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How Open Educational Resources are being used in Schools [INFOGRAPHIC]

OERIf you do a quick search for studies of OER use in schools, the return is only a handful of publications and reports. Our open-access paper to come out hopefully in the next few months will help fill this gap. In the meantime, the infographic below presents a frequencies analysis of data collected from surveys conducted by the OERRH until December 2014, in total a sample of 657 K-12/school educators across the globe. Open Education week is nearly over and we are seeing it out with a bang!

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Is Free & Equitable “Public” Education a Myth?

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Reposted from Salon:

The gap in the mathematical abilities of American kids, by income, is one of widest among the 65 countries participating in the Program for International Student Achievement. On their reading skills, children from high-income families score 110 points higher, on average, than those from poor families. This is about the same disparity that exists between average test scores in the United States as a whole and Tunisia. The achievement gap between poor kids and wealthy kids isn’t mainly about race. In fact, the racial achievement gap has been narrowing. It’s a reflection of the nation’s widening gulf between poor and wealthy families. And also about how schools in poor and rich communities are financed, and the nation’s increasing residential segregation by income.

As we segregate by income into different communities, schools in lower-income areas have fewer resources than ever. The result is widening disparities in funding per pupil, to the direct disadvantage of poor kids. The wealthiest highest-spending districts are now providing about twice as much funding per student as are the lowest-spending districts, according to a federal advisory commission report. In some states, such as California, the ratio is more than three to one. What are called a “public schools” in many of America’s wealthy communities aren’t really “public” at all. In effect, they’re private schools, whose tuition is hidden away in the purchase price of upscale homes there, and in the corresponding property taxes.

Rather than pay extra taxes that would go to poorer districts, many parents in upscale communities have quietly shifted their financial support to tax-deductible “parent’s foundations” designed to enhance their own schools. About 12 percent of the more than 14,000 school districts across America are funded in part by such foundations. They’re paying for everything from a new school auditorium (Bowie, Maryland) to a high-tech weather station and language-arts program (Newton, MA). “Parents’ foundations,” observed the Wall Street Journal, “are visible evidence of parents’ efforts to reconnect their money to their kids.” And not, it should have been noted, to kids in another community, who are likely to be poorer.

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23 of the Best Game-Based Education Resources

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Reposted from Edudemic:

Edudemic has covered game-based learning and gamification in the classroom on numerous occasions in the past. When learning becomes a game, it’s an enjoyable, effective experience for students and teachers alike. We’ve curated 23 of the best game-based education resources for 2014. If your class hasn’t gotten its game on yet, then now is the time.

The concept of game-based education is one that’s easily dismissed as being frivolous or time-wasting. These go-to resources will help teachers who would like to learn more about the effectiveness of using game-driven approaches in the classroom:

  • The Institute of Play explains how games nurture the higher-order thinking skills kids will need in their futures, including the ability to analyze and solve problems using media resources. The Why Games & Learning page on its site makes a particularly succinct and compelling argument on behalf of game-based learning. It describes games as “complex eco-systems extending beyond the game space to involve networks of people in a variety of roles and rich interactions.”

  • Educational technology company Knewton presents an easy-to-digest infographic about the prevalence of gaming in today’s society, the benefits of gaming in school, and how teachers can harness the powers of gaming for the good of public education.

  • In Gamification in the Classroom: The Right or Wrong Way to Motivate Students?, Tim Walker of the National Education Association (NEA) takes a look at today’s gamification trend, with a call-to-action for teachers to choose their methodology wisely. Although the article is rather critical of gamification in learning, it nonetheless offers valuable perspective to prevent educators from going too far with this method.

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