Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Realist evaluation methodology

Realist evaluations ask not, “What works?” or “Does this program work?” but ask instead, “What works for whom in what circumstances and in what respects, and how?” Realist evaluation embarks on this explanatory quest on the grounds that it is panacea phobic. Programs are products of the human imagination in negotiation. They never work indefinitely, in the same way, or in all circumstances, nor do they work for all..

In other words it is simple realistic about the success of any programme and attempts to be honest not only about the successes but also the failures of an intervention.  A white box approach to research. 

Sunday, 16 September 2012

ICT - the key? or the prison?

‘Informational Capabilities’- The Missing Link for the Impact of ICT on development
I can see myself returning to this text again and again. Doesn't give me all the answers but seems to ask the right questions.

I am reminded that even in this country, an education won't necessarily help you change your situation in life. 

It also makes me look afresh at all the generous but at times misguided help I've received myself as a disabled person.

My criticism would be that it looks at ICT projects essentially as an asset that lands in users' laps (e.g. providing users with technology/training etc). Assets that can and should be embedded, but that without additional scaffolding, only change on a superficial level. However I can imagine a situation where ICT might be brought in to solve a specific issue as part of an existing process, simply to speed that process. The same methods of evaluation would still apply but many of the complexities of ICT4D are surely no longer there - as long as whatever is introduced is sustainable.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Learning Skills - lovely website

Games based learning rises again...

Amazing how it's the mobile app that has finally brought (half-decent) educational games into the mainstream!

Assessment and Learner Analytics...the Horizon take...

Appropriate metrics of evaluation lag the emergence of new scholarly forms of authoring, publishing, and researching. Traditional approaches to scholarly evaluation, such as citation-based metrics, are often hard to apply to research that is disseminated or conducted via social media. New forms of peer review and approval, such as reader ratings, inclusion in and mention by influential blogs, tagging, incoming links, and re-tweeting, are arising from the natural actions of the global community of educators, with increasingly relevant and interesting results. These forms of scholarly
corroboration are not yet well understood by mainstream faculty and academic decision-makers, creating a gap between what is possible and what is acceptable.

NMC Horizon Report for HE, 2012 (it's a PDF)

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Are schools like prisons?

Are Schools like Prisons? (posted by Graham Brown-Martin on Linkedin). I thought I might muse upon it here...
"By way of encouraging thought and discussion we've posted a visual polemic that makes some general comparisons between schools and prisons. 
Of course, these are generalisations not intended to offend but simply to enquire and is linked to the another discussion within this group around school design ( and also promoted by a short video clip from Alvin Toffler discussing the purpose of education in terms of preparing young people for industry: 
We then asked what a classroom might look like if learners designed them? 
But what do you think? 
Are we in danger of institutionalising children in a manner that results in rule followers rather than creative innovators?"