by Stephen Downes
Sept 13, 2016
Phil Hill summarizes this panel discussion and provides a couple of videos focusing on Kathryn Becker-Blease's experiences using adaptive learning in an Introduction to Psychology course. A couple of worthwhile observations: first, "adaptive learning can mean different things in different contexts," and second, the contrast between this experience and another in which "students worked in the adaptive learning platform, but they also had class time devoted to supporting them with their study and work habits. Learning how to learn, which is very important for students that do not have a history of academic success." When evaluating innovations, you can't just throw people in there and see how they do, especially if they spent a lifetime doing something else.
When both Daniel Willingham and Joanne Jacobs storm the barricades over an article in the NY Times, I figure there's something to recommend it. And novelist Nicholson Baker's Fortress of Tedium is a light romp through his own education at the School Without Walls and the contrasting eyeball-drenching monotony of a more traditional school. "In my experience, he writes, "very high-school subject, no matter how worthy and jazzy and thought-provoking it may have seemed to an earnest Common Corer, is stuffed into the curricular Veg-O-Matic, and out comes a nasty packet with grading rubrics on the back." Lovely. Willingham, ever with the scowl, cites some research that no self-respecting researcher would take as conclusive, quotes Baker as having said something he did not say (specifically, "The school that would have been perfect for me, would be perfect for everyone," which is nowhere to be found in the article), and then writes, "He cannot understand why high school must be so stifling and soulless." I can't understand it either. It probably has a lot to do with grouches like Willingham and Jacobs.
The collapse of ITT Technical Institutes' chain of schools in the United States should counsel as warning about the perils of privatizing education. "U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, at the time of the Education Department action, compared ITT to the Corinthian chain, which collapsed amid federal and state scrutiny. 'For too long, ITT Tech and its executives have gotten rich off taxpayers while misleading and taking advantage of their students with Corinthian-style deceptive and abusive practices.'" Business as usual. The closure involves 130 campuses, 40,000 students and 8,000 employees. A ton of links, via Trace Urdan's excellent newsletter from Credit Suisse:
Next time you're considering the cost of public education as compared to the private sector, consider these costs.
This newsletter is sent only at the request of subscribers. If you would like to unsubscribe, Click here.
Know a friend who might enjoy this newsletter? Feel free to forward OLDaily to your colleagues. If you received this issue from a friend and would like a free subscription of your own, you can join our mailing list. Click here to subscribe.