Usually I post four things a day which I’ve read and found useful. Today it is a shorter list of two articles, though they are a bit longer than normal. The first article by Zhao I love. Most of it contains things I say or believe, but he puts it together so well. He describes current US education as deficit based. Those in power in society decided what qualities were necessary for success, codified them in education, and education is defined as filling that deficit in children who don’t yet have those skills. And somehow, many students never fill that deficit and are left behind. And in those case where students begin to come from behind, a new set of skills is defined as necessary, stuff like grit, and then there is a new deficit to fill. Zhao calls for a stop to this deficit model and think about a strength model, supporting strengths which will help everyone. And sure while he could call for this from a social justice standpoint, which I think he still does. He calls for it from a futurist, fourth industrial revolution standpoint. Its hard to argue with that. When uber and lyft put millions of people out of work with self driving cars and we have to think about a standard living wage as national policy, thinking about a strength model of education could help us toward a golden age of Athens moment. This is a great article, packed with some important thinking on educational history, social equality, and forward-thinking-ness.
The second article may be a bit dense for some, and is certainly aimed at instructional designers. It comes from Turkey where they did a study teaching a topic with captioned videos and un-captioned videos. What they were looking at was redundancy and overload. So the ideas here come originally from Mayer. He is really the god father of instructional design. The two ideas are this. If you have a video and there are pictures, voices, and text your brain won’t process the information as well, its operating on too many channels, it goes into overload, and learning shuts down. So reduce the redundancy for greater comprehension. What this article is looking at is instructional video, the same video, by the same prof, with only half the students getting captions. And they find that there is no great difference in motivation or comprehension among the two groups. Note they have many qualifications to their findings. They call this a streaming video, which I would equate more to a movie clip, rather than a series of narrated slides. They are also doing this in a subject which is more applied, how to use a specific program versus a theoretical understanding of motion or weather systems. But I find this very interesting as this is something in US education we must think about with ADA compliance, all videos must be closed captioned. And I recently sat in on some webinars by 3play on a study being conducted by Oregon State (I don’t think it was U of O) And they found that 65% of students in their study used captions, though only 20% of them needed to for hearing reasons. They are being used (as in this study) to better understand an unclear teacher, or for reviewing notes, or because they have to watch in a quiet area (library or sleeping baby). So hopefully there will be more studies like this. And perhaps we can have a better term than streaming? That has a context to me, action video? Motion video? More than just narrated slides. But as we work with more faculty to caption this will be an important study to cite.