Another dot in the blogosphere?

I am recreating some of my favourite image quotes I created some time ago. This time I use Pablo by Buffer and indicate attribution and CC license.

We shape our tools and then our tools shape us. -- Marshall McLuhan

This is one of my favourite quotations because it challenges the rhetoric that “technology is just a tool” and that it should be use to merely enhance learning.

Some tools are extremely powerful. So powerful that they change mindsets and behaviours. Take the modern mobile phone for instance. They have changed the way we walk and communicate and they continue to affect the way we learn.

If teachers and administrators want to integrate technology (not just use it) in the curriculum and classroom, they need to acknowledge this fact and learn more about sociotechnical systems and change.

Note: I am on vacation with my family. However, I am keeping up my blog-reflection-a-day habit by scheduling a thought a day. I hope this shows that reflections do not have to be arduous to provoke thought or seed learning.

I am recreating some of my favourite image quotes I created some time ago. This time I use Pablo by Buffer and indicate attribution and CC license.

If your students can Google the answer, you are not asking the right questions.

Remember bite-sized lesson 2: question? In it I referred to the importance of using the pedagogy of questions (PoQ), not just the pedagogy of answers (PoA).

However, simply asking factual or low-level questions is not representative of the PoQ. It is not just about searching for answers and getting them right. This focuses on the product of learning.

The PoQ is more about the processes of teaching, e.g., asking the unGoogleable questions, and of learning, e.g., analysing and evaluating what is found.

Note: I am on vacation with my family. However, I am keeping up my blog-reflection-a-day habit by scheduling a thought a day. I hope this shows that reflections do not have to be arduous to provoke thought or seed learning.

I am recreating some of my favourite image quotes I created some time ago. This time I use Pablo by Buffer and indicate attribution and CC license.

The best defense against bullshit is vigilance. So if you smell something, say something. -- Jon Stewart.

No one really likes watchdogs because they sound the alarm when they sense danger around something they are protecting. But everybody needs them. So Jon Stewart’s call to be vigilant is particularly important in the era of fake news and false prophets.

Note: I am on vacation with my family. However, I am keeping up my blog-reflection-a-day habit by scheduling a thought a day. I hope this shows that reflections do not have to be arduous to provoke thought or seed learning.

I am recreating some of my favourite image quotes I created some time ago. This time I use Pablo by Buffer and indicate attribution and CC license.

Change is not about asking for permission first. It is about asking for forgiveness later.

This quote is about recognising that we are all part of a larger social system, e.g. schooling and education. If we are not part of the solution, then we are part of the problem. If we are not pushing and pulling for meaningful change, then we are maintaining the status quo to the overall detriment of the system.

Sometimes change agents need to move or create movement even when the system is not ready and terribly unforgiving. If the attempts to change fail, change agents need to apologise for the fall and pick themselves up.

If the change succeeds, everybody wins. The change agents might still need to apologise for creating a fuss in the first place.

Note: I am on vacation with my family. However, I am keeping up my blog-reflection-a-day habit by scheduling a thought a day. I hope this shows that reflections do not have to be arduous to provoke thought or seed learning.

I am recreating some of my favourite image quotes I created some time ago. This time I use Pablo by Buffer and indicate attribution and CC license.

If you seek to indoctrinate, provide the answers. If you seek to educate, provide questions.

The world of schooling is familiar with the pedagogy of delivering answers. It needs to educate itself by learning the pedagogy of questions. This is where problems are identified and sought before finding or creating solutions.

The pedagogy of answers provides solutions before problems are clear; the pedagogy of questions presents problems before seeking solutions.

Note: I am on vacation with my family. However, I am keeping up my blog-reflection-a-day habit by scheduling a thought a day. I hope this shows that reflections do not have to be arduous to provoke thought or seed learning.

I am on vacation with my family. However, I am keeping up my blog-reflection-a-day habit by scheduling a thought a day. I hope this shows that reflections do not have to be arduous to provoke thought or seed learning.

I am recreating some of my favourite image quotes I created some time ago. This time I use Pablo by Buffer and indicate attribution and CC license.

We do not learn from experiences. We learn from reflecting on experiences. -- John Dewey.

Dewey did not mean that experiences do not lead to any learning. Instead he probably meant that we often get caught up in the processes or the moment or the excitement, and forget to ask ourselves what the takeaways are.

Slowing down and rising above the blooming, buzzing mess is what leads to meaningful and deep learning.

This article would like you to believe that students in the US are motivated by extrinsic rewards to do well in tests.

According to the article, a team of academics from the US and China conducted research on the math abilities of students from both countries. The students took a “25-minute test of 25 math questions that had previously been used on PISA”.

The treatment groups were given “envelopes filled with 25 one-dollar bills and told that a dollar would be removed for every incorrect or unanswered question”. The incentive was to get as many questions right as possible to receive the highest monetary reward.

Source: National Bureau of Economic Research

According to the article:

  • The incentives did not significantly impact the students from Shanghai, China.
  • The students from the US were more likely to attempt more questions and get more answers right with incentives.
  • The incentivised US student performance was equivalent to a PISA finish of 19th place instead of the actual 36th place out of 60 countries.

The researchers concluded that poor PISA test results could be due more to apathy than a lack of ability.

Tests like PISA — which have no impact on students’ grades or school accountability measures — aren’t taken as seriously as federally mandated assessments or the SAT.

All that said, the article ignored another important trend in the data: The less academically inclined students — see School 1 Low and School 1 Regular — did not do as well and were not as motivated even with incentives.

While this seems obvious even without the benefit of data, this casts light on the largely non-transparent method of how students are selected for PISA.

In OECD’s 2015 report, China was represented by Macao, Hong Kong, and special combination of Beijing-Shanghai-Jiangsu-Guangdong (B-S-J-G). China was in the top 10 for math and science test results.

Both the comparative study and the China selection results raise questions about the selection of students for the PISA tests. For example, this Forbes article asked if PISA results could be “rigged” as a result of such selections.

If officials make disproportionate selections from rich cities, then suspicions of bias are valid. Students with higher socio-economic status have more opportunities in schooling and have access to better resources than those propping them up in the lower rungs. Such students are more likely to do better in tests.

There are guidelines for selecting students for PISA testing. However, there is seems to be enough wiggle room for officials to get creative (see Malaysian example in the Forbes article).

Officials wanting to boost rankings can manipulate the selection seemingly within guidelines. For example, imagine a system with 100 schools. All 100 cannot participate for pragmatic reasons, e.g., students are not available or unwilling, resources are poor, scheduling is inconvenient, schools see no benefits, etc. So the officials resort to stratifying the random sampling of students. This means selecting certain schools within each band, i.e., low, regular, high-performing.

Officials might select students the higher performing schools from each band or maximise the sample for the potentially highest performers while minimising the selection from the likely lowest performers. In all cases, the students are still randomly selected from the pool, but there is stratification of the pool by bands and percentages.

This practice is not transparent to the layperson or perhaps even the reporters that write news articles. But the PISA results are lauded whenever they are released and policymakers make decisions based on them. Should we not be watchdogs not just for the validity of PISA tests, but also for how students are selected to take them?

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