Archive for the ‘open education’ Category

Sustainable Development and an Action Oriented, Transformative Pedagogy

August 20th, 2020 by Graham Attwell

I missed this presentation at the time but today with the crisis in education due to Covid 19 it seems more relevant than ever. Dr Rajiv Jhangiani says “Education for Sustainable Development does not only integrate contents such as climate change, poverty and sustainable consumption into the curriculum. It asks for an action oriented, transformative pedagogy, which supports self-directed learning, participation, problem orientation, inter- and transdisciplinary an the linking of informal and formal learning.

Only such pedagogical approaches make possible the development of the key competences needed for promoting sustainable development.”

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Marginal voices and non-dominant epistemic stances in open education

August 20th, 2020 by Graham Attwell

One way or another I have been involved in the open education debate for many years. Pontydysgu were a partner in the first projects Cover image for Open at the Marginssponsored by the European Commission to promote firstly open source software and subsequently open educational resources. And since then, some fifteen or so years ago we have published everything under a Creative Commons license. And slowly over the years the debate has shifted, over the past years looking at the meaning of open education practices.

More recently a debate has emerged over diversity and over non-dominant epistemic stances in open education. Now, many of those voices in the debate have contributed to an open book entitled Open at the Margins with the subtitle: Critical Perspectives on Open Education. The book is edited by Maha Bali, Catherine Cronin, Laura Czerniewicz, Robin DeRosa, and Rajiv Jhangiani and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

The description of the book says:

Open education is at a critical juncture. It has moved on from its northern roots and is increasingly being challenged from its own periphery. At the same time, it finds itself marginalised and under threat in an educational sector infiltrated by corporate interests. However, rather than bunkering down, becoming blinkered or even complacent, the editors of this volume believe that the voices from the periphery should be amplified. This book represents a starting point towards curating and centering marginal voices and non-dominant epistemic stances in open education, an attempt at critical pluriversalism. It is a curated collection of 38 blog posts, lectures, talks, articles, and other informal works contributed by 43 diverse authors/co-authors and published since 2013. Each of these contributions offers a perspective on open education that can be considered marginal and that challenges the dominant hegemony.

The book is free for download from the Rebus Community website. I havent read it yet but its on my list for this weekend. If it lives up to its description it is a very welcome and necessary contribution to the debate.

 

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Open Covid Pledge for Research in Education

August 20th, 2020 by Graham Attwell

Pontydysgu are happy to have signed the Open Covid Pledge for Research in Education. Th pledge says”

  • We pledge to make our intellectual property openly and freely available to the world to support educators, students and decision-makers, to help educational organisations survive and thrive, and to build a fairer and more resilient education system.
  • We pledge – where possible – to openly license or dedicate to the public domain our intellectual property.

To find out more and to sign the pledge, go to the Advanced Learning Technology (ALT) web site.

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European Union, AI and data strategy

July 9th, 2020 by Graham Attwell
lens, colorful, background

geralt (CC0), Pixabay

is the rapporteur for the industry committe for European Parliament’s own-initiative  on data strategy and  a standing rapporteur on the World Trade Organization e-commerce negotiations in the European Parliament’s international trade committee.

Writing in Social Europe she says:

Building a human-centric data economy and human-centric artificial intelligence starts from the user. First, we need trust. We need to demystify the data economy and AI: people tend to avoid, resist or even fear developments they do not fully understand.

Education plays a crucial role in shaping this understanding and in making digitalisation inclusive. Although better services—such as services used remotely—make life easier also outside cities, the benefits of digitalisation have so far mostly accrued to an educated fragment of citizens in urban metropoles and one of the biggest obstacles to the digital shift is lack of awareness of new possibilities and skills.

Kampula-Natri draws attention to the Finnish-developed, free online course, ‘Elements of AI’. This started as a course for students in the University of Helsinki but has extended  its reach to over 1 per cent of Finnish citizens.

Kampula-Natri points out that in the Nordic countries, the majority of participants on the ‘Elements of AI’ course are female and in the rest of the world the proportion exceeds 40 per cent—more than three times as high as the average ratio of women working in the technology sector. She says that after the course had been running in Finland for a while, the number of women applying to study computer science in the University of Helsinki increased by 80 per cent.

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What and who is being pivoted

June 30th, 2020 by Graham Attwell

Most universities did a great job in pivoting to online teaching in Spring this year. But fairly obviously some students were left behind. And with the realisation there will be no return to the ‘old normal’ there is a need to think fast about not only about how universities will provide education but about the student experience in the future: as Sheila McNeil puts it “New ways of being and belonging”.

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The Futures of Education

April 30th, 2020 by Graham Attwell

Last year I evaluated the ICT in education projects and programmes for UNESCO. In particular I looked at UNESCOs work in sub Saharan Africa. In a ‘Landscape Review’ of the use of ICT in education I wrote:

“UNESCO has a humanistic vision of education and of the role of ICT in education linked to its mission of providing inclusive and quality education that is transforming lives and at the heart of UNESCO’s mission to build peace, eradicate poverty and drive sustainable development.

UNESCO believes that education is a human right (so it cannot be a market good) for all throughout life and that access must be matched by quality. It has a mandate to cover all aspects and all levels of education and to lead and contribute to the Global Education 2030 Agenda through Sustainable Development Goal 4. UNESCO believes information and communication technology (ICT) can complement, enrich and transform education for the better. As the lead United Nations Organization for education, UNESCO shares knowledge about the many ways technology can facilitate universal access to education, bridge learning divides, support the development of teachers, enhance the quality and relevance of learning, strengthen inclusion, and improve education administration and governance.”

I am very pleased to see UNECO is opening up a global discussion on the futures of education.

UNESCO is now inviting organisations and networks to mobilize their stakeholders and partners to engage in the global debate on the futures of education and provide inputs to the International Commission on the Futures of Education.

They have prepared guidelines for running stakeholder focus groups so that a broad range of unique perspectives can be brought into the global discussion.  The insights gained through focus group discussions, they say, will be synthesized by UNESCO and presented to the International Commission as an input into the development of a global report on the futures of education.

UNESCO is also inviting its partners and organizations broadly interested in the futures of education to organize seminars or work groups that result in a written report  for the UNESCO International Commission on the Futures of Education.  Input is sought on identifying and addressing key challenges and opportunities foreseen for the future.

More informati0n at https://en.unesco.org/futuresofeducation/how-contribute

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Ed-tech for good?

January 24th, 2020 by Graham Attwell

The Open Universiteit and the Centre for Education and Learning (CEL) at Leiden-Delft-Erasmus are publishing a new video series. “The digital revolution is having a significant impact on the way we learn and the ways in which educational institutions operate and engage with their students”, they say. Learning in a Digital Society vodcast series gives a platform to leading experts in Technology-Enhanced-Learning (TEL) to discuss this digital transformation. In each episode an expert delves into a single topic and discusses the challenges and opportunities presented by technology and their vision for the near future. Some address questions such as how to teach programming to children, or why technological innovation in education is often slow. Other videos provide a sketch of key research topics in TEL such as Learning Analytics and Open Education.

The first in the series is by Geoff Stead,  Chief Technical Officer at the language learning app Babbel. In a time when Ed-tech adherents are increasingly questioning the effectiveness and efficacy of their work – see for instance Andrey Waters much discussed ‘The 100 Worst Ed-Tech Debacles of the Decade’ – Geoff remains enthusiastic about the future of tech. Embrace the edges, he says, and don’t just be a passive consumer of tech.

Anyway, regardless of the content, I like the format and production.

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Continually becoming: open learners and open educators

October 7th, 2019 by Graham Attwell

“Being open’ is not binary state or a one-time decision”, says Catherine Cronin. Many open educators and scholars have referred to openness as a way of being, or becoming . “Open educational practices (OEP) are continually negotiated by individuals within various contexts. And Zourou (2017) reminds us that engagement in OEP is “far from being a natural act”. So the work of open educators is complex: navigating the complexities of open practice and open learning ourselves; seeking to develop the reflective, open practices of the learners and students with whom we work; and, for many, experiencing tensions between enactment of open identities/OEP and traditional scholarly practices within our institutions.”

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An Ethics of Artificial Intelligence Curriculum for Middle School Students

September 23rd, 2019 by Graham Attwell

With all the bad news emanating from MIT Media Lab in the last few weeks it is good to have something positive to report. MIT have released ‘An Ethics of Artificial Intelligence Curriculum for Middle School Students’ created by Blakeley H. Payne with support from the MIT Media Lab Personal Robots Group, directed by Cynthia Breazeal under a Creative Commons CC-BY-NC license. This  license allows you to  remix, tweak, and build upon these materials non-commercially as long as you include acknowledgement to the creators. Derivative works should include acknowledgement but do not have to be licensed as CC-BY-NC.

Details of the curriculum can be found in a Google docs document which they say includes a set of activities, teacher guides, assessments, materials, and more to assist educators in teaching about the ethics of artificial intelligence. These activities were developed at the MIT Media Lab to meet a growing need for children to understand artificial intelligence, its impact on society, and how they might shape the future of AI.

The curriculum was designed and tested for middle school students (approximately grades 5th-8th). Most activities are unplugged and only require the materials included in this document, although unplugged modifications are suggested for the activities which require computer access.

Pontydysgu are partners in a new project working with vocational teachers and trainers around the imapct of AI in their work. Although this curriculum was designed for middle school stdents a quick look suggests much of it can be amended for our users.

 

 

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Back to school

August 30th, 2019 by Graham Attwell

It’s the last day of the summer holidays.

On Sunday I am traveling to Hamburg for the European Conference on Educational Research (ECER). I am not a great fan of conferences – al least the formal part. I have long campaigned for the ‘flipped conference’. All too often conferences just consist of researchers reading out their bullet points from their slides. Their is little chance to interrogate the ideas, less so to have a proper discussion about the work they are presenting. All too often presentations overrun with it being accepted that the ten or so minutes scheduled for discussion at the end of three or four presentations will be eaten up. And it is interesting that people still hark back to the Personal Learning environment conferences where we did at least try to do things differently. In reality the best bit of the conferences are usually in the informal discussions which take place outside the official sessions.

Having said that I like the ECER conferences. One strength is the priority given to emerging researchers. Another is the international focus for ECER, not just in terms of attracting delegates from all over the world, but in stressing that presentation should focus on at east the European dimension of the research. A third advantage of ECER is that it covers many different areas of education through the 31 or so networks which organise the programme. This year, I am in a privileged position as I have been commissioned by the European Educational Research Association to make a series of short videos, interviewing the network conveners. The idea is that the videos provide a quick and informative way of people understanding the focus of the networks and the activities they are undertaking, including the increasing number of what EERA call ‘season schools’ (formerly summer schools but the changed nomenclature reflecting the fact that most take place outside the summer time). This week we are aiming to record 21 videos. It will be hard work but a lot of fun and for me a great learning opportunity.

Of course, one of the attractions of conferences is the chance to meet up with old colleagues and friends. I will be in Hamburg all week. If you would like to meet up just drop me a line.

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    Racial bias in algorithms

    From the UK Open Data Institute’s Week in Data newsletter

    This week, Twitter apologised for racial bias within its image-cropping algorithm. The feature is designed to automatically crop images to highlight focal points – including faces. But, Twitter users discovered that, in practice, white faces were focused on, and black faces were cropped out. And, Twitter isn’t the only platform struggling with its algorithm – YouTube has also announced plans to bring back higher levels of human moderation for removing content, after its AI-centred approach resulted in over-censorship, with videos being removed at far higher rates than with human moderators.

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    Gap between rich and poor university students widest for 12 years

    Via The Canary.

    The gap between poor students and their more affluent peers attending university has widened to its largest point for 12 years, according to data published by the Department for Education (DfE).

    Better-off pupils are significantly more likely to go to university than their more disadvantaged peers. And the gap between the two groups – 18.8 percentage points – is the widest it’s been since 2006/07.

    The latest statistics show that 26.3% of pupils eligible for FSMs went on to university in 2018/19, compared with 45.1% of those who did not receive free meals. Only 12.7% of white British males who were eligible for FSMs went to university by the age of 19. The progression rate has fallen slightly for the first time since 2011/12, according to the DfE analysis.

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    Quality Training

    From Raconteur. A recent report by global learning consultancy Kineo examined the learning intentions of 8,000 employees across 13 different industries. It found a huge gap between the quality of training offered and the needs of employees. Of those surveyed, 85 per cent said they , with only 16 per cent of employees finding the learning programmes offered by their employers effective.

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    News from 1994

    This is from a Tweet. In 1994 Stephen Heppell wrote in something called SCET” “Teachers are fundamental to this. They are professionals of considerable calibre. They are skilled at observing their students’ capability and progressing it. They are creative and imaginative but the curriculum must give them space and opportunity to explore the new potential for learning that technology offers.” Nothing changes!

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