Four Strategies to Spark Curiosity via Student Questioning

Kevin D Washburn looks at how curiosity drives learning

When we realize that we do not know all there is to know about something in which we are interested, we thirst. We pursue. We act as though what we do not know is more important than what we do, as though what we do not possess is worth the chase to own it. How do we help students discover this drive?

He suggests four strategies – including equipping students to ask questions and building a launch pad.

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How are learning analytics being used in education

Andrianes Pinantoan looks at how ever increasing data being mined provides opportunities for researchers to explore how these are being and can be used in learning contexts. He notes that learning analytics is in its infancy and looks at several studies which have used recommender systems, resources being offered to students based on their web browsing habits and development of tools which provide different visualizations for educators and students to investigate how they are performing in web based environments.

  1. Learning analytics “has problems representing the nature of connections between data sets and people.” We’ll still need human interpretations, the research found, and this will remain so as learning analytics become more ingrained in education.
  2. However, learning analytics can be “powerful in giving meaning to interactions and actions in a learning environment” – allowing us to eventually personalize every learning environment based on the student’s preference and progress.

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Final Thoughts – the impact of technology on education

Ms Gray recently completed a course on using technologies in education and shares her thoughts on using in a higher school maths classroom. She reflects on her experiences of using blogs, wikis, podcasts for the first time. She looks at how perspectives are changing from teacher centered to learner centered.

I have a vision for where I want to take my classroom technologically. I want to not just accomplish a task differently, but accomplish a completely different task. One goal that I have is to have an up and running blog site maintained and monitored by students (and me of course) that will be a tool for students to communicate with each other and myself. Students will be able to get homework help and even post problems to discuss. In addition to discussions and homework help, students will use the blog to reflect on their own learning and the mathematics specifically. The second goal would be for students to move away from poster boards and PowerPoint and use wikis and podcasts to complete projects. Students would use the wiki space to collaborate about the project and I would monitor each members contributions and offer assistance when needed. After using the wiki to collaborate, students will produce their final product as a podcast.

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Where Are We, and Where Should We Be (the Challenge to Change in Education)

Mark Benn reflects on what education is about, how technologies have changed how students are interacting both in the classroom and beyond. He looks at the video of children in Singapore schools where children are using a range of technologies including Facebook and Second Life to explore learning.

All teachers want to see their students engaged in the learning process, the problem is that our old teaching model doesn’t work with the digital age student. We need to prepare them (the students) for their future, not our past. This is the responsibility for all of us.

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Exploring the Brazilian Higher Education System

Nikiforos Philyppis questions whether assessment statistics are actually a realistic view of Brazilian education or whether schools are just passing students to improve their UNESCO statistics. Brazilian higher education is mostly private education. He explores the relationships between markets, students as consumers and education as a commodity.

Educational laws and rules are tough for educational organizations. A student does not pay in advance, he can stop paying his installments in a current year and the school cannot stop giving him the education for that year. After that, he has the legal right to ask for his report and transfer the credits to other institution, and so on. That creates a vicious circle, treating the student as customer and creating all the possible means to maintain him in your client portfolio. In that scenario, passing the student is a rather plausible (although unethical and, I should dare, illegal) strategy.

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Pre-work – is it work or isn’t it

Laura Leyton James posts about activities that may be required to be completed before attending training of some kind. She mentions how there is often no direction or timescales (other than before a course) and how it is often perceived as optional. She looks at how technologies have produced blended learning and speculates on the role of these kinds of activities:

Work is either work or it’s not.  And if it’s not ‘work’ what is it?  Is it reading?  If so, reading is something you do therefore it’s work!  Is it watching (a video)?  If so, it’s still doing ergo work.  There’s nothing ‘pre’ about it.

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Wisdom 2.0: Balance in A Hyper Connected World

Beth Kanter attended the Wisdom 2.0 conference, looking at what makes a good slow information diet, how technologies can help or hinder non-profits in their learning and interactions with the public and overall what is a healthy mind in paying attention to what we are consuming, how much time we are spending and how meaningful it is. She notes a range of interesting resources and speakers from the conferences.

She asks

What ideas, books, or concepts are helping you balance in a hyper-connected world?  How do you practice wisdom to keep your online/offline work and life balanced?

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Brazilian city uses computer chips embedded in school uniforms to keep track of students

Stan Lehman in Newser reports that

Twenty thousand students in 25 of the of Vitoria da Conquista’s 213 public schools started using T-shirts with chips earlier this week, secretary Coriolano Moraes said by telephone.

By 2013, all of the city’s 43,000 public school students _ aged 4 to 14 _ will be using the chip-embedded T-shirts, he added.

The “intelligent uniforms” tell parents when their children enter the school building by sending a text message to their cell phones. Parents are also alerted if kids don’t show up 20 minutes after classes begin with the following message: “Your child has still not arrived at school

They are receiving interest from other Brazilian cities interested in absence management.

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Education in Bolivia

Stein reviews education provision in Bolivia and says that it is in crisis, that successive governments have failed to address poverty and the exploitation of non renewable resources, mismatch of technological, infrastructure and labour needs:

Es un hecho que Bolivia atraviesa por una crisis educativa heredada por décadas, la población estudiantil alcanza aproximadamente a los dos millones distribuidos en todos los niveles con una infraestructura desprovista de recursos básicos para su correcta funcionalidad: esta crisis no solo es producto de del mal manejo de los gobiernos de turno; también es resultado de una crisis educativa mundial. Las modernas corrientes pedagógicas muestran resultados contraproducentes. La educación es una gran empresa de carácter público. De su organización, administración y orientación técnica que puestos en marcha dependen de gran manera de su elevación moral, espiritual y cultural de un pueblo para que sea encaminado hacia el progreso de la mano de la tecnología y la ciencia.

In full (Translate to English)

Changing Learners, Changing Methodologies

Danielle McCartan posts from New Jersey and notes that American schools are falling behind worldwide because “teachers are becoming archaic”, with students’ use of smartphones, apps and websites reflecting their learning choices. She explains how she is going to use Edmodo with her language students, encouraging students to create their own networks and videos, sharing resources.

Though I am not too far removed from high school, students today are very different than they were even six years ago, when I was a senior.  High school students are glued to their cell phones, they video chat with each other when they go home from school, they watch television while using their laptops and their smart phones, and they can chop up, edit, and produce a video in under an hour. I fit in this category: “today’s average college grads have spent less than 5,000 hours of their lives reading, but over 10,000 hours playing video games (not to mention 20,000 hours watching TV” (Prensky 1).  When questions in casual conversation arise, they can easily be answered in about 3 seconds – the time it takes to perform a search on Wikipedia on a smart phone.

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