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|Rescooped by Jim Lerman from Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks|
Increasing a community's access to and use of information technology requires collaboration among libraries, local government, non-profits, and business. This is a fundamental basis of Building Digital Communities: A Framework for Action (The Framework), a resource that helps communities chart a course toward digital inclusiveness. For the past year, we at WebJunction have been providing support to and documenting the work of communities piloting The Framework.
Milwaukee is one of the communities piloting The Framework. Milwaukee is taking all the right steps: they have a local leadership team consisting of the City, the library and a leading non-profit; they partnered with a university to conduct an information technology access and use survey (analysis and report in process); they gathered an initial group of stakeholders into a digital inclusion advisory group; and they are planning a digital inclusion stakeholder summit to share results of the survey and define the digital inclusion goals and needs of the community. Then they asked a really good question – Who are the trail-blazing digital inclusion communities?
We researched the answer to their question and are happy to now be releasing the briefing report "Trail-Blazing Digital Inclusion Communities". The report is a resource for all libraries (and other community leaders) who want to establish sustainability for their digital inclusion work.
Click headline to access hot link to download report--
by Ben Williamson
"The idea that young people should learn to code has become a global educational aspiration in the last few years. What kinds of questions should digital media and learning researchers ask about these developments? I want to suggest three approaches: first, to take a historical look at learning to code; second, to consider it in political and economic context; and third, to understand its cultural dimensions."
- a way to make and see the schedule (a piece of paper on an overhead, a whiteboard, or a projected Google Doc)
- a topic / theme / text / stage in the writing process (ex. WWII, Leaders as Behavior Monsters, 1984, thesis statements)"
"The VE wiki continuously monitors and measures how well structured are the groups that collaborate on its pages. If needed, it can also be used to maintain collaborative work within certain levels of equity and evenness. Thus the tool serves a double purpose. On the one hand, it can be used as a monitoring tool, for understanding how collaboration is structured. On the other, it can be employed for adjusting collaboration along particular parameters desired by the instructor or site administrator. The wiki is built around the MediaWiki platform, through which content can be edited by any user, including non-registered ones, all changes are permanently stored, and access to information that was edited or added is instantaneous. In addition, all pages come with “talk” areas, which allow discussions and interactions about the editing process. This makes it well adapted for collaborative work, especially of a textual nature."
Howard Rheingold's insight:
"Wiki collaboration is one of the strongest forms of augmented collective intelligence, and as always, the technology requires intelligent use in order for emergent intelligence to manifest in any useful way. This tool enables groups and managers/facilitators of groups to see how contributions are made, who makes the most contributions, and to make these efforts visible to others. Based on research by Sorin Adam Mateir at Purdue, it can be adapted to collaborative learning or to collaborative production."
Rupert Murdoch’s new idea for how to educate America.
by Carlo Rotella
"To get the most out of educational technology, teachers must combine those traditional classroom skills with new ones. And their repertoires will have to expand as the tablet’s powers grow. This fall, mastery might mean giving a quick quiz, then breaking up the students on the fly into groups based on their answers and sending each group a different exercise from the teacher’s tablet. In not too many years, it might mean using sophisticated pattern-recognizing algorithms to analyze data from homework, games, leisure reading, social media and biometric indicators to determine that one student should be guided to an interactive simulation of coral-reef ecology, another to an essay exercise built around a customized set of coral-reef-related vocabulary words and concepts, and others to something else.
"Are our overwhelmed, besieged, haphazardly recruited, variably trained, underpaid, not-so-elite teachers, in fact, the potential weak link in Amplify’s bid to disrupt American schooling? Klein said that we have 3.5 million elementary- and middle-school teachers. “We have to put the work of the most brilliant people in their hands,” he said. “If we don’t empower them, it won’t work.” Behind the talking points and buzz words, what I heard him saying was Yes."
Jim Lerman's insight:
Originally published on Sept. 12, 2013, this article summarizes well the pros and cons (and hopes and doubts) surrounding the launch of the first large-scale rollout of Amplify's tablet and curriculum system. The launch has suffered some well-publicized problems during the fall (after the article was published). Author Rotella seems to try hard to take an optimistic stance, but in the end, shows more skepticism than faith in the implementation strategy chosen by the company. He sees Amplify's (or at least CEO Joel Klein's) lack of confidence in teachers as a significant sticking point.
by Timothy Pratt
"A single public school counselor in the United States has a caseload of 471 students, on average,according to the American School Counselor Association, or ASCA. In high schools, where counselors are often the primary source of information about college — especially as increasing numbers of students become the first in their families to consider it — each one is responsible for an average of 239 students, the ASCA says. In California, the ratio is an even more unwieldy 1-to-500. AGeorgia School Counselors Association survey puts the number in that state at 1-to-512.
"To make matters worse, budget cuts are forcing counselors to perform more duties unrelated to their traditional roles, such as monitoring the school cafeteria or proctoring exams, says Eric Sparks, the ASCA’s assistant director.
"And if that wasn’t cause enough for concern, what little time counselors have to advise students about college is not as productive as it could be, since most get scant training in the subject before taking on the job, reports Alexandria Walton Radford, a consultant to the U.S. Department of Education who has studied the issue.
"The result is an overtaxed system in which many students fall through the cracks and either never go to college, go to institutions that are the wrong matches for them, or never learn about financial aid for which they may qualify."
From the Introduction to the Report (issued in late Nov. 2013)
"In his charge to the Institute-wide Task Force on the Future of MIT Education, MIT President L. Rafael Reif asked “that this Task Force be bold in experimenting with ideas that would both enhance the education of our own students on our own campus and that would allow us to offer some version of our educational experience to learners around the world.” This preliminary report of the Task Force on the Future of MIT Education is intended to communicate evolving themes and to describe opportunities to strengthen the Institute’s global leadership in education. It represents the exploration of a wide range of ideas that have emerged over the past six months. The possibilities for experimentation contained in this report reflect the collaborative efforts of faculty, students, and staff who brought their experience and knowledge to this work. With the guidance of advisory groups and input from the broader MIT community through the Idea Bank and group discussions, this work also reflects MIT’s unwavering commitment to excellence, innovation, and service to the world."
Jim Lerman's insight:
For those interested in the future of higher education, this is a very important document.
Elaine Roberts, Ph.D's insight:
No quick fix. That should be the title of this article because these educators remind us that changing something as large and diverse as education takes time. Professional development takes time. Parents, politicians, administrators, and teachers need to realize that good education takes time.
But we believe that education policy makers and mathematics educators should resist the common wish for a quick fix and stay the course, modifying goals and efforts as results suggest such actions.
I believe that education policy makers, administrators of schools and districts of all sizes and types, and ALL educators need to take a deep breath and crowd out all of the noise.
As I repeatedly tell educators: You know your kids, your teams, your parents, and your community better than anyone else. While other schools or districts may have similar problems, they're only similar problems. What works there may not work precisely the same way if at all in your classrooms. Have a vision with clear outcomes so you everyone knows what they are trying to accomplish and why. Yes, better education but, precisely, what and how knowing that the solution for your K-3 classrooms may not be the same for your middle schools, etc. Clearly define your criteria for success, and stay the course. Don't settle for less. You can do this!
"Mainstream education has traditionally put an emphasis on mastery of core academic content, particularly since the inception of "No Child Left Behind." Emerging research is demonstrating that other, non-content skills and competencies are important to success in school and career. Variously referred to as non-cognitive competencies, social emotional skills, and/or 21st century skills, these skills find themselves represented in StriveTogether's Student Roadmap to Success. This plenary brings together experts in the domains of policy, practice, and research to share their experiences in this emerging field and how Cradle to Career partnership can capitalize on building these competencies in their students and workforce."
"According to Code.org, 90 percent of U.S. schools are not teaching any computer science. Eyebrows have been raised this year as the U.K. passed a plan to educate every child how to code. In my opinion, parents of every student in every school at every level should demand that all students be taught how to code. They don't need this skill because they'll all go into it as a career -- that isn't realistic -- but because it impacts every career in the 21st century world. Any country recognizing that will benefit in the long term. Here's how you can start."
by Ben Schiller
"Where is life best? Traditionally, the answer to this question has mainly been to ask another question: Where is the economy best? But recently economists have started to focus on how people are experiencing life, and everything that goes into making that better or worse, instead of just peering at the latest economic output reports.
"The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's How’s Life? report is one of the most comprehensive efforts. It looks at 11 factors that affect well-being--from income and employment, to work-life balance and personal safety--creating a rounded perspective that goes well beyond GDP. The OECD just released the 2013 edition.
To accompany the report, the OECD has an interactive Better Life Index, which allows readers to compare countries themselves, using any of the 11 criteria. Here are a few charts we came up with, starting with all factors weighted equally [this is the one displayed above]
Jim Lerman's insight:
Interesting to compare this to the Corruption Index here.
"Looking at the Corruption Perceptions Index 2012, it's clear that corruption is a major threat facing humanity. Corruption destroys lives and communities, and undermines countries and institutions. It generates popular anger that threatens to further destabilise societies and exacerbate violent conflicts.
"The Corruption Perceptions Index scores countries on a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). While no country has a perfect score, two-thirds of countries score below 50, indicating a serious corruption problem."
Jim Lerman's insight:
Interesting to compare these results to those of the Better Life index here.
by Pasi Sahlberg
"One thing that has struck me is how similar education systems are. Curricula are standardized to fit to international student tests; and students around the world study learning materials from global providers. Education reforms in different countries also follow similar patterns. So visible is this common way of improvement that I call it the Global Educational Reform Movement or GERM. It is like an epidemic that spreads and infects education systems through a virus. It travels with pundits, media and politicians. Education systems borrow policies from others and get infected. As a consequence, schools get ill, teachers don’t feel well, and kids learn less.
"GERM infections have various symptoms. The first symptom is more competition within education systems. Many reformers believe that the quality of education improves when schools compete against one another. In order to compete, schools need more autonomy, and with that autonomy comes the demand for accountability. School inspections, standardized testing of students, and evaluating teacher effectiveness are consequences of market-like competition in many school reforms today. Yet when schools compete against one another, they cooperate less."
To read more of this fascinating analysis, click here.
Jim Lerman's insight:
Originally published on June 19, 2012 in the Washington Post, I discovered this piece while dipping into the flow of reaction to the release of the newest PISA results on Dec. 3, 2013. I had not encountered the term "GERM" before (Global Education Reform Movement), but its view of the components that make it up is certainly familiar to many: Competition, School Choice, and Accountability.
Sahlberg elaborates on GERM more fully in an April 2012 post. He lists 5 characteristics common to GERM infection: Standardization, Focus on Core Subjects, Search for Low-Risk Ways to Reach Learning Goals, Use of Corporate Management Models, Test-Based Accountability Policies.
Sahlberg's 2011 book, Finnish Lessons, which tells the story of Finland's remarkable ascent to the top of the testing charts, received widespread critical and popular acclaim both internationally and in his native country.
It comes as no surprise, he is not a proponent of the GERM approach to educational improvement.