The Future of Education
Stephen Downes, Oct 24, 2019, eLearning Africa, Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire
The future of education needs a massive rethink, not a tinkering round the edges, to make education robust and relevant for the world learners will face in 2050. We need to redesign education systems to address persistent inequalities, social fragmentation and political extremism, and take into account the impact of the fourth industrial revolution.
Chairperson(s): Michelle Selinger, EdTech Ventures, UK. Speakers: Stephen Downes, National Research Council Canada, Canada; Mark West, UNESCO, France,
Introducing UNESCO’s New Futures of Education Initiative; Matias Matias, HP Inc, USA, Classroom of the Future: From Concept to Execution. Image: ADEAnet.
While I would agree overall that the UNESCO resolution on OER should be supported, as it is better than nothing, I would also caution that there are some significant weaknesses to the draft as submitted. Overall, the document still envisions OER as something that is produced by publishers for consumption by (usually) teachers. This leads to concerns about sustainability models, and specifically, we see calls for Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) and specifically "catalyzing sustainability models through revenues and sustainability aspects of OER," which sournds a lot like fee-based OERs which i what was done to MOOCs). Similarly, clauses like "develop national and institutional standards, benchmarks and related quality assurance criteria for the quality assurance of OER" seem tailor made for keeping non-professionals out of the business o creating OERs. Finally, why is a document prepared in April only now seeing the light of day just a few weeks before its submission in November?
I agree with the observations in this post, and would apply them to educational technology as well. "We have to break the fundamental asymmetry that each end user is limited to their thumbs and their brain while the networks operate supercomputers. As long as there is one Facebook algorithm, one Twitter algorithm, one Instagram algorithm, etc. there will always be way too much power in one place. We all need to be able to programmatically interact with these services." If your MOOC provider, LMS, publications archive, or whatever, doesn't include an open API, then it is perpetuating a power imbalance. Via Metafilter, which follows up this idea with a ton of links.
I read articles like this so I can know what the other side is up to. This is a good overview with some good observations. For example, the author expects a shift away from keyword searches because "IoT promises to change this by shifting the search medium to gadgets or appliances that typically have fewer input options than a PC or a smartphone." Quite so. Also, in this context, the search engine results page (SERP) completely loses its meaning. And surprisingly, Google search will no longer be a priority. "It’s much more likely that instead of a single search engine, each device will be outfitted with a series of search apps, each of which will be limited to a specific service."
"Domain of One’s Own has finally hit the big time," writes Jim Groom as the Educause Learning Initiative (ELI) devotes one of its 'seven thing' publications to the concept. 7 Things to Know about Domain of One’s Own case study is available for download from Educause. "By enabling users to build environments for learning and sharing, such domains make possible a liberating array of practices that encourage users to explore how they interact with and present themselves in the online world."
Opinion of the Data Ethics Commission
This report (32 page PDF) is a summary of a much longer document (240 page PDF, in German). It takes a structured and measured approach to data ethics, beginning with underlying principles, then proposing a graduated set of measures based on the severity of the risk. The report defies summarization; there are 75 different points, some of which seem reasonable to me and others less so. The value, therefore, in addition to learning of the specific opinions guiding the German government, is a structured presentation of the range of issues related to ethics and data. See also this summary (in French).
Measuring actual learning versus feeling of learning inresponse to being actively engaged in the classroom
Louis Deslauriers, Logan S. McCarty, Kelly Miller, Kristina Callaghan, Greg Kestin, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2019/10/25
Why do teachers and students continue to resist active learning, even if it can be shown that it results in better learning? According to this report, it's because they confuse the extra effort required in active learning with a feeling that they are not learning as much. "We recommend that instructors intervene early on by explicitly presenting the value of increased cognitive efforts associated with active learning," write the authors. This result is similar to the paper referenced by Tony Bates this week. Via Education Research Report.
John Daniel (17 page PDF) takes as his starting point V.S. Prasid's 2018 analysis (142 page PDF) of current practice in open and distance learning (ODL) (the karma) and the aspirations of ODL (the dharma), and the disconnect between them. It's a good analysis. Daniel draws two observations from this discussion: "this disconnect is not unique to India, although the size of its ODL sector gives more examples of it. Second, it is ironic that some OUs are struggling just as the wider higher education system begins to adopt their missions."
He then visits his previously referenced iron triangle, considers the interplay between independence and interaction, and examines what current ODL institution heads think, all this leading to several definitions of 'open': open as to people (ODL institutions should be leading in things like MOOCs, not lagging, he says); open as to place (now world-wide, but with rising concerns about neo-colonialism), open as to methods (an in particular, autonomous governance and management), and open as to ideas (specifically about teaching effectively, "a vibrant area of research and development in ODL").
This post (12 page PDF) reviews open university websites for information about open education practices, and I don't think it really succeeds. The starting point is drawn from Mishra's 2017 definition of “open educational practices” (13 page PDF) which includes the following characteristics:
I think there's more that could be said, and consequently, room for a widening of the parameters for website analysis. But even so, an institutional website (typically created by a marketing department) may poorly reflect what actually happens at the institution.
Education changes attitudes, as some claim. But it doesn't change minds. And that's OK. In this detailed and well-written article, ethics professor Evan Mandery writes that "During my career, only one student has ever reported to me a significant, lasting change in their attitudes." This despite a course designed to push them on those attitudes. But more importantly, “The value is that you can staunchly disagree with someone, but also humanize the person... It was more to learn about each other than to change people’s minds.” This article is a great Sunday morning read, and you should make sure you make the time for it.
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Copyright 2019 Stephen Downes Contact: email@example.comThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.