MOOCs: A report from faculty on their experience as students in MOOCs
Adan QuanDepartment of Anthropology, MSUPosted on: January 11, 2013
MOOCs: A report from faculty on their experience as stud...
Via Lisa Durff
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by Benjamin Herold
"In March, the social-media giant Facebook paid a whopping $2 billion to acquire Oculus VR, the Irvine, Calif.-based startup behind a new virtual-reality headset known as the Oculus Rift. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg described Oculus' device as a "new communications platform," akin to personal computers and mobile devices, that could have similarly far-reaching implications for gaming, entertainment, social networking, and classroom learning.
"Potential educational applications include virtual field trips, immersive digital learning games and simulations, and therapeutic experiences for students with special needs.
"But not everyone is buying the hype. Previous virtual-reality technologies got a lot of attention in the 1990s, and again in the early 2000s, before mostly falling flat, and public schools in the United States are not exactly known as hotbeds for nurturing emerging technologies.
"Virtual reality is super-cool, but schools are still struggling with the blocking and tackling of getting basic digital technologies in classrooms," said Trace A. Urdan, a senior analyst for Wells Fargo Securities in San Francisco who tracks digital learning investment trends."
by Matt Bowman
"Tracy Fischetti's high school students improved their reading level scores about three times as much as expected last year, according to the state’s 2013 test scores.
"Of all the English teachers in Florida, she scored the highest on the state's Value Added Measure (VAM). Interestingly, Fischetti had no idea of her distinction until I emailed her in early March. "I am not sure how you would have gotten wind of my classroom chaos in California," she wrote. The metric isn't viewed positively in her district.
"I'm sure many readers' jaws clench at the mention of VAM Scores. I'm going to sidestep that controversy for this post except to note that, inadequate as test scores are for assessing educational quality, they're not a bad starting point to discover promising practices. No matter what you think of VAM, Fischetti and her students have accomplished something impressive, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the time she took to share her approach with me.
"There are three practices that Fischetti employs consistently that seem to account for a lot of her success".
by Dian Shaffhauser
"The largest school iPad deployment in the nation has been put on hold. In aletter to the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education, Superintendent John Deasy announced his decision to implement a new request for proposals (RFP) solicitation for personal computing devices for the district. "Moving forward," he wrote, "we will no longer utilize our current contract with Apple Inc." The tablet devices had already been deployed to 52 schools."
by Lorna Collier
"Most people have heard of homeschooling — kids are educated by parents or caregivers at home, rather than at school, for a variety of reasons. But within the homeschooling community, the growing “unschooling” subset has a somewhat different, amorphous, definition.
"Depending on whom you ask, unschooling is centered around what the child wants to learn using any and all resources available, not just fixed, school-prescribed curriculum. The general idea behind unschooling is this: getting kids to develop a love of learning for its own sake rather than for grades, and giving kids the opportunity to experience “valuable hands-on, community-based, spontaneous, and real-world experiences.”
by Graeme Wood
"The paradox of undergraduate education in the United States is that it is the envy of the world, but also tremendously beleaguered. In that way it resembles the U.S. health-care sector. Both carry price tags that shock the conscience of citizens of other developed countries. They’re both tied up inextricably with government, through student loans and federal research funding or through Medicare. But if you can afford the Mayo Clinic, the United States is the best place in the world to get sick. And if you get a scholarship to Stanford, you should take it, and turn down offers from even the best universities in Europe, Australia, or Japan. (Most likely, though, you won’t get that scholarship. The average U.S. college graduate in 2014 carried $33,000 of debt.)
"Financial dysfunction is only the most obvious way in which higher education is troubled. In the past half millennium, the technology of learning has hardly budged. The easiest way to picture what a university looked like 500 years ago is to go to any large university today, walk into a lecture hall, and imagine the professor speaking Latin and wearing a monk’s cowl. The most common class format is still a professor standing in front of a group of students and talking. And even though we’ve subjected students to lectures for hundreds of years, we have no evidence that they are a good way to teach. (One educational psychologist, Ludy Benjamin, likens lectures to Velveeta cheese—something lots of people consume but no one considers either delicious or nourishing.)"
"Eric Mazur, Balkanski Professor of Physics and Applied Physics, presented the Fall 2013 Dudley Herschbach Teacher/Scientist Lecture on October 29, with an introduction by Robert Lue, Richard L. Menschel Faculty Director of the Bok Center and Faculty Director of HarvardX. Prof. Mazur's talk is titled "Assessment: The Silent Killer of Learning."
1 hr. 18 min.
"The Serious Science (http://serious-science.org) is an online science popularization project aimed to spread scientific ideas.
"Scientific theories and ideas are sometimes reinterpreted by journalists who can’t avoid mistakes or misunderstanding, while the idea of our project is to give scientists themselves an opportunity to speak on things they study.
"The Serious Science was launched on December 2013 and is organized as a non-profit organization.
"Mostly, we are targeted at students and graduates who want to widen their professional knowledge. For this purpose we provide scientific ideas at the level of university lectures in good-looking formats."
Jim Lerman's insight:
Features top scientists from leading universities
by members and friends of the World Future Society
"Futures Studies as it has evolved since the early 1970s is both a discipline and a meta-discipline. It is a set of skills and applied methodologies that can be learned—in impressively diverse ways—and it is a dynamic way of coming to understand the world that is practical and empowering. As Alvin Toffler wrote in 1974, “A focus on the future is relevant to all learners, regardless of age.”
"For this special report, we called for essays from futurists who have experienced futures education, be it in a K-12 class project, a professional certificate program, a workshop, or a full degree program. We received an overwhelming response from students, educators, and several people who have been on both sides of the learning and teaching experience."
by Jonathan Salem Baskin
"It would be great if the external world could be distilled into a computer program, and our actions dictated therefrom as readouts on a screen. But reality, especially the qualities that make us human, defy both the construction of such models, as well as their veracity. Emotions and beliefs aren’t necessarily bad things to attempt to understand, in all of their glorious vagueness."