I've had a few people send me emails about Top Hat recently so I've been keeping an eye out for independent reporting on the company. This article looks at the company's business plans (there's another post about Top Hat and open educational resources to follow). The model is one we've seen from a few other providers: the Top Hat marketplace "provides a series of textbooks and ancillary material, (course notes, question packs, presentations, etc) that instructors can browse, adopt, modify, and share with students either as mandatory or recommended resources. Students pay fees between $0 and roughly $65 for the materials."Today: Total:
Nothing appears in a corporate blog by accident and so I am left wondering why Blackboard blog is running a post making the case for advertising in schools. It's OK, says Steve Ostler, because "advertising in schools already happens, and has happened for decades." Things like banner ads on school websites "can generate revenue to fund some of the programs you wouldn’t even dream of being able to provide your students." What would be nicer would be were schools adequately funded through tax reveniue raising funds from these same corporations. Yes, they would have to pay taxes for this to work. But it's better than making today's lesson be about the Chick-fil-a cow.Today: 21 Total: 21
What's important here is how the term 'student centered' has been appropriated by agencies advocating for private and charter schooling. This takes place through the use of the term 'student centered funding', which is the idea that the money follows the child, whether the child is educated in a public school, a private school, or by a trio of monkeys playing ukuleles. We find the argument laid out in Student-Centered State Funding: A How-to Guide for State Policymakers, published by the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd). The report is criticized by Bruce Baker in National Education Policy Center (NEPC) Review. "The brief advances the false dichotomy that advocates for state and district school finance systems to focus on funding the child, not funding the essential institutions that serve those children," he writes.Today: 20 Total: 20
One thing that caught my eye here was the use of the word 'pedagogy' to refer to machine learning. I'm thinking they should maybe have used the term 'machinagogy' or 'aigogy' instead. Anyhow, most of these predictions are of the "current trends will continue" sort. But there are some good points about the need for improvements in hardware to improve AI, since it is so computationally intensive, and the use of automation "for creative pursuits like AI-generated music, images, and visual arts, which will also start appearing in commercial products."Today: 19 Total: 19
According to this report, "a steering committee of 25 PBL experts and organizations has created a framework called High Quality Project Based Learning, or HQPBL." The actual framework won't be released until this coming March; in the meantime we have titles like "authenticity", "public project" and "collaboration", among others. It's hard to see how HQPBL differs from project-based learning generally in any way other than marketing. We are told at the bottom of this article that "This post includes mentions of a Getting Smart partner." It reads to me like advertising content and should be more clearly labeled. The blog should tell us who the advertiser is. Authors should remember that such coy and misleading marketing undermines the credibility of the entire website, including all other authors who post on that site.Today: 20 Total: 20
Paul Kirschner's schtick is promoting the idea of compkete focus on learning with no distractions (which he believes cause extraneous cognitive load). Hence the reasoning behind this misplaced analogy: "Disrupting one’s own learning is an individual choice; harming the learning of other students in the class is disrespectful. Laptop distractions due to movement of images and laptop screen lighting and multitasking activities may cause involuntary shifts of attention among students in close proximity to laptop users." I'm thinking we should also ban loud clothing, shifting and fidgeting in your seats, air-conditioning turning off and on, windows, and clocks. Especially clocks.Today: 19 Total: 19
I thoroughly enjoyed this special issue of the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research (JVWR) focusing on the massively multiplayer online games (MMOs) Eve Online. The game is set in space and is generally a free-for-all of space mining, pirates and corporations. The play and the politics become complex, as documented in Making Science Fiction Real: Neoliberalism, Real-Life and Esports in Eve Online by Mark Richard Johnson and Robert Mejia. Similar themes are explored in Scaling Technoliberalism for Massively Multiplayer Online Games, by Aleena Chia. Meanwhile, Ian Gregory Brooks asks Is Betrayal in EVE Online Unethical? Answer: yes.Today: 72 Total: 72
With the recent news that Disney will acquire the lion king's share of American cultural assets it becomes relevant to ask about the messages it uses this content to send. History does not reassure us. From the ideology of Donald Duck to the sexism of Disney princesses to their issues with dark skin, Disney has been sending messages of dubious ethical value to children for decades. This article examines another aspect: why Disney villians all have 'foreign' accents. Note that "stereotyped uses of language aren’t an industry-wide norm; they said that networks such as PBS make a concerted effort to prioritize racial and ethnic diversity and accuracy."Today: 88 Total: 88
The comment thread is far and away the best part of this article. Working without data or evidence, the author argues that in-class learning is more valuable than experiential learning. "The most valuable thing we can teach students is the ability to think through, with patient focus, demanding intellectual challenges." But even the examples provided - as the commenters argue - have real-life experiences that are every bit as demanding as the in-class alternative.Today: 101 Total: 101
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