Stanford Chief Wants Higher Ed to Be ‘Affordable, Accessible, Adaptable’

American higher education isn’t badly broken, according to John L. Hennessy, president of Stanford University. It’s still “the envy of the world.” But it has to reckon with serious problems, including rising costs and falling degree-completion rates, he told the American Council on Education’s annual meeting here on Sunday.

Read more at The Chronicle of Higher Education…

All work and no play makes kindergarten a grind, no matter when kids turn 5

A bill to change the date when Georgia children can enter kindergarten would not change the reality that modern kindergarten is not developmentally appropriate for 5-year-olds.

Now, children must turn 5 before Sept. 1 to enter kindergarten. With school starting in August in most districts, some kids are just 4 years old when they first take their seat in a kindergarten classroom. The bill would wind back the start date to Aug. 1 in 2017 and July 1 in 2018.

Unfortunately, even if this bill passes, too many kids will tumble into kindergarten classrooms that are not set up to meet their needs. They will find no play kitchen and no easels. They may only get one short recess period during the six-hour school day.

Read more at The Atlanta Journal Constitution…

Lessons from Teaching with Games

The latest issue of Syllabus, an open access journal that explores the syllabus as a piece of scholarship that should be annotated and shared with the educational community, is entirely dedicated to Teaching with and about Games. As an advocate of games in the classroom, I was very excited when I first saw the call for this issue from editors Jennifer deWinter and Carly A. Kocurek, and I’ve just finished reading through it. There are a number of ideas from the collection (which is practically a book in itself) with possibilities for a variety of disciplines. Here are a few of the takeaways that might inspire you with a new way to bring games into the classroom:

Read more at The Chronicle of Higher Education…

Harvard and MIT Are Sued Over Closed Captioning for Online Materials

A new lawsuit accuses Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology of failing to provide closed captioning in online teaching materials, in violation of federal antidiscrimination laws, The New York Times reports. The lawsuits were filed by the National Association of the Deaf, and seek an injunction requiring that closed captioning be provided for all online materials.

Read more at The Chronicle of Higher Education…

Professors Know About High-Tech Teaching Methods, but Few Use Them

Innovation is sweeping the world of higher education, but not all faculty members are embracing it in their classrooms.

A new survey from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has found that 40 percent of the professors surveyed use or are interested in using innovative techniques and technologies. But of that 40 percent, only half—or 20 percent of the overall survey sample—have actually used them.

The survey asked professors whether they had used various kinds of high-tech teaching methods, including clickers, the flipped-classroom model, hybrid courses, and social media or discussion forums.

Read more at the Chronicle of Higher Education…

How Professors Can Bolster Inquiry in College Using K-12 Tech Tricks

Coverage of technology in higher education often stops at whether Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) can be an effective way to educate hundreds of thousands of students cheaply, or focuses on the newest app to help students track their classes and homework. Much of the technology marketed to universities targets administrative tasks, things like registering students or sites like Blackboard and Moodle that make it easy for students to check assignments and download readings. But especially in a seminar setting, some professors are using technology in ways that mirror some of the forward-thinking practices of K-12 teachers who are known for applying inquiry-based methods, accessing low-cost technology that’s easy to use and making the subject relevant to students’ lives.

Read more at Mindshift…

Students Are Welcome to Shop Online During My Lectures

I have a confession: I am writing this essay while attending a presentation. Normally, I give a speaker my full attention, but there are many people here, so it is easy to miss that I am doing something other than listening. Besides, I am still paying attention (for the most part). The speaker is giving us an update on our university’s shuttle schedule.

As I write this, I think of students in my classes who are obviously on their computers doing something other than, or in addition to, listening to me. Should I be offended? Should I do something to discourage such activity?  I have decided, at least for now, to do nothing.

Read more at The Chronicle of Higher Education…

Could Video Feedback Replace the Red Pen?

Writing useful comments on students’ work can be a fine art. And for instructors who put a lot of effort into crafting a critique, there’s always a substantial risk students will skip the written feedback and go right to the grade.

When Michael Henderson is grading his students’ final assignments, he likes to skip the written comments for them. Instead of a red pen, Mr. Henderson, a senior lecturer in education at Monash University, in Australia, takes out a video camera. He records a five-minute, unscripted critique for each student. He doesn’t bother editing the videos, even if he says “um” a lot or has to rephrase a sentence or two.

Read more at The Chronicle of Higher Education…

Teachers, colleges of education on firing line for student test scores. Wrong target. Wrong aim.

Picture this: a physician takes a position in a doctor’s office within an economically struggling community because she believes that everyone should have access to high quality healthcare and a physician who can provide it. For this decision, she accepts a lower salary and more challenging working conditions.

Years go by and she has created a strong rapport with her patients, working with them to find medications for the lowest price possible and doing a lot of work out of her own pocket. It’s work that is both heartbreaking and rewarding: she changes lives, makes them more livable, and probably even extends them.

The doctor’s patients, however, die earlier in their lives than those who have more money and more resources, and the government has decided that mortality rates will be used to evaluate her performance as a doctor, her salary, and whether or not her office will remain open.

Read more at The Atlanta Journal Constitution…