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The Fallacy of Best Practices
Eric Sheninger, A Principal's Reflections, 2024/04/22


"The time has come to break free from the shackles of 'best practices' and embrace the power of effectiveness driven by the true experts in education—the schools and educators who implemented these strategies consistently and with a high degree of fidelity." Certainly there has been criticism of the idea of 'best practices' over the years for precisely this sort of reason. But are 'the schools and educators who implemented these strategies' really 'the true experts'? Certainly they would have valuable feedback, as would any practitioner. But they do not assess their practices scientifically, and they are unable to view outside their own context. The problem with 'best practices' isn't that we're talking to the wrong people - it's that we're asking the wrong question. Image: Perceptyx.

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Support for Canadian Graduate Students on Strike
Justin Weinberg, Daily Nous, 2024/04/22


This is just a note to remind readers in Canada that graduate students - who teach a significant proportion of university classes - are expected to live on roughly $15-$25 thousand dollars a year. The explanation is that 'work' is 'capped' at 10 hours a week, so it's a good hourly rate, but nobody believes people teaching university classes are actually working only 10 hours a week. You can read about the strike at Western University here and here. As a graduate student association president some 25 years ago I worked actively on this very issue, and it's disappointing to see it persists to this day.

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A Partnership Industry for Impactful Ed-Tech (SSIR)
Natalia Kucirkova, SSIR, 2024/04/22


This post is directed toward ed tech companies and makes the point that "in a fragmented impact ecosystem, ed-tech needs collaboration to prioritize education over technology." In other words, "for a technology to count as educational, the market needs to be run as a partnership industry, where developers, educators, researchers, and students actively work together to develop, implement, and scale what works." The article makes four specific recommendations that seem reasonable to me (though I word them a bit differently): first, the company's self-interest needs to be subordinate to "the 5Es of impact, efficacy, effectiveness, ethics, equity, and environmental impact"; second, "focus more on the quality of evidence rather than solely on the type of evidence"; third, "contribute new ideas for impact measurement and understanding", and fourth, do more than just query practitioners for new ideas.

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We publish six to eight or so short posts every weekday linking to the best, most interesting and most important pieces of content in the field. Read more about what we cover. We also list papers and articles by Stephen Downes and his presentations from around the world.

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