by Stephen Downes
[Sept] 04, 2014
The End Of Neighborhood Schools
So I found this interesting, especially the way the discussion looked at two major aspects of the New Orleans school reform: first, the conversion of the system to public to private charter schools (and consequent firing and de-unionization of the school system), and second, the conversion from neighborhood schools to a city-wide system that offers choice. Well - sort of choice, since admission is by lottery and funding is such that there are really only a few good schools everyone is trying to get into. But it reminded me of the school system in Edmonton, where they managed to achieve the same degree of choice, without firing all the teachers and privatizing the system - and where they are producing some of the best graduates in the world (as measured eg. by PISA) and not a C-grade average. Creating choice and diversity, I think, helps - but if you destroy the system of public education, you undermine any benefit you may have attained. Meanwhile, the flood of charitable money that propped up the privatized system in the early years, the test score improvements are looking a little hollow, and the sheen is coming off the NOLA rose.
Adding Some TEC-VARIETY
Curtis J. Bonk, Elaine Khoo,
Curt Bonk is offering his latest book for free as an eBook - you can download the whole thing or individual chapters. He writes, "We propose the TEC-VARIETY framework as a solution to the lack of meaningful engagement. It can shift learners from nearly comatose states to actively engaged ones. Adding Some TEC-VARIETY helps instructors focus on how to motivate online learners and increase learner retention. It also is a comprehensive, one-stop toolkit for online instructors to inspire learners and renew their own passion for teaching. "
Standard Options Apply
As the development of the xAPI (Experience APO) continues, questions of development and implementation are beginning to arise. As Aaron Silvers says, the upcoming formalization by IEEE will break existing implementations. He suggests adopting a modular approach to xAPI, breaking it into different functions, modelled (for example) along the lines of WiFi, as a family of standards. "A modular approach is certainly atomic; it helps to ensure there’s consistency going forward for each component; it isolates the potential impact of changing any one component without needing to change the other components," he writes. (This also reminds me that I am, or was, a member of IEEE-LTSC, but maybe my membership has lapsed.) Related: Tin Badges.
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