Archive for March, 2012

Education or Learning?

March 31st, 2012

I’ll be home late Sunday night but I got a chance to scan your posts for the last week.

Something I’d like you to be thinking about as you start digging into the Jenkins … and working on your papers and projects.

How does any of what we’ve read and wrote and thought about change learning?

It’s one thing to change education, but learning is the goal. It’s sometimes difficult to keep that in mind with all the focus on the teacher and teaching.

See you soon.


March 24th, 2012

I just realized that spring break ends in a day or so, but I haven’t caught up on my grading.

Normally, I’d just work through the weekend so you’d have grades on Monday.

Unfortunately, I’m going out of town in about 30 minutes and I won’t be back until April 1 (no joke). I don’t know if I’m going to have internet access or time to check it, although email will be delivered to my phone.

So, this week?

Read the assigned chapter in Jenkins.

And write something significant.

I’ve emphasized that because a lot of what you’re writing is … um … superficial? Obvious? Re-cappish?

The goal of your weekly posts is to convince me that you’re thinking (not merely breathing). There is a lot of meat for discussion in the Participatory Culture book, so let’s everybody have a nice chew on it.

See you in a week.

Old Dogs, New Tricks

March 15th, 2012

One of the things that’s been problematic in educational research for the last decade or so is this idea of “Digital Natives” and “Digital Immigrants.” Marc Prensky has made a nice living from this snake oil. Along the way, he’s polluted the pool in ways that may not be cleaned up for decades. One of the stereotypes that drives the idea is that kids who have grown up with the technology are – automatically – more facile. They “understand” it. They have faster reflexes. The list goes on.

New research in actual game playing environments that measured actual game outcomes casts some doubt on this:

We also observed several differences in game play by player age. Given the popular stereotypes of first-person shooter gamers, surprisingly, the older a respondent, the more kills he had per game … However, this effect was largely driven by the older players who prefer to play as lone wolves, as shown in Figure 5. This trend runs contrary to the suggestion that young players prefer the lone wolf role because they are more capable in the role—popularly attributed to faster reflexes—while older players must coordinate in teams in order to effectively compete [16].

For those not familiar with the jargon, what this paragraph says is that the stereotype predicts that the younger players — with faster reflexes, better skills, and more time to practice — should out perform older players in single player mode (“lone wolf”). It further holds that older players rely on team play in order to be successful in the game. The actual finding is that more older players play single player than was suspected and that they are much more successful at it than the younger ones.

This is important because, for the first time, we have some empirical evidence to refute Prensky’s widely touted assertions. For those of you who’ve fallen back on the “I’m too old to learn this stuff” excuse, it means you have to stop whining and get on the bus.

Some Notes

March 13th, 2012

I thought of a few things to say this morning. Partly warning about the “horoscope” posts. Partly re-iterating my ideas about professional development and my belief that Cuban has the causal effects of the reason teachers are technology-averse ALMOST right.

And here’s a link from a very smart guy I know who has 50+ Ways To Tell A Story

I don’t think any of them include “Just slip out the back, Jack.” 🙂

Meta Moment

March 8th, 2012

Once in a while I think it’s important to take a step back and examine what’s happening. I talked in my last podcast about getting you to use tools to learn with before you get hung up on trying to use those tools to teach with. One of the things I’ve been remiss with this semester is introducing you to other voices. Let me remedy that now by introducing two.

Stephen Downes is one of the premier educational philosophers in the world. He works for the Canadian government in New Brunswick. He provides daily insight into the world of education and educational technology by way of his OLDaily (On Line Daily) blog. One of the articles today is about the importance of what students do with technology and it comes by way of another educator — Miguel Guhlin.

I Think I Can Write — Dangerous Literacy:

“Economically disadvantaged students, who often use the computer for remediation and basic skills, learn to do what the computer tells them, while more affluent students, who use it to learn programming and tool applications, learn to tell the computer what to do. Those who cannot claim computers as their own tool for exploring the world never grasp the power of technology…They are controlled by technology as adults”

Read the summary of this post on Downes’ post and then follow the link to read the full article from Guhlin.

And you should add these two voices to your feed readers. These are the people who are breaking new ground in education almost every day.

For those not able to find the addresses:

Here’s the address for OLDaily

And the feed for Miguel Guhlen’s blog.

Thoughts on Cuban

March 7th, 2012

I got a bit verbose today. There are comments on Cuban and the fundamental problem of professional development, a caution about “horoscope posts” and a recap of what I think is wrong with internet filters in schools. (Hint: I think they actually put kids at risk but serve their real function – which is to protect schools.)


March 4th, 2012

With everything going on in your neck of the woods over the last week, remember your priorities.

For some of you, this class is NOT one of them.

Take care of yourselves, your families, and your communities.

The course can wait.