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    Generation Z: Get to know your new students

    By Pearson

    Gen Zers are the current generation to embark on their journey in higher education. They are present on your campus and in your classes, with many more enrolling every year. How well do you know them? Do you have the tools to shape these newcomers into successful and productive adults after just a few short years of schooling?

    Born between 1997 and 2015, Generation Z accounts for 26% of all the total United States population, according to a Nielsen report. They’re currently the largest living generation and have the potential to reshape how we use technology and view the workplace, so you probably should.

    Understanding what drives this generation can help you better tailor your coursework around tangible and transferable skills so students can better understand how it relates to their future. Barnes & Noble College conducted a survey of 1,300 Gen Zers, and more than 89% of respondents acknowledge that a college education is valuable.

    For them, college is seen as the pathway to a good job. The study also states that Gen Z’s top criterion in selecting a college is how it will prepare them for their chosen careers, followed by interesting coursework and professors who care about student success.

    Learning how to engage with this generation is just as important as learning what tools to use to engage them. Their comfort and trust in the online space will greatly determine how they interact with their educators. In fact, Gen Zers often prefer video content—with 85% of surveyed students reporting that they watched an online video to learn a new skill in the past week, according to The Center for Generational Kinetics.

    And they have high hopes for their post-collegiate future, too. In fact, 88% of surveyed Gen Zers reported that they were optimistic about their own personal future—more than any other generation, according to a report by Vision Critical.

    But that optimism is balanced by realistic expectations about their careers. When asked what matters most in their ideal jobs, in the same survey, they favored salary more and work-life balance less than their millennial counterparts.

    Here’s just some of what you can expect to learn more about:

    • Up-to-the-minute analysis of what’s happening in higher education
    • Illuminating insights from multigenerational surveys about Gen Z behaviors and attitudes about education
    • Eye-opening interviews and surveys about the individual experiences of hundreds of Gen Z students from Jean Twenge, author of iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy—and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood

    In the meantime, dive deeper into the Gen-Z psyche, and read about their learning habits in the infographic, “Engage from A to Gen Z.” Learn more about this generation’s make-up, goals, and what makes them tick.


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    5 chats you don't want to miss from Educause

    By Caroline Leary, Manager, Pearson

    This year at Educause, Erick Jenkins, East Carolina University student and Pearson Campus Ambassador, and Jenn Rosenthal, community manager at Pearson, went behind the scenes to learn about what was top of mind for contributors to the best thinking in higher education IT.

    Erick and Jenn spoke with digital learning advocates about the latest and greatest in digital learning and what exactly that means for students, educators, and institutions.

    Together, they demystified Inclusive Access, discussed the importance of 21st century skills, engaged with cognitive tutor extraordinaire – IBM Watson, and dove into the world of AR and mixed reality.

    Catch their interviews below and let us know what roles you see technology playing in the future (near or far) of education in the comments section.

    Erick and Jenn talk with Jeff Erhlich, Director of Special Projects at Park University about what exactly Inclusive Access is (hint: it’s more than eText) and the benefits it brings to students, educators, and institutions.

    What is Direct Digital Access?

    We are sitting down to chat with Jeff Ehrlich, Park University Director of Special Projects, about Direct Digital Access. #edu17

    Posted by Pearson on Wednesday, November 1, 2017


    Jenn chats with Leah Jewell, Pearson’s Head of Career Development and Employability, about the Career Success Program and the importance of developing strong personal and social capabilities.

    Preparing Now: Career Success

    Chatting with Leah Jewell, Pearson's Head of Employability, about the Career Success Program.

    Posted by Pearson on Wednesday, November 1, 2017


    Erick gets a taste of how artificial intelligence can help students power through to success. Pearson’s Kaitlyn Banaszynski and Amy Wetzel introduce Erick to Watson – the cognitive tutor.

    Student Perspective: Watson

    East Carolina University student & Pearson intern, Erick Jenkins, is chatting with Pearson colleagues & IBM Watson experts, Kaitlyn & Amy.

    Posted by Pearson on Wednesday, November 1, 2017


    Jenn and Erick examine virtual patient Dave through HoloPatient using Microsoft HoloLens and chat with Mark Christian, Pearson’s Global Director of Immersive Learning about how Pearson is using AR/VR to enhance learning.

    Hololens & Immersive Learning Innovations

    We are so excited to try out the HoloLens – an example of Pearson immersive technology – and chat with Pearson's Global Director of Immersive Learning, Mark Christian.

    Posted by Pearson on Wednesday, November 1, 2017


    Erick sits down with Jenn and talks about how technology has played a role in his college experience.

    Student Perspective: Educational Technology

    We are live at EDUCAUSE 2017 with Pearson intern and East Carolina University student, Erick, talking about how technology has played a role in his college experience! #EDU17

    Posted by Pearson on Wednesday, November 1, 2017


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    How to engage tech-savvy students

    By Pearson

    From textbooks to laptops and white boards to smartboards, digital technologies continue to propel higher education forward. Instant access to information and various types of media and course materials create a more dynamic and collaborative learning experience.

    Today’s tech-savvy learners are accustomed to instructors utilizing technology to bolster curriculum and coursework. In fact, a majority of surveyed students (84%) understand that digital materials help solve for issues facing higher education, according to “Digital appetitive vs. what’s on the table,” a recent report that surveyed student attitudes on digital course materials. And many (57%) also expect the onus to fall on the institution to shift from print to digital learning tools.

    Many higher education institutions are looking for new ways to integrate technology into their coursework. Recently, Maryville University, a private institution in St. Louis, MO, developed a digital learning program that provided iPads to their students—with great results.

    94% of faculty have integrated iPads into their courses, and 87% of students agree that technology has been instrumental in their success at the school. What’s more, enrollment increased by 17.7% over two years, in part due to the Digital Learning Program, reports Inside Higher Ed.

    Learn more about how digital learning can strengthen higher education institutions with this infographic, “Digital Learning: Your best teacher’s assistant.”

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    Teaching collaboration skills from cradle to career

    By Emily Lai, Ph.D, Kristen DiCerbo, Ph.D, Peter Foltz, Ph.D

    We’ve heard from Emily Lai, Ph.D., twice before. Last year, she shared the story of her work in Jordan to improve learning opportunities for the children of Syrian refugees. More recently, she offered her tips for parents and teachers on helping students improve their information literacy.

    The Components of Collaboration

    “Most of us know what collaboration is, at least in its most basic sense,” says Emily Lai, Ph.D.

    “It means working with others to achieve a common goal.”

    Emily is Director of Formative Assessment and Feedback for Pearson. Her work is focused on improving the ways we assess learners’ knowledge and skills, and ensuring results support further learning and development.

    “We’ve been reviewing the research, trying to figure out what we know about collaboration and how to support it. For example, we know that collaboration skills have an impact on how successful somebody is in all kinds of group situations—at school, on the job, and even working with others within a community to address social issues.”

    Teaching Collaboration in the Classroom

    Teaching collaboration skills in the classroom can be harder than expected, Emily says.

    “When a teacher assigns a group project, oftentimes students will divide up the task into smaller pieces, work independently, and then just shove their parts together at the very end.”

    “In that case, the teacher likely had good intentions to help develop collaboration skills in students. But it didn’t happen.”

    Checking all the Boxes

    “Tasks that are truly supportive of collaboration are not easy to create,” Emily says.

    Digging deeper, Emily says there are three sub-components of successful collaboration:

    Interpersonal communication – how you communicate verbally and non-verbally with your teammates.

    Conflict resolution – your ability to acknowledge and resolve disagreements in a manner consistent with the best interest of the team.

    Task management – your ability to set goals, organize tasks, track team progress against goals, and adjust the process along the way as needed.

    Emily says she understands how difficult it can be for educators to check all three boxes.

    Before beginning an assignment, Emily suggests teachers talk to students explicitly about collaboration: what makes a good team member versus what makes a difficult one, as well as strategies for working with others, sharing the load responsibly, and overcoming disagreements.

    During group work, she says, observe students’ verbal and non-verbal behavior carefully and provide real-time feedback.

    “Talk with them about how they’re making decisions as a group, sharing responsibility, and dealing with obstacles,” Emily says.

    “In the classroom, it’s all about the combination of teaching collaboration skills explicitly, giving students opportunities to practice those skills, and providing feedback along the way so those skills continue to develop.”

    “The research shows that students who develop strong collaboration skills get more out of those cooperative learning situations at school.”

    Teaching Collaboration at Home

    Emily is a mother of two daughters, 4 and 8.

    At home, she says, there’s one part of collaboration that is especially valuable: conflict resolution.

    “Most often, it comes in handy on movie nights.”

    “The 8-year-old tends to gravitate towards movies that are a little too scary for the 4-year-old, and the 4-year-old tends to gravitate towards movies that are a little too babyish for the 8-year-old.”

    “It would be easy to intervene and just pick a movie for them, but my husband and I do our best to stay out of it,” Emily says.

    “We’ve established the procedure that they have to negotiate with each other and agree on a movie, and now they have a collaborative routine in place.”

    “They know they get to watch a movie, and we know they’re learning along the way.”

    “Taking turns in conversation is another big one for the four-year-old,” Emily says.

    “She doesn’t like to yield the floor, but it’s something we’re working on.”

    “I know from the research that if my daughters learn these collaboration skills, they are more likely to be successful in their future careers.”

    Sharing the Latest Research

    This week, Emily and two of her colleagues are releasing a research paper entitled “Skills for Today: What We Know about Teaching and Assessing Collaboration.”

    The paper will be jointly released by Pearson and The Partnership for 21st Century Learning (P21), a Washington, DC-based coalition that includes leaders from the business, education, and government sectors.

    “We teamed up on this paper because we both believe collaboration is too important for college, career, and life to leave to chance,” Emily says.

    It is the first in a four-part series on what is known about teaching and assessing “the Four Cs”: collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and communication.

    “P21 is the perfect partner for this effort,” Emily says.

    “Our partnership signifies a joint commitment to helping stakeholders—educators, parents, policy-makers, and employers—understand what skills are needed to be successful today, and how to teach them effectively at any age.”

    To download the full version of “Skills for Today: What We Know about Teaching and Assessing Collaboration,” click here.

    Three executive summaries of the paper are also available:

    Pearson LearnEd originally published this article on April 24th, 2017, and it was re-posted here with permission.

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    90%+ first-call resolution, and powerful support for GGU's teaching mission

    By Golden Gate University-San Francisco, CA


    World-class support for 5,000+ busy adult learners

    To make higher education work for its students, many of whom are working professionals, Golden Gate University (GGU) offers flexible programs both online and at four campuses. Even its in-person courses are extensively enhanced with robust web components, and some have evolved towards flipped learning models.

    Both GGU’s students and its instructors are deeply reliant on the university’s online LMS and other systems. However, they have diverse expertise, and equally diverse hardware, ranging from old laptops to the newest smartphones.

    Students with full-time jobs often set aside nights and weekends for schoolwork. Most GGU faculty work professionally in the fields where they teach, bringing a wealth of experience and enthusiasm. Both students and teachers often need help desk support, especially as GGU has integrated more robust web functionality into courses—and neither group has time to wait for answers.

    As Doug Geier, GGU’s Director of eLearning and Instructional Design, puts it, “We provide really good support for our instructors and students, but we rely on the help desk to fill a critical need.”

    GGU’s small internal help desk responds during weekday business hours, focusing not only on technical help, but also calls requiring involvement from administrative offices. To fill the gaps, GGU chose Pearson, which seamlessly extends GGU’s own help desk, presenting its services as part of GGU. Through this close partnership, the help desk delivers 24x7x365 support for virtually any technical problem, regardless of location or device.

    GGU chooses to pay on a per inquiry basis, smoothly ramping up whenever it needs more help—for example, at the start of each trimester, when new students must quickly solve login or compatibility issues.

    Pearson’s reporting helps both partners identify emerging trends in support calls and escalations, flag individuals who need more training, find opportunities to improve, uncover student or faculty retention issues, and improve course quality to support GGU’s teaching mission.

    GGU’s Pearson help desk consistently exceeds 90% first-call resolution, so students and faculty can quickly move forward with their work. GGU’s Geier notes that some calls the help desk can’t resolve are due to issues it can’t control. “When that happens, Pearson can take the calls, offer some assurance as to when it’ll be fixed, and make sure our students and faculty don’t feel like they’re all alone. And sometimes Pearson’s help desk is first to know of a problem, and [they] tell us so we can follow up more rapidly.”

    Working together for more than six years, Pearson and GGU have built a trusted collaborative partnership with multiple benefits. “We reached out to Pearson as we integrated Turnitin to improve student writing and prevent plagiarism, and when we recently deployed a new video platform,” says Geier. “Pearson’s wide higher education support capabilities are becoming ever more critical as we continually expand the utility of our LMS and online course environment.”

    “Pearson’s help desk is incredibly responsive,” Geier concludes. “Their service is top-notch, it’s customizable, and it’s helped us come a long way in how we work with students and faculty. Pearson does more than just provide services: this is a true partnership.”

    Pearson’s help desk is incredibly responsive. Their service is top-notch, it’s customizable, and it’s helped us come a long way in how we work with students and faculty. Pearson does more than just provide services: this is a true partnership.

    Doug Geier, Director of eLearning and Instructional Design
    Golden Gate University

    To learn more about Golden Gate University’s help desk services, read the full success story.

    Read the full success story

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    Tapping into G-R-I-T to enhance students' 'burn to learn'

    By Paul G. Stoltz, Ph.D.

    Helping students effectively harness their GRIT comes down to the difference between telling them about it and equipping them with the tools to acquire and grow it. I recently experienced the stark contrast between mere advising and actual “equipping” when I failed my own godson at a critical time.

    How? Well, instead of helping him tap into his GRIT in substantive and productive ways, I fell into the “sympathetic (if meaningless) advice trap.” Let my failure illuminate our path.

    As a first-term, out-of-state freshman at a challenging four-year university with a rigorous major, my godson has plenty on his plate and no shortage of distractions. But when the deadliest fires in California’s history surrounded his hometown of Napa, being away from home took on new meaning to him.

    Even though his family and pets were safe and their most precious possessions secured, summoning the drive and the discipline to slog through calculus homework seemed overwhelming and unimportant to him. He simply stopped doing it, and even when he tried to apply himself to him, his commitment soon waned.  This was understandable given the circumstances, but not ideal.

    So, what did I do? I checked in with him, offered some mouldy cliches and bland old platitudes like, “Thank goodness they’re safe”; “Don’t hesitate to call me anytime”; and “It’s always good to remember: It could be so much worse.”  Nice? Yes. Heartfelt? Definitely. But I could have done so much better by him. I missed my moment.

    What I didn’t do was serve up the harder truth. I didn’t take this critical opportunity to help him realize that “stuff happens,” adversity strikes, and moments like these—when it feels like life is grabbing you and strenuously pulling you away from your educational goals—are both the key tests of your GRIT and the opportunities to significantly grow and apply it to things that matter.

    Every student experiences some combination of rigorous academics, relational breakups, family issues, health concerns, roommate dramas, bureaucratic headaches, personal injustices, scheduling conflicts, emotional hardships, financial stress, external pressures, and existential angst while pursuing a college degree. This is a long list, but worthy path is strewn with struggles!

    My godson didn’t need my warm but vague advice as much as he needed the essential, practical tools to truly own—to dig deeper and better in order to unwaveringly pursue—his learning and his goals in the midst of his struggle. How could I have helped? I should have pointed him to the GRIT questions.

    Each and every component of GRIT—Growth, Resilience, Instinct and Tenacity—is critical, and individuals must fully engage with them to truly own and achieve worthwhile educational goals.

    Consider these four facets of GRIT and the questions I, a teacher, a counselor, or anyone can ask about each one to help students own their learning, their goals, and their lives in good times and bad.


    The propensity to seek out fresh ideas, perspectives, input, and advice to accelerate and enhance one’s progress toward one’s long term, difficult goals.

    Growth is about going after one’s goals and finding out what one needs to know in order to get there better and faster. It shifts a student from being a victim or a passenger to being the driver at the helm of his journey. This dimension of GRIT accelerates growth, learning, and momentum, while reducing the kind of frustration and exasperation that lead many to fall short or quit.

    • What new resources might you tap into to get some clarity and support around your goal?
    • Who could you talk to, both inside and outside of school, who could offer you the best, freshest wisdom on this issue or concern?
    • Do you notice that as you keep attempting to achieve your goal, the effort seems to be making you stronger and allows you to imagine new strategies to get where you want?


    One’s capacity to not just overcome or cope with, but to make constructive use of adversity.

    One of the big wake up calls in education is: Adversity is on the rise everywhere, and resilience truly matters. Support and resources are external. Resilience is internal. Resilience is not about bouncing back. That’s not good enough.

    It’s about harnessing adversity, using it as fuel to end up better off because of the increased strength and knowledge that comes from working through and overcoming a difficult obstacle. There is no better place for a student to learn and master this distinction than in higher education.

    • While you perhaps can’t control this situation, what facets of this situation can you at least potentially influence?  Of those, which one(s) matters most to you?
    • How can you step up to make the most immediate, positive difference in this situation?
    • How can you use your experience of struggling against this adversity to actually fuel your next attempt to reach your goal?


    One’s propensity to pursue the best goals in the most effective ways.

    Arguably one of the most consistent and potent contributors to student failure, dropouts, or underperformance is a lack of Instinct. The vast majority of students waste tremendous energy, time, and effort pursuing less than ideal goals in less than optimal ways. That’s why so many lose their way or quit. That’s why it’s important to ask:

    • What adjustment(s) can you make to your goal to have it be even more compelling and clear for you?
    • What specific tweaks or shifts can you make to how you are pursuing your goal to best accelerate and/or enhance your chances of achieving it?
    • As you think about your goal (e.g. graduation), in what ways might you be wasting your precious time, energy, and/or effort?  If you could do less of one thing and more of another to most dramatically enhance your chances of success, what would that look like?


    The sheer relentlessness with which one pursues one’s most important, long-term, difficult goals.

    This is the classic, traditional definition of basic grit. But as the world education wakes up to the hard reality that more tenacity is not always a good thing, we have an opportunity to infuse the qualitative aspects of GRIT. These include two continua, Good versus Bad GRIT, and Effective versus Ineffective GRIT.

    Pretty much every student has expended considerable Tenacity on the wrong stuff, or in less than optimal ways. The more students master how to funnel the right of Tenacity and overall GRIT toward their most worthy goals, the more likely they are to thrive and succeed.

    • If you utterly refused to quit, and were to give this goal your best-ever effort, how would you attack it even better this time?
    • How can you re-engage toward and go after your goal in a way that is most beneficial, even elevating, to those around you?
    • If your life depended on you sticking to and achieving this goal, what steps would you take now, that you’ve not yet taken?

    How do we equip students to stay on path, no matter what occurs—from natural disasters to simple, everyday adversity?  Growth, Resilience, Instinct, and Tenacity spell more than GRIT. They spell ownership. And they transcend plain old advice (even the god-fatherly kind).

    While each of these dimensions is powerful on its own, when we weave them together they become the four, actionable facets of GRIT that not only fortify students, but can also permanently instill in them a lifelong sense of ownership for learning, making important decisions, and for contributing something of value to their own lives and their society.

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    3 steps to upgrade your GRIT in education

    By Paul G. Stoltz, Ph.D., Author

    Grit, it is a powerful tool to help you achieve your goals, but as we know, it can sometimes fall short. Worse yet, using it the wrong way can backfire, even lead to real trouble. Consider this “fall short” and “backfire” conversation I overheard just last week.

    “What’s your grit and resilience strategy?” the Provost at a premier regional college asked his cross-town colleague at a college fundraising dinner I recently attended. The question instantly caught my ear and my eye. I was struck by both the ease with which this clearly loaded question fell from his lips, as well as the relaxed assumptiveness with which it was received.

    “Ah, well, you know, there’s so much talk and information about grit out there now, but honestly, we’re not sure what we think about it yet. Of course we’ve had our people watch the videos, read the books, start talking about to each other it more…at least the basics, you know? But frankly, results seem mixed, at best.

    Get this! We had one student repeatedly camp on the doorstep of the Registrar’s Office, apparently in an effort to get his grade changed, because he thought he could get what he wanted just be refusing to take no (or a bad grade) for an answer. When it was explained to him repeatedly that this wasn’t the best strategy and his grade was actually determined by his professor, the student somewhat deafly responded, ‘Got too much grit to quit!'”

    “That’s an amazing story,” the Provost replied. “Good to know. Honestly, you’re way ahead of us. We’re still exploring all the options on what we’re might pursue with grit, but your example will definitely help.”

    So what’s your grit and resilience strategy for your institution? And how do you avoid the dreaded and increasingly common “mixed results” or backfire conundrum? How do you minimize the potential downside of students misusing their and maximize the vital upside that will make them successful and productive? Here are three simple steps to Upgrade Your GRIT™ in Education.

    Step One: Shatter the “More is Better” Grit Myth

    Arguably one of the most dangerous assumptions when it comes to grit is the burgeoning belief that “more is better, more is more”. It’s nearly everywhere. “We just gotta show more grit!”, Dabo Swinney, Clemson University’s football coach declared after a heartbreaking loss.

    In another instance, I was asked by a faculty member at a Texas university, “Dr. Stoltz, how do we help our students grow and show more grit?” This is not an uncommon question. One I hear more and more.

    However, if just having more grit is so desirable, consider this simple provocation. First, think of the most dangerous person you’ve ever heard of or known. Second, ask yourself how much grit—determination, passion, and effort—they showed in pursuit of their nefarious goals. Next, ask yourself, is grit always and necessarily a good thing? For everyone? In all situations?

    The truth is that helping  our students build higher and higher levels of grit guarantees next to nothing. Worse yet, it can lead to disaster.  In truth, many students have plenty of grit. That’s not the issue. Their quantity of grit is not  what’s getting in their way. It’s the quality of their GRIT that may be hobbling their efforts, progress, and success.

    To free yourself from the “more is better” myth, ask yourself and/or your team a simple question. What matters more – the quantity or quality of your students’ grit? When it comes to the kind of students we want to grow, the kind of lives we’d like them to live, and contributions we’d like them to make in the world, do we want them touse their growth mindset, resilience, instinct and tenacity to not merely achieve their goals but also to show their consideration for other people, for their environment, and for the general good?”

    Ready for a bizarre, if not impossible statistic? I’ve asked this exact question of more than 500,000 people across six continents, and one hundred percent respond resoundingly with “Quality!” 100 percent. That’s stunning. And each time I test it, I get the same result: When it comes to GRIT, remember– Quantity is what we require, but Quality takes us higher.

    Step Two: Foster Smart GRIT

    “But I worked really hard on this!” How many times have students used said that do defend work or a test wasn’t as good as it should be. Don’t forget its anemic sibling, “I stayed up all night (or “spent all weekend’) studying for this test!” “Doesn’t my effort count?” they complain.

    What I sometimes call “Smart” and “Dumb” GRIT can be re-labeled “Effective” and “Ineffective” GRIT. Does urging our students to just try harder, to pour more effort and energy into the task always lead to the best results? More importantly, does it best serve our students as they try to make progress in an occasionally puzzling world? What if, instead, we taught them how to use ever-more thoughtful, intelligent, effective GRIT—the kind that accelerates and enhances their success—especially for the most daunting, long-term, challenging assignments, projects, and tasks?

    Shifting students’ focus from a concern with “how much or how hard can I try” to asking the questions “How else can I achieve my goal?” and “How can I do this even better?” can lead to profound revelations for them. By encouraging them to consider rational, creative, or more efficient alternatives when they get stuck or new ways to solve problems that might yield an even greater result, we begin to equip our students for the adversity-rich, highly demanding world of work, where they will be rewarded mainly for how well they achieved their goals, not the how much sheer effort or drive they expended in their pursuit.

    Step Three: Grow Good GRIT

    Ever see that high achieving student whose classmates find him hard to be around or to work with? What about the ones who, the higher their marks, the lower their classmates’ desire to pay attention to their comments or be part of that student’s group project?

    We’ve all experienced the boss, colleague, or student who has plenty of GRIT but goes after goals in ways that hinder, even hurt others. Consider the powerful difference between Bad and Good GRIT. Bad GRIT happens when a person goes after goals in ways that are intentionally or unintentionally detrimental to others. Good GRIT is of course the opposite: its hallmark is pursuing goals in ways that take other people and their goals into consideration or working in teams in ways that allow all participants to benefit. Pretty much everyone I know, me included, has demonstrated Bad GRIT, despite the best of intentions. That’s pretty humbling.

    Good GRIT happens when we go after our goals in ways that are ultimately beneficial, and ideally elevating to those around us–this attitude is often described by none other than rock star  Bruce Springsteen as he ends his concerts: “Nobody wins unless everybody wins.”

    Teaching students the difference between Good and Bad GRIT is arguably one of the most potent and important lessons we can impart. Awakening them to the power and potential of Good GRIT is elemental to us graduating not just decent students, but good citizens.

    Long after they return their caps and gowns, it is the quality of our students’ GRIT that determines how they will navigate life’s ups and downs and what kind of mark they will make in their community, their workplace, and their world.


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    The Networked University

    By Denis Hurley, Director of Future Technologies, Pearson

    From tomorrow through Friday (31 Oct-3 Nov), you can visit Pearson’s booth (#401) at Educause to learn about how the student of the future may navigate her learning experiences through networked universities with the assistance of Pearson’s digital products and services.

    This scenario is based on The Networked University: Building Alliances for Innovation in Higher Education, written by Jeff Selingo, which imagines institutions of higher education strengthening their own offerings and improving learner outcomes through greater collaboration rather than competition.

    Pearson’s partnership with IBM Watson, our mixed reality applications created for Hololens, and our digital badging platform Acclaim are just a few of the ways we are empowering students to make the most of emerging technologies.

    Since its inception, the Future Technologies program at Pearson has explored many of these technologies while considering how our education systems can evolve. We continue to scan the horizon for new opportunities, and we are always learning.

    If you are unable to attend Educause, check out the video below and follow Olivia’s journey from discovery and enrollment through lifelong learning:

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    Chirons will lead us out of the AI Technopanic (and you can be a chiron)

    By Denis Hurley, Director of Future Technologies, Pearson

    Now more than ever, faster than ever, technology is driving change. The future is an unknown, and that scares us. However, we can overcome these fears and utilize these new technologies to better equip ourselves and steer us in a positive direction.

    Language evolves, and understanding these changes is crucial to learning how to communicate effectively. Like almost all change, it’s best to embrace it rather than try in vain to reject it.

    For example, it appears as though I’m on the losing side in the popular definition of the term “mixed reality.” Sorry, Mr. Milgram — I’ve given in.


    A technopanic is extreme fear of new technology and the changes that they may bring. Consider the Luddites, who destroyed machinery in the early 19th century. The only constant is change, so they had little success slowing down the Industrial Revolution. In recent history, think of Y2K. This was a little different because we feared that new technology had been embraced without our full understanding of the consequences. Of course, we proceeded into the new millennium without our computer systems plunging civilization back into the Dark Ages.

    Last year, the BBC compiled a list of some of history’s greatest technopanics. One of my favorites was the fear that telephone lines would be used by evil spirits as a means of entry into unsuspecting humans who were just trying to walk grandma through how to use her new light bulbs.

    Our current technopanic is about artificial intelligence and robotics. I am not saying this fear is unreasonable. We don’t know how this will play out, and it appears as though many jobs will no longer be necessary in the near future. However, expending too much energy on fear is not productive, and the most dire outcomes are unlikely. The Guardian produced this clever and amusing short about artificial intelligence:

    Working with New Technology

    The Replacements

    Narrow artificial intelligence is now prevalent, which means programs are better than humans at performing specific tasks. Perhaps the most famous example is IBM’s Deep Blue defeating Garry Kasparov, the world champion of chess at the time — in 1997. Today, complex algorithms outperform humans at driving and analyzing lab results, among many other things.

    Robots, which are stronger, larger (or smaller), and do not get bored or sick or go on strike, have been replacing humans for hundreds of years. They can fly and work through the night for days on end or longer.

    Can Humans Compete?

    Spending too much energy on searching for an answer to this question is a waste of time. We should not see progress as a competitor or as an enemy. These are tools we can use.

    Augmenting Ourselves

    Cyborgs: For many people, this is the word that will come to mind when reading the phrase above above it. While the word makes us think think of science fiction, we have been implanting devices in our bodies for decades. But we can now control artificial limbs directly from our brains, bypassing the spinal cord.

    More “extreme” cyborgs do exist, such as Neil Harbisson, who can hear colors via an antenna implanted in his skull. Transhumanists aim to overcome human limitations through science and technology.

    Becoming a cyborg is not practical, desirable, or even feasible for many of you. It’s also not necessary.

    Cobots: A cobot is a robot designed to work interactively with a human in a shared workspace. Lately, some people have been using the word to refer to the human who works with robots or to the unified entity itself.

    I don’t think the new definition of this word is useful. When referring to a specific type of robot, it has practical use.

    Centaurs: After Kasparov lost to Deep Blue, he understood the potential of humans working with machines. He created a new form of chess called “centaur chess” or “freestyle chess.” Teams can consist of all humans, all algorithms, or a combination (a centaur). The champion has almost always been a centaur. Kasparov saw the value of combining what humans do best with what machines do best.

    We Should Strive to Be Chirons

    In Greek mythology, centaurs tended to be unruly, amoral, and violent. When considering a blend of human abilities and machine abilities, a potential outcome is losing our sense of humanity.

    Chiron was a sensitive and refined centaur in Greek mythology. He taught and nurtured youth, most notably, Achilles.

    In the context of maintaining sanity through this technopanic and, more generally, coping with technological change, Chiron embodies the centaur we should aspire to.

    In regard to how we should manage technology-induced fear (reaction, interaction, and creative acceptance), this would be the third stage. We all need to strive to be chirons. For our own sake, this is critical to lifelong learning. For the sake of our youth, we need to be able to demonstrate constructive and responsible use of technology.

    At Educause 2017, we will explore how new technologies can impact the future of higher education and student success. Discover opportunities to engage with Pearson at the conference and drive these critical conversations.