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Ed Webb

Straw Poll - 1 views

Ed Webb

A Conversation With Bill Gates - Technology - The Chronicle of Higher Education - 2 views

  • argues for radical reform of college teaching, advocating a move toward a "flipped" classroom, where students watch videos from superstar professors as homework and use class time for group projects and other interactive activities
  • it's much harder to then take it for the broad set of students in the institutional framework and decide, OK, where is technology the best and where is the face-to-face the best. And they don't have very good metrics of what is their value-added. If you try and compare two universities, you'll find out a lot more about the inputs—this university has high SAT scores compared to this one. And it's sort of the opposite of what you'd think. You'd think people would say, "We take people with low SATs and make them really good lawyers." Instead they say, "We take people with very high SATs and we don't really know what we create, but at least they're smart when they show up here so maybe they still are when we're done with them."
  • The various rankings have focused on the input side of the equation, not the output
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  • Something that's not purely digital but also that the efficiency of the face-to-face time is much greater
  • Can we transform this credentialing process? And in fact the ideal would be to separate out the idea of proving your knowledge from the way you acquire that knowledge
  • Employers have decided that having the breadth of knowledge that's associated with a four-year degree is often something they want to see in the people they give that job to. So instead of testing for that different profession, they'll be testing that you have that broader exposure
  • that failing student is a disaster for everyone
  • What is it that we need to do to strengthen this fundamental part of our country that both in a broad sort of economic level and an individual-rights level is the key enabler. And it's amazing how little effort's been put into this. Of saying, OK, why are some teachers at any different level way better than others? You've got universities in this country with a 7-percent completion rate. Why is it that they don't come under pressure to change what they're doing to come up with a better way of doing things?
  • We bet on the change agents within the universities. And so, various universities come to us and say, We have some ideas about completion rates, here are some things we want to try out, it's actually budget that holds us back from being able to do that. People come to us and say, We want to try a hybrid course where some piece is online, some piece is not, and we're aiming this at the students that are in the most need, not just the most elite. So that's who we're giving grants to, people who are trying out new things in universities. Now the idea that if you have a few universities that figure out how to do things well. how do you spread these best practices, that's a tough challenge. It's not the quite same way as in the private sector that if somebody's doing something better, the price signals force that to be adopted broadly. Here, things move very slowly even if they are an improvement.
  • Q. Some of what you've been talking about is getting people to completion by weeding out extraneous courses. There's a concern by some that that might create pressure to make universities into a kind of job-training area without the citizenship focus of that broad liberal-arts degree.
  • it is important to distinguish when people are taking extra courses that broaden them as a citizen and that would be considered a plus, versus they're just marking time because they're being held up because the capacity doesn't exist in the system to let them do what they want to do. As you go through the student survey data, it's mostly the latter. But I'm the biggest believer in taking a lot of different things. And hopefully, if these courses are appealing enough, we can get people even after they've finished a college degree to want to go online and take these courses.
  • Other countries are sending more kids to college. They're getting higher completion rates. They've moved ahead of us
  • There's nothing that was more important to me in terms of the kind of opportunity I had personally. I went to a great high school. I went to a great university. I only went three years, but it doesn't matter; it was still extremely valuable to me to be in that environment. And I had fantastic professors throughout that whole thing. And so, if every kid could have that kind of education, we'd achieve a lot of goals both at the individual and country level
  • One of the strengths of higher ed is the variety. But the variety has also meant that if somebody is doing something particularly well, it's hard to map that across a lot of different institutions. There aren't very many good metrics. At least in high schools we can talk about dropout rates. Completion rate was really opaque, and not talked about a lot. The quality-measure things are equally different. We don't have a gold standard like SAT scores or No Child Left Behind up at the collegiate level. And of course, kids are more dispersed in terms of what their career goals are at that point. So it's got some things that make it particularly challenging, but it has a lot in common, and I'd say it's equally important to get it right
Ed Webb

TED Blog | Flip this lesson! A new way to teach with video from TED-Ed - 1 views

    This is just brilliant.
Ed Webb

12 Reasons to Ditch the Pen - Why it's no longer mightiest against the sword by Lisa Ni... - 1 views

    Not there yet
Ed Webb

Technology and Restoration of Voice | TechTicker - 0 views

  • A colleague in the faculty is currently researching the opportunities that use of asynchronous discussion forums can offer to leveling the playing field, and providing more equitable opportunities for people to share their thoughts. From what I’ve heard, the results so far are exceptionally promising.
Ed Webb

Reflections on open courses « Connectivism - 0 views

  • There is value of blending traditional with emergent knowledge spaces (online conferences and traditional journals)
    - Learners will create and innovate if they can express ideas and concepts in their own spaces and through their own expertise (i.e. hosting events in Second Life)
    - Courses are platforms for innovation. Too rigid a structure puts the educator in full control. Using a course as a platform fosters creativity…and creativity generates a bit of chaos and can be unsettling to individuals who prefer a structure with which they are familiar.
    - (cliche) Letting go of control is a bit stressful, but surprisingly rewarding in the new doors it opens and liberating in how it brings others in to assist in running a course and advancing the discussion.
    - People want to participate…but they will only do so once they have “permission” and a forum in which to utilize existing communication/technological skills.
  • The internet is a barrier-reducing system. In theory, everyone has a voice online (the reality of technology ownership, digital skills, and internet access add an unpleasant dimension). Costs of duplication are reduced. Technology (technique) is primarily a duplicationary process, as evidenced by the printing press, assembly line, and now the content duplication ability of digital technologies.

    As a result, MOOCs embody, rather than reflect, practices within the digital economy. MOOCs reduce barriers to information access and to the dialogue that permits individuals (and society) to grow knowledge. Much of the technical innovation in the last several centuries has permitted humanity to extend itself physically (cars, planes, trains, telescopes). The internet, especially in recent developments of connective and collaborative applications, is a cognitive extension for humanity. Put another way, the internet offers a model where the reproduction of knowledge is not confined to the production of physical objects.

  • Knowledge is a mashup. Many people contribute. Many different forums are used. Multiple media permit varied and nuanced expressions of knowledge. And, because the information base (which is required for knowledge formation) changes so rapidly, being properly connected to the right people and information is vitally important. The need for proper connectedness to the right people and information is readily evident in intelligence communities. Consider the Christmas day bomber. Or 9/11. The information was being collected. But not connected.
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  • The open model of participation calls into question where value is created in the education system. Gutenberg created a means to duplicate content. The social web creates the opportunity for many-to-many interactions and to add a global social layer on content creation and knowledge growth.
  • Whatever can be easily duplicated cannot serve as the foundation for economic value. Integration and connectedness are economic value points.
  • In education, content can easily be produced (it’s important but has limited economic value). Lectures also have limited value (easy to record and to duplicate). Teaching – as done in most universities – can be duplicated. Learning, on the other hand, can’t be duplicated. Learning is personal, it has to occur one learner at a time. The support needed for learners to learn is a critical value point.
  • Learning, however, requires a human, social element: both peer-based and through interaction with subject area experts
  • Content is readily duplicated, reducing its value economically. It is still critical for learning – all fields have core elements that learners must master before they can advance (research in expertise supports this notion).
    - Teaching can be duplicated (lectures can be recorded, Elluminate or similar webconferencing system can bring people from around the world into a class). Assisting learners in the learning process, correcting misconceptions (see Private Universe), and providing social support and brokering introductions to other people and ideas in the discipline is critical.
    - Accreditation is a value statement – it is required when people don’t know each other. Content was the first area of focus in open education. Teaching (i.e. MOOCs) are the second. Accreditation will be next, but, before progress can be made, profile, identity, and peer-rating systems will need to improve dramatically. The underlying trust mechanism on which accreditation is based cannot yet be duplicated in open spaces (at least, it can’t be duplicated to such a degree that people who do not know each other will trust the mediating agent of open accreditation)
  • The skills that are privileged and rewarded in a MOOC are similar to those that are needed to be effective in communicating with others and interacting with information online (specifically, social media and information sources like journals, databases, videos, lectures, etc.). Creative skills are the most critical. Facilitators and learners need something to “point to”. When a participant creates an insightful blog post, a video, a concept map, or other resource/artifact it generally gets attention.
  • Intentional diversity – not necessarily a digital skill, but the ability to self-evaluate ones network and ensure diversity of ideologies is critical when information is fragmented and is at risk of being sorted by single perspectives/ideologies.
  • The volume of information is very disorienting in a MOOC. For example, in CCK08, the initial flow of postings in Moodle, three weekly live sessions, Daily newsletter, and weekly readings and assignments proved to be overwhelming for many participants. Stephen and I somewhat intentionally structured the course for this disorienting experience. Deciding who to follow, which course concepts are important, and how to form sub-networks and sub-systems to assist in sensemaking are required to respond to information abundance. The process of coping and wayfinding (ontology) is as much a lesson in the learning process as mastering the content (epistemology). Learners often find it difficult to let go of the urge to master all content, read all the comments and blog posts.
  • e. Learning is a social trust-based process.
  • Patience, tolerance, suspension of judgment, and openness to other cultures and ideas are required to form social connections and negotiating misunderstandings.
  • An effective digital citizenry needs the skills to participate in important conversations. The growth of digital content and social networks raises the need citizens to have the technical and conceptual skills to express their ideas and engage with others in those spaces. MOOCs are a first generation testing grounds for knowledge growth in a distributed, global, digital world. Their role in developing a digital citizenry is still unclear, but democratic societies require a populace with the skills to participate in growing a society’s knowledge. As such, MOOCs, or similar open transparent learning experiences that foster the development of citizens confidence engage and create collaboratively, are important for the future of society.
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