Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Worth Reading...

Sharing a few intriguing postings I came across.

1. Understanding Our Tools (Jarche)- examining the approach to media literacy and in particular how communication tools influence what’s filtered.

For individuals, the core skill is critical thinking, or questioning all assumptions, including one’s own. People can learn through their various communities and develop social literacy. Information literacy is improved by connecting to a diversity of networks. But control of networks by any single source (e.g. Facebook) destroys the ability for people and communities to develop real network era fluency, which is not good for society in the long run and may kill innovation and our collective ability to adapt.

2. Technological automation and the Soft Skill Revolution (Georgetown Public Policy)- research on the automation of employment and what skills will become valued in the face of growing automation.

Automation displacing a significant portion of global employment does not mean we will soon prostrating ourselves to robot overlords. Instead, as advanced algorithms become ingrained into the fabric of every industry, there will be an increasing demand for skills that augment machine intelligence. Higher level “sense-making” skills represent those analytical components of the decision making process that are difficult to distill into an automated algorithm (for now). As technology increasingly takes over menial tasks, those learning to deftly apply soft skills will be better able to perform sophisticated tasks that leverage the strengths of human cognition.

3. Learning to Disrupt: Six Courses that Must be Required for Every Pre-Service Teacher (Socol)- looking at any sort of teacher preparation program and rethinking course that are offered.
What if you didn’t have due dates? Or expected homework? Or switched activities based on a clock? Time, as “they” say, is the first technology of school and the most destructive of learning. And so this course will explore learning with adults only rarely telling kids to stop. With adults never saying, “a mediocre project now beats what you really wanted to do.” With adults never saying, “I’m sorry that you’re in a great conversation about engineering but now it’s Drop Everything And Read.”
Finding your way to a relatively ‘time limit free’ learning space isn’t easy. It goes against everything we know about school — which is why the switch is so important. You know that teacher that says, “You’re late!”? Never be that teacher.
4. Beyond Institutions Personal Learning in a Networked World (Downes)- makes a clear distinction between personal learning and personalized learning and discusses new models and designs for learning.
Personal learning is made to order. Personal learning can be learning you make yourself. Personal learning is where you build your learning, not from a kit, but from scratch. There’s a difference. People don't want customized, necessarily. Sometimes, they do, but typically they don't. They want something personal. They want something custom.
Institutions, I would argue, understand personalized. They don't understand personal. There are so many ways in which this is manifest. Even in some of the discussions about personal websites by institutional staff, the first response that comes up is, "But will they follow institutional standards?" (Hannon, Riddle, & Ryberg, 2014)  The answer, of course, is, "Well, no." There's the concern that widespread adoption of social media brings shared interactional practices that do not match university arrangements for learning.

The magic of our best schools is really simple. The places where people are year after year making schools better and improving teaching and learning, they are places where the faculty are having fun learning and improving their teaching. When people can find joy in their learning, they keep learning. When people can find joy in working with their colleagues, they keep collaborating. Our goal as leaders in schools–teachers, parents, principals, librarians, everyone–our goal is to create schools that are learning organizations, places where the explicit goal of the system is to sustain not just student learning, but learning for everyone involved in the organization.

6. What Is the Value of a Teacher (November)