Open AccessArticle
Epistemology as Education: Know Thyself
Educ. Sci. 2016, 6(4), 41; doi:10.3390/educsci6040041 -
Abstract
In his Introduction to this Special Edition of Education Sciences, Andrew Stables points out that often, epistemological questions in education have been pursued in isolation from ethics and other social concerns. In part, this problem has been addressed by ‘local’ epistemologies—feminist, queer,
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In his Introduction to this Special Edition of Education Sciences, Andrew Stables points out that often, epistemological questions in education have been pursued in isolation from ethics and other social concerns. In part, this problem has been addressed by ‘local’ epistemologies—feminist, queer, post-colonial, postmodern and others—which try to establish how different knowledge can look when not grounded in presuppositions of consciousness, or rationality, or gender, colour, etc., all of which exclude and suppress that which they deem to be ‘other’. However, perhaps it is not just these local knowledges that are excluded from epistemological work in education. Perhaps, remarkably, epistemological questions pursued in education are habitually carried out in isolation from education, as if education were nothing in its own right. This ‘otherness’ of education to philosophy in general, and to epistemology in particular, contributes to the latter often seeming to be nugatory with regard to the inequalities borne within modern social and political relations. With this is mind, the following contribution reflects not so much on the relation of epistemology and education, or on epistemology in education, but rather on epistemology as education. Primarily this concerns the question of how epistemology, the science of knowledge, can have knowledge of itself and of the educational significance carried in trying to do so. This challenge of epistemology as education commends epistemology to heed the Delphic maxim: know thyself. It is to these efforts that the following essay is directed. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Relevancy of the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) about Sustainable Energy for Adolescents
Educ. Sci. 2016, 6(4), 40; doi:10.3390/educsci6040040 -
Abstract
Sustainable energy is one of the biggest global challenges today. This paper discusses how we can promote adolescents’ learning of sustainable energy with the help of an international massive open online course (MOOC). The aim of this case study is to understand: (i)
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Sustainable energy is one of the biggest global challenges today. This paper discusses how we can promote adolescents’ learning of sustainable energy with the help of an international massive open online course (MOOC). The aim of this case study is to understand: (i) What do the adolescents find relevant in the MOOC course about sustainable energy? and (ii) What are the opportunities and challenges of the MOOC for the adolescents to learn sustainable energy? In our study, 80 voluntary adolescents around the world, who were at least 15 year old, took part in two surveys. The themes of our MOOC course were, e.g., sustainable growth, solar power, wind power, biofuel production and smart power generation. This 38 work-hour, free of charge, online course includes an introduction video, interviews of specialists, lecture videos, reading materials of the newest research and multiple choice questions on the topics. Research data was classified by using content analysis. The study indicates that adolescents feel that both the MOOC course and sustainable energy as a subject are relevant to them. Their decision to take part in an online course was mostly influenced by individual relevance and partly influenced by both societal and vocational relevance, according to the relevancy theory used. The MOOC was experienced to be relevant for the three following reasons: (i) good content (e.g., energy production) and implementation of the course; (ii) the course makes it possible to study in a new way; and (iii) the course is personally useful. The characteristics of the MOOC, such as being available anywhere and anytime, free access, and online learning, bringing out a flexible, new way of learning and thus promoting Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in the context of sustainable energy at school level around the world. This MOOC provided the school students with choice-based learning and expanded their learning opportunities in understanding sustainable energy. In the designing of MOOCs for studying sustainable energy, it is important to take the following things into consideration: (i) the balance between theory and practical examples; (ii) the support for interaction; and (iii) other support (e.g., technical and learning strategies) for students. Communication with other learners and getting feedback from teachers and tutors remain the vital challenges for the developers of MOOCs in the future. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Conceptualising Multilingual Capabilities in Anglophone Higher Degree Research Education: Challenges and Possibilities for Reconfiguring Language Practices and Policies
Educ. Sci. 2016, 6(4), 39; doi:10.3390/educsci6040039 -
Abstract
In a context of the internationalisation of Higher Education (HE) driven by the high mobility of international Higher Degree Research candidates (HDRs), it is important to consider the value of HDRs’ multilingual capabilities for their learning and making of original contributions to knowledge.
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In a context of the internationalisation of Higher Education (HE) driven by the high mobility of international Higher Degree Research candidates (HDRs), it is important to consider the value of HDRs’ multilingual capabilities for their learning and making of original contributions to knowledge. This article reports on a literature study regarding conceptualisations of multilingualism and multilingual capabilities, together with multilingualism in university research education practices and policies. Key themes to emerge from the literature include divergent understandings of languages, multilingualism, and multilingual capabilities. For example, a ‘static’ language construct provides a structuralist lens through which multilingual HDRs are viewed as an accumulation of monolinguals, whereas a ‘dynamic’ language construct informs a socially and culturally constructed linguistic space where the multilingual resources of HDRs are valued. These divergences are manifested in the language-as-problem orientation and language-as-resource orientation in anglophone universities’ HDR education policies. Informed by empirical evidence of leveraging multilingual capabilities in original contributions to knowledge, this article argues that it is urgent for pertinent stakeholders in HDR education to reconfigure language practices and policies in the HDR educational context. In doing so, the voices of HDRs would be able to leverage multilingual capabilities in their research instead of being treated as deficient English learners. Full article
Open AccessArticle
A Cross-National Study of Implicit Theories of a Creative Person
Educ. Sci. 2016, 6(4), 38; doi:10.3390/educsci6040038 -
Abstract
Implicit theories can influence learning behavior, the approaches individuals take to learning and performance situations, and the learning goals individuals set, as well as, indirectly, their accomplishments, intelligence, and creativity. For this cross-cultural study, Kenyan and German students were asked to draw a
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Implicit theories can influence learning behavior, the approaches individuals take to learning and performance situations, and the learning goals individuals set, as well as, indirectly, their accomplishments, intelligence, and creativity. For this cross-cultural study, Kenyan and German students were asked to draw a creative person and rate it on a number of attributes. The data indicated considerable differences among the implicit theories according to students’ gender and nationality. Kenyan girls, in particular, frequently ascribed a gender to their prototypical creative person that differed from their own, whereas the gender of the prototypical creative people drawn by German students was more equally spread. The data offer evidence that implicit theories of a creative person are multifaceted. Kenyan students value diligence as an important attribute of a creative person. In addition, social variables were seen as important, followed by talents in languages and mathematics. By contrast, German students valued imagination and talent in artistic areas, followed by diligence and social components. Their lowest rated attributes for creativity were talents in the domains of languages, mathematics and technical areas. Future studies should further examine the influence of implicit theories on the learning behavior of gifted students. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Reevaluating Bloom’s Taxonomy: What Measurable Verbs Can and Cannot Say about Student Learning
Educ. Sci. 2016, 6(4), 37; doi:10.3390/educsci6040037 -
Abstract
Faculty and assessment professionals rely on Bloom’s taxonomy to guide them when they write measurable student learning outcomes and describe their goals for developing students’ thinking skills. Over the past ten years, assessment offices and teaching and learning centers have compiled lists of
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Faculty and assessment professionals rely on Bloom’s taxonomy to guide them when they write measurable student learning outcomes and describe their goals for developing students’ thinking skills. Over the past ten years, assessment offices and teaching and learning centers have compiled lists of measurable verbs aligned with the six categories that comprise Bloom’s taxonomy. The author analyzed 30 compilations posted on web sites and evaluated how well these verbs aligned with categories in Bloom’s taxonomy. The author discusses the value of Bloom’s taxonomy as a heuristic for writing student learning outcomes and other factors faculty should consider when they articulate learning outcomes to describe levels of expertise attained by students who complete an associate’s, bachelor’s, or graduate degree. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Fostering Creativity in the Classroom for High Ability Students: Context Does Matter
Educ. Sci. 2016, 6(4), 36; doi:10.3390/educsci6040036 -
Abstract
Researchers have argued for the importance of the classroom context in developing students’ creative potential. However, the emphasis on a performative learning culture in the classroom does not favour creativity. Thus, how creative potential can be realised as one of the educational goals
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Researchers have argued for the importance of the classroom context in developing students’ creative potential. However, the emphasis on a performative learning culture in the classroom does not favour creativity. Thus, how creative potential can be realised as one of the educational goals in the classrooms remains a key question. This study measured creativity across three secondary schools using the Wallach-Kogan Creative Thinking Test (WKCT). A total of 283 students enrolled in the Express programme and 290 students enrolled in the Integrated Programme (IP) volunteered in the study. The same cohort of students took the 38-item WKCT twice; once at the beginning of Secondary One and then at the end of Secondary Three. Four aspects of creativity, namely fluency, flexibility, unusualness, and uniqueness, were investigated. Our analyses showed that (i) IP students showed a greater increase in scores over time when compared to Express students; (ii) when Programme and PSLE (Primary School Leaving Examination) were used to predict creativity scores in a multiple regression, the predictive power of Programme increased from Secondary 1 to Secondary 3 while that of PSLE decreased; and (iii) flexibility scores were more resistant to change than fluency scores. These findings suggest that the classroom context matters and that the removal of high-stakes examination can provide room for the development of creative potential. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Culturally Responsive Teaching: Implications for Educational Justice
Educ. Sci. 2016, 6(4), 35; doi:10.3390/educsci6040035 -
Abstract
Educational justice is a major global challenge. In most underdeveloped countries, many students do not have access to education and in most advanced democracies, school attainment and success are still, to a large extent, dependent on a student’s social background. However, it has
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Educational justice is a major global challenge. In most underdeveloped countries, many students do not have access to education and in most advanced democracies, school attainment and success are still, to a large extent, dependent on a student’s social background. However, it has often been argued that social justice is an essential part of teachers’ work in a democracy. This article raises an important overriding question: how can we realize the goal of educational justice in the field of teaching? In this essay, I examine culturally responsive teaching as an educational practice and conclude that it is possible to realize educational justice in the field of teaching because in its true implementation, culturally responsive teaching conceptualizes the connection between education and social justice and creates the space needed for discussing social change in society. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Mobilization and Adaptation of a Rural Cradle-to-Career Network
Educ. Sci. 2016, 6(4), 34; doi:10.3390/educsci6040034 -
Abstract
This case study explored the development of a rural cradle-to-career network with a dual focus on the initial mobilization of network members and subsequent adaptations made to maintain mobilization, while meeting local needs. Data sources included interviews with network members, observations of meetings,
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This case study explored the development of a rural cradle-to-career network with a dual focus on the initial mobilization of network members and subsequent adaptations made to maintain mobilization, while meeting local needs. Data sources included interviews with network members, observations of meetings, and documentary evidence. Network-based social capital facilitated mobilization. Where networks were absent and where distrust and different values were evident, mobilization faltered. Three network adaptations were discovered: Special rural community organizing strategies, district-level action planning, and a theory of action focused on out-of-school factors. All three were attributable to the composition of mobilized stakeholders and this network’s rural social geography. These findings illuminate the importance of social geography in the development and advancement of rural cradle-to-career networks. Full article
Open AccessConcept Paper
Toward Culturally Sustaining Leadership: Innovation beyond ‘School Improvement’ Promoting Equity in Diverse Contexts
Educ. Sci. 2016, 6(4), 33; doi:10.3390/educsci6040033 -
Abstract
Whilst school principals and educational leaders are increasingly constrained by standardized assessment results and student achievement, persistent achievement gaps continue to separate poor and historically underserved students from their wealthier mainstream peers in the United States (US) and similar countries. Unprecedented levels of
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Whilst school principals and educational leaders are increasingly constrained by standardized assessment results and student achievement, persistent achievement gaps continue to separate poor and historically underserved students from their wealthier mainstream peers in the United States (US) and similar countries. Unprecedented levels of cultural, linguistic, ethnic, racial, and gender school diversity underscore these phenomena. As a result, leadership for ‘school improvement’ has become the norm and as evidenced by chronic academic disparities, ineffective. This review article considers culturally sustaining leadership as an innovative practice to promote and advance equity in schools. Full article
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Open AccessEditorial
Categories, Boundaries, and Bridges: The Social Geography of Schooling and the Need for New Institutional Designs
Educ. Sci. 2016, 6(3), 32; doi:10.3390/educsci6030032 -
Abstract
As unprecedented child and family migration patterns continue, neighborhoods, hamlets, towns, cities, states/provinces, and entire nations are impacted. These impacts are especially profound when migrants’ first language is not the host nation’s dominant one; when they relocate in communities already challenged by poverty,
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As unprecedented child and family migration patterns continue, neighborhoods, hamlets, towns, cities, states/provinces, and entire nations are impacted. These impacts are especially profound when migrants’ first language is not the host nation’s dominant one; when they relocate in communities already challenged by poverty, social exclusion, and social isolation; and when educator-controlled, standardized, stand-alone schools continue to focus exclusively on teacher-directed, academic learning during the school day. Under these circumstances, standardized schools struggle to achieve desirable results, making it clear that relations between schools and their host locales are consequential for everyone. Using the United States as a case example, this introductory analysis provides an appreciative framework for the new designs presented in this Special Issue of Education Sciences. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Slow Shift—Developing Provisions for Talented Students in Scandinavian Higher Education
Educ. Sci. 2016, 6(3), 31; doi:10.3390/educsci6030031 -
Abstract
For decades, Scandinavian culture effectively prohibited the development of special provisions for talented students in higher education. However, in recent years, a cultural shift has gradually made more room for excellence and talent development in the national discourses. This paper analyzes the climate
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For decades, Scandinavian culture effectively prohibited the development of special provisions for talented students in higher education. However, in recent years, a cultural shift has gradually made more room for excellence and talent development in the national discourses. This paper analyzes the climate for talent development in Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. Following a first inventory of honors programs in Scandinavian higher education in which the only programs were found in Denmark, 10 experts were interviewed to analyze their national situation and reflect on the leading role of Denmark. In this country, external incentives, focus on quality, pioneers, and an open atmosphere were found to produce a culture more appreciative of excellence over the last decade. Starting from the Danish experience, the situation in Norway and Sweden is analyzed, showing that the combination of factors leading to change in Denmark is not yet present here. Lessons for other countries are highlighted, notably the importance of sharing information and exchanging knowledge at an international level. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Investigating the Effectiveness of Group Work in Mathematics
Educ. Sci. 2016, 6(3), 30; doi:10.3390/educsci6030030 -
Abstract
Group work permits students to develop a range of critical thinking, analytical and communication skills; effective team work; appreciation and respect for other views, techniques and problem-solving methods, all of which promote active learning and enhance student learning. This paper presents an evaluation
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Group work permits students to develop a range of critical thinking, analytical and communication skills; effective team work; appreciation and respect for other views, techniques and problem-solving methods, all of which promote active learning and enhance student learning. This paper presents an evaluation of employing the didactic and pedagogical customs of group work in mathematics with the aim of improving student performance as well as exploring students’ perceptions of working in groups. The evaluation of group work was carried out during tutorial time with first year civil engineering students undertaking a mathematics module in their second semester. The aim was to investigate whether group work learning can help students gain a deeper understanding of the module content, develop improved critical and analytical thinking skills and see if this method of pedagogy can produce higher performance levels. The group work sessions were conducted over four weeks whilst studying the topic of integration. Evaluation surveys were collected at the end of the intervention along with an investigation into the examination results from the end of semester examinations. In order to derive plausible and reasonable conclusions, these examination results were compared with an analogous cohort of first year mathematics students, also studying integration in their engineering-based degree. The investigation into the effectiveness of group work showed interesting and encouraging positive outcomes, supported by a combination of qualitative and quantitative analysis. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Hypertext or Textbook: Effects on Motivation and Gain in Knowledge
Educ. Sci. 2016, 6(3), 29; doi:10.3390/educsci6030029 -
Abstract
Computers are considered innovative in classrooms, raising expectations of increased cognitive learning outcomes or motivation with effects on Deeper Learning (DL). The “new medium”, however, may cause cognitive overloads. Combined with gender-related variations in ability, self-efficacy or self-confidence, computers may even diminish learning
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Computers are considered innovative in classrooms, raising expectations of increased cognitive learning outcomes or motivation with effects on Deeper Learning (DL). The “new medium”, however, may cause cognitive overloads. Combined with gender-related variations in ability, self-efficacy or self-confidence, computers may even diminish learning effects. Our empirical study used a quasi-experimental design and the Intrinsic Motivation Inventory (IMI) to monitor efficacy in knowledge gain and motivation when using computer-aided versus textbook-based educational units. Our sample consisted of 393 eighth graders. One objective focused on gender effects associated with autonomous teacher-assisted learning via interactive software or an appropriate textbook. Both groups finished with a recapitulation with the teacher. A third group concluded a computer-aided lesson with a computer quiz. To provide evidence for DL we tested long-term memory after six weeks and examined its correlation with intrinsic motivation factors. In general, our intervention affected the girls’ but not the boys’ intrinsic motivation. We recorded significantly higher post-test scores in the textbook-based lesson, but the differences vanished in the retention test. The teacher-assisted consolidation phase increased long-term knowledge and positively intervened with the students’ interest. Thus, we found evidence for DL. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Using Institutional Resources and Agency to Support Graduate Students’ Success at a Hispanic Serving Institution
Educ. Sci. 2016, 6(3), 28; doi:10.3390/educsci6030028 -
Abstract
There is a growing body of evidence that links increased social capital to minority student success in college. This paper seeks to expand specifically on the graduate experience of underrepresented minorities (URM) at a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) using the social capital framework.
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There is a growing body of evidence that links increased social capital to minority student success in college. This paper seeks to expand specifically on the graduate experience of underrepresented minorities (URM) at a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) using the social capital framework. In a cross-sectional survey, 198 graduate students retrospectively considered the role of institutional resources and agents in their success towards graduation. Data revealed that motivational factors such as a sense of personal achievement, family support, peer support, career promotion, supportive faculty, program satisfaction, and faculty mentor played critical roles in the success of graduate students at HSI. Specifically, Latino students are more likely to report that faculty mentors played a significant role in their success compared to their non-Latino peers χ2(1, N = 195) = 5.33, p = 0.02. Latinos/as were also more likely to use writing support services than their non-Latino/a peers χ2(2, N = 190) = 7.59, p = 0.02. By identifying and increasing access to institutional resources and agents, underrepresented minorities in post-baccalaureate programs may encounter less barriers to graduate degree success. Full article
Open AccessReview
Reflective Practice in Healthcare Education: An Umbrella Review
Educ. Sci. 2016, 6(3), 27; doi:10.3390/educsci6030027 -
Abstract
Reflection in healthcare education is an emerging topic with many recently published studies and reviews. This current systematic review of reviews (umbrella review) of this field explores the following aspects: which definitions and models are currently in use; how reflection impacts design, evaluation,
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Reflection in healthcare education is an emerging topic with many recently published studies and reviews. This current systematic review of reviews (umbrella review) of this field explores the following aspects: which definitions and models are currently in use; how reflection impacts design, evaluation, and assessment; and what future challenges must be addressed. Nineteen reviews satisfying the inclusion criteria were identified. Emerging themes include the following: reflection is currently regarded as self-reflection and critical reflection, and the epistemology-of-practice notion is less in tandem with the evidence-based medicine paradigm of modern science than expected. Reflective techniques that are recognised in multiple settings (e.g., summative, formative, group vs. individual) have been associated with learning, but assessment as a research topic, is associated with issues of validity, reliability, and reproducibility. Future challenges include the epistemology of reflection in healthcare education and the development of approaches for practising and assessing reflection without loss of theoretical background. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
“We’re One Team”: Examining Community School Implementation Strategies in Oakland
Educ. Sci. 2016, 6(3), 26; doi:10.3390/educsci6030026 -
Abstract
The community school model posits that the traditional school model is not sufficient to overcome the role of poverty in equitable access to learning, and that improving student achievement requires addressing the needs of the whole child. By leveraging community partnerships to address
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The community school model posits that the traditional school model is not sufficient to overcome the role of poverty in equitable access to learning, and that improving student achievement requires addressing the needs of the whole child. By leveraging community partnerships to address student barriers to learning and shift relationships between schools, families, and community, the community school model represents an expanded vision of what schools are, who they include, and what they are responsible for. This paper aims to improve our understanding of community school implementation, based on qualitative research in five community schools in Oakland, California. We apply the Children’s Aid Society’s framework of four community school capacities including: (1) comprehensiveness; (2) collaboration; (3) coherence; and (4) commitment (Lubell, 2011) in our analysis. We find evidence of a collaborative culture, in which school and community partner staff worked together across traditional boundaries to serve students. Schools showed signs of coherence of vision and goals, and alignment of services and supports with the instructional core of the school. Community school strategies not only provided important school-based services but also represented an expansion of the traditional school model by leveraging and aligning community partners to improve student outcomes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
MOOCs as Change Agents to Boost Innovation in Higher Education Learning Arenas
Educ. Sci. 2016, 6(3), 25; doi:10.3390/educsci6030025 -
Abstract
Massive open online courses (MOOCs) provide opportunities for learners to benefit from initiatives that are promoted by prestigious universities worldwide. The introduction of MOOCs in 2008 has since then transformed education globally. Consequently, MOOCs should be acknowledged as a pedagogical innovation and recognized
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Massive open online courses (MOOCs) provide opportunities for learners to benefit from initiatives that are promoted by prestigious universities worldwide. The introduction of MOOCs in 2008 has since then transformed education globally. Consequently, MOOCs should be acknowledged as a pedagogical innovation and recognized as change agents and facilitators in the transition of opening up education, in the transition from traditional campus education to open online learning arenas, which increases learners’ access to and equity in lifelong learning. There is a need to consider MOOCs as a natural part of universities’ course offerings and business models and to recognize MOOCs as valuable for learners. Furthermore, MOOCs should be regarded as valuable learning and educational initiatives in the same way that journals and books are recognized. Learners should be able to take MOOCs either at their own university or from other providers. Moreover, MOOCs should be valued in policies, strategies, and action plans, and they should be included in processes of quality enhancement and quality assurance. This paper points out the merits of the innovative use of MOOCs in higher education. In this qualitative literature research, a content method analysis was conducted through a systematic review of the literature. Through the findings from the literature research it is suggested that MOOCs could be permanent change agents that boost innovation in higher education learning arenas. In particular, the findings revealed the benefits of MOOCs in various areas, such as lifelong learning, professional competence development, validation of learning, and degree recognition, in addition to clarifying several business models of higher education. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Relations between Child Poverty and New Migrant Child Status, Academic Attainment and Social Participation: Insights Using Social Capital Theory
Educ. Sci. 2016, 6(3), 24; doi:10.3390/educsci6030024 -
Abstract
Currently, around one in five children in the United Kingdom and the United States live in poverty. This has a devastating effect on their wellbeing, education and broader socio-political participation, and life chances. In this paper, Scottish policy documentary data are used to
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Currently, around one in five children in the United Kingdom and the United States live in poverty. This has a devastating effect on their wellbeing, education and broader socio-political participation, and life chances. In this paper, Scottish policy documentary data are used to discuss the effects of relations amongst categories of children in poverty, migrant child status, and academic under-attainment. The study draws on social capital and intersectionalities theory to explore some of the power and knowledge relations that are effects of policy statements. The paper concludes by suggesting that addressing the issues of poverty and educational under-attainment, including for migrant children, requires a policy strategy beyond education. Disconnections across social, cultural, and economic child policy need to be redesigned in order to change the very real socio-economic-cultural-political relations which policy produces; these relations can lead to either high levels of social participation and potential academic attainment of new arrival children or to their social exclusion. Accordingly, knowledge practices aiming to improve the socio-economic-cultural-political inclusion of migrant children make central the conditions and experiences constitutive of new migrants’ lived social lives. Full article
Open AccessArticle
A Latin Functionalist Dictionary as a Self-Learning Language Device: Previous Experiences to Digitalization
Educ. Sci. 2016, 6(3), 23; doi:10.3390/educsci6030023 -
Abstract
The application of a methodology based on S.C. Dik’s Functionalist Grammar linguistic principles, which is addressed to the teaching of Latin to secondary students, has resulted in a quantitative improvement in students’ acquisition process of knowledge. To do so, we have used a
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The application of a methodology based on S.C. Dik’s Functionalist Grammar linguistic principles, which is addressed to the teaching of Latin to secondary students, has resulted in a quantitative improvement in students’ acquisition process of knowledge. To do so, we have used a self-learning tool, an ad hoc dictionary, of which the use in different practices has made students understand, at a basic level, the functioning of this language. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Virtual Social Learner Community—Constitutive Element of MOOCs
Educ. Sci. 2016, 6(3), 22; doi:10.3390/educsci6030022 -
Abstract
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have seen enormous growth throughout the last four years. This format has fundamentally enriched the traditional method of web-based teaching and e-learning. Nevertheless, there have always been skeptical voices who announce the “death of MOOCs”. We do not
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Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have seen enormous growth throughout the last four years. This format has fundamentally enriched the traditional method of web-based teaching and e-learning. Nevertheless, there have always been skeptical voices who announce the “death of MOOCs”. We do not believe in this pessimistic scenario and in this article we will explain how we came to this conclusion. E-learning already existed long before the arrival of the first MOOC. However, e-learning has often shown itself to be merely a source of downloadable learning material, leaving the learner alone in the learning phase. To get through an e-learning program and to actually finish it requires a high level of discipline and motivation. In this way, e-learning has proven itself as a learning method mainly with autodidacts. How have MOOCs changed the landscape of e-learning offers? The evolving MOOC format now combines interactive elements with short video lectures. This is done in a new and playful way with a strong focus on community building. The secret of MOOCs lies in their open accessibility and their incorporation of learning content with social media. The goal of this paper is to describe how MOOCs enforce e-learning activity in a virtual social community—whose importance for learning cannot be over-emphasized. We point out the social learning features currently used in MOOCs and the next steps that must be taken to further improve them. This article is based on the experiences we have made with the MOOC platforms openHPI and openSAP, both powered by the Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam. Full article