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    #234157 - 10/04/16 07:19 AM Re: Gifted and the Personalized Learning Movement [Re: indigo]
    JonLaw Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/29/11
    Posts: 2007
    Loc: The Sub-Tropics
    Originally Posted By: indigo
    Without getting political, but merely trying to name the economic system which may be emerging or re-emerging through recent handshake agreements between government and the education industry: Corporatocracy? Fascism?


    It's not really political. It's the same general economic system that's generally been in place since about 1996-2000-ish.

    Short-sighted cooperative looting enabled by massive credit bubbles in the context of cheap energy.

    It's what generally happens when you poof a bunch of credit into existence that has no business existing.

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    #234624 - 10/31/16 10:01 AM Re: Gifted and the Personalized Learning Movement [Re: thx1138]
    thx1138 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/30/12
    Posts: 93

    I spoke with a gifted expert recently, and they raised the concern that personalized (computer based) learning, how deep does it go. This is a valid question, and it remains to be seen both how long and how deep automated education can go.

    While I would like to see every gifted child given 1:1 tutoring or 8:1 classrooms, I reiterate that my position is one of pragmatism. There are about 50 million school age children in the USA in 2016. (1.) I calculate 1.14 million gifted kids with IQ 130+ in grades 1-12 in the USA. (2.) They are being underserved day in, day out, year in, year out, as we debate. What is the total seat capacity of gifted private schools in the USA? Add then any public school gifted programs, and some home schooled gifted. This is harder to tabulate, but I am confident it is a single digit percent of the 1.14 million 130+ IQ gifted children in the USA.

    I further posit that this single digit percentage, of gifted children served by any US schools, has been falling steadily over the past few decades. We are losing because its hard to sell something that serves only 2% of the children, and parents view scarce public education funds as a zero-sum game. Therefore, in terms of realpolitik, personalized education may be the best hope to reach more of the deeply underserved gifted community. While imperfect, it can be sold far more easily as something that serves 100% of the students.



    1. http://www.childstats.gov/americaschildren/tables/pop1.asp

    2. Using Python…
    import scipy.stats as st
    50000000*st.norm.cdf(-2)
    1137506.5974089596

    3. Using a z-score of -3 tells us that nominally, there are 67,494 students who could qualify for Davidson Young Scholars. Here http://www.davidsongifted.org/About-Us/Annual-Report it is reported that 3,063 (or 4.5%) have been recruited.

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    #234625 - 10/31/16 10:44 AM Re: Gifted and the Personalized Learning Movement [Re: thx1138]
    Val Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3289
    Loc: California
    I sympathize with your idea. The thing is, moving gifted kids to automated learning systems would just trade one serious deficiency for another.

    Automated systems require that students be able to self-teach. If a student doesn't understand something, he can't ask a question of the video. So he has to find his answer himself, which would require significant motivation PLUS the skills required to find the answer. It's easy to say, "No, he can ask the teacher," but the teacher will be busy with other kids, because they all need help. My kids attend a school using online learning for math, and the teacher is usually busy with someone else.

    I have a PhD and am adept at self-teaching (in part because a major goal of a PhD is to teach a student how to figure stuff out systematically). A lesson I've learned is that 1) success in self-teaching takes a long time and multiple focused information sources, and 2) that the skills required to succeed aren't trivial. By focused information source, I mean 2-3 other textbooks on the subject minimum (including a solutions manual and a teacher's edition with explanatory notes in it). Each source emphasizes different ideas, which is what you need when you don't have a teacher who can explain things. While the web has lots of information, it isn't focused, and you can easily end up going down a rabbit hole and getting lost.

    IMO, it isn't reasonable to expect an elementary through middle school aged kid to be even marginally capable of succeeding at this process. Even high school kids would have a) trouble and b) not enough time.

    As an example, Khan Academy videos can teach an individual skill, but they don't (and can't) provide the kind of subtleties and connections that a knowledgeable teacher provides. So while I agree that a motivated kid with a high IQ will get through Khan stuff quickly, IMO, the learning will be superficial and algorithm based. Also, in many areas, there's no substitute for a discussion in class.

    I suspect that many/most educators are unaware of the challenges I described in the first part of this message, and that the enthusiasm over computer-based learning in coming in part from the Dunning-Kruger effect.

    The US has a tradition of looking for new solutions to problems, which is good. The thing is, though, sometimes the old-fashioned way really is better (especially when we've created the problem and don't want to admit it, which is the case with ignoring the needs of gifted kids). We pour resources into special needs kids. This proves that it can be done. So why can't we gifted kids too? (Answer: lack of will). Computers won't solve that problem.

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    #234628 - 10/31/16 11:36 AM Re: Gifted and the Personalized Learning Movement [Re: thx1138]
    aquinas Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/02/12
    Posts: 2277
    Originally Posted By: Val
    As an example, Khan Academy videos can teach an individual skill, but they don't (and can't) provide the kind of subtleties and connections that a knowledgeable teacher provides. So while I agree that a motivated kid with a high IQ will get through Khan stuff quickly, IMO, the learning will be superficial and algorithm based. Also, in many areas, there's no substitute for a discussion in class.


    Exactly. If anything, I would suggest the feat of gifted students being effective auto-didactic learners is actually a bigger challenge than for other students.

    Gifted students will face greater asynchrony between interest level and metacognitive skills than conventional peers, and the types of answers and feedback gifted students will need to learn at a high level will be harder to reach independently because of their complexity.

    If a gifted child has perfectionistic leanings--or if the classroom setting doesn't reward the child seeking out more complex information from learning facilitators (e.g. teachers, senior peers)--I fear an over-emphasis on autodidactic learning risks disenfranchising gifted students early in their academic careers.

    Now, that being said, I think there is a role for inculcating self-teaching skills in students gradually, so that they ultimately become self-sufficient learners in the way that Val describes. However, I would argue that executive function is the underlying cluster of skills being developed. Although conscious effort can train executive function, executive function still remains something that is developed through physical maturation.
    _________________________
    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

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    #234629 - 10/31/16 12:05 PM Re: Gifted and the Personalized Learning Movement [Re: thx1138]
    puffin Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/11/12
    Posts: 2035
    My kids will obviously have to learn to self teach. I thought 8 was too young though. Kids that age usually don't have the EF and critical reading/analasis/thinking skills to self teach probably. They end up googling the topic and accepting whatever is at the top of the list or doing what the kid next to them does. Or for my kids becoming overwhelmed and panicking (ds7) or doing nothing (ds9). They then get blamed for lack of diligence and not asking for help - but there is one teacher for 30+ kids and they are not allowed to say "show me what to do" and don't know exactly what to ask. I moved both kids but I only had that option because I am Christian. There is one state funded Christian School (small fees but an added budget stress) and one Catholic. Both are oversubscribed so don't take non-church linked members.

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    #234638 - 10/31/16 08:14 PM Re: Gifted and the Personalized Learning Movement [Re: thx1138]
    thx1138 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/30/12
    Posts: 93
    I agree that the devil is in the details. I don't see this as a black and white issue. I'm not proposing eliminating group discussions. The question is whether computer tools can, perhaps as an adjunct, make teaching more efficient. If a gifted kid can at least go at their own pace to more advanced material, that's better than having the class as a unit taught to the 40th percentile. Its not a total solution but I'm trying to get something to the 1 million gifted children stuck in that situation. Have you guys got any solutions to offer? We've been trying for decades to get gifted more resources, as special needs kids do. As far as I can tell we're losing ground steadily. Because its a zero sum game. Because gifted myths persist. Because people say "poor little rich kid" about "poor little gifted kid". Because we haven't faced squarely the realpolitik of public education.

    One problem though. if we could make learning more efficient, the teachers unions would oppose it out of job security concerns.

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    #234673 - 11/02/16 06:08 AM Re: Gifted and the Personalized Learning Movement [Re: thx1138]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4261
    Originally Posted By: thx1138
    Have you guys got any solutions to offer? We've been trying for decades to get gifted more resources, as special needs kids do.
    Whole-school cluster grouping by readiness and ability does not actually cost more. Kids attend the class at the appropriate level for each subject... mixing with other students of various chronological ages and "grade levels".

    If/when kids exceed the course material taught in their building, they may participate in higher level classes online or through skype, etc (technology cost) or commute to the nearest possible course offering (transportation cost).

    Originally Posted By: thx1138
    As far as I can tell we're losing ground steadily. Because its a zero sum game. Because gifted myths persist. Because people say "poor little rich kid" about "poor little gifted kid". Because we haven't faced squarely the realpolitik of public education.
    Because of the focus on closing achievement gaps and closing excellence gaps, both of which mean capping the growth of children at the top.

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