Tuesday, November 15, 2016

3 Areas A #TrumpEducation Admin Cld Focus On More

A #TrumpEducation administration could
embrace digital badges and micro-credentials.

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As I shared in my post outlining what we’d see less of from  #TrumpEducation, I certainly hadn't realized there was any need to pay attention to the fact that Trump has been sharing ideas about education since the turn of the century. He started with The America We Deserve, where he wrote about citizenship education, teachers unions, and school safety. Ten years later, in Think Like a Champion, he touched on American history and comprehensive education. Most recently, in 2015, Trump published Great Again: How to Fix Our Crippled America where he lays out specific policy in a number of areas including education.  

Those three books, along with dozens of articles and videos from and about what Trump wants for education, point to what a  #TrumpEducation means, more or less. After sifting through all those materials I have discovered what you’re likely to see less of. Below I share three possibilities of areas where you might see a #TrumpEducation administration give more focus. Each area is one where I point to evidence of where Trump stands and embed that with ideas about how this might play out based on what we know. I will share four additional things you amy see more of in a follow up post.

3 things you may see more of with a #TrumpEducation:

  1. Less Common Core - More Personal/Student Success Plans
    Trump doesn’t believe in one-size-fits all common core standards, but rather student success being more locally directly and aligned with careers. Sam Clovis, the national co-chair and policy director of Trump's campaign told Inside Higher Ed that he hoped many colleges would continue to provide remediation for those unprepared for college-level work, although he said that he preferred the term "student success programs" to remediation.

    Clovis’s language may provide a hint on the direction the administration is taken. It is possible that rather than standardize learning to a common curriculum, it can be customized to each student with the help of powerful technology tools. To that end, instead of a Common Core, we may see personal success plans for students created with a resource such as Thrively, which helps students create their own personal path to success based on their  passions, talents, interests, and abilities.
  2. Less DOE - More Distribution of Services to Local & Other Executive Branch Departments
    Trump says he wants to abolish or cut power and reach of the Department of Education, yet on Oct 18, 2015 he told Fox News in their coverage of presidential hopefuls, that he is not cutting services. He said unlike Jeb Bush and others who think children should be educated by Washington, D.C. bureaucrats, he thinks education should be local and prepare students to be career ready. This means he will move toward local control when it comes to services. He may also move some responsibilities that were overseen by the  DOE to other departments such as the Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Labor, etc.
  3. Less Standardardized Testing - More Micro-credentials, Certifications, and Portfolios
    In Great Again Trump says he believes we should stop measuring performance with mindless standardized tests. He wants education that increases student’s job prospects as reported in Slate and elsewhere.

    So what might be in their place? It could very well be portfolios, certifications, and micro-credentials which Entrepreneur calls, the next hot ticket in ed tech. Micro-credentials accomplish goals that Trump has touched upon.

    Micro-credentials and certifications teach specific job skills and provide evidence indicating if these skills have been attained via a certificate or badge. The International Society for Technology Education (ISTE) recommends using a badging system built on Mozilla’s Open Badge Infrastructure. In their paper on the topic, the Nellie Mae Education Foundation explains that the badge image itself becomes the visual symbol or icon a learner can display to represent mastery or knowledge. Anyone clicking the image can link to verifiable information about who issued the badge, the evidence behind it, and its potential value. In a 2015 article on the topic ISTE explains, “Digital badges have the potential to be the effective and flexible tools teachers have long sought to guide, recognize, assess and spur learning. And they can recognize the soft skills not captured by standardized tests, such as critical or innovative thinking, teamwork or effective communication.” And when you create opportunities for students to pursue their real interests and passions in real-world circumstances, then  you start to see those “soft skills” like resilience and drive flourish.

    Another alternative to traditional standardized testing that would likely be appealing to the business-minded Trump, is providing opportunities for students to achieve industry certification. So, for example a student might earn a Microsoft IT certification or certification in one of Apple's professional applications which are the industry standard for photographers, editors, sound designers, visual effects and multimedia artists.  

    A third option that provides a more useful alternative to mindless standardized tests are e-Portfolios that can be directly mapped to college and/or career readiness. Dr. Helen Barrett, a renowned expert on the topic outlines the three levels of portfolios for K-12. Level 1: Storage. Level 2: Workspace. Level 3: Showcase.  Education author and former superintendent Tom Vander Ark says every student should have a digital portfolio and shares eight tools that schools are using to promote deeper learning by encouraging students to build a collection of personal bests.

    E-Portfolios are also gaining popularity in colleges and universities.  In fact the American Association of Colleges and Universities acknowledges that a well-executed e-portfolio program is an incredible tool for higher education. They provide institutions with authentic assessments of student learning and promote deeper learning for students. According to their Spring 2015 Student Engagement Insights survey, Cengage Learning, an educational services company, reports they found that 31% of college students say that their institution requires them to complete a portfolio. Cengage predicts that as more and more students, instructors, and institutions see the value of ePortfolios and their power to track progress and achievement against specific learning outcomes, this number will rise. One such university using e-Portfolios, SUNY Broome, has published a sample collection of student and staff portfolios from their university and others. They believe that e-portfolios provide an easy way to stand out in a competitive job market.

    Trump says he will not cut services, but he will be cutting tremendous amounts of money, waste, fraud, and abuse. It looks like Trump may make a popular decision by cutting into the 5 billion dollar standardized testing industry against which so many parents, students, and teachers across party lines have been so outspoken.  

Once in office, will Trump change his mind? Will his ideas evolve, grow or dissipate?  Of course, but with the information shared as of now, this is one version outlining what we might see more of with a #TrumpEducation.

What do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? What are your thoughts?

Interested in what else you are likely to see more of with a #TrumpEducation? Stay tuned for my next post, where I’ll share the final insights I have uncovered after spending dozens of hours obsessively combing through what has been said by and about Trump in regards to what he believes will make education #GreatAgain in America.

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