November 13, 2013
Recent Pedagogy Ideas
November 13, 2013
According to a Mcleans article, "Canada has fallen behind or is at risk of falling behind other countries in education and training if we don’t get our act together. That was a common theme at two conferences last week in Toronto, one hosted by The Conference Board of Canada... and the other by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario. Meanwhile, we read that the labour market demands a national education strategy and that education is mismatching students with the needs of the labour market by enrolling too few students in the STEM disciplines in the Globe and Mail. Suggestions range from streaming into vocations to performance-based funding to creating an information website to partnering with billionaires (seriously, that was proposed).
Ken Steele of Academica writes: "Some Bright Ideas for program delivery? Our Eduvation IdeaBank already includes some innovative approaches to scheduling courses and programs: Fanshawe’s weekend college, Quest’s block method (also being piloted by UNBC), Royal Roads’ boot camp, and Brock’s accelerated supercourses. Comment on these, vote for the brightest, or suggest others you’ve seen that we can add at www.eduvation.ca/ideas/" (this might actually be an advertisement below some sponsored content - there's no way to tell).
But. While there is a skills mismatch, it is not in trades, but rather, in technical and professional fields. So one wonders why there's such a focus on streaming and trades. Moreover, it's not clear to me that Canada's education system is actually falling behind. Nothing has changed, really, since the same Globe and Mail pointed out that "Canada continues to do damn well, headlines and bad news angles notwithstanding." Sure, people may be choosing degrees "mismatched" to industry - but also, more and more, they are paying for those degrees, so why shouldn't they choose subjects that are interesting to them? If industry needs something from education, it should be prepared to pay for it - shouldn't it? This to me makes far more sense than misguided attempts to dismantle one of the best systems of public education in the world.
10 Principles to Select Technology
November 13, 2013
Back in prehistory (way back before MOOCs and even before Connectivism) one of my more popular articles was Nine Rules for Good Technology. This article by Contact North reminds me of that. But beyond the superficial similarity in name, the two articles are very different. The Contact North article is focused on outcomes - it wants technology that is high quality, promotes access, is scalable, etc. And the Contact North article is focused on educational outcomes - it wants technology that is pedagogically focused, adds value, is customizable, and promotes continuous lifeling learning. My article, by contrastm, focuses on the properties that lead to those outcomes, looking for technology that is simple, standardized, connected, personal, and always on. Each list has its merits. But if you're actually choosing technology, I would prefer mine.
The First Crack of EdTech 2.0: The EdTech Hype Bubble of 2011-2013
November 11, 2013
I hardly think that seven funded companies constitutes an 'ed tech bubble', nor that the failure of a couple of them constitutes the popping of that putative bubble. But there is a sense in which the 'get rich quick' mantra so popular among investors doesn't really work in this field. Education is, at best, a time-consuming and resource-intensive enterprise, and at worst, can fail completely to meet learning objectives. And the amount invested by the VC firms into the seven companies listed amounts to a tiny fraction of all education investments (the real investors in education are governments and students). So while there will no doubt be much press about the popping of the ed tech bubble, remember that this bubble was a chimera to begin with, and represented very little of any substance. (p.s. to - when you have to say "my Seven Sisters nomenclature is not necessarily pejorative," everybody knows that your meaning actually was pejorative, and we wonder why would think being a sister is pejorative.)
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