There has been a lot of buzz online about college completion. This is a shift away from college accessibility; as put in a recent editorial, “Access Without Success Is An Empty Promise,” with less than 50% of students who start higher ed ever get their four-year degree. While far from the only issue, the need for remediation plays a significant role in predicting college success. According to a 2006 study (pdf), a student who requires a remedial reading course is 41% more likely to drop out.
I’ve been inspired in my new business venture by the writings of Anya Kamenetz whose book, DIY U, analyses the new movements in liberating higher education. A recent article focuses on Edupunks, those who are seeking to overthrow tradition higher education, mainly through providing free (or nearly free) content and classes. The article is well worth the read as a resource for free (or nearly free) courses, content and degrees available online. I’m a big fan of free content on the Internet; many of my lectures have been informed by free videos of lectures, podcasts, online discussion boards and course notes.
Another wonderful blog that I have been introduced to, Emergent By Design, has begun exploring “Essential Skills for 21st Century Survival” and the first is pattern recognition. While shaped as a way to innovate and/or solve scientific problems, it starts with that part of the brain that loves, craves, narratives. We want to make sense of the world, and we do so through stories. Ancient myths were a way to explain the world, the seemingly randomness of the mysterious universe around us. And we kept looking, kept modifying the narrative, and it turned into science. But at the end of the day, it started with stories.
A wonderful blog written by teachers, InterACT, has been asking a questions lately, such as “What does Career and College-Ready Really Look Like?” and “Do You Understand My Job?” On Twitter, I have been engaged in a number of really stimulating debates about what’s going on with teachers, testing, and K-12 education. I’m still learning the acronyms, but No Child Left Behind, Race To The Top, and the re-authorization of the federal legislation regarding K-12 education has had the internets a-buzzing.