Archive for January, 2012

Other Perspectives

January 31st, 2012

Clarence Fischer is a teacher in a small multi-grade classroom in Canada. He’s also the mayor, which makes him a busy man. He’s one of the people I follow because he has both feet firmly on the ground and spends a lot of time thinking about what he does in the classroom.

Consumerism and Producerism is one of those posts that you really should read. You should subscribe to his blog if you’re interested in the intersection of education, technology, and culture…and not just this course.

Note: no podcast yet. I caught a bug at the convention last weekend. It’ll be at least another day before I’m ambulatory.

Out of the Pocket

January 29th, 2012

I’ve been traveling for the last few days and speaking at a science fiction convention in Colorado Springs. It’s a gorgeous place at the foot of Pike’s Peak, but it’s kept me almost completely offline except for my email link via smart-phone.

The result is that I’m a little late in responding to the “end of week catchup” flood of writings and comments.

Keep going. You’ve got some good momentum and a great discussion is developing — even if it’s a little early to see the full shape of it. I’ll be back home tonight and should have a podcast for you tomorrow morning.

Sebastian Thrun

January 25th, 2012

You should watch this.

Mid-week Feedback

January 25th, 2012

Some very brief notes on critical thinking.

Sunday Afternoon

January 22nd, 2012

Altho I didn’t actually post this until evening when you all were mostly asleep.

In this podcast I talked about two specific statements that Postman made and shared my view on them. Feel free to find other statements like this and use them for your writing prompt for the week.

Note: I’m getting a lot of questions via email that have answers in the podcasts. Verb. sap.

The one question that I’ve gotten more often than any other is some variation of:
“Do we post our assignments on the blogs?”

Yes. All writing EXCEPT the final paper and presentation should be on your blogs. You’ll get two grades per week. One on the weekly writing (which should happen early in the week) and one on the synthesis that should happen at the end of the week.

Here’s the catch. You should be reading what everybody else writes and commenting on that. You don’t have to comment on everything, but when somebody posts an idea that resonates with you, respond. This is supposed to be a conversation but if everybody talks and nobody listens, it’s just noise. It will be difficult for you to synthesise the week if you haven’t been participating and that will be reflected in the grade.

Most of you are teachers so you know that the only work that gets done is the work that gets graded. I know that, too, and your synthesis grade is the stick. Ignore it at your peril.

The carrot is that the point of this synthesis grade is to get you to focus on your own learning. Philosophically, I’m very much a social constructivist. You will build your own understanding of this complex domain together. Some of you will have a great deal of difficulty with this idea, but it’s really quite simple.

My job is to create an environment that fosters learning. I do that by organizing and sequencing a body of knowledge and presenting that in a way that encourages your participation. Your job is to participate and to learn something along the way. The only you have to do is convince me that you are, in fact, learning something. You do that through your writing. If you want to use another medium — say, a Tumblr blog with a voice line — that’s fine. Just let me know how you’re going to communicate with the class.

That’s it. Learn something and convince me that you’re learning. I’ve given some structured prompts for those who are at a loss in taking responsibility for your own learning, but those are not so much “assignments” as they are “suggestions.” Substitute a topic you’d prefer so long as it covers the same basic domain — the relationship of technology, education, and culture along with the readings currently assigned.

Don’t make it difficult.

And write if you have any questions.

End of Week

January 21st, 2012

Yes, this is the end of the week. Tomorrow starts week two and won’t that be fun.

I talked a bit about the course so far and an observation or two about technology in today’s talk.

Some Postman Notes

January 18th, 2012

Last night I was re-reading the chapters and a few points hit me about chapter one. I shared them with you today.

I apologise for the noisy conditions. Mid-day on the main street can be a bit loud.

Opening Salvo

January 16th, 2012

I recorded this earlier today and forgot to upload it.

Yeah, I have days like that, too.

Some opening comments about the course and goals.

Apparently I’m not able to open the class early, so it’ll have to wait for Morehead to flip the switch tonight.

New Crop

January 13th, 2012

There’s always something exciting about a new year, a new semester. All the new faces and new opportunities never cease to fill me with inspiration.

Usually, I fall down very shortly there after because I’m not looking where I’m going and trip on the curb.

This semester is my first one in Blackboard 9 and I *think* I’ve gotten the course shell set up correctly with all the assignments and such. There’s not much in the way of detail because, in part, I intend to develop some of it in response to the direction the course takes. If the direction doesn’t come from you, I’ll find something disgusting and difficult for you to do instead.

One thing I’ve started doing with my courses is recording brief podcasts for you. The sound quality is nothing to write home about but they’re a fast and easy way for me to let you know what’s happening here. Some of you will find the audio to be a pain in the neck because you lack the necessary technology to take it with you to listen when it’s more convenient. Some will sit at the computer and listen while they do something else — or fall asleep because — honestly? Podcasts are meant to be listened to when your eyes are busy but your brain is not. I listen while I’m on my morning walk, or doing dishes, or in the car. You’ll need to find a good place to listen that meets your needs.

I’ve recorded one already and if you’re really interested you can go back in the archives here and listen to what I said to the last class.