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Monthly Archives: December 2008

Grades: evaluation without context

Malcolm Gladwell is busy promoting his new book the systemic (sometimes circumstantial) causes for success – Outliers. He carries this focus into an article: Most likely to succeed: “There are certain jobs where almost nothing you can learn about candidates before they start predicts how they’ll do once they’re hired. So how do we know [...]

Let’s talk systemic change

In recent presentations/discussions, I’ve been making the point that grassroots level approaches to reform in education are being hampered by systemic barriers. The structure of systems of education impedes future innovation. What is required, of course, is a reformulation of educational institutions. As is often the case, we are not entirely without examples. Consider Cisco’s [...]

Who owns my thoughts?

It’s been a year or so (I think) since mybloglog introduced the concept of having our identity (and network) trail behind us as we visited different websites. A site that set up mybloglog would allow visitors to connect with each other beyond simply comments. Not much happened with the concept after the launch. A few [...]

Classroom response systems

Classroom response systems are now common in many universities and colleges. CRS’ are used for faculty to poll students – asking questions related to course content and, based on responses, re-teach key points or clarify misconceptions. While it sounds simple, writing questions that reveal misconceptions students have about curriculum is difficult. CRS are usually fairly [...]

MIT students build mobile applications in 13 weeks

I personally don’t see this project – MIT students build mobile applications in 13 weeks – as being extraordinary (as the post suggests). Learning with mentorship and oversight from industry is hardly new. The speaker/researcher is right in suggesting that integrated learning of this type will become more common. Too often, we still teach as [...]

Networked Learning

In a post expressing ideas similar to Wendy Drexler’s Networked Student video, ed4wb contrasts education as traditionally conceived and as it might develop in the future. Several useful diagrams emphasize the type of control shift occurring in how learners access content and participate in conversations. I’ve been a bit bothered lately by how networked learning [...]

If PLEs are incompatible with the system then how do we change the system?

Education plays a diverse role in society, ranging from formal research universities to practically focused community colleges. The method of education is generally structured – based on the assumption that if we have clear goals (i.e. learn this content), then we also need clear/structured approaches (objectives, instruction, evaluation. Some pockets of innovation exist. For example, [...]

What shall we do with higher education?

In addition to a delightful array of vehicles, General Motors has given us a great metaphor: a company that once ruled supreme, lost touch with the changing world around it, and, in spite of warnings over a period of three decades, still failed to align itself to the new reality. From royalty to peasantry in [...]

For Innovators, There Is Brainpower in Numbers

When I first read Wisdom of the Crowds, I came away with an appreciation of collaboration that starts with individuality. Let me explain. The examples of crowds used throughout the book emphasis personal contribution that adds to the whole, but is not subsumed by the whole. Collaboration involves individuals contributing their unique perspectives, not a [...]

Second Life

University Affairs looks at Second Life in higher education (within Canada). Results are mixed. Overall, the article presents a negative view of virtual worlds. I’m a bit baffled by the comment that Second Life takes too long to figure out: “The learning curve that comes with Second Life is a drawback mentioned by all professors, [...]