Regulating –>MOOCs<-- as a Headline?!

Holy rusted educational punditry Batman! Did I just put MOOC and regulation in the same sentence. Twice!? Zoinks!

Alright, moving past the batman references that I am too young to truly appreciate – no I didn’t do it. Or at least I was not the first. I refuse to link the original article on principle. Perhaps we need to stop using the acronym as a word but isn’t open one of MOOCs middle names? Somehow I feel we might mess with MOOCs identity even more if we start messing around with the second letter.

Aren’t we already stretching the M? I mean, how massive do we need to go to use massive as a term? I joined one “MOOC” with 20 participants. I think it fit the last three letters but OOC sounds like something an Orc Grunt says in World of Warcraft.

Actually I think this helps. If we regulate MOOCs they become MOCs. Long live the MOC! “What a great MOC!” Saves me a whole character when I tweet this out too!

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Currently Reading….

Kid starts strong to demoralize the competition.A couple weeks ago I went to the AACTE conference in Florida as well as the Intel Teach Summit 2013. Both were interesting but something that remains on my mind is a conversation I had with representatives for Harvard Review. They suggested I write an article about what I am currently reading in relation to Game-Based Learning. Since I work through articles, books, and media regarding this curricular movement on a daily basis I have a hard time even quantifying my reading. On the other hand there are a few professional development activities that include reading which I am currently involved with:

Level Up Gaming: I really need to get my act together and share my first posting here.

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS): I am also taking a workshop series related to the science standards.

Courses at Portland State University:

Doctoral Studies Pro-Seminar – This course provides an interesting springboard for a variety of topics. I never quite know what we will end up with at the end of class.

Ed Policy & Politics – I am extremely excited to start this course. Politics are always interesting if often frustrating. The potential for wild discussions is pretty high considering the make-up of my cohort.

Leadership Seminar – We are going back to working on our research commentaries which means I can continue exploring research and literature; something I haven’t been able to do winter term.

LGBTQ Advocacy K12 – This experimental course for the department offers some interesting possibilities. We only meet three Saturdays but I am sure they are going to involve some interesting conversations and struggles.

AACTE 2013

Screen Shot 2013-03-03 at 2.07.40 PMFilled with Deans, administrators, and power brokers in teacher education AACTE should have been intimidating. Luckily I was armed with a cohort of able professors should things get out of hand.

Actually I had a great time. There was a limited number of sessions but networking ruled over paper presentations and workshops anyways. I also met a couple other doctoral students. One has just as much interest in educational technology as I which was nice considering the atmosphere. In fact there were quite a few sessions in this area. Much of what was shared in these sessions appeared dated coming from my ISTE and cutting edge (someone said  bleeding before) perspective on technology but it was exciting to see who attended these sessions.

Looking forward to further developing some relationships and we’ll see what the future holds.

Inclusive Leadership: A Running Definition

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Today I started an organizational leadership course and decided I needed to start a definition of “Inclusive Leadership”. To that end I am starting a definition with this post and plan to submit future posts with revised definitions. Professor Temple definitely has a great style and way of including the entire classroom so I have a feeling I will be running this posting weekly…

An inclusive leader really wants to learn about the complexity of people and exploring the benefits of the diversity around them. They need to ask difficult questions to confront stereotypes and discrimination and work through the conflicts, willingly struggling with their own beliefs. These beliefs are informed by the leader’s own cultural identity and it is important for leaders to internalized and understand their own unique and complex cultural identity and how it impacts their perspective.

In order to challenge their own beliefs a leader must work to be an active listener. They need, not simple to listen in order to respond but to listen with the desire to understand. Through this they may better separate stereotypes from individuals and form honest relationships. Through this they can start seeing differences as assets rather than barriers. The ideas and opinions may differ drastically but as contributions to the whole they provide a powerful whole composed of these unique contributions.

GLSEN Study – Unique Challenges Faced by Rural LGBTQ Youth

GLSEN Study Reveals Unique Challenges Faced By Rural LGBT Youth

A new studyfrom the Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) provides a novel look into the experience of LGBT youth who live in rural areas and don’t access to the same support structures as those in urban or suburban areas. This isolation leads to heightened incidents of student victimization and an unsafe school climate, which in turn negatively impact students’ academic performance and aspirations for post-secondary education.

Findings based on responses from rural LGBT students:

  • Victimization based on sexual orientation at school: 87 percent reported being verbally harassed, 45 percent reported being physically harassed, and 22 percent reported being physically assaulted.
  • Victimization based on gender expression at school: 68 percent reported being verbally harassed, 31 percent reported being physically harassed, and 16 percent reported being physically assaulted.
  • Anti-gay language at school: 91 percent heard “gay” used in a negative way, and 79 percent heard other homophobic remarks (“dyke,” “faggot,” etc.) used frequently or often.
  • Lack of school intervention: Only 13 percent reported that school personnel intervened when they heard homophobic language, and only 11 percent reported similar intervention for negative remarks about gender expression.
  • Lack of peer support: Half as many rural students (27 percent) reported having a gay-straight alliance compared to suburban (55 percent) and urban (53 percent) students.
  • Lack of visibility: Half as many rural students (11 percent) reported having an LGBT-inclusive curriculum, compared to suburban (18 percent) and urban (20 percent) students.

Compared to suburban and urban LGBT students, those living in rural areas felt less safe at school, had less supportive administrators, had less supportive peers, and were less likely to have policies protecting sexual orientation and gender expression.

The new report is based on the data GLSEN originally presented in September, which found troubling rates of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment nationwide. The very policies that would help protect students with anti-bullying programs and education are opposed by conservatives based on “religious liberty” grounds. In states like Michigan and Tennessee, the ruling Republican majorities have even tried to pass “license to bully” bills guaranteeing a place for anti-LGBT harassment in schools.

This in comparison to another article where abuses continue but with supports things improve in schools.

Why Leave Online Learning?

Many people know that I think online learning has a unique promise. Unfortunately I also feel that online learning at the K-12 level does not work as the sole source of learning for most students. Over the last year I had great experiences where online learning provided students with their first school successes. Students with immobilizing social phobias, bullying that turned their local school into a fearsome destination, and lives so mobile that they never stayed in one place for longer than a week while attending school were finally able to succeed. Simultaneously I struggled to engage students making a choice between education and familiar distractions. They sat at home, usually alone, choosing whether they should answer my call, log onto their computer, or even wake up.

Online learning works for students who are motivated and can see the educational benefit. Those who benefit the most are extremely well organized and highly motivated or have family members with those traits supporting them.

Schools are investing quite a bit of money into these programs. To get an experimental idea off the table one method employed by schools is to trial it as an after-school program or with at-risk students. Herein lies my dilemma. “At-risk” students are by definition unlikely to respond to a program that requires high levels of motivation and organization. So how do we test curriculum? How can we proof an idea when the motivated few set a curve (simply by reading material and completing assignments and succeeding on assessments) and then data gives a wide gap in the middle before landing with a swath of incomplete work.

I worry about the rigor of the work and yet at the college level students learn as much from online studies as traditional classes according to the Department of Education’s review of research studies. Some of those studies indicate that blended learning environments provide the best method – combining technology with traditional environments. Due to this last idea I have decided to take some time and reassess my professional goals. Whether I land in a regular classroom and work towards understanding this or continue online as an instructional designer I do not want to teach solely online. There needs to be a balance.

There are other issues as well. Households earning at the “lean” end of the economic spectrum tend to not have broadband access to the internet. Those at the other end tend to have much higher rates of broadband access. Minorities tend to use mobile devices and that segment of the technology market is growing so perhaps mobile learning environments will provide the best avenue for education. http://www.esa.doc.gov/ (Economics and Statistics for the exact figures).

So right now I am thinking I need to work on a plan that brings mobile learning environments into traditional settings. One problem – how to convince the teachers that they want their students to have their cell phones on during class?