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Todd Suomela

"We do software so that you can do education": The curious case of MOOC platforms - Wor... - 0 views

  • edX’s case illustrates one mechanism through which this happens: the construction of organizational roles. Consider the separation of software and pedagogy within the edX ecosystem. As edX expanded its slate of partners, its first clients and patrons, MIT and Harvard, saw a decline in their own ability to set the agenda and control the direction of the software. These “users” argue that the software has an implicit theory of pedagogy embedded in it, and that, as experts on pedagogy, they should have more of a say in shaping the software. While acknowledging this, edX’s architects counter that they—and not the Harvard-MIT folks—should have the final say on prioritizing which features to build, not only because they understand the software the best, but also because they see themselves as best placed to understand which features might benefit the whole eco-system rather than just particular players.

    The standard template in the education technology industry is that the technology experts are only supposed to “implement” what the pedagogy experts ask. What is arguably new about the edX platform framework is that the software is prior to, and thereby more constitutive of, the pedagogy.

Todd Suomela

Beyond buttonology: Digital humanities, digital pedagogy, and the ACRL Framework | Russ... - 0 views

    • Here are a few specific examples you can apply to your instructional design process to help learners with metacognition:

      • Model the metacognitive process during instruction (or in one-on-one consultations) to ask and reflect on big picture questions such as: “What questions can you answer with this tool?” “What can you not do with this tool?” Keep in mind some answers may be simple (e.g., this tool can only work with data in this way, so it is excluded automatically). Also, “Did I get the results I expected? What could I have done differently?” Start with inquiry and build conversations based on the learner’s answers. “Is it the data that does not work? Or is the research question fundamentally wrong to begin with?”
      • Collaborate with faculty to teach together, modelling your practices while demonstrating a specific tool. This could include thinking aloud as you make decisions so learners can self-correct assumptions. Also, be aware of your own expert bias so you can demonstrate how to clear obstacles.
      • Ask learners to specifically define what is difficult for them during the process of instruction. Digital humanities tools are complex and are based on complex methodologies and research questions. By constructing opportunities for learners to self-question as they move from one task to another, they learn to self-assess their progress and adjust accordingly.
      • There are several instructional design activities that promote metacognition: think-pair-share, one minute paper (“share a key concept learned” or “what comes next?”), and case studies.
    • There are specific strategies we can implement to help learners escape the recursive spiral of the liminal state they experience while managing complex digital projects:

      • One of the most challenging aspects of teaching digital tools is forgetting what it is like to be a novice learner. Sometimes being a near-novice oneself helps you better prepare for the basic problems and frustrations learners are facing. But recognizing liminality is a reminder to you as a teacher that the learning process is not smooth, and it requires anticipating common difficulties and regularly checking in with learners to make sure you are not leaving them behind.
      • When meeting with learners one-on-one, make sure to use your in-depth reference interview skills to engage in methods discussions. When a learner is in the liminal state, they are not always able to “see the forest for the trees.” Your directed questions will illuminate the problems they are having and the solutions they had not seen.
      • Pay close attention to the digital humanities work and discussions happening on your own campus, as well as across the academic community. Working through the liminal space may require helping learners make connections to others facing similar problems. Also follow online discussions in order to point your learners to a wide variety of group learning opportunities, such as the active digital humanities community on Slack.9
      • When designing instructional opportunities, such as workshops and hackathons, pay particular attention to outreach strategies that may bring like-minded learners together, as well as diverse voices. For example, invite the scholar whose project was completed last year to add a more experienced voice to the conversation. By encouraging the formation of learning communities on your campus, you are creating safe spaces to help learners navigate the liminal state with others who may be on the other side of struggling with specific digital project issues.
      • In designing instructional activities, guide learners through visualization exercises that help to identify “stuck” places. Making graphic representations of one’s thoughts (e.g., concept maps) can highlight areas that require clarification.
Todd Suomela

From Good Intentions to Real Outcomes - Connected Learning Alliance - 0 views

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    "The growth of online communication, media, and gaming is driving dramatic changes in how we learn. Responding to these shifts, new forms of technology-enhanced learning and instruction, such as personalized learning, open online courses, educational games and apps, and tools for learning analytics, are garnering significant public attention and private investment. These technologies hold tremendous promise for improving learning experiences and outcomes. Despite this promise, however, evidence is mounting that these new technologies tend to be used and accessed in unequal ways, and they may even exacerbate inequity.

    In February and May 2017, leading researchers, educators, and technologists convened for in-depth working sessions to share challenges and solutions for how learning technologies can provide the greatest benefits for our most vulnerable learners.The aim was to develop guiding principles and a shared agenda for how educational platforms and funders can best serve diverse and disadvantaged learners. These principles include inclusive design processes, ways of addressing barriers, and meth- ods to effectively measure impact.

    This report synthesizes the research, learnings, and recommendations that participants offered at the two workshops. After framing the nature of the challenge, the report then describes promising strategies and examples, and it ends with recommendations for next steps in research and coalition building."
Todd Suomela

vSTEM.org - 0 views

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    "The simulations on this site are meant to give students the ability to experiment on traditionally static textbook problems and examples. We believe experimenting with a flexible, dynamic system can give students deeper insights into core engineering concepts than that gained from solving for single snapshots of a system. Tweak variables; solve for unknowns; experiment; see what happens and figure out why. This site is also used to augment hands-on experiments, by tracking student training on lab equipment and comparing lab with simulated data.

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Todd Suomela

Rescuing Student Participation Through Digital Platforms - DML Central - 0 views

  • One problem is that participation is largely taken for granted and under theorized in many classrooms. The way we make use of a term like participation is in need of rescuing: moving away from a limited view of participation as it is often linked to motivation, engagement, or hand-raising and toward the view that participation as a concept is more generative when connected to the idea of membership in communities of practice (Wenger, 1998). Our limited view of participation is evident by simply turning to the language included in most syllabi: often, syllabi list “participation points” as part of the grade of the course. I find this to be an odd way to think about participation. What we often mean is that we will give students some points for “talking in class” and “raising their hands.” But demonstrating engagement by hand-raising and talk are fairly limited views of participation, and in fact, these ways of being are more connected to performance — acting like a student — than participation. We certainly want students to participate more than 10 percent, or even half, of the time. Are they participating when they are listening and pondering the ideas of their peers? Of course they are, but how do they demonstrate that? In thinking about course design, we should consider how students become members of our classroom community and our disciplines. Social media sites can open up other avenues for participation, and further, connect students to communities of practice outside our classrooms that they hope to enter.
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