👓 Technology and Distracted Students: A Modest Proposal | The Tattooed Professor

Read Technology and Distracted Students: A Modest Proposal by Kevin Kevin (The Tattooed Professor)
A few days ago, news broke in the higher-ed sphere about a new paper in the Educational Psychology Review, “How Much Mightier Is the Pen Than the Keyboard for Note-Taking? A Replication and Extension of Mueller and Oppenheimer (2014),” which seemed to undercut a study that’s become the go-to ...

📑 Read Write Respond #037 | Read Write Collect | Aaron Davis

Annotated Read Write Respond #037 by Aaron DavisAaron Davis (Read Write Collect)

Learning and Teaching

Letter Grades are the Enemy of Authentic & Humane Learning: Bernard Bull discusses how grades work against authentic and self-determined learning. Although they are ingrained in education, he recommends considering the aspects of life free from grades and having these conversations with others. What is interesting is this is only one post being shared at the moment. Bill Ferriter shared his concerns about the association between standard grades and fixed mindset, while Will Richardson argues that grades only matter because we choose to let them matter.This continues some of the points discussed in Clive Rose’s book The End of Average and Jesse Stommell’s presentation on grades and the LMS. It is also something that Templestowe College has touched in the development of alternative pathways to higher education.  

Thanks for aggregating a variety of sources here!

I’d recently come across Robert Talbert’s post Traditional Grading: The Great Demotivator which likely fits into this same sub-topic.

👓 Traditional grading: The great demotivator | Robert Talbert

Read Traditional grading: The great demotivator by Robert Talbert (Robert Talbert, Ph.D.)
A new study presents sobering facts about the negative effects of traditional grading on college students' motivation.

👓 AI Is Making It Extremely Easy for Students to Cheat | WIRED

Read AI Is Making It Extremely Easy for Students to Cheat (WIRED)
Teachers are being forced to adapt to new tools that execute homework perfectly.

The headline is a bit click-baity, but the article is pretty solid nonetheless.

There is some interesting discussion in here on how digital technology meets pedagogy. We definitely need to think about how we reframe what is happening here. I’m a bit surprised they didn’t look back at the history of the acceptance (or not) of the calculator in math classes from the 60’s onward.

Where it comes to math, some of these tools can be quite useful, but students need to have the correct and incorrect uses of these technologies explained and modeled for them. Rote cheating certainly isn’t going to help them, but if used as a general tutorial of how and why methods work, then it can be invaluable and allow them to jump much further ahead of where they might otherwise be.

I’m reminded of having told many in the past that the general concepts behind the subject of calculus are actually quite simple and relatively easy to master. The typical issue is that students in these classes may be able to do the first step of the problem which is the actual calculus, but get hung up on not having practiced the algebra enough and the 10 steps of algebra after the first step of calculus is where their stumbling block lies in getting the correct answer.

🔖 The influence of collaboration networks on programming language acquisition by Sanjay Guruprasad | MIT

Bookmarked The influence of collaboration networks on programming language acquisition by Sanjay Guruprasad (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Many behaviors spread through social contact. However, different behaviors seem to require different degrees of social reinforcement to spread within a network. Some behaviors spread via simple contagion, where a single contact with an "activated node" is sufficient for transmission, while others require complex contagion, with reinforcement from multiple nodes to adopt the behavior. But why do some behaviors require more social reinforcement to spread than others? Here we hypothesize that learning more difficult behaviors requires more social reinforcement. We test this hypothesis by analyzing the programming language adoption of hundreds of thousands of programmers on the social coding platform Github. We show that adopting more difficult programming languages requires more reinforcement from the collaboration network. This research sheds light on the role of collaboration networks in programming language acquisition.

[Downloadable .pdf]

Thesis: S.M., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Architecture and Planning, Program in Media Arts and Sciences, 2018.; Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.; Includes bibliographical references (pages 26-28).

Advisor: César Hidalgo.

URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1721.1/119085

I ran across this paper via the Human Current interview with Cesar Hidalgo. In general they studied GitHub as a learning community and the social support of people’s friends on the platform as they worked on learning new programming languages.

I think there might be some interesting takeaways for people looking at collective learning and online pedagogies as well as for communities like the IndieWeb which are trying to not only build new technologies, but help to get them into others’ hands by teaching and disseminating some generally tough technical knowledge. (In this respect, the referenced Human Current podcast episode may be a worthwhile overview.)

👓 Developing Mathematical Mindsets | American Federation of Teachers

Read Developing Mathematical Mindsets by Jo Boaler (American Federation of Teachers)

Babies and infants love mathematics. Give babies a set of blocks, and they will build and order them, fascinated by the ways the edges line up. Children will look up at the sky and be delighted by the V formations in which birds fly. Count a set of objects with a young child and then move the objects and count them again, and they will be enchanted by the fact they still have the same number. Ask children to make patterns with colored blocks, and they will work happily making repeating patterns—one of the most mathematical of all acts. Mathematician Keith Devlin has written a range of books showing strong evidence that we are all natural mathematics users and thinkers.1 We want to see patterns in the world and to understand the rhythms of the universe. But the joy and fascination young children experience with mathematics are quickly replaced by dread and dislike when they start school mathematics and are introduced to a dry set of methods they think they just have to accept and remember.

If you think mathematics is difficult, tough, or you’re scared of it, this article will indicate why and potentially show you a way forward for yourself and your children.

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

The low achievers did not know less, they just did not use numbers flexibly—probably because they had been set on the wrong pathway, from an early age, of trying to memorize methods and number facts instead of interacting with numbers flexibly.  

December 15, 2018 at 08:42AM

Unfortunately for low achievers, they are often identified as struggling with math and therefore given more drill and practice—cementing their beliefs that math success means memorizing methods, not understanding and making sense of situations. They are sent down a damaging pathway that makes them cling to formal procedures, and as a result, they often face a lifetime of difficulty with mathematics.  

December 15, 2018 at 08:44AM

Notably, the brain can only compress concepts; it cannot compress rules and methods.  

December 15, 2018 at 08:44AM

Unfortunately, many classrooms focus on math facts in isolation, giving students the impression that math facts are the essence of mathematics, and, even worse, that mastering the fast recall of math facts is what it means to be a strong mathematics student. Both of these ideas are wrong, and it is critical that we remove them from classrooms, as they play a key role in creating math-anxious and disaffected students.  

This article uses the word “unfortunately quite a lot.
December 15, 2018 at 08:46AM

The hippocampus, like other brain regions, is not fixed and can grow at any time,15 but it will always be the case that some students are faster or slower when memorizing, and this has nothing to do with mathematics potential.  

December 15, 2018 at 08:53AM

Reply to Don’t let your online strategy become a conversation about which LMS to use by Tannis Morgan

Replied to Don’t let your online strategy become a conversation about which LMS to use by Tannis MorganTannis Morgan (Explorations in the EdTech World)
Here’s the short of it. LMS’s do some things really well and are not going to go away. We still use an LMS at our institution, and while I would really like the vendor to invest some of our hard earned license fees into making it a more user friendly tool, we still need an LMS. However, I’ve tried really hard to make sure our online strategy does not start and finish with the LMS, and yes, it is an ongoing battle.

This article presents an excellent point. I also see a lot of what I would call IndieWeb philosophy bubbling up within this argument, and perhaps the edtech space could benefit from some of their ideas, set up, and design?  If you like, we could take the analogy IndieWeb:Social Silos::Educational Technology:Learning Management Systems and extend it.

Much like the demise of the innovation on the web and within the blogosphere as the result of the commodification of social media by silo corporations like Facebook, Twitter, and others around 2006, the technology space in education has become too addicted to corporate products and services. Many of these services cover some broad functionality, but they have generally either slowed down or quit innovating, quit competing with each other, are often charging exorbitant prices, and frequently doing unethical things with the data they receive from their users. The major difference between the two spaces is that Big Social Media is doing it on a much bigger scale and making a lot more money and creating greater damage as a result.

Instead, let me make some recommendations to thought leaders in the space for more humanistic and holistic remedy. Follow the general philosophies and principles of the IndieWeb movement. Dump (or at least gradually move away from) your corporately built LMS and start building one of your own. Ideally, open source what you build so that others can improve it and build upon it. In the end, you, your classes, your departments, and your institutions will be all the stronger for it. You can have more direct control over your own data (and that of your students, which deserves to be treated more ethically). You can build smaller independent pieces that are interchangeable and inter-operable. The small pieces may also allow new unpredictable functionalities when put together. You can build to make better user interfaces, better functionality, and get what you’d like to have instead of just what you’re given.

Sure, doing this may be somewhat uncomfortable in the near term, but many hands over many institutions, building and crafting a variety of solutions will result in a much better and more robust product–and one that we all can “own” and benefit from. By open sourcing, many hands will make light work. Imagine what the state of online learning, Open Educational Resources (OER), and open pedagogy would look like if the hundreds of institutions had put all of their LMS related funding over the past decade into even a handful of open source programmers instead of corporately controlled interests?

Already within the article, there is a short list of potential solutions one could look to as LMS replacements. Those that are open source are literally crying out to not only be used, but to be improved upon so that everyone can benefit from those improvements. Other related options might include

For solid examples of what can be accomplished, we can also look toward individual developers like Stephen Downes and projects like gRSShopper or Alan Levine and his many open source repositories. There are also individuals like Greg McVerry, who is using free and opensource content management systems like WordPress and WithKnown to push the envelope of what is possible with classroom interactions using simple internet protocols like Webmention, Micropub, WebSub, and bleeding edge readers using MicroSub, and Robin DeRosa, who is creating her own OER materials. These are just a few of thousands of individuals hacking away at small, but discrete problems and then helping out others.

At the higher end we can see broad movements like A Domain of One’s Own (DoOO), which empowers students students and faculty by giving them their own domain names and hosting as well as web-based tools to leverage these benefits. (I often look at the DoOO movement as IndieWeb for Education, but without as much emphasis on building for oneself.)

There are even ethical companies like Reclaim Hosting who are doing some excellent and tremendous work in the DoOO space. The benefit of the way these systems are built and maintained however, is that should Reclaim cease offering their excellent support, benefits, and add-ons, individuals or institutions could relatively easily take all of their data and applications and move them to another provider. This provides a massive incentive for service companies to continue iterating and improving on their work as well as the services they offer. Sadly, some of these mechanisms don’t exist this way within much of the corporate LMS space. But they certainly could and should.

For those who are interested, feel free to do some research into some of these areas and tools. Join the DoOO or IndieWeb.org communities. Build your own tools, give feedback to developers of opensource projects to help them improve. Give them some of your time and resources to make these communities and spaces better and stronger over time. Feel free to join the IndieWeb chat to meet folks virtually and discuss these ideas, or use the IndieWeb wiki (the IndieWeb for Education page is an excellent place to start) to not only read, but to contribute back ideas, tools, links, and resources for others. (The wiki has a CC0 license.)

I’m always happy to help people begin to find their way in some of these resources if they need it to get started.

👓 Don’t let your online strategy become a conversation about which LMS to use | homonym.ca

Read Don’t let your online strategy become a conversation about which LMS to use by Tannis MorganTannis Morgan (Explorations in the EdTech World)
Here’s the short of it. LMS’s do some things really well and are not going to go away. We still use an LMS at our institution, and while I would really like the vendor to invest some of our hard earned license fees into making it a more user friendly tool, we still need an LMS. However, I’ve tried really hard to make sure our online strategy does not start and finish with the LMS, and yes, it is an ongoing battle.

Reply to Taylor Jadin about planet functionality for education

Replied to a tweet by Taylor JadinTaylor Jadin (Twitter)
It was a pretty productive Open Domains Lab for me. Got my sort "funnel" site set somewhat set up using FeedWordpress. http://taylor.jadin.me/

I’m curious to hear your thoughts after using it. It sounds like it has a lot of functionality overlap with Press Forward (for WordPress). Planet-like functionality is commonly requested in the education and technology space. Are there others? Stephen DownesgRSShopper perhaps?

 

 

🔖 An Urgency of Teachers: The Work of Critical Digital Pedagogy by Sean Michael Morris and Jesse Stommel

Bookmarked An Urgency of Teachers: the Work of Critical Digital Pedagogy by Sean Michael Morris and Jesse Stommel (criticaldigitalpedagogy.pressbooks.com)
This collection of essays explores the authors’ work in, inquiry into, and critique of online learning, educational technology, and the trends, techniques, hopes, fears, and possibilities of digital pedagogy. For more information, visit urgencyofteachers.com.

👓 Digital learning experts reflect on evolving field in new book | Inside Higher Ed

Read Digital learning experts reflect on evolving field in new book by Mark Lieberman (Inside Higher Ed)
Jesse Stommel and Sean Michael Morris examine their evolving thoughts on classroom technology and online education. A lot has changed in a short time, they found.

Nice little interview. Definitely makes me want to read the book.

👓 The risks of treating 'academic innovation' as a discipline (opinion) | Inside Higher Ed

Read The risks of treating 'academic innovation' as a discipline (opinion) (Inside Higher Ed)
Calls to create a discipline around the term risk reinforcing existing problems with how it is used -- and misused -- in higher education, Rolin Moe writes.

👓 The role of the faculty in the post-LMS world (opinion) | Inside Higher Ed

Read The role of the faculty in the post-LMS world (opinion) (Inside Higher Ed)
If it isn’t already, the learning management system will soon be obsolete, Jonathan Rees argues. Let’s replace it in ways that treat professors like the professionals they are.

This article has the flavor of IndieWeb about it…

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

The real internet is structured by myriad people with different aesthetics and different needs. Online course design decisions should reflect the instructor’s individuality in the same way that everyone else’s webpages do.  

September 26, 2018 at 05:22PM

Third, the post-LMS world should protect the pedagogical prerogatives and intellectual property rights of faculty members at all levels of employment. This means, for example, that contingent faculty should be free to take the online courses they develop wherever they happen to be teaching. Similarly, professors who choose to tape their own lectures should retain exclusive rights to those tapes. After all, it’s not as if you have to turn over your lecture notes to your old university whenever you change jobs.  

Own your pedagogy. Send just like anything else out there…
September 26, 2018 at 05:27PM

👓 Electracy | Wikipedia

Read Electracy (Wikipedia)
Electracy is a theory by Gregory Ulmer that describes the kind of skills and facility necessary to exploit the full communicative potential of new electronic media such as multimedia, hypermedia, social software, and virtual worlds. According to Ulmer, electracy "is to digital media what literacy is to print." It encompasses the broader cultural, institutional, pedagogical, and ideological implications inherent in the transition from a culture of print literacy to a culture saturated with electronic media. "Electracy" is the term he gives to what is resulting from this major transition that our society is undergoing. The term is a portmanteau word, combining "electrical" with "literacy", to allude to one of the fundamental terms used by the French philosopher Jacques Derrida to name the relational spacing that enables and delimits any signification in any medium.