It wasn’t so long ago that the excitement surrounding online education reached fever pitch. Various researchers offering free online versions of their university classes found they could attract vast audiences of high quality students from all over the world. The obvious next step was to offer far more of these online classes.
That started a rapid trend and various organisations sprung up to offer online versions of university-level courses that anyone with an Internet connection could sign up for. The highest profile of these are organisations such as Coursera, Udacity, and edX.
But this new golden age of education has rapidly lost its lustre.
Jean Leising admits she’s no expert on brain development, but she still hopes to do something about the way kids learn.
Leising serves in the Indiana state Senate. Last month, she convinced her Senate colleagues to pass a bill that would restore instruction of cursive writing to the state’s educational standards — the set of skills and knowledge kids are expected to master in each grade level.
Even in the email age, teaching cursive might be a great thing. But when legislatures impose mandates on instruction, professional educators get nervous.
It’s not just controversial topics such as creationism, which is still a matter of debate in states such as Texas, Louisiana and Missouri. When legislators insist that students master certain material, whether it’s a specific historical event or a set of writing or math skills, it can interfere with the overall program that schools are guiding kids through.
“If you have too many cooks throwing too much decontextualized content into K-12 standards, they can very quickly become overwhelmed,” says Kathleen Porter-Magee, a policy fellow at the Fordham Institute, a conservative education think tank.
In the early 1970s, in the wake of the civil rights movement, educators were faced with a social dilemma that had no obvious solution. All over the country, well-intentioned efforts to desegregate America\’s public schools were leading to serious problems. Ethnic minority children, most of whom had previously attended severely under-funded schools, found themselves in classrooms composed predominantly of more privileged White children. This created a situation in which students from affluent backgrounds often shone brilliantly while students from impoverished backgrounds often struggled. Of course, this difficult situation seemed to confirm age-old stereotypes: that Blacks and Latinos are stupid or lazy and that Whites are pushy and overly competitive. The end result was strained relations between children from different ethnic groups and widening gaps in the academic achievement of Whites and minorities.
Drawing on classic psychological research on how to reduce tensions between competing groups (e.g., see Allport, 1954; Sherif, 1958; see also Pettigrew, 1998), Elliot Aronson and colleagues realized that one of the major reasons for this problem was the competitive nature of the typical classroom.
While those born in the Sixties may cling to notions of pop’s ‘importance’, younger generations appear far less obsessive or even interested. Many argue that computer games, the internet and social media have filled the gap where buying vinyl and the music weeklies used to be. It is the impact of this new online world, and how it has altered people’s relationship to pop music, that partly informs Bob Stanley’s new book, Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Story of Modern Pop. A dense and thorough history of pop music, Stanley’s book actually stops in 1999 because it was at this point that pop music, as he sees it, ceased to be ubiquitous. Smash Hits, Select, Melody Maker and the BBC’s Top of the Pops are all gone. Chart hits no longer have much of an era-defining quality to them, and regional-based underground music scenes, based around small pub and club venues, barely exist in any meaningful way.
Thus Yeah Yeah Yeah appears as both a warm celebration of pop’s greatest hits and a forlorn elegy for a fading institution.
we’re only just beginning to glimpse the possibilities of a world powered by an unprecedented level degree of connectivity between people, ideas, and code. In such a world, educators will have to radically change the way they work. While schools once produced computers (the word originally referred to people, rather than machines), they will now have to produce creative individuals skilled in ideation, pattern recognition, and opportunistic team-building. Those things aren’t easily measured by standardized tests. But the children who are taught them are surely the ones who will build the future. One possible way to start: ask every child in the class to sign up for Tumblr and GitHub.
For years, organizations have lavished time and money on improving the capabilities of managers and on nurturing new leaders. US companies alone spend almost $14 billion annually on leadership development.1 Colleges and universities offer hundreds of degree courses on leadership, and the cost of customized leadership-development offerings from a top business school can reach $150,000 a person.
Moreover, when upward of 500 executives were asked to rank their top three human-capital priorities, leadership development was included as both a current and a future priority. Almost two-thirds of the respondents identified leadership development as their number-one concern.2 Only 7 percent of senior managers polled by a UK business school think that their companies develop global leaders effectively,3 and around 30 percent of US companies admit that they have failed to exploit their international business opportunities fully because they lack enough leaders with the right capabilities.4
We’ve talked with hundreds of chief executives about the struggle, observing both successful initiatives and ones that run into the sand. In the process, we’ve identified four of the most common mistakes. Here we explain some tips to overcome them. Together, they suggest ways for companies to get more from their leadership-development efforts—and ultimately their leaders—as these organizations face challenges ranging from the next demanding phase of globalization to disruptive technological change and continued macroeconomic uncertainty.
The Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit which owns Wikipedia, has apparently terminated an employee who was engaged in editing for pay. The issue of editing for pay has been a hot topic among Wikipedia editors, and it resulted in hundreds of account terminations a few months ago.
The employee, Sarah Stierch, was a \”program evaluation coordinator\” who was often quoted by journalists writing about Wikipedia, especially on the topic of how to get more women participating as editors. She was hired by the foundation in April 2013, where she was one of about 180 employees. Before that she had a paid fellowship at the foundation, where she did things like oversee an \”edit-a-thon\” in which editors worked to create new articles on under-recognized female historical figures.
Wikimedia\’s Senior Director of Programs, Frank Schulenberg, wrote a message on a public Wikipedia mailing list last night explaining why Stierch and the foundation had parted ways.
Last November, State Street (STT) introduced a new team-building exercise: The financial-services company hosted its own TED event, modeled on the conference series that promises “riveting talks by remarkable people.”
While TED speakers have included big names such as Bill Gates and Sheryl Sandberg, State Street drew upon its own pool of about 30,000 employees. “We had people from all geographies and all levels of the company,” says Hannah Grove, State Street’s chief marketing officer, who came up with the idea.
Run by the nonprofit Sapling Foundation, TED started out in 1984 as a one-off event. Its mission: to help spread ideas and bring together experts in technology, entertainment, and design.