Harvard’s Justin Reich warns that much of ed-tech is old ideas in shiny new packages.
“Reich is not a technophobe. But he says he’s deeply concerned about how online learning will change society. He says the pay-for-play model that online learning represents could change the nature of American polity.
Public education exists in part to educate young citizens, he noted. Online learning “positions them as consumers, and hopes that market will efficiently distribute these resources,” Reich said.
He warns that this is a fundamental shift in education. Schools of almost every stripe have been places where students shared experiences, and developed and deviated from social norms. In such a system, he argues, children are involved in collaboratively authoring their learning experiences.”
By Leslie Harris O’Hanlon
Enrollment in advanced placement courses has skyrocketed in recent years, and there are many reasons for this spike. Students often believe taking AP courses will give them an edge in getting into college, help them do better once there, and save them money by not having to take those classes again. And many believe AP programs enrich students’ lives because they’re taking part in a rigorous program of learning.
But a recent study found that research doesn’t unequivocally support those beliefs.
“The research is mixed,” said Denise Pope, co-founder of Challenge Success, a non-profit organization at the Stanford University Graduate School of Education. “There isn’t any clear research for any of those claims.”
Pope is author of the white paper “The Advanced Placement Program: Living Up to Its Promise?” for which she reviewed more than 20 studies about AP programs and examined the research Challenge Success has conducted on the subject.
The College Board launched its AP program in 1955 as a way to make college-level courses available to high school students. While AP programs have their strengths, they also have their drawbacks, Pope said. For example, while some studies show that students who take AP courses perform better in their college courses, the performance of such students may not be solely based on the fact that they took an AP course. Students who take AP courses often are a self-selecting Continue reading
By Justin Reich
The Someday/Monday dichotomy captures one of the core challenges in teacher professional development around education technology. On the one hand, deep integration of new learning technologies into classrooms requires substantially rethinking pedagogy, curriculum, assessment, and teacher practice (someday). For technology to make a real difference in student learning, it can’t just be an add-on. On the other hand, teachers need to start somewhere (Monday), and one of the easiest ways for teachers to get experience with emerging tools is to play and experiment in lightweight ways: to use technology as an add-on. Teachers need to imagine a new future—to build towards Someday—and teachers also need new activities and strategies to try out on Monday. Both pathways are important to teacher growth and meaningful, sustained changes in teaching and learning.
In this four-part series, we’ll use the Someday/Monday template to explore four dimensions of using tablets, such as the iPad, in educational settings, examining how teachers can take students on a journey from consumption of media to curation, creation, and connection. Here, we’ll start with consumption.
Part I: Consumption
In the apocryphal photo of the iPad, the tablet rests in the lap of Steve Jobs, sitting on the stage at the iPad release demonstration, reclined in a leather chair. This was a device made for reading and watching, for sitting back, for passively consuming media. One of the signature challenges of the surge of interest in iPads is helping educators imagine the device as more than a library of books Continue reading
Flickr: USAGHumphreys/Toca Boca
By Björn Jeffery and Michael H. Levine
All over the world—from East Asia to South Africa to the Caribbean Basin—ministers of government, captains of industry, and scholars are discussing the best ways to foment innovation. Many experts still regard the United States as a leader in promoting creative uses of capital, technology, and people, with unrivaled access to new ideas and cultures—all prerequisites for innovation. Others point out that open societies value—and foster—creativity.
But can we measure creativity? And if so, what is the best way to promote it right from the start? A new working paper published by the Global Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development OECD for the Centre for Real-World Learning at the University of Winchester in England defines creativity as focused on five core dispositions. Anne Murphy Paul’s Brilliant Blog (one of our favorites) reports that their research finds that a creative mind is Inquisitive: wondering and questioning; Persistent: sticking with difficulty, daring to be different; Imaginative: playing with possibilities, making connections, Collaborative: sharing, giving and receiving feedback; cooperating and Disciplined: developing techniques, reflecting critically.
As experts in media creation for families and young children, we wondered whether there are specific ways to navigate through the sometimes overwhelming deluge of content available to young children in the apps marketplace; we were looking specifically for apps that speak to these five “seeds of creativity.” Stated simply: we think so! The remarkable ongoing appeal of educational media properties like Sesame Street—which has endured over 40 years of market tumult and change and now reaches some 125 million children in 150 countries, and more recently the global phenomenon of apps and games in the market proves that playful, creative products consumed not just by kids alone, but with the adults around them, can be both fun and engaging. Continue reading
For some years now, teachers and parents have noted something about boys and girls. Starting in elementary school, young girls often score better on reading and math tests than young boys do.
The differences are uneven on different tests and do not describe the experience of every child, but empirical studies do document a difference.
Now, two economists are proposing a partial explanation for the disparity that might give some parents heartburn.
Michael Baker at the University of Toronto and Kevin Milligan at the University of British Columbia recently analyzed survey data of parents in three countries — the United States, Canada and Britain. They were especially interested to see how parents say they spend time with their children — and they turned up an intriguing gender difference in what they called “teaching activities.”
Survey data suggests that young girls are more likely to be taken to libraries than are boys, are more likely to own books than are boys, and are more likely to be read to for longer periods of time than boys.
“So, this would be, ‘How often do you read with your child?’ or ‘Do you teach them the alphabet or numbers?’ ” Baker says. “Systematically parents spent more time doing these activities with girls.”
The finding surprised them because, at least in popular lore, parents supposedly spend more time with boys than girls. And Baker says that perception does tend to hold true for older children — fathers tend to spend more time with boys once they are older than age 4 or 5. When children are Continue reading
By Matt Levinson
Kids operate in a blizzard of communication — texts, social media, music, photography, games, and videos. They’re eager to share any and all new media they discover. In fact, their default action is to share and distribute as they’re living the moment.
For the most part, adults take on a more contained, traditional approach to communication, and are more accustomed to face-to-face interaction or talking on the phone than kids.
Schools, meanwhile, serve as the point of intersection for kids and adults, who are often trapped in the cross hairs of different modes and patterns of communication. Frustration invariably surfaces as kids and adults struggle to figure out how to co-exist in schools where technology is being introduced and integrated, especially through the very devices they use for social interaction.
Kids think of mobile devices holistically, in that the device encompasses everything – email, video, photos, games, music, social media – all existing as one system. Their online world is one world.
For teachers, mobile devices in schools are used specifically as tools to enhance learning. In the Continue reading