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Developing Authentic Assessments: Have My Students Learned Anything?

Waterfall in HawaiiPRLS 2013 at Leeward CC, Pearl City, Hawaii

May 13-17, 2013

Info: http://prls2013.weebly.com

You’ve designed the assignment, met with students as they worked on it, and now you have the finished product in front of you. The results are not what you expected, and you ask yourself, “Are my students really learning anything?”

If this scenario is even vaguely familiar, this workshop track is for you. We will go through a step-by-step process, starting with student learning outcomes and culminating with assessment tasks and measurement tools. Continue reading

New Employment Report

Silicon Valley in TransitionA very thorough study of California’s tech sector has just been published, including recommendations for educators. The NSF-funded MPICT Center was a collaborator and what follows is a quote from MPICT’s recent press release:

“According to the report, aggregated ICT industry and employment sectors are bigger and more strategically important than historically recognized in the U.S. and in California.

Continue reading

Synergy of Joining Multiple Projects

Combining the work of ATE’s Destination: Problem-Based Learning, ATE’s Plan Bioscience Technology program, and a Carl Perkin’s grant on Problem-Based Learning, faculty developed relevant coursework for transforming agriculture education in Hawaii. Traci Sylva,assistant researcher at the University of Hawaii… Continue reading

Technical Skills Certificate vs. College Degree

Last Sunday (July 10, 2011), the front page of the New York Times featured an article called “Tough Calculus as Technical Schools Face Deep Cuts.”

The article followed a high scoring student who was not interested in school until he joined a vocational program that taught a tangible skill. Enhanced motivation is seen as a reason to direct students to vocational programs.

On the other hand, the article gives the importance of learning soft skills as an example of why a college degree is valuable. Continue reading

New Workforce Study

“Silicon Valley in Transition”, published July 2011 by NOVA, work2future, Santa Cruz County and San Mateo County

This thorough study focusses on the ICT sector in Silicon Valley, but I pulled two points out that would apply to instructors in technical fields across the country. 1) Employers are now looking for a type of skill they call “flexibility”, and 2) job seekers need to be able to show something that they have done. The basic message that this study sends to educators is that they should support non-rote experiential learning.

Employers want job candidates with “flexibility skills.” This includes the ability to learn quickly, adapt to new objectives, and to take on new tasks and responsibilities. The study also mentions the need for an entrepeneurial attitude, which includes a passion for technology and strength in the face of ambiguity. Employees continue to need good communication skills, critical thinking, and the ability to collaborate across groups. Continue reading