personalized Learning Opportunities
The new IBM MobileFirst for iOS education app is offering educators a new way to personalize learning in their classrooms through a simple download.
The app, which is made possible thanks to a partnership between tech giants Apple and IBM, is designed to "help teachers gain insights into each student's skills, preferences and interests to transform personalized learning experiences that are unique to all,” said Harriet Green, general manager, IBM Watson Internet of Things, Commerce & Education in a statement.
The Watson Element education app is unique in that it offers educators an opportunity to get to know students beyond their academic performance thanks to tools that let students share personal interests and milestones.
Educators can, for example, use the “spotlight” feature to recognize a student across the district for outstanding achievements. This spotlight feature allows teachers to coordinate to be aware of their students’ trajectory, helping facilitate a totally personalized learning environment.
"Using the Watson Element app, educators now have the relevant, real-time information they need in order to individualize learning and prepare students to be successful in an ever-changing world,” said Dr. Marilyn Denison, Coppell ISD Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction in a statement.
The app is also particularly useful when it comes to the optimal utilization of data-driven insights.
"With data-driven insights at their fingertips, teachers can spot trends across groups, allowing them to bring students together for small group instruction based on common skill levels or areas of interest,” IBM said.
According to IBM, Apple will be adding the Watson Element app to its portfolio of educational tools recommended for school-use to transform student learning experiences.
The Watson Element app is yet another effort by IBM to make a name for itself in the personalized education market.
In April 2016, the company released a white paper based on interviews with education providers, social media content and more to learn about how educators use digital education services to deliver personalized learning.
The paper defined several useful practices educators can adhere to when implementing new technology to navigate through avoidable challenges.
These leading practices include:
Appointing a formal digital learning leader or team Encouraging and rewarding teacher enthusiast, champions/advocates and using them as mentors ‘Reverse mentoring’ – recent graduate teachers advising an older generation of teachers on digital tools Focus groups to continually understand student needs Digital armbands (flash drives) to permit offline working Interactive and continuous training for teachers The paper found that the most successful personalized learning tools are ones that act as the teacher’s assistant.
"We see cognitive systems as being able to extend the capabilities of educators by providing deep domain insights and expert assistance through the provision of information in a timely, natural and usable way,” the paper said.
"These systems will play the role of an assistant, which is complementary to and not a substitute for the art and craft of teaching.”
It is clear that this research helped shape the Watson Element app, which is a cognitive system that aims to provide holistic learning paths.
OER: Some Questions and Answers by DAVID on APRIL 29, 2016 Earlier this week I read an op-ed – sponsored by Pearson – titled “If OER is the answer, what is the question?” The article poses three questions and answers them. Below I share some thoughts prompted by the article. (The questions from the article are presented in bold; unattributed blockquotes are from the original article.)
How do we deliver better learning experiences to more students?
There are fantastic learning resources out there of all breeds bringing different types of value to the learning process. OER often shine in their variety and ability to deepen resources for niche topics. Where proprietary courseware (textbooks, etextbooks, or online courseware) stand apart is in pedagogical organization and the unique value of authorship. While it’s possible to build a complete course from OER, the finished product often lacks the scaffolding found in courseware authored by single author/editorial/product teams. That scaffolding connects concepts and practice together, guiding students through the content in a way that maximizes learning.
I’m glad that the author goes straight to the issue of student learning. When all is said and done, the degree to which resources like commercial textbooks and OER support student learning is the only thing that matters. (I will use the language of effectiveness rather than efficacy below, for very important reasons I discussed previously.)
Absent any effectiveness data, for decades faculty who were evaluating educational resources had no choice but to settle for characteristics of resources that reasonable people might believe correlate positively with effectiveness. These proxies for effectiveness included famous authors, name brand publishers, large product teams with diverse skill sets, Stephen Spielberg-like production quality in graphic design, layout, and imagery, and highly formalized editorial and review processes. Unfortunately, sometime during these passing decades faculty began to believe that only resources with these proxy characteristics could be effective in supporting learning. They began to doubt that other development models must necessarily result in materials that are less effective. I don’t think it would be controversial to say that this “content worldview” was encouraged by publishers.
A growing number of peer-reviewed studies and other research reports are demonstrating that when faculty who previously used commercial products as their core instructional materials replace them with OER, student learning either stays the same or increases. Hilton’s review of this research suggests that this “same or better” outcome for OER users holds about 93% of the time.
This result – that freely available resources can support student learning as well as very expensive resources – runs counter to people’s intuition that “you get what you pay for.” As we see in other areas (e.g., climate change), when the truth differs significantly from people’s beliefs, there can be a steep communications hill to climb. This has certainly been the case for OER, and is the primary reason why it is so critically important that more empirical research on the relative effectiveness of OER be conducted and published in peer-reviewed academic journals.
In an effort to provide educators with additional content that engages students with classroom curriculum, PBS announced today a new series of interactive iBooks for teachers. The iBooks, geared toward K-8 educators, cover topics in math, English language arts, social studies, and Spanish language and culture. PBS LearningMedia, the media on-demand service from PBS that offers more than 120,000 digital resources for teachers, will release four iBooks this month.
Each iBook averages 200 pages and contains contextualized lesson plans, professional development resources, and links to curriculum-targeted videos and games from PBS LearningMedia that teachers can use to enrich classroom instruction. The first four iBooks focus on measurement, holidays, Spanish, and grammar and are available through iTunes.
“Our top priority is making the lives of educators easier. With the launch of our first series of iBooks, we are furthering our commitment to producing high-quality, educational resources that drive classroom performance,” said Alicia Levi, Vice President, PBS Education. “Research shows that PBS LearningMedia content positively impacts student achievement when integrated into existing classroom curriculum. This new series of iBooks will provide students with a fresh perspective on the topics covered and provide educators with a new and engaging way to teach them.”
This course seeks to provide a supportive context for students to grow significantly as writers by discovering and engaging with issues that matter to them. Writing on social and ethical issues, we can see ourselves within a tradition of authors such as Charles Dickens, Frederick Douglass, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, George Orwell, Rachel Carson, John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., who have used the power of the pen to inspire social change.
February 17 is Digital Learning Day, and the Consortium for School Networking is excited to also announce the launch of a new Digital Equity Action Toolkit for district leaders.
Introduced through CoSN’s new Digital Equity Action Agenda leadership initiative, the toolkit provides school system leaders with thoughtful strategies to address and narrow the “homework gap” in their communities.
Ensuring equitable access to technology inside and outside the classroom is the civil rights issue of today. Alarmingly, many lower-income families cannot stay connected to complete homework assignments, and parents are unable to track their child’s academic performance. School leaders must work with their communities to ensure digital equity and enable all students to benefit from learning that is increasingly delivered digitally.
The new leadership initiative and version 1.0 toolkit provides a historic contextual background of the issue, explains the “homework gap,” details broader implications of household connectivity, and lays out steps school districts can take today. These steps include: survey the district’s connectivity and devices; engage the community; ensure sustainability through community assets; and consider outside-of-the-box solutions.
In addition, the toolkit presents six approaches that will enable school districts to strengthen their leadership and spark innovation in pursuing digital equity in their communities:
Partner with local businesses on Wi-Fi access for learning; Maximize the use of existing assets; Seek mobile hotspot programs; Leverage special broadband offerings; Repurpose educational spectrum; and Create a mesh network. The new initiative will further expand CoSN’s digital equity leadership. In partnership with the National Title I Association, CoSN previously produced the school district-level guide, Rethinking Equity in a Digital Era: Forging a Strong Partnership Between District Title I and Technology. Since last fall, Krueger has written a series of blogs on digital equity challenges, models, and partnerships.
For more information about the Digital Equity Action Agenda leadership initiative, please visit: cosn.org/digital-equity.
The U.S. Department of Education today released non-regulatory guidance to help support the nation's educators and elevate the teaching profession. The guidance encourages states and districts to prepare, train, and recruit high-quality teachers and principals to increase student academic achievement. With the enactment of Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), states and districts have the opportunity to reimagine the way Title II, Part A funds can be used through driving innovation and building on evidence to better support educators.
"As a student, teacher, and principal, I know firsthand the powerful difference educators make in our children's future," said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. "Educators play a critical role in securing our nation's economic future and delivering on the promise of an excellent education for all children, especially those who have been historically underserved. That's why we are releasing guidance to help us better support our educators and ensure they not only have a seat at the table, but their voices are heard. We don't just want educators to be part of the change; we need them to lead it."
A great teacher can be one of the most important in-school factors impacting student achievement. The nation must make the investments needed to attract and keep top talent, and ensure that high-need schools have the resources, support and teachers they need. Support for educators is also critical to mitigate the high economic cost of teacher turnover—an estimated $7 billion per year.
ESSA provides multiple opportunities to better innovate and build on evidence with Title II, Part A dollars. This guidance highlights some of the key areas local leaders can invest these critical dollars to support the workforce through better preparation, mentorship and induction, increased diversity, and bolstering teacher leadership. The guidance focuses on the importance of aligning state strategies that support effective instruction with Title II, Part A investments to not only improve student outcomes, but sustain those improvements. The guidance offers suggestions across multiple domains:
It's another small step for Satya Nadella's Microsoft as it looks to transition to a software and services company based around the cloud. This week saw Redmond release a new tool for Mac users to move date from the popular Evernote note taking service and move that data into the Mac version of OneNote (and from there, into its cloud).
Nearly two-thirds of responding districts to a recent Center for Digital Education survey already have a 1:1 program or are planning for one. Among the districts with programs in place, 74 percent expect to expand them to more students. While the vision of a full-time, personalized device for every student isn’t a reality yet, most K-12 districts are moving in that direction. Individualized device programs are becoming prevalent as their learning value is more widely recognized and new funding sources support greater technology investments. Download this paper to learn the essential elements for developing an effective program, including how device types and features enhance student learning needs, how to successfully train and support teachers, and how to establish appropriate policies.
Grit has been on NPR several times recently, not to mention front and center on the national education agenda.
The term expresses the idea that a crucial component of success is people's ability to pick a goal and stick with it. That's the main thrust of research by Angela Duckworth at the University of Pennsylvania, which has earned her a MacArthur "genius" grant, national acclaim and, this month, a best-selling book.
i Angela Duckworth, professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Zave Smith/Wikimedia Commons But a new report suggests that we should all take a step back and chill. The study, Much Ado about Grit: A Meta-Analytic Synthesis of the Grit Literature, will appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. It analyzes 88 separate studies by Duckworth and others.
"My overall assessment is that grit is far less important than has commonly been assumed and claimed," says the lead author, Marcus Crede, an assistant professor of psychology at Iowa State University. "And it doesn't tell us anything that we don't already know."
Duckworth has now responded in detail to the charges in the paper — and acknowledges some of the points are correct. In a series of emails to NPR Ed, she added, however, "I can't see, exactly, how the author goes from these findings to the rather bold claims in his press release."
Here are the key claims in Crede's paper:
Effect sizes in one of Duckworth's major papers on grit were described incorrectly to sound misleadingly large. The impact of grit is exaggerated, especially when looking at broader populations of people — not just the high achievers in Duckworth's initial studies. Grit is nearly identical to conscientiousness, which has been known to psychologists for decades as a major dimension of personality. It is not something that's necessarily open to change, especially in adults, whereas Duckworth in her writings suggests that grit is. On Point No. 1, Duckworth admits to the charge of badly describing the size of her outcomes.
“ By Leo Doran and Benjamin Herold Efforts by K-12 schools to give every student a laptop computer increased student achievement and gave a modest boost to their "21st century skills," according to a first-of-its-kind meta-analysis of 15 years' worth of research studies. "It's not like just providing a laptop to every student will automatically increase student achievement, but we find that it's the first step," said Binbin Zheng, an assistant professor of counseling, educational psychology, and special education at Michigan State University. Using statistical techniques to analyze already-completed studies, Zheng and her colleagues found that 1-to-1 laptop programs on average had a statistically significant positive impact on student test scores in English/language arts, writing, math and science. The limited number of rigorous quantitative studies available to analyze mean that those findings are not definitive, but they are clearly a good sign for 1-to-1 proponents and underscore the need for more study, Zheng said. A further review of 86 additional papers by the researchers, meanwhile, found some modest evidence of other positive benefits associated with giving laptops to students, including increased student technology use; more student-centered and project-based instruction; greater student engagement; and better relationships between students and teachers. The analysis focused solely on 1-to-1 laptop efforts. The researchers cautioned that their results are not generalizable to other devices such as tablets, desktop computers, and smartphones. ”
The dominant pedagogy in classrooms today is still direct instruction, the pedagogy underlying so-called computer-based, “personalized learning” environments. But, we argue in this week’s blog that truly 1-to-1 implementations, which are only now becoming feasible, are the opportunity needed to transform classrooms and support educators in moving to an inquiry pedagogy, a pedagogy that develops students’ critical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration.
Stuart Brotman writes about how the Department of Education's latest National Educational Technology Plan moves beyond the usual digital divide perspective to emphasize a “digital-use divide” in how apps are actually utilized in schools.
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