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Ed tech must reads: Column #27

First published in Campus Morning Mail 22nd March 2022

Proof points: college students often don’t know when they’re learning from The Hechinger Report

Lurking in the background of discussions about student evaluations of teaching and collaborating with them on learning design is the question of whether students know what good learning and teaching practice actually is. This article discusses Harvard research demonstrating that while students taught physics with active learning showed greater mastery, they felt that they had learned more from traditional lectures. This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t engage with students about their learning experiences – they will always know when it’s bad – but we do need to reflect more on what they think is good and why.

Big tech always fails at doing radio from Matt on audio

While this article is about moves by big tech companies like Spotify and Amazon to create ‘radio 2.0’ without a deep understanding of what makes radio work, it isn’t hard to draw comparisons to the edupreneurs who try to disrupt learning and teaching without engaging with educators. Matt Deegan identifies two key flaws in the approach taken by big tech with their radio replacements – a lack of understanding of how/why people consume radio and their walled garden approach to the medium. Both of these arguably are a result of the needs of these new platforms to be successful and the constraints of working only with music licensed in their particular ecosystems.

OK google: what’s the answer? characteristics of students who searched the internet during an online chemistry examination from Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education

As high-stakes assessment has shifted online during the pandemic, maintaining academic integrity has become ever more pressing for universities. This study from Schult et al. (2022) delves into the behaviours and motivations of chemistry students in online exams, with as many as a third being at least tempted to cheat for “maintaining positive self-perception and having a low expectation of being caught”. Part of their rationale was that they expected their peers to cheat and didn’t want to be disadvantaged. Lack of prior knowledge and low engagement were also tied to these behaviours. The authors go on to suggest options for designing better exams including more scanning of handwritten work.

Blogging an Unpublished Paper: South African & Egyptian Academic Developers’ Perceptions of AI in Education: Process from Maha Bali

Maha Bali is a leading light in the education design and faculty development space and brings vital perspectives from the wider world. She blogs here about a paper that she wrote about academic developer perspectives on the practical use of AI in teaching which missed a publication deadline but was recently resurrected and updated. It will be ‘published’ on her blog in digestible chunks and the first can be found here.   

GameGuruMax from The Game Creators

Building video games can seem like a massively daunting venture, with arcane coding, asset design and creation and the development of literal worlds. In truth, there have been tools on the market for many years to greatly simplify this process, reducing it to dragging and dropping. In a past life, I got very excited about using something called First Person Shooter Creator to build (non-shooty) educational games. The quality of my work may have been mixed but as a non-coder, making a thing was thrilling. The creators of that software are this week releasing GameGuruMax, a greatly updated version of that software. (It’s around $40 until Friday) I’ve been looking forward to this for a while.