Call for Demos extended

The UNESCO Chair for Education and Technology for Social Change is extending the period to present demos for its X International Seminar until October 7:

Revisiting the Fundamentals of Traditional Curricula
R/Evolution: what “R” would mean for Education

Showcase your innovative project or experiment in educational practice related to design or delivery of Curriculum, including metholodgies and assessment. Presenting a demo is an excellent opportunity to make an informative and relevant case out of it, to share your results, successful practice, but also your doubts.

We expect the presentations to be specific and practical, rather than theoretical or analytical, and address any level of education. In particular, the seminar organizers are keen to receive proposals that:

  • Are based on or supported by research (or not!)
  • Demonstrate an experimental or alternative approach to coursework, curriculum, assessment, etc.
  • Are related to issues of social inclusion and development
  • Stimulate and provoke a good discussion

For more information, visit the Seminar’s website: http://www.uoc.edu/portal/en/symposia/unesco-chair-seminar-2014/index.html 

Sweep change in curriculum ordered by Islamic State

Islamic State (aka IS, ISIS, ISIL) has turned curriculum upside down according to religious extremism and is facing resistance among students, teachers and families.

In city of Mosul IS has cancelled classes in art, music, history, geography, civics, philosophy, sociology, psychology and Christian religion and are asking mathematics teachers to remove any questions that refer to moneylending, democracy and elections. Biology teachers can’t refer to evolution. Arabic classes are forbidden from teaching any “polytheist” poems. However, IS has introduced its radical interpretation of Islamic law, dictating everything from how to dress to who can live in what homes. The Islamic State wants anything praising the concept of homeland replaced by the new idea of the Islamic State’s caliphate or religious government.

The majority of residents refuse to send their children to school. Also, the students worry that going to school will not lead anywhere because their credentials will not be recognized.

In Syria’s eastern province of Raqqa, the Islamic State announced a compulsory course for all teachers to learn the militants’ view of the basics of Islamic law. Those who don’t attend will be prevented from teaching or their salaries not paid

They have canceled some faculties and changed the curricula of others including the Islamic studies at Imam Adham College… Sufi and Shiite clerics are forbidden from giving Koranic lessons at mosques.

Meanwhile, students are afraid to go to school. Islamic State guards at the school doors check for “un-Islamic” clothing, search the students’ mobile phones for songs and ask female teachers to cover their faces and put on gloves.

Read in full: What Education Is Like Under the Islamic State

Today: International Literacy Day 2014 [UPDATED]

According to the latest OECD’s report, even in developed countries where access to higher education is widening, people are falling short of high levels of skills; other trends is that social mobility is slowing down. UK is a case in point and is said to face a skill gap which is bigger when it comes to numeracy.

Read more: UK has more graduates but without skills and social mobility to match

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Literacy plays a crucial role in the creation of prosperous and peaceful societies. As an exemple to address the global problem of illiteracy which strikes many regions within the developing world and frustrates their development perspectives, the 2000 Dakar Framework for Action set the goal to increase literacy levels worldwide by 50 percent by the year 2015. Yet millions of adults and young learners around the world continue to struggle with low reading, writing and math skills. What proven innovative practices might be brought to scale?

Debate at WISE 2013 Summit

X International Seminar: Registration is Open!

The theme of this year is

Revisiting the fundamentals of traditional curricula.
R / Evolution: what “R” would mean for Education.

You can now register here.

The UNESCO Chair in Education & Technology for Social Change is pleased to host its X annual International Seminar. It will take place on December 1-2, 2014 in Barcelona, at the Barcelona Growth Centre (former “MediaTIC”)

The website of the X International Seminar is functional but it is still under construction. There you will find the Call for Papers and this year’s topics, among others.

To see updates, visit us often! http://www.uoc.edu/portal/en/symposia/unesco-chair-seminar-2014/registration/index.html 

First ladies Obama and Bush urge African leaders to educate, empower women and girls

Click to watch video
Click to watch video

In a conversation at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. with former first lady Laura Bush, Michelle Obama shared her personal success story and the important role education played in her life.

“I am an African American woman”, she noted, “and there’s nothing in my life that would indicate that I would be sitting on this stage with a former First Lady and the most renowned journalist and every first spouse in Africa. My parents believed in the value of education, even though they were not educated themselves.  And they pushed my brother and I to do the best that we could do.”

Likewise, Mrs. Bush stated that “because only countries where all people are involved can be successful.  When we look around the world and we see countries where half of the population is marginalized or left out, then we usually see countries that are failing.”

Mrs. Obama urged leaders from African nations to empower women and girls by improving their access to education. “Until we value women and girls, we won’t tackle those other problems,” she said. “Until we prioritize our girls and understand that they are as important and their education is as important as the education of our sons, then we will have lots of work to do.”

Read in full: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/she-the-people/wp/2014/08/06/first-ladies-obama-and-bush-urge-african-leaders-to-educate-empower-women-and-girls/

SAVE THE DATE! X International Seminar

The UNESCO Chair in Education & Technology for Social Change is pleased to host its X annual International Seminar. It will take place on December 1-2, 2014 in Barcelona, at the Barcelona Growth Centre.

The theme of this year is:

Revisiting the fundamentals of traditional curricula

R / Evolution: what “R” would mean for education

You can read about this year’s theme in depth in the Seminar’s Presentation document.

The website of the Seminar will be launched on September 1 with complete information, so please visit us often and save the date!

CALL FOR DEMOS

Even though traditional curricula approaches are limiting the potential of people’s learning, there are notable examples of teacher- and school-led innovation, evolving technology-enabled pedagogy and personal learning in every country around the world,. The very nature of knowledge is changing, and pedagogies should evolve in order to take better advantage of the affordances that technology provides. Objectives and competencies, nature and weight of content, methodologies for teaching and learning, and assessment methods and techniques should be rethought to make educational systems better serve the interests and needs of the citizens. Sometimes they even go ahead of research, thus marking new directions. We encourage you to showcase your innovative project or experiment in educational practice, even if it is in process of development yet. This could be a good opportunity to make an informative and relevant case out of it, to share your results, successful practice, but also your doubts.

Accepted demos will have 20 minutes to demonstrate the case and then will be followed by 20 minutes of discussion with other speakers and participants.

We expect the presentations to be specific and practical, rather than theoretical or analytical, and address any level of education.

In particular, the seminar organizers are keen to receive proposals that:

  • Are based on or supported by research (or not!)
  • Demonstrate an experimental or alternative approach to coursework, curriculum, assessment, etc (see Suggested topics)
  • Are related to issues of social inclusion and development
  • Stimulate and provoke a good discussion

Format requirements for Demo Proposals

  • A text document with an Executive Summary of the proposed presentation, including the essence of the innovation and reference to the main topics of the (max. 2 pages).
  • You may include any references or links to additional reading materials at the end of the document.
  • Provide a short bio of the author/s.

Submission deadline: Proposals should be sent by email to catedraunesco@uoc.edu by September 30.

Submissions will be reviewed by a panel of faculty peers.

Notification of acceptance and additional information will be provided before the end of October.

More of Rankings

Guardian University League Tables

 

The UK-based Guardian University League Tables unveiled this monday the 2014 edition, with University of Cambridge in the top for fourth time in a row.

These rankings aim to provide additional elements for students to decide which course fits more to their interests and their expected outcomes. Universities are ranked with a global score but students can browse and select universities regarding a concrete subject/course or some specific criteria.

The Guardian tables’ criteria focus on many fields, not only academic but also aspects of the university life that matter most to students. The rankings evaluate satisfaction with course, teaching and feedback, as well as organizational matters such as student-to-staff ratio, spending per student or average enrollment. Also, the career after 6 months from graduation is assessed, and a value-added score is calculated (i.e. qualifications upon entry are compared with the award that a student receives at the end of their studies). The tables have been compiled by Intelligent Metrix, an independent consultancy, and rankings are based on official data collected by the Higher Education Statistics Agency and on the National Student Survey.

Tables compiler Matt Hiely-Rayner, while commenting on universities climbing up and down rankings, states that Universities seeking for better results in the coming editions should identify their areas of weakness and concentrate on improving those according to their own internal analysis, not just what the league tables say.

Read more:  Guardian university league table 2015: Cambridge underscores its dominance

New University Ranking “U-Multirank” raises doubts among experts

UMultirank

U-Multirank is a brand-new international university ranking supported by the European Commission. It formally aims to provide greater transparency within the Higher Education system, as well as it allows users to construct their own comparative tables according to some criteria. However, the ranking is facing much criticism in the very beginning of its life.

With regard to the process of data collection, experts point out its lack of reliability as only 517 campuses out of 879 filled and returned the required reports. That implies that too often the Center for Higher Education and the University of Twente (both responsible for the new Ranking) had to gather data themselves from websites and other official sources. That leads many experts to think that the project has been done in a hurry and therefore lacks the required quality to be taken seriously.

Others cast doubt on the content, as some indicators might have been selected arbitrarily, with no explicit reason, what appears more serious if we take into account that some variables are not homogenous among countries. And then, we find two opposite views: on the one hand, some experts criticize the ranking for not providing a global indicator; on the other hand, some others claim it is too reductionist and could lead to wrong education policies in the future.

Read more:

New International University Ranking Aims to Offer a More Nuanced Approach

El Nuevo “ranking” europeo de universidades nace con agujeros

Academics call to stop PISA testing as it damages education worldwide

pisatwo2In an open letter to Dr Andreas Schleicher, Director of the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment, academics from around the world express deep concern about the overblown impact of questionable PISA tests and call for a halt of the next round of testing.

In the letter, academics say the OECD should develop alternatives to league tables and find more meaningful ways of reporting assessment, taking account of different cultures. Also, they decry that its 3-year assessment cycles lead to short-term fixes with the only aim of climbing in the ranking. Besides, this ranking thoroughly overlooks measurable items such as physical, moral, civic and artistic development, limiting the goal of education to gainful employment.

On the constructive side, academics call to open the OECD to democratic accountability, publish the direct and indirect costs of administrating PISA, and to include national and international organizations in the formulation of assessments methods, among others. On the other hand, they challenge the organization to prove that contracting private, for-profit partners of OECD does not incur in a conflict of interests. It contributes to killing the joy of learning.

Read the letter in full:

OECD and Pisa tests are damaging education worldwide – academics

The face of internationalisation in Europe: brand new EAIE study unveiled by EAIE

Blog_BarometerAs internationalisation of higher education has become increasingly complex and far reaching over the past years, EAIE (European Association for International Education) unveiled a project to undertake comprehensive research to map the state of internationalisation in Europe. In particular, the study will focus on the current state of affairs regarding internationalisation in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), the key developments and challenges in the field and the skills requirements and specific needs of staff involved in international education. The study will provide analysis on both a national/regional level and European level.

The survey aims to provide a chance to share experiences, not only strengthening the knowledge base for policy makers but also addressing the performance and skills of people in their day-to-day work in internationalisation. In the midst of a constantly evolving international education field, the survey is expected to provide essential insights to all those organisations working to assist those practitioners directly involved in international education.

Invite to all faculty to participate in the e-survey, which will be  available online from 13 March until 22 April.

Read More:

The face of internationalisation in Europe: brand new EAIE study unveiled