Archive for March, 2008

Letting Go

March 30th, 2008

Between Classroom 2.0, Fireside Learning, and here, there’s been a building sense of “do I really believe this stuff?” Apparently I’m not the only one.

Open Thinking & Digital Pedagogy » Letting Go
And I think there is something big here for me. After reading this article, it wasn’t that I was surprised. I felt guilty. Really guilty. As a professor of edtech and media, i have the opportunity to effect hundreds of preservice and practicing teachers. I have typically focused on helping improve technological competency, media literacy and instructional practice with these individuals. This seems OK, doesn’t it?

Alec is referencing an article by Robert Cringley and you can find the link in the post. This is an interesting follow on to “Why Teach?”

Why Teach?

March 26th, 2008

When I threw this idea up, I confess I was not thinking about the idea of “Why teach?” from the perspective of why do YOU teach, but “Why does anybody teach?” This question grows out of the idea that teaching and learning are so far apart — so tangentially related — that the activity of teaching seems almost a waste of time.

I base this on the notion that most learning happens outside of the influence of The Teacher. I maintain that The Teacher might have some small influence on the larger orbits of the people they teach, but that, by and large, the most of what any Teacher’s students learn had nothing to do with the intended consequences that the teacher desired.

This isn’t to say that learners don’t use teachers. Just not THE Teacher.

And given that, why teach?

Extra Credit

March 25th, 2008

One of the things I wanted to do with my “View of 21st Century Learners” video was to encourage people to add their own views from their own perspectives.

I’ve offered extra credit to the class, but since others follow this blog, I thought I’d challenge each of you …

> create a video of what *you* do to learn. (don’t say you don’t learn because if you’re breathing, you’re learning.)

> use the sentence “I am a 21st Century Learner” somewhere in there

> have a picture of yourself.

What I’m trying to do is get people to realize that “21st century learners” are not just the kids in school, but all of us. The same tools that give us the ability to attend an online course and to learn from a specific teacher in a specific context give us the ability to learn practically anything from a rich variety of sources.

Even how to use the resources to learn how to use the resources.

Recursion is such a powerful concept, don’t you think?

A Single Word

March 24th, 2008

David Jakes is a really funny guy who often doesn’t get enough credit. He’s been in my ‘gator and on my radar for a long time now and Clarence pointed this thing out to me this morning.

The Strength of Weak Ties » A Single Word
How do you assess contribution in a networked classroom?

Ok, so what does it look like? What’s new, what’s different, what’s the same? Your ideas?

I’m not a good one to work in the Ustream/Elluminate world, so I dont pay a lot of attention to these events. They strike me as “technology because we can” and not really good applications of the tools. Elluminate doesn’t run on my main (linux) machine and between time zones, meal times, kid taxi, and all the rest, I seldom can get into this stuff at all. I catch the tweets and read the recaps in the blogs. While that’s probably a bit Luddite of me, I just don’t see the value in talking heads, powerpoints by remote control, and fancy-dan chat rooms with so many bells and whistles they crash my computers. You wanna chat? Gimme IRC .. plain text for plain speaking. If you can’t type… that’s a different matter, but I digress.

THIS thing, though. This seemingly innocuous question is at the heart of it. There are some really interesting and thoughtful comments under the post and Clarence’s take on it is insightful. For those who’ve wondered about — and even been openly critical of — the way I run classes, this should articulate it for you.

Welcome back from Spring break.

Do Homeschoolers Need Teaching Credentials?

March 18th, 2008

This has been working its way thru the blogosphere for at least a few days now. I first saw it just before I went to California last week.

Pajamas Media: Do Homeschoolers Need Teaching Credentials?
California parents have “no constitutional right” to homeschool their children, the 2nd District Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 28. Parents face truancy prosecution and loss of custody if they don’t provide a credentialed tutor or send their kids to a public or private school that requires daily attendance, wrote Justice H. Walter Croskey in a sweeping decision.

This probably won’t stand up in the court of public opinion and I’d expect the law to change in California if the courts don’t overturn this on appeal. The prerogative of parents over their children’s welfare has well established precedent. If they don’t LOOK mis-treated — starved, beaten, or otherwise physically damaged — parents get a pass on how they treat their kids. But this is an interesting time to be looking at why teach?

According to Justice Croskey, the purpose of state sponsored education is the indoctrination of children into the societal mores of the State. While that *sounds* a bit fascist, the reality is … what?

High Stakes testing so that “No Child Left Behind” can punish schools that don’t toe the line?

A few million dollars in connectivity rebates to connect schools to the internet and a few more million to pay for the filters to keep them from actually connecting to anything useful?

If we believe that Education is about the preparation of the next generation, then what’s this “life long learning” cark all about? Adult education isn’t really Education?

What’s the story?

Heidelberg Journal of Religions on the Internet

March 18th, 2008

This journal came across my feed today. As we explore the issues of culture and technology here is a scholarly journal with some interesting articles on ‘virtual faith’ and exploring some new ideas like ‘techno-‘ and ‘cybershamanism’

Online – Heidelberg Journal of Religions on the Internet
Vol. 03.1 Being Virtually Real? Virtual Worlds from a Cultural Studies’ Perspective, ed. by Kerstin Radde-Antweiler

The Cute Cat Theory

March 17th, 2008

Via Downes and Others …

The Cute Cat Theory Talk at ETech
Web 1.0 was invented to allow physicists to share research papers.

Web 2.0 was created to allow people to share pictures of cute cats.

Read the whole article and ponder why I start out with this on a week where we’re going to talk about “Why Teach?”

21st Century Skills for Educators First

March 10th, 2008

Thank you, Will Richardson, for finally putting this out there!

URGENT: 21st Century Skills for Educators (and Others) First
Which leads to the second question which is how in god’s name can we talk seriously about 21st Century skills for kids if we’re not talking 21st Century skills for educators first? The more I listened, the less I heard in terms of how we make the teaching profession as a whole even capable of teaching these “skills” to kids. Sure, there were mentions of upgrading teacher preparation programs and giving teachers additional time in the school day to collaborate, etc. But the URGENCY was all around the kids. Shouldn’t the URGENCY be all about the teachers right now?

THIS is exactly the reason I did my View of 21st Century Learner’s video.

We cannot expect teachers, administrators, school boards to support a practice that is not in their ken. Until we get people in THOSE positions that speak lolcat, we are just going to continue to be locked in Cuban’s world.

Elderbloggers List Additions

March 10th, 2008

In my 21st Century Learners video last week, I made reference to my age and the things I do with computers. Ronni Bennett contributes this nugget in a recent post.

Elderbloggers List Additions
Part of the rainy weekend (thank God it wasn’t snow again) was spent adding 27 new links to the Elderbloggers List. There are now 274 blogs over there in the left sidebar, an increase with this update of about eleven percent.

For those of you 30 and 40 somethings out there who keep throwing up the “I-have-trouble-with-this-because-I’m-too-old” flag in this course, go look at that list. There’s a list of 21st Century Learners!

Thanks, yet again, Ronni.

Cultural Disconnections

March 10th, 2008

A long way around the barn – I’ve seen this story popping up in various places and just took the Downes link this morning to check it out. Watch the video and read the post.

How Does the (US) News Shape the Way We See the World
So, what do we do? How do we get our children to better understand the global context? How do we get our kids to see the importance of global perspectives? And more importantly, how do we get them to care?

In our discussions of “what do students care about?” and “how do we make them interested?” we need to consider what we give them to be interested in.

The video points out the dearth of coverage, so that also raises the question of “where do we FIND this news?”

Answer is 3-letters: RSS


Al Jazeera

It’s *really* interesting to see the differences in what makes the “top stories” between these two and CNN.