despite China’s many technological advances, in this new cyberspace race, the West had the lead.
Xi knew he had to act. Within twelve months he revealed his plan to make China a science and technology superpower. By 2030 the country would lead the world in AI, with a sector worth $150 billion. How? By teaching a generation of young Chinese to be the best computer scientists in the world.
Today, the US tech sector has its pick of the finest minds from across the world, importing top talent from other countries – including from China. Over half of Bay Area workers are highly-skilled immigrants. But with the growth of economies worldwide and a Presidential administration hell-bent on restricting visas, it’s unclear that approach can last.
In the UK the situation is even worse. Here, the government predicts there’ll be a shortfall of three million employees for high-skilled jobs by 2022 – even before you factor in the immigration crunch of Brexit. By contrast, China is plotting a homegrown strategy of local and national talent development programs. It may prove a masterstroke.
In 2013 the city’s teenagers gained global renown when they topped the charts in the PISA tests administered every three years by the OECD to see which country’s kids are the smartest in the world. Aged 15, Shanghai students were on average three full years ahead of their counterparts in the UK or US in maths and one-and-a-half years ahead in science.
Teachers, too, were expected to be learners. Unlike in the UK, where, when I began to teach a decade ago, you might be working on full-stops with eleven-year-olds then taking eighteen-year-olds through the finer points of poetry, teachers in Shanghai specialised not only in a subject area, but also an age-group.
Shanghai’s success owed a lot to Confucian tradition, but it fitted precisely the best contemporary understanding of how expertise is developed. In his book Why Don’t Kids Like School? cognitive Dan Willingham explains that complex mental skills like creativity and critical thinking depend on our first having mastered the simple stuff. Memorisation and repetition of the basics serve to lay down the neural architecture that creates automaticity of thought, ultimately freeing up space in our working memory to think big.
Seung-bin Lee, a seventeen-year-old high school graduate, told me of studying fourteen hours a day, seven days a week, for the three years leading up to the Suneung, the fearsome SAT exam taken by all Korean school leavers on a single Thursday each November, for which all flights are grounded so as not to break students’ concentration during the 45 minutes of the English listening paper.
Korea’s childhoods were being lost to a relentless regime of studying, crushed in a top-down system that saw them as cyphers rather than kids.
A decade ago, we consoled ourselves that although kids in China and Korea worked harder and did better on tests than ours, it didn’t matter. They were compliant, unthinking drones, lacking the creativity, critical thinking or entrepreneurialism needed to succeed in the world. No longer. Though there are still issues with Chinese education – urban centres like Shanghai and Hong Kong are positive outliers – the country knows something that we once did: education is the one investment on which a return is guaranteed. China is on course to becoming the first education superpower.
Troublingly, where education in the UK and US has been defined by creativity and independent thinking – Shanghai teachers told me of visits to our schools to learn about these qualities – our direction of travel is now away from those strengths and towards exams and standardisation, with school-readiness tests in the pipeline and UK schools minister Nick Gibb suggesting kids can beat exam stress by sitting more of them. Centres of excellence remain, but increasingly, it feels, we’re putting our children at risk of losing out to the robots, while China is building on its strong foundations to ask how its young people can be high-tech pioneers. They’re thinking big – we’re thinking of test scores.
soon “digital information processing” would be included as a core subject on China’s national graduation exam – the Gaokao – and pictured classrooms in which students would learn in cross-disciplinary fashion, designing mobile phones for example, in order to develop design, engineering and computing skills. Focusing on teaching kids to code was short-sighted, he explained. “We still regard it as a language between human and computer.” (My note: they are practically implementing the Finland’s attempt to rebuild curricula)
“If your plan is for one year,” went an old Chinese saying, “plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees. If your plan is for 100 years, educate children.” Two and half thousand years later chancellor Gwan Zhong might update his proverb, swapping rice for bitcoin and trees for artificial intelligence, but I’m sure he’d stand by his final point.
On the surface, adopting technology to support teacher needs or student challenges isn’t terribly complex: define the problem you’re trying to solve, identify the right tools for the job, and implement the tools effectively and with fidelity.
Technology is just a tool, not a means in and of itself. Any school or teacher that sets out to use technology for its sake alone, and not in the service of personalizing learning or addressing specific needs, is on a mission to fail.
Insufficient Modeling of Best Practices
A survey from Samsung found that 37 percent of teachers say they would love to use technology but don’t know how, and 76 percent say they would like a professional development day dedicated to technology.
Teachers face initiative fatigue: They are constantly being asked to implement new programs, integrate new technologies, and add on layers of responsibility. In one Wisconsin district, nearly half of teachers felt ongoing district initiatives were a “significant area of concern.”
Forward-thinking schools take the time to learn from the challenges of other schools, and recruit a coalition of the willing.
Real-World Usability Challenges
Relying on multiple devices (remote, clicker, iPad, computer mouse) to launch or navigate technology can be difficult. Additionally, teachers may start to use a tool, only to realize it is not flexible enough to meet their original needs, fit into the constraints of their particular school or classroom, or allow them to integrate their own content or supplemental resources.
The Right Data to Track Progress
Lack of useful data, problem definition, weak teacher buy-in, first impressions, and usability challenges all have the potential to torpedo smart technology products.
A virtual reality headset can take students on an immersive journey to another world. But no matter how cool it is, if that $3,000 piece of equipment enters a classroom and doesn’t provide any real instructional value, it can quickly become a very expensive paperweight.
Most schools don’t do edtech procurement really well yet. Sometimes we buy products that end up in closets because they don’t fit the instructional needs of students, and we end up not being good stewards of taxpayer dollars.
Located in the district’s central office, where hundreds of teachers and staff members stop by each week for professional development, the playground offers a creative space that encourages teachers to explore new tools that have been vetted and approved by the district’s tech department.
In the United States, K-12 schools spend more than $13 billion a year on edtech — often without any idea whether it will make a difference in learning outcomes.
Open Discussion: Instruments and Methods for Formative Assessment: by invitation of teachers from Plovdiv region | Тема: Инструменти и методи за актуални училищни занятия
Where | Къде: СУ „Димитър Матевски“ https://goo.gl/maps/rojNjE3dk4s and online ( виртуално) When | Кога: 2. май, 2018, 14 часа | May 2, 2018, 2PM local time (Bulgaria) Who | Кой: преподаватели и педагози | teachers and faculty How | Как: използвайте “обратна връзка” за споделяне на вашите идеи | use the following hashtag for backchanneling#BGtechEd
Intro | Представяне – 5мин. Who are we (please share short intro about your professional interests) | Кои сме ние: споделете накратко професионалните си интереси (използвайте “comment” section под този блог) http://web.stcloudstate.edu/pmiltenoff/faculty/
Reality Check (before we do tech) | минута за откровение (преди да започнем с технологии):
who is our audience | кого учим/обучаваме? http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims/2018/04/21/in-memoriam-avicii/ http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims/2018/04/17/edtech-implementation-fails/
why technology application fails | защо се проваля използването на технологии в обучението?
Understanding Purpose | какъв е смисълът
Insufficient Modeling of Best Practices | недостатъчен или несподелен опит
Bad First Impressions | лоши първи впечатления
Real-World Usability Challenges | ежедневни проблеми
The Right Data to Track Progress | кои данни определят успеха
Share your thoughts for the fails | Сподели твоите мисли за провала
Тема1. Сравняване на Kahoot, Edpuzzle и Apester – 1-1, 1/2 час продължителност Topic 1: A comparison of Kahoot, Apester and EdPuzzle
Дискусия, относно методиката на използване. Споделяне на опит кога и как го използват колегите от България и САЩ (други страни?).
Short demonstration and discussion regarding methodology of use. Sharing experience of use.
Споделяне на опит | ideas and experience exchange.
Comparison to other tools (e.g. flipped classroom advantage to Kahoot; difference from EdPuzzle, similarities to EdPuzzle) | съпоставяне с други инструменти: например, обърната класна стая – предимство пред Кахут; разлики и прилики с ЕдПъзил и тн)
Създаване на акаунт | account creation and building of learning objects
Comparison to other tools (e.g. flipped classroom advantage to Kahoot; difference from EdPuzzle, similarities to EdPuzzle) | съпоставяне с други инструменти: например, обърната класна стая – предимство пред Кахут; разлики и прилики с Еиптстър и тн)