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Showing posts from January, 2013

Anti-Tech Articles--Not a Fan

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Recently,  WBUR ran a selection of articles on what it calls "Digital Lives."  The series thus far covers relationships, video games, and multi-tasking.  The series as a whole is of course playing upon fears and leaving one with more fear than substantive tools and ideas about how to live a digital life.  I'm going to focus on the multi-tasking one as prompted by a peer of mine, but needless to say all of the articles feel superficial and fearmongering than productive to having an in-depth discussion.  For instance, the video-games article spends much of the discussion on the antiquated concerns around video games and violence and only so very briefly talks about the benefits of videogames (almost as an afterthought).  And any article on video games in our culture that doesn't mention the likes of Jane McGonigal or Tom Chatfield are ones that have been poorly researched.
So 10 Reasons why the multi-tasking article annoyed me:1.  I'm always dubious by a media outle…

Recent Letter to the Editor: Fools tilting at windmills

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This one was in response to Barbara Anderson's column "Overreaching government still a concern".  

To the editor:

Barbara Anderson’s selective reading of the Second Amendment and her NRA advertisement (“Overreaching government still a concern,” Jan. 3) is disappointing.

Never mind that there is no major movement or serious interest in repealing the Second Amendment — and while there are people advocating this, they are on par with those wishing to secede from the United States; fools tilting at windmills.

Follow through to read the rest.


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Social Media & Education Project Update

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So in the first 5 days of the project, I've gotten some decent responses.  I've got just under 100 responses and am hoping that this next week with faculty and students back to class I will be able to catch more people to fill out the survey.  I'd like to see this go to a much larger number of faculty and students in the ensuing month, so please keep forwarding this survey to other people--your help thus far has been great!

The project is looking at faculty and students who choose to interact during or after a course via social media.  Thus I'm interested in hearing from students who have interacted with faculty they have had for their courses and faculty who have interact with their students from the courses they teach.  I wanted to take a brief look at the current findings to show some interesting elements in the results thus far:

1.  Faculty vs. Students
This breakdown shows the different in faculty and students who have filled out the survey.  That more faculty than …

Social Media and College, or Please Take This Survey

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So I've been involved in a range of conversations in the last few years about the nature of social media and college education.  I'm fascinated by the challenges and possibilities that it holds for learning, engagement, and the opportunities it avails for deeper connections for students and faculty alike.


To that end, I've created the following informal survey to start to explore this in more detail than just my own experiences and those within my circle of friends and colleagues.  As I gathering the information over the ensuing months, I will share the results and findings in this blog to open up a more thorough discussion on the topic.
Social Media and College Survey This survey is examining social media and the college experience.  Primarily, it's geared towards exploring how faculty and students interact via social media both during and beyond the semester that a student and faculty member initially meet.  The information will be largely used to better understand the…

Hierarchy, Education, and Social Media

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As many instructors have shifted towards a student-centered learning focus, I see and participate in regular discussions about decentrailizing the power within the class; creating a shared space of learning that is as least hierarchical as possible.  This discussion comes up a lot within online learning where the instructor is often encouraged to view himself/herself as a facilitator, not necessarily as an instructor.  This makes sense given the online environment can do significant injury to the traditional model of the "sage on stage."  Any instructor's wisdom is apt to be already found on the internet in spades along with additional wisdom, countered-wisdom, and other related wisdom.  The instructor is no longer the keeper of the knowledge but more a curator or conversationalist with the students; a guide. But many instructors realize the importance in shifting any class (online, face to face, hybrid, etc) in this direction as it does change the ways in which  power d…

Checking In: A Year On Foursquare

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"1 year ago today, you found a crazy little app called Foursquare.  Thanks for hanging with us!"

Last year around this time, I was listening to Jeff Jarvis's Public Parts: How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Livewhich eventually convinced me to sign up for the app known as Foursquare.  Today (Friday, January 11, 2013) marks the one year anniversary of using Foursquare.  The app allows users to virtually "check in" at the places he or she is physically at in a given moment, be it a school, coffee shop, music performance, or even private residence.  The check-in grants you a various amounts of points depending on frequency.  The points are contrasted with other people you are friend with on Foursquare and if you frequent a place regularly enough, you become "Mayor" of the place.  Along the way, you can also earn "badges" which collect on your profile according to the types of checkins you've performed.  For instance,…

School Education: Convenient But Not Really About Learning

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This past year, I read a handful of books on education, information, and the brain (see reading list at the bottom of this post for the major influencing texts).  All of it fascinating stuff, but all of it leads to me some rather disappointing conclusions.  As Seth Godin explains in his great TED Talk, Stop Stealing Dreams and Ken Robinson also addresses in his TED Talk turned animation, Changing Education Paradigms, the current education system is not only antiquated, but really, an impediment to learning given all we know about learning.  Given that learning still takes place every day (or rather almost every one of the 180 days students are required to be in school--barring things like field days, ski trips, and other non-education oriented excursions) seems to be a testament to the resilience of children, even when being done a disservice.  

This is not an attempt to bash teachers by any means; their resources and freedom are severely limited and confined.  That teachers are able t…

Favorite Reads of 2012 and Why

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I clocked in 2012 at just over 265 books.  Granted, just over 135 of them were graphic novels, so they might not count as some people might argue; but I'll still take over 125 books read in the last year as a win.  So of those books that I have read in the last year, here are some of my favorites and why:

NONFICTION
Education The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller             A fascinating book about a teacher who manages to get her students to regularly read forty books within the school year and how she manages to do it. 
The Graphic Syllabus and the Outcomes Map: Communicating Your Course by Linda Nilson             I talked this book on this blog.  It’s a great one for thinking differently about communicating the details of your syllabus.
The following books paint a very challenging picture about the future of education.  There are some great ideas offered (particular with regards to the Finnish model of education) but  that requires a whole…

Favorite Posts of 2012

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Like many others, I see the end of the year as an arbitrary time to reflect, but that won't stop me from doing so.  This post will highlight some of my favorite posts in the last year (of which there about 90 posts between this post and when I restarted the blog back in March, 2012).  What follows are what I think are some of the best of what I've done.

As a whole I've really enjoyed blogging and how it has helped me think more clearly about different ideas and issues.  It's one thing to have ideas in your head, it's another to talk in miscellaneous exchange about them, but it's entirely something else to collect them together in written form for others to see and respond.  Putting them in this forum has allowed me to share what I feel I can share with the world (my ideas and thoughts) while also allowing me to hear from others where they agree, disagree, and have even been moved by what I've said.

So here are a few of those:
On Becoming a ReaderPart 1and Pa…