Online learning has changed a lot over the last 20 years. It's gone from something people are hacking together in their back offices or living rooms to large complex interactive systems managed by multinational corporations. But it's still about technology, it's still about people, and it's still about language and media. These ideas all matter to contemporary educational technologists as much today as they did back in the early days.
While traditional universities tinker, the world is changing outside their walls. Case in point: this announcement from Coursera that the MOOC company is partnering with Facebook on a Social Media Marketing Professional Certificate. Now sure, the certificate is only 20 weeks and probably not worth very much. But compared to traditional universities it's quick and cheap and will serve quite well in markets where getting an Ivy League education is just a pipe-dream.
There's a lot to like in this report (126 page PDF). "As communities continue to suffer from surging outbreaks of COVID-19," the authors write, "districts are considering a range of differing approaches to online, hybrid, and in-person instruction... (this report) focuses on how policymakers as well as educators can support equitable, effective teaching and learning regardless of the medium through which that takes place." The recommendations range from closing the digital divide, strengthening distance and blended learning (though it should be 'online and hybrid learning', in my view), needs assessment, social, emoptional and culturally responsive learning, and wrap-around supports for after-hours and community-based learning.
This article begins with a section called 'AI Benefits and Stakeholders' so we know from the management-speak what perspective it's coming from. A 'stakeholder', in this conversation, is a person or organization that derives some benefit from the program or application (notice that they don't actually have to contribute to paying for it in order to become a stakeholder). Anyhow, the point of the article can be found after some technical stuff: "Turning an AI idea into actual benefits is difficult and requires the 'right' goals, leadership, expertise, and approach. It also requires buy-in and alignment at the C-level." This is where we get to KPIs, even if the article doesn't use the term: "Goals should be well-formed, meaning they are stakeholder-specific, map actual AI outputs to applications and use cases that achieve business goals, and are appropriately sized." Good article, but remember, the value for readers is as much in learning how to use the terminology as it is with the specific advice given.
With more and more companies going 'remote first' it makes more and more sense for schools to keep pace. After all, it makes sense to learn in the same sort of environment where you'll work. Obviously not everything with remote work is perfect today, and not everything can be done online (especially manufacturing, repairs and services). This article looks at an approach focused on improving remote-first work, focusing on things like workflow, relationships, and work-life balance.
This article describes three types of ed tech pundit: "a charismatic stance, a skeptical one, and a practical, 'tinkering' middle way." It's obvious that the third option is the favoured option. Nothing really changes, which is exactly what Chronicle readers want to hear. "In the ed-tech space," writes Justin Reich, "Carnegie Mellon University is the intellectual heart of the tinkerer movement (with) programs like the Open Learning Initiative" (though if you look closely you'll see it is hardly 'open'). In the charismatic stance Reich offers Michael Moe, Vignesh Rajendran and Scott Galloway, and in the skeptical category he places Audrey Watters, Torn Halves and Neil Selwyn. There are of course many more ways to be an ed tech pundit, but most of them wouldn't reassure Chronicle readers at all.
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Copyright 2020 Stephen Downes Contact: firstname.lastname@example.orgThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.