Update: I got feedback that it wasn’t clear the embedded video was a three-video playlist, so I have broken them out individually.
We have a new case study up in which we interview members of the Courseware in Context (CWiC) framework advisory committee about their work:
The focus isn’t so much on the framework itself as on the project goals and, somewhat less directly, it’s sustainability model. We’ve seen repeated failures in the market to create selection tools for curricular materials or edtech products. (Some of us are old enough to remember EduTools.) The committee members are very thoughtful about the missing element, which is context. There are, in CWiC advisory committee member Tanya Joosten’s words, “a million” different contextual variables, from classroom implementation to support to individual student needs. CWiC is an attempt to take a traditional product selection tool model and enrich it enough to account for all these contextual variables.
The committee members seem acutely aware of how big of a challenge this could be, which is part of what makes these interviews so interesting. At our recent Empirical Educator Project summit, René Kizilcec (whose research we have featured here on e-Literate) made a fascinating comment, which is that we education “desperately needs” a “science of context.” The CWiC folks are trying infuse the output we currently have from the beginnings of that science into what is essentially a tool for selection and procurement. Will it work? I don’t know. The committee members are pretty clear about the size of the challenge. But it’s the right direction.
The Empirical Educator Project (EEP) attempts to take on the other side of René’s phrase. What would it mean to have a science of context? Who would the scientists be? What cultural institutions would we need to form a consensus around what a science of context would look like such that people who care about it could cooperate on it more effectively, and such that it would attract the funding it needs to be carried out? What business process support tools, including but not limited to procurement tools, do we need to implement a science of context, and how would implementation provide input back to the scientific research? These are the questions that EEP attempts to answer. Will it work? I don’t know. But I feel confident that it’s the right direction.