I've had an idea in the back of my mind for a long time now, and as I get closer to a real-world gRSShopper other people can actually use I began to ask around is anyone had seen an implementation. In a word, the response was "no". So I decided to create an implementation of it to see whether people can show me why it's such a bad idea.
Tony Bates discusses a recent survey of student preferences authored by Alex Usher. We covered it here a few days ago, so I won't reiterater the main points. bates does note, though, that Usher makes the complain (as he often has) about the lack of data about Canada's higher education system. But as Bates comments, "I would really like to examine the sample to answer basic questions such as how many students were involved and the response rate. Without access to such data, any published results have no merit... I find it galling that when he (Usher) collects data, they are hidden behind a paywall. I am saddened therefore that the full data and analysis are not openly accessible." Call it Downes's third law: you shouldn't complain about a problem when you are part of the problem.
So many people have an image of online learning as sitting in front of a computer screen and watching videos or Zoom lessons, or, if you're lucky, filling in forms or pushing buttons. That's perhapps because so much of online learning is designed that way. As Alexandra Mihai writes, it doesn't have to be that way. This post is focused on active learning as a pedagogical strategy, and while I wish she had spoken specifically about getting students to do things away from their keyboards, she offers some useful strategies and links to some resources offering more ideas (p.s. making them work with pen and paper or paperclips and post-it notes does not count as getting people away from their keyboard; it just moves the keyboard back 20 years).
This item is presented as one single resource (209 page PDF) containing 23 papers averaging about 9 pages each. My preference is to have each paper given its own file so I can pick a few of the best and highlight them. In any case, reading this set as a whole will give you a good overview of the sorts of things that are being tried in schools - creating engagement using Minecraft, using memes to teach mathematical concepts, the Africa Code Week experience, and 20 more. The writing is overall light and clear, which makes the volume a pleasant way to spend an hour or two.
I've had this post in the hopper for a little while and can't bring myself to delete it, so into the newsletter it goes. Overall, it's a pretty good analysis of learning technology practices, offering some good breakdowns of the types of technology out there and the types of things people do with it (I've been conducting a long-term experiment with post classification so this is of interest to me). The main message of the post is that there was more of everything in 2020 - more products, more users, more sales - but as I say the real value is in the breakdown.
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