by Stephen Downes
Jul 29, 2015
Tablets in education
This post contains links to 14 tablet initiatives in countries around the world (and another three in which the governments are taking them back). The article is generally sceptical in tone: "the evidence base when it comes to tablet use in schools and to support student learning is rather weak, and can be used in support of or against pretty much whatever scheme is being considered." Well, true. Because it's hard to have an evidence base for national tablet initiatives in developing nations based on "research to date (which) comes from schools in 'highly developed' (OECD) countries, relies on projects with small sample sizes, are of short duration and/or rely heavily on self-reported and/or qualitative data." The only way to know is to try, and to their credit, these nations are trying. Goodness knows, the developed world isn't stepping forth to meet the need. And it wasn't very long ago that the World Bank's answer was high-end videoconferencing facilities for business and small mobile phones for everyone else.
On Labor, Learning Conditions, and Affordable Education
"Here are three takeaways," writes Tiffany Kraft. "1) Students cannot afford the price we pay for higher education. 2) The debt-for-diploma exchange is gutting our Millennials. 3) The antidote for corporate academe is student activism." These have been true since I was a student in the 1980s (and hence, a student activist). Student activism was probably necessary, but certainly not sufficient. I'm not sure, after these 35 years, what would be sufficient.
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