21st Century Skills in Japan

Regular IEN contributor Paul Chua has reported several times on Singapore’s efforts to shift to a focus on 21st Century skills. As part of an exchange program with Waseda University, he had a chance to visit several schools in Japan and learn about their approach to 21st Century skills. In this post, with contributions from Prof Takao Mimura, Dean of Waseda Graduate School of Teacher Education, Paul reflects on what he observed in visits to four elementary, junior high and senior high schools, as well as interaction sessions with student teachers of the Waseda Graduate School of Teacher Education.

In Japan, as in Singapore, the competencies and pedagogical moves associated with 21st Century competencies are seen as a central means of using education to ensure sustained economic prosperity in the years to come. These 21st Century aspirations have been articulated in a New Growth Strategy announced by the Japanese government in June 2010 as well as in “The Future Vision on Career Education and Vocational Education at School,” by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in January 2011. Further, the 21st century competencies I observed in the Japanese classrooms I visited were not dissimilar from what I have known in Singapore: problem solving, communication, collaboration and use of Information Communications Technologies (ICT).

In the 7th, 8th, and 9th grade classes I visited at the Suwadai Junior High School, curriculum design and classroom pedagogy has been shifted to teach these competencies. For example, teachers are asked to design their instruction around any of four pedagogical moves seen as supporting these competencies: discussion; use of ICT; use of library as a learning center; and utilization of guest lecturers. In one lesson that leveraged ICT and discussion, the teacher used a jigsaw strategy to break the students into groups to discuss the ICT-based research work that they had been doing. The discussion centered on evaluating the quality of the research work that they had completed. When the group discussion was over, selected students had to make presentations of the group findings and discussion. In another class, using discussion and guest lecturers, students were set instructional tasks that required them to rank and discuss their ranking of student art works and to compare their rankings with professional artists who had been invited to the school. In a science class, students compared and contrasted a video simulation of a science experiment with their own experience with the same experiment. Even in a physical education class, students reflected on and critiqued their baton-passing in a video-tape of their performance in a relay race.

In another school, the Shioiri Higashi Primary School, we were given an understanding of how Japanese education tries to support the development of a sense of teamwork and collaboration in the students. It is instructive that the school objectives are to help the school community to “shine together, learn together, communicate with each other and to support each other.” Social interaction and collaboration are a focus of attention in both the daily classroom instruction and other school activities. These include mixed-age interactive activities involving students from across grade levels a few times a year as well as activities involving students from the neighboring junior high school who come over to read with the younger students. In other Japanese schools, community life is also a way of living and learning. Large-scale communal activities in virtually all Japanese schools include Entrance and Graduation Ceremonies, and annual Sports Day and Choral Festivals. Although the school lunch might be outsourced to private operators, students are required to serve themselves and the cleaning up of classrooms and the school by students is part of the curriculum.

At the Waseda Senior and Junior High Schools, which are elite private schools, we witnessed how policies (as opposed to activities) could be used to promote the 21st century competencies. For example, the senior high school students do not need to sit for the matriculation examinations to gain entry to Waseda University. According to the headmaster, the rationale for such a policy is to remove the pressure of to master examination techniques so that the students can develop holistically i.e. spiritually, morally with a hope of living in the future world. When asked to elaborate, the headmaster stressed that the purpose of the education in the schools is to help the students to answer the question of “who are they?” and then to choose their university and career options based on this understanding. He did not want the students to just choose a prestigious university without regard of their interests and abilities.

Although the whole exchange visit gave me a good peek into how some Japanese schools are preparing their students for living in the future world, it should be noted that the schools selected for our visit were higher performing ones. Nonetheless, the approaches to developing the 21st century competencies we saw in Japan are broadly similar to those used in Singapore schools, including using non-academic activities to develop the social competencies and allowing select groups of students to bypass some milestone examinations.

Scanning the education news from Africa

To provide links for our twitter feed, every week or ten days, we look for news, research, and other media reports on educational change and improvement from a particular part of the world (Africa and Middle East; Asia & the Pacific; Central & South America; The Nordic countries; Europe; or the UK and Canada). While it’s always hard to determine the “hot topics” through these “non-random” scans of traditional and new media, we’re going to start pulling together some of the links we find in these scans and posting them here a little more frequently. This time, the scan focuses on Africa and the Middle East, and over the past two weeks, we’ve noticed more stories about testing-related scandals than almost any other topic. Maybe it’s just exam season, but the stories have come from Egypt, South Africa, Algeria, Morocco, and Ghana:

  • Helicopters, scanners no match for Egypt’s exam cheats – Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East http://buff.ly/1J8lT8Z
  • allAfrica.com: South Africa: Basic Education On Progress in Group Copying Investigations http://buff.ly/1GnglQZ
  • الشروق أون لاين Education Unions: “Protected and not afraid of punishment… those behind leaked exam topics on Facebook” http://buff.ly/1IoO6Ts
  • Exam Leaks Are a Threat to Morocco’s Education System. Morocco World News http://buff.ly/1H3yQ3I
  • BECE cancellation was a collective decision – Minister of Education | General News 2015-06-18 http://buff.ly/1Gnp59M

Unfortunately, extremism, in this case in Egypt and in Kenya, also continue to be in the news:

  • ‘A trip to the farm': Egypt canceled these school lessons to combat extremism | Al Bawaba http://buff.ly/1J8m9Fd
  • Education in Kenya Suffers at Hands of Shabab Extremists – The New York Times http://buff.ly/1J8vJI3
  • Kenya: Education crisis looms near border with Somalia as 2,000 teachers flee due to al-Shabaab attacks http://buff.ly/1J8vOLX

In addition to those stories, there were also frequent mentions of basic issues of rights and access to education in the Sudan and Algeria, education budgets and costs in Ghana and Ethiopia, teacher’s pay and teaching education in Uganda and Nigeria respectively. But no scan would be complete without a story or two on world rankings (Morocco) or educational performance (Nigeria):

In Norway, where college is free, children of uneducated parents still don’t go

Advocates see it as a case study proving that the problem isn’t solely about money

© 2015 Jon Marcus, as first published by The Atlantic.

OSLO—There’s a saying in famously egalitarian Norway that Curt Rice, the American-born incoming president of the country’s third-biggest university, likes to rattle off: “We’re all sitting in the same boat.”

What it means, said Rice, is that, “To single out anyone, we’re against that. That just does not sit well in the Norwegian soul.”

So all Norwegians have the same tuition-free access to college, no matter what their backgrounds. Every student gets the same allowance for living expenses.

But something surprising is happening in Norway, which explains a similar phenomenon in the United States that has been thwarting efforts to increase the number of Americans pursuing higher education.

Even though tuition is almost completely free here, Norwegians whose parents did not go to college are just as unlikely to go themselves as Americans whose parents did not go to college.

This conundrum demonstrates a critical point that’s widely misunderstood, according to higher-education experts: money is not the only thing keeping first-generation students from seeking degrees.

Even though it’s essentially free, only 14 percent of children from the least-educated families in Norway go to college, compared to 58 percent of children from the most-educated families.

“This is almost a laboratory case, where we get to control one factor — namely, cost — and see what happens,” said Rice, who in August will take over as head of Norway’s Oslo and Akershus University College.

And what happens is that — even though it’s essentially free — only 14 percent of children from the least-educated families in Norway go to college, compared to 58 percent of children from the most-educated families, according to an analysis by a Norwegian education researcher, Elisabeth Hovdhaugen.

That’s almost exactly the same proportion as in the United States, where the cost of college is borne largely by students and their families, and where the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation reports that only 13 percent of children of parents without higher educations end up getting degrees themselves.

“I don’t think that people do understand it’s not about money,” said John Gomperts, president and CEO of America’s Promise Alliance, a coalition of organizations trying to steer more young people to and through college in the U.S.

It’s a huge issue, considering that fully one-third of five- to 17-year-olds in the United States have parents who did not go to college, the College Board reports, at a time when policymakers are trying to increase the number of Americans with degrees. They’ll be needed to fill the 65 percent of jobs by 2020 that will require some sort of college or university training, according to the Georgetown University Center for Education in the Workforce.

“Norway is an interesting window into this,” Gomperts said. “If you come from a background where everyone goes to college, there’s no question that you’ll go to college. But if you grew up in a challenging community where nobody went to or succeeded in college, there’s no one at home who is going to know how to navigate the system. It takes the right amount of social preparation and support. That’s the magic.”

The Norwegian system eliminates some obstacles in addition to cost. Except for kindergarten, primary and secondary schools are funded nationally, not locally, for example, so there’s ostensibly no difference in education quality between higher- and lower-income towns and cities, as there might be between wealthy suburban and poor urban districts in the United States. And the Norwegian funding system is very easy to understand, while the American system of grants and loans is complex and often confusing, even to families with college-going experience.

But the principle of social equality in Norway also means that there are no programs providing academic support to first-generation or low-income students in college, although there are a few for immigrants and women in fields in which they are underrepresented.

“Helping students from low socioeconomic status does not happen at all,” Hovdhaugen said in her office at the Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education, across the street from the royal palace in Oslo. “It’s the idea of the equitable society, and that students are considered adults, independent of their parents. You could almost turn it around and say that if the students whose parents with high income were not eligible for support, that would be judged as very unfair.”

Also, because wages remain high for blue-collar occupations, she said, there’s less of a financial incentive for some Norwegians to bother with college, since they can get jobs more quickly, and earn almost as much money, working as plumbers or electricians. American advocates for higher education worry that a similar thing might be happening in the U.S., as people increasingly question the return on investment for degrees; a new federal report shows that the average annual earnings of 25- to 34-year-olds with bachelor’s degrees actually fell from $53,210 in 2000 to $46,900 in 2012, even as tuition continued to rise.

“A bachelor’s degree in the U.S. has been seen as one serious option for getting into the middle class, whereas in Norway everything is a ticket into the middle class, because everyone is in the middle class,” Rice said. “It’s now less clear that it really is a ticket into the middle class in the U.S.”

American students’ scores on the SAT and other college entrance exams also correlate with the level of their parents’ educations; the better-educated a student’s parents, the higher he or she scores on the tests, according to the College Board, which administers the SAT.

Since education affects income, children whose parents didn’t go to college are also unlikely to be well off, said Margaret Cahalan, vice president for research at the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education. And families that are less well off are statistically more likely to face health problems, problems with the law and unplanned pregnancies, among other challenges.

Students from such backgrounds “are going to be on average facing more obstacles than a student who comes from a more advantaged background,” including nonfinancial ones, Cahalan said.

With a third of U.S. primary and secondary school students now coming from families without higher educations, the most important lesson is that cultural, and not just economic, considerations may keep many of them from going on to college.

Young people from backgrounds such as these, when considering whether or not to go to college, often “don’t even really know that they can go to the library and borrow books” instead of buying them, said Gomperts.

“How do you know that? You’re not born knowing such a thing. And who’s going to tell you? Stripping away the money piece shows how complicated this is.”

This post was also published on The Hechinger Report.

Brahm Fleisch on building a new infrastructure for learning in Gauteng, South Africa

Twenty Years of Transformation in Education,” published in May by the Gauteng Department of Education in South Africa, illustrates the challenges and possibilities in pursuing systemic instructional reform. In a recent conversation, Brahm Fleisch, outlined central aspects of the strategy in Gauteng, highlighting the important role of the development of what David Cohen and others have called an “infrastructure” for instruction.

As Fleisch has described it, before the first democratic elections in South Africa in 1994, the routines and rhythms of schooling in most urban working class communities in Gauteng had been ruptured. As one recent media report explained, there may have been over 4 million “learner days” in Gauteng lost each year due to protests and other serious disruptions (out of over 11 million lost in South Africa as a whole). Since 1994, however, the government of Gauteng sought to restructure racially segregated administrative systems, address resource inequalities, institutionalize democratic school governance and transform the official curriculum. Although disruptions to education began to subside, substantial improvements in teaching and learning still had to be made. In fact, in 2006, South African 4th and 5th graders scored 45th out of 45 countries on the PIRLS test of reading skills (with 87% of 4th grade students and 78% of 5th grade students in South Africa unable to achieve the lowest standard of performance).

From Fleisch’s perspective, a key weakness of the initial reforms was a failure to reach the “instructional core” and an inability to transform and strengthen the instruction students experienced in classrooms throughout the province. As Fleisch explained, students experienced two different kinds of instruction depending on where they lived. Students in primary classrooms serving working class, poor and rural communities experienced choral recitation, copying from the blackboard into workbooks, incomplete coverage of the curriculum, and low expectations. In contrast, students in primary classrooms serving middle-class communities (both white and black) experienced higher expectations, more advanced reading materials, guided reading and writing, and tasks more aligned to those measured in standardized tests.

In order to create a more consistent and effective approach to instruction for all, the province developed and began implementing the Gauteng Primary Language and Mathematics Strategy (GPLMS) in 2010. Drawing on some aspects of England’s National Literacy and Numeracy Strategies (NLNS) (which a team from the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education evaluated initially in Watching and Learning), the GPLMS provided what Fleisch termed a “triple cocktail” of scripted lesson plans, aligned texts and instructional materials, and coaching for teachers. As in England, the prescriptive nature of some of the reforms in South Africa were particularly controversial. However, building on the work of Barber and colleagues at McKinsey & Co., the strategy designers argued that a highly structured, aligned curriculum needed to be put in place to establish a foundation for more ambitious instructional improvement in the future.

Beyond the high level of prescription and structure, the GPLMS strategy was particularly noticeable for its attention to increasing the quality and consistency of instructional materials available to all students. As Fleisch pointed out, before GPLMS, teachers had to rely on a hodge podge of materials that varied widely in quality. As he put it, there was no coherent theory of instruction to support teachers in selecting and using the materials in productive ways. Further, few of those materials were produced in African languages (particularly the languages of the poorest students) because under apartheid, educational publishers had no market for such materials.   Thus, from Fleisch’s point of view, the development of a coherent sequence of materials aligned to common goals was a particularly crucial step in strengthening the instructional core.

Based on his own case studies and reports from colleagues and the teachers he has met in the field, Fleisch has found that many teachers welcomed the clarity and consistency the materials brought to their work. Reminiscent of the discussion of teacher autonomy in a previous post about South Korea, Fleisch argues that by providing teachers with support, the structured, aligned materials can help teachers to feel more effective and to develop a sense of professionalism. In fact, he’s even found that the teachers in Gauteng have copied and shared the materials with teachers in other provinces.

Fleisch stressed, however, that aligned materials alone are far from sufficient. In turn, he credited the individualized coaching with helping many teachers to develop their knowledge and skills. Fleisch also noted that the coaching had the added benefit of providing many teachers with social and emotional support to help them deal with the massive changes that were undertaken. In particular, the use of the materials and the work with the coaches helped to connect teachers, especially those isolated in poorer and more rural communities, with others who were all engaged in a systemic, coordinated improvement effort. Notably, the “triple cocktail” in Gauteng placed relatively little emphasis on the development of principals or other educational leaders, choosing instead to focus more directly on the content and means of instruction.

To date, the results of the GPLMS strategy are unclear. Twenty Years of Transformation in Education provides an account of some of the advances and challenges experienced in Gauteng overall and in the GPLMS approach in particular. While primary school students in Gauteng have shown steady improvements on South Africa’s national tests, Fleisch also points out that the tests have changed each year, making comparisons difficult. Further, critics continue to point high levels of dysfunction in South African schools overall.

In order to assess the impact of the “triple cocktail,” Fleisch is currently engaged in a set of studies including randomized controlled trials to examine the effects of several different aspects of the strategy. Further, Fleisch cautions that even with a highly-structured intervention like GPLMS, adaptations may need to be made in order for the strategy to succeed in different contexts. In one instance, a nearby province sought to develop a GPLMS-like instructional strategy. In that instance, however, several aspects of the context made implementation more difficult. In particular, students spoke a different variety of languages and the initial materials were pitched at too high a level. The mismatch between students’ readiness for learning and the level of the materials and instruction made it difficult to establish a strong foundation for improvement. As a consequence, Fleisch argues that even prescriptive and structured materials and approaches have to be adapted and updated constantly to ensure that they turn what Nic Spaull has called South Africa’s “zone of improbable progress” into a spiral of concrete and appropriate supports – a “zone of proximal development” – that facilitates steady improvement.

Thomas Hatch

Teacher collaboration and professional development around the world

Last month, at the American Educational Research Association Conference held in Chicago, I attended a presentation that offered multiple perspectives on the recent findings in the 2013 Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) report. As the OECD explains, the TALIS report asks teachers and principals who they are, where they teach and how they feel about their work.

Linda Darling-Hammond focused on what the TALIS report can teach us about teachers in the United States. She explained that teachers in the U.S. have insufficient time for planning and collaboration during the school day, which means that they are often left to do this work alone at home. U.S. teachers report that they experience less helpful feedback (coming from principals more often than peers), and sporadic professional development. Yet, collaborative practices and self-efficacy were indicated as drivers of job satisfaction.

Andy Hargreaves argued that while collaboration can be important to job satisfaction, we need to develop a much deeper understanding of what effective collaboration looks like. He argued that we need to know more about why collaborative practices are not always embraced by teachers. As self-efficacy was also related to job satisfaction, Hargreaves suggested that we also think about collective efficacy—the belief that we have in what we can do together, not just alone. Further work needs to be done, he explained, to develop our understanding of when collaboration is useful, when it is simplistic, and when it takes the form of “contrived collegiality.”

With this attention to collaboration and professional development, I decided to conduct a scan of education news around the world to see what I could learn about how different countries are addressing the topic. This scan showed that countries are grappling with several issues, such as the quality, time, and funding for professional development.

In British Columbia, the government is proposing to create professional development standards. Education Minister Peter Fassbender views the establishment of such standards as an act that would put the teaching profession on par with other professions, such as the legal, accounting, or nursing professions. While teachers are currently required to attend professional development sessions, new legislation would determine what those session cover; however, Fassbender says there will be no increase in funding to support the new standards. Concerns have been raised about the privitization of professional development, and the lack of teacher input.

In Australia, ACT teachers have spent a year arguing that they need guaranteed time each week for professional development and collaboration. According to Union Secretary Glenn Fowler, “Teachers do not trust their employer to protect them from snow-balling workloads, and we say to the employer if there is no guaranteed and quarantined time made in the new agreement, we will never see it, and that time may continue to get stripped away from teachers.”

Meanwhile, teachers in Ireland oppose a plan for mandatory continuing professional development (CPD). While most Irish teachers place high value on CPD, a majority fear that “if compulsory, it would promote a ‘compliance mentality’ with minimal real engagement.”

New Zealand has established Communities of Schools as part of their Investing in Educational Success initiative. These schools will set their own achievement goals and will be funded to allow teachers the time to “work with and learn from each other, supported by new teaching and leadership roles.” While funding for these new positions is proving controversial, as one principal shared, “You have to change things. You can’t stay in your same structures, if you do you will end up with the same result: busy schools that are too busy to share.”

Larry Flanagan, general secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), has noticed how busy teachers in Scotland are as well, and called for a period of “consolidataion and calm.” Flanagan said teachers needed breathing space after the delivery of the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) and new exams:”The last thing Scottish teachers need to hear at the moment is that the pace of change needs to be stepped up.” He called for additional resources and support for professional development.

Deirdre Faughey

The “biggest-ever” league table?

The latest education report from the OECD ranks 76 countries according to the percentage of the population that lacks basic skills. The report, by Eric Hanushek of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and Ludger Woessmann of the University of Munich, derives the ranking from the latest test scores from the 2012 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) for 15-year-olds and the 2011 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) for 14-year-olds. In what BBC News called the “biggest-ever education league table,” Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan (again) top the charts. Coming in at number six, Finland is the top-ranking non-Asian country. Our latest scan of education news around the world finds many media reports highlighting the relative ranking of particular countries, but a number mention as well the report’s claims of a connection between improving performance on the tests and economic growth. At the same time, it is worth noting that not everyone agrees there is a straightforward relationship between performance on tests like PISA and TIMMS and economic outcomes. James Heckman and colleagues Tim Kautz, Ron Diris, Bas ter Weel, Lex Borghans, in particular, have emphasized that current tests like PISA and TIMMS “do not adequately capture non-cognitive skills, personality traits, goals, character, motivations, and preferences that are valued in the labour market, in school, and in many other domains.” As they explain in Fostering and measuring skills: Improving cognitive and non-cognitive skills to promote lifetime success and Hard evidence on soft skills, for many outcomes, the predictive power of non-cognitive skills rivals or exceeds that of cognitive skills.

“Global school rankings: Interactive map shows standards of education across the world,” The Independent

“Asian kids race ahead on learning: OECD,” The Australian

Bottom in EU on OECD education league, again,” Cyprus Mail

“New education rankings from the OECD put Finland in sixth position worldwide—the top European country and the first non-Asian country in the list,” yle UUTISET

“Ireland ranks 15th in global league table for maths, science; GDP would be boosted by 2.3 per cent if universal basic skill levels were achieved,” Irish Times

“OECD report links school achievement and economic growth; despite oil wealth, Arab world trails far behind,” Israel Times

“When it comes to education, Singapore is a world-beater,”  The Straights Times

“Turkey ranks 41st in education on OECD report of 76 countries,” Today’s Zambian

UK below Poland and Vietnam in biggest ever international education rankings, TES Connect

“Improving Basic Education Can Boost U.S. Economy by $27 Trillion,” U.S. News & World Report

–Thomas Hatch

#EFF13: A Twitter Chat on Educational Innovation

14592653118_dde584e697_oAs I scan the Internet and Twitter for news to share with out IEN readers, I notice a growing number of twitter chats emerging on education topics. We have also attempted our own Twitter chats, such as our recent effort using #WhatsnewAERA during a symposium we conducted last month at the American Educational Researcher Association Conference (#AERA15). These conversation threads take many forms – they can be enrichment opportunities for students, networking opportunities, or virtual “coffee-klaches” on high-interest educational topics. They can also bring together the online followers of live events. Now that these threads can be collected on one platform (such as on Storify.com), or searched for by using the hashtag as a search term on Twitter, readers might find that they can access some new information and get a sense of what was discussed at these in-person events; however, reading all of the threads can be a headache. Becoming Twitter-literate might be a new skill we all need to develop, but for now I thought I’d share my own attempt to make sense of a Twitter chat that seems relevant to IEN.

This week, I spent some time reading a Twitter chat hosted by an organization called Education Fast Forward, a not-for-profit organization that aims to develop a “global movement of teachers, students, leaders and policy makers who understand education’s challenges well and will support each other in tackling them.” This organization hosts live, international “debates” in which prominent voices in education come together with the aid of high-speed Internet technology. This debate, titled “Rethinking How We Learn,” was held on May 7th and included an in-person panel discussion and audience in Norway, but additional speakers joined from remote locations using video conferencing. Then, the entire event was broadcast live on the Education Fast Forward website (a recording will be made available soon). Those watching on their own personal computers were encouraged to maintain a simultaneous conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #EFF13.

The conversation began with a familiar question that served as a foundation for all that followed: “What is the purpose of education?” Howard Rheingold (@hrheingold) suggested that technology be used to help us rethink how we teach. The focus at the start was on how students learn together, learning how to learn, and asking questions. Commenters on Twitter pointed out that learning, and the education system, seem to be “in collision” with one another. Concern was quickly directed to teachers and teacher education, with calls for teachers to be empowered to innovate. Here, Andreas Schliecher (@SchleicherEDU) claimed that teachers in Asian countries are more open to collaboration and innovation. Gavin Dykes (@gavindk) argued that innovation might not require a change in education legislation, but more risk-taking and less conservatism. On Twitter, many expressed their concern that teachers who might want to innovate are presented with an accountability roadblock: can we innovate in this worldwide, high-stakes accountability context?

Schleicher argued that “everyone likes innovation except for their own children,” a point that made it clear that the #EFF13 debate up to that point had been less about what innovation might look like – what changes might need to be made and why – and perhaps too focused on what was wrong with the current systems. Some on Twitter called for innovative teachers to be rewarded, which led to speculation about what innovation would look like and how it would be recognized. Howard Rheinhold’s suggestion to use voice feedback in response to student work was retweeted several times on Twitter, with May Britt (@baadsto) recommending Evernote for its ability to record voice memos directly on documents. At this point Greg Foley (@GregmFoley) began to wonder what was so wrong with the “conventional” education system of the 20th century? After all, it provided the foundation for innovation as well.

When the example of coding was offered as a movement that relied mainly on those who are self-taught, I began to think about the stunning lack of diversity that the discipline of coding has become known for. At the same time, it became clear that diversity was not part of this conversation on educational innovation – in fact, the Twitter conversation here was among a pretty homogenous group. The connection between innovation and privilege was made by an undergraduate student from Australia, Olivia Hill (@ohill8) who said “I would also like to acknowledge my privilege as a student who is white, cis-, middle class and able #EFF13.” Another interesting comment was shared on Twitter by @CoRe2dot0, from Germany. Unfortunately, it was not taken up by the others on the chat: “Maybe one shld differ between disruptive and sustaining innovations”?

We will continue to try to follow and learn from Twitter chats on the topic of educational innovation around the world as they happen.

Deirdre Faughey

For recent news on educational innovation around the world:

Latin America’s big education innovation | Miami Herald Miami Herald http://buff.ly/1PR8qku

Quality education, innovation & research the key – The Times of India http://buff.ly/1c0jq1A

Saudi’s education strategy aligned with innovation agenda – Zawya http://buff.ly/1c0jHkY

What Drives Innovation in Education Publishing (and What Doesn’t) | Digital Book World http://buff.ly/1FnLlnU

Education World: Educational Innovation Is a Team Effort, Expert Says http://buff.ly/1c0krXa

Education and innovation in Europe | #MITIDE | SiliconANGLE http://buff.ly/1HnorfR