Other relevant information
Periodically, I run into interesting educational perspectives from people within (and outside) of academia. New posts will appear at the top of each list.
Notes from academia:
- Stanford scientists put free text-analysis tool on the web (Stanford University)
Points to ponder:
Adjust to the Google generation and age of information (TeachThought):
- Make the work Google-proof: Put another way, design it so that Google is crucial to creating a response rather than finding one. If students can Google answers—stumble on you want them to remember in a few clicks—there’s a problem with the instructional design. And asking them what they’ll do when they WiFi goes out probably isn’t compelling enough as an argument. Instead, anchor learning experiences around new kinds of thinking that force the synthesis of disparate ideas, media, and communities. Scenario-based learning, challenge-based learning, project-based learning, learning simulations, and so on.
- Force them to grapple with big questions without answers: Promote study and observation, not “content mastery.” In a Google-centric world characterized by access to content, networks, and new ways of thinking about things, the focus should be on more classically human practices of observation, study, and perspective.
- Actually make social networks and media channels part of curriculum: Their identification, navigation, analysis, and evaluation should be as much a part of study as the writing process.
- Focus on learning strategies: Rather than emphasizing content, emphasize how to deal with an abundance of fluid and perishable content on a daily basis.
- Create curriculum and lessons that seamlessly absorb data: In an age of information and analytics, data is abundant.
- Focus less on “understanding”: Of course students need to “understand," but prescribing exactly what students will understand, when they will understand it and at what depth, and where, and how they will prove it–regardless of background knowledge, natural interest, literacy levels, etc.—is a bit…ambitious.
- Discourage use of traditional units: Units encourage illusions of “coverage” for the sake of content packaging. Why not instead emphasize that advanced learning is a marathon, not a series of artificially-divided sprints.
- Illuminate the nuance of the world: Content is incredible if we can just let it be incredible, and for the Google Generation, it’s right there at their fingertips. Curriculum documents should underscore the nuance of the world, not provide a chronologically-based checklist to cover it all. If students can’t separate what’s worth understanding and what’s not for themselves—whether on the first page of Google search results, or links they find via Twitter and Facebook—our collective efforts are diminished.
TedTalk on MOOCs: 2013 was a year of hype for MOOCs (massive open online courses). Great big numbers and great big hopes were followed by some disappointing first results. But the head of edX, Anant Agarwal, makes the case that MOOCs still matter—as a way to share high-level learning widely and supplement (but perhaps not replace) traditional classrooms. Agarwal shares his vision of blended learning, where teachers create the ideal learning experience for 21st century students.