3 Start-Up Announcements From the Education Innovation Summit

Today I am sharing information about three new Education start-ups from an article by Nick DeSantis from The Chronicle of Higher Education: The first is a transfer college called Altius Education (a very much needed idea for South Africa, with our problematic achievements in Grade 12). The second is OpenStudy which has focused on soft skills, again an area requiring attention in South Africa. The third is about Sophia a social learning platform purchased by Capella Education System.

By Nick DeSantis

“The theme of disrupting higher education was buzzing among hundreds of conference attendees this week at the Education Innovation Summit at Arizona State University. The event offered start-up companies a captive audience for pitching their products. Here’s a small sample of announcements they made:

Altius Education: This company has already gained prominence among educators for its creation of a “transfer college,” which gives students a bridge to a bachelor’s degree by helping them transfer to traditional four-year institutions. And now the chief executive of Altius, Paul Freedman, has bigger plans—he wants to put “the flying car of higher education” in the driveway of every student. The engine, he says, is called Helix, a new tool that seeks to reinvent what learning-management software can do…

OpenStudy: Traditional grades are one-dimensional. Transcripts don’t convey how good students are at working with others and

Image representing OpenStudy as depicted in Cr...

Image via CrunchBase

solving problems. That’s the argument made by the leaders of OpenStudy, the social-learning network that calls itself a “global study group.” To fill in those gaps, the company has introduced SmartScore, a measurement of “soft skills” including teamwork, problem-solving, and engagement. In a blog post that previewed SmartScore’s introduction, OpenStudy’s co-founder, Preetha Ram, said the tool would ‘challenge the traditional notions of intelligence normally quantified by grades…’

Sophia: The social platform for teaching and learning was purchased this week by Capella Education Company, the parent of the for-profit Capella University. The partnership means Sophia will roll out low-cost college courses online, beginning with a college-algebra course in June…”

[Creative Commons licensed Flickr photo by tsutatsuta]

Reference: http://ht.ly/1iT2ic (Accessed 19/04/2012).


Dispatches from South Africa: the case for vocational training

From International Hub – The Guardian – article by Sarah Duff










Youth unemployment rates are worryingly high, yet education policy and culture make higher education a priority for students, says Sarah Duff.

Photograph: Alexander Joe/AFP/Getty Images

“The end of the first week of teaching in the South African academic year is an experience that any academic at any university around the world would recognise: the chaos of finding timetables and new lecture venues …

…In January, Angie Motshekga, the minister for basic education, announced with some fanfare that 70.2% of the pupils who sat the examinations for the national senior certificate – usually referred to as matric – passed. In a country with high levels of deprivation and poor resource allocation, this appears to be a magnificent achievement.

Unfortunately, the celebrations hid a few worrying facts. In 2011, according to the well-respected NGO, Equal Education, … of  the 923,463 pupils who began grade 1 in 2000, only 496,090 took matric in 2011, meaning that nearly half dropped out during their school career.” Therefore of … “all those who began school in 2000, the real matric pass rate falls to 38%. ”  This is indeed a very worrying fact.

“…despite the fact there are about 600,000 unemployed graduates in South Africa, university education is seen as the only pathway to employment. I would rather the department of higher education and training invested in FET colleges …”

However, I would like to point out that these moves are already taking place – see South African Education Green Paper. This is a major focus of Dr Nzimande, Minister of Education. The Green Paper is available for download at the following link which also has a great article: Scholarly Communication in Africa Programme: http://www.scaprogramme.org.za/2012/02/the-green-paper-for-post-school-education-and-training-in-south-africa/

To read more of Sarah Duff’s article follow the link below:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/higher-education-network/higher-education-network-blog/2012/apr/18/south-africa-vocational-training?newsfeed=true (Accessed 18/04/2012).

Social Learning Infographics

The first graphic shows “What is Social Learning?” and is from SkillSoft on Overdrive Interactive: http://blog.ovrdrv.com/overdrive-develops-social-learning-infographic-for-skillsoft/ (Accessed 18/04/2012).

From Future Workplace:

http://futureworkplace.com/wp-content/uploads/Social-Learning-Infographic.pdf (Accessed 18/04/2012).

Follow this link to see the graphic: Social-Learning-Infographic

Very interesting and useful resources on Online Identity from jennymackness. Do read more from the Networked Learning Conference Hotseat for this year – Managing your Online Learner Identity

Jenny Connected

This week has seen the last Networked Learning Conference Hotseat for this year – Managing your Online Learner Identity

Having followed the Hotseat discussions, the topic seems to have raised more questions than it has answered. It started with a discussion about what we mean by online learner identity, online identity, learner identity, or simply identity and is this different online to offline, and can we ever not be learning?  It seems that most of the Hotseats have started off by trying to pin down meanings for the terms being used by the Hotseat presenters.

Then came questions relating to whether we have one identity or multiple identities and whether working online fragments or disembodies our identities.

There was of course the discussion about how the internet might alter our identities by making them so publicly visible; we leave indelible traces on the internet. Do we have less control over…

View original post 597 more words

Top 100 Learning Organizations Named in Second Annual Awards Program

Elearning! Media Group (EMG), publishers of Elearning! and Government Elearning! magazines, announced today the Learning! 100 Award recipients. The Learning! 100 Award recognizes 60 corporate and 40 public sector organizations for outstanding learning culture, innovation or collaboration that drives performance. Honorees cut across all industries and organization sizes, from 5 to 1.6 million employees.” See link below:


World Youth Report puts Focus on Skills

“Some of the views in the report point directly to the kinds of policy questions that are preoccupying governments – and employers – eager to match skilled jobs with skilled workers.

According to the young people cited in the report:

  • public and private employers need to collaborate more effectively with educational institutions;
  • vocational training needs to be made more available and accessible;
  • employers need to value vocational training, apprenticeships and non-formal training more highly;
  • labour market needs should be analysed continuously and extensively;
  • education and training programmes should be tailored to labour market needs.”

The above links closely to the New South African Post-Secondary Education Green Paper. However, in my view not all education programmes should be tailored to labour market needs – we should avoid commodification and flattening of all Higher Education to a labour market technicist paradigm.

http://efareport.wordpress.com/2012/02/10/world-youth-report-puts-focus-on-skills/ (accessed 21/03/2012)

What do you think?

Education for all Global Monitoring Report

Follow this link for many interesting reports, for example:

Gender | Rural Women: While great progress has been made towards gender equality in education, many challenges remain. Did you know that nearly 2/3 of the world’s illiterate adults are women? The situation is particularly bad for rural women. Read more on our blog: http://bit.ly/GMRIWD

http://efareport.wordpress.com/2012/03/05/rural-women-miss-out-on-education-and-decent-jobs/ (accessed 21/03/2012)

Pass the books. Hold the oil by Thomas L. Friedman

Thomas Friedman, American journalist, columnis...

Image via Wikipedia

EVERY so often someone asks me: “What’s your favorite country, other than your own?”

I’ve always had the same answer: Taiwan. “Taiwan? Why Taiwan?” people ask.

“Very simple: Because Taiwan is a barren rock in a typhoon-laden sea with no natural resources to live off of — it even has to import sand and gravel from China for construction — yet it has the fourth-largest financial reserves in the world. Because rather than digging in the ground and mining whatever comes up, Taiwan has mined its 23 million people, their talent, energy and intelligence — men and women.”


See the rest of this article: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/11/opinion/sunday/friedman-pass-the-books-hold-the-oil.html?_r=1&ref=thomaslfriedman (accessed 18/03/2012)

28 January 2012

It is important that learning on work experience placement is understood

‘Eames and Cates (2011: 41) point out that there is a scarcity of research concerning cooperative and work-integrated education about “the educational outcomes from, and processes in, work placements”; as well as “understanding about learning in the work placement”. They argue (p. 42) that “understanding how learning occurs” during work-integrated learning placements would help legitimise workplace experience as legitimate aspect of cooperative programmes as educative. There is way too much emphasis on employer ratings and student papers concerning their work-integrated learning placements “in order to award credit”. Too little effort is devoted to “finding out what the students are really learning” from workplace experiences—“credit is not simply given for work experience” but should be given for the “learning [that is] resulting from work experience”. Eames and Cates (2011: 42) therefore consider it important that learning on “work experience [placement] is understood” in order “that appropriate curricula, pedagogy, and assessment can be designed and implemented”.

Eames and Cates (2011: 41) remark that research and development has mainly been pragmatically applied-descriptive and evaluative—what constitutes the successful operation; the outcomes of work placements; career clarification for students; enabling recruitment of candidates perceived suitable; collaboration with work-integrated learning hosts; completion of study-related projects; and attraction of students to programmes.’

Eames, C. & Cates, C. 2011. Theories of learning in cooperative and work-integrated education (pp. 41-52). In R.K. Coll & K.E. Zegwaard (Eds.). International handbook for cooperative and work-integrated education (2nd ed.). World Association for Cooperative Education Inc.

Download EamesC+CatesC_Theories_of_learning_in_cooperative+work-integrated_Education

From: http://psychsoma.co.za/learning_in_vivo/workintegrated_learning/ (accessed 16/03/2012)