Skip navigation

Education

  •  
  • Page 1 of 11

Today educational activities take place not only in school but also in after-school programs, community centers, museums, and online communities and forums. The success and expansion of these out-of-school initiatives depends on our ability to document and assess what works and what doesn’t in informal learning, but learning outcomes in these settings are often unpredictable. Goals are open-ended; participation is voluntary; and relationships, means, and ends are complex. This report charts the state of the art for learning assessment in informal settings, offering an extensive review of the literature, expert discussion on key topics, a suggested model for comprehensive assessment, and recommendations for good assessment practices.

Drawing on analysis of the literature and expert opinion, the proposed model, the Outcomes-by-Levels Model for Documentation and Assessment, identifies at least ten types of valued outcomes, to be assessed in terms of learning at the project, group, and individual levels. The cases described in the literature under review, which range from promoting girls’ identification with STEM practices to providing online resources for learning programming and networking, illustrate the usefulness of the assessment model.

Concepts for Spatial Learning and Education

The current “spatial turn” in many disciplines reflects an emerging scholarly interest in space and spatiality as central components in understanding the natural and cultural worlds. In Space in Mind, leading researchers from a range of disciplines examine the implications of research on spatial thinking and reasoning for education and learning. Their contributions suggest ways in which recent work in such fields as spatial cognition, geographic information systems, linguistics, artificial intelligence, architecture, and data visualization can inform spatial approaches to learning and education.

After addressing the conceptual foundations of spatial thinking for education and learning, the book considers visualization, both external (for example, diagrams and maps) and internal (imagery and other mental spatial representations); embodied cognition and spatial understanding; and the development of specific spatial curricula and literacies.

Contributors
Kinnari Atit, John Bateman, Ruth Conroy Dalton, Ghislain Deslongchamps, Bonnie Dixon, Roger M. Downs, Daniel R. Montello, Christian Freksa, Michael F. Goodchild, Karl Grossner, Mary Hegarty, Scott R. Hinze, Christoph Hölscher, Alycia M. Hund, Donald G. Janelle, Sander Lestrade, Evie Malaia, Nora S. Newcombe, David N. Rapp, Thomas F. Shipley, Holger Schultheis, Mary Jane Shultz, Diana Sinton, Mike Stieff, Thora Tenbrink, Basil Tikoff, Dido Tsigaridi, David Waller, Ranxiao Frances Wang, Ronnie Wilbur, Kenneth C. Williamson, Vickie M. Williamson

Implications for Education Financing and Economic Policy

The mobility of students in developed countries has dramatically increased over the last fifty years. Students do not necessarily remain in their countries of origin for higher education and work; they might be born in one country, attend university in a second, and find employment in a third. In this book, contributors from Europe, North America, and Australia examine the interrelated mobility of university students and the highly skilled, and its consequences—in the country of origin, in the host country during studies, and in the work destination country—for fiscal policies, the financing of higher education, and economic growth.

Taking a variety of approaches, including formal modeling and econometric analysis, the contributors first examine evidence of the interrelationship between the mobility of students and graduates, especially researchers; investigate free-riding problems associated with mobility, including the provision and funding of public higher education; and address the effects of education policy on human capital accumulation and economic development, offering recommendations for well-designed policies in the presence of migration of talents.

Contributors
Nicholas Barr, Elena Del Rey, Susana Elena-Pérez, Gabriel J. Felbermayr, Ana Fernandez-Zubieta, Luisa Gagliardi, Marcel Gérard, Alexander Haupt, Tim Krieger, Thomas Lange, Elisabetta Marinelli, Richard Murphy, María Racionero, Isabella Reczkowski, Silke Uebelmesser, Linda van Bouwel, Reinhilde Veugelers, David E. Wildasin

Benefits and Challenges for Learning and Assessment

Professional and amateur musicians alike use social media as a platform for showcasing and promoting their music. Social media evaluation practices—rating, ranking, voting, “liking,” and “friending” by ordinary users, peers, and critics—have become essential promotional tools for musicians. In this report, H. Cecilia Suhr examines one recent development in online music evaluation: the use of digital badges to aid in assessment and evaluation. Digital badges have emerged in recent years as a potential credentialing method in informal learning environments. Suhr explores online music communities’ use of digital badges as a reward for both casual music evaluators and musicians.

Suhr examines the intersection of evaluation and gamification in Spotify’s “Hit or Not” game, in which players assess a song’s hit potential and receive digital badges as rewards, and considers the implications of turning music evaluation into a game. She then explores in detail the development of peer and professional critics on Indaba Music, a cloud-based collaboration platform where musicians earn badges through participating in contests. Suhr considers the emerging challenges and shortcomings of contest-based virtual communities and the value of badges, as perceived by Indaba musicians. She investigates to what extent digital badges can effectively represent and credit musicians’ accomplishments and merits; describes the challenges, benefits, and shortcomings of digital badges as an evaluation mechanism; and compares the use of digital badges in assessing creativity to their use in learning and credentialing institutions.

Music Videos and Creative Literacy

Music videos were once something broadcast by MTV and received on our TV screens. Today, music videos are searched for, downloaded, and viewed on our computer screens—or produced in our living rooms and uploaded to social media. In We Used to Wait, Rebecca Kinskey examines this shift. She investigates music video as a form, originally a product created by professionals to be consumed by nonprofessionals; as a practice, increasingly taken up by amateurs; and as a literacy, to be experimented with and mastered.

Kinskey offers a short history of the music video as a communicative, cultural form, describing the rise and fall of MTV’s Total Request Live and the music video’s resurgence on YouTube. She examines recent shifts in viewing and production practice, tracing the trajectory of music video director Hiro Murai from film student and dedicated amateur in the 1990s to music video professional in the 2000s. Investigating music video as a literacy, she looks at OMG! Cameras Everywhere, a nonprofit filmmaking summer camp run by a group of young music video directors. The OMG! campers and counselors provide a case study in how cultural producers across several generations have blurred the line between professional and amateur. Their everyday practices remake the notion of literacy, not only by their collaborative and often informal efforts to impart and achieve literacy but also by expanding the definition of what is considered a valuable activity, worthy of dedicated, pleasurable pursuit.

Crafting e-Puppets with DIY Electronics

Short Circuits offers students opportunities to undertake physical computing projects, providing tools and methods for creating electronic puppets. Students learn how to incorporate microprocessors into everyday materials and use them to enhance their language and writing skills with shadow puppet shows featuring their own DIY flashlights.

Youth, New Media, and the Ethics Gap

Fresh from a party, a teen posts a photo on Facebook of a friend drinking a beer. A college student repurposes an article from Wikipedia for a paper. A group of players in a multiplayer online game routinely cheat new players by selling them worthless virtual accessories for high prices. In Disconnected, Carrie James examines how young people and the adults in their lives think about these sorts of online dilemmas, describing ethical blind spots and disconnects.

Drawing on extensive interviews with young people between the ages of 10 and 25, James describes the nature of their thinking about privacy, property, and participation online. She identifies three ways that young people approach online activities. A teen might practice self-focused thinking, concerned mostly about consequences for herself; moral thinking, concerned about the consequences for people he knows; or ethical thinking, concerned about unknown individuals and larger communities. James finds, among other things, that youth are often blind to moral or ethical concerns about privacy; that attitudes toward property range from “what’s theirs is theirs” to “free for all”; that hostile speech can be met with a belief that online content is “just a joke”; and that adults who are consulted about such dilemmas often emphasize personal safety issues over online ethics and citizenship.

Considering ways to address the digital ethics gap, James offers a vision of conscientious connectivity, which involves ethical thinking skills but, perhaps more important, is marked by sensitivity to the dilemmas posed by online life, a motivation to wrestle with them, and a sense of moral agency that supports socially positive online actions.

The New York Times declared 2012 to be “The Year of the MOOC” as millions of students enrolled in massive open online courses (known as MOOCs), millions of investment dollars flowed to the companies making them, and the media declared MOOCs to be earth-shaking game-changers in higher education. During the inevitable backlash that followed, critics highlighted MOOCs’ high dropout rate, the low chance of earning back initial investments, and the potential for any earth-shaking game change to make things worse instead of better. In this volume in the Essential Knowledge series, Jonathan Haber offers an account of MOOCs that avoids both hype and doomsaying. Instead, he provides an engaging, straightforward explanation of a rare phenomenon: an education innovation that captures the imagination of the public while moving at the speed of an Internet startup.

Haber explains the origins of MOOCs, what they consist of, the controversies surrounding them, and their possible future role in education. He proposes a new definition of MOOCs based on the culture of experimentation from which they emerged, and adds a student perspective—missing in most MOOC discussion. Haber’s unique Degree of Freedom experiment, during which he attempted to learn the equivalent of a four-year liberal arts degree in one year using only MOOCs and other forms of free education, informs his discussion.

Haber urges us to avoid the fallacy of thinking that because MOOCs cannot solve all educational challenges they are not worth pursuing, and he helps us understand what MOOCs—despite their limitations—still offer the world. His book is required reading for anyone trying to sort out the competing claims, aspirations, and accusations that color the MOOC debate.

Crafting e-Fashion with DIY Electronics

Soft Circuits introduces students to the world of wearable technology. Using Modkit, an accessible DIY electronics toolkit, students learn to create e-textile cuffs, “electrici-tee” shirts, and solar-powered backpacks. Students also learn the importance of one component to the whole—how, for example, changing the structure of LED connections immediately affects the number of LEDs that light up.

Designing with Gamestar Mechanic

Gaming the System demonstrates the nature of games as systems, how game designers need to think in terms of complex interactions of game elements and rules, and how to identify systems concepts in the design process. The activities use Gamestar Mechanic, an online game design environment with a systems thinking focus.

  •  
  • Page 1 of 11