TODAY’S education reformers believe that schools are broken and that business can supply the remedy. Some place their faith in the idea of competition. Others embrace disruptive innovation, mainly through online learning. Both camps share the belief that the solution resides in the impersonal, whether it’s the invisible hand of the market or the transformative power of technology.
Neither strategy has lived up to its hype, and with good reason. It’s impossible to improve education by doing an end run around inherently complicated and messy human relationships. All youngsters need to believe that they have a stake in the future, a goal worth striving for, if they’re going to make it in school. They need a champion, someone who believes in them, and that’s where teachers enter the picture. The most effective approaches foster bonds of caring between teachers and their students.
Marketplace mantras dominate policy discussions. High-stakes reading and math tests are treated as the single metric of success, the counterpart to the business bottom line. Teachers whose students do poorly on those tests get pink slips, while those whose students excel receive merit pay, much as businesses pay bonuses to their star performers and fire the laggards. Just as companies shut stores that aren’t meeting their sales quotas, opening new ones in more promising territory, failing schools are closed and so-called turnaround model schools, with new teachers and administrators, take their place.
It gives us great pleasure to announce the headpilot for the EdTech workshop at the June summit. Like in 2013, the workshop will be coached by Eilif Trondsen. Eilif has been with us for our conferences and workshops since 2010. Few in the Nordic region knows Silicon Valley and the international scene for the EdTech industry better than he does. For about 40 years he´s been living and working there, with a particular eye on the “Nordics”. Because of this, Eilif adds a dimension to our workshops that few if anyone else could.
In recent months Eilif has been working with us on a project to map the Nordic EdTech industry, a study based on our pilot project from 2012 and 2013. This time, people have been engaged in the mapping in Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark and Iceland. A collaboration with the EdTech community in Oslo, we can look forward to some interesting findings from that study – and hopefully a few of the participans also finding their way to our June summit?
…and especially a discussion we will be mounting on the coming challenges of scale in Nordic higher education. Ola Erstad is a familiar name to most Norwegian academics in the area of digital learning technologies. We’re happy to announce Ola’s participation at our June summit. Currently the department head at the UiO department of pedagogy, Ola has a long history of project making crossing back and forth between pedagogy and media studies. Here is a small list of his projects – later we will come back with a more detailed blog post:
2005-2009 Head of Steering committee for the national development project ‘Networks for Learning’ (‘Lærende nettverk’), involving almost 600 schools and teacher training colleges during this time period.
2000-2003 National Research Coordinator for Norway on the international study ’Second Information Technology in Education Study – Module 2’ (SITES M2), organized by Stanford Research International (USA), Twente University (the Netherlands) and University of Toronto (Canada).
1999-2003 Head of research for the National PILOT project, (120 schools in 9 regions of Norway, involving 16 researchers from different University Colleges in Norway doing action research in a sample of schools).
Part of project ‘Mediatized stories’, project leader Knut Lundby. Sub-project in lower secondary on ‘Digital storytelling’.
Some months back, we began discussing the coming World Learning Summit with quite few different stakeholders in the Oslo region, one of them being the newly formed Oslo EdTech cluster. We’re happy to see a collaboration forming now, centering on issues and challenges facing the EdTech communites accross the Nordic countries.
Managing Director Hege Tollerud met with us in several meetings heldt at the Norwegian Trade Association’s HQ, and we are very fortunate to have them join the effort to create an annual, Nordic meeting space for “future learners” of all denominations – academics, politicians, bureaucrats and entrepreneurs.
Oslo EdTech is located together with Oslo StartUp Lab in the Oslo Science park at the University of Oslo. In later post we will be featuring Oslo ERdTech, but for now: Welcome. And here is a link to one of the their posts – unfortunately, in Norwegian. But a good one.
Another post, that we will recommend reading is this one – a story about a very unlikely group of young innovators, who in the future will be a lot more likely; in fact a part of the future of learning and education. They spoke in Oslo and then they spoke in London at the recently held BETT conference. Read their story here.
Blogpost by Eilif Trondsen. Originally posted here.
We have all heard it stated many times, I am sure, that learning is a very personal and social process, where “individual context” is key to how effective someone’s learning will be—in part because that context will drive the learner’s engagement in the learning materials. We all have very different needs, backgrounds, and experiences and most of us learn in different ways and at different speeds, and these things also affect, or are affected by, how engaged we are in the learning process.
And this situation makes it very clear what challenges are faced by teachers and professors in the classroom, especially when they present the same lecture to all the students in the class, regardless of their contextual differences. It is not surprising, therefore, that many educators and edupreneurs have felt that this is an area where technology could make a big difference, by adjusting the learning process and materials presented (i.e. both content, in terms of degree of difficulty, for instance, as well as the speed in which it is delivered), to the specific learner’s context. [Read more…]