Produce Thinkers, Not Docile Workers

Educational Innovation Weekly Review for Academics
Curated by Tecnológico de Monterrey's Observatory of Educational Innovation
September 15, 2015
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Produce Thinkers, Not Docile Workers
Pedagogy Unbound - Chronicle Vitae
  • I want to explore how we can use our power as teachers to help make our institutions more open, more egalitarian, and more focused on real learning. 
  • Cathy Davidson, a professor of technology and pedagogy at the Graduate Center at the City University of New York, offers suggestions on how to move our courses away from what she calls “credential-centered learning” toward student-centered learning. 
  • The best way to do that is by helping students understand why they should be learning what you want them to be learning, and having them take the lead in achieving their learning goals. 
  • The more control you relinquish, the more the students will see the course as theirs, and will commit in a way that makes deep learning much more likely.
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Keywords: pedagogy, student-centered learning
Are College Lectures Unfair?
The New York Times
  • Does the college lecture discriminate? The lecture is an old and well-established tradition in education. To most of us, it simply is the way college courses are taught (even in online courses). 
  • Yet a growing body of evidence suggests that the lecture is not neutral, but a specific cultural form that favors some people while discriminating against others. This is not a matter of instructor bias; it is the lecture format itself. 
  • The partiality of the lecture format has been made visible by studies that compare it with a different style of instruction, called active learning. This approach provides increased structure, feedback and interaction, prompting students to become participants in constructing their own knowledge rather than passive recipients. 
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Keywords: higher education, active learning, opinion
Meet Students Where They Are
Faculty Focus
  • Valerie Powell decided to supplement her face-to-face courses to extend the classroom and provide opportunities for students who are not comfortable speaking up in the face-to-face environment. She offers options “to meet students where they are.”
  • “Part of being an instructor is being open to new tools and strategies. How can I ask my students to take risks and try things beyond their comfort zone if I’m not willing to do that as well?” Powell says. That is why Powell created a Facebook page for her class. 
  • The Facebook page is an open page. Everyone can comment on students’ work. For those who are not comfortable posting to public Facebook page, Powell offers the option of posting their work to Blackboard, which is not open to the public. Most students choose to post in Facebook. 
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Keywords: engaging students, facebook, social media
Gamifying the Educational Experience
Inside Higher Ed
  • Many parents and some psychologists decry videogames as a waste of time and actually harmful. However accurate or inaccurate such claims might be, there is no doubt that videogames offer important lessons that can improve teaching and learning.
  • Much can be learned from videogames about how to enhance engagement, intensify motivation, and encourage productive practice. Games encourage a sense of a complete immersion in an activity by presenting players with challenges to be met, puzzles to be cracked, and tasks to be mastered.
  • Games also encourage players to be resourceful problem solvers and risk-takers who learn to navigate a complex system by themselves and through that process acquire a sense of competence and self-confidence. 
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Keywords: videogames, gamification, active learning, social learning, personalized learning
Why We Should Fear University, Inc.
The New York Times Magazine
  • Nowadays universities operate more and more like corporations. It’s not unheard-of for colleges now to employ more senior administrators than professors.  There are, of course, essential functions that many university administrators perform, but such an imbalance is absurd.
  • The contemporary American college is slowly becoming as meticulously art-directed and branded as a J. Crew catalog. Like Niketown or Disneyworld, your average college campus now leaves the distinct impression of a one-party state.
  • Furthermore, a new generation of students has become acclimated to the experience of college as luxury resort hotel, one they will pay for in student loans for the rest of their lives. 
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Keywords: higher education, universities, opinion
The Secret to Building Great EdTech Products? Teachers
Fast Company
  • Technologists and educators used to operate in separate spheres, resulting in frequent classroom-level frustrations. But recent developments suggest that teachers are finding their voice, and that technologists are increasingly eager to listen.
  • Investors are rewarding companies with strong school ties. "Some of the most promising, exciting companies have a teacher on the founding team—that's a signal to us for sure," says Stacey Childress, CEO of the NewSchools Venture Fund.
  • There's still room for improvement, however, despite these signs of progress. "Technology companies are sometimes developing in a vacuum, too far away from what students and teachers need in the classroom," says Phyllis Lockett, founder and CEO of LEAP Innovations. 
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Keywords: educational technology, edtech, teachers
The New Face of Personalized Learning is a Computer
Education Dive
  • Last week, Knewton announced the creation of an artificial intelligence program that automatically delivers content to students based on how they learn. Similar programs have begun to spring up, offering ways to automate at least some of the practices of a teacher.
  • But as the market grows, many of the so-called "smart" technologies are intended to aid, not replace, teachers. But making sure they do will require examining exactly how they fit into schools.
  • The biggest question of all centers around the overall novelty of adaptive learning and the technology to support it. None of these programs have existed long enough to be vetted or to build up a body of research on whether they work as well or better than existing systems for boosting student learning. 
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Keywords: educational technology, personalized learning, artificial intelligence, Knewton
The Five A’s of Engaging Non-Traditional Students
The EvoLLLution
  • Today most colleges and universities have non-traditional students as part of their enrollment. Connecting the complexities of non-traditional student lives with the rigid institutions of learning is a very complex task.
  • To help, I offer my perspective on opportunities that exist to maximize the effectiveness of institutional efforts to connect with non-traditional students. I call them The Five A’s of Successful Non-Traditional Student Integration: Analyze, Availability, Accessibility, Affordability, and Adaptability. 
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Keywords: teaching and learning, today's learner, non-traditional students
University of Salford Launches Tinder-style App to Match Students With Perfect Course
Times Higher Education
  • Searching for the perfect university course can seem a bit like finding the perfect soulmate. But one university has sought to alleviate the stress of the hunt by launching a mobile phone app aimed at helping students find "the course of their dreams."
  • The course app, Match Made in Salford, has much in common with Tinder. It allows prospective students to swipe left or right when they are provided with personalised course recommendations based on their grades achieved, preferred subject areas and careers of interest. 
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Keywords: universities, apps
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Educational Innovation Weekly Review is curated by Tecnológico de Monterrey's  Observatory of Educational Innovation. With the highlights of the week on innovation, technology and education. If you require more information about a specific note, please email us: TECNOLÓGICO DE MONTERREY, 2015.

Observatory of Educational Innovation

Tecnológico de Monterrey's Observatory of Educational Innovation: We identify and analyze the educational innovation trends that are shaping the future of learning and education. 

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