OPINION: Can this 12-step program from Finland aid U.S. education?
Finland system consistently receives top marks from UNICEF
, the OECD
and the World Economic Forum
Many U.S. states are similar in population size and demographics to Finland, and education is largely run at the state level. In the economically depressed forest region of North Karelia — on the Russian border — where we spent much of our time, the unemployment rate is nearly 15 percent
, compared with under 5 percent
in America and our home state of New York
. However, the U.S. child poverty rate is four times higher than Finland’s.
Delegations and universities from China
and around the developing world are visiting Finland to learn how to improve their own school systems.Singapore has launched
a series of Finnish-style school reforms.
n Finland, we heard none of the clichés common in U.S. education reform circles, like “rigor,” “standards-based accountability,” “data-driven instruction,” “teacher evaluation through value-added measurement” or getting children “college- and career-ready” starting in kindergarten.
Instead, Finnish educators and officials constantly stressed to us their missions of helping every child reach his or her full potential and supporting all children’s well-being. “School should be a child’s favorite place,” said Heikki Happonen, an education professor at the University of Eastern Finland and an authority on creating warm, child-centered learning environments.
How can the United States improve its schools? We can start by piloting and implementing these 12 global education best practices, many of which are working extremely well for Finland:
1) Emphasize well-being.
2) Upgrade testing and other assessments.
3) Invest resources fairly.
4) Boost learning through physical activity.
5) Change the focus. Create an emotional atmosphere and physical environment of warmth, comfort and safety so that children are happy and eager to come to school. Teach not just basic skills, but also arts, crafts, music, civics, ethics, home economics and life skills.
6) Make homework efficient. Reduce the homework load in elementary and middle schools to no more than 30 minutes per night, and make it responsibility-based rather than stress-based.
7) Trust educators and children. Give them professional respect, creative freedom and autonomy, including the ability to experiment, take manageable risks and fail in the pursuit of success.
8) Shorten the school day. Deliver lessons through more efficient teaching and scheduling, as Finland does. Simplify curriculum standards to a framework that can fit into a single book, and leave detailed implementation to local districts.
9) Institute universal after-school programs.
10) Improve, expand and destigmatize vocational and technical education. Encourage more students to attend schools in which they can acquire valuable career/trade skills.
11) Launch preventive special-education interventions early and aggressively.
12) Revamp teacher training toward a medical and military model. Shift to treating the teaching profession as a critical national security function requiring government-funded, graduate-level training in research and collaborative clinical practice, as Finland does.
more on Finland Phenomenon in this IMS blog
World GDP by country, watch the Chinese economy growth by year amazing! #china #economy #الصين
Posted by Thamer Al-Shoshan on Friday, November 2, 2018
more on China in this IMS blog
What Happens to Student Data Privacy When Chinese Firms Acquire U.S. Edtech Companies?
Between the creation of a social rating system and street cameras with facial recognition capabilities, technology reports coming out of China have raised serious concerns for privacy advocates. These concerns are only heightened as Chinese investors turn their attention to the United States education technology space acquiring companies with millions of public school users.
A particularly notable deal this year centers on Edmodo, a cross between a social networking platform and a learning management system for schools that boasts having upwards of 90 million users. Net Dragon, a Chinese gaming company that is building a significant education division, bought Edmodo for a combination of cash and equity valued at $137.5 million earlier this month.
Edmodo began shifting to an advertising model last year, after years of struggling to generate revenue. This has left critics wondering why the Chinese firm chose to acquire Edmodo at such a price, some have gone as far as to call the move a data grab.
as data becomes a tool that governments such as Russia and China could use to influence voting systems or induce citizens into espionage, more legislators are turning their attention to the acquisitions of early-stage technology startups.
NetDragon officials, however, say they have no interest in these types of activities. Their main goal in acquiring United States edtech companies lies in building profitability, says Pep So, NetDragon’s Director of Corporate Development.
In 2015, the firm acquired the education technology platform, Promethean, a company that creates interactive displays for schools. NetDragon executives say that the Edmodo acquisition rounds out their education product portfolio—meaning the company will have tools for supporting multiple aspects of learning including; preparation, instructional delivery, homework, assignment grading, communication with parents students and teachers and a content marketplace.
NetDragon’s monetization plan for Edmodo focuses on building out content that gets sold via its platform. Similar to tools like TeachersPayTeachers, So hopes to see users putting up content on the platform’s marketplace, some free and others for a fee (including some virtual reality content), so that the community can buy, sell and review available educational tools.
As far as data privacy is concerned, So notes that NetDragon is still learning what it can and cannot do. He noted that the company will comply with Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), a federal regulation created in order to protect the privacy of children online, but says that the rules and regulations surrounding the law are confusing for all actors involved.
Historically, Chinese companies have faced trust and branding issues when moving into the United States market, and the reverse is also true for U.S. companies seeking to expand overseas. Companies have also struggled to learn the rules, regulations and operational procedures in place in other countries.
more on data privacy in this IMS blog:
Social Credit System
China ‘social credit’: Beijing sets up huge system
26 October 2015
Parallel running of two social media from different countries: WeChat and blog for international students
Our work with Chinese students from the Confucius Institute (CI) at St. Cloud State University (SCSU) shed light on an interesting development: in the last several years, the popular Chinese social media platform WeChat dominates the social life of Chinese people, Chinese students in particular.
WeChat, like WhatsApp in Europe, Vkontakte in Russia, Weibo in China, or before its 2014 Orkut in Brazil (http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims/2014/07/05/social-media-orkut-the-and-of-an-era/ seeks to create its own users’ momentum, and no differently from Facebook, expand that membership momentum from the host country to a global dominance (http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims/2017/08/06/psychology-of-social-networks/; more citation comes here).
Based on the WeChat affinity of the Chinese students at the SCSU CI program, the program organizers faced difficulty applying other social media platforms, as part of the curricula of the host country. Namely, blog, as one of the widely used SM platform for creative writing (citation comes here), was contemplated as a SM platform for the Chinese students to journal their experience at the SCSU CI program. Since WeChat behaves rather like Facebook and Snapchat, the lack of opportunity to utilize widely available platform for rather lengthy narration (versus SMS/texting abilitis of Twitter and WeChat) convince the SCSU CI program organizers to seek the buy in by Chinese students into the blog initiative.
Pang (2018) builds a theory based on Ellison (2007) theory of “maintained social capital,” namely the ability of individuals to maintain values of social ties when geographically disconnected. Ping (2018) further narrows her research on Chinese students in Germany using Li and Chen (2014) findings about Ellison’s theory on students in a foreign environment and the necessity for these students to build a new circle of friends in the host country. According to Basilisco an Cha (2015), such environment was provided for Filipino students by using Facebook and Twitter.
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Chen, Y. (2017). WeChat use among Chinese college students: Exploring gratifications and political engagement in China. Journal of International and Intercultural Communication
(1), 25–43. https://doi.org/10.1080/17513057.2016.1235222
de Seta, G. (n.d.-a). Old people’s emoticons and generational distinction: Chinese families on social media. Retrieved from https://www.academia.edu/27563550/Old_peoples_emoticons_and_generational_distinction_Chinese_families_on_social_media
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How The Chinese Government Works To Censor Debate In Western Democracies
October 3, 20184:24 PM ET https://www.npr.org/2018/10/03/636299830/how-the-chinese-government-works-to-censor-debate-in-western-democracies
Last year, the Durham University students’ union organized a debate on whether China was a threat to the West. Tom Harwood, then president of the union, said the school’s Chinese Students and Scholars Association complained about the topic and pressed him to drop one of the speakers, Anastasia Lin, a former Miss World Canada. Lin is also a human rights activist and a practitioner of Falun Gong, a spiritual meditation group banned by the Chinese government.
In March, the United Kingdom is scheduled to leave the European Union, a giant market of more than 500 million consumers. British officials are desperate to ink new free trade deals with major economies, including China. Harwood was stunned that a Chinese diplomat would suggest that the United Kingdom might pay a financial price for something as small as a college debate.
lash-forward to 2012 when then-British Prime Minister David Cameron met with the Dalai Lama in public in London. China’s economy was now more than three times the size of the United Kingdom’s. Beijing responded by canceling meetings and freezing out British officials. In 2015, Cameron refused to meet the Dalai Lama, who told The Spectator, a conservative political magazine, “Money, money, money. That’s what this is about. Where is morality?”
The Chinese government no longer just tries to punish the West for straying from the Communist Party line. In the past year, Chinese President Xi Jinping has gone further, arguing that China’s authoritarian system can serve as a model for others, an alternative to liberal democracy.
Clumsy attempts to censor people — as in the case of the Durham University debate — have backfired, but China has had success pressuring businesses, as the apologies by Marriott and Mercedes-Benz show.
more on China in this IMS blog
China’s first ‘fully homegrown’ web browser found to be Google Chrome clone
The startup’s founder has said that while Redcore is based on Google Chrome, it includes important independent innovations
China’s first ‘fully homegrown’ web browser found to be Google Chrome clone from technology
India, China Lead the Race in Voice-activated Technology
Nidhi Singh August 24, 2018
In dynamic markets, a high percentage of users are engaging voice functions daily to complete a variety of tasks, particularly in India (51 per cent) and China (42 per cent). These users were engaging in voice to complete tasks like playing music, finding directions, setting timers, scribing messages, making calls, even ordering pizza. For these markets, the initial trial has proven so useful that people are testing voice applications across many different functions and devices.
Alternately, in conservative growth markets like Singapore, Japan and Australia it seems the journey to daily adoption is taking longer, with the majority of current users activating voice two to four times per week.
Alphabet’s Plans for a China Comeback Go Beyond Google Search
Google has faced sharp criticism, including from its own employees
, for its efforts to rebuild an internet search presence in China
after quitting the country eight years ago over censorship issues.
for Google’s corporate parent, Alphabet, the opportunities in the world’s largest internet market may be too good to resist. And the full scope of the company’s interest in China now appears to be broader than just internet search.
The latest hint came from Waymo, the driverless-car company that was spun out of Google in 2016. Chinese media noticed this week that the business had quietly registered a Shanghai subsidiary in May, suggesting that it wants a piece of an industry that the Chinese government has made a priority.
Unlike Google, Apple runs its own app store in China, heeding government directives about the kinds of apps that can be available to Chinese users. Microsoft and Amazon offer cloud computing services, working with local partners and following strict controls on how customers’ data is stored.
Baidu, maker of the country’s leading search engine, has made its autonomous-vehicle software platform available to dozens of local and foreign companies. SAIC Motor, China’s largest carmaker, is working with the e-commerce titan Alibaba. BMW and Daimler have received permission in China to test their own self-driving vehicles.
more on Google and China in this IMS blog