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Imperial Designs | The Unforgiving Minute
[via: https://twitter.com/tealtan/status/667000828113260544 ]

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Here’s an example: the Chand Baori Stepwell in Rajasthan, built in the 8th and 9th centuries. (You can watch a video about Chand Baori, and another about stepwells, based on an article by journalist Victoria Lautman.) Stepwells were a critical part of water management, particularly in western India and other dry areas of Asia, the earliest known stepwell forms date from around 600AD. The Mughal empire encouraged stepwell construction, but the administrators British empire decided that stepwells should be replaced with pumped and piped water systems modelled on those developed in the UK – a ‘superior’ system. It was of course also a system that moved from a communal and social model of water management to a centralised model of water management – and the British loved centralised management, because it’s easier to control.

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Here’s another model of water management – the Playpump, which received a lot of media attention and donor support after it was proposed in 2005. The basic idea was that kids playing on the big roundabout would pump water up from the well for the whole village. This doesn’t seem very imperial at first sight: it looks like these kids are having fun, and the village is getting water. Unfortunately it was a massive failure because it flat out didn’t work, although the Playpumps organisation is still around; if you want to know more about that failure, read this article in the Guardian and this lessons learned from the Case Foundation, and listen to this Frontline radio show on PBS. TL;DR: the Playpump didn’t work because it was designed by outsiders who didn’t understand the communities: a classic case of design imperialism. There are lots of examples just like this, where the failure is easy to see but the imperialism is more difficult to spot.

About 5 years ago there was a big hoo-hah about an article called “Is Humanitarian Design the New Imperialism?” by Bruce Nussbaum. Nussbaum accused people and organisations working on design that would alleviate poverty as yet another imperial effort. This depends on defining “empire” as a power relationship – an unequal power relationship, where the centre holds the power (and resources) and the periphery will benefit from those resources only when the centre decides to give it to them. At the time, there was a lot of discussion around this idea, but that discussion has died now. That’s not because it’s no longer an issue: it’s because a new imperial model, more subtle than Nussbaum’s idea, has successfully taken root, and few people in the design world even realise it."



"Q&A:

During the talk I mentioned that I was planning to show video of robot dogs, but I didn’t because they freak me out. They don’t really freak me out – I think they’re astonishing feats of technology – but what they say about our attitudes towards warfare worries me. They’re being built by Boston Dynamics, who started out under military contracts from DARPA, have recently been acquired by Google X, and who post a ton of promo videos. Particularly funny is this supercut video of robots falling over.

One question raised the issue of whether our education system enables people to recognise the trap that they might be in, and give them the tools to make their own way. The short answer is no. The industrial model of education is not equipped for the 21st century, although I remain hopeful that the internet will also disrupt education as it has other sectors. At the same time I am sceptical of the impact of the most-hyped projects (such as the Khan Academy and the wide range of MOOCs) – it seems to me that we need something that learns from a wider range of educational approaches.

We also discussed whether there is an underlying philosophy to the invisible empire of the internet. I believe that there is, although it isn’t necessarily made explicit. One early artefact of this philosophy is A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace; one early analysis of aspects of it is The Californian Ideology. Evgeny Morozov is interesting on this topic, but with a pinch of salt, since in a relatively short time he has gone from incisive commentator to intellectual troll. It’s interesting that a few Silicon Valley big beasts are trained in philosophy, although to be honest this training doesn’t seem to be reflected in their actual philosophy."

[See also: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2009/nov/24/africa-charity-water-pumps-roundabouts
via: https://twitter.com/tealtan/status/667031543416623105 ]
designimperialism  design  via:tealtan  humanitariandesign  2015  africa  paulcurrion  control  colonialism  technology  technosolutionism  evgenymorozov  siliconvalley  philosophy  politics  mooc  moocs  doublebind  education  bostondynamics  googlex  darpa  robots  yuvalnoahharari  californianideology  wikihouse  globalconstructionset  3dprinting  disobedientobjects  anarchism  anarchy  legibility  internet  online  web  nezaralsayyad  smarthphones  mobile  phones  benedictevans  migration  refugees  fiveeyes  playpumps  water  chandbaori  trevorpaglen 
november 2015 by robertogreco
How MOOCs Could Reform Education Completely by Accident - The Atlantic
"Even so, it may not be time to write them off. An unexplained phenomenon in early MOOC data, now illuminated by another recent study (this one from Harvard and MIT), could help the courses live up to the education-reform hype after all—but with a somewhat ironic twist. Perhaps one of the overlooked values in MOOCs is not in sharing Ivy League wisdom with the masses, but in teaching educators—and, in turn, improving traditional K-12 schools.

From the outset, analyses of MOOC students showed that enrollees were already overwhelmingly educated. According to various MOOC enrollment data, including that contained in the UPenn study, a majority of those registering for the free classes (between 70 and 80 percent) already had college degrees. That’s about double the rate of the U.S. population at large. And in other parts of the world—where free online college classes were envisioned as tools of social mobility—the portion of already-educated students was even more dramatic. Last year, a piece of commentary that ran in The Times cited a study showing that in countries such as Brazil, China, India, Russia, and South Africa—where just 5 percent of residents have college degrees—more than 80 percent of MOOC students had one.

Although there wasn’t a lot of hard research to support it, many analysts pegged the high percentage of already-degreed students in MOOCs to an interest in freshening up job skills. Meanwhile, some MOOC backers attributed the lack of degree-seekers in the free courses to limited broadband access among lower-income populations.

Then, earlier this year, Harvard and MIT released what’s ostensibly the largest study to date of MOOCs and their participants. The joint study examined 68 courses offered by the two institutions though the edX platform, covering 1.7 million participants and more than 1.1 billion “events”—what the study defines as each participant “click” recorded in the edX servers. The report not only confirmed that MOOC students tend to be college-educated, but it also demonstrated that a striking percentage of those students are educators themselves. “What jumped out for me was that ... as many as 39 percent of our learners [in MOOCs overall] are teachers,” said Isaac Chuang, one of the study’s lead researchers. In some of Harvard’s MOOCs, half the students were teachers. And in “Leaders of Learning”—a course out of its Graduate School of Education—a whopping two-thirds of participants identified as such.

This makes sense. Teachers devote their lives to the arts and sciences of sharing information and imparting skills. That they would voluntarily participate in an online-learning experience focusing on a field they already know isn’t that surprising; as practitioners of education, teachers may also have an interest in the processes and applications of MOOCs, studying how questions, assignments, and tests are handled in online teaching environments, for example. Nor is it surprising that teachers are interested in pedagogy—watching and learning how an applauded instructor delivers a lesson. Educators may want to see how an esteemed Harvard professor, for instance, teaches topics they cover in their own classrooms. Or they may want to appropriate the learning resources used in the MOOCs.

And if teachers are flocking to MOOCs to observe their more-accomplished colleagues or pick up new ideas to apply in their own classrooms, this trend could accelerate a needed renaissance in professional development for teachers.

Nationally, professional development—the process of keeping teachers up to date on subjects and teaching methods—is a costly and (arguably) futile endeavor. Every state requires some form of ongoing education for teachers; the U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, has said the United States spends about $2.5 billion on it every year. “But when I say that to teachers they usually laugh or cry,” Duncan said. “They are not feeling it. We have to do better with professional-development money.”

And that’s probably an understatement: Teachers don’t seem to be “feeling” professional development at all. According to a 2009 study from the Center for Public Education, when asked about their experience in professional development, most of the teachers surveyed “reported that it was totally useless.”

In general, with the exception of moving from chalkboards to PowerPoints, professional-development programs for teachers over the generations have hardly changed. The programs seldom involve more than presentations and narrations on new classroom tactics or standards—even though research has shown that those teaching methods aren’t the most effective."



"Given their high rates of voluntary MOOC participation, according to the Harvard/MIT study’s authors, teachers may have discovered these benefits on their own, turning to the free courses to fill in for what traditional professional-development programs are lacking. “There is an opportunity to make the ‘secondary’ use of online course resources by teachers a primary goal,” the researchers wrote.

If MOOCs take advantage of that opportunity, and if the teaching practice improves as a result, these massive open online courses may help improve education worldwide after all. And that wouldn’t necessarily be by exposing eager minds to free higher education, as advocates once hoped, but by enhancing learning at traditional, brick-and-mortar public schools.

And the results could be powerful. More than 6,100 of the participants featured in the Harvard/MIT study were teachers who took MOOCs in subjects they already taught. That’s roughly the number of public-school teachers in San Diego. In a way, then, perhaps Friedman was inadvertently right: It’s hard to imagine many things with “more potential to lift more people out of poverty” and “unlock a billion more brains to solve the world’s biggest problems.” Perhaps that potential, however, lies in their ability to improve the quality of the country’s public-education system."
via:audreywatters  mooc  moocs  professionaldevelopment  education  pedagogy  teaching  learning  online 
june 2015 by robertogreco
The Course Hath No Bottom: the 20,000-Person Seminar
"A few years ago, Sean Michael Morris and I wrote, “Meaningful relationships are as important in a class of three as they are in a class of 10,000.” In the rest of that article, we wonder at questions of scale: how to scale up, when to scale down, and what it might mean to scale sideways. My question here: is it possible to scale up and down simultaneously — to create more and more intimate learning experiences for larger and larger groups of learners?

I’m currently co-teaching Shakespeare in Community, a Massive Open Online Course from University of Wisconsin-Madison. The goal of the course is to bring thousands of learners into conversation. While I’ve taught MOOCs since 2012 on several platforms, this is the first time I’ve developed a Coursera MOOC. Coursera is a platform well-oiled for content-delivery. In fact, when I sat down with Daphne Koller, the founder and president of Coursera, she used the word “content” several dozen times. I asked about “conversation”, “dialogue”, and “community”. Her responses showed that these are, for Coursera, an afterthought. And after playing around inside the guts of the tool, it remains clear to me that these are, indeed, an afterthought. All the proof I need is that it’s about ten times easier to upload a video, and track the watching of that video, than it is to administer the discussion forum. But Coursera does content-delivery incredibly well. My content feels stroked and adored by the platform. It feels genuinely loved. As learning management systems go, I am happy to go on record saying that Coursera is one of the best.

However, I remain certain that learning is not something that ought to be managed. The better we become at managing learning, the more damage we do to learning. This is the cruel irony of the learning management system. The better designed it is for doing its core function, the worse off the learning that happens inside of it. As a technology, the learning management system is genuinely Orwellian. I like best the learning management system when it is still a baby, before it has fully grown up, before it has earned its stripes. But every learning management system is almost immediately on its way toward extinction. They die quick deaths at the point they forget that learning is an encounter, not a spreadsheet. The gradebook, and the demands it places on every single other feature, ultimately kills the learning management system. (Thus, I wouldn’t blame the technological systems so much as I’d blame the institutional and political climates that drive them.)

If we are to use these systems, we need to carve out more space in them for nuance — fashioning simpler platforms that serve as launching pads to places outside their own orbit (both physical and virtual). And every course inside a learning management system should ask students to reflect on the “rhetoric of the room” — the ways the shape of the room affects the learning we do inside of it. We either critically interrogate our tools or are subject to them. There is no middle ground between these two."
coursera  mooc  moocs  2015  jessestommel  management  learning  howwelearn  howweteach  teaching  lms  technology  edtech  conversation  contentdelivery  relationships  pedagogy 
may 2015 by robertogreco
The Invented History of 'The Factory Model of Education'
[Follow-up notes here: http://www.aud.life/2015/notes-on-the-invented-history-of-the-factory-model-of ]

"Sal Khan is hardly the only one who tells a story of “the factory of model of education” that posits the United States adopted Prussia’s school system in order to create a compliant populace. It’s a story cited by homeschoolers and by libertarians. It’s a story told by John Taylor Gatto in his 2009 book Weapons of Mass Instruction. It’s a story echoed by The New York Times’ David Brooks. Here he is in 2012: “The American education model…was actually copied from the 18th-century Prussian model designed to create docile subjects and factory workers.”

For what it’s worth, Prussia was not highly industrialized when Frederick the Great formalized its education system in the late 1700s. (Very few places in the world were back then.) Training future factory workers, docile or not, was not really the point.

Nevertheless industrialization is often touted as both the model and the rationale for the public education system past and present. And by extension, it’s part of a narrative that now contends that schools are no longer equipped to address the needs of a post-industrial world."



"Despite these accounts offered by Toffler, Brooks, Khan, Gatto, and others, the history of schools doesn’t map so neatly onto the history of factories (and visa versa). As education historian Sherman Dorn has argued, “it makes no sense to talk about either ‘the industrial era’ or the development of public school systems as a single, coherent phase of national history.”"



"As Dorn notes, phrases like “the industrial model of education,” “the factory model of education,” and “the Prussian model of education” are used as a “rhetorical foil” in order make a particular political point – not so much to explain the history of education, as to try to shape its future."



"Many education reformers today denounce the “factory model of education” with an appeal to new machinery and new practices that will supposedly modernize the system. That argument is now and has been for a century the rationale for education technology. As Sidney Pressey, one of the inventors of the earliest “teaching machines” wrote in 1932 predicting "The Coming Industrial Revolution in Education,"
Education is the one major activity in this country which is still in a crude handicraft stage. But the economic depression may here work beneficially, in that it may force the consideration of efficiency and the need for laborsaving devices in education. Education is a large-scale industry; it should use quantity production methods. This does not mean, in any unfortunate sense, the mechanization of education. It does mean freeing the teacher from the drudgeries of her work so that she may do more real teaching, giving the pupil more adequate guidance in his learning. There may well be an “industrial revolution” in education. The ultimate results should be highly beneficial. Perhaps only by such means can universal education be made effective.

Pressey, much like Sal Khan and other education technologists today, believed that teaching machines could personalize and “revolutionize” education by allowing students to move at their own pace through the curriculum. The automation of the menial tasks of instruction would enable education to scale, Pressey – presaging MOOC proponents – asserted.

We tend to not see automation today as mechanization as much as algorithmization – the promise and potential in artificial intelligence and virtualization, as if this magically makes these new systems of standardization and control lighter and liberatory.

And so too we’ve invented a history of “the factory model of education” in order to justify an “upgrade” – to new software and hardware that will do much of the same thing schools have done for generations now, just (supposedly) more efficiently, with control moved out of the hands of labor (teachers) and into the hands of a new class of engineers, out of the realm of the government and into the realm of the market."
factoryschools  education  history  2015  audreywatters  edtech  edreform  mechanization  automation  algorithms  personalization  labor  teaching  howweteach  howwelearn  mooc  moocs  salkhan  sidneypressey  1932  prussia  horacemann  lancastersystem  frederickjohngladman  mikecaulfield  jamescordiner  prussianmodel  frederickengels  shermandorn  alvintoffler  johntaylorgatto  davidbrooksm  monitorialsystem  khanacademy  stevedenning  rickhess  us  policy  change  urgency  futureshock  1970  bellsystem  madrassystem  davidstow  victorcousin  salmankhan 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Audrey Watters Casts a Skeptical Eye on Tech Boosters - The Digital Campus - The Chronicle of Higher Education
"Audrey Watters describes herself as a Cassandra of educational technology, but the comparison is only partially apt.

Like the Greek prophet, Ms. Watters tells people things they often don’t want to hear. Unlike Cassandra, though, her clear-eyed analyses do find an audience. Her Twitter feed has more than 28,000 followers. Her blog, weekly newsletter, and year-end roundups of top tech trends are must-reads for many in higher education and the tech world. She’s in demand as a conference speaker. (She recently published a collection, Monsters of Education Technology, which features 14 of the talks she gave in 2014.)

A self-employed writer, Ms. Watters, 43, speaks with an independent voice. She doesn’t run ads on her site or take money from sponsors. Beholden to no institutions or companies, she’s free to critique them. She supports herself through her writing and speaking and through donations that readers make to her blog, Hack Education.

Animating her work is a conviction that technology needs to be not just used but questioned, its power structures and exclusions challenged, its makers’ narratives not taken for granted. She explained why this matters in a recent talk, "Men (Still) Explain Technology to Me," also posted as an essay on her blog. It’s a tech-infused riff on the phenomenon of "mansplaining" identified by the writer Rebecca Solnit. But Ms. Watters looks beyond gender to explain why the trend is a serious social problem.

"The problem isn’t just that men explain technology to me," she says in the essay. "It isn’t just that a handful of men explain technology to the rest of us. It’s that this explanation tends to foreclose questions we might have about the shape of things."

That matters, she says, "because the tech sector has an increasingly powerful reach in how we live and work and communicate and learn."

Speaking your mind about the powerful, male-dominated tech world can come at a cost, especially if you’re a female commentator. Ms. Watters is no stranger to online harassment. "It’s an issue that’s magnified by the architecture of the technology we use," she says, with platforms like Twitter making it too easy for harassers to do what they do. "It’s been really difficult, and it’s made me rethink a lot of the things about how I work online." She blocks offenders, uses online-security strategies, and calls for anti-harassment policies at conferences and elsewhere. She pushes on.

Ms. Watters brings a rare and necessary skepticism to the omnipresent innovation-and-disruption boosterism that plagues ed tech, says Jim Groom. He’s director of the division of teaching-and-learning technologies at the University of Mary Washington. He calls Ms. Watters "the cultural critic that ed tech has needed for a decade."

"She’s doing a lot of the hard work that a lot of the people in ed tech haven’t," Mr. Groom says. "It’s hard to go up against MOOCs and Silicon Valley."

MOOCs loomed large in Ms. Watters’s 2012 overview of tech trends, which featured a "forgotten history" of the phenomenon’s origins and questioned what kind of future MOOCs would really deliver: "With MOOCs, power might shift to the learner; it’s just as likely that power shifts to the venture capitalists."

Now, in 2015, even as MOOC fever has cooled, she remains skeptical. "Part of the crisis of higher education is that we’ve followed this story that innovation has to come from the private sector," she says. "MOOCs are a great example of that — so much ink spilled over something that’s really not that exciting at all."

Her own eclectic schooling shaped her thinking about education, Ms. Watters says. The child of an American father and an English mother, she went to public school in Wyoming and spent two years in an English boarding school. "It radicalized me in all kinds of ways," she says. "It was very clear to some people there who belonged and who didn’t belong and who had status."

She went to the Johns Hopkins University, dropped out, followed the Grateful Dead, moved home with a child in tow, took traditional and distance-ed courses to earn a B.A. from the University of Wyoming, married an artist, and moved to Oregon in the mid-90s. A job at the University of Oregon led her to graduate school there; she earned a master’s degree in folklore and was working on a dissertation in comparative literature when her husband died of cancer. The lack of support she and her family received from the campus community, she says, along with her sense that higher education in general was mired in bureaucracy and politics, contributed to her decision to quit graduate school.

Ms. Watters, who considers herself a recovering academic, brings the intellectual rigor of a highly trained cultural critic to her work now. She’s completing a book project called "Teaching Machines," a history of learning technologies and a corrective to the ahistorical narrative that now prevails. (The title comes from B.F. Skinner’s attempts, in the 1950s, to create a system of machine-enabled, programmed-learning classrooms.)

"It’s partially a response to what I feel is a dominant ideology out of Silicon Valley — that the past is irrelevant, somehow decadent and useless and needs to be swept aside, and the future is all that matters," she says. "I’ve been struck by how many people in ed tech speak as though the day they decided to do a start-up was the day ed tech began."

Another book project, "Reclaim Your Domain," focuses on more of Ms. Watters’s urgent concerns: data privacy and users’ control (or lack thereof) over the content they create, whether they’re students enrolled in a class, faculty members teaching and publishing online, or tech-using members of the general public.

Tech boosters argue that data collection can deliver a better learning experience as well as deter terrorism and solve health-care problems.

But Ms. Watters points out that too often users don’t know what’s at risk or aren’t given a choice about whether to share their data. For instance, universities need to make sure they’re not signing away the intellectual property of students and faculty members who use a learning-management system, she says. And what happens to users’ data when a start-up folds or gets bought?

"There are lots of places where the battle has to be fought," Ms. Watters says. "The stakes feel pretty high to me right now.""
audreywatters  2015  awesomepeople  edtech  technology  education  policy  independence  independents  criticism  criticalthinking  cassandras  truth  honesty  journalism  power  mansplaining  society  jimgroom  skepticism  mooc  moocs  radicals  culturalcriticism  siliconvalley  technosolutionism 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Ed-Tech's Inequalities
"“Education is the civil rights issue of our time,” you’ll often hear politicians and education reform types say.



"To the contrary, I maintain that civil rights remain the civil rights issue of our generation. When we see, for example, the Supreme Court overturn part of the Voting Rights Act, when we see rampant police violence against marginalized groups, when we see backlash against affirmative action and against Title IX protections, when we see pervasive discrimination – institutionalized – in people’s daily lives, when we see widespread inequalities – socioeconomic stratification based on race, ethnicity, gender, geography – we need to admit: there are things that, as Tressie McMillan Cottom has argued, the “education gospel cannot fix.”

And yet the dominant narrative – the gospel, if you will – about education and, increasingly education technology, is that it absolutely is “the fix.”

Education technology will close the achievement gap; education technology will close the opportunity gap. Education technology will revolutionize; education technology will democratize. Or so we are told. That's the big message at this week's ASU-GSV Summit, where education technology investors and entrepreneurs and politicians have gathered (registration: $2995) to talk about "equity." (Equity and civil rights, that is; not equity as investing in exchange for stock options and a seat on the Board of Directors, I should be clear. Although I'm guessing most of the conversations there were actually about the latter.)



"The rhetoric of “open” and education technology – particularly with regards to MOOCs and OER – needs to be interrogated. “Open access” is not sufficient. Indeed, as research by Justin Reich suggests – he’s also one of the authors of the MOOC study I just cited, incidentally – open educational resources might actually expand educational inequalities. A digital Matthew effect, if you will, where new technologies actually extend the advantages of the already advantaged.

In his research on OER, Reich looked at schools’ uses of wikis – some 180,000 wikis – and measured the opportunities that these provide students “to develop 21st-century skills such as expert thinking, complex communication, and new media literacy.” Among the findings: “Wikis created in schools serving low-income students have fewer opportunities for 21st-century skill development and shorter lifetimes than wikis from schools serving affluent students.” Reich found that students in more affluent schools were more likely to use wikis to collaborate and to build portfolios and presentations to showcase their work, for example.

Reich’s assertion that education technology broadens rather than erases educational inequality is echoed elsewhere. An article published last year in the journal Economic Inquiry, for example, found that “the introduction of home computer technology is associated with modest, but statistically significant and persistent negative impacts on student math and reading test scores.” Importantly, the negative impact was the greatest among low income students, in part the authors suggested because “student computer use is more effectively monitored and channeled toward productive ends in more affluent homes.” That is, students from affluent homes have a different sort of digital literacy and different expectations – themselves and from their parents – about what a computer is for."



"Anyon’s work is critical as it highlights how students’ relationship to “the system of ownership of symbolic and physical capital, to authority and control, and to their own productive activity” are developed differently in working class, middle class, and elite schools. Her work helps us to see too how the traditional practices of school might be reinforced, re-inscribed by technology – not, as some like to argue, magically disrupted, with these hierarchies magically flattened. Menial tasks are still menial if done on a computer. To argue otherwise is ed-tech solutionism – dangerous and wrong.

That’s not to say that education technology changes nothing, or changes little more than moving the analog to the digital. There are profoundly important questions we must ask about the shifts that education technology might bring about, particularly if we have our eye towards justice. How does education technology alter the notion of “work” in school, for example – students’ labor as well as teachers’ labor? Who owns all the content and data that students create when using educational technology? How do technology companies use this data to build their algorithms; how do they use it to build profiles and models? How do they use it to monitor, assess, predict, surveil? Who is surveilled; and who is more apt to be disciplined for what’s uncovered?

If we’re only concerned about the digital divide, we are likely to overlook these questions. We cannot simply ask “Who has access to Internet-connected devices at home?” We need to ask how Internet-connected devices are used – at home and at school?"



"This surveillance is increasingly pervasive, at both the K–12 and at the college level. New education technologies create more data; new education technology regimes – education policy regimes – demand more data."



"The architecture of education technology is not neutral.

Despite all the hype and hope about revolution and access and opportunity that these new technologies are supposed to provide us, they do not negate hierarchy, history, privilege, power. They reflect those. They channel it. They concentrate it, in new ways and in old."



"Education technology simply does not confront systemic inequalities. Or rather, it often substitutes access to a computing device or high speed Internet for institutional or structural change. Education technology routinely fails to address power or privilege. It fails to recognize, let alone examine, its history. It insists instead on stories about meritocracy and magic and claims about “blindness.”

I want to end here on what is a bit of a tangent, I suppose, about blindness – the things in technology we refuse to see.

This is a picture from Baotou in Inner Mongolia. Tim Maughan published a story last week on the BBC website about this artificial lake “filled with a black, barely-liquid, toxic sludge” – the toxic result of mining rare earth minerals, used in our modern computing devices, many of which are assembled – at least in part – in China.

That means this toxic lake is a byproduct of education technology. It grows as our fervor for new devices grows. Can we really say we’re architecting an equitable educational future if we ignore this foundation?

This is the great challenge for those of us in education: to address and not dismiss the toxicity. Adding technology does not scrub it away. To the contrary, we need to recognize where and how and why education technology actually makes things worse."
audreywatters  education  edtech  2015  technology  inequality  equity  mooc  moocs  anantagarwal  edx  dabanks  meritocracy  privilege  siliconvalley  technosolutionism  evgenymorozov  suveillance  natashasinger  pearson  aclu  eff  rocketshipschools  seymourpapert  carpediemschools  arneduncan  civilrights  justinreich  jeananyon  solutionism  charterschools 
april 2015 by robertogreco
A MOOC is not a Thing: Emergence, Disruption, and Higher Education - Hybrid Pedagogy
[Note: this is a link-rich post, none of which are noted here.]

"A MOOC is not a thing. A MOOC is a strategy. What we say about MOOCs cannot possibly contain their drama, banality, incessance, and proliferation. The MOOC is a variant beast — placental, emergent, alienating, enveloping, sometimes thriving, sometimes dead, sometimes reborn.

There is nothing about a MOOC that can be contained. Try as they might, MOOC-makers like Coursera, EdX, and Udacity cannot keep their MOOCs to themselves, because when we join a MOOC, it is not to learn new content, new skills, new knowledge, it is to learn new learning. Entering a MOOC is entering Wonderland — where modes of learning are turned sideways and on their heads — and we walk away MOOCified.

“There is a relational aspect to learning.” There’s an invisible network (or potential network) underneath every learning community. The best MOOCs make the networks patent. The worst MOOCs are neutered, lost objects that float unabsolved in the ether as capital “L” Learning, abstract and decontextualized.

MOOCification: to harness (in an instant) the power of a nodal network for learning. Rather than creating a course to structure a network, MOOCification relies on nodes to power a learning activity (or assignment). MOOCification also refers to a pedagogical approach inspired by MOOCs that is unleashed in an otherwise closed or small-format course.

Chris Friend writes, in “Learning as Performance: MOOC Pedagogy and On-ground Classes”, “The promise of MOOCs lies not in what the format lets us do, but in what the format lets us question: Where does learning happen? What are the requirements of effective collaboration? How can assessment become more authentic? How much structure and direction are best in a classroom?” These questions stir and circle back upon themselves in endless repetition as we and everyone grapples with what the MOOC is and what it does. These are important questions, exactly the right ones at exactly the right time; but there’s a deeper one that underlies our conversation. The question that needs tending to now, as the furor around MOOCs builds to a roar.

Are organized attempts to harness learning always and necessarily frustrated? Does learning happen modally at all? Is learning the demesne of any institution, organization, or formal community; or does it happen regardless of these, unmonitored, unfettered, uncontrolled, and does the rise of the MOOC point to this? Have we created MOOCs, or have we just discovered them, emerging from their cave, where they’ve always lived? Is it, as Roger Whitson writes, that “there is nothing outside the MOOC”? Without threatening to spin into intellectual nihilism (or relativism), we need to worry for the entire enterprise of education, to be unnerved in order to uncover what’s going on now. And not now this year. But now exactly this moment. Because just this second something is awry.
True stability results when presumed order and presumed disorder are balanced. A truly stable system expects the unexpected, is prepared to be disrupted, waits to be transformed. ~ Tom Robbins

Pete Rorabaugh writes, “The analysis, remixing, and socially engaged construction of personally relevant knowledge — often happens when the institutional framework is disrupted, diverted, or left in the dust.” Many hackles are rightly raised by the ubiquity of this word “disruption”, and its implications for the business of higher education; but the best MOOCs do not deal in the bourgeois concept of disruption, they deal in a very real rupture that is confusing to us all. Something convulsive. A monstrous birth.

The MOOC is a dialectic. It invites us in with a curled finger, as sinister as it is salient.

Learning isn’t (and has never really been) in the hands of academics, administrators, institutions, corporations, Forbes magazine, the Chronicle of Higher Education. It’s in the hands of Rosemary Sewart, and people like her. The ones who come fully alive to learning without being told when and where it’s going to happen, without being placed obediently on a board like a pawn. The ones who throw wide the classroom doors, who hack schooling, or learn by reflecting on the flurry of input in their everyday lives; as Rosemary says, “learning … where life happens.”
We are all schoolmasters, and our schoolhouse is the universe. To attend chiefly to the desk or schoolhouse while we neglect the scenery in which it is placed is absurd. If we do not look out we shall find our fine schoolhouse standing in a cow-yard at last. ~ Henry David Thoreau

While we’ve all focused our consternation on how MOOCs may take down the walls of the university, or how they may represent the MOOCDonalds of higher ed., we are missing the most important, and most frightening, potential of MOOCs. They force us to reconsider the very fabric of how we think about learning — its occurrence, emergence, habitat, and administration.

From August 12th to August 18th, 2012, Hybrid Pedagogy ran MOOC MOOC, a now infamous mini-MOOC, meta-MOOC, MOOC about MOOCs that garnered not only a good bit of attention for its efforts, but also built a lasting community that remains curious about emerging ideas of MOOCification, the place of mini- and micro-MOOCs, and the implementation of open learning environments in traditional higher ed. classrooms. As well, MOOC MOOC set a precedent for MOOCish conversations about MOOCs, and spurred us to think deeply about where online education is headed.

It would be easy to contend, at this early stage in their evolution, that every MOOC has been a MOOC about MOOCs — that every MOOC is a meta-MOOC, a MOOC MOOC. The early connectivist MOOCs pioneered by folks like George Siemens and Stephen Downes were, whether explicitly or implicitly, exploring the form, the pedagogy, and the process of MOOCs.

At the same time, we were unaware of anyone who had done a MOOC unflinchingly trained on the MOOC phenomenon. A MOOC that explored unhesitatingly — even a bit recklessly — the potential, pitfalls, drawbacks, and advantages of this approach to teaching and learning. MOOC MOOC aimed to expose all of us to the grand experiment of MOOCs by having us participate directly in that grand experiment, albeit in a concentrated, one-week format. (And there was mighty participation. Andrew Staroscik created this interactive graph of tweet volume on the #moocmooc hashtag.) Rather than a knee-jerk critical reaction to the march of the MOOCs, we encouraged participants to inhabit the MOOC, exploring its pedagogical potential as an exercise in discernment but not judgment.

For one week beginning January 6, 2013, MOOC MOOC will return for a continued examination of the MOOC phenomenon, now grown well beyond a rising surge into a more perfect storm. This new iteration, which we’re fondly (and absurdly) calling MOOC MOOC [squared], will inspect not only the broadened landscape of MOOCs (including Coursera’s swelling presence and for-credit bid, Udacity’s flash mob-style on-ground gatherings, and the rise of LMS-based MOOCs like Instructure’s Canvas.net), but also will turn the lens on itself, repurposing and remixing the original course and the conversations and artifacts that arose from within the course. MOOC MOOC will be housed once more within the Canvas LMS, fueled by the ongoing discussions of the MOOC MOOC community.

There is no good or evil inherent in a MOOC, only in what it will or will not unleash. We must stop thinking of education as requiring stringent modes and constructs, and embrace it as invention, metamorphosis, deformation, and reinvention. This is the territory of the inventor always, the territory of the pugnacious and irreverent. Learning in MOOCs should be cohesive, not divided, and it must happen multi-nodally. The parsing of learning that formal education has always relied on will give way to something, if not holistic, then simultaneous, distributed, alive in more than one place at a time. If the best MOOCs show us that learning is networked, and that it has always been, then learning is more rampant than we’ve accounted for."
mooc  moocs  seanmichaelmorris  jessestommel  2012  education  highered  pedagogy  highereducation  dialectics  learning  howwelearn  teaching  howweteach  udacity  coursera  canvas.net  chrisfriend  edx  moocification  networkedlearning  networks  rogerwhitson  tomrobbins  thoreau  rosemarystewart  hybridpedagogy  georgesiemens  stephendownes  connectivism 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Why We Shouldn't Celebrate Udacity's "Pivot"
"And whether you see today’s Fast Company article as indication of a “pivot” or not, I think it’s a mistake to cheer this moment as Udacity’s admission of failure and as an indication that it intends to move away from university disruption. The startup is, after all, still in partnership with Georgia Tech and AT&T to offer a computer science Master’s Degree. The startup is still working with San Jose State University. And most importantly, Thrun himself is still the name most associated with the MOOCification of higher ed.

And me, I have still more cause for concern, as I am not willing to shrug off lousy educational practices simply because they occur outside the walls of formal education. Many professors have been quite vigilant about criticizing MOOCs foray into higher ed; I think it’s just as important to keep that up if MOOCs want to conquer vocational ed instead. If MOOCs – short videos, multiples choice quizzes, and robo-graders – offer bad pedagogy, then that means they offer bad pedagogy for everyone, everywhere. To ignore bad pedagogy simply because it occurs in settings outside the humanities or outside the college curriculum is elitist and wrong.

Thrun argues in the Fast Company article that Udacity never sought to replace “anything as rich and powerful as what a traditional liberal-arts education would offer you.” (I think that’s what Coursera purports to do.) But I’m curious, for starters, why we wouldn’t want software engineers to have that background. What’s missing from CS curriculum today? Is it simply a matter of content – lessons in Hadoop, for example? I once asked Thrun’s co-founder David Stavens, incidentally, if Udacity planned to offer classes in communication or project management or documentation – three things I think a lot of engineers suck at. The answer was no, making me wonder what sort of career the Udacity classes were actually going to prepare folks for.

This is why the Udacity’s failures at San Jose State are so revealing. San Jose State is, after all, one of the most ethnically diverse campuses in the US. SJSU is near Silicon Valley but decidedly not Stanford, not Berkeley. But we learn, via the Fast Company article, that the SJSU students aren’t the right students for this grand MOOC experiment: “For Thrun, who had been wrestling over who Udacity’s ideal students should be, the results were not a failure; they were clarifying. ‘We were initially torn between collaborating with universities and working outside the world of college,’ Thrun tells me. The San Jose State pilot offered the answer. ‘These were students from difficult neighborhoods, without good access to computers, and with all kinds of challenges in their lives,’ he says. ‘It’s a group for which this medium is not a good fit.’”

Who is the “ideal student” and what is his (I’ll go with the male possessive pronoun here) relationship to a “rich liberal arts education”? What is his relationship to online education? Is it simply that the ideal student is not from the working class or minority population who requires the math remediation classes that Udacity offered via San Jose State? Or is the ideal students not to be found among the working class or minority students who do not require remediation? Seriously, why walk away from this student population? Do Udacity’s “ideal students” already have CS degrees? Are they looking for a career path at a specific corporation? Are they seeking some sort of certification to make them more hirable (there and there alone)? Are these “ideal students” women? Are these ideal students minorities? Are these ideal students US residents? Who defines "ideal"? The companies who now pay for Udacity's job pipeline?

There are plenty of complaints – why, a whole STEM shortage narrative – about our current education system’s failure to train enough people to fill the “jobs of the future.” But what exactly are these jobs? Are they the six-figure ones – the salary for entry level programming jobs in Silicon Valley? Or are we actually taking about lower-paying technical jobs – “spec work” – outsourced elsewhere, outsourced to “others”?

As Mike Caulfield notes in his take on the Fast Company article, Udacity’s move may simply re-inscribe an education pipeline that filters out rather than opening access and supporting more people. We need more students in computer science, so the story goes. But I think we have an obligation to do so with social justice and not mere hagiography in mind.

“At the end of the day, the true value proposition of education is employment,” says Thrun in an incredibly revealing statement. In other words, the purpose of education is to have a job not to make one. To be a worker, not a manager and not an entrepreneur. Let's be honest. This is not the value proposition of Stanford.

So yeah, perhaps it’s easy for many in higher education to shrug and sigh with relief that Thrun has decided to set his sights elsewhere. But if we care about learning – if we care about learners – I think we need to maintain our fierce critiques about MOOCs. Who is the target audience? Who is the “ideal student”? Why is crappy pedagogy okay for “them”? Who owns these students’ data? After all, there are no FERPA protections if you aren’t taking federal dollars. In this framework, it’s all for sale.

And while I’m not a religious person, I have to insist that this is not how I’d pick a godfather -- a moral compass -- for future generations of learners. Thrun is not my idea of an education saint. This whole MOOC thing simply isn't my idea of salvation."
autrey  audreywatters  mooc  moocs  udacity  education  highered  higheredu  2013  sebastianthrun  sjsu  experiments 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Press Play — Press Play: Making and distributing content in the present future we are living through. — Medium
"This thing of ours:

This course, Press Play, aspires to be a place where you make things. Good things. Smart things. Cool things. And then share those things with other people. The idea of Press Play is that after we make things we are happy with, that we push a button and unleash it on the world. Much of it will be text, but if you want to make magic with a camera, your phone, or with a digital recorder, knock yourself out. But it will all be displayed and edited on Medium because there will be a strong emphasis on working with others in this course, and Medium is collaborative.

While writing, shooting, and editing are often solitary activities, great work emerges in the spaces between people. We will be working in groups with peer and teacher edits. There will be a number of smaller assignments, but the goal is that you will leave here with a single piece of work that reflects your capabilities as a maker of media.But remember, evaluations will be based not just on your efforts, but on your ability to bring excellence out of the people around you. Medium has a remarkable “notes” function where the reader/editor can highlight a specific word, phrase or paragraph and comment, suggest a tweak or give an attaboy. This is counter-intuitive, but you will be judged as much by what you put in the margins of others work as you are for your own. (You should sign on to Medium as soon as you can. You can log in with Facebook or Twitter credentials. Pithy instructions on writing and collaborating on Medium: here, here, here, and, yes, here.)To begin with, we will look at the current media ecosystem: how content is conceived, made, made better, distributed, and paid for. We will discuss finding a story, research and reporting, content management systems, voice, multimedia packaging, along with distribution and marketing of work. If that sounds ambitious, keep in mind that in addition to picking this professor and grad assistant, we picked you. We already know you are smart, and we just want you to demonstrate that on the (web) page.

What we‘ll create:

Together, we will make a collection of stories on Medium around a specific organizing principle — it could be a genre, topic, reading time, or event — which we’ll decide on in collaboration as well. And once we get stories up and running, we will work on ways of getting them out there into the bloodstream of the web.

In order to have a chance of making great work, you have to consume remarkable work. Fair warning: There will be a lot of weekly reading assignments. I’m not sliming you with a bunch of textbooks, so please know I am dead serious about these readings. Skip or skim at your peril.

I will be bringing in a number of guest speakers. They will be talented, accomplished people giving their own time. Please respond with your fullest attention.

So, to summarize: We will make things — in class, in groups, by our lonely selves — we will work to make those things better, and, if we are lucky, we will figure out how to beckon the lightning of excellence along the way."
davidcarr  2014  web  online  internet  syllabus  education  journalism  writing  howwewrite  ta-nehisicoates  teaching  mooc  moocs  lesliejamison  clayshirky  alexismadrigal  jessicatesta  nrkleinfield  sarahkoenig  davidfosterwallace  elizabethroyte  zachseward  joshuadavis  shanesnow  brianlam  kevinkelly  luciamoses  storytelling  vincentmorisset  emilygibson  caityeaver  mischaberlinski  triciaromano  hamiltonnolan  camilledodero  erinleecarr  mariakonikkova  tonyhaile  ralphabellino  mashacharnay  santiagostelly  timstelloh  jayrosen  felixsalmon  multimedia  socialmedia  canon  engagement  media  distribution  voice  syllabi 
february 2015 by robertogreco
College for Grown-Ups - NYTimes.com
"Even at the schools where the party pathway is carefully policed, life on a residential campus can be a psychological strain. A substantial body of research demonstrates that first-generation college students, those from low-income families and racial minorities are particularly at risk for feelings of exclusion, loneliness and academic alienation. The costs of leaving college can be large for everyone: lost tuition, loan debt and a subtle but consequential diminishment of self-esteem.

The source of these problems is baked into the current organization of residential higher education. Virtually all selective schools arrange their undergraduate programs on the presumption that teenagers are the primary clients. Administrators plan dormitory architecture, academic calendars and marketing campaigns to appeal to high school juniors and seniors. Again the cruel paradox: In the ever-growing number of administrators and service people catering to those who pay tuition, there are grown-ups all over campus, but they are largely peripheral to undergraduate culture.

If we were starting from zero, we probably wouldn’t design colleges as age-segregated playgrounds in which teenagers and very young adults are given free rein to spend their time more or less as they choose. Yet this is the reality.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Rethinking the expectation that applicants to selective colleges be fresh out of high school would go far in reducing risk for young people while better protecting everyone’s college investment. Some of this rethinking is already underway. Temporarily delaying college for a year or two after high school is now becoming respectable among the admissions gatekeepers at top schools. Massive online open courses (MOOCs) and other forms of online learning make it possible to experience fragments of an elite education at little or no cost."



"At Stanford, where I teach, an idea still in the concept phase developed by a student-led team in the university’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design calls for the replacement of four consecutive college years in young adulthood with multiple residencies distributed over a lifetime. What the designers call Open Loop University would grant students admitted to Stanford multiple years to spend on campus, along with advisers to help them time those years strategically in light of their personal development and career ambitions. Today’s arbitrarily segregated world of teenagers and young adults would become an ever-replenished intergenerational community of purposeful learners.

This utopian ideal is admittedly quite a distance from the institutional arrangements we have inherited, which encourage the nation’s most privileged young people to enter and finish college by the ripe old age of 22. But the status quo is not sustainable. Unrelenting demand for better-educated workers, rapidly developing technological capacity to support learning digitally and the soaring costs of conventional campus life are driving us toward substantial change.

While innovators continue to imagine more flexible forms of college, traditionalists might champion two proven models: community colleges, which were designed to educate people of all ages and walks of life together, and the G.I. Bill, which sent more than two million grown-ups to college, made campus culture much more serious and helped American higher education become the envy of the world."
agesegregation  highered  highereducation  2014  education  colleges  universities  diversity  mitchellstevens  minervaproject  devbootcamp  stanford  d.school  openloopuniversity  learning  mooc  moocs 
december 2014 by robertogreco
If Freire Made a MOOC: Open Education as Resistance - Hybrid Pedagogy
"What Critical Digital Pedagogy can Teach the MOOC: 6 theses

MOOCs and Critical Pedagogy are not obvious bedfellows. The hype around MOOCs has centered mostly on a brand of sage on the stage courseware at direct odds with Critical Pedagogy’s emphasis on learner agency. Despite this — or, more to the point, because of this — we remain, like Paulo Freire, hopeful Critical Pedagogues. In Pedagogy of Hope, he writes, “I am hopeful, not out of mere stubbornness, but out of an existential, concrete imperative.” The simple truth is that we must be hopeful, for in hope lies possibility. But, also like Freire, we recognize that hope must be balanced with action and struggle. There is no use in mere hopefulness. Ceding authority is an active endeavor. Critical Pedagogy requires an engagement with reality that is persistent and demanding, and that engagement must result in real action, even if that action is exemplary and minute. To effect any change is to effect change.

We offer here 6 theses that work to reimagine MOOCs — and open education more broadly — as potential sites of resistance and liberation. These theses are tentative, meant to invite conversation, in the nature of Freire’s notion of dialogue.

Thesis #1: A course is a conversation, not a static reservoir or receptacle for content. …

Thesis #2: Education cannot be compulsory. The work of learning starts with agency. …

Thesis #3: Best practices are snake oil. …

Thesis #4: Outcomes should give way to epiphanies. …

Thesis #5: Learning should not be structured to conform to assessment mechanisms. …

Thesis #6: In education, we rise and fall together. …

A rallying cry for open education

We will be required to cede our authority many times over. Critical Pedagogy is, according to Freire, “made and remade.” And, “Critical reflection is also action.” This means that educators and students will need to return again and again to their fundamental assumptions about education, about open education, about MOOCs, about assessment, about outcomes, and about what it means to be part of a community of educators and students.

The field of Critical Digital Pedagogy is yet nascent. As Jesse says, it “will not, cannot, be defined by a single voice but must gather together a cacophony of voices.” So we find ourselves, appropriately, with more questions than answers about how this work might continue to take shape: How can we cede authority? What technological tools are missing that will permit greater openness, more rampant empowerment? How shall the scholarship of pedagogy — words like these ones right here — words that aim at action, gape at world-changing — give way to the voices of learners, gathered together, a networked community of radical generosity?"

[See also: http://www.hybridpedagogy.com/journal/misapplication-moocs-critical-pedagogy-writ-massive/ ]
mooc  moocs  seanmichaelmorris  jessestommel  paulofreire  criticalpedagogy  criticaldigitalpedagogy  education  highered  highereducation  conversation  compulsory  assessment  outcomes  bestpractices  agency  lcproject  howweteach  pedagogy  learning  howwelearn  open  openeducation  henrygiroux 
november 2014 by robertogreco
Critical Digital Pedagogy: a Definition - Hybrid Pedagogy
"The entire enterprise of education is too often engaged in teaching that is not pedagogical. There are a whole host of other words I’d use to describe this work: instruction, classroom management, training, outcomes-driven, standards-based, content delivery. Pedagogy, on the other hand, starts with learning as its center, not students or teachers, and the work of pedagogues is necessarily political, subjective, and humane.

What is Critical Pedagogy?
Critical Pedagogy is an approach to teaching and learning predicated on fostering agency and empowering learners (implicitly and explicitly critiquing oppressive power structures). The word “critical” in Critical Pedagogy functions in several registers:

• Critical, as in mission-critical, essential;
• Critical, as in literary criticism and critique, providing definitions and interpretation;
• Critical, as in reflective and nuanced thinking about a subject;
• Critical, as in criticizing institutional, corporate, or societal impediments to learning;
• Critical Pedagogy, as a disciplinary approach, which inflects (and is inflected by) each of these other meanings.

Each of these registers distinguishes Critical Pedagogy from pedagogy; however, the current educational climate has made the terms, for me, increasingly coterminous (i.e. an ethical pedagogy must be a critical one). Pedagogy is praxis, insistently perched at the intersection between the philosophy and the practice of teaching. When teachers talk about teaching, we are not necessarily doing pedagogical work, and not every teaching method constitutes a pedagogy. Rather, pedagogy necessarily involves recursive, second-order, meta-level work. Teachers teach; pedagogues teach while also actively investigating teaching and learning. Critical Pedagogy suggests a specific kind of anti-capitalist, liberatory praxis. This is deeply personal and political work, through which pedagogues cannot and do not remain objective. Rather, pedagogy, and particularly Critical Pedagogy, is work to which we must bring our full selves, and work to which every learner must come with full agency.

In Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paulo Freire argues against the banking model, in which education “becomes an act of depositing, in which the students are the depositories and the teacher is the depositor.” This model emphasizes a one-sided transactional relationship, in which teachers are seen as content experts and students are positioned as sub-human receptacles. The use here of “sub-human” is intentional and not exaggeration; for in the tenets set out in Freire’s work (and the work of other Critical Pedagogues, including bell hooks and Henry Giroux), the banking model of education is part and parcel with efforts most clearly summed up in the term dehumanization. The banking model of education is efficient in that it maintains order and is bureaucratically neat and tidy. But efficiency, when it comes to teaching and learning, is not worth valorizing. Schools are not factories, nor are learning or learners products of the mill.

I immediately become deeply skeptical when I hear the word “content” in a discussion about education, particularly when it is accompanied by the word “packaged.” It is not that education is without content altogether, but that its content is co-constructed as part of and not in advance of the learning.

Critical Pedagogy is concerned less with knowing and more with a voracious not-knowing. It is an on-going and recursive process of discovery. For Freire, “Knowledge emerges only through invention and re-invention, through the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the world, with the world, and with each other.” Here, the language echoes the sort of learning Freire describes. With a flurry of adjectives and clauses separated by commas, his sentence circles around its subject, wandering, pushing restlessly at the edges of how words make meaning — not directly through literal translation into concepts, but in the way words rub curiously against one another, making meaning through a kind of friction. Knowledge emerges in the interplay between multiple people in conversation — brushing against one another in a mutual and charged exchange or dialogue. Freire writes, “Authentic education is not carried on by ‘A’ for ‘B’ or by ‘A’ about ‘B,’ but rather by ‘A’ with ‘B’.” It is through this impatient dialogue, and the implicit collaboration within it, that Critical Pedagogy finds its impetus toward change.

In place of the banking model, Freire advocates for “problem-posing education,” in which a classroom or learning environment becomes a space for asking questions — a space of cognition not information. Vertical (or hierarchical) relationships give way to more playful ones, in which students and teachers co-author together the parameters for their individual and collective learning. Problem-posing education offers a space of mutual creation not consumption. In Teaching to Transgress, bell hooks writes, “As a classroom community, our capacity to generate excitement is deeply affected by our interest in one another, in hearing one another’s voices, in recognizing one another’s presence.” This is a lively and intimate space of creativity and inquiry — a space of listening as much as speaking."



"We are better users of technology when we are thinking critically about the nature and effects of that technology. What we must do is work to encourage students and ourselves to think critically about new tools (and, more importantly, the tools we already use). And when we’re looking for solutions, what we most need to change is our thinking and not our tools.

In short, Critical Digital Pedagogy:

• centers its practice on community and collaboration;
• must remain open to diverse, international voices, and thus requires invention to reimagine the ways that communication and collaboration happen across cultural and political boundaries;
• will not, cannot, be defined by a single voice but must gather together a cacophony of voices;
• must have use and application outside traditional institutions of education.

A Critical Digital Pedagogy demands that open and networked educational environments must not be merely repositories of content. They must be platforms for engaging students and teachers as full agents of their own learning.



Critical Pedagogy is as much a political approach as it is an educative one. As Sean Michael Morris writes, it is “a social justice movement first, and an educational movement second.”

So, Critical Digital Pedagogy must also be a method of resistance and humanization. It is not simply work done in the mind, on paper, or on screen. It is work that must be done on the ground. It is not ashamed of its rallying cry or its soapbox. Critical Digital Pedagogy eats aphorisms — like this one right here — for breakfast. But it is not afraid to incite, to post its manifestos, to light its torches."
criticalpedagogy  paulofreire  2014  jessestommel  criticalthinking  criticism  education  pedagogy  teaching  howweteach  howwelearn  content  process  inquiry  collaboration  community  digital  pedagogyoftheoppressed  critique  agency  empowerment  reflection  cv  henrygiroux  seanmichaelmorris  kathiinmanberensjohndewey  history  future  democracy  richardshaull  praxis  change  progressive  progress  socialmedia  mooc  moocs  politics  highered  highereducation  humanism  resistance  learning  tcsnmy 
november 2014 by robertogreco
9/15-9/28 Unit 1: Why We Need a Why | Connected Courses
"Title: The End of Higher Education

Description: As shrinking budgets, skeptical publics, and rising alternatives continue to threaten the end of higher education, we host this conversation as a contemplation of what the end – or purpose – of higher education should be. We will also reflect on how individual teachers might find their own core reason for teaching a specific class, and ways to build buy-in to that reason among students."

[Direct link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFcjrwaJV0E ]

"Why We Need a Why:

As we design our courses, we have to address three questions:

What is to be taught/learned?

How should it be learned?

Why should it be learned?

We usually start by addressing the “What” question first. We have a course title or subject area and we begin populating our syllabus with the “whats” to be learned. Or, we peruse textbooks looking for the text that we think best covers the field. If we have time, we address the “How” question by considering how we can best teach the material. We sharpen our teaching technique, seek out better examples for the more difficult concepts, compile photos and videos to improve our presentations, and seek other ways to get the students engaged with the material. We may jump to incorporate the latest tools and techniques, whether it is social or interactive media or a new technique like a flipped classroom. Our syllabus, teaching materials, and educational technology in order, we rush into the semester, rarely asking, “Why?”

Starting with “Why” changes everything. When I, Mike Wesch, first started contemplating the “why” of my digital ethnography course, I realized that what I was really hoping to do was to teach my students “critical thinking.” I place “critical thinking” in quotes here because I had not yet given a great deal of thought about what I meant by the term, but I did immediately recognize that my previous “how” was completely inadequate to the task. I had spent most of my time thinking up elaborate and memorable performances (like the “shake your tailfeather” dance featured in this video) so that they would remember the concepts. Their task in my class was to simply memorize the material as performed by the authority (me) at the front of the room. Indeed, all of my teaching to that point had been in service of a very thin, unquestioned, and ultimately wrong notion of learning as the simple acquisition of knowledge.

As I contemplated the “real why” of my course further, I soon recognized that anthropology was not a bunch of content and bold faced terms that can be highlighted in a text book, but was instead a way of looking at the world. Actually, that is not quite right. It is not just a way of looking at the world. It is a way of being in the world. To underscore the difference, consider that it is one thing to be able to give a definition of cultural relativism (perhaps the most bold-faced of bold-faced terms in anthropology which means “cultural norms and values derive their meaning within a specific social context”) or even to apply it to some specific phenomenon, but it is quite another to fully incorporate that understanding and recognize yourself as a culturally and temporally bounded entity mired in cultural biases and taken-for-granted assumptions that you can only attempt to transcend.

To adopt such an understanding is often transformative and psychologically disruptive. It is not to be taken lightly, and no student will dare take on such disruption if it is not clear that there is a good reason to do so. As Neil Postman has noted, you can try to engineer the learning of what-bits (The End of Higher Education, Postman), but “to become a different person because of something you have learned — to appropriate an insight, a concept, a vision, so that your world is altered — is a different matter. For that to happen, you need a reason.” This also means asking hard questions about how new technology and techniques can support real student transformation and not simply reinforce old patterns with new tools."
michaelwesch  cathydavidson  randybass  2014  highered  highereducation  purpose  education  colleges  universities  pedagogy  theywhy  learning  howwelearn  why  howweteach  teaching  crits  studioclassroom  criticism  designthinking  design  critique  constructivecriticism  writing  howwewrite  revision  peerreview  learningcontracts  classconstitutions  student-ledlearning  mooc  moocs  authenticity  tcsnmy  ownership  lcproject  openstudioproject  contracts  cv  classideas  deschooling  unschooling  community  communities  communitiesoflearning  learningcommunities  profiteering  difficulty  economics  engagement 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Beyond the LMS
"Let’s move beyond the LMS, back to and forward to an independent Web and let’s help our students take full advantage of it."
adomainofone'sown  lms  openweb  web  mooc  moocs  vle  indieweb  online  internet  edtech  education  2014  audreywatters  technology  learning  reclaimhosting 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Why Tech Still Hasn't Solved Education's Problems - The Atlantic
"Why is that? Why has the promised boom in educational technology failed to appear—and why was the technology that did appear not very good?

Paul Franz has a guess as to why. Franz taught in Hawaii before, in 2011, researching ed tech as a doctoral candidate at Stanford. He’s now a language arts teacher in California. On his Twitter feed Sunday, he gave some reasons why the ed tech buzz seems to have simply disappeared. They mirror my own sentiment, that education is a uniquely difficult challenge, both technically and socially, and that its difficulty confounds attempts to “disrupt” it.

Here are his thoughts:

"It's so liberating to spend my mental energy thinking about how to be a good teacher.

What I'm doing now is more fulfilling and more meaningful. I was around ed tech long enough to see that it's mostly hot air.

The problem with ed tech, add a sector, is not that it is capitalistic. It's that education is so much more complicated than anything else.

Seriously. MOOC hype, for example, was a classic case of techies and entrepreneurs not even remotely understanding how learning works.

Don't get me wrong. There are some good people at Coursera and all. But that they're not going to revolutionize anything is clear by now.

And they never were because education poses social, economic, cultural, and psychological problems they aren't equipped to address.

So it's all well and good that some people learn some skills through MOOCs, but that does not a revolution make.

In short, designing for learning is hard. Pretending that all it takes is faster computers and more money is foolish.

That's a core tenet of technological determinism though... Faster computers and more money solve everything.

Thing is, again, education poses the hardest problems. Harder than software can solve.

There was no app in the world that would have made a whit of difference with the kids I worked with in Hawaii with NALU Studies.

People made a difference.

The best educational technology we have is always our attention."

“I don't think that technology / software are irrelevant to the challenges in education, but I think by their very nature there are issues they can't address,” he added in an email response:

Thinking about software as the primary way of solving problems (in any field) forces us to frame problems in terms that software is capable of addressing. That's especially dangerous in education because solving educational problems involves leveraging knowledge and expertise from pretty much every other social science (anthropology, economics, psychology, political science, etc), not to mention knowledge from content areas. Software might be good at categorizing and organizing knowledge, but it's not so good at synthesizing and applying knowledge in the creative, and often highly contextualized and personalized, ways that educators and educational leaders have to employ every day."
paulfranz  robinsonmeyer  mooc  moocs  edtech  education  teaching  learning  technology  attention  software  howweteach  cv  schools  automation  hardproblems  2014  via:caseygollan 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Can Algorithms Replace Your English Professor? — Who’s Afraid of Online Education? — Medium
"Algorithms are quickly becoming our new tastemakers and gatekeepers. Social media feeds are increasingly the most immediate source of news for many people, which means we are becoming more and more beholden to algorithms. Social media algorithms have been a popular topic of discussion lately, with people undertaking experiments on what happens when you “like” everything on Facebook, or when you refrain from “liking” anything. The Facebook algorithm is being held up as the primary reason why the #Ferguson protests are not showing up on user’s Facebook feeds, in comparison to Twitter, which is the only network that shows you what you choose to follow, rather than what its algorithm thinks you should. (Note that this may also be changing.)

Algorithms are becoming our curators. They show us—based on a secret, proprietary formula—what they think we want to see. In this experiment, Tim Herrara demonstrates that Facebook’s algorithm prefers to show its users older, more popular content than new content that has not been engaged with. Despite him trying to consume his entire Facebook feed for an entire day, he realized that he only saw 29% of new content produced by his network—and that for most users, that percentage is probably a lot lower. On Facebook there isn’t a way to bypass this algorithm, even if you select“most recent” posts rather than “most popular” posts in your setting (interestingly enough, I’ve heard reports that Facebook tends to secretly reset your settings back to “most popular” no matter what you do).

There’s a lot of controversy over the power that we are giving algorithms to display and represent our world to us. But these critiques miss an important point: we’ve never not had curators and filters. Before we had algorithms, we had “experts”, “authorities”, tastemakers—we had (or have)professors and academics, we had (have) institutions that studied things and told us what was important or unimportant about the world, we had (have) editors and publishers who decided what was “good” enough to be shared with the world. But the importance and reliabilty of these authorities and tastemakers is coming under serious fire because of the impact of some social media; for example in the reporting on Ferguson on major news networks versus Twitter. Furthermore, if you take the work of postcolonial studies critics like Edward Said seriously, much of our humanistic and scientific forms of research inquiry are hardly free of cultural prejudice, and are in fact informed and dictated by these modes of thinking.

Given all of this, I have two thoughts:

One. How is algorithmic selection actually similar to older modes of tastemaking and gatekeeping (i.e. experts and authorities who tell us what to value and what not to)? How is it different? Does either mode entertain the feedback of those who they serve (i.e., can you help train an algorithm to show you more of what you want, or can you have impact on your “experts” in having them study what you think is important?)

Two. A great deal of virtual ink has been spilled on whether educators are going to be replaced by online courses such as MOOCs. Less has been said, however, about the replacement of the tastemaking function of educators/researchers—especially in the humanities, our goal has been to train students to find value in what they otherwise might not, to make legible to our students modes of seeing and doing which depart from their own. Can an algorithm replace that tastemaking function? Put another way: instead of having the “best” news and information filtered to you by “experts” (your teachers, your professors, editors and publishers etc.), what happens when an algorithm starts taking over this process? Is this necessarily good, bad, or neither? And how similar is this filtering of information to previous modes of filtering? In other words—can an algorithm become smart enough to replace your English literature professor? And what would be the result of such a scenario?"

[via (great thread follows): https://twitter.com/Jessifer/status/502632112261169152 ]
adelinekoh  2014  algorithms  facebook  twitter  education  curation  curators  gatekeepers  tastemakers  trendsetters  mooc  moocs  tastemaking  experts  authority  authorities  humanism  humanities  power  control  academia  highereducation  highered  feeds  filters 
august 2014 by robertogreco
Paul Franz Rains Hot Fire on the Silicon Valley's Disruption of Education (with tweets) · ddmeyer · Storify
"It's so liberating to spend my mental energy thinking about how to be a good teacher.

What I'm doing now is more fulfilling and more meaningful. I was around ed tech long enough to see that it's mostly hot air.

The problem with ed tech, add a sector, is not that it is capitalistic. It's that education is so much more complicated than anything else.

Seriously. MOOC hype, for example, was a classic case of techies and entrepreneurs not even remotely understanding how learning works.

Don't get me wrong. There are some good people at Coursera and all. But that they're not going to revolutionize anything is clear by now.

And they never were because education poses social, economic, cultural, and psychological problems they aren't equipped to address.

So it's all well and good that some people learn some skills through MOOCs, but that does not a revolution make.

In short, designing for learning is hard. Pretending that all it takes is faster computers and more money is foolish.

That's a core tenet of technological determinism though... Faster computers and more money solve everything.

Thing is, again, education poses the hardest problems. Harder than software can solve.

There was no app in the world that would have made a whit of difference with the kids I worked with in Hawaii with NALU Studies.

People made a difference.

The best educational technology we have is always our attention."
paulfranz  edtech  education  technology  2014  siliconvalley  complexity  attention  teaching  howweteach  mooc  moocs  coursera  learning  howwelearn  economics  culture  psychology  disruption 
august 2014 by robertogreco
The Miseducation of America - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education
"While I was watching Ivory Tower, a documentary about the state of college in America that appears in select theaters this month (the movie also airs on CNN this fall), it occurred to me that of the many problems with higher education these days, not the least concerns the way we talk about it. "Efficiency," "art-history majors," "kids who graduate with $100,000 in debt," "the college bubble," the whole rhetoric of crisis and collapse: The public discourse is dominated by sound bites, one-liners, hearsay, horror stories, and a very great deal of misinformation.

Higher ed is not unique in this respect, of course, but it is particularly bad. College, as the movie points out, was always treated as a black box: 18-year-olds were inserted at one end, 22-year-olds came out the other, and as long as the system appeared to be working, no one bothered to inquire what happened in between. Americans, as a result, have very little understanding of what college is about—how it works, what it’s for, what larger social benefits it offers—and those employed in higher education have had very little practice in explaining it to them. The debate has been left to the politicians, the pundits, and increasingly, the hustlers and ideologues. Few who talk about college in public understand it, and few who understand it talk about it.

Ivory Tower, for the most part, is an honorable exception."



"Ivory Tower shows us why it’s so important that we get this right: that we think with facts, with respect to college costs and what they get you, not emotions. When we cherry pick the scariest stories and numbers, we do two things: We open the door to hucksters selling easy answers, and we forget what college is really for. Apocalypticism leads to messianism. Close behind the anxious parents whom we see on college tours at Wesleyan and NYU—variously blithe or glum adolescents in tow—come, like vultures to a kill, a pair of now-familiar figures: Peter Thiel and Sebastian Thrun."



"The truth is, there are powerful forces at work in our society that are actively hostile to the college ideal. That distrust critical thinking and deny the proposition that democracy necessitates an educated citizenry. That have no use for larger social purposes. That decline to recognize the worth of that which can’t be bought or sold. Above all, that reject the view that higher education is a basic human right.

The film recounts the history and recent fate of that idea: its origin among the philanthropists of the industrial age, figures like Peter Cooper, founder of his eponymous Union; its progressive unfolding through the Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862, the GI Bill of 1944, the postwar expansion of the University of California, and the Higher Education Act of 1965, which created the federal student-loan and grant programs; and its deliberate destruction under Ronald Reagan and his ideological heirs.

Free, high-quality higher education (just like free, high-quality school, which we continue to at least pretend to endorse): that is what we used to believe in; that’s what many other countries still believe in; that is what we must believe in once again. The filmmakers undoubtedly knew what they were doing when they chose to show us the moment, during that seminar at Deep Springs, when the students are debating Hegel’s proposition that, as their professor puts it, "you need to have a common identity as citizens, because it creates the bonds of affection." Or in Delbanco’s words, "What kind of society do we want to be?" Cooper Union’s commencement speaker, that tumultuous spring of 2013, turns out to have been none other than Michael Bloomberg. "The debate you’re having really isn’t about whether education is free," we see him tell the students. "It’s really about who can and who is willing to pay for it."

On this the billionaire and I agree. In terms of the "can" (and it’s hard to believe the word could even pass his lips), the answer is clear. Not just the plutocrats, not just the upper class, but the upper middle class, as well. Everybody knows by now that the share of national income that accrues to the famous one percent has risen to about 23 percent, higher than at almost any time since 1928. But the share that accrues to the top 10 percent as a whole, which stayed around 33 percent from the 1950s through the 1970s, has risen to its highest level ever (or at least, since record-keeping started), more than 50 percent. In a $17-trillion economy, the difference represents a premium of nearly $3-trillion a year, about five times the federal deficit and more than enough for this and many other public purposes.

The problem of costs, to be sure, is not a one-way street. Higher education must indeed increase efficiency, but how? Institutions have been willing to spend on everything in recent years except the thing that matters most: instruction. Dorms, deans, sports, but not professors. Piglike presidential salaries, paid for by hiring adjuncts. Now, with MOOCs and other forms of online instruction, the talk is more of the same. My friends, they are coming for you. The professoriate no longer has the luxury of thinking that all this is someone else’s problem. If you want to save your skins, let alone ensure the future of the enterprise, you need to wake up and organize against the people who are organizing against you. The fact is that by focusing exclusively on monetary issues, the current conversation prevents us not only from remembering the higher objectives of an undergraduate education, but also from recognizing just how bad a job our institutions have been doing at fulfilling them. Colleges and universities have a lot to answer for; if they want to regain the support of the larger society, they need to prove that they are worthy of it.

Ivory Tower ends, in the manner of such films today, by referring us to a website. Under the rubric "Take Action," the site encourages us to sign a petition that calls on Congress to pass legislation, of the kind proposed by Elizabeth Warren (and just blocked by Senate Republicans), allowing individuals to refinance their student loans. That would certainly be a good thing, but we need to set our sights a great deal higher. If service workers can demand a $15 minimum wage, more than double the federal level, then those who care about higher education can insist on the elimination of tuition and fees at state institutions and their replacement by public funding furnished by taxes on the upper 10 percent. As with the minimum wage, the campaign can be conducted state by state, and it can and should involve a large coalition of interested groups: students, parents, and instructors, to start with. Total enrollment at American colleges and universities now stands at 20 million, on top of another million-plus on the faculty. That’s a formidable voting bloc, should it learn to exercise its power. Since the Occupy movement in 2011, it’s clear that the fight to reverse the tide of growing inequality has been joined. It’s time we joined it."
2014  williamderesiewicz  highered  highereducation  education  policy  politics  finance  money  studentloands  ivorytower  reform  faculty  solidarity  ows  occupywallstreet  inequality  purpose  canon  funding  publicfunding  mooc  moocs  unions  labor  deepspringscollege  colleges  universities  liberalarts  society  learning  criticalthinking  uncollege  dalestephens  peterthiel  sebastianthrun  peterschiff  efficiency  cooperunion  communitycolleges  debt  studentdebt  employment 
june 2014 by robertogreco
An inconvenient truth about higher ed | Al Jazeera America
"As an answer to higher ed’s crisis, the best “Ivory Tower” has to offer are community colleges, where the name on the credential doesn’t mean much, but students at all stages in their lives can acquire skills using online and classroom resources. This might be the best pure deal on the higher education market, but community colleges are unlikely to unseat four-year institutions in prestige or cultural dominance. Like HBCUs and tuition-free hippie schools, some community colleges are fighting for survival. City College of San Francisco, for example, is clinging to accreditation, disputing charges that it lacks a sufficient number of administrators and a secure financial base. Solutions like education hacking and community colleges also ignore the fact that brand-name diplomas and connections are what schools are selling, at least as much as knowledge. If you had to choose between a college credential and a college education, in this job market you’d be a fool to take the latter.

When it comes to reforming four-year nonprofits, there’s no reason to believe pumping in more state money won’t just exacerbate the current problems, rooted in skyrocketing cost. And since state money is earmarked for particular expenses, schools will still need more no-strings-attached tuition money to service institutional debt. If federal regulators were to require schools to cut costs, we know just how these corporate managers would do it: contracting out whatever good jobs are left and doubling the marketing budget so no one notices."
malcolmharris  education  documentary  ivorytower  2014  highered  highereducation  money  communitycolleges  moocs  mooc  deepspringscollege  peterthiel  arizonastateuniversity 
june 2014 by robertogreco
Reclaiming Innovation
"Udell notes: "There's a reason I keep finding novel uses for these trailing-edge technologies. I see them not as closed products and services, but rather as toolkits that invite their users to adapt and extend them.""

"Rather than framing everything at the course level, we should be deploying these technologies for the individual."

"Viewed as a whole, the web today bears little resemblance to the innately democratic and decentralized network that seduced and enticed us a decade ago."

"Railing against the academy's failure to embrace a perceived risk can be dismal fun for many of us, but an honest appraisal of our own missteps has to be in the mix."
2014  jimgroom  brianlamb  audreywatters  internet  web  highered  highereducation  it  ict  technology  mooc  moocs  disruption  open  edupunk  lms  openpublishing  publishing  adomainofone'sown  diy  decentralization  anildash  georgesiemens  stephendownes  jonudell  benjaminbratton  vendors  silos  security  privacy  venturecapital  tonyhirst  timberners-lee  bryanalexander  openness  reclaimhosting  indieweb 
june 2014 by robertogreco
Against "Innovation" #CNIE2014
[See also: http://steelemaley.net/2014/05/16/philosophers-innovation-and-questioning/ ]

"One culture values openness and collaboration and inquiry and exploration and experimentation. The other has adopted a couple of those terms and sprinkled them throughout its marketing copy, while promising scale and efficiency and cost-savings benefits. One culture values community, and the other reflects a very powerful strain of American individualism — not to mention California exceptionalism — one that touts personal responsibility, self-management, and autonomy."



"As I read Solnit’s diary about the changes the current tech boom is bringing to San Francisco, I can’t help but think about the changes that the current ed-tech boom might also bring to education, to our schools and colleges and universities. To places that have also been, in certain ways, a "refuge for dissidents, queers, pacifists and experimentalists.”

Global ed-tech investment hit a record high this year: $559 million across 103 funding deals in the the first quarter of the year alone. How does that shape or reshape the education landscape?

In the struggle to build “a great hive,” to borrow Solnit’s phrase, that is a civil society and not just a corporate society, we must consider the role that education has played — or is supposed to play — therein, right? What will all this investment bring about? Innovation? To what end?

When we “innovate” education, particularly when we “innovate education” with technology, which direction are we moving it? Which direction and why?

Why, just yesterday, an interview was published with Udacity founder Sebastian Thrun, who’s now moving away from the MOOC hype and the promises he and others once made that MOOCs would “democratize education.” Now he says, and I quote, “If you’re affluent, we can do a much better job with you, we can make magic happen." Screw you, I guess, if you're poor.

I’ve gestured towards things so far in this talk that might tell us a bit about the culture of Silicon Valley, about the ideology of Silicon Valley.

But what is the ideology of “innovation.” The idea pre-dates Silicon Valley to be sure."



"See, as I started to gather my thoughts about this talk, as I thought about the problems with Silicon Valley culture and Silicon Valley ideology, I couldn’t help but choke on this idea of “innovation.”

So I’d like to move now to a critique of “innovation,” urge caution in chasing “innovation,” and poke holes, in particular, in the rhetoric surrounding “innovation.” I’d like to challenge how this word gets wielded by the technology industry and by extension by education technologists.

And I do this, I admit in part, because I grow so weary of the word. “Innovation” the noun, “innovative” the adjective, “innovate” the verb — they’re bandied about all over the place, in press releases and marketing copy, in politicians’ speeches, in business school professors’ promises, in economists’ diagnoses, in administrative initiatives. Um, in the theme of this conference and the name of this organization behind it.

(Awkward.)

What is “innovation”? What do we mean by the term? Who uses it? And how? Where does this concept come from? Where is it taking us?

How is “innovation” deeply ideological and not simply descriptive?"



"The technology innovation insurrection isn’t a political one as much as it is a business one (although surely there are political ramifications of that).

In fact, innovation has been specifically theorized as something that will blunt revolution, or at least that will prevent the collapse of capitalism and the working class revolution that was predicted by Karl Marx.

That's the argument of economist Joseph Schumpeter who argued most famously perhaps in his 1942 book Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy that entrepreneurial innovation was what would sustain the capitalist system — the development of new goods, new companies, new markets that perpetually destroyed the old. He called this constant process of innovation “creative destruction."



"The precise mechanism of the disruption and innovation in Christensen’s theory differs than Schumpeter’s. Schumpeter saw the process of entrepreneurial upheaval as something that was part of capitalism writ large — industries would replace industries. Industries would always and inevitably replace industries.

Schumpeter argued this process of innovation would eventually mean the end of capitalism, albeit by different processes than Marx had predicted. Schumpeter suggested that this constant economic upheaval would eventually cause such a burden that democratic countries would put in place regulations that would impede entrepreneurship. He argued that, in particular, “intellectuals” — namely university professors — would help lead to capitalism’s demise because they would diagnose this turmoil, develop critiques of the upheaval, critiques that would appealing and relevant to those beyond the professorial class.

That the enemy of capitalism in this framework is the intellectual and not the worker explains a great deal about American politics over the past few decades. It probably explains a great deal about the ideology behind a lot of the “disrupting higher education” talk as well."



"“The end of the world as we know it” seems to be a motif in many of the stories that we hear about what “disruptive innovation” will bring us, particularly as we see Christensen’s phrase applied to almost every industry where technology is poised to transform it. The end of the newspaper. The end of the publishing industry. The end of print. The end of RSS. The end of the Post Office. The end of Hollywood. The end of the record album. The end of the record label. The end of the factory. The end of the union. And of course, the end of the university.

The structure to many of these narratives about disruptive innovation is well-known and oft-told, echoed in tales of both a religious and secular sort:

Doom. Suffering. Change. Then paradise."



"Our response to both changing technology and to changing education must involve politics — certainly this is the stage on which businesses already engage, with a fierce and awful lobbying gusto. But see, I worry that we put our faith in “innovation” as a goal in and of itself, we forget this. We confuse “innovation” with “progress” and we confuse “technological progress” with “progress” and we confuse all of that with “progressive politics.” We forget that “innovation" does not give us justice. “Innovation” does not give us equality. “Innovation" does not empower us.

We achieve these things when we build a robust civic society, when we support an engaged citizenry. We achieve these things through organization and collective action. We achieve these things through and with democracy; and we achieve — or we certainly strive to achieve — these things through public education. "
audreywatters  2014  edtech  culture  technology  californianideology  innovation  disruption  highered  highereducation  individualism  google  googleglass  education  schools  learning  ds106  siliconvalley  meritocracy  rebeccasolnit  class  society  poverty  ideology  capitalism  novelty  change  transformation  invention  language  salvation  entrepreneurship  revolution  business  karlmarx  josephschumpeter  johnpatrickleary  claytonchristensen  sustainability  mooc  moocs  markets  destruction  creativedestruction  publiceducation  progress  justice  collectivism  libertarianism 
may 2014 by robertogreco
Open Ed 12 - Gardner Campbell Keynote - Ecologies of Yearning - YouTube
[See also: https://storify.com/audreywatters/ecologies-of-yearning-and-the-future-of-open-educa ]

[See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steps_to_an_Ecology_of_Mind and
PDF http://www.edtechpost.ca/readings/Gregory%20Bateson%20-%20Ecology%20of%20Mind.pdf ]

[References these videos by a student: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmFL4Khu2yJoR0Oq5dcY5pw ]

[via: https://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/b:e91b15f323b8

"In his keynote at the 2012 OpenEd conference, Gardner Campbell, an Associate Professor of English at Virginia Tech, talked about the “Ecologies of Yearning.” (Seriously: watch the video.) Campbell offered a powerful and poetic vision about the future of open learning, but noted too that there are competing visions for that future, particularly from the business and technology sectors. There are competing definitions of “open” as well, and pointing to the way in which “open” is used (and arguably misused) by education technology companies, Campbell’s keynote had a refrain, borrowed from “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”: “That is not it at all. That is not what I meant, at all.”"]

"30:29 Bateson's Hierarchy of learning

30:52 Zero Learning:"receipt of signal". No error possible

31:37 Learning I: "change in specificity of response by correction of errors of choice within a set of alternatives". Palov, etc. Habituation, adaptation.

32:16 Learning II: Learning-to-learn, context recognition, "corrective change in the set of alternatives from which choice is made, or.. in how the sequence of experience is punctuated". Premises are self-validating.

34:23 Learning III: Meta-contextual perspective, imagining and shifting contexts of understanding. "a corrective change in the system of sets of alternatives from which choice is made" Puts self at risk. Questions become explosive.

36:22 Learning IV: change to level III, "probably does not occur in any adult living organisms on this earth"

38:59 "Double bind"

44:49 Habits of being that might be counter-intuitive

51:49 Participant observers constructed Wordles of students' blogs"

[Comment from Céline Keller:

"This is my favorite talk online: Open Ed 12 - Gardner Campbell Keynote - Ecologies of Yearning +Gardner Campbell

This is what I wrote about it 7 month ago:

"Academia is to knowledge what prostitution is to love; close enough on the surface but, to the nonsucker, not exactly the same thing." Nassim Nicholas Taleb

If you care about education and learning don't miss listening to Gardner Campbell!

As described on the #edcmooc resource page:

"(This lecture)...serves as a warning that what we really want - our utopia - is not necessarily to be found in the structures we are putting in place (or finding ourselves within)."
Love it."

I still mean it. This is great, listen."]

[More here: http://krustelkrammoocs.blogspot.com/2013/02/gardner-campbell-sense-of-wonder-how-to.html ]
2012  gardnercampbell  nassimtaleb  academia  web  participatory  learning  howwelearn  hierarchyoflearning  love  habituation  adaption  open  openeducation  coursera  gregorybateson  udacity  sebastianthrun  mooc  moocs  georgesiemens  stephendownes  davecormier  carolyeager  aleccouros  jimgroom  audreywatters  edupunk  jalfredprufrock  missingthepoint  highered  edx  highereducation  tseliot  rubrics  control  assessment  quantification  canon  administration  hierarchy  hierarchies  pedagogy  philosophy  doublebind  paranoia  hepephrenia  catatonia  mentalhealth  schizophrenia  life  grades  grading  seymourpapert  ecologiesofyearning  systems  systemsthinking  suppression  context  education  conditioning  pavlov  gamification  freedom  liberation  alankay  human  humans  humanism  agency  moreofthesame  metacontexts  unfinished  ongoing  lifelonglearning  cognition  communication  networkedtranscontextualism  transcontextualism  transcontextualsyndromes  apgartest  virginiaapgar  howweteach  scottmccloud  michaelchorost  georgedyson  opening  openness  orpheus  experience  consciousness  pur 
may 2014 by robertogreco
Half an Hour: The MOOC of One
"I want to begin by asking the question, "What does it mean to be one person?" What does it mean to be, say, Valencian? What does it mean to be a doctor? We have this intuitive idea that we think we understand when we begin to educate someone, we're going to make somebody a doctor, but what does that mean? I'm not sure we even know, and a major part of the reason we developed the MOOC is to challenge our thinking around some of these ideas.

In the traditional course, and that includes the traditional online course as well as the traditional offline course in traditional education (Pape talked about it as well) we have this idea that there is the authority at the center who will throw content at you - lots of content, piles of books, piles of video, and hope some of it sticks.

Even the MOOCs, the Massive Open Online Courses, that have followed the MOOCs that were developed by George Siemens and myself, the courses offered by Khan Academy, Coursera, Udacity, Udemy, and the rest are all based on the idea of some body of content.

Is being one being the same? That's kind of a hard question. It's not even clear what I mean when I ask that. Let's take doctors. Does being a doctor mean having exactly the same knowledge as every other doctor? No.



When we design these MOOCs, we realized every single person taking our course is going to be different. Some use Internet Explorer, some of them use Firefox, some use Opera, who knows why, some even use Safari (and nothing works in Safari! [laughter]). Different languages, different cultures. Some people want to get the knowledge, some people want to socialize, some people want to meet other people."



"In our MOOCs, there's no constructor of things. MOOCs (and people) are self‑organizing networks that process and organize perceptions in a natural automatic way given that they are provided proper nutrition, diversity, openness, autonomy, and the rest.

From the student's perspective, if they're taking the MOOCs - reflect on your own experience here for a second - they're right at the center. Goodness, they might even be taking more than one MOOC at a time. From different institutions at the same time, I know it's heresy but they might be doing that. They might be communicating on WordPress or on Flickr delicious, posting videos on YouTube, but they're always at the center of their Internet sphere.

That's basically how we, in developing the next phase - remember I promised a new technology after MOOCs - but here is what it looks like. It's really MOOCs Mark II, but now we're telling the story from the perspective, not of the education provider, but from the perspective of the individuals who are participating in the learning.

We understand that they are perceiving and reasoning self‑organizing networks. They will be coming into this with that capacity, but with those needs, and therefore what we're attempting to do, we're creating something called learning and performance support system (I'm really sorry about the name) to provide that measure of support."



"And finally to be one is to be you. Now, everybody talked about massive open online learning. I don't care about the massiveness of open online learning. It's important - that there are seven billion people in the planet, whatever we do has got to work for everyone of them - but it's only going to work for every one of them, one person at a time. There's no other way of doing it. 

 There's no other way of doing it because there's no other way that's going to be genuine. There's no other way that's going to be effective. What makes the MOOCs special is that each person taking the MOOCs makes it their own. They create and shape their own learning according to thier own needs and their own interests, their own values, their own objectives. And that to me is what learning and education is all about."
stephendownes  mooc  moocs  scale  2014  self-directed  self-directedlearning  learning  education  georgesiemens  self-organizedlearning  individuality  individualized  participatory  networks  networkededucation  audiencesofone 
march 2014 by robertogreco
» Intrusive Scaffolding, Obstructed Learning (and MOOCs) SAMPLE REALITY
"If you think of riding a bike in terms of pedagogy, training wheels are what learning experts call scaffolding. Way back in 1991, Allan Collins, John Seely Brown, and Ann Holum wrote about a type of teaching called cognitive apprenticeship, and they used the term scaffolding to describe “the support the master gives apprentices in carrying out a task. This can range from doing almost the entire task for them to giving occasional hints as to what to do next.” As the student—the apprentice—becomes more competent, the teacher—the master—gradually backs away, in effect removing the scaffolding. It’s a process Collins, Brown, and Holum call “fading.” The problem with training wheels, then, is that fading is all but impossible. You either have training wheels, or you don’t.

Training wheels are a kind of scaffolding. But they are intrusive scaffolding, obstructive scaffolding. These bulky metal add-ons get in the way quite literally, but they also interfere pedagogically. Riding a bike with training wheels prepares a child for nothing more than riding a bike—with training wheels.

My oldest child, I said, learned how to ride a bike with training wheels. But that’s not exactly what happened. After weeks of struggle—and mounting frustration—he learned. But only because I removed the all-or-nothing training wheels and replaced them with his own body. I not only removed the training wheels from his bike, but I removed the pedals themselves. In essence, I made a balance bike out of a conventional bike. Only then did he learn to balance, the most fundamental aspect of bike-riding. I learned something too: when my younger son was ready to ride a bike we would skip the training wheels entirely.

My kids’ differing experiences lead me to believe that we place too much value on scaffolding, or at least, on the wrong kind of scaffolding. And now I’m not talking simply about riding bikes. I’m thinking of my own university classroom—and beyond, to online learning. We insist upon intrusive scaffolding. We are so concerned about students not learning that we surround the learning problem with scaffolding. In the process we obscure what we had hoped to reveal. Like relying on training wheels, we create complicated interfaces to experiences rather than simplifying the experiences themselves. Just as the balance bike simplifies the experience of bike riding, stripping it down to its core processes, we need to winnow down overly complex learning activities.

We could call this removal of intrusive scaffolding something like “unscaffolding” or “descaffolding.” In either case, the idea is that we take away structure instead of adding to it. And perhaps more importantly, the descaffolding reinstates the body itself as the site—and means of—learning. Scaffolding not only obstructs learning, it turns learning into an abstraction, something that happens externally. The more scaffolding there is, the less embodied the learning will be. Take away the intrusive scaffolding, and like my son on his balance bike, the learner begins to use what he or she had all along, a physical body.

I’ve been thinking about embodied pedagogy lately in relation to MOOCs—massive open online courses. In the worse cases, MOOCs are essentially nothing but scaffolding. A typical Coursera course will include video lectures for each lesson, an online quiz, and a discussion board. All scaffolding. In a MOOC, where are the bodies? And what is the MOOC equivalent of a balance bike? I want to suggest that unless online teaching—and classroom teaching as well—begins to first, unscaffold learning problems and second, rediscover embodied pedagogy, we will obstruct learning rather than foster it. We will push students away from authentic learning experiences rather than draw them toward such experiences.

After all, remember the etymological root of pedagogy: paedo, as in child, and agogic, as in leading or guiding. Teachers guide learners. Scaffolding—the wrong kind—obstructs learning."
marksample  scaffolding  pedagogy  howweteach  belesshelpful  trust  education  teaching  learning  bikes  biking  johnseelybrown  annholum  allancollins  mooc  moocs  coursera  experience  balance  2014 
february 2014 by robertogreco
Small is Beautiful | Henderson Hallway
"Recently in my Global Issues class, our learning community looked at E.F. Schumacher’s notion of Small is Beautiful [http://www.ee.iitb.ac.in/student/~pdarshan/SmallIsBeautifulSchumacher.pdf ]. We read his infamous essay and watched the film below created by the National Film Board of Canada on his idea. What he suggests is a rethinking of the prevailing trend that unfettered economic growth is essential to the development of the species. We have had great discussions related to ungrowth, systems thinking, and the idea that we are all connected to every system and species on this planet.

Democracy Now! recently interviewed Elizabeth Kolbert, the author of a new book entitled the Sixth Extinction – a book identifying how humans are causing the largest mass extinction since the fall of the dinosaurs. Our investigations over the last few days got me thinking about my role as an educator and how I am to foster learning communities, not just learning environments, where learners can find opportunities for transformation that can address the issues raised by Kolbert and Schumacher. I find this even more challenging given that I am teaching the Global Issues course as an online course.

Small Is Beautiful: Impressions of Fritz Schumacher by Donald Brittain by Barrie Howells & by Douglas Kiefer, National Film Board of Canada

I have started to read at great length about how to create learning communities that are transformative from a virtual platform from the likes of Richard Schweir and Jay Roberts. Both of these scholars have really impacted my understanding of how we can foster ecologically literate communities. Thomas Steele-Maley and I, over the past year or so, have had critical conversations about how to develop these virtual communities, for which I am eternally grateful.

[video]

What I am beginning to understand, much like Schumacher did, is that vibrant and vigorous learning communities, whether online or face-to-face, need to be small, based on connectedness, and the transformation of knowledge. I love the way Jay Roberts puts it:
So, bring on MOOCS, bring on distance learning, flipped classrooms, and blended education. Use this new Gutenberg moment to supplement and highlight what transformative teachers have always done best– curating high impact learning experiences for the students in their care.

As opposed to MOOCS and giant groups of learners, I feel from my perspective that my online learning communities need to be intimate and small. We need to know each others history and create a collective identity while respecting each other as individuals. I am just on the beginning of my quest, but would love to hear what other educators and student have to say."
education  learning  groupsize  matthenderson  thomassteele-maley  globalissues  globalstudies  efschumacher  elizabethkolbert  bighere  smallnow  bignow  longehere  extinction  mooc  moocs  donaldbrittain  barriehowells  douglaskiefer  virtualcommunities  onlinelearning  distancelearning  flippedclassrooms  blendedlearning  2014  small 
february 2014 by robertogreco
moving forward on #futureEd | digital digs
"Let me restart from a different point. Irregardless of technology, what is it that we want higher education (or whatever might replace it) to do?

• support one’s study of a professional area
• certify one’s preparedness to enter into a field
• develop communication skills (written, digital, oral) to be able to participate in professional (and civic/public?) discourse communities
• develop research skills, critical thinking, and creative problem solving
• learn to do all this work independently, collaboratively, online, FTF, in a global/diverse context
• an interdisciplinary understanding of the world so that we are not mono-dimensional.

Do we also want to say that higher education should not only be about contributing to one’s personal long-term earnings potential but also about enhancing one’s ability to contribute to the common/social good? Then we also have to consider whether we are taking the students as we find them or if, in our vision of the future, we are offloading a lot of current problems onto K-12 education. That is, is our vision one that begins by saying “If K-12 did x,y,z then higher ed would do a,b,c.” I agree that K-12 education could be better and that we should try to make it better. However, I am not going to plan a future for higher ed that hinges on K-12 doing things it’s never been able to do.

Now we could get rid of all the trappings of modern education. We could make learning more project/activity-based, more student-centered, and more collaborative, but we will still need experts to teach and mentor students and a larger support system. We could shift more of these activities into online environments, but we will still need some FTF because students benefit from it and because that is still how the professional world works. In fact we see less telecommuting now than we did a few years ago."



"The problem is that the digital “solution” isn’t any better. It’s also an info-dump (plus let the students talk to each other in forums and figure the stuff out). The standard info-dump pedagogy is based on the same fantasy that imagines plugging something into  your head and learning kung-fu in 30 seconds. There’s no doubt that the info-dump pedagogy can give you a bunch of disconnected pieces of information that you can hold in your mind until the end of the semester. And if you don’t do the info-dump approach then students probably won’t do as well on a test that is designed to see how much you retained from the info-dump.

So what if we established different goals for education. What if a successful education was measured by the work students were able to accomplish, the skills they developed, and the activities they were able to undertake than by the information that they were able to retain? Maybe our pedagogies would be different. And maybe MOOCs would make less sense as an alternative. That doesn’t mean that social media and other digital technologies wouldn’t play an important role in learning. In fact I imagine they will. It just means that watching some videos, reading some material, and then taking a test on it wouldn’t seem like learning to us regardless of whether those things happened online or in a lecture hall."
moocs  education  learning  purpose  alexreid  2014  addedvalue  technology  highereducation  highered  digital  technosolutionism  mooc 
february 2014 by robertogreco
Education Outrage: The top ten mistakes in education. Twenty years later.
"Twenty years have passed. Surely my writing about this and other’s re-posting and writing about this have had a big effect on education. Let’s look at them one by one:

Mistake #1: Schools act as if learning can be disassociated from doing.
Yes. Things have changed. They are worse. The latest horror is MOOCs which is just more talking and insists on the idea the education means knowledge transfer and that knowledge can be acquired by listening.

Mistake #2: Schools believe they have the job of assessment as part of their natural role
Yes. Things have really changed here. They are much worse. Before there were just a lots of bad tests. Now there are tests at every grade. Tests to get ready for the test. And now, teacher evaluations based on the tests.

Mistake #3: Schools believe they have an obligation to create standard curricula.
Wow! This one has gotten even worse than the others. Now it isn’t schools that create standard curricula it is Bill Gates, Common Core, the US Department of Education and every state Department of Education. We sure fixed that one.

Mistake #4: Teachers believe they ought to tell students what they think it is important to know.
I am not sure about this one. I don’t think teachers think much of anything anymore other than how to survive in a system where they are not valued and teaching doesn’t matter except with respect to test scores.

Mistake #5: Schools believe instruction can be independent of motivation for actual use.
No change. Still no use for algebra, physics formulae, random knowledge about history or literature. No use for anything taught in school actually after reading, writing, and arithmetic.

Mistake #6: Schools believe studying is an important part of learning.
No change.

Mistake #7: Schools believe that grading according to age group is an intrinsic part of the organization of a school.
No change.

Mistake #8: Schools believe children will accomplish things only by having grades to strive for.
No change.

Mistake #9: Schools believe discipline is an inherent part of learning.
Perhaps this has changed. There seems to be a lot less discipline.

Mistake #10: Schools believe students have a basic interest in learning whatever it is schools decide to teach to them.
Nah. No one believes that anymore.

I am not only one loudly talking into the wind. There are lots of people who agree with me and say thing similar to what I say.
Is there anyone listening?

Sure. Parents are noticing how stupid the test are and how stupid Common Core is. The kids are noticing, now more than ever. The teachers are upset.

Is anyone listening to them? No. There is big money at stake in keeping things as they are.

Well, that the report from 20 years on the front lines. We shall not retreat, but victory looks to be far away."
via:audreywatters  education  testing  standardizedtesting  2014  1994  learning  teaching  howweteach  howwelearn  commoncore  grades  grading  motivation  assessment  schools  mooc  moocs  instruction  rogerschank 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Black Mountain SOLE: MOOC campus for online learners has rough start | New Republic
"Since launching in September, Black Mountain has watched much of its seed money drain away as it struggles to build a seaworthy business model. Though many of the tech- and business-minded SOLEmates have flourished, creative types and liberal arts-seekers have foundered. The number of participants is growing, but at least half of the original class seems likely to leave before finishing their intended nine-month stay. Black Mountain was founded on the premise that college’s last remaining selling point, in this digital age, is community—so it set out to replicate the effect. The last four months have gone a long way toward proving the theory wrong."



"An Air Force brat, Dobias jokes that his elementary school teachers wanted him medicated for ADHD. For the first two decades of his life, he had no doubt that he would join the military when the time came. But his sophomore year at the Air Force Academy, Dobias had a seizure that disqualified him from service. “I sort of lost my identity,” he says. The seizure led to brain surgery; Dobias showed me the scar on his scalp, under his light brown hair. For a while, he tried working as a helicopter rescue swimmer in the Coast Guard and taking classes from Columbia Southern University online, working toward his unfinished degree. On a whim, he read The 4-Hour Workweek, Timothy Ferriss’s best-selling self-help book on how to “escape 9-5, live anywhere, and join the new rich.” He decided to become an entrepreneur.

Dobias flew planes and raced in triathlons in his free time, which is how he met his mentor, a venture capitalist named Mark Hunter. Dobias scored a job at KLH Capital, the firm Hunter had co-founded at age 23. Hunter, alas, left the firm to train for life as a monk. Before Hunter moved to India, Dobias visited him on weekends in Florida, where they’d stay up past midnight watching TED Talks in their pajamas. They were huddled in front of a computer in the wee hours of the morning when lightning struck. “We looked at each other and said, ‘We gotta do this,’” Dobias recalled. They didn’t quite shake on it—Dobias says the project “started with a pound.” Months later, they decided to dub their project a “SOLE,” or Self-Organized Learning Environment, inspired by another talk: Newcastle University professor Sugata Mitra’s, which won TED’s 2013 prize for best idea.

Hunter abandoned their messianic calling for a monastery in Calcutta, but not before setting up a 501c3 through which Dobias raised $350,000 from a venture capital donor. With it, he rented a dorm and a classroom building at the Blue Ridge Assembly, a century-old property near Asheville belonging to the YMCA. The oldest buildings are stately, antebellum-style halls with trunk-like pillars, gleaming white against the verdant hills. Dobias didn’t learn until after signing the agreement that the site once played host to the equally experimental Black Mountain College, home of such avant-garde artists as Merce Cunningham, John Cage, and Robert Creeley from 1933 through 1957. He says he was tickled by the “synchronicity.”"



"Asking artistically-inclined SOLEmates like Kosior to find their own mentors and lead their own workshops jives with the motto of “do it yourself learning.” But education-seekers like Kosior are swimming against the techie tide. The most collegiate offering I found was an “academic support group,” led by Byrne. At the beginning, she envisioned it as a daily meeting rotating between literature, theoretical math, science, and languages (she was trying to teach herself Portuguese; another SOLEmate had suggested the group learn Na’vi, the made-up tongue from the James Cameron movie Avatar). She assigned “The Depressed Person” by David Foster Wallace for a discussion on “man versus self in literature.” By early December, though, the seminar had morphed into an entrepreneurial support group, whose members helped out with one another’s business projects and read up on passive income and copywriting."
blackmountainsole  mooc  moocs  noracaplan-bricker  2013  bmc  blackmountaincollege  forshame  business  education  learning 
december 2013 by robertogreco
Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2013: MOOCs and Anti-MOOCs
"TL;DR

MOOCs expanded greatly in 2013 – expanded their partner institutions, expanded their course offerings, expanded their investment dollars, grew the number of students enrolled, and so on. But there were lots of questions along the way: who’s succeeding in MOOCs; how will MOOCs make money; how will MOOCs affect higher education; and how will MOOCs affect open education?"



"I started this (too goddamned long) review on MOOCs by invoking the Gartner Hype Cycle. And a nod here is due to Rolin Moe who’s writing his dissertation on MOOCs and who’s been very clear that the Gartner Hype Cycle is the wrong tool and wrong framework to use to talk about ed-tech. Moe writes that,
“If 2012 was The Year of the MOOC, one would expect 2013 to begin the MOOC’s path into trough of disillusionment. And to be fair, the MOOC has encountered more criticism from a wider array of thinkers and researchers since The Year of the MOOC. But the hype continues to soar. Education continues to be broken. MOOCs continue to focus on their model successes. And history’s biggest backer of education is maneuvering to make the MOOC more than a flash in the pan.”


Indeed. Despite all the criticisms and all the skepticism and all the failures and all the back-tracking and all the protests and all the pivots, MOOCs march onward. Many schools and many states are exploring MOOCs for credit. Many people, including the President, see MOOCs as a way to reduce college costs. Many see MOOCs as an experiment – a big data experiment, natch – that will uncover all sorts of insights into how we learn.

Despite the efforts of those of us who’d want to use more precise terminology, MOOCs and online education have been conflated. And online education doesn’t map neatly to Gartner’s Hype Cycle. We’ve been doing it for a long time now; and we are likely to continue doing so.

Moreover, if we view MOOCs as just part of a Gartner Hype Cycle – whether we position 2013 at the peak or in the trough or somewhere in between – it means we’re likely collapsing the history of ed-tech into a nifty business school narrative that ignores much of the past in order to make a prediction about investments in the future. As Edsurge likes to say, "Kaching!"

Where does I. A. Richards’ “Failed MOOC” of the 1950s fit in to this story?. How does David Noble’s 1998 book Digital Diploma Mills, which as David Wiley argued earlier this year, “reads as if it were researched and written about the current phenomenon called “MOOCs”?

And so once again, 2013 may have been more about ed-tech “zombie ideas,” if you will, than hype cycles. And MOOCs, although they've had a monstrous year, are surely not dead yet."
audreywatters  mooc  moocs  2013  edtech  onlineeducation  highered  highereducation  history 
december 2013 by robertogreco
The Audacity: Thrun Learns A Lesson and Students Pay | tressiemc
"It is a fair question that in many ways the academic and scientific communities have already answered with a resounding no. When I want to interview students for a research project I have to present a carefully, detailed plan to my University for approval. The plan is vetted by an Institutional Review Board. Every research university has an IRB but they didn’t always. Before 1974 doctors figured out the internal reproductive organs of women by cutting them open without consent or sedation. They observed the effects of untreated syphilis on test subjects — insanity and death — without bothering to inform the participants that there was a known, available treatment. They told volunteers they had electrocuted a stranger to see how human decision-making works.

Basically, before IRB a lot of modern science would have been war crimes had the U.S. been on the losing end of World War II. And because this is America, there was a disturbing pattern among the victims of these kinds of horrific experiments. They were overwhelmingly black, brown, indigenous, poor, and powerless. A 1978 report on regulating research on human beings declared that ethical research has “an obligation to protect persons from harm by maximizing anticipated benefits and minimizing possible risks of harm”. The connection to inequality was clear. The most vulnerable were likely to be prodded, poked and tested because the elite don’t often sign up to risk their lives for little reward. And flagrant disregard for these risks had few penalties because the victims were powerless. The rules governing academic and scientific research recognizes that some groups are too vulnerable to risk the failure that the scientific method requires.

Where was this ethical standard in what Thrun freely concedes was always an experiment? When Udacity was primarily interested in beaming the erudite countenance of professional smart people out into the world, it can be said that any risk was assumed by the those who chose to sign up. But when Udacity went after formal arrangements with colleges like SJSU to offer courses, for credit, to students enrolled in the University that changed.



Udacity always knew that the non-completion rates were high for its courses. They may not have known why, but that was a reason for greater testing, not a reason to roll-out the for-profit product for University clients. With sanction from the California governor on down the political line, Udacity  had to meet no ethical requirement to prove that the risk of failure was worth the promise of rewards. And what was promised? University partners could prove they were innovative, forward-thinking, and cut expensive faculty out of the complex equation of teaching students. To prove that teachers don’t matter and Stanford knows best what the world needs, a public university gave a for-profit company unfettered authority to experiment on its students without informed student consent. We may need more experimentation in higher education but it should be as ethical as any other we conduct in the name of science and progress.

Thrun says it wasn’t a failure. It was a lesson. But for the students who invested time and tuition in an experiment foisted on them by the  of stewards public highered trusts, failure is a lesson they didn’t need. Students like those at SJSU tend to know quite a bit about failure — institutional, social, and political. They did not need to learn again what Thrun, a smart guy from Stanford and Google, could have learned from a book."
mooc  moocs  2013  sjsu  sebastiunthrun  california  education  highered  highereducation  policy  politics  experimentation  tressiemcmillancottom 
november 2013 by robertogreco
Sebastian Thrun and Udacity: Distance learning is unsuccessful for most students.
"It is more than galling that Thrun blames students for the failure of a medium that was invented to serve them, instead of blaming the medium that, in the storied history of the “correspondence” course (“TV/VCR repair”!), has never worked. For him, MOOCs don’t fail to educate the less privileged because the massive online model is itself a poor tool. No, apparently students fail MOOCs because those students have the gall to be poor, so let’s give up on them and move on to the corporate world, where we don’t have to be accountable to the hoi polloi anymore, or even have to look at them, because gross.

Successful education needs personal interaction and accountability, period. This is, in fact, the same reason students feel annoyed, alienated, and anonymous in large lecture halls and thus justified in sexting and playing World of Warcraft during class—and why the answer is not the MOOC, but the tiny, for-credit, in-person seminar that has neither a sexy acronym nor a potential for huge corporate partnerships.

Granted, Thrun’s hasty retreat from a full university takeover is delightful for advocates of actual education, and his new vocational focus seems like a great idea for its participants at first glance. But here’s the other problem, which is perhaps even more pernicious: The single thing MOOCs unequivocally do better than traditional educational methods is play to the distinct advantages of the advantaged. Congratulations?

As Audrey Watters and Mike Caulfield have both argued, Thrun’s new venture will still probably have a 93 percent attrition rate, and that attrition rate does not actually seem to bother its creator. For Thrun has implied that MOOC failures are chaff being separated from wheat, the herd being thinned in a meritocracy, a “feature” rather than a bug in the system, as Caulfield has put it.

And just as with university MOOCs, those 7 percent who make it are going to be the same 7 percent who always make it: individuals who are not from “rough” neighborhoods, who have easy access to resources, and none of the pesky “challenges” that come from attempting to survive in an economy rigged against them. The workers who will thrive in a corporate training MOOC are those who do not need a MOOC to get a promotion."
moocs  mooc  udacity  sebastianthrun  2013  academia  audreywatters  mikecaulfield  rebeccaschuman  class  privilege  education  correspondencecourses 
november 2013 by robertogreco
The Internet Ideology: Why We Are Allowed to Hate Silicon Valley - Debatten - FAZ
"Reason number one: Silicon Valley firms are building what I call “invisible barbed wire” around our lives. We are promised more freedom, more openness, more mobility; we are told we can roam wherever and whenever we want. But the kind of emancipation that we actually get is fake emancipation; it’s the emancipation of a just-released criminal wearing an ankle bracelet.



Reason number two: Silicon Valley has destroyed our ability to imagine other models for running and organizing our communication infrastructure. Forget about models that aren’t based on advertising and that do not contribute to the centralization of data on private servers located in America. To suggest that we need to look into other – perhaps, even publicly-provided alternatives –is to risk being accused of wanting to “break the Internet.” We have succumbed to what the Brazilian social theorist Roberto Unger calls “the dictatorship of no alternatives”: we are asked to accept that Gmail is the best and only possible way to do email, and that Facebook is the best and only possible way to do social networking.



Reason number three: the simplistic epistemology of Silicon Valley has become a model that other institutions are beginning to emulate. The trouble with Silicon Valley is not just that it enables the NSA –it also encourages, even emboldens them. It inspires the NSA to keep searching for connections in a world of meaningless links, to record every click, to ensure that no interaction goes unnoticed, undocumented and unanalyzed. Like Silicon Valley, NSA assumes that everything is interconnected: if we can’t yet link two pieces of data, it’s because we haven’t looked deep enough – or we need a third piece of data, to be collected in the future, to make sense of it all.



Do people in Silicon Valley realize the mess that they are dragging us into? I doubt it. The “invisible barbed wire” remains invisible even to its builders. Whoever is building a tool to link MOOCs to biometric identification isn’t much concerned with what this means for our freedoms: “freedom” is not their department, they are just building cool tools for spreading knowledge!

This is where the “digital debate” leads us astray: it knows how to talk about tools but is barely capable of talking about social, political, and economic systems that these tools enable and disable, amplify and pacify. When these systems are once again brought to the fore of our analysis, the “digital” aspect of such tool-talk becomes extremely boring, for it explains nothing. Deleuze warned of such tool-centrism back in 1990:

“One can of course see how each kind of society corresponds to a particular kind of machine – with simple mechanical machines corresponding to sovereign societies, thermodynamic machines to disciplinary societies, cybernetic machines and computers to control societies. But the machines don’t explain anything, you have to analyze the collective arrangements of which the machines are just one component.”

In the last two decades, our ability to make such connections between machines and “collective arrangements” has all but atrophied. This happened, I suspect, because we’ve presumed that these machines come from “cyberspace,” that they are of the “online” and “digital” world – in other words, that they were bestowed upon us by the gods of “the Internet.” And “the Internet,” as Silicon Valley keeps reminding us, is the future. So to oppose these machines was to oppose the future itself.

Well, this is all bunk: there’s no “cyberspace” and “the digital debate” is just a bunch of sophistries concocted by Silicon Valley that allow its executives to sleep well at night. (It pays well too!) Haven’t we had enough? Our first step should be to rob them of their banal but highly effective language. Our second step should be to rob them of their flawed history. Our third step should be to re-inject politics and economics into this debate. Let’s bury the “digital debate” for good – along with an oversupply of intellectual mediocrity it has produced in the meantime."
siliconvalley  technology  politics  economics  freedom  privacy  evgenymorozov  2013  society  technosolutionism  moocs  communication  information  tracking  californianideology  mooc 
november 2013 by robertogreco
Text Patterns: investigating the poetry MOOC
"Now this seems rather curious: If an institution tells people that they can either audit a course or take it for an “Honor Code Certificate,” shouldn't that institution offer some information up front about what the difference is? What the expectations are? That no such information is offered tells us, I think, just how seriously we are to think of the educational value of this kind of “course”: it has none. Basically, people will watch a few videos. It’s telling that the course page says that it will last four weeks and that the “estimated effort” is “1-3 hours per week,” which suggests that they’re not even expecting genuine conversations to develop. As little as four hours’ investment in the entire (Harvard-based) history of American poetry?

I’m not sure this qualifies even as a joke. Now, advocates for MOOCs might say that this is but an experiment, an early essay in the craft. But with some poetry websites and an email listserv I could create something more educationally interesting and ambitious than this, though the entertaining spectacle of Michael Pollan reading a poem about corn would, sadly, be lacking. With Harvard’s resources, this is what they come up with?"
alanjacobs  MOOC  MOOCs  technology  teaching  listervs  poetry  education  highered  highereducation  video 
october 2013 by robertogreco
Dan Hill Opinion on MOOCs and design education
"(Ah these names. "Coursera." "Udacity." They sound like recently-privatised former state assets. I next expect a slew of social media oriented services, with monickers like Smugly and Learnr, Swotly and Examinr, Cramly and Testr.)"



"And yet despite attempts to fold in collaboration and sharing, it will tend to a solitary pursuit of those exercises. At least currently. The whole point of MOOCs - one of their core values - is that they are *not* social and collaborative. Their dematerialised and dislocated state means they fit into your schedule, but in doing so, it cannot - by definition - bring you together with people at the same time and in the same space.

Design and architecture education however is, I believe, more than ever about collaboration, on working through holistic projects together, face to face, in transdisciplinary teams, learning through doing on real projects with real clients. While digital tools can support this, affording some new patterns of activity, the pull back to the physical, embodied and genuinely social is profound, particularly as systems and outcomes become more complex, more entwined, more hybridised. Schools and research centres like Strelka, CIID, Sandberg Instituut or the work we're doing at Fabrica, are exploring exactly this, as post-institutional learning environments.

It's difficult to see how MOOCs will really shift that aspect of design education.

The great graphic designer and typographer Erik Spiekermann once said: "You can teach yourself everything there is to be learned by observing, asking, taking things apart and putting them back together again. Teachers can help with that process as long as they stay credible. The only way to achieve that is to keep on learning themselves.""



"For me, the ideal design education space - showing my prejudices, here - looks more like the wonderfully messy SCI-Arc in Los Angeles or Royal College of Art in London. The RCA, especially in Tony Dunne's Design Interactions space, can sometimes feel like some kind of gloriously generative cyberpunk favela.

How will MOOCs fit alongside this? Or put it another way, what do you think the student bar at Coursera is like?

The huge opportunity behind non-certified, transdisciplinary learning is that it can be tuned to the 21st century's needs, rather than the last century's. Collaborative project-based learning ought to be intrinsically holistic in nature, with tangible outcomes. This is how design is practiced, and this is how design ought to be practiced in the context of learning. Putting lectures online is really just putting 20th century education on the internet, and there must be more to 21st century education than that."
mooc  moocs  danhill  2013  design  designeducation  openstudioproject  lcproject  schooldesign  sciarc  rca  teaching  learning  collaboration  education  howwetech  howwelearn  learningspaces  messiness 
october 2013 by robertogreco
6 ways neoliberal education reform is destroying our college system - Salon.com
Here are six ways neoliberal education reform is creeping onto the college landscape.

1) Misdiagnosing the root problems... Mismanagement and poor teaching do exist, but the performance of US students is less a function of poor schools than unprecedented poverty. Analyses of international test data show that the one-in-five American students raised in poverty depress our otherwise admirable test scores. The OECD’s most recent report noted, “Socio-economic disadvantage translates more directly into poor educational performance in the United States than in other countries.” The fault lines of inequality and poverty define the landscape of educational achievement.

2) Pushing accountability through perks and penalties... Test-based teacher-evaluation has so far eluded any empirical justification. Researchers with the Educational Policy Institute conclude, “There is broad agreement among statisticians, psychometricians, and economists that student test scores alone are not sufficiently reliable and valid indicators of teacher effectiveness.” Multiple studies found that New York’s evaluation pilot program showed “little impact on student proficiency or school environment.”

Obama’s college ratings initiative doesn’t have standardized tests to lean on, so the president offered other guideposts: graduation rates, tuition costs, post-college earnings, number of Pell grant recipients enrolled. According to these measures, “students attending high-performing colleges could receive larger Pell Grants and more affordable student loans.”

3) Gaming the ratings... it’s easier to change numbers than people. This came to be known as Campbell’s Law, by now a well-worn chestnut. When No Child Left Behind went into effect in 2001, states began dumbing downtheir standardized tests in order to dodge the fell blade of Adequate Yearly Progress. Much-touted gains made in New York under Mayor Bloomberg, inflated by depressed standards, shrunk from 86.4 percent to 61 percent when those standards were realigned. They plummeted to 26 percent when Common Core-aligned tests were introduced this year. In Washington, D.C., much-ballyhooed achievement gains turned out to be the result of officials quietly fiddling with the achievement benchmarks.

4) “Saving” schools by sacrificing students.

Data-driven measures can distort school systems in more insidious ways, though. If the leading indicator for colleges is graduation rate, it’s likely some fudging and manipulation will result. Low-income students and students of color, who historically graduate at lower rates than their white and more affluent peers, will likely see fewer acceptance letters every spring.... Colleges that enroll the hardest-to-graduate students could be penalized for their students’ demographics... Given the choice between graduating high proportions of low-income students and screening out needier applicants, colleges will be tempted to pursue the latter.

5) Privileging “value” in the university.

Obama used the word “value” eight times in his speech to convey his idea of what students ought to demand of higher education—value not in the sense of a moral disposition, but in the “Value Meal” sense. The ratings plan will “help students compare the value offered by colleges and encourage colleges to improve.” But the president disregarded the staggering number of university classes taught not by tenured, tweed-clad professors but grad students and adjuncts in second-hand cardigans. A prevailing obsession with “value” in higher education would presumably hone in on instructor quality, but unlike RTTT, the administration’s new plan wastes no ink distinguishing between effective and ineffective instructors... No more reassuring for college instructors, adjunct and tenured alike, are the new initiative’s endorsements of MOOCs, or massive open online courses.

6) No College Left Behind. The foundation’s other forays into higher education—an accountability challenge, numerous nationalcollege completion initiatives, and a series of research paperswith consulting firm HCM Strategists made Gates “one of the strongest voices for accountability measures in higher education.” Gates’s $472 million in higher-ed munificence aims “to set an agenda, to help clarify an agenda and rally momentum around an agenda.” That momentum has brought the agenda all the way to the President’s pen.

Those who’ve followed K-12 reforms see the writing on the wall for higher education. The agenda is already set.

For some, however, that agenda’s familial resemblance to Race to the Top and reform patriarch No Child Left Behind is cause for concern. The president of the American Association of University Professors calls it “little more than a version of the failed policy of ‘No Child Left Behind’ brought to higher education.”
education  neoliberalism  MOOCs  testing  quantification  nclb  rttt  2013  ratings  via:shannon_mattern  mooc 
october 2013 by robertogreco
Chalkstar to Rockstar #05 - ds106 Is The 5th Dimension of Teaching and Learning - EdReach
[Linkrot, so here is the audio: http://ds106.us/2013/10/02/chalkstar-to-rockstar-05/ ]

"Have you ever taken an online course and wondered if you were really doing work that was worth the effort? How much did you interact with other people in your class? Did you feel alone?

Unfortunately, that’s how a lot of online courses tend to be. But not this one. Meet Jim Groom and Alan Levine, two of the minds behind what is now known simply as ds106. In this episode, I talk with Alan and Jim about how ds106 is different from anything you’ve ever heard about. We’ve got open learning platforms, criticisms of MOOCs, and shameless self promotion. You won’t be disappointed."

Some quotes:

"There's probably very little more exciting teaching happening in online learning than ds106. And that's why it's not a MOOC as Alan has made more than clear. It is a community and I think it has learned from the MOOCs and I'm not sure its roots are completely divorced from them, but it's about experimenting with online education rather than accepting the model of 'we're gonna broadcast a lecture and there's gonna be questions every five seconds and it's gonna be awesome because it's an LMS, it's just much bigger and I'm gonna have 150 thousand people and this is the future of ed.'"



"That's the other thing about edtech — it's the stupidest field ever. Everybody in it is stupid. They're like 'oh, my god, MOOCs, this is great!' and then for two years people are like 'This great, MOOCs we're gonna blow the…' No, it's an LMS with more people and completely uncompelling as it stands right now with all these corporate Udacitys and Courseras. You know, there's something that was learned from those early experiments from Downes and Siemens and they're awesome, but I think the point got missed real quick."



"It lost its status as a class, and it gained the status as a community."



"When the class started to jump the shark, the students knew it, and so the fractioned off and they created their own class called ds107 as a kind of like revolutionary moment. But it's like what you want — you want your students revolting, you want them to say you're full of crap, you know, go and it was kind of this amazing moment."



"In the end, more than anything, ds106 isn't a class, it's a community. It's a group of people coming together to share stories and ideas on an open platform and openly accessible anytime, anywhere. So that brings us back to that original questions. What is it? It is what you make it. And I think that's the thing that Jim and Alan want you to take away from it. Your story is what you make it and ds106 can be a way for you to learn how to tell that story."

"If it's nothing else it's a place where people can experiment with what online learning could look like and might look like and the more it looks like the web, the better."

[via: http://bavatuesdays.com/developing-story-ds106-explained/ ]
ds106  online  education  edtech  jimgroom  alanlevine  mooc  community  teaching  moocs  opensource  learningnetworks  sharing  storytelling  openweb  lms  brianbennett  openness  decentralization  messiness  open  openlearning 
october 2013 by robertogreco
Open as a Power Relation | bavatuesdays
"And while it seems simple enough, the idea has actually helped me come to terms with the idea of open in a different way than a somewhat linear narrative of good to bad, pure to spoiled, punk to corporate. The problem with the term openwashing, at least for me, is it suggests that open was pure and is now sullied. But I’m not sure that’s the case, because if we just give it a new name the same thing will happen under a different title. The same goes for license, somehow the license became the means by which open became defined, and as a result in many ways transformed a sense of how we understand it. Changed the very nature of its soul, if you will Open represents a series of power relations right now that tell us a lot about our cultural moment. Tracking the word, it’s uses and abuses, as well as its limits and possibilities traces a broader cultural shift through the lens of educational technology and beyond that is both truly fascinating and politically important."

[comment from Audrey Watters
http://bavatuesdays.com/open-as-a-power-relation/comment-page-1/#comment-156069 ]

"Revolution isn’t so simple as overthrowing those “in power” — administrators, politicians, Silicon Valley fancypants. Power, in Foucault’s framework, is too messy. It’s too slippery. Sorta like “open,” whatever that is or was or might be.

And when framed in terms of “revolution,” it’s all too easily recuperated by those in power. Much like MOOCs, I’d argue. Much like Edupunk.

But fight on, we must, growing our own networks of resistance in response to all and some and none of it…"
foucault  education  open  moocs  edtech  2013  via:steelemaley  power  language  openeducation  edupunk  revolution  mooc  michelfoucault 
september 2013 by robertogreco
Ian Bogost - What Grows when MOOCs Grow?
"You might want to read this New York Times article about Georgia Tech's new online masters degree in computer science. The article is pretty good, reasonably balanced, and looks at the issue from (almost) all sides. Notable side missing, as usual: what students think.

Anyway, I've said enough about this whole MOOC thing, but I did want to highlight one excerpt from the NYT piece:
The three leading MOOC providers, Udacity, Coursera and edX, have grown at a remarkable rate, adding hundreds of courses with dozens of college and university partners. But the path ahead is less clear, and all three are working with universities to find ways in which their courses can be used for credit.

This is true only for certain definitions of "growth." Really, the MOOC providers have grown exclusively on the usual Silicon Valley premise of speculative, short-term bets that have little concern about long-term prospects. Certainly their revenues haven't grown much; only their reach, as they manage to convince universities to give away the "content" of courses and teaching to produce a beneficial network effect for these private technology services.

The growth of private MOOC companies is driven almost entirely from financial speculation, speculation with an interest in private, short-term gain via industrialized scale. It's worth imagining what other kinds of growth might be possible if we had the stomach for a different kind of speculation meant to benefit long-term social institutions like schools instead of just the market. There's an alternate universe in which the NYT published a story today about how strong public investment in educational programs reduced costs and increased quality without selling the farm to bankers. One in which the key measure of "growth" is related to educational practice rather than industrialization. But that's not our universe."
moocs  ianbogost  shortterm  longterm  finance  udacity  coursera  edx  2013  industrialization  speculation  mooc 
august 2013 by robertogreco
Essays on the flaws of peer grading in MOOCs | Inside Higher Ed
The implicit assumption of any peer grading arrangement is that students with minimal direction can do what humanities professors get paid to do and I think that’s the fatal flaw of these arrangements. This assumption not only undermines the authority of professors everywhere; it suggests that the only important part of college instruction is the content that professors transmit to their students. How many of the books you read in college can you even name, let alone describe? It’s the skills you learn in college that matter, not the specific details in any particular class, particularly those outside the major.

Over the course of my career, I have increasingly begun to spend much more time in class teaching skills than I do content. Some of this has been a reaction to encountering students who do not seem as prepared for reading or writing college-level material as the students I had back when I started teaching. However, I have also come to believe that teaching these skills is much more important than teaching any particular historical fact. After all, it really is possible to Google nearly anything these days.
education  peergrading  moocs  via:ayjay  mooc 
march 2013 by robertogreco
MOOC completion rates
"While Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) may allow free education on an enormous scale, one of the biggest criticisms raised about MOOCs is that although thousands enrol for courses, a very small proportion actually complete the course. The release of information about enrollment and completion rates from MOOCs appears to be ad hoc at the moment - that is, official statistics are not published for every course. This data visualisation draws together information about enrollment numbers and completion rates from across online news stories and blogs."
mooc  moocs  completionrates  data  realtime 
march 2013 by robertogreco
Ian Bogost - Educational Hucksterism
"Thus, the really traumatic lesson to me is that all of the rational arguments by Mark and others about the educational downsides of MOOCs really don't matter, because MOOC providers don't actually care about education anyway. They're merely using education as a cover story, as the latest "industry ripe for disruption." Just as Google hasn't necessarily provided a better version of journalism but simply a more centralized, leveraged, and privately beneficial one, so Coursera won't necessarily do so for education either. In fact, success for MOOCs doesn't require better education. All it requires is fungibility."

[See also: http://computinged.wordpress.com/2013/01/04/moocs-are-a-fundamental-misperception-of-how-learning-works/ AND http://whimsley.typepad.com/whimsley/2012/12/peer-to-peer-hucksterism-an-open-letter-to-tim-wu.html ]
ianbogost  moocs  timwu  markguzdial  economics  business  siliconvalley  venturecapital  capitalism  highered  highereducation  learning  education  2013  coursera  mooc 
january 2013 by robertogreco
A moment of dreaming about higher education – The New Inquiry
"The work of self-cultivation that students do—when they learn language, learn to paint, learn to design and build, learn to socialize, and learn everything else that they learn—all eventually pays massive social dividends. A capitalist society like ours does not function if the state doesn’t educate its citizenry…There is nothing more blind to itself than a huge government which has enshrined “small government” as its ruling philosophy, and which exists only by spending tax dollars and but believes it can be against both taxes and spending."

"if we can see outside the frame of cultivation and pleasure, we can see that producing a mass population with all sorts of apparently superfluous skills—engineers that read novels and writers that know calculus—is a better society than one in which all human activity is reduced to pure utility, and bare recreation."
work  labor  highered  highereducation  aaronbady  society  learning  moocs  politics  capitalism  self-cultivation  liberalarts  government  smallgovernment  us  california  uc  2013  education  mooc  universityofcalifornia 
january 2013 by robertogreco
Kio Stark » Massive Open Online Classes are getting it wrong.
"What MOOCs should be working toward is more radical—detaching learning from the linear processes of school. That’s not the goal of the designers of MOOCs, but it absolutely should be.

What would this detached model of learning with access to the resources of school look like? It looks like the forms of independent learning I’ve been researching and writing about for Don’t Go Back to School. People getting the resources to learn what they want to learn, in contexts in which that knowledge or skill is necessary to the learner, or something they are passionate to learn."

"MOOCs have other challenges besides ditching linear formats. The most important condition for independent learning reported in my research is learning in the context of a community. MOOC designers make only a token effort to incorporate the social aspect of learning, with giant discussion forums that produce crowds, not learning communities."
udacity  mitx  coursera  learningcommunities  communitites  autodidactism  autodidacts  independentlearning  education  cv  tcsnmy  community  self-directedlearning  deschooling  unschooling  linearity  linearthinking  learning  mooc  moocs  2012  kiostark  autodidacticism  linear 
december 2012 by robertogreco
Could Minecraft be the next great engineering school? - Quartz
"The game’s open, often cooperative play, peer-built environments and simplicity has drawn an army of dedicated players who often spend days tunneling, hammering and building, just for the pleasure of making."

"While serious games have been used for some time for education and awareness, Minecraft seems different, a particular tool for a particular moment when computing skills, clever engineering solutions and the ability to engage distributed groups for social good all converge. Game designer and media philosopher Ian Bogost has called Minecraft a “game about resilience…a masterful magic crayon” after a term used by Chaim Gingold to describe tools that unlock new kinds of creativity. Bogost goes one step further to liken it to “shit crayons,” like the improvised tools poet Wole Soyinka used to write his works in a Nigerian prison—a tool for emancipatory creativity under moments of stress and constraint."

[See also: "The Great Lego Minecraft Shortage of 2012: http://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelwolf/2012/12/01/the-great-lego-minecraft-shortage-of-2012/ ]
play  videogames  seriousgames  gaming  games  scottsmith  ianbogost  mooc  moocs  mineraftedu  unhabitat  kibera  svenskbyggtjänst  minakvarter  myblock  mojang  blockbyblock  edg  srg  education  learning  sandboxes  deschooling  unschooling  2012  engineering  minecraft  lego 
december 2012 by robertogreco
» Napster, Udacity, and the Academy Clay Shirky
"Open systems are open. For people used to dealing with institutions that go out of their way to hide their flaws, this makes these systems look terrible at first. But anyone who has watched a piece of open source software improve, or remembers the Britannica people throwing tantrums about Wikipedia, has seen how blistering public criticism makes open systems better. And once you imagine educating a thousand people in a single class, it becomes clear that open courses, even in their nascent state, will be able to raise quality and improve certification faster than traditional institutions can lower cost or increase enrollment.

College mottos run the gamut from Bryn Mawr’s Veritatem Dilexi (I Delight In The Truth) to the Laboratory Institute of Merchandising’s Where Business Meets Fashion, but there’s a new one that now hangs over many of them: Quae Non Possunt Non Manent. Things That Can’t Last Don’t. The cost of attending college is rising above inflation every year…"
musicindustry  onlineeducation  sebastianthrun  peternorvig  universityofphoenix  wikipedia  opensystems  open  change  technology  udacity  napster  highereducation  higheredbubble  highered  clayshirky  mooc  moocs  education  forprofit 
november 2012 by robertogreco
Twitter / robinsloan: @audreywatters @tcarmody @mthomps ...
"@audreywatters @tcarmody @mthomps Ha! Nothing we do at @snarkmarket is massive or even particularly scalable—that's part of its charm ;-)"

…in response to https://twitter.com/audreywatters/status/265508419048439808

"@tcarmody @Snarkmarket @mthomps @robinsloan thank you for not calling this MOOC. Otherwise, you'd be dead to me, Carmody"

…in response to https://twitter.com/tcarmody/status/265507504723738624

"The best blogs become great classrooms. On @Snarkmarket’s Tenth Anniversary Seminar w/@mthomps, @robinsloan, me, & you: http://snarkmarket.com/2012/8022 "
snarkmarket  seminars  charm  scaling  scale  robinsloan  timcarmody  audreywatters  moocs  2012  mooc 
november 2012 by robertogreco
The internet is happening to education | xED Book
"Our thesis with xEducation is that the internet is happening to higher education and that successful universities of the future will be those that find ways to generate value for its many stakeholders that go beyond content provision and teaching. What exactly that value proposition is remains unclear. On the one hand, content and (recorded) lectures can easily be shared with limited costs. The internet scales content exceptionally well. The human, social, processes of learning don’t scale. Research doesn’t scale (yet). Regional and national economic value generation doesn’t scale. In these spaces where scalability does not work well, universities will likely find their new roles in society. Over the next six months, we’ll explore and test this thesis and place the discussion of higher education reform on a firmer foundation than the latest tool and popular hype."
mooc  society  highered  highereducation  teaching  learning  content  scalable  scalability  research  xeducation  2012  georgesiemens  education  scaling  scale  moocs 
september 2012 by robertogreco
Half an Hour: The Robot Teachers
"There is an ongoing and incessant campaign afoot to privatize education. In the United States, education is almost the last bastion of public expenditure. In Canada, both health care and education face the forces of privatization and commercialization.

The results are wholly predictable. In all cases, the result will be a system that favours a small moneyed elite and leaves the rest of the population struggling to obtain whatever health and education they can obtain with their meagre holdings. As more wealth accumulates in the hands of the corporations and the wealthy, the worse health and education outcomes become for the less well-off in society.

(Indeed, from my perspective, one of the greatest scams perpetrated by the wealthy about the education system is that it has a liberal bias. …)"

But here's where the challenge arises for the education and university system: it was designed to support income inequality and designed to favour the wealthy."
via:tealtan  economics  policy  politics  schooling  oligarchy  wealth  wealthy  sorting  tonybates  liberalbias  criticalthinking  higherorderskills  texas  california  corporations  corporatism  bias  corruption  influence  wealthdistribution  poverty  inequity  disparity  capitalism  adaptivelearningsystems  mitx  udemy  coursera  learninganalytics  programmedlearning  universalhealthcare  healthcare  deschooling  publiceducation  onlinelearning  canon  cv  technology  scriptedlearning  robotteachers  democracy  highereducation  highered  moocs  pedagogy  hierarchies  hierarchy  inequality  schools  education  privatization  privilege  us  canad  2012  stephendownes  mooc 
september 2012 by robertogreco
YouTube - George Siemens on Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)
"George Siemens, at the Technology Enhanced Knowledge Research Institute at Athabasca Universityhas been running "Massive Open Online Courses" (MOOCs). I talk to him about what a MOOC is, how it works, and the educational philosophy behind it."
mooc  socialnetworking  opensource  connectivism  social  georgesiemens  howardrheingold  via:steelemaley  online  internet  networkedlearning  teaching  learning  education  moodle  elluminate  distributed  connectedlearners  connectedlearning  connectedness  grasshopper  stephendownes  sensemaking  messiness  self-directedlearning  self-directed  moocs 
may 2011 by robertogreco
Moving beyond self-directed learning: Network-directed learning « Connectivism
"To address the information and social complexity of open courses, learners need to be network-directed, not self-directed learners. Social networks serve to filter and amplify important concepts and increase the diversity of views on controversial topics. This transition is far broader than only what we’ve experienced in open courses – the need for netwok-centric learning and knowledge building is foundational in many careers today…

Most importantly network-directed learning is not a “crowd sourcing” concept. Crowd sourcing involves people creating things together. Networks involve connected specialization – namely we are intelligent on our own and we amplify that intelligence when we connect to others. Connectedness – in this light – consists of increasing, not diminishing, the value of the individual."
learning  connectivism  networkedlearning  cck11  via:steelemaley  georgesiemens  self-directedlearning  self-directed  learningnetworks  deschooling  ivanillich  chaos  messiness  cv  amplifiers  specialization  mooc  cck  specialists  moocs 
may 2011 by robertogreco
Welcome to CCK11 ~ CCK11
"Connectivism & Connective Knowledge is an open online course that over 12 weeks explores the concepts of connectivism and connective knowledge and explore their application as a framework for theories of teaching and learning. Participation is open to everyone and there are no fees or subscriptions required.

The course will outline a connectivist understanding of educational systems of the future. It will help participants make sense of the transformative impact of technology in teaching and learning over the last decade. The voices calling for reform do so from many perspectives, with some suggesting 'new learners' require different learning models, others suggesting reform is needed due to globalization and increased competition, and still others suggesting technology is the salvation for the shortfalls evident in the system today. While each of these views tell us about the need for change, they overlook the primary reasons why change is required…"
connectivism  stephendownes  georgesiemens  elearning  learning  free  freelearning  deschooling  unschooling  informallearning  mooc  lcproject  pedagogy  education  moocs 
february 2011 by robertogreco

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