What are schools for? Part 1


What are the views of schooling from different cultures?

Here are some snapshots on Chinese schools:

Chinese education system relies heavily on examinations as a way to streamline students towards Higher Education.  It is foregrounded on a traditional examination system, where students would need to go through, in order to pursue further studies in Universities.  In other words, schools are important for preparing students to take the college entrance examination.

Here are more videos highlighting what accounts for the success of those students in Shanghai in topping the rank in PISA test.

Teaching and learning (studying) is at the heart of the traditional Chinese school system.  Would this be different from the Western education system?  I would explore this in coming posts.

About Asian students

Are Asians smarter?  I don’t know if this video title is really what it stands?

What surprise me even further are the remarks posted alongside the video:

IQ New Zealand Intelligence Education Brain Size Academic Chinese Rushton Race Behaviour students Asian are smarter 60 minutes

This is from 60 minutes New Zealand and was titled “Breeding Brainiacs Tiger Mums in New Zealand”. This is a misleading title because it implies that Asians achieve better academically simply because they study more – the entire video is based on this misinformation. Research strongly indicates that intelligence, social stature, and success in life, is determined by genetics rather than by environment. Asian genes code for larger brains, which give them higher IQs. This higher IQ enables Asians to out compete whites or blacks. Asian brain size is consistently measured as being larger than that whites or blacks whether measured using MRI scans, head circumferences, skull packing with sand or any known method. It’s 2012 yet the concept of race is still very taboo. Admitting racial brain size differences isn’t racist because “facts are facts”. For more credible information on this topic please refer to the book titled “Race, Evolution, and Behaviour” by Prof. Phillipe J. Rushton. It’s free to download. This Asian dominance of the New Zealand academic system is something Rushton’s findings inadvertently predicted, and predicted decades beforehand. The reporter of this video ignores and misinterprets credible scientific data to present her case in a woeful example journalism.

Other prominent Professors in the field in Richard Lynn, and Arthur Jenson.

I am not sure if the comments posted are accurate, and would like to see more evidences about IQ comparison, and the extent of validity of “Research strongly indicates that intelligence, social stature, and success in life, is determined by genetics rather than by environment.”


The truths about MOOCs

Audrey in her post says:

I wanted to give a talk that expressed my deep gratitude to Canadian educators and researchers — particularly those that created MOOCs — alongside my concerns about the rewriting of education technology history that diminishes, if not erases altogether, their contributions. It’s a larger problem too, I’d argue, with many tech entrepreneurs laying claim to education innovation with nary a reference or a nod to those who’ve shaped the field. It’s disingenous and dishonest and deeply, deeply troubling as how we frame the past helps us think about the direction of the future.

History is, of course, always partial, always situated, always contested. There is no “official story” about the Iran hostage crisis or about MOOCs or about education technology more generally.

And just as with politics, when it comes to education and technology, our notion of history is heavily influenced by the media.

Let’s face it.

Couldn’t agree more.  That’s why we need to explore and research through networks, with networked learning.  May I share my understanding and interpretation on how this could be achieved through “Connectivism”?  I have used the learning metaphor of understanding of an elephant to interpret the application of learning theories – https://suifaijohnmak.wordpress.com/2009/03/19/learning-metaphor-understanding-of-an-elephant-based-on-instructivism-constructivism-and-connectivism/

What we should avoid is believing in single source “expert views” or media without examining the assumptions and background “historical perspectives”.  It is right that professors and experts, and even textbooks may help us in understanding and applying prescriptive knowledge, based on scaffolding and the various learning theories – behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism.

The challenge is: we are living in a rapidly changing world that often, our knowledge are based on the “facts” and information provided by the media, various “information sources” that are often cited by the “experts”, or authorities, or the education providers, who might have disclosed those parts which are useful for promotion, marketing (the positive part of education and learning).  How about the reality?

The whole MOOC story unfolded reveals exactly how all “history” could be written, to certain parties’ merits.  As I have shared, I am more than convinced on the fuzzy and complexity nature of MOOCs, that many of the “articles” are mainly opinion papers, where some of the sources of the information need to be re-examined and inquired.

I have been working on such researches on MOOCs since 2008, with 2 intensive research surveys completed, together with other interview surveys.  I worked with other researchers in disclosing those findings, based on research, not just personal opinions.  I don’t claim I have got all of the relevant evidences in support of a new learning theory.

However, I do see such learning has been emerging from the participants of MOOCs (both x and c MOOCs) in various ways, based on various social media/PLE/N tools. There are many others who might not have used the tools extensively.

So, truth be told, on the historical background of MOOCs, and that we should all continue to critically examine and inquire about what has occurred in the MOOCs movement, through our lens and research, and not on the “text book” approach, where people told us the opinions, instead of facts.

May be, we could re-examine some of the sources of MOOCs through social media or educational media and check our evidences collected against other resources such as this What leader should know about MOOCs and MOOC guide by Stephen Downes, and the research publications list on MOOC by Rita Kop .