Wednesday, August 29. 2012
Who is Blog Action Day? YOU!
Blog Action Day is a free event for bloggers, social media users, vloggers, podcasters, designers, infographic and data producers.
It is open to people from all countries, languages, backgrounds, and areas of interest. It doesn’t matter if your blog talks about cooking, politics, gardening, animals, development, business, music, culture, science, social change, faith or even yourself.Blog Action Day is the one day of the year where thousands of bloggers can work together to focus on one important global topic, and help raise awareness and money for charities and social causes.
The theme for Blog Action Day 2012 on October 15 will be “The Power of We.” This theme was chosen because of the popularity of the your suggestions: Community, Equality, Transparency/Anti-Corruption and Freedom, in our theme poll. Secondly, "The Power of We" is a celebration of people working together to make a positive difference in the world, either for their own communities or for people they will never meet half way around he world.
So, what what will you do for your Blog Action Day post?
Register your site today at http://blogactionday.org/register-to-take-part/
Wednesday, August 22. 2012
Social bookmarking is when a community of users compiles an index by collectively submitting ("bookmarking") favorite or relevant sites for the community. To make it work, the sites are tagged with keywords to facilitate searching.
The idea of creating a folksonomy is something I wrote about here in 2008 and earlier. On the surface, it sound rather random and disorganized.
Folksonomy,It has been enough years that there is a history of social bookmarking. But it seems to me that the use of many of the sites that were the most popular social bookmarking sites in 2010 are not being used as much today.
This video from 2007 was introducing a service like delicious to new users.
But I am not using social bookmarks as much as I did before. My own delicious account that I used for classes has fallen into disuse.
Certainly "tagging" is still being used. But adding the hashtag #edtech to your twitter post is not the same thing as what social bookmarking meant five years ago.
Some social bookmarking sites took a different approach to the process. There was more a "voting" (up or down) approach on the site Digg (which has gone through several rebirths and is no longer really a social bookmarking site). Facebook uses a "thumbs up" Like button for people to indicate to friends that they "Like" a site or post. But these choices are not searchable in any satisfying way and they are not tagged into categories. Newsvine called the headlines there "seeds."
Have Net users outgrown social bookmarking or has the practice evolved to simply tagging in social networks? Is "social tagging" the term to replace "social bookmarking?"
Back in 2006, I asked "Is Folksonomy Taxonomy or Fauxonomy? Maybe the question is being answered.
Monday, August 20. 2012
An article in The Chronicle of Higher Education says that there have been
"Dozens of Plagiarism Incidents Reported in Coursera's Free Online Courses by students even though the MOOC's carry no credit.
Students cheating even when the stakes are low? What are we to conclude?
Eric S. Rabkin, a U. of Michigan professor who teaches a free Massive Open Online Course, posted to his 39,000 students that he wanted them to stop plagiarizing. The people at Coursera (who offer the course) are reviewing the issue and will consider adding plagiarism-detection software in the future.
What is interesting is that in the Coursera humanities courses that have complaints, the complaining has come from other students. The courses use peer grading and each student is asked to grade and offer comments on fellow students.
I am happy that a student says "I just graded my second batch of peer essays and was saddened to find one of them was lifted from Wikipedia" because it means that he is being educated about plagiarism from the other side of the desk, and that he does not approve of it. But I am also surprised that he is surprised that it occurs. The article goes on to say that many students (in the online discussion) "expressed surprise that their peers would resort to fraudulent behavior in a noncredit course."
Is that what they find surprising - not the plagiarism but it occurring in a non-credit course? (Students who complete a course can get a certificate showing that but the courses do not count for credit at any university.)
Of course, as soon as MOOCs came into being, faculty were immediately skeptical (most still are) and one question asked was "Who will monitor and grade the work of thousands of students?" Quality control is certainly an issue, as it has been for decades in online courses of any size.
We will see what changes occur. Perhaps, students will be able to take MOOCs from a source outside their college, but will be tested and evaluated on what they have learned by their own college and awarded credit based on that evaluation.
Plagiarism is a very old academic issue. Academic integrity in online courses has been an issue for about 40 years. MOOCs have inherited those issues, but are so new that they have not had to really address them as of yet.
Cross-posted in a slightly different version from my blog at http://pcccwriting.blogspot.com
(just so I am not accused of self plagiarism)
Wednesday, August 15. 2012
I recently discovered a Google/YouTube collaboration for teaching proper digital citizenship practices. The curriculum is for teachers to use to teach students what digital citizenship means and how it impacts their online and offline lives.
The interactive curriculum is on YouTube. There was a time in the early days of the Internet when I would hear that teachers felt an obligation to educate students on how to be safe, engaged and confident model "Netizens." It has been awhile since I heard that term used, and I'm not sure if this is still a topic that is taught. Perhaps, we are assuming that students are born into Net citizenship.
This initiative is aimed at students aged 13 to 17, but elements could certainly be used with older and younger students with some adaptations. For example, the lesson on Copyright includes a Teacher's Guide and Slides that would easily work with an introductory college group.
Google is using its own YouTube as the content for the lessons provided. They cover YouTube’s policies, how to report content, how to protect their own privacy, and how to be responsible YouTube community members. Teachers would hopefully lead students to see the wider implications of being part of an online community and how this applies to places like Facebook.
Each lesson comes with guidelines for teachers and ready-made slides for presentation. There’s also a YouTube Curriculum channel where videos related to the project will be posted.
Monday, August 13. 2012
Boundless Learning has launched an upgraded, public iteration of its software (after a year in beta) and it offers college students free, open versions of textbooks. They describe this big money saver as "textbook replacement."
It will not surprise you that publishers are not happy. Three major publishers sued Boundless in April for abusing the intellectual property its authors have created, copying not the actual content but the structure and form of their books.
The company identifies widely used textbooks in certain fields and then takes the best freely available material it can find. The resulting book is offered as an alternative.
The company is not charging at this point but has $9 million in investor funding. The market for college textbooks is estimated at $4.6 billion a year and has long been a target of student protest over costs. Unfortunately, many students deal with the cost by not buying the textbook and trying to get by by borrowing books from the library and friends (often photocopying large portions of the book).
In the past 5 years, I have written a number of posts about open and free textbooks and the attempts to change textbook publication and sales. There have been other companies, like Flat World, that have opened book access by appealing to colleges and instructors to adopt their reduced cost textbooks. Boundless is direct marketing to students with taglines like "Replace your assigned text for 100% free."
Thursday, August 9. 2012
Further evidence that mobile learning is here in pedagogy - at least for K-12 teachers. The University of San Diego will start offering this fall a certificate course designed for K-12 educators and administrators. Its School of Leadership and Education Sciences recently announced the creation of a Mobile Technology Learning Center (MTLC) to provide research-based answers to many of the unknowns regarding mobile technology and learning.
By collaborating with local school districts, other institutions of higher learning, and government agencies, MTLC wants to become a "living laboratory" for schools and educators, to test research findings, and to provide future teachers with unique teaching and research opportunities.It's the first mobile-tech program of its kind to provide an accredited certificate through a university system, and is being offered nationally as a fully online experience.
Called "Digital Literacy for Teachers and Leaders," the program includes four in-depth courses that can be completed in eight months. Topics will include integrating mobile technology tools into the student learning experience, as well as developing tools and metrics to evaluate their success.
Tuesday, August 7. 2012
"Trickle-down economics" and "the trickle-down theory" are terms in United States politics to refer to the idea that tax breaks or other economic benefits provided by government to businesses and the wealthy will benefit poorer members of society by improving the economy as a whole.
Though many people today associate it with Reaganomics or supply-side economics, the term has been attributed to humorist Will Rogers, who said during the Great Depression that "money was all appropriated for the top in hopes that it would trickle down to the needy."
In some ways, there is a “trickle-down pedagogy" theory around in education - especially in the use of technology. The theory is that innovation starts in higher ed and then works its way down into K-12.
Examples might be the use of learning management systems, or 1:1 computing, or giving students iPods, tablets and phones. A lot of this innovation is economically motivated. Colleges have more to spend and can require students to spend. They also have fewer restrictions on what they can do with adult students.
Right now, MOOCs (massive open online courses) are a hot topic in higher ed. Though I can't imagine a K-12 school or system being able to <i>offer</i> a MOOC, I can see high school students and teachers participating in them, In fact, I can imagine more of the secondary school people participating than in higher ed.
More and more vendors of educational software are looking to K-12 as an untapped market for products and services that were seen as more suited to colleges. Learning management systems is a good example.
I feel pretty safe saying that the innovation in pure pedagogy - how we teach - comes from the lower grades and sometimes bubbles up to higher ed.
Is there any trickle-down pedagogy?
When I moved from secondary education to higher ed in 2000, I was amazed at what professor had not heard of in education. Topics and movements that I had been exposed to ten or even twenty years earlier were unheard of on campus. I blew the dust off materials I had about Bloom's taxonomy, learning styles, backwards design, rubrics, problem-based learning etc. and presented them to educational theory virgins who were surprisingly interested. More than a few faculty confessed to me that they knew almost nothing about educational theory and research. Some said, "I try to be like the good teachers I had and not like the poor ones."
I guess that would be a form of bubble-up pedagogy.
When the college I was working at back then offered some days of professional development for high school teachers, we had a hard time finding professors and topics that would be new to the teachers that they could actually do in their classrooms. They loved seeing our labs and toys, but they knew they had no chance of using what they saw in their classes. In teaching those workshops and sitting in other professors sessions, I often heard the high school teachers suggest to the presenters ways that they taught the content that seemed more innovative than our pedagogy.
And I don't want to get started on the blame game that trickles down from every higher level about how the students are unprepared by the earlier levels. That game extends even beyond schools. Primary teachers can blame pre-schools who can blame parents. Employers can blame the universities.
Of course, the best pedagogy sharing would be bidirectional and we would each learn from the other levels. It's unfortunate that upper level teachers (high school and college) often look down on teachers in K-8 because the content is so "simple" and ignore the innovative ways it is being presented and assessed. College professors are often seen as working in ivory towers of rarefied academic air that has little application to the teaching of "children."
Trickle-down or bubble up. We need good pedagogy to move across all levels of education.
Monday, August 6. 2012
An online article via huffingtonpost.com called "Privatizing Public Schools: Big Firms Eyeing Profits From U.S. K-12 Market" might send a chill down the backbones of some educators, although it is having the opposite effect on vendors who see the potential of a new market.
...Think about the upcoming rollout of new national academic standards for public schools, he urged the crowd. If they're as rigorous as advertised, a huge number of schools will suddenly look really bad, their students testing way behind in reading and math. They'll want help, quick. And private, for-profit vendors selling lesson plans, educational software and student assessments will be right there to provide it.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/02/private-firms-eyeing-prof_n_1732856.html
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