Thursday, December 19, 2013

Quitting Social Media, Subverting the System and other Ed Tech Topics of the Day

Why Quitting Social Media Is a Losing Proposition
Ironically, it may be the truly remarkable innovations that provoke the most criticism and angst in society at large. Properly understood, this is a tribute to their success. Tickle-me-Elmos and Chia Pets are unlikely to inspire much soul-searching, because they can just be discarded once the novelty wears off. Cars, by contrast, kill more than twenty-five thousand people each year without deterring us from buying more. . . . Social media is an innovation of this kind. We have allowed it to change us, such that there’s no going back. 

Online Education as an Agent of Transformation
Like steam, online education is a disruptive innovation — one that introduces
more convenient and affordable products or services that over time transform sectors. Yet many bricks-and-mortar colleges are making the same mistake as the once-dominant tall ships: they offer online courses but are not changing the existing model. They are not saving students time and money, the essential steps to disruption. And though their approach makes sense in the short term, it leaves them vulnerable as students gravitate toward less expensive colleges.

Do You have the Personality To Be an Inquiry-Based Teacher?
When a teacher comes out from behind the lectern, leaves the front of the room, kneels beside a student to coach them through a problem, offers feedback designed to promote confidence and perseverance, and becomes a true partner in the learning process, the relationship between teacher and student automatically shifts. It’s no longer about telling; it’s about listening, observing, and creating the channel of trust that opens up a personal connection between two individuals.

Subverting the System: Student and Teacher as Equals
[Scott Henstrand] presented problems for the students to solve: He challenged them to learn about physics by analyzing how children interact with toys and playground equipment, and to learn about the world of design firms by designing a playground for a real group of third-graders. He modeled the evaluations on the belt system in karate, and he enlisted students who had previously mastered certain skills to help evaluate the proficiency of fellow students. He also tried to encourage students to learn new things about themselves and their fellow students, in addition to the content areas.

Teacher Agency: Educators Moving from a Fixed to a Growth Mindset
Many educators feel forced into a paradigm of teaching where they feel subjected to teaching practices outside of their control. Then when they are asked to engage in a process of continued growth and development, many profess: “I don’t have enough time.”, “I don’t have enough resources.”, “I need more training.”, “I need to teach using the textbook.” ,”I need to teach to the test.”, “I might lose control of the class.”, “I have always successful taught this way.”

More Moolah for MOOCs: Coursera Raises Another $20M
Coursera, with 5.5 million students taking classes from 100 universities and institutions, is one of the largest companies in a crop of ed-tech startups. . . . Coursera now has a staff of about 70 people, and it is making some money by selling verified certificates that students can use to show they’ve completed a MOOC.


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