five of the biggest education stories of the year
Stagnant Student Performance and Widening Achievement Gaps
a vociferous debate over what to blame, from subpar reading instruction to poverty to uneven implementation of the Common Core
A Crisis in Elite College Admissions
Declining Trust in Higher Education
a survey from the Pew Research Center found that 59 percent of Republicans and those who lean Republican believe colleges have a negative effect on the country.
Betsy DeVos, continued to draw criticism for rolling back oversight of for-profit colleges and weakening protections for bilked students.
The Democratic Party Backed Away From Charter Schools
Charters in cities like New York and Boston have shown promising achievement gains. But the sector has come under increasing fire on the left for harsh discipline practices, contributing to school segregation and serving fewer students with special needs. Teachers unions tend to oppose the schools’ expansion, since most of them are not unionized.
Democrats Continue to Debate School Segregation
school segregation remains a defining feature of the American education system today,
Prepare For ‘The End Of College’: Here’s What Free Higher Ed Looks Like
a future in which “the idea of ‘admission’ to college will become an anachronism, because the University of Everywhere will be open to everyone” and “educational resources that have been scarce and expensive for centuries will be abundant and free.”
why the majority of American college students decide to go to college
partly this [is] being driven by the fact that people need to go to college in order to make their way in the world and get credentials for, frankly, not the tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars that colleges charge today.
How Higher Ed Can Up Its Game: 3 Big Ideas
1. Doing more for low-income, high-achieving students
recent op-ed in the Times
2. Teacher training programs need to change
Relay Graduate School of Education
3. Raising graduation rates
Does social media make room for critical thinking?
social media critical thinking
Sinprakob, S., & Songkram, N. (2015). A Proposed Model of Problem-based Learning on Social Media in Cooperation with Searching Technique to Enhance Critical Thinking of Undergraduate Students. Procedia – Social And Behavioral Sciences, 174(International Conference on New Horizons in Education, INTE 2014, 25-27 June 2014, Paris, France), 2027-2030. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.01.871
Bailey, A. (2014). Teaching Alice Walker’s The Color Purple: Using Technology and Social Media To Foster Critical Thinking and Reflection. Virginia English Journal, 64(1), 17.
Eales-Reynolds, L., Gillham, D., Grech, C., Clarke, C., & Cornell, J. (2012). A study of the development of critical thinking skills using an innovative web 2.0 tool. Nurse Education Today, 32(7), 752-756. doi:10.1016/j.nedt.2012.05.017
Baldino, S. (2014). The Classroom Blog: Enhancing Critical Thinking, Substantive Discussion, and Appropriate Online Interaction. Voices From The Middle, 22(2), 29.
Ravenscroft, A., Warburton, S., Hatzipanagos, S., & Conole, G. (2012). Designing and evaluating social media for learning: shaping social networking into social learning?. Journal Of Computer Assisted Learning, 28(3), 177-182. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2729.2012.00484.x
finding ways to capture meaningful informal learning experiences by explicitly linking these to formal structures, and providing frameworks within which informal learning can then be validated and accredited (Cedefop Report 2007).
Education is clearly a social process but it is probably much closer to an ongoing discussion or debate than an extended celebration with an ever-expanding network of friends (p. 179, Ravenscroft et al.)
the community of inquiry (COI) model developed by Garrison and Anderson (2003) and social network analysis (SNA). European Commission-funded integrated
project called MATURE (Continuous Social Learning in Knowledge Networks), which is investigating how technology-mediated informal learning leads to improved knowledge practices in the digital workplace
Key to using social media is the ability to stand back and evaluate the credibility of a source of information, apart from the actual content. While developing this critical attitude toward traditional media is important, the attitude is even more crucial in the context of using social media because information didn’t go through the vetting process of formal publication. Can the student corroborate the information from multiple sources? How recent is this information? Are the author’s credentials appropriate? In other words, the ability to step back, to become aware of the metatext or metacontext is more important than ever.
Coad, D. T. (2013). Developing Critical Literacy and Critical Thinking through Facebook. Kairos: A Journal Of Rhetoric, Technology, And Pedagogy, 18(1).
Many instructors believe that writing on social networking sites undermines the rhetorical skills students learn in class because of the slang and abbreviations often used on these sites; such instructors may believe that social networks are the end of students’ critical awareness when they communicate. Johndan Johnson-Eilola and Stuart A. Selber (2009) contended that electronic writing forms actually require “sophisticated skills of understanding concrete rhetorical situations, analyzing audiences (and their goals and inclinations), and constructing concise, information-laden texts, as a part of a dynamic, unfolding, social process” (p. 18). It is this dynamic process that makes social networking a perfect match for the composition classroom and for teaching rhetorical skills: It helps students see how communication works in real, live rhetorical situations. Many students do not believe that communication in these media requires any kind of valuable literacy skills because they buy into the myth of how the news media portray social networks as valueless forms of communication that are decaying young people’s minds. This is why I introduced students to the passage from Invisible Man: to get them thinking about what kinds of skills they learn on Facebook. I found the text useful for helping them acknowledge the skills they are building in these writing spaces.
Stuart A. Selber (2004) in Multiliteracies for a Digital Age criticized so-called computer literacy classes for having “focused primarily on data representations, numbering systems, operating systems, file formats, and hardware and software components” rather than on the task of teaching students to be “informed questioners of technology” (p. 74). In a time when, as Sheelah M. Sweeny (2010) noted, “the ability to stay connected with others is constant,” it is increasingly important to engage composition students in critical thinking about the spaces they write in (p. 121). It is becoming clearer, as technology giants such as Google® and Apple® introduce new technologies, that critical literacy and critical thinking about technology are necessary for our students’ futures.
Valentini, C. (2015). Is using social media “good” for the public relations profession? A critical reflection. Public Relations Review, 41(2), 170-177. doi:10.1016/j.pubrev.2014.11.009
p. 172 there is no doubt that digital technologies and social media have contributed to a major alteration in people’s interpersonal communications and relational practices. Inter- personal communications have substantially altered, at least in Western and developed countries, as a result of the culture of increased connectivity that has emerged from social media’s engineering sociality ( van Dijck, 2013 ), which allows anyone to be online and to connect to others. Physical presence is no longer a precondition for interpersonal communication.
(Jiping) The Pew Research Center ( Smith & Duggan, 2013 , October 21) indicates that one in every ten American adults has used an online dating site or mobile dating app to seek a partner, and that in the last eight years the proportion of Americans who say that they met their current partner online has doubled. Another study conducted by the same organization ( Lenhart & Duggan, 2014 , February 11) shows that 25% of married or partnered adults who text, have texted their partner while they were both home together, that 21% of cell-phone owners or internet users in a committed relationship have felt closer to their spouse or partner because of exchanges they had online or via text message. Another 9% of adults have resolved online or by text message an argument with their partner that they were having difficulty resolving person to person ( Lenhart & Duggan, 2014 , February 11). These results indicate that digital technologies are not simply tools that facilitate communications: they have a substantial impact on the way humans interact and relate to one another. In other words, they affect the dynamics of interpersonal relations