Ridiculous Education Headlines 2013

Top 10 Most Ridiculous Education Headlines in Techcrunch

1. How California’s New Online Education Pilot Will End College As We Know It
2. Online Education is Replacing Physical Colleges at a Crazy Fast Pace
3. Why Obama’s Radical Education Plan Could Finally Disrupt Higher Education
4. Does Higher Education Have a Future?
5. Free Massive Online Education Provider, Coursera, Begins To Find A Path To Profits
6. Amazon’s Kindle FreeTime Becomes An Even Better Babysitter, With New Educational Feature That Tells Kids To “Learn First,” Play Later
7. News Corp’s Education Tablet May Be the Bureaucractic Fit Schools Need to Adopt Tech
8. Gibbon Launches A Different Kind Of Education Startup, With User-Generated Learning Playlists For All
9. OMG! Cursive Education on the Chopping Block
10. Codecademy - Best Education Startup

Source: Techcrunch and hackeducation.com

College (Un)bound

I heard Jeff Selingo, editor at large of The Chronicle of Higher Education, speak last month at the NJEDge Annual Conference and bought his book, College Unbound: The Future of Higher Education and What It Means for Students.

You only have to get into the first section of the book to find these passage:

“More than ever, American colleges and universities seem to be in every business but education. They are in the entertainment business, the housing business, the restaurant business, the recreation business, and on some campuses, they operate what are essentially professional sports franchises (page 5).”

“The classroom has become one giant game of favor exchanges between students, professors and administrators (21).”

“The problem is that while the price of a degree is increasing, the amount of learning needed to get that piece of paper is moving in the opposite direction (24).”

In the book's conclusion, Selingo describes what might be the college student of the future. That student does graduate witha degree, but after getting credits from different institutions, He is not a believer that MOOCs will be the big agent of change, but students attending residential colleges, community colleges, studying abroad and using online coursework of any kind will give this new college student a wider variety of educational experiences.

I'm not sure that this kind of variety of opportunities to learn would be available to all students. Students with fewer financial resources may only be able to take advantage of a few of those opportunities. It does sound like the kind of college experience that is preparation for careers where change and a more global view are required.

Selingo blames the credential race for transforming universities into more of a big business, He is critical of the environment that has allowed some middle-tier colleges to get tuitions up with the elite universities even though they have poor graduation rates. He is also critical of colleges granting degrees to graduates who still lack the skills needed for a rapidly evolving job market.

Selingo is optimistic about technology and sees MOOCs, hybrid classes, and adaptive learning software as all being methods to explore. He also thinks that unbundling the traditional degree and credit system will increase access to high-quality education regardless of budget or location. The path to the degree and even the courses and lessons would be much more based on individual needs than the programs we have now.

In this video, Selingo covers some of the same ground as when I heard him speak. His points are covered in more detail in the book, but clearly Jeff Selingo thinks colleges need to allow students to engage in one-on-one mentorships with faculty and those outside the university, global experiences, undergraduate research, experiential learning, and opportunities for creativity and learning from failure.

70:20:10 and Working On Other Things

e-Learning Infographics

“Too many teachers see education as preparing kids for the past, not the future.” ~ Marc Prensky

“Virtually everything new seems to come from the 20 percent of their time engineers here
are expected to spend on side projects.” ~ Eric Schmidt - Google Inc.

There are 70:20:10 models in business and learning. In the business application, it changes the way traditional business resources are managed. It doesn't really sound controversial to encourage creativity, innovation, and experimentation, but they are not part of many organization's structure.

The model is also used as a way to manage and encourage innovation. The most famous use of it as a corporate policy is probably at Google. In 2005, Eric Schmidt, (then CEO) introduced the idea of making it policy that a proportion of time should be spent by employees should on different activities. Though the majority of their work day would be devoted to their core business tasks, 20% would be used for projects that were not directly related to core business. This "20% time" has led to Google News, Google Earth, and Google Local which were employee-initiated projects unrelated to Google's "core" business of
search and advertising.

A 70:20:10 model for learning (originally for training rather than school settings) was developed in 1996 by McCall, Eichinger and Lombardo at the Centre for Creative Leadership based on the results of a survey of successful and effective managers.

Their observation was that learning occurred 70% from doing challenging and difficult jobs. Learning came from other people (mostly a boss) 20% of the time. 10% of the learning came from courses and reading. The conclusion was to extend learning beyond our traditional classroom/course paradigm.

A number of later interpretations and adaptations to this model have said that the "70" can be viewed as being workplace learning and performance support, while the "20" might now mean social learning, informal coaching and mentoring. That leaves "10" as being "structured learning" in a more traditional way.

This model has its critics, some of whom question the lack of empirical evidence that it actually works.

If you point to Google as an example of its success, you would also have to add a footnote that nowadays Google’s “20% time,”
which actually allowed employees to take one day a week to work on side projects, "effectively no longer exists" according to an article that sourced some current and former Google employees.

So what happened to it?
This famous Google perk became for many employees just too difficult to schedule. Taking time off from their core jobs to work on independent projects was hard.

Has the 70:20:10 model moved at all into classrooms? When I have spoken to classroom teachers at all levels, I almost always hear interest and enthusiasm for a 70:20:10 or 80:20 model for their classroom. Take the writing teacher who would love to have students spend time writing what they really want to write. That could be on a blog or social network. It could be to work on their novel or write poetry, even though they were in a course that focused on the essay. But the problem in implementing it would be TIME. Where does it fit? What do we drop from the curriculum. We have so much already to cover. Perhaps the closest we have to the model is in an elementary classroom that allows time to play.

And so, is it that the 10 or 20% only exists in time away from the classroom or office?

And is that so different from all the other special personal projects we have in our lives? How many of us plan to do those 20% tasks on the weekend, on vacation or even when we retire?

It would be sad if all of that innovation and creativity never happened because we couldn't manage our time so that there was time for it.


Facebook (Yes, Facebook) Open Academy Brings Open Source to Computer Science Curricula

Facebook - not the first name that comes to mind when you think of open source - has announced that it hopes to bring more open source to computer science curricula.

Open Academy (OA) is a program designed to
provide a practical, applied software engineering experience as part of a
university student’s CS education. The program works with key
faculty members at top CS universities to launch a course that matches
students with active open source projects and mentors and allows them to
receive academic credit for their contributions to the open source code

Students and mentors from open source projects come together at the start of the semester for a weekend of learning and hacking, and then return to their universities and continue to work in virtual teams. Open source mentors support their teams by helping students find and understand tasks and review code contributions. The course instructors at each university meet with student teams at regular intervals to review progress. Some instructors overlay a lecture series to provide further learning opportunities to students.

OA was piloted at Stanford in 2012 and expanded in 2013 to include MIT, University of Texas at Austin, Cornell Univeristy, University of Toronto, Waterloo University, University of Singapore, University of Tokyo, Imperial College of London, Jagiellonian University, University of Helsinki, and Tampere University of Technology and has now expanded to the University of Pennsylvania, UC San Diego, Columbia University, Carnegie Mellon University, UC Berkeley , Purdue, University of Warsaw, UIUC, UCLA, and University of Washington.  

The winter 2014 course will officially begin in early February when all of the participating faculty, students, and open source mentors from around the world fly to Facebook's headquarters for a three-day kickoff event.