Liked Tofu is not Cheese: Reimagine Education without Schools During Covid19 (1) (Education in the Age of Globalization)

This is a great opportunity to help children enter the virtual world with competence and wisdom. When schools are forced to offer education online, students must use technology. They are forced to learn in the virtual world all the time. To help them become productive learners and responsible citizens in the virtual world, schools should intentionally consider how to make good use of this opportunity to teach digital competence.

Liked Does it Work? The Most Meaningless Question to Ask about Online Education (Education in the Age of Globalization)

Decades of research about online or distance education are unable to give a definitive answer to the question: does it work? The best answer one can get is β€œit depends.” It depends on how the program is delivered; it depends on what outcomes are measured; it depends on whose interests is considered; it depends on the content, the context, the design, the delivery, the technology, the instructor, the student, and many other factors.

Bookmarked The PISA Illusion (Education in the Age of Globalization)

PISA successfully marketed itself as a measure of educational quality with the claim to measure skills and knowledge that matters in modern economies and in the future world. Upon closer examination, the excellence defined by PISA is but an illusion, a manufactured claim without any empirical evidence. Furthermore, PISA implies a monolithic and espouses a distorted and narrow view of purpose for all education systems in the world. The consequence is a trend of global homogenization of education and celebration of authoritarian education systems for their high PISA scores, while ignoring the negative consequences on important human attributes and local cultures of such systems.

In response to the latest release of PISA results, Yong Zhao highlights some of the problems associated with the program. This includes concern about what is measured and the purpose of education. For more on the representation of PISA, read Aspa Baroutsis and Bob Lingard.

In addition to this piece, Zhao also wrote a series of pieces exploring some of the pecularities within the data, including why a growth mindset does not work for Chinese students, the problems with culture-free results, and the relationship between fear based learning and student results.

Bookmarked Stop Looking at My Bad Leg: Introduction to my new book: Reach for Greatness (Education in the Age of Globalization)

Current understandings of human nature and human learning suggest that human beings are differently talented (Gardner, 1983, 2006) and have different desires and interests (Reiss, 2000, 2004). Thanks to the diversity in the environment in which they are born, humans also have different experiences that interact with their natural talents and interests to give each person a unique, jagged profile of abilities and desires, stronger in some areas and weaker in others (Ridley, 2003; Rose, 2016). In other words, everyone has a handsome leg and, at the same time, a deformed leg.

This is the introduction to Yong Zhao’s new book Reach for Greatness: Personalizable Education for All. It continues some of the ideas Rose discussed in his book, The End of Average. However, on first glance it seems to overlook other aspects to education, such as society.

One quote that caught my attention was the association between experiences and greatness:

experiences have costs and risks. Every experience requires time, and some require money and extra effort. Thus, adults want every activity their children experience to be positive, to lead to some desirable outcome. They don’t want their children to waste their time, energy, or money, or worse, to have experiences that may have a negative impact. Responsible adults naturally have a tendency to prescribe experiences for children. The result is that many children are allowed to have only experiences deemed to be beneficial and safe by adults.

I think that this is where the difference between individual and society stands out, in that you cannot have people achieving their own sense of greatness if the access to experiences is not equitable. This was not something discussed in a recent debate on the ABC around private vs. public education.

I am also intrigued by the link with Wagner’s work too, and am interested in its association with the wider discourse around personalization and how this differs from ‘personalised’ learning.