Monday, October 31, 2011
Friday, October 28, 2011
Additionally, I encourage students to explore the resources shared on Google Scholar and Google Books, though I'm not sure these are entirely open, per say, since the educational institutions are not sharing them directly, but instead through a corporate entity. Maybe I'll find out the answer to that question after digging into Week 7.
Personally, I have used open source materials for creating slideshows and open source software for recording screen casts and mp3 lectures for students.
I am slowly working on a project to compile and curate all free texts and materials related to Romantic Poetry in order to build an online repository that can be used instead of, or in addition to, an expensive textbook that says Norton on it. I'm calling this project, "Old Dead White Guys Give it Away for Free." That probably won't be the final title.
The cartoon, which began in part as an ironic, idiotic but not inaccurate commentary on the network's original bread and butter — the music video — will now include among its targets movies, viral videos and the kind of shows that have come to represent MTV in the duo's absence, series like "Jersey Shore" and "16 and Pregnant." ("This would be a better show if they showed them actually getting pregnant.") What's odd is how nearly they resemble some of their new targets — "This guy looks like he might be stupider than us" — and how with the passing years they've come to sound less like snarky kids and more like grumbling old men: the Statler and Waldorf of their generation.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
And then there is what I call the “fourth quadrant”: the space of collaborative, nonproprietary innovation, exemplified in recent years by the Internet and the Web, two groundbreaking innovations not owned by anyone. [....]
The Internet is the ultimate example of how fourth-quadrant innovation actually supports market developments: a platform built by a loosely affiliated group of public-sector and university visionaries that has become one of the most powerful engines of wealth creation in modern times.Why has the fourth quadrant been so innovative, despite the lack of traditional economic rewards? The answer, I believe, has to do with the increased connectivity that comes from these open environments. Ideas are free to flow from mind to mind, and to be refined and modified without complex business development deals or patent lawyers. The incentives for innovation are lower, but so are the barriers.
Monday, October 24, 2011
In many respects, it isn't a choice. It's an obligation. An obligation to seek a degree for a better job and higher pay. And English classes, for the most part, are taken to fill core requirements. You don't often get a student auditing composition or taking it as an elective. (Creative writing classes are different. More on that later.)
The answer is, I think, because it's fun. (Well, duh!)
But why isn't school fun?
It's more than just fun. People want to grow and change. They want to become better people. They want to get better at something they love. This is the best sort of fun.
We want fun and we want transformation and we want it now!
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Friday, October 21, 2011
Thursday, October 20, 2011
The pipe is more important than the content within the pipe. Our ability to learn what we need for tomorrow is more important than what we know today. A real challenge for any learning theory is to actuate known knowledge at the point of application. When knowledge, however, is needed, but not known, the ability to plug into sources to meet the requirements becomes a vital skill. As knowledge continues to grow and evolve, access to what is needed is more important than what the learner currently possesses.Connectivism presents a model of learning that acknowledges the tectonic shifts in society where learning is no longer an internal, individualistic activity. How people work and function is altered when new tools are utilized. The field of education has been slow to recognize both the impact of new learning tools and the environmental changes in what it means to learn. Connectivism provides insight into learning skills and tasks needed for learners to flourish in a digital era.
"Catastrophe" is a word that English has taken from Greek; it means "to turn over." When we turn over material in a compost heap, we create a castrophe for the anaerobic bacteria in the rotting garbage as we suddenly flood them with oxygen and sunlight.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011
Friday, October 14, 2011
The Online Colleges blog has a list of 25 tips for how to use Google+ for education. Google's agenda is embedded within this list. For example:
Move your learning management system to Google+: David
Parry, assistant professor of emerging media and communications at the
University of Texas at Dallas, believes that Google+ can be an alternative to
learning management systems like Blackboard.
Hey, why not? Most papers are written by Google these days. I am, however, in agreement with this bit:
Be careful not to put walls around educational content: It’s one thing to protect photos and grades, but it’s another to keep educational content out of the public eye. Be careful about restricting access to educational materials.
The typical Facebook member over-shares. (Did you really need to tell 400 people, including your pastor's brother's cousin, that you just checked-in to Chuck E. Cheese's?)
The typical educator under-shares. Only a few people hear what the expert has to say.
In an ideal world, the conversations that occur on college campuses would be available for everyone. This is what MIT has been doing for ten years, what iTunes University is doing, and, to a certain extent, what the internet is all about.
Limiting access to knowledge only stymies innovation.
In the past, our personal learning networks were limited by geography and by proximity to a good library. Today, for those of us fortunate enough to be living in the developed world and with high-speed internet access, no such boundaries exist.
The sky is not even a limit.
The only question left is: what do we do about it?
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Here's my biggest fear: what if "digital literacy" is just a poor substitute for critical thinking?
What if teaching 21st century skills is just a way to train students to be willing participants in an unjust system?
In short, what if kids only learn the tools so they can become tools?
I'm not a conspiracy person (Generally, I assume large governments and organizations are too incompetent to keep big secrets for long) but sometimes I wonder if the purveyors of blogs, social networking sites, and mobile devices are somehow conspiring to turn our children into perfect little consumers in an economic power structure that promotes volunteerism for the sake of making billions by mining personal data.
Yes, congratulations, your fifth graders now love to blog. I hope they also enjoy spending their free time donating their "likes" so that Google can make a profit without having to employ more people.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
"My reaction," she wrote in an e-mail, "was largely relief, fascination, and despair, all entangled. Knowing what college life is like now for many students at residential colleges explained a lot about my experience with students, and it has ended my tendency to get upset when students didn't seem to be focusing as much attention on their coursework as I thought appropriate. I think my expectations are much more realistic now, so the entire experience of teaching is less depressing than it was when I couldn't understand why I couldn't motivate students to be absorbed in their work."
In other words, don't push them. They're just not that into you.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
An expert is “a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.”
Monday, October 10, 2011
Friday, October 7, 2011
Thursday, October 6, 2011
It feels a little like getting a new contact lens prescription: Things that were blurred together feel sharper and more distinctly colored. And of course, I’m no longer engaged in half-conversations with the people in front of me and half-conversations with the Internet.[....]When I had an iPhone, the Internet was no longer a destination; it was on me every day, like a piece of clothing I put on first thing in the morning. When I get tempted to return to that life, I ask myself: Do I really want the Internet to be something I feel naked without?
He went to Reed, a well-regarded liberal arts school known as a hippie haven, but dropped out after a semester, choosing to audit courses informally. (Including a class on calligraphy that would come in very handy in later years.) Jobs also took LSD in those years, and would claim that those experiences affected his outlook permanently and positively. After leaving Oregon, he traveled to India. All of these experiences had an effect on the way he saw the world — and the way he would make products to change that world.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
I've been meaning to read George Siemens' 2005 paper "Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age" since coming across his work during EduMooc 2011. There is a strong connection between Siemens and Ivan Illich's book Deschooling Society (which I've blogged about here and here). I'll write about the connection some other time. For now, I wanted to share this from Siemens' paper, since it highlights some of the major changes in our society that should be having a bigger impact on online courses and higher education in general:
Some significant trends in learning:
- Many learners will move into a variety of different, possibly unrelated fields over the course of their lifetime.
- Informal learning is a significant aspect of our learning experience. Formal education no longer comprises the majority of our learning. Learning now occurs in a variety of ways – through communities of practice, personal networks, and through completion of work-related tasks.
- Learning is a continual process, lasting for a lifetime. Learning and work related activities are no longer separate. In many situations, they are the same.
- Technology is altering (rewiring) our brains. The tools we use define and shape our thinking.
- The organization and the individual are both learning organisms. Increased attention to knowledge management highlights the need for a theory that attempts to explain the link between individual and organizational learning.
- Many of the processes previously handled by learning theories (especially in cognitive information processing) can now be off-loaded to, or supported by, technology.
- Know-how and know-what is being supplemented with know-where (the understanding of where to find knowledge needed).
Why are Online Students Failing? (Also, why is asking and answering your own questions kind of creepy?)
The study, conduced by the Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College, looked at more than 50,000 students in Washington state’s community or technical college system. What they found was that students who load up on online classes, especially early in their higher education careers, are less likely to finish their degrees. This is worrisome, especially because, as CCRC notes in its report, the number of students taking online courses is only increasing.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Monday, October 3, 2011
Why don’t most people like to read? The answer is surprisingly simple: humans weren’t evolved to read. Note that we have no reading organs: our eyes and brains were made for watching, not for decoding tiny symbols on mulch sheets. To prepare our eyes and brains for reading, we must rewire them. This process takes years of hard work to accomplish, and some people never accomplish it at all. Moreover, even after you’ve learned to read, you probably won’t find reading to be very much fun.