by Stephen Downes
Mar 09, 2015
Here’s What Will Truly Change Higher Education: Online Degrees That Are Seen as Official
New York Times,
There is what Kevin Carey sees as "official" and what will really be official. Two different things. Let me start where we agree: "In the long run, MOOCs will most likely be seen as a crucial step forward in the reformation of higher education." But MOOCs will not depend on defending the traditional degree structure in order to be successful. Indeed, the danger of MOOCs to traditional institutions is that they will replace such traditional (and traditionally biased) measures such as 'admitted to Harvard. I've talked about this before: credentials based on what you actually do, rather than whether you qualify for legacy status at an Ivy.
Reflections and Learnings from the 2015 AASA Conference
Discovery Education Network,
Good set of reflections from a recent conference identifying some recent trends. Quoted:
- The focus on professional development is stronger than ever.
- School systems are looking to share their work.
- The need to engage a wide range of stakeholders in the digital transition.
- School districts of all sizes are finding the funds to make the shift from hardcover textbooks to digital curricula.
As I said to someone last week in Riyadh, the future is slow. We think things should change instantly, but they never do. It takes a long time. You have to look for things like this, indicators of steady progress, rather than sudden change.
3 Things Students Should Have Before They Leave High School
Here are the things George Couros says they should have before they leave high school "to help create opportunities for themselves":
- a social network with other people in their field of choice
- a digital portfolio
- an “about.me” page
I get the general idea, and support it, but I think the description is way too narrow. I'd rather see people have much more than an about.me page and personal portfolio - I think they should have a wider online presence with credentials, tools, artifacts, and whatever else they need. The same with a social network - but not just a 'social network' but wide-ranging interactions with people inside and outside their own field.
People are finally worrying about online privacy—and tech firms are already cashing in
I've been posting more privacy-related items recently because, like the author of this piece, I think it's rising in importance. "The lure of customer data and opportunities to exploit it is a strong one. Indeed, invading privacy has been baked into the very business model of the web in our present era." The current response by providers (like AT&T and Google) is to charge premium prices to avoid being tracked and hounded by advertisers. But of course, that still lets everyone else track you and hound you.
How to Teach for Deeper Learning? An International Survey Provides Insights
This is another one of those articles that confuses between what the author wants you to conclude, and what the evidence says. The same problem is repeated throughout, but I'll focus on one example. Let's suppose that the survey data is correct, that " more than 94 percent of teachers agreed that their role was to facilitate students' own inquiry and 84 percent agreed that thinking and reasoning processes were more important than specific curriculum content." Then what are we to make of this? "Yet less than half of all teachers indicated they frequently used small group discussions in their classes." Instead of agreeing with the author that it's a shame so few teachers use this method, shouldn't we see this as an indictment of the small group discussion? Maybe small group discussions don't serve these aim at all, and that's why teachers don't use them.
Digital Learning Companies Falling Short of Student Privacy Pledge
New York Times | BITS Blog,
I would like to say I hoped for some other result, but really, could we have expected anything different. There's far too much money to be made selling student data for any of them to worry about following some pledge nobody noticed anyways. “Parents and educators who don’t have the training to test for themselves wouldn’t be able to tell which companies have reasonable security and which do not,” Mr. Porterfield said in a phone interview on Wednesday, “and that makes it hard to trust the pledge.”
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