CrimeTalk

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Wellcome Trust joins 'academic spring' to open up science

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"One of the world's largest funders of science is to throw its weight behind a growing campaign to break the stranglehold of academic journals and allow all research papers to be shared online. Nearly 9,000 researchers have already signed up to a boycott of journals that restrict free sharing as part of a campaign dubbed the "academic spring" by supporters due to its potential for revolutionising the spread of knowledge. But the intervention of the Wellcome Trust, the largest non-governmental funder of medical research after the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is likely to galvanise the movement by forcing academics it funds to publish in open online journals......Read on:

Wellcome Trust joins 'academic spring' to open up science

Imagining the Future of the University

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I think the article below is of considerable general interest, partly because it tells of research showing that students from elite backgrounds are still over-represented in the student body in the USA, even after allowing for their qualifications, partly because it emphasises that this throws even more weight onto methods of undergraduate teaching, and partly because it calls for the full embrace of the digital age in teaching and learning. It's thought-provoking stuff.

Imagining the Future of the University

Education from the inside out: a plea for prison education

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Education From the Inside Out: A Plea for Prison Education

The article linked in above talks of the value and joys of prison education from a teacher's point of view. The author is Baz Dreisinger, an Associate Professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York, and the article is from the Huffington Post.

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The iPad and Higher Education

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The iPad and Higher Education

The article by ProfHacker, from the US's Chronicle of Highrer Education, linked in above outlines some of the major problems I see with the value of the iPod for HE. It particularly deals with the textbook market which Apple seems to be trying to lock down even further rather than going the open source route - which of course is the route that CrimeTalk is obviously going, and has been going from the outset.

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Closing down creativity and standardising knowledge in education

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Amongst the well-drilled headlines that define what is happening inside the British education system in the 21st century, one might be forgiven for not noticing what happened to freedom, the space that once existed for individual creativity and personal goals. It is not that in bygone times the system ever aimed to create that space where those values could take root - a state education system was never going to do that - rather, it is the way a space that existed by default has been progressively and ruthlessly closed down.

Increasingly, those who run the system are actively on the lookout for any space where their writ does not run. Under the corporate flag of improving the quality and performance of everyone involved in the education process, an increasingly intrusive multi-headed bureaucracy has been quietly transforming the place where it is embedded into the behaviour and units of performance that it alone specifies. As its language and systems become the lingua franca, the values that were once possible to realise within state education, irrespective of its overall purposes, have fallen by the wayside and with them, the integrity of what is being done in the name of ‘education’.

This article offers an insight into the backroom of a part of that bureaucracy – a private company that sets and assesses subject knowledge and understanding in examinations. These are the companies that tell the public, the schools, the parents, the kids and their political masters that they are providing high quality professional assessment of academic ability. Ultimately, it is they that validate perceptions of the performance of players in the education market place and everyone dances to their tune: those who write the text books, those who teach using those books, and those who rely on them in the classroom for their subject knowledge and exam performance. The impact on intellectual freedom should not be underestimated.

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