13 April 2015

Items to Share: 12 April 2015

Education Focus
  • 8 Tips for Arguing about Education | Filling the pail 'Let’s be clear: the point in engaging in a debate about education is not to get someone to admit that they are wrong. Few people have the self-confidence to be able to do this. Minds do change as a result of such discussions but usually over the course of many. It takes time and you’re unlikely to get any credit. Instead, you should be engaging in order to test out your own ideas. Do they stand up to scrutiny? Is there something you can learn? Is there a well-known criticism of your position that you need to take into account? To do this, you need to accept the right of others to challenge you.'
  • Schools and the Mindless Mindset Meritocracy | SurrealAnarchy  'Mindset attracts schools because in a kingdom of the blind the one eyed man would be king. We think: ‘ah our kids can get higher grades if they have a growth mindset; our kids can be ‘kings’ and our school lauded as ‘kingmaker’! But in a kingdom of growth mindset ‘where all schools do it’ all the iniquities and inequalities remain. If I was to practise as much as Usain Bolt I doubt I would ever be as fast as him, even with the same coaching I would not be his equal.'
  • Paulo Freire: Pedagogy of the Oppressed [digitalcounterrevolution.co.uk] 'Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed remains an inspiring work. The banking model of education he set himself against is now being replaced by an online shopping model of education (learning as the active, personal acquisition of disposable stuff you can find online), but what really inspires in Freire’s pedagogy has as much to say about the latter as Freire himself had to say about the former.'
  • A New Kind of Learning — The Synapse — Medium 'The program, part of a new institute in Paris called “Centre de Recherche Interdisciplinaire” (or Center for Research and Interdisciplinarity), has an equally vague sounding name: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Life Sciences. At first, the entire approach seems rather unfocused and a failure waiting to happen. In my 2nd year Master (called an “M2” here, in France), there are students from varying disciplines, not only in Biology, but Mathematics, Physics, and even Design. Last year, there was a student in Philosophy! All of us learn the same things, in the same classes, though it may seem like we don’t learn anything at all, especially considering our various interests and expertise.The trick is thatwe, as students, define what we want to learn. [   ] The curriculum isn’t catered for the students by the teachers, but rather by the students for the students. Of course, there are some guidelines, some limitations, but overall, we teach ourselves what we really want to learn and what we’re really curious about.
  • Should all university lectures automatically be recorded? [theconversation.com]  'Universities across the world are considering whether to start automatically recording lectures. Some students are voting for it. And the IT industry has created some seductive products to record lectures, a process also known as “lecture capture”. Some onlookers expect a hesitant response from the higher education sector, which is often portrayed as cautious about taking up educational technologies. [...] Yet lobbing new resources into complex settings deserves caution. Our universities are rich human ecosystems and, as such, they can prove fragile in the face of interventions. A new technology such as the automatic recording of lectures does not just add something good to the learning context – it re-configures it, but in uncertain ways.'
  • How Assignment Design Shapes Student Learning | Faculty Focus 'every kind of assignment influences the shape of learning. So, what would you say about how you’ve constructed exam experiences in your courses? Are they shaping learning in the ways you want? I once observed an instructor who, on the first day of class, asked students, “Are you worried about what’s going to be on the final?” Heads nodded. “Well, no worries in this course. You’ll find the final attached to the syllabus.” It was a page of essay questions. “You’ll be writing responses to some of those questions on the final and we’ll be dealing with content throughout the course that you can be using in your answers.” Would that approach change the way students take notes throughout the semester? Would it enable instructors to ask a different kind of exam question? Would students prepare for the final differently?'
  • Donald Clark Plan B: Sir Ken Robinson: ‘Creative’ with the truth? 'So often in education, shallow unsubstantiated TED talks replace the real work of researchers and those who take a more rigorous view of evidence. Sir Ken Robinson, is, I suspect, the prime example of this romantic theorising, Sugata Mitra the second. Darlings of the conference circuit, they make millions from talks but do untold damage when it comes to the real word and the education of our children.'
  • Those were the days… | dancing princesses 'Forty years ago I signed up to study an A Level in English Literature at my local FE College. I liked reading, but I wasn’t sure about the ‘Literature’ part, and was looking forward to finding out how it was different from ordinary books. My teacher had a kindly smile and twinkly eyes, and he seemed to know I was keen although I was painfully shy and never dared to ask or answer a question in class. Instead of directing a series of Socratic questions to probe and challenge, he let me be, and he certainly didn’t make me engage in embarrassing group-work or keep switching activities to maintain a brisk pace.'
  • When 140 Characters Isn't Enough: The birth of a zombie statistic [Sam Freedman] 'Last week the "i" newspaper splashed on a startling statistic: "40% of teachers leave within one year". It has since been repeated in the Guardian, Times, Mail, Observer and probably hundreds of other places. [...] The only problem is that it's entirely untrue. 9% of teachers leave in their first year [...] It's been 9 or 10% a year every year for the last 20 years. This isn't particularly interesting; it isn't news; but it is true.
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