I've been following with interest the research coming out of Project Information Literacy, so was happy to see a new report out last Wednesday, February 25th. I previously read their report on first year students making the transition from high school to college who are learning to find information for college-level assignments for the first time. The new document provides survey trends and some premilinary findings about what happens to those students once they leave college or university.
Read the Lifelong Learning Study - Trends from the Online Survey
I am looking forward to further developments once the group has analyzed the survey responses. We try to teach students how to find information effectively while in college, but what happens when they lose access to databases and vast library collections once they leave?
For those of you following the progress of ACRL's Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education, you are aware its adoption has been somewhat controversial. This post from Jacob Berg on ACRL's blog summarizes some of the reactions and responses to the Framework from the last few months:
When the grand jury in Ferguson handed down the decision to not prosecute Darren Wilson, the policeman who shot and ultimately killed Michael Brown, it set off reactions across the country-from protests and marches spanning from New York City to Oakland. Many teachers, professors, librarians, and educators have been wrestling with how to address some of the issues that Ferguson, the deaths of Eric Garner and other black men, and race and racism in America have raised, in the classroom.
One of the most thought provoking blog posts I have read (at least for me) was a post on ACRLog, entitled "Using the New Framework to Teach Ferguson." ACRL is at the tail end of a multi-year process outlining new guidelines for information literacy in higher education. The blog post highlights some of the most relevant pieces of the new frameworks, and how we, as educators and librarians, can teach about what's going on in Ferguson (and across the country). Encouraging analyzing information for validity and bias, finding information whether across formal or informal channels, and understanding how information delivery has changed and evolves based on emerging technologies (twitter, etc.) are all just a few of the framework points that we can incorporate into our sessions-regardless of being one shot sessions or more involved research and projects we work on. The post also discussed the hashtag #fergusonsyllabus, which was started in August, and has gathered quite a bit of traction on twitter, encouraging and highlighting different pieces that professors, instructors, and teachers of all levels can use in classes to encourage discussion of Ferguson and issues of race nationwide.
Since I wrote last month about a failed experiment to bring iPads to the hands of all children in LA's public school district, I wanted to find a contrasting story that illustrated successful adoption. I stumbled across an article in the journal Interactive Technology and Smart Education that provides an interesting counterpoint. The article describes a program instituted in the United Arab Emerates which introduced iPads to the Higher Colleges of Technology in that country in 2012. As of the writing of the article in 2013, the authors declared the program a success.
One of the major features that sets this project apart from the one in LA was a well-funded support system which culminated in two conference-like gatherings, where educators could share ideas, recommendations and aspirations for using the technology in their classrooms.
The conference website has fairly minimal information, but provides a glimpse into the process of implementing technology at such a large scale:
A list of other articles written about the program is collected here:
There is also a blog for the project, which would allow educators to share and collaborate:
It was fascinating to explore the architecture around this large-scale project, but a little like wandering through a ghost town, since I wasn't able to find much information released by the program after 2013 (with the exception of a news article from last September). Do educators still use the structures put in place to help them collaboratively adopt the new technology? Did it contribute to student success? I would love to know more about how the program evolved after the initial excitement of the first year.
If you’ve been following the unfolding story of L.A. Public School District superintendent John Deasy’s plan give iPads to every student, you’re probably not surprised that he recently stepped down. Though the “iPad scandal” was not the only reason for his resignation, it certainly played a large part.
What can those of us interested in promoting the informed use of technology for instruction learn from Deasy’s resignation? One thing that bogged the program down from the beginning was lack of understanding of the full scope of what would be needed to actually get iPads into the hands of 640,000 students. Costs such as WiFi upgrades in buildings, and ongoing maintenance of the iPads should have been anticipated, but seemingly weren’t. The $1.3 billion cost certainly dismayed many; a Facebook campaign pointed out that money would be better spent renovating deteriorating school buildings. Teachers were not committed to the program. In short, the program was, as far as I can see, a textbook example of what not to do when implementing new technology in an instructional context.
So what should we do?
1. Be transparent about the process: provide sound pedagogical rational for the adoption of a technology and critically assess available alternatives.
2. Thoroughly account for costs: new technology, especially technology that is radically different than what students are already using, always seems to have hidden costs.
3. Make a plan for sustainability: technology quickly becomes obsolete. Is there money to provide for replacements and upgrades? Will the program receive continued support, and is it designed with the lasting best interest of students in mind?
4. Get practitioner buy-in: will the new technology support teaching, or will it create additional work for those in the classroom? This is especially important to examine when an initiative comes from the top down.
Do you have any thoughts Deasy’s resignation, or initiatives to integrate new technology into education? Share them below.
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