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Steve Ransom

Principal: 'I was naïve about Common Core' - 4 views

  • The promise of the Common Core is dying and teaching and learning are being distorted.  The well that should sustain the Core has been poisoned.
  • Whether or not learning the word ‘commission’ is appropriate for second graders could be debated—I personally think it is a bit over the top.  What is of deeper concern, however, is that during a time when 7 year olds should be listening to and making music, they are instead taking a vocabulary quiz.
  • Real learning occurs in the mind of the learner when she makes connections with prior learning, makes meaning, and retains that knowledge in order to create additional meaning from new information.  In short, with tests we see traces of learning, not learning itself.
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  • Teachers are engaged in practices like these because they are pressured and afraid, not because they think the assessments are educationally sound. Their principals are pressured and nervous about their own scores and the school’s scores. Guaranteed, every child in the class feels that pressure and trepidation as well.
  • I am troubled that a company that has a multi-million dollar contract to create tests for the state should also be able to profit from producing test prep materials. I am even more deeply troubled that this wonderful little girl, whom I have known since she was born, is being subject to this distortion of what her primary education should be.
  • The Common Core places an extraordinary emphasis on vocabulary development
  • Parents can expect that the other three will be neglected as teachers frantically try to prepare students for the difficult and high-stakes tests.
  • They see data, not children. 
  • Data should be used as a strategy for improvement, not for accountability
  • A fool with a tool is still a fool.  A fool with a powerful tool is a dangerous fool.
Randolph Hollingsworth

"Promises" of Online Higher Ed: Profits - Campaign for the Future of Higher Education | Campaign for the Future of Higher Education - 12 views

  • the burning questions focus squarely and exclusively on what will make money for particular companies
  • use their powerful brand reputations to get ahead of rapid technological changes that could destabilize their residential business models over the long-run
  • good credit news for elite institutions
  •  
    on the revolutionary aspect of MOOCs to break down traditional barriers to higher ed as regularly stated by CEOs Koller and Thrun: "This rhetoric is perhaps the most glittery yet in the public discourse about online higher education. But it is also a diversion shifting attention away from the logic of profit-making. For parents, students, and the general public who focus primarily on what education means for people's futures, for social mobility, for a healthy economy and a robust democracy, a dip into the insider talk of MOOCs, their investors, and industry analysts is both instructive and disorienting."
marcmancinelli

Big Ideas - Exploring the Essential Questions of Education - 46 views

  • here are at least three very good reasons, particularly for educators, to ask enduring questions. However, I will first define what I mean by an enduring question. What makes a question enduring is its transcendent quality.
  • However, I will first define what I mean by an enduring question. What makes a question enduring is its transcendent quality. That is, a question that continues to be asked again and again, despite ages and sages. It is a really profound question that goes beyond human comprehension, but if not asked, would detract from our humanity. Enduring questions are ones that challenge the greatest minds and intrigue the simplest ones (i.e. children).
  • We should ask enduring questions because they lead to thoughtful, soul searching reflection about great ideas.
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  • Enduring questions make life and learning engaging and interesting
  • Enduring questions lead to more questions.
Marianne Hart

The Creativity Crisis - Newsweek - 48 views

  • there is one crucial difference between IQ and CQ scores. With intelligence, there is a phenomenon called the Flynn effect—each generation, scores go up about 10 points. Enriched environments are making kids smarter. With creativity, a reverse trend has just been identified and is being reported for the first time here: American creativity scores are falling.
  • “Creativity can be taught,”
  • it’s left to the luck of the draw who becomes creative: there’s no concerted effort to nurture the creativity of all children
    • Brian C. Smith
       
      Students are labeled as "creative" if they display a knack for art or music, and sometimes in writing, however, they are rarely recognized as creative in math or science where a lot of creativity is not only needed, but excellent for learning within those very two disciplines.
    • Bill Genereux
       
      This is precisely why creativity education is important. It is needed everywhere, not just in the arts. Those teaching outside of arts education need to start recognizing the importance of creative thinking as well.
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  • When faculty of a major Chinese university asked Plucker to identify trends in American education, he described our focus on standardized curriculum, rote memorization, and nationalized testing. “After my answer was translated, they just started laughing out loud,” Plucker says. “They said, ‘You’re racing toward our old model. But we’re racing toward your model, as fast as we can.’ ”
  • The argument that we can’t teach creativity because kids already have too much to learn is a false trade-off. Creativity isn’t about freedom from concrete facts. Rather, fact-finding and deep research are vital stages in the creative process.
  • When you try to solve a problem, you begin by concentrating on obvious facts and familiar solutions, to see if the answer lies there. This is a mostly left-brain stage of attack. If the answer doesn’t come, the right and left hemispheres of the brain activate together. Neural networks on the right side scan remote memories that could be vaguely relevant. A wide range of distant information that is normally tuned out becomes available to the left hemisphere, which searches for unseen patterns, alternative meanings, and high-level abstractions. Having glimpsed such a connection, the left brain must quickly lock in on it before it escapes. The attention system must radically reverse gears, going from defocused attention to extremely focused attention. In a flash, the brain pulls together these disparate shreds of thought and binds them into a new single idea that enters consciousness. This is the “aha!” moment of insight, often followed by a spark of pleasure as the brain recognizes the novelty of what it’s come up with. Now the brain must evaluate the idea it just generated. Is it worth pursuing? Creativity requires constant shifting, blender pulses of both divergent thinking and convergent thinking, to combine new information with old and forgotten ideas. Highly creative people are very good at marshaling their brains into bilateral mode, and the more creative they are, the more they dual-activate.
  • those who diligently practice creative activities learn to recruit their brains’ creative networks quicker and better
    • Ed Webb
       
      Surely, "more quickly"?
  • Creativity has always been prized in American society, but it’s never really been understood. While our creativity scores decline unchecked, the current national strategy for creativity consists of little more than praying for a Greek muse to drop by our houses. The problems we face now, and in the future, simply demand that we do more than just hope for inspiration to strike. Fortunately, the science can help: we know the steps to lead that elusive muse right to our doors.
    • Brian C. Smith
       
      Likely because it was out of necessity and the hardships of life. Not that we don't have hardships and necessities, but innovation has solved a lot of problems and automation has made skills and tasks easy.
  • What’s common about successful programs is they alternate maximum divergent thinking with bouts of intense convergent thinking, through several stages. Real improvement doesn’t happen in a weekend workshop. But when applied to the everyday process of work or school, brain function improves.
    • Brian C. Smith
       
      Everyday process of work or school... over time, consistent and non-prescriptive.
  • kids demonstrated the very definition of creativity: alternating between divergent and convergent thinking, they arrived at original and useful ideas. And they’d unwittingly mastered Ohio’s required fifth-grade curriculum—from understanding sound waves to per-unit cost calculations to the art of persuasive writing. “You never see our kids saying, ‘I’ll never use this so I don’t need to learn it,’ ” says school administrator Maryann Wolowiec. “Instead, kids ask, ‘Do we have to leave school now?’ ” Two weeks ago, when the school received its results on the state’s achievement test, principal Traci Buckner was moved to tears. The raw scores indicate that, in its first year, the school has already become one of the top three schools in Akron, despite having open enrollment by lottery and 42 percent of its students living in poverty.
  • project-based learning
  • highly creative adults frequently grew up with hardship. Hardship by itself doesn’t lead to creativity, but it does force kids to become more flexible—and flexibility helps with creativity.
  • When creative children have a supportive teacher—someone tolerant of unconventional answers, occasional disruptions, or detours of curiosity—they tend to excel. When they don’t, they tend to underperform and drop out of high school or don’t finish college at high rates. They’re quitting because they’re discouraged and bored, not because they’re dark, depressed, anxious, or neurotic. It’s a myth that creative people have these traits. (Those traits actually shut down creativity; they make people less open to experience and less interested in novelty.) Rather, creative people, for the most part, exhibit active moods and positive affect. They’re not particularly happy—contentment is a kind of complacency creative people rarely have. But they’re engaged, motivated, and open to the world.
  • solutions emerge from a healthy marketplace of ideas, sustained by a populace constantly contributing original ideas and receptive to the ideas of others
  • The age-old belief that the arts have a special claim to creativity is unfounded.
  • When scholars gave creativity tasks to both engineering majors and music majors, their scores laid down on an identical spectrum, with the same high averages and standard deviations. Inside their brains, the same thing was happening—ideas were being generated and evaluated on the fly.
  • The lore of pop psychology is that creativity occurs on the right side of the brain. But we now know that if you tried to be creative using only the right side of your brain, it’d be like living with ideas perpetually at the tip of your tongue, just beyond reach
  • those who diligently practice creative activities learn to recruit their brains’ creative networks quicker and better. A lifetime of consistent habits gradually changes the neurological pattern.
  • The home-game version of this means no longer encouraging kids to spring straight ahead to the right answer
  • The new view is that creativity is part of normal brain function.
  • “As a child, I never had an identity as a ‘creative person,’ ” Schwarzrock recalls. “But now that I know, it helps explain a lot of what I felt and went through.”
  • In China there has been widespread education reform to extinguish the drill-and-kill teaching style. Instead, Chinese schools are also adopting a problem-based learning approach.
  • fact-finding
  • problem-finding
  • Next, idea-finding
  • there is one crucial difference between IQ and CQ scores. With intelligence, there is a phenomenon called the Flynn effect—each generation, scores go up about 10 points. Enriched environments are making kids smarter. With creativity, a reverse trend has just been identified and is being reported for the first time here: American creativity scores are falling.
  •  
    For the first time, research shows that American creativity is declining. What went wrong-and how we can fix it.
Katt Blackwell-Starnes

Blogs vs. Term Papers - NYTimes.com - 8 views

    • Sara Thompson
       
      It sounds like he's saying that term papers must, by their very nature, NOT be interesting. 
  • The National Survey of Student Engagement found that in 2011, 82 percent of first-year college students and more than half of seniors weren’t asked to do a single paper of 20 pages or more, while the bulk of writing assignments were for papers of one to five pages.
  • “It doesn’t mean there aren’t interesting blogs. But nobody would conflate interesting writing with premise, evidence, argument and conclusion.”
    • Katt Blackwell-Starnes
       
      Does he mean confuse or does he mean that there is no way for an argumentative assignment to be interesting? I'm also curious if Reeves is reading any academic and/or professional blogs. Perhaps I'm just angry at this sentence because I'm a blogger who works hard to make my argumentative posts interesting and valid to my readers..
Kate Pok

Southern Hospitality? Not for Immigrants - NYTimes.com - 43 views

  •  
    Good article illustrating the fluid definitions of race.
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    Except that those ridiculous portions of the law, including the transport part, are now in the process of being repealed. As embarrassing as this all is, one should still do her homework.
  •  
    Many thanks for your comments. As far as I can tell, there's been a lot of debate about rescinding parts of the bill and there's certainly been support to change parts of it, but I haven't found anything that says that's definitely happening. At any rate, I was planning to use the article as an example of how racial categories tend to change based on circumstances rather than set in stone. Again, thanks for reminding me to double check details.
  •  
    You are right, racial categories do tend to change based on the times as history shows us, but I'll point you to two articles in The Birmingham News which show a little more than just debate about rescinding parts of that bill. http://blog.al.com/breaking/2011/09/federal_judge_throws_out_xxxx.html http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2011/11/immigration_law_amendments_in.html The fringe parts of this law are embarrassing to me as a native of Alabama, so I'd love to have our lawmakers' second thoughts on this seen as part of what's going on with this law.....Thanks, not meaning to nit-pick!
  •  
    @Elaine, for some reason your message hasn't shown up and I wanted to make sure I responded. I absolutely agree with you that the there are plenty of wonderful Alabamans who are embarrassed by the fringe parts of the law and I certainly don't mean any disrespect by posting this article. In fact, I think this article actually points to the generosity of spirit and kindness I remember most about growing up in the south. I'm also glad to see that there's quite a bit of protest about the worst parts of this law and agree that the protests should also be part of the conversation so I'm including the links you sent me here: http://blog.al.com/breaking/2011/09/federal_judge_throws_out_xxxx.html and http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2011/11/immigration_law_amendments_in.html The articles do report that quite a few legislators and many immigrant rights activists are advocating revisions to the law and I look forward to seeing the repeals. That said, the articles also note that the bulk "of the new law is in effect despite a federal court challenge to it brought by the U.S. Justice Department, church groups and state and national civil liberties groups " and a "federal judge [Blackburn] this afternoon again upheld most sections of Alabama's tough new immigration law." In short, the fight for repeals is just beginning. Once more, I stress that I do NOT mean to offend anyone; rather, I think it's important to discuss the circumstances under which such a restrictive law could be passed as well as the reactions that have mobilized in response to it. I think it's a wonderful "teaching moment" about politics, economics, civic engagement, global economy, etc. Sincerest regards.
Clint Heitz

Flipping the Classroom: A revolutionary approach to learning presents some pros and cons | School Library Journal - 73 views

    • Clint Heitz
       
      Why not create multiple types of videos? YouTube allows "choose your own path" videos that can let you alter the video based on the responses during viewing.
    • Clint Heitz
       
      Great way to provide equitable access opportunities
  • Teachers need to figure out what they want to get out of a flipped classroom, says Marine City High’s Ming. “What’s the purpose of doing it? Is it because you’re looking for more time in your curriculum to do hands-on activities?” An AP government teacher told Ming the best part of teaching his class was holding class discussions. The flipped classroom helped him get through the material with time to spare for conversation.
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    • Clint Heitz
       
      The purpose is always the key. Don't try to implement this "just because" or excessively. It is a great tool, but not always the right one.
  • Watching videos also means more sitting in front of devices. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends kids limit “screen time” to two hours a day because too much exposure has been linked to obesity, irregular sleep, behavioral problems, violence, and less time for play.
    • Clint Heitz
       
      Why not flip it with podcasts that students can listen to while walking, driving, etc.
  • Students need to feel as though their teachers are guiding them to the best materials, not merely giving them a list of videos to watch, says Valenza
  • “Teachers should keep posing the ‘why,’” says Bob Schuetz, the technology director at Palatine High School in Illinois. “Why am I doing this? Why is it beneficial to students?”
  • “The teacher walks around and helps everyone. It’s not a get-out-of-jail-free card for teachers not to teach.” It’s also not a way for kids to get out of doing anything at home. “Flipping what the kid does means they do the work ahead of time, come to class, and debrief,” explains Michelle Luhtala (aka the
  • “The end goal is personalized education. The flipped classroom is just a means to that end.” Students can use the videos to learn at their own pace—any time or place, says Roberts. “These students can replay their teacher’s explanation of a new concept as many times as they need to without fear of holding up the rest of the class.”
  • a librarian at Bullis School in Potomac, MD, gives students videos, Web pages, and screenshots about the nuts and bolts of the library, which frees up more time to devote to their research projects.
  • ure, some kids will ignore the video. “The same kids who don’t currently do their homework will not watch the lecture,” says McCammon. “But as you start making your class more engaging, kids who don’t usually do their homework will start doing it because they want to participate in the class.” Kids write questions down while they’re watching the video, and then the first 10 minutes of class is for discussion of what they’ve seen.
Mr. Eason

Educational Leadership:Teaching for the 21st Century:21st Century Skills: The Challenges Ahead - 119 views

  • the skills students need in the 21st century are not new.
  • Critical thinking and problem solving, for example, have been components of human progress throughout history
  • What's actually new is the extent to which changes in our economy and the world mean that collective and individual success depends on having such skills
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  • Many reform efforts, from reducing class size to improving reading instruction, have devolved into fads or been implemented with weak fidelity to their core intent. The 21st century skills movement faces the same risk.
  • some of the rhetoric we have heard surrounding this movement suggests that with so much new knowledge being created, content no longer matters; that ways of knowing information are now much more important than information itself. Such notions contradict what we know about teaching and learning and raise concerns that the 21st century skills movement will end up being a weak intervention for the very students—low-income students and students of color—who most need powerful schools as a matter of social equity.
  • First, educators and policymakers must ensure that the instructional program is complete and that content is not shortchanged for an ephemeral pursuit of skills
  • Second, states, school districts, and schools need to revamp how they think about human capital in education—in particular how teachers are trained
  • Skills and knowledge are not separate, however, but intertwined.
  • inally, we need new assessments that can accurately measure richer learning and more complex tasks
  • In some cases, knowledge helps us recognize the underlying structure of a problem.
  • At other times, we know that we have a particular thinking skill, but domain knowledge is necessary if we are to use it.
  • if skills are independent of content, we could reasonably conclude that we can develop these skills through the use of any content. For example, if students can learn how to think critically about science in the context of any scientific material, a teacher should select content that will engage students (for instance, the chemistry of candy), even if that content is not central to the field. But all content is not equally important to mathematics, or to science, or to literature. To think critically, students need the knowledge that is central to the domain.
  • The importance of content in the development of thinking creates several challenges
  • first is the temptation to emphasize advanced, conceptual thinking too early in training
  • Another curricular challenge is that we don't yet know how to teach self-direction, collaboration, creativity, and innovation the way we know how to teach long division.
  • We must plan to teach skills in the context of particular content knowledge and to treat both as equally important.
  • But experience is not the same thing as practice. Experience means only that you use a skill; practice means that you try to improve by noticing what you are doing wrong and formulating strategies to do better. Practice also requires feedback, usually from someone more skilled than you are.
  • education leaders must be realistic about which skills are teachable. If we deem that such skills as collaboration and self-direction are essential, we should launch a concerted effort to study how they can be taught effectively rather than blithely assume that mandating their teaching will result in students learning them.
  • teachers don't use them.
  • Even when class sizes are reduced, teachers do not change their teaching strategies or use these student-centered method
  • these methods pose classroom management problems for teachers.
  • These methods also demand that teachers be knowledgeable about a broad range of topics and are prepared to make in-the-moment decisions as the lesson plan progresses.
  • constant juggling act
  • measures that encourage greater creativity, show how students arrived at answers, and even allow for collaboration.
  • But where will schools find the release time for such collaboration?
  • professional development is a massive undertaking.
  • Unfortunately, there is a widespread belief that teachers already know how to do this if only we could unleash them from today's stifling standards and accountability metrics. This notion romanticizes student-centered methods, underestimates the challenge of implementing such methods, and ignores the lack of capacity in the field today.
  • The first challenge is the cost.
  • greater collaboration among teachers.
  • When students first encounter new ideas, their knowledge is shallow and their understanding is bound to specific examples. They need exposure to varied examples before their understanding of a concept becomes more abstract and they can successfully apply that understanding to novel situations.
Pam Jeffrey

Digitally Speaking / Blogging - 169 views

  • Using Feed Readers

     

    Feed readers are probably the most important digital tool for today's learner because they make sifting through the amazing amount of content added to the Internet easy.  Also known as aggregators, feed readers are free tools that can automatically check nearly any website for new content dozens of times a day---saving ridiculous amounts of time and customizing learning experiences for anyone. 

     

    Imagine never having to go hunting for new information from your favorite sources again.  Learning goes from a frustrating search through thousands of marginal links written by questionable characters to quickly browsing the thoughts of writers that you trust, respect and enjoy.

     

    Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it?

     

    It's not!  Here's a Commoncraft tutorial explaining RSS Feeds in Plain English:

     

    Feed readers can quickly and easily support blogging in the classroom, allowing teachers to provide students with ready access to age-appropriate sites of interest that are connected to the curriculum.  By collecting sites in advance and organizing them with a feed reader, teachers can make accessing information manageable for their students. 

    Here are several examples of feed readers in action:

     

    Student Blogs

    http://www.pageflakes.com/wferriter/20982438

     

     

    This feed list includes several elementary, middle and high school blogs that students can explore during silent reading or while online at home.

     

     

    Current Events 

    http://www.pageflakes.com/wferriter/16714925

     

    This feed list includes links to several news websites that cover topics that are a part of one teacher's required social studies curriculum. 

     

    Global Warming

    http://www.pageflakes.com/wferriter/22534539

    Used specifically as a part of one classroom project, this feed list contains information related to global warming that students can use as a starting point for individual research. 

     

    While there are literally dozens of different feed reader programs to choose from (Bloglines and Google Reader are two biggies), Pageflakes is a favorite of many educators because it has a visual layout that is easy to read and interesting to look at.  It is also free and web-based.  That means that users can check accounts from any computer with an Internet connection.  Finally, Pageflakes makes it quick and easy to add new websites to a growing feed list—and to get rid of any websites that users are no longer interested in.

    What's even better:  Pageflakes has been developing a teacher version of their tool just for us that includes an online grade tracker, a task list and a built in writing tutor.  As Pageflakes works to perfect its teacher product, this might become one of the first kid-friendly feed readers on the market. Teacher Pageflakes users can actually blog and create a discussion forum directly in their feed reader---making an all-in-one digital home for students. 

     

    For more information about the teacher version of Pageflakes, check out this review:

     

    http://teacherleaders.typepad.com/the_tempered_radical/2008/02/pageflakes-for.html

     

     

    For more information on using feed readers to organize and manage information, check out this handout: 

  •  
    Checklist to use before embarking on a blogging project with students
Sydney Lacey

No Pain, High Gain | Scholastic.com - 36 views

  •  
    Preparing kids for tests doesn't have to mean drills. In our work, we make explicit connections between good test-taking practices and good general-learning practices. Here, we share some of the strategies and ideas that have grown out of our efforts. In this article you'll find: Reading Strategies Math Strategies Format Fundamentals Six Ways to Ease Test Stress
Jon Tanner

What's the point of media specialists...? on School Library Journal - 49 views

  •  
    "Joyce Valenza Ph.D On the librarian: What's the point . . ? The Twitter conversation April 30, 2009 @karlfisch: What's the point of having a media specialist if they aren't specialists in the media forms of the day? I was nearly finished copying and pasting, figuring out how best to post Tuesday's Twitter conversation, when I discovered that Karl Fisch (@karlfisch), who kinda started it all, already took care of that. (You likely know of Karl's very popular and provocative videos.) I am still not sure how best to frame this conversation on the place of the information/media specialist in today's school. What is clear is that a lot of smart people--people who are out there teaching, speaking, moving, and shaking--are disappointed in what they see when they see school librarians. Either we have a perception problem or we need to do some serious retooling. I'd say we have to deal with both. In a hurry. Being an information (or media) specialist today means being an expert in how information and media flow TODAY! It is about knowing how information and media are created and communicated. How to evalute, synthesize, and ethically use information and media in all their varied forms. It is about being able to communicate knowlege in new ways for new audiences using powerful new information and communication tools. Forgive me if it hurts. In my mind, if you are not an expert in new information and communication tools, you are NOT a media specialist for today. Tuesday's conversation happened in the open, on Twitter. We need to be aware that these conversations are happening where we cannot hear them--at conferences, at Board and cabinet meetings. We also need to make sure that our voices are heard and that we hear the voices of others in places like Twitter, where so many educational leaders and thinkers are chatting about us and many other things. I've selected the remarks that resonated loudest for me. (I've shuffled a bit, but you can visit Karl'
Paul Bogush

Five Ideas for Making a Purposeful and Professional Digital Footprint - 48 views

  •  
    Five ideas to enable educators to develop and model a purposeful and professional digital footprint.
    1-Model responsible footprinting with your own practices in blogging, commenting, social networking, and picture posting.
    2-If you have established a professional blog, share it widely and proudly such as placing it in your email signature (if your employer will let you) and as Jeff Utecht suggests include your blog url when you comment on others blogs and in other forums. This enables others to see best practices and is a great way to get the conversation started.
    3-Google yourself (aka ego surfing). If you have something posted online that you'd be uncomfortable having a current or future student, parent, colleague, or employer find, delete it (if you can) or request that it be deleted. There are ways an aggressive internet detective can still find this information, but most won't go through the trouble and the mere fact that you deleted it shows some level of responsibility.
    4-If you do have online personal information and/or interests you wouldn't want discovered, use an unidentifiable screen name/avatar. This means you may need to update your screen name/avatar in your existing online presence.
    5-Engage in the conversation and professionally comment, reply, and present online, onsite, and at conferences.
tab_ras

WordNet - About WordNet - 140 views

  •  
    WordNet® is a large lexical database of English, developed under the direction of George A. Miller (Emeritus). Nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs are grouped into sets of cognitive synonyms (synsets), each expressing a distinct concept. Synsets are interlinked by means of conceptual-semantic and lexical relations. The resulting network of meaningfully related words and concepts can be navigated with the browser. WordNet is also freely and publicly available for download. WordNet's structure makes it a useful tool for computational linguistics and natural language processing.
tab_ras

The 2008 Plagiarism Landscape - 62 views

  •  
    This briefing paper will seek to highlight key strategies in developing assessment processes which eradicate opportunities for plagiarism, and encourage tutors to "teach and assess in ways which make plagiarism unthinkable" (MacDonald Ross, 2008). Whilst by no means an exhaustive list, the following areas, identified and volunteered by members of the academic community are key to this approach. The paper will draw on examples of good practice in assessment design in these areas, which enhance student learning and nurture a learning culture in which original thought is rewarded.
D. S. Koelling

5 Myths About the 'Information Age' - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education - 0 views

  • 1. "The book is dead." Wrong: More books are produced in print each year than in the previous year. One million new titles will appear worldwide in 2011. In one day in Britain—"Super Thursday," last October 1—800 new works were published.
  • 2. "We have entered the information age." This announcement is usually intoned solemnly, as if information did not exist in other ages. But every age is an age of information, each in its own way and according to the media available at the time.
  • I mention these misconceptions because I think they stand in the way of understanding shifts in the information environment. They make the changes appear too dramatic. They present things ahistorically and in sharp contrasts—before and after, either/or, black and white. A more nuanced view would reject the common notion that old books and e-books occupy opposite and antagonistic extremes on a technological spectrum. Old books and e-books should be thought of as allies, not enemies.
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  • 4. "Libraries are obsolete." Everywhere in the country librarians report that they have never had so many patrons. At Harvard, our reading rooms are full. The 85 branch libraries of the New York Public Library system are crammed with people.
  • 5. "The future is digital." True enough, but misleading. In 10, 20, or 50 years, the information environment will be overwhelmingly digital, but the prevalence of electronic communication does not mean that printed material will cease to be important. Research in the relatively new discipline of book history has demonstrated that new modes of communication do not displace old ones, at least not in the short run.
  • 3. "All information is now available online." The absurdity of this claim is obvious to anyone who has ever done research in archives. Only a tiny fraction of archival material has ever been read, much less digitized. Most judicial decisions and legislation, both state and federal, have never appeared on the Web. The vast output of regulations and reports by public bodies remains largely inaccessible to the citizens it affects. Google estimates that 129,864,880 different books exist in the world, and it claims to have digitized 15 million of them—or about 12 percent.
  • Last year the sale of e-books (digitized texts designed for hand-held readers) doubled, accounting for 10 percent of sales in the trade-book market. This year they are expected to reach 15 or even 20 percent. But there are indications that the sale of printed books has increased at the same time.
  • Many of us worry about a decline in deep, reflective, cover-to-cover reading. We deplore the shift to blogs, snippets, and tweets. In the case of research, we might concede that word searches have advantages, but we refuse to believe that they can lead to the kind of understanding that comes with the continuous study of an entire book. Is it true, however, that deep reading has declined, or even that it always prevailed?
  • Writing looks as bad as reading to those who see nothing but decline in the advent of the Internet. As one lament puts it: Books used to be written for the general reader; now they are written by the general reader. The Internet certainly has stimulated self-publishing, but why should that be deplored? Many writers with important things to say had not been able to break into print, and anyone who finds little value in their work can ignore it.
  • One could cite other examples of how the new technology is reinforcing old modes of communication rather than undermining them. I don't mean to minimize the difficulties faced by authors, publishers, and readers, but I believe that some historically informed reflection could dispel the misconceptions that prevent us from making the most of "the information age"—if we must call it that.
Florence Dujardin

Developing first-year engagement with written feedback - 37 views

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    Assessment feedback continues to be a relatively under-researched area in higher education despite its fundamental role in learning and teaching. This article positions assessment feedback as a complex meaning-making process requiring dialogue and interpretation.The article outlines an evaluative case study investigating a feedback review meeting organized through the personal tutor system. This meeting is designed to support students' engagement with written feedback at their first formal feedback 'moment' when confidence and self-esteem can be at risk. The evaluation of the review meeting suggests students benefit from one conversation about all their written feedback. The article concludes that developing positive learning relationships with personal tutors at the point of assessment feedback can encourage a sense of achievement and success at a time when learners may feel most vulnerable to low self-esteem. In this way, the intervention can be valuable as part of an institution's retention strategy.
Randolph Hollingsworth

Time Is the Enemy, Complete College America, September 2011 - 0 views

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    Unless we move with urgency, today's young people will be the first generation in American history to be less educated than their predecessors. Consider this a sobering wake-up call - and an urgent appeal for action now. ...4 of every 10 public college students are able to attend only part-time. Which means leaders have been making policy decisions about higher education absent critical information about 40 percent of the students, as if their success or failure was less important than that of "traditional" full-time students... Seventy-five percent of today's students are juggling some combination of families, jobs, and school while commuting to class; according to the U.S. Department of Education, only a quarter go full-time, attend residential colleges, and have most of their bills paid by their parents.... Part-time students rarely graduate.... Poor students and students of color struggle the most to graduate.... Students are taking too many credits and too much time to complete.... Remediation is broken, producing few students who ultimately graduate. ...The Big Idea: Time is the enemy of college completion.
Martin Burrett

Unused Words - 96 views

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    This is a fab literacy site where you can find interesting and rare English words. Browse for words to make children's work stand out from the crowd and play 'guess the meaning' with your class. http://ictmagic.wikispaces.com/English
Thieme Hennis

About « OERRH - 19 views

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    "The Open Educational Resources Research Hub (OER Research Hub) provides a focus for research, designed to give answers to the overall question 'What is the impact of OER on learning and teaching practices?' and identify the particular influence of openness. We do this by working in collaboration with projects across four education sectors (K12, college, higher education and informal) extending a network of research with shared methods and shared results. By the end of this research we will have evidence for what works and when, but also established methods and instruments for broader engagement in researching the impact of openness on learning. OER are not just another educational innovation. They influence policy and change practices. In previous research (OpenLearn, Bridge to Success and OLnet) we have seen changes in institutions, teacher practice and in the effectiveness of learning. We integrate research alongside action to discover and support changes in broader initiatives. Our framework provides the means to gather data and the tools to tackle barriers. The project combines: A targeted collaboration program with existing OER projects An internationalfellowship program Networking to make connections A hub for research data and OER excellence in practice The collaborations cover different sectors and issues, these include: the opening up of classroom based teaching to open content; the large-scale decision points implied by open textbooks for community colleges; the extension of technology beyond textbook through eBook and simulation; the challenge of teacher training in India; and the ways that OER can support less formal approaches to learning. By basing good practice on practical experience and research we can help tackle practical problems whilst building the evidence bank needed by all."
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