Teacher Preparation: Relevance (Not Courses) Rule

Teacher educators must reshape teacher preparation for the new emerging landscape of learning that is modular, competency-based, and personalized, while also offered in a range of environments, including face-to-face, virtual, and face/flip.

In this previous post, it was noted that modular design (not “classes” or “courses”) is surfacing as marketing models support competency-based learning founded on specific skills personalized for individual students. This shifting model is one that teacher educators must examine to reshape curriculum designed as “modules” of experience, where an individual can demonstrate mastery and “move on” to new knowledge and skills to  overcome deficits. Coupled with module design, delivery and participant environments of engagement are shifting as well, including blended and face/flip.

To dismiss module, competency-based experiences in preparing teacher candidates is, perhaps, foolhardy. Recently, in Hire Education: Mastery, Modularization, and the Workforce Revolution, Michelle R. Weise and Clayton Christensen contend that modular design, coupled with online competency-based approaches, will become the more valued option for targeted skill attainment.

Further, Andy Calkins, Deputy Director of Next Generation Learning Challenges, an initiative managed by EDUCAUSE, noted in Moving Towards Next Generation Learning that next generation learning is blended, competency-based, and personalized.

Consumers – future teachers – are growing smarter, pushing non-traditional markets to respond by increasing choice and return on investment to meet personal and professional needs. Merged with real-world mentoring with teacher leaders, this emerging model could provide a more practical and meaningful approach in becoming an effective teacher at a lower cost.

Consumers – future teachers – are growing smarter, pushing non-traditional markets to respond by increasing choice and return on investment to meet personal and professional needs.

David Wiley, professor of psychology and instructional technology at Brigham Young University, chief openness officer of Flat World Knowledge, and founder of the Open High School of Utah, wrote the following in his blog post University Presidents on “Irrelevance”:

For years I’ve been saying that our nation’s universities must evolve to reflect basic changes in their broader societal contexts or risk becoming completely irrelevant.

How has your learning organization responded to shifting markets by redesigning teacher preparation? Please share your story.

Running the Digital River of Learning with You,

Emily Vickery

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Hacking the Economic Future of Educational Markets

According to Michelle R. Weise and Clayton Christensen, modular competency-based learning is bringing about “tectonic shifts” in higher education. If so, what are the implications for K12 to remain relevant to contemporary learners? What will be the impact on teacher preparation?

In an earlier post, I examined the lessons that K12 could learn from MIT’s report The Future of MIT Education. Outlined in the report’s seventh recommendation was the growing importance of curriculum designed in modules, which the report defines as “breaking a subject into learning units or modules, which can be studied in sequence or separately.”  The modular design provides a foundation for online competency-based models that are aligned to meet workforce needs.

In Hire Education: Mastery, Modularization, and the Workforce Revolution, Michelle R. Weise and Clayton Christensen observe that post-secondary is “structurally incapable” of adjusting to student needs in learning new skills necessary for “jobs emerging on a day-to-day basis” forcing the consumer to question the return on college investment.

Weise and Christensen contend that modular design, coupled with online competency-based approaches, will become the more valued option for targeted skill attainment that employers are seeking. They write:

An examination of online competency-based education unveils the tectonic shifts to come to higher education. Over time, the industry-validated experiences that emerge from the strong partnership between online competency-based providers and employers will ultimately have the power to override the importance of college rankings and accreditation.

While this economic trend of “purchase for skills” (not degrees, courses or classes) may seem applicable only to higher education, think again. K12 public and private education has some skin in the game. I’ve written before about how an Educational Debit Card will provide learners (and families) more choice and the popular rise of micro-credentials (badges) to acknowledge informal but powerful learning. As modular competency-based education catches on in higher education and the demand for post-secondary diminishes, K12 must revamp the curriculum and experiences for students by providing more pathways for learners to access passion and interests.

K12 must revamp the curriculum and experiences for students as the demand for post-secondary diminishes, giving way to passion and interests of learners.

In coming posts, I will examine the impact of modular competency-based education on teacher preparation, liberal arts, and cities of learning. Meanwhile, how is your learning organization revamping curriculum and pedagogical designs to meet the needs of contemporary learners? How can your learning organization prepare to compete in an expanding market of educational choices?

Running the Digital River of Learning with You,

Emily Vickery

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Emerging Trends in Today’s Libraries

Librarians lead the way in maker programs, coding, robotics, and 3D printing.


As noted in this earlier post, the roles of librarians are shifting by creating, among other things, participatory learning spaces, maker programs, and 3D printing access.

The American Library Association’s (ALA) 2014 Digital Inclusion Survey documents these changing roles, as reflected in the following emerging trends as libraries expand services:

  • STEM maker spaces (16.8 percent)
  • Social media training (45.8 percent)
  • Wireless printing (33 percent)
  • 3D printing (2 percent)
  • Hosting hackathons (2 percent)
  • Hosting coding and application development events (2 percent)

In a ALA press release, it was noted:

Creation and making activities already are transforming what is possible for communities through libraries. At the Johnson County Library in Kansas, for instance, a library patron printed a mechanical hand for a family friend. High school student Mason Wilde loaded needed blueprints onto library computers and used the library’s 3D printer to create the necessary parts. Wilde then decided to start a nonprofit to make 3D prosthetics for other children, and he is now considering a career in the biomedical field.

“‘Creating is becoming a new digital competency, and libraries are building and expanding their programs and services to meet these changing community needs,’” said Ann Joslin, President of the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies. Joslin also is the state librarian in Idaho, which currently has a pilot program underway to support library maker activities and encourage the use of new technologies and tools.

“Creating is becoming a new digital competency.”
Ann Joslin, President of the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies

In the School Library Journal, read about the growth of maker spaces in Meet the Makers: Can a DIY Movement Revolutionize How We Learn?; Not Your Mama’s Library Program; and Low Tech, High Gains: Starting a Maker Program Is Easier Than You Think. These articles attest to how librarians lead students in undertaking tinkering, making, coding, and robotics in participatory learning spaces.

How is your library supporting the maker movement, coding, and robotics? What tips would you provide to someone beginning a maker movement in her library?

Running the Digital River of Learning with You,

Emily

The Disaggregation of Education (Beyond Disruption)

Revisiting My Two-Year Old Post: The Disaggregation of Education (Beyond Disruption) It rang true then and even more so today.

Running the Digital River of Learning

We have just crossed – in the past few months – the cusp of The Disaggregation of Education. Even though evolving, the working definition of the disaggregation of education is, after disruption, the education market breaks into smaller pieces. And, the smaller pieces that meet a changing market demand will be the successful ones, impacting all education venues, including higher education. As part of this disaggregation of education, higher education as we  know it just died. While schools of higher education play a role in the immediate future in providing teacher preparation, that will change..

Currently, the change is evidenced by the following:

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