Monthly Archives: April 2012

link dump 041112

It’s time to look beyond the rigid physical and time boundaries of only schooling for learning, and establish methods for engaging kids in connected learning all the time and everywhere.

How Do You Measure the Spark of Creativity?

Great teaching, like great writing, is nuanced, complex and much larger than the sum of its parts.

Facebook is going back to its college roots today, adding new groups features available specifically to college students to aid in collaboration and sharing. Facebook Groups for Schools is expanding to more schools with a couple of new features in tow: file sharing and a very slightly relaxed set of rules for students who attend the same university. 

Lawsuit Says Apple, Publishers Colluded to Raise Prices; Three Will Settle


I don’t want to ruin it for people, you know? Whenever people say it’s Springfield, Ohio, or Springfield, Massachusetts, or Springfield, wherever, I always go, “Yup, that’s right.”

(mostly) education link dump 041012

After yesterday’s post, I have a feeling this will become a habit.

Teaching technology: we need a digital revolution in the classroom

…Britain is in danger of producing a generation of technological suckers: people who know how to word process a letter, buy apps for their iPhones and to search in Google, but have no understanding of the inner workings of these services.

Yes, Even Professors Can Write Stylishly

Nearly everyone, including the editors of academic journals, would much rather read lively, well-written articles than the slow-moving sludge of the typical scholarly paper.

How We Will Read: Clay Shirky

Publishing is not evolving. Publishing is going away. Because the word “publishing” means a cadre of professionals who are taking on the incredible difficulty and complexity and expense of making something public. That’s not a job anymore. That’s a button. There’s a button that says “publish,” and when you press it, it’s done.

Almost 20% of 3rd Graders Have Cell Phones

Adults — digital natives or not — can’t imagine what a childhood mediated by mobile, social technology that didn’t exist 10 years ago is actually like. 

Turning Students Into Good Digital Citizens

Schools have always been charged with the task of producing good citizens. But how has our definition of a “good citizen” changed over the ages?

Is Twitter Good For Us?

(This one doesn’t seem to need an explanation, other than that it’s a podcast to listen to.)

Andrea Kershaw of IDEO on Creativity in the Classroom

New purposes for schools should be created and worked towards. Teachers could be more about “curators of learning experiences” rather than “broadcasters of information”; and students less spoon-fed and less like sponges that merely soak in information.

Should High School Students Be Required to Take Online Classes

More than a million K-12 students take online classes, studying everything from Chinese to AP English. Now, Virginia students will be required to complete at least one virtual course.

Five Future Technologies That Will Shape Our Classrooms

What does the future hold for our classrooms, and what kinds of technologies will shape the minds of our children’s children? … Here are five future technologies that will completely change the learning space and revolutionize the techniques we use within it.

The Stanford Education Experiment Could Change Higher Learning Forever

I’ve never heard of these algorithms or considered how a computer determines a route. But I’ll learn, because despite the utter lack of qualifications I just mentioned, I’m enrolled in CS221: Introduction to Artificial Intelligence, a graduate-level course taught by Stanford professors Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig.


And now the non-education articles…

The Broken “Buy-One, Give One” Model: 3 Ways To Save Toms Shoes

Toms has built a popular brand around the buy-one, give-one model. But two critical flaws in that model threaten to undo its social impact and business successes.

Warby Parker Disrupts the Eyewear Industry

The founders explain how they dramatically undercut the dominant glasses makers.

education link dump 040912

I’m not normally one to do a link dump at the end of the day, but I came across so much interesting stuff that I never got the chance to do anything with today. This might become a regular occurance.

Design Thinking for Educators

The Design Thinking Toolkit for Educators contains the process and methods of design, adapted specifically for the context of education.

Designing Conference Posters

Gratuitous advice on how to prepare posters for scientific meetings, research conferences, and similar gatherings of nerds who want to share their stuff on really big pieces of paper.

Social Media Changing the Nature of Activism?

Websites and social media can garner the support of hundreds of thousands for a particular cause. They can even bring issues to light that might otherwise have been overlooked by mainstream media. 

Single Best Free Way to Transform Classrooms of Any Size – and Fast Too!

It may sound like I’m selling snake oil, but I actually do have one trick that, at no cost, can transform your classroom or public speaking event, whether a seminar or a lecture, whether for 8 year olds or doctoral students, CEOs or senior citizens.

The Role of Tech vs The Purpose of Education

Working in the field of digital media and learning, where the important role of new technologies in learning seems self-evident, the slow pace of change in mainstream education can feel frustrating. Responding to this challenge, we give a lot of attention to thinking about ways to support and encourage teachers to make greater use of the opportunities presented by digital media, but perhaps we should spend more time considering how and why technologies come to be used, or not used, in the first place.

The 21st century pedagogy teachers should be aware of

Interpersonal learning, personalized learning, second life learning, 3d learning, collaborative learning and virtual learning, these are just some of the few buzz words you would be hearing so often in today’s educational literature. Things have changed , old methods and pedagogies are no longer relevant.

Education in Peru: Error Message

Giving a child a computer does not seem to turn him or her into a future Bill Gates—indeed it does not accomplish anything in particular. That is the conclusion from Peru, site of the largest single programme involving One Laptop per Child, an American charity with backers from the computer industry and which is active in more than 30 developing countries around the world. 

MBTV S02E06 – Designer Dad

In this episode we’ll meet MakerBot operator Steve Conine – known to Thingiverse as sconine. Steve is most famous for designing Thingiverse’s Mechanical Animals, Toy Train Sets, Log Cabins and Starfish. Check out some of the many toys that he has designed and printed with his children and find out why he decided to bring a MakerBot into the family.

A Liberal-Arts Consortium Experiments With Course Sharing

In discussions about the future of higher education, there’s often plenty of hand-wringing over the precarious fate of the hundreds of small, tuition-dependent private colleges scattered throughout the country. With many of them located in out-of-the-way places, their isolation means that merging or even collaborating with other institutions to reduce costs is typically not an option.

transconnectiplinary studies

Old-fashioned learning
photo by liquid06.

Matt and I talk a lot, and one of our recent conversations made its way into a blog post. You should read it, but basically we had a disagreement that stemmed from the compartmentalization of education as we know it and are exposed to it every day. Matt’s a big thinker, and when he talks about science education, he’s thinking bigger than the traditional definition of science — way more than component sciences of biology, chemistry, physics, etc. More people should be thinking like he does.

I often think back to my sophomore year in high school, not only because it was so much fun, but because of how the school combined our English literature and US history classes into a combined American Studies curriculum. It made a lot of sense at the time, and I’ve wondered why more subjects don’t get combined in a similar way. It took moving heaven and earth to get an independently-created major approved in college, and I don’t think I’ve seen a combined course since that sophomore year class. It’s amazing how much I talk about it so many years later.

Matt and I had a follow-up conversation where we imagined what a school day would look like if we were allowed to create the kinds of connections between classes that we think… that we know… should take place, going beyond any temporary push to create interdisciplinary units that may or may not carry over from year to year. We pretty easily created two lumps of classes. English, history, and foreign language could be combined into one humanities course, and science, mathematics, technology (not that it wouldn’t be everywhere) into a STEM course, with the arts and physical education as two freestanding disciplines that could be brought in to either of the two combined curses when connections made sense. Why wouldn’t you combine courses into broader swaths of understanding? How does it make sense to compartmentalize education into bite-sized pieces?

[EDIT: And, to be clear, I think those connections that the arts and physical education could make would be pretty constant. You could easily throw the arts in with the humanities course above, but that would make it one more jump to connect with all the STEM-type stuff — angles in drawings and paintings, frequencies of sound, etc. PE could be brought in through things like the evolution and importance of sports to a certain time, or the physics behind a dribbling ball. I focused on the humanities and STEM because they’re low-hanging fruit in this discussion.]

What other combinations would make sense? How would you redesign your courses if you could, and does it make sense to do that?