Archive for the ‘Wales Wide Web’ Category

New Pedagogies and the Training of Teachers and Trainers (part 2)

September 30th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

Here is part 2 of my series on new pedagogies and the training of teachers and trainers. Each day this week I am reporting on a number of ‘high lighted issues; from a report I am in the progress of writing. Today’s highlighted issues come from the section on ‘pedagogic theories and the use of technologies for learning and their implications.’

Highlighted issues

Definitions of competence

Definitions of learning and competence are central to the development and implementation of new pedagogies of the use of technology for learning. Yet despite broad debates around definitions and understanding in the research community and in different countries, in vocational education and training the UK has tended to adopt a more restricted definition, albeit one rooted in cultural traditions of vocational education in the UK. How can we promote a wider debate around these issues and especially an understanding of their implications for pedagogy and practice?

How can we support teachers in exploring new pedagogic approaches?

New pedagogic approaches are merging as new technologies are used in different ways for learning, for instance through the use of Web 2.0 and social software. Yet the adoption of new pedagogic approaches and indeed their emergence requires space and time for experimentation. How can we ensure that teachers have the spaces and time for such experimentation and how can we ensure the results of that experimentation are disseminated to a wider audience?

The research, policy, practice gap

There would appear, at different levels, to be some considerable gaps between policy, research and practice, especially in the use of new pedagogic approaches to using technology for teaching and learning. The answer is not probably a linear process of dissemination but rather encouraging a closer dialogue between different actors within the system. How can such dialogue be organised and sustained?

Changing roles of teachers and trainers

There is considerable evidence that the use of new technologies and particularly new pedagogic approaches to the use of technologies of teaching and learning are leading to new roles for teachers. How can those new roles be reflected in Initial Teacher Training and Continuing Professional Development and how can the organisation and management of institutions evolve to reflect such changing roles?

Bringing Initial Teacher Training and Continuing  Professional Development in line with espoused pedagogies

If we are introducing new pedagogic approaches to teaching and learning, it would appear apposite that these pedagogies are reflected int he practice of training teachers. This may suggest the need for greater flexibility in Initial Teacher Training curriculum. More importantly, it also implies that the trainers of teachers themselves have to adopt new pedagogic approaches. How can this process be facilitated?

New pedagogies and the training of teachers and trainers (Part 1)

September 29th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

I am writing a report on new pedagogic approaches to the use of technology for teaching and learning. In particular I am looking at three key issues:

  • A summary of definitions of digital pedagogy and/or pedagogic approaches to using technology for learning
  • A discussion of current approaches to using technology for learning and strengths and weaknesses in relation to teacher training generally and in the post 16 education sector in particular.
  • New pedagogic approaches that could be considered in the review of the curriculum and qualifications for teacher training, to provide the skills, knowledge and understanding required of the modern teacher or trainer.
  • The report is divided into a number of different sections. And at the end of each section I am attempting to identify a series of ‘highlighted issues’ requiring more attention, thinking or action. I will publish the entire report when it is finished. But in a short series of posts this week, I will publish the highlighted issues in the hope of gaining feedback from the wider community.

    The first section deals with how young people (and teachers) are using technology for teaching and learning. It also looks at new and extended definitions of digital literacy.

    Here are the issues I have identified as coming out of that section:

    Should learners or schools determine the adoption of particular technologies for teaching and learning?

    There has been concern expressed that educational institutions are failing to meet the expectations and practices of learners in their use of technology for teaching and learning. Equally, some research has pointed to the requirement to use technologies and forms of communication and expression that may lay outside learners’ everyday practice and experience. To what extent should educational practice change to adopt to the expectations and practice of learners in terms of technology? And to what extent is it appropriate for educational institutions to recommend or make compulsory the use of particular technologies.

    The changing contexts of learning and the social context of literacies.

    Research evidence suggests that computers and mobile devices are being used for information seeking, communication and knowledge acquisition in different domains and contexts, including in the home, in the community and in work. How should educational institutions react to these different contexts for learning and how can informal learning and learning outside the institution be linked to educational programmes and courses?

    Learners’ experience

    Instead of a digital divide based on generation, research suggests a far more complex picture, with wide variations in skills, interest and practice in the uses of technology even by younger people. Access to technology and to Internet connectivity would also appear to remain a critical issue. How can educational institutions and teachers manage these different levels of expectation and experience and at the same time ensure a minimum level of digital literacy for all learners.

    Managing myths

    The continuing dissemination of myths and moral panics around the adoption and use of practice around new technologies is disturbing? How can we ensure teachers (and teacher trainers and managers) have access to timely and accurate research around these issues?

    Digital literacies for teachers

    Research is leading to wider ideas of digital literacy. How can we ensure that teachers themselves are digitally literate and that Initial Teacher Training and Continuing Professional Development is based on these ideas, rather than the older and more restricted digital skills agenda?

    Open Learning and Contextual Diversity

    September 27th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

    The debate over open learning is still going on through various fora such as the Open Educational Resources discussion currently being hosted by UNESCO and the #PLENK2010 MOOC. And in many ways, it is not technology which is driving the discussion but a more fundamental question about how to provide wider access to learning and access to wider groups of learners.

    One post which caught my eye is The ‘Open Mode’ – A Step Toward Completely Online by Tom Prescott (it is interesting to note that even in the days of Twitter;s ascendency blog posts continue to provide the most thoughtful exchanges).

    Talking about the trend away from purely online distance learning courses towards blended learning, Tom says:

    It’s wrong because most of the time the educators and the students don’t really want to use technology. They’ll do a bit for the administration, but for learning, no way. It’s a face-to-face course. Why tamper with it. I am of the opinion that this is misguided, but it’s not a battle worth fighting (for now). Fighting this resentment is unnecessary.

    I think Tom is mixing up a whole series of things here. Firstly the move towards Blended Learning was driven by pedagogy and not by a retreat from Technology Enhanced Learning. And that move towards Blended Learning has led to a period of pedagogic innovation, albeit based on the adoption of social software and social networking for learning. By focusing on the pedagogy of using technology, increasing numbers of teachers have adopted technology as part of their every day practices in tecahing and learning. This is reflected in changes in teachers’ dispositions towards using technology. I would also challenge the idea that students are opposed to technology for learning. Students are opposed to the use of technology which fails to enhance their learning experience, just precisely to the use of technology for managing, rather than learning.

    But the major impact of technologies and especially of mobile devices, is to move learning outside the institutional culture and practice, into new contexts. Of course this provides a challenge to existing institutional cultures and to the existing cultures of tecahing and learning practice. And some teachers will be wary of such a challenge. But its is the potentials of using technology for informal learning, for networked and self structured  learning (as in PLENK2010) and for workbased learning which can open up learning (or put another way, develop Open Learning).

    I remain unconvinced that traditional online courses (as in Open and Distance Learning) have challenged that learning in context. Instead they have tended to reproduce existing pedagogic and cultural forms of learning, at a distance. Thus I think we need to see more diversified and contextual applications of technology to learning, rather than a focus on any particular organisational or institutional format.

    Connectivism vs Constructivism?

    September 22nd, 2010 by Jenny Hughes

    I’m always a bit nervous about commenting on someone commenting on someone…but was interested in Steve Wheeler’s blogspot post reporting on a keynote he attended in Brisbane yesterday. Speaker was Sir John Daniel asking whether initiatives aimed at trying to provide computers for children in emerging nations to offer escape routes from the poverty trap actually work.I quote Steve’s post

    Well, yes and no, was Sir John’s answer. No, in the case of Nick Negroponte’s One Laptop per Child (OLPC) project, which was aimed at an ambitious 150 million, only 1 million have actually been distributed. Yes, in the case of ‘Slum Dog Professor’ Sugata Mitra’s hole in the wall project.

    So far, so good. I’m agreeing with him. But found his arguments less than convincing.

    The difference between the them, said Sir John, lay in the concept and theory behind the two projects. OLPC was premised on the theory of constructivism, where the child, as a solo explorer, could use his laptop to learn independently. Mitra’s project on the other hand, discovered that children actually learn best (and even teach themselves) when they are in small groups. Minimally invasive education has been shown to be better than direct instruction for promoting intellectual maturity. Thus, said Sir John, social connectivism trumps constructivism for third world child learning.

    Hmmm! This raises so many questions.

    Firstly, the intention of OLPC was certainly that individual children would have their own laptop which they could use alone, at home. But it was also something they could use in school in the presence of other pupils (if they attended school) and could help bridge the home-school, formal-informal divide. Importantly, it was envisaged that other family members would, by association, access information initially using the child as a conduit. So the computer becomes a catalyst for family learning. I am also interested in this idea of the OLPC child being a ‘solo learner’ operating ‘independently’.  I thought that one of the biggest benefit to the child was that it could provided access to other learners, social networks, communities etc etc. I agree that most kids learn best in groups but surely these groups can be on-line groups as well as physical groups?

    “Minimally invasive is better….” is also something I have problems with. Yes – maybe – sometimes. I have spent a lifetime in teacher training talking about ‘appropriate or inappropriate’ methods and technologies stressing that every learning situation is unique and what is appropriate in one context may not be in another. As a generalisation, I can see where he is coming from but I would be a lot more cautious.

    I agree that OLPC has not been the global success we were all hoping for but there were many contributory factors to do with the technology, the costing models, the distribution, the support etc etc which collectively may have been more significant barriers than the pedagogic model. I think I’m saying that we are not comparing like with like here. OLPC and the Hole in the Wall were so totally different in conception and execution.

    Finally, I am genuinely confused by social connectivism being presented in opposition to constructivism. Is Social Connectivism now a distinct pedagogy that has fallen bellow my radar? Or, for that matter is Constructivism a pedagogy? Constructivism is a theory of knowledge not a specific pedagogy – Constructionism is the educational theory proposed by Papert using Piaget’s constructivist ideas.

    (And while we are on the subject, we also need to make a distinction between Cognitive Constructivism (Piaget, Dewey etc) and Social Constructivism (Vygotsky, Bruner etc)

    Research support for constructivist teaching techniques is very divided – one of the major criticisms being that it is deterministic and reduces the individual to a product of his social environment (a very similar criticism to that  often made about Behaviourism, funnily enough)

    Notwithstanding all that lot, many researchers (e.g Bruning, Eggan etc) argued that knowledge must initially be constructed in a social context before it can be appropriated by individuals and Vygotsky’s basic premise was that meanings and understandings grow out of social encounters. This rather supposes that ‘social connectivity’ is part of Constructivism not something to be set in opposition to it.

    Anyway, thanks for that Steve. If I have misreported the original speaker (almost certainly) I unreservedly apologise but your blogpost and Sir John Daniels ideas certainly made me think and stimulated much late night, beer-fuelled discussion and argument here in the Pontydysgu office.  Diolch yn fawr iawn!

    Openess and Research

    September 22nd, 2010 by Graham Attwell

    I attended the Elluminate session at #PLENK2010 this evening with a presentation by Martin Weller speaking about Research, Technology and Networks. It was heartening to see almost 100 participants log and participate in a very lively text discussion, even if fewer were willing to use the audio.
    I think Martin is overly pessimistic about how social networking and social software is being used in research. Of course there are still barriers to be overcome, particularly the insistence by many institutions on traditional forms of scholarship and research as the basis for future career progression and for funding. And in a comment related to the Open University’s Social Learn, a project he previously led, he showed how business goals can impact against openness in research processes and innovation in products.
    However, I am seeing a marked move twoards openess, collaboration and sharing in a number of the projects and networks in which I participate. Access to video conferences has facilitated more collaborative approaches to project reviews and to managing research tasks. Twitter, blogs and other social network applications have allowed us to share work in progress outside immediate project partnerships. And once more, social networks are allowing us to discover new colleagues and friends, outside our narrower institutional or project communities.
    I am also convinced that the use of Cloud applications is going to have a major impact on the way we work. In Pontydysgu we have moved to Google Docs in the last month. And without consciously thinking about it, we are able to work together on research documents and even better to comment on each others work and ideas as a work in progress. This would never have happened through emailing drafts between colleagues.
    Jen Hughes is working on ideas around Evaluation 2.0. This is also based on the idea of openness and the involvement of wider communities in evaluation processes. We hope to open out an evaluation in progress to all of you int he next week or so see what happens!

    The impact of new technologies on teaching and learning

    September 20th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

    For a report that I am working on, I have been asked to assess the impact of new technologies on teaching and learning in the vocational education sector in the UK.

    One major problem in judging the impact of new technologies on teaching and learning and on pedagogical approaches to teaching and learning is the need for metrics for judging such impact. it is relatively simple to survey the number of computers in a school, or the speed of an internet connection. It is also not impossible to count how many teachers are using a particular piece of technology. It is far harder to judge pedagogic change. One tool which could prove useful in this respect is the iCurriculum Framework (Barajas et al, 2004), developed by the European project of the same name.The framework was intended as a tool that can be used by educators to record the effects of their learners activities. It is based on seeing pedagogic and curricula activities along three dimensions – an Operational Curriculum, an Integrating Curriculum and a Transformational curriculum. It is possible to approach pedagogies for using technologies for learning for the same subject and for the same intended outcomes on any one of those three dimensions.

    • Operational Curriculum is learning to use the tools and technology effectively. Knowing how to word-process, how to edit a picture, enter data and make simple queries of an information system, save and load files and so on.
    • Integrating Curriculum is where the uses of technology are applied to current curricula and organisation of teaching and learning. This might be using an online library of visual material, using a virtual learning environment to deliver a course or part of a course. The nature of the subject and institution of learning is essentially the same, but technology is used for efficiency, motivation and effectiveness.
    • Transformational Curriculum is based on the notion that what we might know, and how, and when we come to know it is changed by the existence of the technologies we use and therefore the curriculum and organisation of teaching and learning needs to change to reflect this. (p 8)

    In terms of general approaches suggested by research literature, most Further Education colleges in the UK are still approaching pedagogy and curriculum design from the standpoint of an operational curriculum, and although there are some examples of an integrating curriculum, there is little evidence of using technology for transformation.

    Reference:

    Barajas, M., Heinemann, L., Higueras, E., Kikis-Papakadis, K., Logofatu, B., Owen, M. et al. (2004). Guidelines for Emergent Competences at Schools, http://promitheas.iacm.forth.gr/i-curriculum/outputs.html

    Developing a post-web-2.0 strategy for learning – a twitter conversation

    September 16th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

    I moaned on twitter this evening about the intrusive advertising now showing on Slideshare. Fairly obviously, Slideshare are trying to persuade people to sign up for the recently introduced Premium Accounts. The end of free is in sight with many social software providers turning to premium account models in an attempt to monetize services (or at least pay for bandwidth). And of course this was bound to happen. Whilst in the initial days of Web 2.0, service providers could make money on advertising by poaching advertising budgets from print publications, there has to be a point where advertising money runs out, especially in a recessions.

    But this provides a big challenge for using technology for teaching and learning. the last two years has been a period of great innovation, with an increasing focus on pedagogy, rather than technology per se. That in turn has been facilitated by teachers (and learners) being able to themselves choose what applications to use, free from institutional diktat be it by managers, accountants or systems administrators. whilst the cost of premium accounts is generally low (although interestingly not for high bandwidth applications such as video streaming), teachers and learners are going to be forced to decide which of the many available services they wish to subscribe to. And most teachers do not have access to a budget for applications. So does power return to the managers? Will we be forced back to the Learning Management Systems and Virtual Learning Platforms so beloved of systems admins.

    In a series of tweets Scott Wilson suggested “we need a new post-web-2.0 strategy” and that “open source and the open web are going to be at the heart of it, and new partnerships with IT departments.” He pointed out that “IT departments are under pressure to cut costs and outsource services; this is a key leverage point and educational technologists may be able to help.”

    Scott Leslie joined in the discussion, suggesting that my original tweet fearing a move from the free use of social software by teachers to managerial and IT administrator control “is a false dichotomy that confuses ‘Agency’ with ‘Autonomy’ – there’s a role for system-wide/inst….” He suggested “provisioned systems to replace the “free” ones, but done in ways that maximize learner/teacher agency and choice.” And as an example of such a strategy Carlos Santos proposed the SAPO Campus model. Scott Wilson agreed with Scott Leslie saying “also work on ensuring centrally managed platforms are extensible and flexible for adding new edu tools and apps (even sharepoint!).”

    An interesting discussion and one that urgently needs to be taken forward. I wonder if this could be continued as part of the #PLENK2010 course?

    More on linked data

    September 16th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

    I have written several posts on the potential of linked data for learning. One of the problems though, is that most of the discussions around linked data are very techy and for educationalists can be difficult to understand. Very welcome, therefore is a new briefing paper entitled ‘The Semantic Web, Linked and Open Data‘, (PDF download) written by Sheila Campbell and Lorna MacNeill and published by Cetis. Lorna says on her blog: “This briefing paper provides a high level overview of key concepts relating to the Semantic Web, semantic technologies, linked and open data; along with references to relevant examples and standards. The briefing is intended to provide a starting point for those within the teaching and learning community who may have come across the concept of semantic technologies and the Semantic Web but who do not regard themselves as experts and wish to learn more.” The paper is very good in making the techy stuff accessible to a non techy audience and has some very useful examples.

    The paper explains the background to linked data.

    To make the Semantic Web or Web of Data a reality, it is necessary to have a large volume of data available on the Web in a standard, reachable and manageable format. In addition the relationships among data also need to be made available. This collection of interrelated data on the Web can also be referred to as Linked Data. Linked Data lies at the heart of the Semantic Web: large scale integration of, and reasoning on, data on the Web.”
    W3C, http://www.w3.org/standards/semanticweb/data

    There is currently considerable ambiguity as to the exact nature of Linked Data. The debate primarily centres around whether Linked Data must adhere to the four principles outlined in Tim Berners-Lee’s “Linked Data Design Issues”, and in particular whether use of RDF and SPARQL is mandatory. Some argue that RDF is integral to Linked Data, others suggest that while it may be desirable, use of RDF is optional rather than mandatory.

    Some reserve the capitalised term Linked Data for data that is based on RDF and SPARQL, preferring lower case “linked data”, or “linkable data”, for data that uses other technologies. There is currently no definitive practice.

    The paper goes on to quote the the recent JISC publication entitled “Linked Data Horizon Scan”  by Paul Miller:

    Whilst the exact wording of these statements has changed slightly since first expressed in 2006, and there remains
    some doubt as to the strength of the requirement for specific standards, the acronyms mask a simple yet powerful set
    of behaviours;

    • Name objects and resources, unambiguously;
    • Make use of the structure of the web;
    • Make it easy to discover information about the named object or resource;
    • If you know about related objects or resources, link to them too.

    There is much to gain in embracing the philosophy behind these rules, separately to adopting the standards and specifications required to realise their full potential.

    This is what the UK governement intends for education services

    September 14th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

    Much of the publicity about cutbacks in public spending in education in the UK have focused on the limitations in student numbers in universities and on the axing of the school building programme.

    However, perhaps the most dramatic affect to date is being felt by the Careers Service, usually called Connexions. The Unison trade union have produced a summary of what is going on and it does not make for pretty reading.

    Here are a few examples drawn from their survey.

    In Luton, trade unions and employees are now being consulted on the Connexions proposals which involves the reduction of 12 full time posts, nine of which are currently filled; early cancellation of contracts with some voluntary sector providers; and reduction in the budget available for resources and other services to support work with young people.

    In Thurrock, at least £304k cut from Connexions budget in year with approximately 10 jobs going, leading to reduced time available to provide a universal Information, Advice and Guidance service and track young people so as to support them into Employment, Education and Training

    In Norfolk the cuts are more dramatic. “We are losing the Connexions brand and becoming guidance advisers, we are threatened with a 50% reduction in funding and the loss of 65WTE jobs. PA jobs are being cut and the structure for services vastly pared down impacting on delivery. Centres are being closed down so YPs have no access. Guidance will be electronic and phone based and two tiers of working are being delivered – targeted and tailored, suggesting some grading differential in pay too. No LDD PAs or casework managers.”

    Similarly in Northamptonshire. “The whole Company, numbering 175, has been placed at risk of redundancy. The in-year cut to the Connexions service is £1.3 million out of a budget of £5.4 million, which will require a 40% reduction in the second half of the year to end of March.”

    And so it goes on. Meanwhile the government blathers on hypocritically about its commitment to a universal and high quality careers service. Indeed, the Conservative Government in their manifesto proposed a new all-age careers service. At the Institute of Careers Guidance conference (November 2009) then shadow education minister David Willetts stated that he recognised the critical importance of high quality, impartial, universally available careers information and advice and of the economic and social benefits these bring

    Sadly few outside the careers services realise what is going on. But everyone in education in the UK should be watching. For what is happening to the careers service today is a blueprint for what may happen to schools, colleges and universities tomorrow.

    On the ethics of educational interventions in popular digital technologies

    September 14th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

    I wrote in a previous post that there was a welcome move at the Advanced Learning Technologies Conference in Nottingham this year, away from a focus on technologies towards looking at social and pedagogic issues connected with Technology Enhanced Learning. One session that epitomised this change was ‘New bottles, old wine? A debate on the ethics of educational interventions in popular digital technologies.’

    As the abstract for the session pointed out such spaces are outside the control and rules of educational institutions and allow “places and modes that people can inhabit, where communities can form and disband, where ideas, images and information can be produced, stored, shared, tagged, discussed, transmitted and consumed and where diverse expectations have developed about language, humour, posture, taste, fashion, etiquette and behaviour.”

    The speakers took different stances towards these issues. Writing before the session Steve Wheeler gave a précis of what the speakers would cover.

    Frances Bell will identify private/public as complex reflexive student practice in personal and education use of social media, e.g. Youtube (Lange, 2007) and explore the role of the educator in students’ ethical development.
    Andy Black will expose the issues relating to the transnational use of technologies approaches where users will have access to very different levels of technology and even if technology used is the same or similar the way it is deployed is culturally different. The concept is that these differences will decline or morph over time to become transnational & transcultural, resulting in usage that is woven into a global cultural thread.
    Mark Childs will raise some of the ethical issues that influence creating learning activities in immersive virtual worlds and offer viewpoints to be debated on the potential responses to students’ unease concerning the experience, cultures and perceptions of virtual worlds, the appropriate balance between authenticity and pseudonymity in virtual worlds and the responsibilities of teachers with respect to protecting those within virtual worlds from the impact of our teaching within them.
    Karl Royle will argue that the ethical considerations of gaming are inherently bounded and regulated by the inherent rules of ‘the game’ and that as such are disposed to self regulation, and are about trying to do good or at least minimise harm in achieving a win state.
    John Traxler will argue that the universal experience of mobility and connectedness in our societies is leading to transient, ephemeral and overlapping communities each with its own ethics; there are no longer grand narratives of ethics, only partial and local expressions of values and preferences. It’s new wine, new bottles, new drinkers
    Steve Wheeler will take a cognitive stance to the issue of ethics in emerging digital environment research. He will hold that users interact and represent themselves in different ways depending on environment and context, switching between identities. Steve will argue that new technologies and tools present new affordances and expectations, and therefore require new approaches.

    All very good. these are issues that urgently need exploring. Yet I did not feel the session really lived up to its potential – maybe because the topic is so important and so broad. Perhaps only Karl Royle moved towards exploring new territory, at least for me.

    One of the difficulties, I think, is in relating immediate practices and controversies, for example the ongoing arguments over Facebook’s ownership and permissions regime, to wider social and ethical issues.

    What might those issues be? Power and control has to be near the top of any list. How is the use of digital technologies changing, reinforcing or breaking down traditional power structures and relationship in education?  And how is the use of digital technologies impacting on traditional class biases in education? More fundamentally, how does our uses of technology impact on rights to education? Do people have a universal right? If so, can we subvert technology to provide universal technology. And of course there are many ethical issues around who provides education – should the state have a duty to provide free or affordable education? Should it have a monopoly on such provision? Should private social software providers be regulated? If so by who? And who makes up the rules and in whose interests?

    What of the implications for knowledge development, knowledge structures and knowledge sharing. Surely one of the biggest ethical issues today is attempts to privatise knowledge through copyright legislation.

    These are just a few … feel free to add your ideas in the comments. I know the speakers at this inaugural session are planning to take the debate on the road and look forward to the next iteration. But I still wonder how to approach the whole issue of ethics and how to link up day to day practices and issues with larger societal concerns.

    • Search Pontydysgu.org

      News Bites

      Learning about technology

      According to the University Technical Colleges web site, new research released of 11 to 17-year-olds, commissioned by the Baker Dearing Educational Trust, the charity which promotes and supports University Technical Colleges (UTCs), reveals that over a third (36%) have no opportunity to learn about the latest technology in the classroom and over two thirds (67%) admit that they have not had the opportunity even to discuss a new tech or app idea with a teacher.

      When asked about the tech skills they would like to learn the top five were:

      Building apps (45%)
      Creating Games (43%)
      Virtual reality (38%)
      Coding computer languages (34%)
      Artificial intelligence (28%)


      MOOC providers in 2016

      According to Class Central a quarter of the new MOOC users  in 2016 came from regional MOOC providers such as  XuetangX (China) and Miríada X (Latin America).

      They list the top five MOOC providers by registered users:

      1. Coursera – 23 million
      2. edX – 10 million
      3. XuetangX – 6 million
      4. FutureLearn – 5.3 million
      5. Udacity – 4 million

      XuetangX burst onto this list making it the only non-English MOOC platform in top five.

      In 2016, 2,600+ new courses (vs. 1800 last year) were announced, taking the total number of courses to 6,850 from over 700 universities.


      Jobs in cyber security

      In a new fact sheet the Tech Partnership reveals that UK cyber workforce has grown by 160% in the five years to 2016. 58,000 people now work in cyber security, up from 22,000 in 2011, and they command an average salary of over £57,000 a year – 15% higher than tech specialists as a whole, and up 7% on last year. Just under half of the cyber workforce is employed in the digital industries, while banking accounts for one in five, and the public sector for 12%.


      Number students outside EU falls in UK

      Times Higher Education reports the number of first-year students from outside the European Union enrolling at UK universities fell by 1 per cent from 2014-15 to 2015-16, according to data released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

      Data from the past five years show which countries are sending fewer students to study in the UK.

      Despite a large increase in the number of students enrolling from China, a cohort that has grown by 12,500 since 2011-12, enrolments by students from India fell by 13,150 over the same period.

      Other notable changes include an increase in students from Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia and a fall in students from Saudi Arabia and Nigeria.


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