Sunday, 16 December 2012

"Quiet" videos of Cain's "Quiet" book

Susan Cain's book "Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking" is a great wake-up call to all. 
It is well written and very well reasoned, with many examples to support the idea that the promotion of extrovert personality characteristics, at the expense of introvert ones, is individually harmful and ultimately suppresses the very traits which society needs.
Daniel Widfeldt Lomas has produced videos which summarise the book in RSA Animate style. The drawings which illustrate the voice are captivating keeping one viewing to the end. 
With over 1.1 million views, Episode 1 can be said to have gone viral. Interestingly enough, Episode 2 had only just over 36,000 views when I looked today. Will it catch up? 
The title states that the series is "inspired" by Susan Cain's book. So it may not just be a summary of it - but I think many will bviewing this as a sort of SparksNotes without having read the book. Is it too easy to slant such mash-ups (of ideas) in a particular direction?
What do you think, actual readers of the "Quiet" book - are the videos taking up the main points that you recall?


Monday, 19 November 2012


Google Apps for Education (GAFE) now has Google + available for use, and we are slowly working our way through it.
We partitioned our accounts in the Organization & users tab, subdividing the domain into suborganizations. We chose an arbitrary trial subdivision and assigned our guinea pigs to this division.
Clicking on the subdivision we then clicked Services and enabled the G+ service for this subdivision only.
One question we had was how this would integrate with our existing gmail account G+. It seems that the G+ application is exactly the same for both accounts. The gmail circles are there in the GAFE account and vice versa. You can circle your own other account. But it does get confusing. I purposely have chosen a slightly different photo so that I can identify which G+ account I am using. Does it matter?
It is a bit disconcerting seeing your private gmail G+ posts appearing in your GAFE G+ post area. We have been using "Make the default setting for new posts unrestricted" but we are currently evaluating that. Should we keep the two domains separate? How will that limit us?

Slicing up learning

The models that we use to try to understand the learning process always seem to give part of the answer but never the complete one.
Some see it in dichotomies:
  • Cognitively Active vs Cognitively Inactive
  • Deep Learning vs Surface Learning
  • Slow Thinking vs Fast Thinking
Others in a progression:
  • Knowledge, Skills, Understanding
  • Data, Information, Knowledge, Wisdom (DIKW)
  • Data, Information, Knowledge, Understanding, Wisdom
(from Wikipedia)

 Some see it in terms of knowledge forms (Milan Zeleny, 1987):
  • know nothing
  • know what
  • know how
  • know why
 adapted later to include why do, why is, what to do, and knowing the right things to do (wisdom?).

Each helps us to understand a particular context or slice through the cake of learning. Sometimes these models are ingrained in the language we use to discuss learning and can confuse.
How do you slice up your learning cake?

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Brain Processing - the limiting factor?

Glynda Lee Hoffman reiterates the importance of "Brain Based Learning" in her TEDxChico talk published today. In particular, she talks about the interventions that her group has done to improve the visual, auditory and motor neural processing of students who struggle in the classroom.
Her point is that these students do not SEE or HEAR or MOVE appropriately because the neural pathways to do these things are not developed or are developed ineffectively.
In this recording she recounts the work of her institution, the interventions made and the advances reported. I was intrigued since some of the visual processing improvement work was done on rectangular arrays - pinboard type exercises - each time increasing the complexity. Is it possible that abstract and out of context tasks can bring about this improvement? Are poorly performing students able to motivate themselves to do these tasks?
I would like to see the research on this and the results - I was able to find the Hoffman Institute that she refers to but no information about the research. Does anybody know about where this work is to be found?

Friday, 16 November 2012

Rounding the hexagon - new International Bachalaureate Diploma model

The International Baccalaureate Organization has announced new models in today's publication: "Launch of new programme models - November 2012".
It was just a year ago when I heard about the new direction that the IB Diploma programme would be taking. The then new curriculum director of the IB, Andy Atkinson, presented these ideas at the IB Heads Conference in Singapore. The "Approaches to Teaching and Learning" would signify a prescribed pedagogy, making the subject areas much more about conceptual understanding than content.
I linked these ideas up with my subject area (mathematics) and with Conrad Wolfram's TED ideas in a post shortly after the conference. Here are my notes about the direction that the IB is going, written at that time.
Gone is the old familiar hexagon - the new model is now circular, part of what the IB calls the "IB Continuum" (not sure about this concept - the career related certificate, the fourth IB programme, is hardly consecutive, more concurrent, hardly continuum).

This is the IBO's explanation about the new models:
These have been created to illustrate the coherence across the four IB programmes and highlight each programme’s unique elements. The design is no longer hexagonal but circular, illustrating the alignment of structure and terminology across all four programmes and a seamless, holistic and integrated continuum of education for children aged 3-19 years old.
The new models continue to be built around the learner profile, with an underpinning theme of international-mindedness. Approaches to teaching and learning are now embedded within all four programmes, which are further aligned by each one culminating in a learning experience.
The new IB Diploma Programme Model:

© International Baccalaureate Organization 2002, 2007, 2011

The Middle Years (MYP), Primary Years (PYP) and Diploma Programmes (DP) now aline in concepts and the "Approaches to Learning and Approaches to Teaching", written in the innermost circle, makes clear the directed pedagogy aspect. Experimental Sciences is now just Sciences.
The IB Learner Profile and "International-mindedness" feature prominently in the diagram, as does the watermark of the world - "indicating that much learning for the DP takes place in the global context".
There are challenges ahead. I hope that this now circular peg will fit as neatly into its hexagonal hole - and that the currency of the IB diploma is enhanced and not reduced.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Recording and Recognition - systems to record your learning

You've done a MOOC, you've studied a topic online and blogged about it, you've done a tree-climbing course, you've studied a topic on Khan Academy....
How do you bring these all together in one place to demonstrate what you have done?
I have seen some teacher candidates for posts at my school create their own portfolios - usually showing websites they have developed for teaching or a photo and document collection of learning in action. These are unverified accounts - a personal brochure for obtaining another job.
I have seen systems such as RebelMouse which aggregate digital content into one location, enabling ones online "work" to be exhibited in one place. This particular site has some social features as well and seems to pick up material from people who have re-tweeted you.
But these are unverified and do not link well or automatically with the traditional paper-trail of school and university diplomas, degrees and certificates.
Pathbrite seems to offer itself as an online portfolio system, allowing employer searches, with some verification of certification. Apart from a birthday portfolio, the intuitively designed site allows you to set portfolios for different audiences:
Not all is active - noted that Twitter and Blogger were not available when I tried it, but it was simple to add YouTube and other media onto your page.
You act as your own curator and so need to have access to the certificates you want to refer to as well as the links to all your media.
It seems a sophisticated certification tool and one to play with for #oped12.
Robert Scoble interviewed Heather Hiles, CEO of Pathbrite, who does an excellent job of explaining the features; Scoble calls the site the "quantified self of life-long learning":

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Austerity schools - a step backwards in school building

The UK government has scaled back the building plans for schools - now dubbed "austerity schools" - making them smaller, cheaper and modular.
Robert Booth, writing in The Guardian, reports that there will be no curves in the buildings, and the plans "also prohibit folding internal partitions to subdivide classrooms, roof terraces that can be used as play areas, glazed walls and translucent plastic roofs".
"The templates tell architects new schools should have "no curves or 'faceted' curves", corners should be square, ceilings should be left bare and buildings should be clad in nothing more expensive than render or metal panels above head height".
The article quotes Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove as saying: "We won't be getting Richard Rogers to design your school, we won't be getting any award-winning architects to design it, because no one in this room is here to make architects richer."
How short sighted.
Let us not examine the pathetic statement about not making architects richer - just the lost opportunity to make school spaces which contribute to learning.
How short sighted indeed.
Contrast this with this video on "Designing schools for the 21st Century" by Randall Fielding:

Friday, 28 September 2012

Copyright and power

The readings and viewings for #oped12 on openness in education Week 3 get you thinking.
After watching the excellent RiP: the Remix Manifesto by Laurent LaSalle, I turned to G+ and found a What's Hot item. Except I could not see it. I saw this instead:

Samuel L. Jackson's WTFU campaign for Obama had been taken down due to a copyright claim by JCER. Could this be the Jewish Council for Education and Research, the same group that produced the advert? Don't know.
But why are they objecting to a showing of their advertisement? Surely that is the point of an advert - getting maximum air time.
There are other places to see it, of course.
The Remix Manifesto and Lawrence Lessig's Free Culture (another viewing for the course - free as in free-up, or no cost, but not OPEN, a more recent term, perhaps), are thought-provoking. The early Walt Disney mash-ups done in true open style, when contrasted with the demonic protection of that same Disney material later, illustrate so well the use of commercial power. This power has stifled creativity and affected random individuals in a way totally disproportionate to the individual harm done. And the strong arm tactic of governments is felt throughout the world on this issue.

Friday, 14 September 2012

What is Open Learning K-12?

The terms we use, particularly for new ideas, can be confusing and mean different things to different people.
Here is one approach which I throw out for comment, particularly for the #oped12 MOOC.
In schools - that is K-12 or Primary/Secondary schools - students are taught in walled classrooms (literally and metaphorically), with a well defined curriculum/instructional plan, by a teacher who has control of the learning, the pace, the amount of scaffolding. This is "closed" learning.
"Open" is the opposite of this.
In this type of open learning in schools, we hope to have students devising their own learning, working together (peeragogy), not under the direction of the teacher, using technology (where age-appropriate) to extend beyond the classroom. And with an open scope.
The regular curriculum would remain, open learning sessions would be a small portion of the main learning experience, perhaps just initially, perhaps for a very long time.

Why have this approach? What do we hope to achieve? What will students achieve? Here is some information devised for students in 6th or 7th grade (Year 7 or 8):

Students are expected to:
  1. construct understanding and knowledge by defining parameters and sharing agreement with others;
  2. work cooperatively as part of a team;
  3. look for different interpretations and consider different solutions to problems;
  4. think from the perspective of others;
  5. communicate effectively;
  6. organise information and data;
  7. reflect on their discoveries. 
It is recognised that many of these aspects of learning are a feature of the established curriculum but they will be the main focus of, and will be explicitly promoted, in the open learning sessions.
Open learning sessions will set up a context and a task, and students will then design and evaluate solutions. They will work in teams and collaboratively. They will keep a journal of their work and ideas. They will be encouraged to think widely and consider different possibilities and perspectives. 

Examples of seed questions for open learning sessions:
  1. What do you know about your brain and how do you know it? Why does learning take place and how do you learn best?
  2. What is intelligence and how should it be measured?
  3. You have to send a message to someone in secret. How would you do it?
  4. Who should receive a kidney transplant when only one is available?
  5. What 10 things would the group take for survival on a desert island?
  6. What would you put in a box and send to another civilisation to explain what our civilisation is about?
  7. A meteoroid is heading to planet earth - what will happen, how would you prepare for what will happen, where would you try to go to?

(Thank you to the Open Learning team at the ABC and in particular Graeme Keslake for the student expectations and seed questions)

There are some very similar ideas to these - authentic learning and project based learning come to mind - but the emphasis here is on handing over the learning responsibility (perhaps gradually at first) to the student and peers.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Openness in Education - is it all about content?

Happy to be on #oped12, the Openness in Education MOOC, after sticking to 35 weeks of #change11.

The Course Outline is as below and it all seems to be related to OPEN CONTENT rather than OPEN LEARNING. Open learning is dealt with in the definition of Week 1, perhaps in Week 2 and in Future Trends in Week 12, the last week.

I do want to follow the content issues, both as OERs and in terms of digital scholarship, but would also like to learn from everyone about Open Learning, particularly about K-12 Open Learning approaches. There is clearly a great deal to learn about university level open learning approaches too.

Have asked George Siemens the following questions:
"1. Is it possible to include an open learning/teaching week? Is there enough going on in this area to warrant it?
2. Our interest is K-12 open learning - although there are things to learn from the university view too; should we have a K-12 learning strand, or even an extra week at the end for this sig?"

- BUT do not want to upset what must have been an extensive planning and preparation set up.

Has anyone on #oped12 who is interested in Open Learning and, in particular, K-12 Open Learning, got any ideas how we might complement this excellent opportunity to discuss Openness in Education?

Please comment below or use #opedK12 on Twitter. 

Course Introductions
Module 1 – Defining openness
- History of openness in higher education
- Types of openness: content, teaching, scholarship
Module 1 – Defining openness
- Current definitions and trends in openness
Module 2 – Licenses and content protection
- History of copyright
(Paper #1 due)
Module 2 – Licenses and content protection
- Alternative licensing systems
- Open source/Linux models
- Creative Commons
- Current copyright/content protection initiatives  (ACTA)
Module  3 –Models for developing open resources
- Crowdsource? Or Expert?
Module 3 – Models for developing open resources
- Economics and impact of open source
Module 4 – Searching for resources
- Semi-open resources (Wikipedia, iTunes, YouTube, Academic Earth)
(Paper #2 due)
Module 4 – Searching for resources
- OER databases
- Search engines
Module 5 – Scholarship
- Open access journals
- Informal peer review
Module 5 – Scholarship
- Open press and textbook publishing
Module 6 – Openness and systemic change
- Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)
- How does openness influence learning design?
- Do OERs save university money?
- Does the university’s role in society change when content is freely available?
(OER-based Learning module/resource due)
Module 7 – Future trends
- Open Teaching
- Open accreditation
(Concept map due)

Course Wrap-Up & Lessons Learned

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

PLE - extending the ZPD

Vigotsky's Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) has always been a useful way of analysing a learning moment. The idea of the leap forward in learning with the help of a "more knowledgeable other" (MKO) was a useful one to explain a difficult process, and allowed the idea of a scaffold for learning.
Ismael Peña-López brings Vigotsky's ideas right up to date, arguing in “Personal Learning Environments and the revolution of Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development” that a Personal Learning Environment (PLE) can take the place of the MKO, extending the ZPD significantly. Taking a "dynamic" view of this (many directional) one can argue that the ZPD is dependent only on the quality of one's PLE.
Great idea to ponder on....

Friday, 24 August 2012

Computers for serious work - tablets and smartphones just don't cut the mustard

Reading the instructions for an online survey, I was reminded of the difference in experience between computers (desktops, laptops) and tablets and smartphones:
"Please notice that this survey is best completed using a computer. You may experience some technical problems if you use a tablet or smartphone due to limitations with those devices."
How true.
Over the holiday I traveled with my i-Pad. Admittedly first generation. But it was very frustrating when I wanted to PRODUCE something with it. It was an excellent consumption device (I now agree with BillT of Click on this one).
So, what does this mean for tablets and smartphones in schools? Learning is not just consumption, it is doing. How fit for purpose are these devices?

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Powerpoint - a help or a curse for learning and teaching?

There has been much said about PowerPoint as a presentation tool. Most of the comments have been negative and phrases such as "death by PowerPoint" sum up what many say it's like on the receiving end.
Schools have "guidelines" on how we should be presenting. Here is ours - notice it is aimed at both teachers and students (thanks Judith and Secondary School staff for these points):

Rationale for reviewing existing guidelines.
  • Digital presentations frequently have too much information on the screen
  • Many articles now refer to how Digital slide-shows are ineffective for the reader/listener
  • Too many words on the screen and people read more quickly than people speak and so they focus on just reading, not listening
  • For the presenters - our students - they need to prepare well and really do some proper research and think about what they want to say to have maximum impact on the audience. Now they just read the bullet points. If we restrict words and bullets they will have to prepare more thoroughly and imaginatively. This means they should learn more in the process and the listeners should be more "entertained" and informed.
A Presentation is a visual, aural and/or verbal representation of a message
  1. Why do we want to deliver a message?
    • to inform
    • to persuade
  2. A good presentation should
    • have a clear and simple message
    • be well prepared and delivered with confidence
    • take account of the needs and expectations of the audience
    • try to involve the audience
    • use a variety of media – photos, audio files, video clips
  3. How can we get across a message?
    • Digital (like a PowerPoint)
    • Aural (like a taped interview)
    • Verbal – someone talking, but not to be recommended on its own
    • A poster, with explanations by the presenter
    • A display, with explanations by the presenter
    • A drama
Some Dos and Don't s for teachers and students for any Digital Presentation

For teachers
  1. Please don't have requirements like: include fifteen slides--one should be your introduction, one should include your thesis, five should include specific evidence, etc. The number of slides is not the issue - the effective and efficient delivery of the message is!!
  2. Students need to be encouraged to follow these guidelines in all their presentations. Not being able to read off the slide will require better research and understanding before the students can attempt to deliver the message.
  3. Teachers should provide clear and specific tasks
  4. Students should be provided with the guidelines and rubric beforehand
  5. Show students good examples that model these guidelines.
  6. Encourage peer assessment. This should be done under guidance/detailed instructions, ie: it is better to give students a rubric or certain criteria. Peer assessment should only form part of the overall presentation assessment.

  1. Prepare well (know your topic).
  2. Rehearse well.
  3. Never read from the slide in a presentation.
  4. Don’t ask or expect your audience to read a presentation, The slides are for the audience not the presenter, but can be used to remind you about what you should be saying.
  5. Face the audience, maintain eye contact and interact with the audience . Use the laptop as a clue for what to say NOT the screen!!
  6. Use rhetorical devices to grab the attention of the audience: repetition, hyperbole, metaphor and provocative questions.
  7. Finish the presentation with a powerful closing statement.
  8. Hand-outs may be required (this requirement rests with the teacher), but should be given to the teacher rather than the audience. This is so that (i) the teacher can check for accuracy before passing on to students and (ii) we avoid the audience reading the hand-out instead of listening to the presentation. Teachers may choose to include the quality of the hand-out content as part of the assessment and will inform students accordingly.

Slide Construction
  1. Aim for no bullets if possible.
  2. Aim for just one word or phrase on a slide (the nugget of information).
  3. Aim for one powerful image on a slide. That image could be accompanied by minimal text, a symbol or no text at all.
  4. Use real art avoiding clipart wherever possible.
  5. Use your notes section of the presentation sparingly (you should be well prepared, know your topic)
  6. Be creative in capturing and maintaining attention.
  7. Use animations sparingly and only when necessary to get the point across.
  8. Avoid slide transitions.
Maryellen Weimer does a good job in presenting the arguments for and against using PowerPoint in The Teaching Professor Blog of Faculty Focus.The comments she refers to are a good summary. Included amongst these was that PP benefits the teacher, forcing them "to think about, organize, and prioritize the material to be covered in a particular lesson". There is something to this, but I worry about "covering material" as being the objective - surely it is to have students learn (in its broadest meaning - think, know, perform, understand) the ideas being put across?
Her conclusion - that faculty should revisit their use of PowerPoint, what they do and why they do it - is a reminder that we should continuously reflect on the effect (or not!) of our teaching and whether it is achieving what we think it is doing. Is PowerPoint the right tool for the job? When used well it can be.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Educational TED for better lessons

Educational TED, with its quick quiz, think, and dig deeper parts, is a fantastic resource for teachers and students alike.
Here is the explanation video:

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

World population - Hans Rosling tells it with super statistical graphics and, cardboard boxes

Hans Rosling does it again, giving a wonderfully simple presentation, making sense of gloriously complicated statistics.
We have preconceived notions of how the World's population is growing and we have our own explanations for this. In this TED talk Rosling takes on the subject of religion and babies and shows that the factors that lower the number of children born to each woman are educational, cultural and economic (although not wealth).
From Qatar's social trends document: "The most important factors are as follows: increased age at first marriage, increased educational level of Qatari women, and more women integrated in the workforce".
Rosling's usual wizardry with time phased graphs is complemented here by his explanation of why the World's population will peak at 10 billion, using the cardboard boxes that the conference notebooks came in. What a master of explanation he is...

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Bonk vs Anderson Interaction Compared

Dr Curtis Bonk's Week 3 session on #bonkopen was titled "50 Hyper-Engaging Ideas: Critical, Creative, Cooperative". Using the unique Bonk presentation style, he rattled through many useful ideas grouped, roughly, into developing critical thinking, creativity and cooperation.
This was the same week as the #change11 MOOC on Interaction Equivalency with Terry Anderson and I have written my notes on this in my previous post.
It was interesting to compare these two live sessions - Bonk's appropriately entitled "Hyper-Engaging Ideas" and Anderson's measured yet reactive sessions.
Both were Teacher-student interactions as defined by Anderson, both had Student-student interactions in the chat, and both had, I am sure, Student-content interaction going on as we kept up with a huge range of resources being thrown out by Bonk and the relatively more difficult material and concepts from Anderson.
The Teacher-student interactions:
  • Bonk fire hose in action engaging as many students as possible using polls and comments. It was interesting to note the change of pace when Justin took over whilst Dr Bonk suffered the effects of his constant drinking from his vitamin water-bottle.
  • Anderson with a measured tone and approach, relying on sound scholarship and reacting to the chat to adjust his presentation and explain where necessary.
What would have happened if the subject matter was reversed? If Curtis Bonk had to deal with Interaction Equivalency and Terry Anderson present many ideas for maintaining engagement?
The presentations would have been very different, of course - but, as Bonk himself said, little was remembered after a few minutes from the rapid fire presentation. He used polls constantly to maintain an interest and have students choose the take-away ideas, but his style suited the presentation of a huge range of materials.
I did remember the Anderson presentation better. I could take time to concentrate on some of the ideas because of the pace, and there was enough participation required of me to enable the ideas to stick.
Student-student: The chat was manageable on the Anderson presentation (30 or so participants), impossible on the Bonk one (200+ participants). There is a problem of scaling up on the chat which, if this type of platform is to be used, Bb will have to solve.
Student-content: I prepared, usefully, for both presentations, and this helped with my learning. It was more necessary in the Anderson one since I needed to learn some concepts first and read around for contexts.
Bonk has a great series of 10 minute video primers on e-learning and teaching, on an attribution share-alike CC license: 

Have a look at the video on Online Student-Instructor-Practitioner Relationships, Bonk's primer on exactly this subject - Online interactions. Here he gives a very practical approach with many suggestions on how to achieve good interactions and hence good relationships online.
So, very different methods, both achieve their goals.
What did I take away from this week on bonkopen?
  • Considering activities in terms of their Cost, Risk and Time - evaluating these in terms of the amount of each that you can give
  • What do students want? Asking early what students expect from the course and use the interaction to calm fears "we'll be doing that in week 3" etc, as well as increasing student commitment to the class.
  • Simulations to elicit discussion
  • Two heads better than one - posting individual summaries online and have them edit these into one
  • Reverse brainstorming - solve the problem with reverse conditions
  • Six hats - using de Bono for learning

Anderson finishing us off with Interaction

Week 36 on  #change11 and the end of a great journey. Will write about the MOOC separately but wanted to record my notes for Terry Anderson's excellent live session.
You can slice up how we look at learning and teaching in many ways. The concept of Interaction considers the process by viewing the interactions that exist between the three possible "players": the learner, the teacher and the content.
Moore described this in 1989 and this diagram shows the possible interactions:
(from the ALT Newsletter)
Other models of learning (for example, Friere and Glaserfeld) concentrate on the learner (and the teacher) but the Interaction model allows us to consider the actual tasks in the process of learning.
I did wonder about Content-content but I can give a very much up-to-date example of content acting on content to improve personal search in Google's Knowledge Graph.
The Student-teacher interaction is the obvious one but both Student-content and Student-student are viable and important interactions to produce "deep and meaningful learning".
Anderson added to this in 2003 by introducing the idea of Interaction Equivalence when discussing formal learning:
  1. Deep and meaningful formal learning is supported as long as one of the three forms of interaction (Student-teacher, Student-student, Student-content) is at a high level. The other two may be offered at minimum levels, or even eliminated, without degrading the educational experience.
  2. High levels of more than one of these three modes will likely provide a more satisfying educational experience, although these experiences may not be as cost- or time-effective as less interactive learning sequences.
 Bernard et al (2009) published research into this and showed the relative strengths of different interactions. In terms of achievement and combining categories, for example, Bernard et al found an increase in relationship between strength and effect size for Student-student combined with Student-content, and Student-teacher with Student-content. Could this suggest that both the social interaction AND the personal interaction (with content) is necessary for better learning?
In planning learning and teaching, it is likely that each of the three interactions need to be addressed. The pendulum of collaborative learning has probably swung too far and the needs of the more "introverted" learner needs to be taken into account too. I don't like the term but it has come to the fore with Susan Cain's book "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking". By having interaction with content and with teacher/student in each of the two examples above, both intro- and extrovert learners are catered for.
Anderson also talked about the idea of a "no frills" university - can students be better served by less than the full university experience? This is happening and perhaps even necessary to happen so as to make education accessible to more people.
He asked whether it was necessary for a university to be heavily research focused to be a good teaching university? There is little evidence to support this.
With decreases in costs of content we could see a different approach to what the university provides - with, perhaps, good teaching universities maintaining the small group tuturial aspect for higher fee payers but opening up their courses to many more.
Some free universities: P2PU, University of the People and the OER University.
Thank you Terry Anderson for finishing these excellent 36 weeks so well.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

BYOD Issues - do we have the right infrastructure?

The first question for a school considering BYOD is "do we have the right infrastructure?"
A BYOD system will have a range and large number of devices connecting through the school's wireless internet system. We have played the catch-up game and are now reporting good access times with a 30Mbits connection (not quite dedicated but near enough).
So what else do we need?
Here is Fernando, our Sysman's, reply on what we did to prepare and what we have left to do:
"1. Increase our IP range: We migrated from a Network Class "C" (up to 256 nodes) to a Network Class "B" (up to 65,536 nodes) (node = client = PC, iPhone, tablet, iPad...etc). As you can see a network class "B" is a collection of 256 class "C" networks. On our school Network Class "B" we have enabled (are using) 5 of those class "C" collections. We have plenty of IP's available still (71% of the capacity just with those 5 enabled).

2. A couple of years ago we "increased" our Router/Gw capability (Fortigate 310B + Analyzer) in order to prepare and handle the demand generated by point #1. This is a device with highly capable/full featured QoS (Quality of Service) rules and such that prevent the bandwidth (internet) to be overloaded. Obviously this is nothing if you don't have enough Internet Bandwidth available. Big thanks for those 30Mbps!

Next steps:

1. Core Switch / Optical Fiber links: Not only to prepare our way for an IP telephone plant and video CCTV but to reduce the actual Broadcasting and collision domains effect due to the excess of clients per nested switch. This another technical requirement that must be added for providing BYOD in schools. There are several ways to reduce this problem, the must common one is the use of VLANs (Virtual LANs) something that we are already doing."

Friday, 11 May 2012

From Meta-research to Practice - John Hattie's Visible Learning for Teachers

John Hattie's new book "Visible Learning for Teachers" (2012, Routledge) follows on from the meta-analyses published in "Visible Learning" of 2009. The book is in hardcover and expensive ($126.57) but available on Kindle.
He proposes two major traits of successful teachers:
  • "S/he sees learning through the eyes of her/his students"
  • "S/he helps students become their own teachers"
Additionally, he lists several "Mind Frames" of teachers who bring about successful learning, here are some:
  • seeker of feedback
  • use dialogue more than monologue
  • have high expectations for all
  • welcome error
And a flavour of some of the others:
  • use learning intentions and success criteria
  • aim for surface and deep outcomes
  • set high expectations
  • create trusting environments
  • give and receive feedback
  • monitor and interpret my learning/teaching
Those two last aspects are key to improvement of learning and teaching, having a "passion for evaluating impact" as Hattie put it. "Know thy impact" - this is the central theme of the book.
Reading further....

Thursday, 10 May 2012

R2D2 - a good Bonk re-think before transferring courses online

The polls were well underway by the time of the official start of Curtis Bonk's second live session on #bonkopen. Again, this was a good way of getting involvement from 275 participants (later 324 or so), with a chorus of bonk-prattle where Dr Bonk picked out individuals,  perhaps mentioning their country and their response, in an endless stream of connection. Although there were repeated reminders, many continued to place their response on the chat stream, with the effect that this moved so rapidly that it was difficult to follow. But there was enough entertainment from Dr Bonk on the audio and video streams to make up for this.
Today's subject was the R2D2 model (or Framework).
I am confused about what it is. No, I don't think that it is a astromech droid/theromcapsulary dehousing asister, but whether it is a pedagogy.
Bonk stated that it was NOT a learning styles model (as a psychologist he does not believe in learning styles), NOT an instructional design, but a way to divide up what you do on online learning and teaching.
So it is an aide-memoir, a sort of checklist of good practices, particularly for engaging students with digital technologies, to cause learning. A sort of VAK (Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic) approach but including reading and reflection - two prime assets/learning methods for online learning.
The R2D2 model was illustrated by this diagram from his slide show, again available before the session, so it was easy to follow and useful for those who reported delays in the showing of some slides during the actual session. I am linking the slides here but it is in the CourseSite so can only be accessed by password - a shame since the R2D2 model is hardly worthwhile without it.

I will try to expand on these bare bones from what was presented.
R2D2 Model:
My initial thoughts on the R2D2 aide memoir are that it is useful in the sense of insisting on a complete re-write and re-think when transferring from face to face class courses. Too often "instruction" is transferred from F2F to online without much thought. It NEEDS a total re-think and this is a good reminder of the ways that it can be done.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Framework for Flipping

Flipped classes have been around for some time (2001 is the earliest that I can find references to). The latest trend (craze?) can be attributed to several events including the establishing of the Khan Academy. The question that should be asked, of course, is - will flipping classes improve learning?
Flipteaching has produced a theoretical framework called "Explore-Flip-Apply" for use in the context of inquiry. It is based on the Karplus (1977) learning cycle of:
  • exploration
  • concept introduction
  • concept application
This was taken up by science teachers as a method of teaching (a framework) and a way of organising the curriculum.
Robert Karplus was a theoretical physicist who changed careers to do research on science and mathematics learning. He extended Piaget's ideas to older students, highlighting the importance of hands-on work in concept formation and learning.
Flipteaching's adaptation of this model into the flipped class situation is as follows:

They provide a link to a good comparison of models for conceptual reconstruction by Dennis W Sunal where Karplus' ideas can be seen in the context of contemporary writers of that time.
It is important to point out that Karplus was working in the area of the sciences and mathematics. For these areas, certainly, the model makes absolute sense.
But does the (non interactive) flip presentation substitute Karplus' concept introduction stage? I would think that it can form part of it but not all of it. The point about the explanation of a concept is that it should be dynamic, moving, changing, adapting to the needs of the learner. A static flip presentation cannot do that. But it can certainly form part of that process.
Should there be a check loop after the flip stage to ensure the foundations of the concept introduction stage?

Karplus, R (1977). Science Teaching and the Development of Reasoning. Journal of Research in Science Teaching,  14(2), 169-175.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

The Bonk Show: "drinking from a firehose"

"This is like drinking from a firehouse, I am overwhelmed!"
This was one of thousands of comments that flew up the chat window as nearly 500 participants in the #bonkopen first session communicated. It was impossible to keep up with this speed-scroll and take in Dr Bonk's energetic and hyperactive presentation. But it engaged me.
The first week's theme was the TEC-VARIETY model for online learning and teaching. Summarised it is this:
  • TONE - climate, belonging
  • ENCOURAGEMENT - feedback, support
  • CURIOSITY - fun, fantasy
  • VARIETY - novelty, intrigue
  • AUTONOMY - choice, flexibility
  • RELEVANCE - meaningfulness, authentic
  • INTERACTIVE - collaborative, team, community
  • ENGAGEMENT - effort, involvement
  • TENSION - challenge, dissonance, controversy
  • YIELD PRODUCTS - goals driven, ownership
 Is this more than an aide-memoir of good approaches to learning and teaching, off- and on-line? Aren't all these labels what we would want in good lessons?
Perhaps. But the presentation helped to remind us of these and the particular importance that many of these have for on-line education. Take the 8 nouns approach (or 8 adjectives, or 8 verbs) - a good icebreaker and get-to-know session for setting the tone. Or engaging students under ENCOURAGEMENT - using screencasts, giving feedback, using polls.
And Dr Bonk certainly had this in great measure, with his 100mph presentation, toys, hats and, in particular, the polls. He ensured participation with poll questions such as "what time is it there?", "does this time work well for you each week?", "how fast is your internet access now?", "have you participated in a MOOC before?", "do you feel MOTIVATED to try any of this out?", etc.
Besides this, there was sound pedagogy before and during the presentation. The presentation was available BEFORE the session, there was a worksheet to note strategies, and a problems and solutions list for Motivation and Retention, this week's topic.
Compare and contrast the sessions on #bonkopen and #change11 this week: actually I enjoyed each one. Bonk was manic but engaged me, Veletsianos was scholarly and paced but made me think.
Still pondering on: is Bb up to the task for a MOOC? Can/will Dr Bonk keep this up (rather suspect he will - he was sufficiently self deprecating to be likeable)? Is it worth following a chat that overwhelms, where messages are lost?
Get a flavour of the Bonk Show from this introduction to the course:

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Voice of reason - an excellent video on how we should move forward in schools.

Alisa Acosta's video brings together the current educational gurus in a way that makes sense. It is really worth the 19 minutes to view this.
Why are kids in school in the first place?
Great question. Why (and how) are kids learning? Even better questions.
"It's a hard problem, no one should expect quick results".
Thanks Alisa.


Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Freire and Digital Teaching/Learning Resources

Freire's model of learning as an "act of knowing" seems to suit an age gone by. In a previous post I explained this model from the late eighties and asked whether this pre digital technology model was sound, whether it still applied.
I also had a go at adapting it to fit a connectivist model in the last post - it felt somewhat trivial but it seemed to fit. I used the idea of an autonomous learner and the idea of "advanced systematised knowing", allowing learners to interact, to synthesise through dialogue and the environment, and thus to produce an act of knowing with a slightly more systematised level of knowing in the autonomous learners.

Here is the final diagram again from the original Freire (please note, it contains a bit I added on regarding the environment - this seemed to me to be essential to explain what actually happens):

So, the Educator with her maximised systematised knowing, through dialogue, achieved an "act of knowing" thus systematising the Learner's knowing a little more.
Can we replace the Educator with her textbook? Her digital resources? I think we can. In this way, the Learner can receive a non-face-to-face act of knowing and systematise her/his knowing a little more. But I would add that the outcome of this process is not predetermined, nor qualitatively predetermined.
The more systematised the knowing is in the learner the more likely that there will be understanding of the textbook/digital resource. The more autonomous the learner (in terms motivation, attitude and drive), the more likely that there will be a synthesis or an interaction with the environment and hence learning occur.
Could this mean that the learner's age will be a factor here? As might be the learner's stage of systematisation of knowing? Is it a necessary requirement for an Educator to be directly present face-to-face in these cases? What does this say about desirable learning in young children?

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Connectivism explained by Freire?

Paolo Friere's defined learning as an "act of knowing". The interaction used was between a teacher with his/her maximally systematised knowing and a learner, with minimally systematised learning.
Could we relate this model to two adult learners? To adult learners who, whilst not expert, were in charge of their own learning and so to some extent autonomous?
Interacting (dialoguing) with other autonomous learners could increase the systematisation of the learning, thus achieving learning by Freire's definition.
Please view on Slideshare and look at the notes under each slide, which describe the process:

Does Freire's Theory fit? Is it useful to think of the learning achieved through Connectivism in this way?

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Perspectives on Teaching, the Learner and the Learning Process

Whenever I write and talk about education I have always been cautious about using the word "teaching" without appending the word "learning" - normally describing it as "teaching/learning". I can trace this caution to my teacher training days, when the dominant paradigm was based on Piaget's ideas of development.
A teacher does not teach but causes learning to occur.
Of course, I knew that I was teaching (and students might be learning), and yet my training caused me to minimise the direct teaching aspect.
Subsequently, reading Bruner, Vygotsky and Friere, I developed a more complete explanation. But still, I have always considered the learner as paramount - what the teacher does (by itself) is insufficient.
Wood (p75, 1988) considers effective instruction and in particular describes how an "expert's" knowledge endows them with the ability to perceive organisation and structure, whereas a "novice's" perception is piecemeal and fragmented. Teaching can be described as changing students from novices towards being experts, but this definition does not describe the process that achieves it.
Expertise "cannot be reduced to an aggregate of elementary skills acquired stepwise at inferior levels" (Dreyfus and Dreyfus, 1986), since experts tend to react globally, by "intuition on the basis of rich experience". Fischbein, in 1987, argued that thinking itself would be impossible if we could not rely on immediate, self-evident intuitions (Nesher and Kilpatrick, 1990), and promoted an intuitionistic approach to mathematical education (my particular interest area). However, whereas providing insights into how "experts" work is a useful experience for students, copying the seemingly effortless expert approach will not turn novices into experts.
Teaching mathematics should not be solely about progressing through a hierarchical set of skills, nor taught through definitions and axioms. Such a formal hierarchy and structure develops FROM the learning experience rather than BEING the learning experience.
Glaserfeld's view, that the learner constructs her own meanings, is the more useful approach. His definition of learning (1989) is somewhat generalised ("to have drawn conclusions from experience and acted accordingly"), but his assertion that knowledge is not a transferable commodity nor that communication ensures the conveyance of it is surely a good starting point.
I know that this is not trendy - connectivism being the MOOC #change11 approach (and one which I am following) - but at school level constructivism is far more useful.
Students (in schools), then, should construct their own knowledge. The teaching and activity sequence is largely determined by the teacher. Activities are selected for them that enable them to "construct local expertise" by using the contingent teaching approach (described by Wood, p80, 1988).
Is "telling" teaching?
It isn't if you believe that a learner constructs their own knowledge. The approach that one follows as a teacher rests, crucially, on the way teaching and learning is modelled in the teacher's (and learner's) mind.
Bruner (1986), with his consideration of the part language plays and Glaserfeld's (1989) view of knowledge, form the substance to make sense of Friere's (1989) initially difficult but illuminating approach.
Bruner point to the way language can be used "to express stance and counter stance (...) leav(ing) place for reflection, for meta-cognition" (p129). What he implies is that language is fundamental to the learning process since it is used for communication and refinement of ideas, and reflection and refinement of ideas. He states that it is the shared use of language "which unlocks others minds to us". I am not convinced that using language necessarily leads to a better and more accessible storing of ideas and information by the learner, but the repeated rehearsing and altering of ideas clearly brings about quality learning.
Glaserfeld's view of knowledge can be summarised as follows:
  1. knowledge is not a physically exact representation of the environment but a "mapping of personally viable ways" of achieving goals;
  2. knowledge is constructed by the individual and NOT conveyed or instilled by diligent perception or linguistic communication;
  3. language is used not as means of transmission but as a means of communicating, which allows the teacher to constrain and guide. (sg p58)
With regards to the second view, I agree with his contention that knowledge is constructed by the individual but I cannot agree that knowledge cannot be conveyed by linguistic communication. Clearly such linguistic communication, whether oral to aural or visual (presentations, resources, etc), is used as one of the means to convey knowledge in classrooms everywhere. That this is not sufficient to ensure learning, I agree with.
His third view of knowledge, dealing with the use of language by the teacher to constrain and guide, is a useful starting point to how Friere (1989) considers learning. He defines learning as an act of knowing which takes place through a process of action, reflection upon action, and new action. This is my version of Friere's description of education:
He describes the educator's role as being that of helping the learner to criticise her view of reality, and re-adjust it. This seems to me to be a better model to follow since it focuses on the educator/learner interaction, does not get bogged down in descriptive dichotomies, and does not task the learner alone with determining the viability of her knowledge. I repeat, I am writing about what goes on in schools daily, not higher education and MOOCs.
Why this journey into traditional educational theory? Well, in looking at the place of technology in all this, and the opportunities it might give us, I have gone back to the original pre-technology pedagogy. Is it still sound? Does it still apply?

Dreyfus, HL and Dreyfus, SE (1986) in Nesher, P and Kilpatrick J [eds] (1990) Mathematics and Cognition - a research synthesis by the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematical Education; Cambridge University Press.

Freire, P (1989) The Politics of Education  in Murphy, P and Moon, B (eds): Developments in Learning and Assessment, Hodder and Stoughton, and the Open University, London.

Glaserfeld, E von (1989) Learning as a Constructivist Activity in Murphy, P and Moon, B (eds): Developments in Learning and Assessment, Hodder and Stoughton, and the Open University, London.

Nesher, P and Kilpatrick, J (eds) (1990) Mathematics and Cognition - a research synthesis by the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematical Education; Cambridge University Press.

Wood, D (1988) How Children Think and Learn, Blackwell, Oxford.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Teaching is changing - but how and what model is correct?

Week 32 of the #change11 MOOC and we are looking into teaching as a Design Science. Diana Laurillard's paper on "Digital Support for Teaching as a Design Science" has four propositions to make:
  1. Fundamental nature of the learning process in formal education will not change much but the means by which we do it will.
  2. Digital technologies have much to offer but are badly exploited.
  3. Teachers need to create the pedagogy and share it.
  4. Digital support needed by teachers includes:
    • ontology [a description] for pedagogical patterns (lesson plans? instructional pathways?)
    • sharing of pedagogic ideas in an effective way
    • common repository for easily found pedagogic patterns
    • knowledge base
    • wiki for advice and guidance.
Earlier in the paper she describes the need for supporting teachers in their everyday role and having them work collaboratively to develop these ideas.
I have not been able to follow the links to the reading materials nor to her recently published book (will do so if these links appear), so my contribution relates just to what I have read so far.
Laurillard uses the idea of pedagogical patterns - I take it that these are are sort of learning plan or pathway for a particular bit of learning, with the resources sourced and available. I remember the idea of digital learning objects (2009) - could it be something like this?
Subsequently, David Wiley criticised the idea stating:
The paradox claims that the more context laden a given educational resource is, the more effectively it teaches but the more difficult it is to reuse in a novel context. Conversely, the less context laden a given educational resource is, the less effectively it teaches but the easier it is to reuse in novel contexts. So with learning objects, you had a choice - a great resource that is essentially impossible to reuse, or a really poor resource that you can easily reuse.
(The Re-usability Paradox)
Perhaps the pedagogical patterns are not so object-y-fide and are more complete, covering the learning necessary for a complete skill. Teachers are usually very fussy about other people's lesson plans, however. I have yet to be satisfied with someone else's planning for a lesson that I would give - could this be the weakness of the pedagogical pattern?
Another issue is the aspect of the model used for learning (and teaching). Divide up what you are teaching into knowledge, skills and understanding and you approach this from a different point of view. The move away from knowledge (as in content) to skills and understanding is proposed by many at this time. Below is Anthony Salcito presenting on "The New Classroom Experience". He states that "the fundamental paradigm of learning has changed.... they come into the classroom with the content pre-wired". Now, not sure I understand what this last statement means, but he uses this as the justification for moving away from content to skills.
The video is pertinent to this discussion from about 16:00 onwards and in it he says of a Microsoft global research survey:
"...if innovative teaching practices are connected without technology you get great experience with no scale; technology applied without great teaching, you get very little change...; great innovative teaching with great technology you get scale and change and lasting impact".
Would like to see the research on this, although it seems logical.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Andy Hargreaves setting the scene at ECIS Vienna Leadership Conference

With the overall theme of "Forming the Future" the ECIS Leadership conference gets underway in Vienna. Andy Hargreaves had the job of getting us thinking on this theme and, in my opinion, did an excellent job.
Professor of Education at the Lynch School of Education, Boston College, he has just written a book with Michael Fullan on "Professional Capital".
Here are my notes from the talk.
He spoke on three themes:

  1. What is the next practice (as opposed to just "best" practice).
  2. The importance of teachers - tied in to the work of his book.
  3. Leadership push-me-pull you.

1. Next practice. He showed some interesting ways of looking at innovation and improvement, using a horse example to get us thinking about our schools (if your school was a horse, what type of horse would it be?).
Using an innovation vs improvement four-square he spoke about examples in the world, from Ontario (+improvement, -innovation) to Finland (+ on both axes), rating the US (and the UK) in the dead horse quadrant (minus, minus).
He placed technology in the +innovation -improvement category and I agree with his statement that it appears that technology seems to be the driving force with the pedagogy as a distant second.
His point was that we should get the horse-power but using a different horse.
Going through three country examples helped make sense of the ideas.

  • FINLAND: good innovation in getting high results from the people that they lift up from the bottom (Special Needs) more than from those they push up to the top, and with their work practices, giving teachers time for planning and collaboration (and high status in the country for good measure).
  • SINGAPORE: examples from two schools (Nee Ann Secondary School being one) on using mobiles and Twitter for diagnostic assessment of how students report their learing and FAQs being used by another for typical learner questions (although he mentioned MSN Messenger it brought Fakebook approaches to mind).
  • ALBERTA: money placed with teacher designed innovations.

2. Hargreaves introduced the second point regarding the importance of teachers using John Hattie's findings - the biggest influence on learning being teachers.
He asked us to state how long does it take for teachers to "hit their stride" and after some discussion, the answers ranged from 1 year (!) through many other answers (my rule of thumb has always been 7 years, for what this is worth).
His answer? 8 to 20 years.
This answer comes as a result of three studies: in the UK, California and Canada. He went on to explain the idea of capital (relating to assets that add value to long term net worth), and divided this up into two types (there are more):

  • Business Capital Assumptions - how we use the whole educational enterprise for short term profitability
  • Professional Capital Assumptions - long term professional aspirations.

He further divided up Professional Capital into:

  • Human Capital (qualifications, knowledge, expertise)
  • Social Capital (collaboration, community building, advocacy, networks, growth, support)
  • Decisional Capital (wisdom, developed over time, used the lawyer idea of getting to know case law over time therefore much more able to make good decisions; that teachers are more akin to doctors than lawyers, however, interpreting the patient - a complex, multifaceted individual).

He warned us not to mistake commitment for capacity. Decisional capital developed over time. In fact, Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 hours can be used here - with 8 years of focussed, concentrated and well coached practice needed to hit one's professional stride.

PC = f(HC, SC, DC)

being the shortand for Professional Capital being formed by getting the right people, get the environment right for a collaborative climate and develop the capacity to judge and deliver expertise over time.
Developing a Professional Learning Community being Hargreaves' ideal culture to develop.

3. Finally, do we PUSH change or PULL it?
His answer, pull where you can, push where you have to, but be aware of shoving (which might be perceoived as inappropriate pushing - you need to create and maintain high levels of trust to develp social capital).
Excellent thought provoking presentation.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Zen of Teaching - Clarifying the Myths Around Teaching, Learning and Technology

Today's #change11 session was presented by Antonio Vantaggiato, Universidad del Sagrado Corazon, San Juan, Puerto Rico. His complete presentation, with videos, is here.

In listing and discussing the myths around teaching, learning and technology, Vantaggiato hopes to clarify the issues - since "such myths tend to confuse teachers, researchers and students."

This aim was achieved for me, the discussion of each myth helped me clarify in my mind the issues. Fundamentally, shortcomings of language (in how they describe concepts and ideas, and how these interrelate) do not help to form a coherent argument of where we are or where we are going.

The story is told in this way, in myths [explanations in square brackets]:
  • Learning happens in the classroom, because we deliver instruction. So we lecture.
  • Ergo, identify the correct method together with the right content and the right teacher and: LEARNING HAPPENS! [Without studying and without responsibility upon the student]
  • Subsequently "learning" can be assessed by a test, perhaps standardised.
  • What do we test? We need to have "content". [But content leads to a consumption process, the faculty member is a content provider, the classroom hierarchical and the learning is closed - Luke Waltzer]
  • We can deliver this in a LMS. [But Gardner Campbell writes that we should shut down the LMSs and have "understanding augmentation networks" - moving away from educational assembly lines towards intellectual ecosystems of interest and curiosity]
  • Technology has us in the shallows - Google is making us stupid.
  • Death of the book. [Will evolve into other formats]
  • Death of an industry. [Industry should adapt, change; big publishers behaving like monopolies, seeing the resurgence of this into digimedia, looking to package and control, against our open web principles; Wikipedia did not kill Britannica, Windows did]
  • Teachers can be replaced by machines. [Actually a change of role]
  • Technology in the curriculum. [Always have had technology in the curriculum - language, paper, pencil, book, blackboard; is online learning more or less effective than learning in a classroom? George Siemens: "who cares" - the question is irrelevant]
  • Don't need internet, twitter, whatever - turn off these devices for successful learning.
  • Need STEM. [Actually need STEAM, include the Arts, Liberal Arts]
  • Labels help us in what we are talking about. [e-learning, virtual learning, mobile learning labels do not mean much, are not helping to get beyond those narrow definitions]
So if these are the myths - what helps us establish what learning is?

Learning is ...
  • Sense making.
  • Learners should experience chaos and confusion
  • Teach to think deeply
  • Teach to think rigorously
  • Autonomy is key - in control of their own learning
  • Connections
  • Navigations
  • Openness
The presentation ended on MOOCs, to everyone's delight.