As I commented on Twitter the other day, I rarely agree with what I read in New Republic, but this article hits much more than it misses. So while you shouldn't consider this post to be a blanket endorsement of everything in the article, it is certainly recommended. "The more prestigious the school, the more unequal its student body is apt to be," writes William Deresiewicz. And as the selection process bcomes more rigorous it becomes more unequal as parents spend the time and money necessary to position their children for admission. "Elite colleges are not just powerless to reverse the movement toward a more unequal society; their policies actively promote it."
This is chapter two of an open textbook being developed by Tony Bates, but I confess that i would have approached the subject matter - the nature of knowledge - very differently. The debates over the yeaars concern less the classification of knowledge and are concerned more about the nature, creation and justification of knowledge. And I'm especially concerned about this conclusion: "What is changing then is not necessarily the nature of academic knowledge, but the nature of everyday knowledge, which is very much influenced by the explosion in communications and networking through the Internet." One of my criticisms of the academic world is that if the nature of academic knowledge is not changing, then it should be changing, and I feel, is changing. And it is changing, not as a direct result of technology, but because of what technology enables (just as astronomical knowledge changed not because we invesnted the telescope but because of what we could see through it).
I can't imagine doing a project in the manner described by Tony Bates, and was well into full-blown scepticism after reading the section on sampling and statistics when I encountered this question: is the PhD process broken? Bates writes, "it is probably the most costly and inefficient academic process in the whole university, riddled with bureaucracy, lack of clarity for students, and certainly in the non-quantitative areas, open to all kinds of challenges regarding the process and standards." For my own part, I take the fact that I could not obtain a PhD at this point without a lengthy 4- or 5-year process to be prima facie evidence that the system is broken.
Melonie Fullick writes, "I’ m more interested in the answer to a second, unasked question that’ s implicit in “ does it count?” : count for what? In most cases, it’ s an academic job, one with some security and stability; so whether something counts towards tenure is the point, with all the implications this brings." I think this is a good point. While on the one hand we're facing this irresistable desire to reduce everything to economics (which is the essence of the meaning of 'count') on the other hand we're witnessing tensions in the area of goals and objectives.
Bill Gates talks about education and everyone listens (one of these days I'd like to go to Redmond to talk to MS face-to-face about these topics). Still, some good bits: like this: "My key message today is that that model will be under challenge. And so, instead of tuning it to find 3 percent here or 4 percent there, which has been the story in the past, there will be dramatic changes." See also IHE coverage. : "He described as 'oversimplistic' the view that higher education is just about getting a job with a certain salary' - 'Citizenship, developing deeper understanding, other things, are all important,' he said."
The headline in the title of this post I think neatly ties together the link between media and education (and to a large degree why they are both interesting to me). "Dr Auma Obama, speaking on the following day about the work of the Sauti Kuu Foundation. Working in rural and slum areas in Kenya, the foundation teaches children about their 'light, voice and fire' or, in other words, their right to be seen, to speak, to participate and to challenge." These aren't luxuries; they're basic and core to both learning and society.
There isn't time (nor bandwidth in what has become terrible airport lounge wifi over the years) but I think that the concept of a bitcoin for learning is a really bad idea. I get the concept - students are looking for more than just grades; they want a learning 'currency' they can take with them to the workplace. And "currency, ideally, must travel, quickly and simply, and as widely as possible. It's a reductionist, simplistic mode of social interaction." But a substantial proportion of the economic and social woes in today's society stem from the unfettered flow of currency - especially shady currency - into cash hordes in small island nations and banking havens. I am quick to criticize the aristocracies and monarchies currently governing degrees and credentials, but the replacement of monarchy is not libertarian anarchy - that way lies madness - but proper civil and social government. (I have no idea who wrote this; his/her name appears nowhere on it, but it appeared in my twitter stream).
AAAS and Jisc are pleased to announce an agreement which will give researchers, teachers and learners free access to over 100 years of peer-reviewed scientific news, commentary and cutting-edge research.
The Science Classic archive will be available to staff and students in UK higher and further education and the research councils.
Founded in the late 19th century on $10,000 of seed money from the American inventor Thomas Edison, Science is now the largest paid circulation peer-reviewed general-science journal. The archive runs from its 1880 foundation until the online version was launched in 1997 and includes historically significant articles on the human genome, breast and colon cancer genes, and the Bose-Einstein condensate in physics.
Lorraine Estelle, executive director digital resources, Jisc and divisional CEO Jisc Collections said:
“With this agreement Jisc is pleased to be able to make more high quality research available free of charge to researchers, teachers and learners in UK universities and colleges. This purchase will save institutions money and increase the ability of institutions to provide their users with the best materials for research, teaching and learning.
It also adds to the significant investment that Jisc has already made in journal archives for UK institutions over the last decade, adding over 160,000 articles to a collection of over 3.75million articles already purchased on behalf of institutions.”
Beth Rosner, the publisher of Science, said:
“We are very pleased to provide researchers in the United Kingdom with access to the Science Classic archive, which delivers peer-reviewed scientific research and commentary from 1880 until 1996. Our partnership with Jisc will help advance the research capabilities at UK institutions of higher and further education by providing full-text access to this prestigious source of research knowledge.”
The Myerscough College board of governors is conferring an honorary college fellowship on Sal Cooke in recognition of her ‘outstanding career in the use of pioneering technology, particularly within the education sector.’
This is the highest honour that the college can bestow and is given to inspirational people from the world of business, sport, entertainment and education.
“This fellowship is very well-deserved and I’m delighted that Sal has been recognised in this way. I have worked closely with her over the years and her commitment and enthusiasm is second to none. Through Sal’s leadership Jisc TechDis has made a remarkable impact on the learning experience of thousands of students and I congratulate her on this achievement.”
Sal has taught in schools, further and higher education. In the early 1980s, she was seconded as the curriculum manager for the Yorkshire and Humber regional centre where she was to introduce technology to the curriculum of further education colleges as technology moved from the BBC computers to the first PCs.
As a result of the success of this project, Sal was seconded to Becta and subsequently other organisations, where she worked with partners such as the BBC, the funding councils and the Learning & Teaching Subject Network (a precursor of the Higher Education Academy). This led to working at the Department of Education and Skills as an adviser where she was integral to the creation of the e-learning strategies in higher and further education.
In 2000 Sal was asked to sit on one of the Jisc committees and took a lead role in the formation of the Jisc Regional Support Centres and was chair of their UK board for the first three years. Sal became the director of Jisc TechDis, the Jisc advisory service that provides advice on technologies for inclusion, when it re-located to the Higher Education Academy office in York ten years ago. Sal continues to bring vision, energy and enthusiasm to the role, working to promote the use of technology for independent learning, working and living, wherever she can. This includes more recently, within the charity sector, as currently she is a serving trustee of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.
Stephen Rigby, Chairman of Myerscough College Corporation, presented Sal with her fellowship at the Myerscough higher education presentation of awards ceremony which took place on the afternoon of Thursday 10 July 2014. Sal said:
“I was quite overwhelmed and pleasantly shocked when I received the letter from Myerscough. I feel that although this is a tremendous honour, I have to acknowledge that much of what I have achieved is down to the excellent teams and colleagues that I have had the pleasure of working with, throughout my long and varied career."
The 20 winners of this year’s Summer of Student Innovation competition have been announced today.
Winning teams will develop digital technologies to improve every aspect of students’ experience, from work-planning and making sure they eat well to improving exam performance and boosting employability.
The winning students will each receive an award of £5,000 from Jisc to develop their ideas into tools that can be used by fellow students, colleges and universities. They’ll also attend a series of summer schools to help them develop their project management and entrepreneurial skills and give them an opportunity to learn from experts in digital technology.
Dr John Shemilt, director of ICT, Imperial and Summer of Student Innovation steering group member said:
“It is fantastic to see such great ideas put forward this year, building on the success of last year’s competition. It gives a real insight into what the students see as important. I’m looking forward to the autumn showcase event, it will be rewarding to see how these ideas have grown and been developed by the students.”
The competition attracted dozens of entries from further education, undergraduate and postgraduate students and 8,400 votes from 160 institutions as their peers voted on the Jisc Elevator website.
The winning ideas will be developed over the summer and presented to universities and colleges later in the year. This will give the students a chance to pitch their ideas and offer individual universities and colleges an early opportunity to adopt these new technologies.
This is the second time the Summer of Student Innovation competition has been run. A number of the 2013 winners have successfully developed their concepts and have seen them start to take off both in the UK and overseas: several of these have been selected by Jisc to receive further development support. Call for Participants’ Matt Terrell comments:
“We are just adding the finishing touches to the new website being launched late this summer, while fast approaching another milestone - registered users from 200 different institutions. The grant enabled us to speed up our development process, and working with Jisc has provided us with many useful connections.
I am very excited about this year’s competition winners as there are some interesting ideas and innovations, many of which I can see being adopted by students and institution staff as early as next year, if not before.”
The Summer of Student Innovation is managed by Jisc and is a co-design project with Research Libraries UK (RLUK), Russell Universities’ Group of IT Directors (RUGIT), the Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL), Universities and Colleges Information Systems Association (UCISA) and the Association for Learning Technology (ALT).
The awards, announced by the evening’s host, comedian Rob Brydon, celebrate the extraordinary innovation, teamwork and commercial acumen of UK higher education institutions, from HR to estates and finance to fundraising.
Loughborough University’s winning entry came from their school of aeronautical, automotive, chemical and materials engineering. The team used information and communications technology to transform its student placement process to improve its efficiency and provide a better student experience.
An 18 month project started in 2012 to upgrade the university’s in-house Co-Tutor platform and develop a set of standard digital forms. After a series of consultations with staff and students, a ‘service blueprint’ was developed that outlined how the school would use ICT to improve its placement processes.
Co-Tutor now keeps placement information in an organised central repository, monitors the submission of health and safety forms, makes allocating placement supervisors quick and easy, and ensures that placement information is kept in line with the Data Protection Act. To date, it has facilitated more than 700 industrial placements.
Martyn Harrow, Jisc’s chief executive and a member of the judging panel, said:
“In a strong ﬁeld, Loughborough’s entry stood out as best meeting the brief and demonstrating impressive results.
The judges particularly recognised the imaginative yet highly systematic approach to collaboration between staff, students and developers that drove the success.”
Professor Morag Bell, pro vice-chancellor (teaching) at Loughborough University, said:
“We are delighted that Loughborough has received this prestigious award. It recognises the way in which different parts of the university work in partnership to develop the efficiency of our processes and provide an enhanced service to our students.”
Jisc welcomes the publication of the Government response to the independent report, produced by the Further Education Learning Technology Action Group (FELTAG), encouraging innovation in the use of technology by the UK further education system.
Matthew Hancock, Minister of State for Skills and Enterprise, explains in the executive summary that the aim of the report is to remove the obstacles for providers to harness digital technologies. This is so they are able to potentially 'engage more learners, improve the learning experience and enhance [their own] effectiveness and efficiency'.
Nigel Ecclesfield, head of change implementation support programmes – further education and skills at Jisc, said:
“We look forward to working with the Education & Training Foundation and sector membership partners through our experts, services and technological infrastructure to transform the UK’s digital learning experience.
“Working together across the sector we will contribute to the developments sought by FELTAG in particular across technology horizon scanning, investment and capital infrastructure, relationships between the further education community and employers, engaging learners, access and inclusion.
“Through this work we’ll help providers, learners and the sector workforce improve their use and implementation of digital technologies across all aspects of the FE and skills sector.”
Jisc is closely involved in the work with Educational Technology Advisory Group (ETAG) working with both the Department for Education and BIS as well as HE and FE stakeholders contributing our detailed knowledge of the higher education sector to that already provided for FELTAG on FE and skills.
In the recent article “Simulating Learning Networks in a Higher Education Blogosphere – At Scale“, Fridolin Wild and Steinn Sigurdarson introduce into a simulation model built from the iCamp trial data and educational model assumption: they wanted to see what would happen, if trials are scaled up an order of magnitude. The simulation results are [...]
One year after we succesfully went through iCamp project’s last official review, we are wirting down a new post for wellcoming a new version of our Handbook. This is the time for its Spanish version, issued by Win-Win Consultores, with the financial support of the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Turism under its “avanza2” [...]
The iCamp partner AGH – the University of Science and Technology in Krakow, Poland, has published recently a Polish version of the iCamp handbook on how to use social software in education. Please click here to get the electronic version.
Since the iCamp experience was very successful in making use of new media for cross-cultural collaboration iCamp competes for the MEDEA Awards, respecively in the European Collaboration Award.
Let’s keep our fingers crossed!
We now received the final review report where our external reviewers commend us on our excellent work and our valuable contribution to European research in Technology Enhanced Learning.
Here are some quotes from the report, which can also be downloaded:
… In the opinion of the reviewers the products and outcomes of the project are of considerable [...]