Ruth, Chris and I have just spent an extraordinary week in Shanghai in an intensive, highly ‘emergent’ workshop designed to reimagine educational systems (research and practice) as complex adaptive systems.
The event was hosted graciously by East China Normal University (Institute of Schooling Reform & Development), a Key Research Institute in the University of National Educational Ministry. We partnered with Prof. Li Jiacheng at ECNU as it became clear that our visions and values for systemic learning systems design are closely aligned. With further backing from University of Auckland, participants were invited from New Zealand, Australia, China and UK.
ECNU’s ground-breaking work is led by Prof. Ye Lan (CCTV interview), who is shaping national policy on reforming the school system to create more creative students with the qualities needed to thrive in the 21st century ‘age of complexity’. Shanghai schools leapt to fame when they topped the last PISA league tables, and part of this workshop was to examine our assumptions about what ‘good’ looks like, and how to assess educational quality for our complex times.
The workshop was expertly facilitated by Rob Kay from Incept Labs (Sydney), who specialise in the applications of complexity science to wicked problems such as organizational change and resilience. The Learning Emergence network is already growing as a result, and we expect a rich strand of collaborations to flow from this exciting meeting, so watch this space.
See below for more details of Prof. Ye’s influential work.
Professor Ye Lan was born in Shanghai in December 1941. She is currently Tenure Professor and a doctoral supervisor at East China Normal University (ECNU). Professor Ye is also Director of the Contemporary Chinese Basic Education Development and Innovation Base under the overall “985 Project” of ECNU; Director of the New Basic Education Research Centre; Honorary Director of the Institute of Schooling Reform and Development (ISRD), ECNU, which is a key research base of the Ministry of Education in China; and Counselor of the People’s Government of Shanghai Province. She is concurrently appointed as a member of the National Educational Science Planning Leading Group. Prof. Ye has formerly served as Convener of the Education Appraisal Panel of the 4th and 5th Academic Degrees Committee of the State Council; Vice Chairman of The Chinese Society of Education; Vice Chairman of the Shanghai Municipal Council of Social Services; Head of Education Department, Dean of the Faculty of Educational Science, founding Director of ISRD, and Vice-President at ECNU. Prof. Ye is an eminent scholar in the following key research areas: theories of education study, theories of education research methods, contemporary basic education of China, teacher education reform etc. Her major publications include Jiao yu gai lun (Principles of Education), Jiaoyu yanjiu fanfalun chutan (An Exploration of Education Research Methods) and Xin ji chu jiao yu lun (On New Basic Education). She has also edited and written a number of research series, and has published over 90 research articles. She has been responsible for various state key studies, and received many national academic awards.
We’ve just got back from an intensely busy, creative and enjoyable week at LASI13, Stanford University, where Ruth Deakin Crick, Chris Goldspink, Rebecca Ferguson, Nelson Gonzalez and I (online!) contributed to the programme. Ruth and Rebecca were both blogging, so you can get their in-situ reflections, and I’m sure there’ll be more to follow as we unpack the many ideas.
Following a successful Dispositional Learning Analytics workshop, on which we’ve had very positive feedback, awareness should grow of Learner Dispositions (or Mindset as Dweck calls it), Teacher Dispositions, the potential of a multi-level Complex Systems approach to educational system design, and from Nelson’s work at Declara, the emerging potential of applying machine learning techniques to such datasets.
Ruth and Rebecca also participated in a panel on analytics for “21st century skills”, in which they introduced the wider audience to the learning power framework, a systems approach, and a particular implementation of these ideas as visual analytics within EnquiryBlogger. (Just in: we have a fresh set of data from a very exciting deployment of these ideas in a primary school over the last month, which we look forward to reporting on!)
All the morning sessions from Stanford are, or will soon be replayable, and Simon coordinated a global network of LASI-Local institutes, and the online participants, whose blogs are automatically gathered in the LASI-Aggregator, and provide a rich account of a momentous week.
Immediate thoughts on next steps were pooled from Stanford and global online participants in a Google Doc, to give you a feel for where people felt they’d got to by the end of Friday. Ruth documented and reported back on her breakout group’s discussion.
Watch the Society for Learning Analytics Research for news of where next, and get your head going for how you might contribute to LAK14 conference next Spring…
The LearningEmergence team are prepping for the upcoming Learning Analytics Summer Institute, Stanford University (July 1-5). We’ll be running one of the workshops, exploring with colleagues from Stanford and many other places the emerging topic of Dispositional Learning Analytics.
Speaker lineup, abstracts, discussion papers and resources…
Tune into the LASI plenaries via the online webcasts/replays, and connect with the global network of LASI-Locals running in parallel!
PhD Studentship, Open University UK (2013-16): This PhD project builds on validated pedagogical models for learner-driven enquiry, scaffolded by blogging software and associated learning analytics, to create a reflective, social, learning journal. The research will start by analysing the data already gathered from prior research in schools, design new contexts for studying this phenomenon, and refine the analytics. Experience in qualitative and quantitative data analysis required, programming not required but an advantage.
Funding consists of stipend £40,770 (£13,590/year) plus fee bursary
Please contact Simon Buckingham Shum and Rebecca Ferguson at the OU to discuss this informally before applying.
Learn more about EnquiryBlogger…
In a great example of the LearningEmergence convergence of ideas, we are developing an approach to modelling learning dispositions, based on the educational research underpinning the ELLI instrument for Learning Power:
Buckingham Shum, S. and Deakin Crick, R., Learning Dispositions and Transferable Competencies: Pedagogy, Modelling and Learning Analytics. Proc. 2nd International Conference on Learning Analytics & Knowledge (Vancouver, 29 Apr-2 May, 2012). ACM: New York. pp.92-101. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2330601.2330629 Eprint: http://oro.open.ac.uk/32823.
See also our earlier blog post and the LAK12 replay
The most recent work on this, which picks up the challenge identified at the end of the above paper, is the question of whether it is possible to generate an ELLI profile automatically from learners’ incidental data traces. Shaofu Huang summarised the concept and work-in-progress on this at a recent SocialLearn symposium.
We now have modest funds available to appoint either a visiting researcher or consultant to work with us at the Open University on a short, focused project, to design and run the database queries on the SocialLearn platform, which will enable us to begin testing the modelling that we have been doing.
Once you’ve digested the above materials, please contact me if you have the curiosity – and SQL expertise – to work collaboratively with us to take this research forward. s.buckingham.shum at gmail.com