I don't whether the the curriculum is actually "top rated" or whether that's just marketing bile (I suspect the latter) but what's important here is that Microsoft is integrating "full-course OER curricula, standards-aligned, and provided for free to promote instructional equity" into its OneNote application. You have to use a custom OneNote Class Notebook to access and deliver the resources, which I was able to download for free. This is something that the smaller companies wrapping OER in proprietary technologies maybe didn't consider when they embarked on this business model: OER just becomes another product offered by Microsoft or Apple or Google (and when nobody else is offering them, they turn on the subscription wall).
I thought this was a pretty good article. I don't think that we've yet "unlocked the science of how kids think" but the way the article is set up allows us to set the overstatement aside and focus on how we think about some principles of learning in our day-to-day work. The context is set by looking at how we approach teacher training. For example, "teachers report that their education is overly theoretical and not of great utility." Willingham says "they are required to learn some basic principles of psychology as part of that education, but it is not clear that practicing teachers remember what they were taught." May or maybe not, but I would say that the key factor here is whether they believe what they were taught. They won't if someone simply tells them things (I certainly wouldn't). So the way to look at psychological principles is to look at their application, first in the training of teachers themselves, then in the wider classroom.
The five competencies discussed in this article show up briefly in the middle of the piece, but otherwise the bulk of the material promotes the MyWays framework as a whole. The five competencies, for the record, are: critical thinking & problem solving; creativity & entrepreneurship; communication & collaboration; information, media & technology skills; and practical life skills. Each is given a whole paragraph, which brings us right up to date. If I sound a bit sceptical, it's because I don't really see how a poorly executed exercise in taxonomy is going to help is frame and design learning resources and programs in the future.
When I was reading this article I clicked on the option to make the text size larger. It's a simple thing, but for a person with poor eyesight it's significant. This is the idea of Universal Design for Learning (UDL); it "allows many people never to have to say, 'please treat me differently.'" There's a funny little digression in the middle of the article where the author also addresses learning styles - after all, UDL allows differentiation, which learning style sceptics say you should never do. But UDL points to the obvious: some people need to be accommodated, sometimes permanently, sometimes just for the moment. "Placing options in the design of our courses, and having more choices for students in how they interact with materials, with each other, with faculty members, and with the wider world is what allows students to make choices based on circumstances, which is a great thing." See also: embracing diversity with UDL.
What I want to ask by posting this item is whether educational institutions are passing this basic test. Not just American institutions, but all educational institutions. Here's where, according to Umair Haque, American media falls short. Civilizing: "media refuses absolutely to set the red lines anymore which civilize people, and bind a society together with respect, decency, and dignity." Informing: "media regularly fails to sort information from misinformation." Reality-checking: "endless coverage of every tiny scandal, around the clock — but, for example, zero about how declining societies in which poverty is growing produce authoritarianism ." Opening minds: "media never offers any examples of fresh paradigmatic thinking for people... It never looks, for example, at how people live elsewhere."
More on the same issue. Here is Alastair Creelman: "Personalization in learning and advertising is enabled by platforms. Just as there are deep problems with personalization of advertising, we will find it is multiplied by tens of thousands when we apply it to learning. Utopian views that ignore the problems of platforms and personalization are only going to end up looking like what we are seeing now with Facebook and CA (Cambridge Analytica)."
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Copyright 2018 Stephen Downes Contact: firstname.lastname@example.orgThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.