Technology Defines Higher Ed’s New Normal [INFOGRAPHIC]


This new infographic from Flat World Education illustrates how technology has helped foster growth in the education world, and has also increased the workload. The data also shows that 45 percent of today’s students will take at least one online course, whereas learning in the 1980s was confined to classrooms. Also, two two out of three college students today use a smartphone for school work — a capability that didn’t exist even 10 years ago, let alone 30.

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University as a Learning Design Challenge


Reposted from Innovision:

One of the things I’ve enjoyed in getting to know the community at the University of Texas Austin, is the energy that exists among fellow faculty to rethink the undergraduate experience. The Campus Conversation, an activity started by President Bill Powers in 2014, with three primary goals in mind:

  • How do we implement changes to curriculum and degree programs?
  • How do we evolve pedagogy for 21st century learners?
  • How do we create more opportunities for interdisciplinary and experiential learning for our undergraduates?

Meanwhile, MIT has been considering how the undergraduate experience needs to evolve through an Institute-wide Task Force, the product of which was the report  The Future of MIT Education: Reinventing MIT Education together. In it was a recommendation about greater modularity, as well. One of its attributes, in addition to allowing students greater influence on their own learning pathway, is the creation of structural ‘holes’ in the curriculum – making time and places for experiential learning.

Is there a pattern emerging?

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The Need For Evidence-Based Teacher Prep Programs

teacher prep

Reposted from the Brown Center Chalkboard:

New teachers are essential to K-12 education. They allow the system to grow as the number of students grows, and they replace teachers retiring or taking other jobs. In light of the size of the K-12 sector, it’s not surprising that preparing new teachers is big business. Currently more than 2,000 teacher preparation programs graduate more than 200,000 students a year, which generates billions of dollars in tuition and fees for higher education institutions.

Preparing new teachers also is a business that is rarely informed by research and evidence. In 2010, the National Research Council released its congressionally mandated review of research on teacher preparation. It reported that “there is little firm empirical evidence to support conclusions about the effectiveness of specific approaches to teacher preparation,” and, further on, “the evidence base supports conclusions about the characteristics it is valuable for teachers to have, but not conclusions about how teacher preparation programs can most effectively develop those characteristics.” That there is no evidence base about how best to prepare people to teach is concerning.

Accumulating a research base to support stronger preparation programs would mean studying questions that arise in preparing new teachers, such as the right balance between theory and practice, how best to use data, and approaches for managing classrooms. It would be years before results from such efforts emerge. But one way for programs to improve in the near future would be to use data on how well their graduates perform in promoting student learning. For example, data might show that particular approaches for teaching reading are associated with higher reading scores. That information could be incorporated into program courses. Using scores to improve programs emphasizes that the outcome of teacher preparation programs is learning.

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Status Update: Common Core, K12 and Higher Education

UVA rotunda

Reposted from New America Ed Central:

“Most attention to the Common Core State Standards has focused understandably on the continued political backlash against the standards and the status of implementation in schools. As we look ahead to next spring when students will take assessments that indicate whether they are on track to college and career readiness, we have seen some attention begin to focus on the role of higher education in the development and implementation of the standards (see New America’s report, “Common Core Goes to College,” and a recent story from Hechinger Report). Unfortunately, the takeaway from these sources and others is that higher education has mostly been watching from the sidelines and that it has been difficult in many places for K-12 and higher education to overcome decades of entrenched habits and work productively together.

It would be easy to conclude that greater cooperation (and improved alignment) between K–12 and higher education is “mission impossible,” given the differences in structure and culture between the two sectors. But I have been deeply involved in efforts to create greater academic alignment between K-12 and higher education for almost a decade—first at the American Council on Education (ACE) and now at the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium—and I see more reasons for optimism than pessimism. Here’s why…”

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What Universities Have In Common With Record Labels


Reposted from Quartz:

“The internet’s power to unbundle content sparked a rapid transformation of the music industry, which today generates just over half of the $14 billion it did in 2000—and it’s doing the same thing to higher education.

Choice is expanding at every level, from pre-k to graduate school. The individual course, rather than the degree, is becoming the unit of content. And universities, the record labels of education, are facing increased pressure to unbundle their services.

A cohort of new entrepreneurs and existing institutions will greatly increase personal choice for all of us. Amidst this creative destruction, we must now ensure that in the pursuit of freedom of choice, we don’t risk hegemony of thought.”

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Colleges’ Late-to-the-Party Scramble to Get Ready for Common Core


Reposted from Washington Monthly:

“Even though the Common Core has been promoted as a means of better preparing America’s children for college and careers, the people who run higher education have, for the most part, gotten involved only late in the process, they and others say. Despite years of blaming each other for precisely the lack of preparation among students that the Common Core is supposed to address, educators at the various levels of the education system have proven tough to bring together. Everybody at the table is thinking, ‘Why should I spend my resources? Why should I spend my time? Am I going to get an award for my work? What’s in it for me?’”

But their comparative absence until now was not a big surprise to Anand Vaishnav, a senior consultant at Education First and project manager of the Core to College initiative, a network of 11 states – Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, and Washington – that are trying to align their primary and secondary schools with higher education.

“These sectors are completely different, with completely different cultures and leaders and governing structures and incentives, and the lines aren’t always clear,” said Vaishnav. “The Common Core is a great way to put an end to the blame game.”

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