December 28, 2011
Ignoring What Works in Education
GetIdeas, December 28, 2011.
Some interesting stuff put together in this post by Ewan McIntosh. He first describes "a school inside an old people’s home [where] early-years students participating in the school’s reading programme frequently sit with the old people to read together." It's a great idea and probably helps both old and young. Yet, by contrast, politicians and administrators focus on curriculum and assessment, ignoring (says McIntosh) what research already tells us works in pedagogy. Such as, for example, "formative assessment–student-initiated, self, and peer assessment [which is] is far more effective at raising test scores than teaching to the test." Those making the decisions, says McIntosh, miss "the trap that is set for them" - "I haven’t heard one piece of discourse on formative assessment in the U.S. in 2011 that actually shows an understanding of what it is." If there is assessment, they expect to see a grade - they have been pushed into a frame of expecting these assessments to produce data or facts to prove that the pedagogy works. Except - what counts as data varies a lot, what counts as evidence depends on what you're trying to prove and what you already believe, and what you're likely to accept may depend as much on a recommendation from a friend as on anything else.
[Link] [Comment][Tags: Schools, Research, Assessment, Online Learning]
Memes and metaphors in networked technologies
e4innovation.com, December 28, 2011.
I'm not really happy with this post, even though the subject (memes and metaphors) is definitely of interest in today's landscape. I don't think Susan Blackmore is the right person to cite on memes, certainly not if she's saying things like "what makes us different from other animals is our ability to imitate." Really? This statement is on the face of it flat out false (counter-example: parrots). I don't think Dron and Anderson are the appropriate people to cite on groups and networks, not only because I wrote about it first, but because there's earlier and even better work extant and explained. I can also understand the reference to one's own earlier work, but would hesitate to self-reference an introduction to the well-known concepts of functionalism and connectionism. Yes, I think metaphors are helpful. No, I don't think we need 'a new metaphor' (though if we did, the ideas of stewardship and ecosystem spring to mind) because different metaphors should be applied to different tasks. And we have a well-stocked history of metaphors to aid us; we don't need to discover them anew. I don't think you can form a contemporary understanding of meme and metaphor by studying the literature; you need to get about and mucky-muck with LOLcats.
[Link] [Comment][Tags: Networks]
The Education Betterness Manifesto
Dreams of Education, December 28, 2011.
While I appreciate the spirit of improvement that lies behind this manifesto (and like the author enjoy and recommend Umair Haque) I think it falls wide of the mark, not because it's wrong, but it still treats education as something teachers and schools do. As was once famously said, it takes a village to raise a child. So as Kelly Tenkely extrapolates from business to education, I want to extrapolate from education to community.
I'm reminded of a story about a traveler who asked a local man directions. The man didn't know; he said, "I'm not in the tourist business." He was admonished by another who said, "In this town, we're all in the tourist business." I tell that to people around here who don't seem to know how much tourism means to the Maritimes. But education is like that too. "In this town, we're all in the education business."
Everything adults do or say adds to a child's education. Whether or not you're directly involved, you still teach children with what you do. So, do really meaningful stuff that matters. Support practices that are sustainable and have real substance. Don't just listen to media; get involved in community. Support what it is that really matters. etc.
[Link] [Comment][Tags: Schools, Adult Learning, Online Learning, Africa]
Open Educational Resources in Brazil: State-of-the-Art, Challenges and Prospects for Development and Innovation
Andreia Inamorato dos Santos,
UNESCO, December 28, 2011.
Via UNESCO newswire: "The book 'Open Educational Resources in Brazil: State-of-the-Art, Challenges and Prospects for Development and Innovation' [by] Andreia Inamorato dos Santos) has been [released]. This is the second IITE publication within the series of case studies summarizing best practices of OER development in non-English-speaking countries. The study contains an overview of the Brazilian educational landscape, national educational policy and the strategies of ICT use in education. The author describes existing open digital content repositories with due emphasis on the copyright situation and considers several examples of successful international OER projects which involved Brazilian partners." Here's the direct PDF link (77 pages).
[Link] [Comment][Tags: Open Educational Resources, Books, Project Based Learning, UNESCO, Copyrights, Learning Object Repositories]
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