Some of the key conversations taking place in our field are echoed in this report on digital government in Canada. Most of the interestinbg stuff is near the end of the document: connecting with external tralent ("mechanisms like Interchange and newer flexible staffing regimes make it relatively easy and fast for hiring managers to bring outside professionals into government for short-term assignments"), user-centric design skills (" a skills gap that needs to be addressed in the public sector at the intersection of user-centric design and agile prototyping and development"), cloud and open source technologies ("open source platforms have become an increasingly important foundational element for digital transformation in public sector organizations across the world"), digital identity ("many participants expressed a desire for the federal government to play a stronger leadership role, and to pilot digital identity solutions"), and digital literacy ("digital literacy was identified as being needed across government, at all levels and functions, to support smart decision-making"). The resulting website - Digital Canada - keeps people up to date on the program (and incidentally leaves the antiquated 'Common Look and Feel (CLF)' standards in the dust behind it as through they weren't even there) and their Twitter feed.
This post looks at "the constellation of meanings that are associated with the term ('personalization'), suggest a way of evaluating just how ‘personalized’ an instructional method might be, and look at recent research into ‘personalized learning’." It follows a previous post illustrating how the term has been rendered meaningless by marketers. Unfortunately, writes the author, "but perhaps not surprisingly, none of the elements that we associate with ‘personalization’ will lead to clear, demonstrable learning gains." But what counts as a gain? This is what is missing in the research. "The Gates Foundation were probably asking the wrong question. The conceptual elasticity of the term ‘personalization’ makes its operationalization in any empirical study highly problematic."
Mike Caulfiend comes out with a gem of a post questioning the concept of 'information overload'. The problem isn't too much information, he writes. The "big problem is not that it’s a firehose, but that it’s a firehose of sewage. It’s all haystack and no needle." He has numerous examples: numerous cancer studies, no cancer cure. Numerous research studies, no repoducability. Big data in education, but no idea where this data should lead us. An "algorithm could only match you with the equivalent of the films in the Walmart bargain bin, because Netflix had a matching algorithm but nothing worth watching." I keep telling people, 'education isn't a search problem'. Maybe I should be saying 'education isn't an algorithm problem'.
This is a post touting Momentum Schools, Oklahoma's version of personal learning. "Momentum gives students the choice of how, when and where they attend school [and] instead of traditional group class time, students schedule meetings with individual teachers to assess schoolwork. Students work at their own pace to ensure they master the content." Doing what? I wonder. The story doesn't tell us. Digging into the Momentum site reveals it's competency-based learning. We see pictures of students at computers, so I can guess. And the reason this model was adopted was to save money, so they're cutting teacher interacton. And I don't see any real freedom in this model: students are bound to the content, bound to the machine.
This is a terrific post delivering exactly what the title promises, running from ideation, proposal, research, writing and editing, and even cover design and legal review. The value of the post isn't in giving aspiring writers a recipe they should follow - indeed, the method is completely paper-based and therefore more cumbersome than necessary. But it offers valuable suggestions about process, for example, the notecard system, which is very similar to what I do here with OLDaily (each one of these posts is like a separate notecard). It's something to show students to have them think about the process of knowing, the process of learning, the process of creating.
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