An Introduction to Digital Learning: What's New?


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Slides for an Introductory Course about Digital Learning for Project Zero's Future of Learning Institute

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  • 08/01/12
  • 08/01/12
  • With 30 years of history since the introduction of the personal computer, we have a pretty a good sense now of how it’s changing labor markets.
  • Early theory that computers would complement high skilled workers and replace low skilled workers, but more complicated Computers are really good a rules-based tasks Airline check in as an example of rules based task- only a limited set of possibilities, communication ins simple and can be scripted
  • This is where humans have a comparative advantage over computers…
  • Big decline in routine cognitive: the filing and bookkeeping are being done to a large extent by computers and to a lesser extent work is sent off shore. The cognitive demands of the labor market are greater than at any time in U.S. history.
  • Not just job composition that is changing, but the jobs them selves.
  • These ideas form the basis of the 21 st century skills movement, which argues that education needs to prepare students for the increasing cognitive demands of the workplace.
  • Here’s a simple model of the underlying hypothesis of this conference. As technology innovation increases, “learning,” which we can define as the number of neurons in young brains rearranged for pro-social purposes, goes up. But how does this model change if we introduce our profoundly inequitable educational system.
  • One story we could tell is that of Closing Gaps, that the widespread availability of new free and Open technologies available on the Web will disproportionately benefit poor students, especially since affluent student have long had access to expensive proprietary products rendered obsolete by free tools.
  • Another story we could tell is of “Rising Tides” from the John Rawls inspired phrase a “Rising Tide Lifts All Boats.” Even though so many new technologies are free, we might assume that affluent schools have more human, social, and financial capital to take advantage of these innovations.
  • I’ve spent a good part of the last five years trying decide which of these models best represents reality. So I want to share with a few findings of a study that I conducted on how one class of freely-available Web 2.0 tools, wikis, are used in schools.
  • I took a random sample of U.S., K-12 wikis from a population of nearly 200,000 publicly viewable education related wikis, and my team read every change on every page on every one of 255 wikis used in U.S., K-12 public schools. Here’s what we found. First we found more wikis created in affluent schools than we should have. 60% of U.S. public schools are designated as Title I schools, serving large proportions of low income families. Only 40% of wikis are created in Title I schools.
  • We measured opportunities that wikis provide for 21 st century skill development, and using these measures, we classified wikis in four categories, failed wikis, teacher-centered content delivery devices without student interaction, individual student-owned wikis, and collaborative student-owned wikis.
  • We found that wikis created in low-income schools were significantly more likely to fail or otherwise serve no possible purpose for students. By contrast wikis created in affluent schools were much more likely to foster student involved and the development of 21 st century skills.
  • Moreover, wikis created in Title I schools typically persisted about 6 days. Wikis created in affluent schools persisted 33 days. So freely-available wikis are more likely to be created in affluent schools, and those wikis are more likely to provide meaningful learning opportunities to students and persist longer. The availability of free wikis disproportionately benefits the already-advantaged.
  • Until we have further studies, we won’t know for certain whether wikis are somehow unique, but my strong hunch is the patterns that I found with wikis would be found with Khan Academy videos or any other free tool or resource on the web.
  • I think the evidence suggests that most likely scenario happening in our schools is that of a Rising Tide, where technology innovation, nearly every new free Web tool and platform, accelerates the deep inequalities in our educational system.
  • Ask teachers which classes they use technology with and a troubling majority will tell you that they pour their creative energies into designing technology opportunities for their most high achieving students, and we know that tracking in honors and AP classes reproduces social inequalities.
  • What we need are teachers and districts and developers who pour their creative energies into designing for the margins, for the students who need us the most—like the partnership between CK-12 and the Leadership Public Schools to design Open Textbooks that embed academic language support for ELL students in their textbooks for math and science. Its not a coincidence that the highest achieving school systems in the world have a fundamental commitment to equity, because designs for the margins ultimately benefit all students.
  • An Introduction to Digital Learning: What's New?

    1. 1. An Introduction to (Digital) Learning: What’s New? Justin Reich Co-Founder, EdTechTeacher Fellow, Berkman Center for Internet and Society
    2. 2. What Will the Future Look• Like? Intel Future Concepts• Alternates: – Microsoft 2020
    3. 3. Connect and Create• Introduce yourselves BRIEFLY to your tablemates. – Name – Role/School – Complete the following sentence: The most promising application of technology for learning is…• Document answers to that sentence at TODAYSMEET.COM/FOL
    4. 4. An Introduction to (Print) Learning Justin Reich Co-Founder, EdTechTeacherFellow, Berkman Center for internet and Society
    5. 5. • To what extent does technology allow us to do old things faster or more easily?• To what extent does technology allow us to create learning environments that are truly different?
    6. 6. Framing Questions• How does the digital revolution make the CONTEXT of learning different?• What new FORMS are enabled by digital tools?• How do digital tools shape our MINDS?• How does the digital turn affect educational EQUITY?
    8. 8. Wave #1: Computersand the Labor Market
    9. 9. Skills for 21st Century Work and Life:The New Division of Labor Richard J. Murnane Harvard Graduate School of Education Frank Levy MIT
    10. 10. Computerizing Routine Tasks: Self-Service Check-In
    11. 11. Types of Tasks Computers Do Not Well Tasks that cannot be described well as a series of if-then-do steps because:• The boundaries of the problem are ill-defined• Solving the problem requires imagining novel solutions• We learn to define the task and accomplish it through social interactions
    12. 12. Economy-Wide Measures of Routine and Non-RoutineTask Input: 1969-1998 (1969=0)
    13. 13. Changes in Task Mix Within Occupations: Example: Secretary• 1970 description of a secretary’s job:“Secretaries relieve their employers of routine duties sothey can work on more important matters. . . .”• 2000 description of a secretary’s job:“. . . Office automation and organizational restructuringhave led secretaries to assume a wide range of newresponsibilities once reserved for managerial andprofessional staff. Many secretaries now provide trainingand orientation to new staff, conduct research on theInternet, and learn to operate new office technologies.” Source: U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Handbook
    14. 14. A Homework Question• Examine the homework that teachers in your school typically assign:• Does the homework push students to develop expert thinking skills (non-routine problem solving)• What about communication skills?• Or does the homework ask students to do the kind of rules- based tasks that computers can be programmed to do?• The answer may tell you a lot about the types of jobs your school is preparing students to do.
    15. 15. Discuss What’s New?• What are other “21st century skills”– new skills or newly important skills in the 21 st century?• What are other ways that the digital revolution transforms the world of our learners?• DOCUMENT at TODAYSMEET.COM/FOL
    16. 16. THE CASE OF KONY2012
    17. 17. Links about Kony2012• Clip of Kony2012•• ching-kony-uganda//player (19:15)
    18. 18. Discuss• What are the range of skills students need to make sense of and interrogate the Kony2012 campaign?• Which of these skills are “new” to the digital age?• DOCUMENT TODAYSMEET.COM/FOL
    20. 20. Edward Thorndike John DeweyEducation as Science of Education as Life Delivery
    21. 21. “One cannot understand the history ofeducation in the United States during the 20 thcentury unless one realises that Edward L.Thorndike won and John Dewey lost.”-Ellen Lagemann
    23. 23. Links on MOOCs• Market:• Open:
    24. 24. Failed Attempts at Wikipedia
    25. 25. Links on MOOCs• Market:• Open:• Dewey:
    27. 27. Discuss• What does personalized learning mean?• DOCUMENT TODAYSMEET.COM/FOL
    28. 28. Personalized Learning: Khan Academy• noteworthy/v/the-gates-notes--teachers-in- los-altos• a/linear-equations-and-inequalitie/v/slope- and-rate-of-change• a/equation-of-a-line/e/slope_of_a_line
    29. 29. Discuss• What does personalized learning mean the context of Khan Academy?• What about Khan Academy is new?• DOCUMENT TODAYSMEET.COM/FOL
    30. 30. BTW, math videos don’t have to be lecture• Meyer on Problem Finding – v=BlvKWEvKSi8#t=06m45s• Popcorn Picker –
    31. 31. Personalized Learning: Roadtrip Nation•
    32. 32. Discuss• What does personalized learning mean the context of Roadtrip Nation?• What about Roadtrip Nation is new?• DOCUMENT TODAYSMEET.COM/FOL
    33. 33. We all agree that personalization isimportant…Therefore we will all disagree aboutwhat it means…
    34. 34. Personalization Legislation• Alliance for Excellence in Education
    36. 36. Discuss• Why mental muscles have your students stopped exercising?• What mental muscles are they exercising more?• DOCUMENT TODAYSMEET.COM/FOL
    37. 37. Source: via Patrick on Pinterest
    38. 38. Netsmart: Five Literacies• Attention• Crap Detection• Participation• Crap Detection• Network Smarts
    39. 39. Ethical fault lines in digital life • Identity – When does identity play cross over into identity deception? • Privacy – What are the boundaries of sharing information about oneself and others online? • Ownership and Authorship – What is the meaning of ownership and authorship in copy-paste, download, and remix environments? • Credibility – How do people signal their trustworthiness online and judge the trustworthiness of others? • Participation – In a context of rapidly forming and disintegrating communities, how are norms of behavior established, maintained, and respected online?
    40. 40. Support Bystanders Who Witness Bullying • Help the person being bullied get away from the situation.• Take away the audience by choosing not to watch and walk away.• Tell the child doing the bullying that you don’t like it and to stop doing it (but only if it feels safe to do so).• Distract the bully or offer an escape for the target by saying something like, “Mr. Smith needs to see you right now” or “Come on, we need you for our game” (but only if it feels safe to do so).• involved/index.html#bystanders (excerpts)
    42. 42. Learning Technology Innovation
    43. 43. Closing Gaps AffluentLearning Low income Technology Innovation
    44. 44. Rising TideLearning Affluent Low income Technology Innovation
    45. 45. Does wiki usage differ in schools serving different populations?
    46. 46. Low Income Mid to High Schools Income Schools (n=117) (n=133)Failed or Trial Wiki 50% 30%Teacher-Content Wiki 34% 35%Individual Student- 15% 35%Owned WikiCollaborative Student- 2% 1%Owned WikiMedian Lifetime 6 days 33 days
    47. 47. Low Income Mid to High Schools Income Schools (n=117) (n=133)Failed or Trial Wiki 50% 30%Teacher-Content Wiki 34% 35%Individual Student- 15% 35%Owned WikiCollaborative Student- 2% 1%Owned WikiMedian Lifetime 6 days 33 days
    48. 48. Low Income Mid to High Schools Income (n=117) Schools (n=133)Failed or Trial Wiki 50% 30%Teacher-Content Wiki 34% 35%Individual Student- 15% 35%Owned WikiCollaborative Student- 2% 1%Owned WikiMedian Lifetime 6 days 33 days
    49. 49. Low Income Mid to High Schools Income (n=117) Schools (n=133)Failed or Trial Wiki 50% 30%Teacher-Content Wiki 34% 35%Individual Student- 15% 35%Owned WikiCollaborative Student- 2% 1%Owned WikiMedian Lifetime 6 days 33 days
    50. 50. Rising TideLearning Affluent Low income Technology Innovation
    51. 51.
    52. 52. jiVisit us at!