Monday, July 15, 2024

The power of peer learning - open access book

 Here is an open access book, published by Springer in 2023. The power of peer learning: Fostering students' learning processes and outcomes is edited by O.Noroozi and B. De Wever.

The book has 17 chapters, organised into four sections;  conceptual contributions, methodological contributions, technological contributions,  and empirical contributions to peer learning.

Most of the chapter feature work undertaking in higher education with several in secondary education. 

The first chapter, The four pillars of peer assessment for collaborative teamwork in HE, by B.Sridharan, J. McKay & D. Boud, sets the scene and provides an overarching framework to plan and structure the peer assessment process. 

Other chapters are useful with contemporary presentation of processes that are relevant in the age of digitised / online learning. A book to dip in and out of as the need arises. 

Tuesday, July 09, 2024

The future of LMS in an AI world

 The work of  Professor Stephen Marshall and Professor Michael Sankey are always important to keep abreast with. They provide scholarship on the strategic purposes and direction in how technology is managed and applied across higher education. 

A recent piece of work 'the future of the learning management system in the virtual university' summarises their thoughts on how the current LMS, needs to move from being a 'single system' towards being part of (and perhaps a primary part of) a learning ecosystem. As AI creates more disruption within education, the morphing of AI into the offerings of LMSs to create personal learning environments) PLEs for learners becomes more pressing. 

Many institutions promote constructivist learning but LMSs structure, often make the organisation of resources / learning activities to make this happen, clunky. There are some specialised systems exampled by OB3 but in the main, many educators use LMSs as a giant resource repository, rather than a means by which learners are able to archive their learning. ePortfolios could be one way for learners to construct their own 'learning hub' but requires time and effort. Learners are instead welded to the strictures imposed by whatever LMS is used in the institution they study at and for many, little or no ability to modify what is offered in their course LMS.

Personalised learning which is supported by AI is not new. However, to put it in place, requires institutions either purchasing the platforms and integrating this into the existing LMS, or developing their own. Gen AI creates opportunities to democratise the creation of 'chatbots' or similar with tight parameters to help learners attain specific learning outcomes. However, these may be too specialised and again, not usually customisable by learners themselves. 

Last year, Professors Sankey and Marshall, wrote on 'the learning management system of 2028'. The article provides a good overview of LMSs, where they came from, where they are now and what should happen to make them more relevant to learners going into the future. They propose not only the integration of AI into the LMS ecosystem, but also the importance of being aware of what happens to LMSs beyond education. That is how professional learning development across work, use LMSs. The other important take away from the paper, is to align the way LMSs work, to the productivity tools used across businesses or corporations, especially the ways that communication, knowledge sharing and team work occur.

All the above for some indications as to how to progress beyond the current way LMSs are constituted and what should happen, going into the future, to provide a more authentic and learning-centred learning environment. 

Monday, July 01, 2024

Higher education for good - impressions of the book

 Here is an open access book - Higher Education for Good - with a few relevant chapters. The book takes an optimistic look at higher education and its potential to contribute to the common good of society and humanity.

The current economic and political climates. have been challenging for tertiary education as a whole, across many countries. The book has a series of essays, discussing the challenges and future for higher education. Sections include - finding fortitude and hope; making sense of the unknown and emergent; considering alternative futures; making change through teaching, assessment and learning design; and (re)making higher education systems and structures. 

Several chapters are of interest to those beyond higher education. Including: 

- Artificial intelligence for good? Challenges and possibilities of AI in HE from a data justice perspective.

by E.  Pechekina, The focus of the chapter is on how AI can be used to support students and learning but also undertakes an discussion on the ethical use of AI, especially in the 'prediction' of outcomes based on learner demographics, performance and other data. The issue of equity is also presented.

- Humanising learning design with digital pragmatism - by K. Malloy and C. Thomson. This chapter provides a learner designer view, with the practitioners located in a 'third space' of being neither management or academics. It argues for the need to champion the needs of learners, as one way to navigate the power structures in higher education.

A book that will have chapters that will be of interest to all tertiary educators, interested in how their work impacts on social justice and how each is able to play a part in making the world a better place.


Monday, June 24, 2024

AI literacy book

 This open source book - Towards AI literacy 101+ - creative and critical practices, perspectives and purposes contains a range of short stories on AI. Examples are provided as to the challenges and ways to define AI literacy and the many interpretations of AI literacy across various educational levels and disciplines. The range of articles show how diverse education actually is and that there is never a 'one size fits all' model. Education, by the grounding of its purpose, must be of relevance to learners and the communities it serves. Therefore, how each context needs to use and apply AI, provides how AI literacy could be introduced and integrated. 

The 'generic' skill or competency to come to grips with AI would be critical thinking. Again, to be able to think critically in various contexts, is variable. The discipline or subject is but a platform from which the development and application of critical thinking is grounded. Care there needs to be taken when designing learning, to ensure that there is a balance between discipline/subject-based 'situated learning' and to ensure that learners are provided with models and skills to 'cross the boundary' when they make shifts across  disciplinary fields.

Monday, June 17, 2024

Postdigital science and education - journal

This journal - Postdigital Science and Education - is a 'generalist' journal, bringing various disciplines including education, social sciences, humanities and the impact and effect of digital technologies on these.

Currently the journal is into issue 6. The journal publishes both research-based studies and practitioner experiences. 

I came into the journal through this article - the challenge of postdigital literacy: extending multimodality and social semiotics for a new age. A proposal is made in the article, to move towards understanding literacy as 'embodied modeling competency. The framework does away with the digital/non-digital divide and argues that all meaning making is similar. Therefore, it is important to look at literacy beyond what is taught in the formal school sector and instead move away from text and language focused learning towards embodiment and how humans interelate with the physical objects and environments which make up digital places.  

Monday, June 10, 2024

OECD Digitial Education Outlook 2023

The OECD's digital education outlook for 2023 provides an overview of OECD's countries' digital infrastructure and governance.

The report collates information on the digital ecosystems availed across countries, summarises issues around access, use and governance of digital technologies and data used in education, the support provided for research and development in digital education, and distills a set of opportunities, guidelines and guardrails for the effective and equitable use of AI and digital technology in education. 

The report is available to read on the web but pdf is only available through payment or subscription. 

Tuesday, June 04, 2024

Workforce development councils (WDCs) to be disestablished - what will replace them?

 As the current government dismantles the various initiatives of the Aotearoa NZ Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE), this year's budget announcement last week, provided another confirmation the final moves.

Te Pūkenga's disestablishment is moving along. The Regional Skills Leadership Groups (RSLGs) funding ended at the beginning of the year. Funding for Work Development Councils (WDCs) and Centres for Vocational Excellence (CoVEs), end next year. 

At the moment, there is little from the present government on what will replace Te Pūkenga and what happens to the many functions undertaken especially by WDCs. An opinion piece by Jeremy Sole in the Contractor MagazineAn opinion piece by Jeremy Sole in the Contractor Magazine, provides some food for thought on the roles of WDCs and what may happen next.

We therefore await details on what will happen next, as the sector reverts to pre-RoVE (sort of) and the various responsibilities of the disestablished organisations are dispersed to other existing organisations or alllocated to possible new entities.