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Lisa C. Hurst

Inside the School Silicon Valley Thinks Will Save Education | WIRED - 9 views

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    "AUTHOR: ISSIE LAPOWSKY. ISSIE LAPOWSKY DATE OF PUBLICATION: 05.04.15. 05.04.15 TIME OF PUBLICATION: 7:00 AM. 7:00 AM INSIDE THE SCHOOL SILICON VALLEY THINKS WILL SAVE EDUCATION Click to Open Overlay Gallery Students in the youngest class at the Fort Mason AltSchool help their teacher, Jennifer Aguilar, compile a list of what they know and what they want to know about butterflies. CHRISTIE HEMM KLOK/WIRED SO YOU'RE A parent, thinking about sending your 7-year-old to this rogue startup of a school you heard about from your friend's neighbor's sister. It's prospective parent information day, and you make the trek to San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood. You walk up to the second floor of the school, file into a glass-walled conference room overlooking a classroom, and take a seat alongside dozens of other parents who, like you, feel that public schools-with their endless bubble-filled tests, 38-kid classrooms, and antiquated approach to learning-just aren't cutting it. At the same time, you're thinking: this school is kind of weird. On one side of the glass is a cheery little scene, with two teachers leading two different middle school lessons on opposite ends of the room. But on the other side is something altogether unusual: an airy and open office with vaulted ceilings, sunlight streaming onto low-slung couches, and rows of hoodie-wearing employees typing away on their computers while munching on free snacks from the kitchen. And while you can't quite be sure, you think that might be a robot on wheels roaming about. Then there's the guy who's standing at the front of the conference room, the school's founder. Dressed in the San Francisco standard issue t-shirt and jeans, he's unlike any school administrator you've ever met. But the more he talks about how this school uses technology to enhance and individualize EDUCATION, the more you start to like what he has to say. And so, if you are truly fed up with the school stat
Bill Graziadei, Ph.D. (aka Dr. G)

Imagining College Without Grades :: Inside Higher Ed :: Higher Education's Source for News, Views and Education - 1 views

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    Inside Higher Ed offers free online news and job information for college and university faculty, adjuncts, graduate students, and administrators, higher education education, faculty education, college education and university education
Steve Ransom

The fantasies driving school reform: A primer for education graduates - The Answer Sheet - The Washington Post - 5 views

  • Richard Rothstein
  • In truth, this conventional view relies upon imaginary facts.
  • Let me repeat: black elementary school students today have better math skills than white students did only twenty years ago.
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  • As a result, we’ve wasted 15 years avoiding incremental improvement, and instead trying to upend a reasonably successful school system.
  • But the reason it hasn’t narrowed is that your profession has done too good a job — you’ve improved white children’s performance as well, so the score gap persists, but at a higher level for all.
  • Policymakers, pundits, and politicians ignore these gains; they conclude that you, educators, have been incompetent because the test score gap hasn’t much narrowed.
  • If you believe public education deserves greater support, as I do, you will have to boast about your accomplishments, because voters are more likely to aid a successful institution than a collapsing one.
  • Because education has become so politicized, with policy made by those with preconceptions of failure and little understanding of the educational process, you are entering a field that has become obsessed with evaluating only results that are easy to measure, rather than those that are most important. But as Albert Einstein once said, not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted, counts.
  • equally important educational goals — citizenship, character, appreciation of the arts and music, physical fitness and health, and knowledge of history, the sciences, and literature.
  • If you have high expectations, your students can succeed regardless of parents’ economic circumstances. That is nonsense.
  • health insurance; children are less likely to get routine and preventive care that middle class children take for granted
  • If they can’t see because they don’t get glasses to correct vision difficulties, high expectations can’t teach them to read.
  • In short, underemployment of parents is not only an economic crisis — it is an educational crisis. You cannot ignore it and be good educators.
  • To be good educators, you must step up your activity not only in the classroom, but as citizens. You must speak up in the public arena, challenging those policymakers who will accuse you only of making excuses when you speak the truth that children who are hungry, mobile, and stressed, cannot learn as easily as those who are comfortable.
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    An important read for anyone who truly wants to understand what's really important in education and the false reform strategies of our current (and past) education.
Maureen Greenbaum

The Future of College? - The Atlantic - 29 views

  • proprietary online platform developed to apply pedagogical practices that have been studied and vetted by one of the world’s foremost psychologists, a former Harvard dean named Stephen M. Kosslyn, who joined Minerva in 2012.
  • inductive reasoning
  • Minerva class extended no refuge for the timid, nor privilege for the garrulous. Within seconds, every student had to provide an answer, and Bonabeau displayed our choices so that we could be called upon to defend them.
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  • subjecting us to pop quizzes, cold calls, and pedagogical tactics that during an in-the-flesh seminar would have taken precious minutes of class time to arrange.
  • felt decidedly unlike a normal classroom. For one thing, it was exhausting: a continuous period of forced engagement, with no relief in the form of time when my attention could flag
  • One educational psychologist, Ludy Benjamin, likens lectures to Velveeta cheese—something lots of people consume but no one considers either delicious or nourishing.)
  • because I had to answer a quiz question or articulate a position. I was forced, in effect, to learn
  • adically remake one of the most sclerotic sectors of the U.S. economy, one so shielded from the need for improvement that its biggest innovation in the past 30 years has been to double its costs and hire more administrators at higher salaries.
  • past half millennium, the technology of learning has hardly budge
  • fellow edu-nauts
  • Lectures are banned
  • attending class on Apple laptops
  • Lectures, Kosslyn says, are cost-effective but pedagogically unsound. “A great way to teach, but a terrible way to learn.”
  • Minerva boast is that it will strip the university experience down to the aspects that are shown to contribute directly to student learning. Lectures, gone. Tenure, gone. Gothic architecture, football, ivy crawling up the walls—gone, gone, gone.
  • “Your cash cow is the lecture, and the lecture is over,” he told a gathering of deans. “The lecture model ... will be obliterated.”
  • One imagines tumbleweeds rolling through abandoned quads and wrecking balls smashing through the windows of classrooms left empty by students who have plugged into new online platforms.
  • when you have a noncurated academic experience, you effectively don’t get educated.
  • Liberal-arts education is about developing the intellectual capacity of the individual, and learning to be a productive member of society. And you cannot do that without a curriculum.”
  • “The freshman year [as taught at traditional schools] should not exist,” Nelson says, suggesting that MOOCs can teach the basics. “Do your freshman year at home.”) Instead, Minerva’s first-year classes are designed to inculcate what Nelson calls “habits of mind” and “foundational concepts,” which are the basis for all sound systematic thought. In a science class, for example, students should develop a deep understanding of the need for controlled experiments. In a humanities class, they need to learn the classical techniques of rhetoric and develop basic persuasive skills. The curriculum then builds from that foundation.
  • What, he asks, does it mean to be educated?
  • methods will be tested against scientifically determined best practices
  • Subsidies, Nelson says, encourage universities to enroll even students who aren’t likely to thrive, and to raise tuition, since federal money is pegged to costs.
  • We have numerous sound, reproducible experiments that tell us how people learn, and what teachers can do to improve learning.” Some of the studies are ancient, by the standards of scientific research—and yet their lessons are almost wholly ignored.
  • memory of material is enhanced by “deep” cognitive tasks
  • he found the man’s view of education, in a word, faith-based
  • ask a student to explain a concept she has been studying, the very act of articulating it seems to lodge it in her memory. Forcing students to guess the answer to a problem, and to discuss their answers in small groups, seems to make them understand the problem better—even if they guess wrong.
  • e traditional concept of “cognitive styles”—visual versus aural learners, those who learn by doing versus those who learn by studying—is muddled and wrong.
  • pedagogical best practices Kosslyn has identified have been programmed into the Minerva platform so that they are easy for professors to apply. They are not only easy, in fact, but also compulsory, and professors will be trained intensively in how to use the platform.
  • Professors are able to sort students instantly, and by many metrics, for small-group work—
  • a pop quiz at the beginning of a class and (if the students are warned in advance) another one at a random moment later in the class greatly increases the durability of what is learned.
  • he could have alerted colleagues to best practices, but they most likely would have ignored them. “The classroom time is theirs, and it is sacrosanct,
  • Lectures, Kosslyn says, are pedagogically unsound,
  • I couldn’t wait for Minerva’s wrecking ball to demolish the ivory tower.
  • The MOOCs will eventually make lectures obsolete.”
  • Minerva’s model, Nelson says, will flourish in part because it will exploit free online content, rather than trying to compete with it, as traditional universities do.
  • The MOOCs will eventually make lectures obsolete.”
  • certain functions of universities have simply become less relevant as information has become more ubiquitous
  • Minerva challenges the field to return to first principles.
  • MOOCs will continue to get better, until eventually no one will pay Duke or Johns Hopkins for the possibility of a good lecture, when Coursera offers a reliably great one, with hundreds of thousands of five-star ratings, for free.
  • It took deep concentration,” he said. “It’s not some lecture class where you can just click ‘record’ on your tape.”
  • part of the process of education happens not just through good pedagogy but by having students in places where they see the scholars working and plying their trades.”
  • “hydraulic metaphor” of education—the idea that the main task of education is to increase the flow of knowledge into the student—an “old fallacy.”
  • I remembered what I was like as a teenager headed off to college, so ignorant of what college was and what it could be, and so reliant on the college itself to provide what I’d need in order to get a good education.
  • it is designed to convey not just information, as most MOOCs seem to, but whole mental tool kits that help students become morethoughtful citizens.
  • for all the high-minded talk of liberal education— of lighting fires and raising thoughtful citizens—is really just a credential, or an entry point to an old-boys network that gets you your first job and your first lunch with the machers at your alumni club.
  • Its seminar platform will challenge professors to stop thinking they’re using technology just because they lecture with PowerPoint.
  • professors and students increasingly separated geographically, mediated through technology that alters the nature of the student-teacher relationship
  • The idea that college will in two decades look exactly as it does today increasingly sounds like the forlorn, fingers-crossed hope of a higher-education dinosaur that retirement comes before extinction.
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