Thursday, 31 July 2014

Post-secondary education may not be for everyone, columnist suggests

Here's an interesting perspective on post-secondary opportunities. Of course there are broader issues of social inequality. Also, colleges and universities must evolve and rethink what they value, what they teach, how they teach, how they evaluate and how they might mitigate the alienating disconnect between classrooms and students' lives, and between campuses and the world students live in.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

To ban or not to ban laptops, that is the question

Different approaches to the question of laptops in the classroom

Here's part of a debate that's ongoing in many or most schools and campuses. Tech tools are increasingly embedded in everyday practices across age groups, social classes, schools, and nations around the globe. n today's technology-dependent social, cultural and educational environments, how relevant is the question of banning laptops from the classroom?

Robert Talbert's article opens with a link to Dan Rockmore's in The New Yorker. The language of "banning" reveals an inflexible authoritarianism that is an education in itself. Talbert's response is a reminder that there's more to relevant education and learning tools than can sometimes be readily viewed from the front of the lecture hall.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Everything old is new again

Social inequality is at the root of retention 

Is the issue of retention really more a concern about student welfare, or is it more a problem for schools? Affordable tuition and education costs, empathetic and effective services for students, and relevant learning processes made possible by spending allocations that prioritize human capital as well as learning technologies - all these would go a long way toward decreasing the social and economic inequalities at the bottom of retention issues. Meanwhile, everything old is new again...depending on education trends, budgets, and spending priorities.

Here's an Academica Top Ten (16 June 2016) summary of an article focusing student success courses, retention alerts, "passionate professors," followed by a link to the original article:

US college mobilizes faculty as "secret weapon" in student retention
North Carolina Southwest Community College has mobilized its faculty to help improve its student retention rate. The college brought passionate professors on board with what it calls "Retention Action Committees," small task forces created to help generate specific goals to help retain students. The groups developed initiatives including a revival of a mandatory first-year student success course and a retention alert process that notifies faculty when concerns arise. Faculty were enthusiastic participants and helped champion a "cultural shift" across campus. "Improving retention and completion is a responsibility that belongs to us. It's not just something that resides in student services," said NCSCC VP Instruction and Student Learning Thom Brooks. American Association of Community Colleges News

To remain relevant, learn to adapt

Adapting technology for learner-driven education

As technology moves more and more to the centre of cultural practices, teachers must make room to enable learner-driven processes to move more and more to the centre of teaching and learning practices. The teacher who resists technology and remains inflexible in the face of cultural change courts irrelevance.

Here's a summary of an interesting article on adaptive learning published in Inside Higher Ed, followed by a link to the source:

Summary of article by Academica Top 10, 16 June 2014
Adaptive learning increasing in popularity
Adaptive learning—loosely defined as the use of software to create individualized learning experiences for students—is growing in popularity, especially among for-profit institutions in the US. For-profit education chains, with their extensive budgets and streamlined governance structure, are ideally positioned to take advantage of adaptive learning technologies, which typically minimize the role of the professor in providing instruction. Firms like the Apollo Education Group, who owns University of Phoenix, are now experimenting with a variety of approaches to adaptive learning. Apollo is testing adaptive math software as well as an application that will help tutor students in writing and grammar. Meanwhile, the American Public University System, a for-profit chain, has begun incorporating adaptive technology into the instructional design of its courses. Its business school curriculum includes “semantic mapping” technology that searches for gaps between content and learning goals at the course and program level. More platforms are emerging, as well, with over 70 companies now offering adaptive solutions. Inside Higher Ed

Friday, 13 June 2014

The Assembly of First Nations and the education debate

It's high time we acknowledge the rights and sovereignty of Canada's indigenous peoples

What you need to know about the Assembly of First Nations. Many First Nations people live in the remote places of this country that are being eyed by resource developers. But they are also one of the fastest growing segments of the population and some of the least advantaged members of Canadian society...The First Nations are the roughly 900,000 indigenous people of Canada that, for centuries after the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492, were called “Indians” by people of European descent. They are not the Inuit or the M├ętis. They have sovereignty and treaty rights.

The Globe and Mail's Gloria Galloway wrote this informative piece on "the Assembly of First Nations and the contentious education debate":

Why is education such a hot-button concern for the First Nations? 
They, like the rest of Canada, realize their children are not being well-served by the state of education on reserves. Most chiefs attribute the problems of their schools to a disparity of funding between what their communities receive from Ottawa and what other schools receive from their respective provinces. But First Nations leaders say the right to control the way their children are educated strikes at the core of their right to self-determination and sovereignty that is supported by the UN resolution on the rights of indigenous people.

How affordable is PSE?

Higher education is unaffordable for many lower income families

Yes. School is a huge sacrifice, or unaffordable, for lower income families. New data reveal the significant impact of education costs on families, especially parents in the "sandwich generation" who support elderly parents as well as dependent children, including young adults in school or unemployed.

CBC News reports - "Canadian parents making sacrifices to send kinds to college, survey shows":

Different shoes, different voices.

The 'cheap university' that students don't experience - Toronto Star

"Getting a post-secondary education is cheap? Tell that to tens of thousands of students who require financial assistance and graduate with heavy debt."

Jonathan Champagne, executive director of the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations, writes a persuasive response to York U's George Fallis.