Thursday, October 28, 2010

Universities commit to open-access journal movement

This article discusses the move made by a dozen major American universities towards making academic research material available online free of charge. These universities, which include Duke, Harvard, Cornell, MIT, University of Michigan, and University of California Berkley, among others, have signed the Compact for Open Access Publishing Equity (COPE), which means that rather than paying $10,000-$20,000 in subscriptions each year, the universities will cover the costs of publishing the articles themselves (about $1,000- $3,000) and will be able to access the other open-access articles. This movement, which is essentially "increased open access, means more opportunities for the research of our faculty and researchers to reach a wide audience and have a meaningful impact on the world,” says Peter Lange, Duke's provost. I think that this movement encompasses everything that is right about today's movement towards technology. Technology should be enabling and encouraging the sharing of knowledge between scholars and learners alike. The increased availability of professors' research will no doubt enrich the education of students and lead to more progress for other professors, as it should.

School Leaders’ Opinions on 21st Century Skills

Liz Exo’s Blog Post:

As it is probably clear to most of us already, with the new century came new technology and new technological skills to be learned. This article discusses the possibilities of creating new assessments that are directed towards new technological skills. 43% of the schools that responded to the survey stated that their school district already implemented new assessments to test skills like problem solving, teamwork, and critical thinking.

The article also discusses the issue of cyber bullying, and it states that 34% of school districts said that anti-bullying and other computer safety policies have already been implemented.

A final point brought up in the article revolves around the push towards electronic “textbooks” if you will, rather than traditional printed books. The problems that would need to be addressed before making the switch would be to make sure each student has equal access to the internet outside of school, which seems to be a problem for many low-income areas. It is interesting to note that 24% of schools that responded to the survey said schools should move towards electronic reading because textbooks are boring. However, I feel like this may be a controversial issue. I personally have trouble reading long texts online, because I feel like if I cannot write on the text (underlining or highlighting important information) I have a lot more trouble understanding and remembering what I read. So, besides the issue of availability, educators should look at all perspectives before making the switch.