by Stephen Downes
Mar 10, 2016
This is a good thing though it still seems so terribly ad hoc. The national work has been done: "The Groningen Declaration Network on Digital Student Data Portability (more), formed in 2012, aims to modernize and improve the international exchange of transcripts, diplomas and applications by creating digital hubs and networks between academic institutions and other organizations worldwide. Canada became a signatory to the declaration in May 2015." But as the article notes, institutions have to be on board as well, which seems almost guaranteed to create a patchwork of compliance. If only there were a way people could manage their own credentials.
I listened to this talk on Ed Radio from the STEP (Scottish Teachers for Enhancing Practice) conference last week on the drive in this morning. Janie McManus is an engaging speaker who spoke on meeting the two challenges in Scottish education, excellence, and (especially) equity. Meeting these requires the continuous engagement and improvement by all staff in the system, she said. And in meeting these objectives, you should ask:
I've often said that learning is composed of practice and reflection. Facing these questions, looking for key indicators, and especially addressing the questions how do you know? and so what? constitute the 'reflection' part of the equation.
George Veletsianos points to an email that "paints a direct and unequivocal relationship between edtech use and outcomes.: 'use of educational technology resulted in.'" But, he says, "That's not actually the case." In the actual reserach, there were some differences in outcomes, but they weren't statistically significant. And "teachers used technology to efficiently facilitate drill and practice test preparation activities." It makes you just want to sign. He points out that "such claims are of course neither new nor isolated."
The headline is definitely a mismatch for the content of the article. In a nutshell, the author argues that if he were a lawyer or physician, consulting fees could be hundreds of dollars a session, and as an author, he might be paid well by magazines, but as an academic, he gets nothing for writing or reviewing for academic journals. Meanwhile, as we all know, publishers charge substantial fees for these articles and pay their CEOs millions of dollars. Is the solution to "just say no"? Not exactly. "We should give up our archaic notions of unpaid craft labor and insist on professional compensation for our expertise, just as doctors, lawyers, and accountants do," writes receive $200K or more a year. Is he ready to give that up in order to be paid on a case by case basis? Probably not. Academics are paid for the academic work they do, and paid very well. So that's not the problem. Indeed - maybe if the public threatened to stop paying academics unless they published in open access journals, maybe they wouldn't be so blasé about simply handing over public goods to
pirate private publishers.
We get this sort of sentiment a lot. It's the thinking behind initiatives like the Campbell Collaboration which postulate that innovation in education should be (more or less) completely evidence-based. So here we have "NPR’s Eric Westervelt talks with Harvard education researcher Tom Kane about how and why American education research has mostly languished in an echo chamber for much of the last half century." First of all, who cares that it's a Harvard education researcher? Second, what do they mean by "American educational research"? It's not like there's one big monolith. But most significant is the idea that "The point of education research is to identify effective interventions for closing the achievement gaps that Coleman observed and ensuring that that information is usable." Well - no. It's a ridiculous proposition, the idea that lack of access to the same education rich people have can be solved like it were a disease or illness. What do they think, that we use the education of Eton as a baseline, and if everybody gets that then we're done? I'd like to do rather better than that.
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