"The best way to learn is to try and teach."
- Learn something.
- Pay attention to what you find confusing.
- Come up with a way to make it less confusing / more fun for the next person.
- It can be a blog post, video, dance, song, smoke signal, what ever.
- Create a lesson and make it a little easier for the next person
To develop his themes, Palahniuk also conducts experiments in what he calls “crowd-seeding”: At parties he tells people what he’s working on and freely hands out his phone number to generate ideas….
All of his books are packed with this group expertise “so that you feel like you’re learning,” he says. It’s the Google-era technique of novel writing: social composition. “I’m simultaneously testing my material or premise with people and tweaking it,” he says. “Plus, it’s a fun game and gives people a role to play.”
Given that Mcgonigal says in her book that
All games share four defining traits: a goal, rules, a feedback system, and voluntary participation
So I’m thinking, why not crowd seed the writing of a sonnet? One could even make a game of it.
Hopefully more to come…
Click on the link below to access the reading list for the quarter. Once you have found a title that you want to read put your First Initial, Last Name under the “Reader” column. Be sure to bring in the signed permission slip as soon as you can.
I went into Borders yesterday and bought a book.
Soon that sentence will no longer be a possibility. As many already know, Borders has lost it’s battle with bankruptcy and is moving into full-on liquidation. While others have done a far better job of parsing the days and ways that this came about there remain valid lessons in this case for education and other targets of market disruption.
The Relationship with the Internet
As Slate points out:
Borders famously flubbed its relationship with the Internet. From 2001 until 2008, it outsourced its online sales to Amazon, essentially handing customers over to the bigger, better site during the formative years of e-commerce.
The lesson for education?
Here is an example of outsourcing core competencies. Sites like Kahn Academy and e2020 can be valid supplemental resources for things like blended learning. But that is all that these should be supplemental resources.
Overly scripted or “curriculum in a box” programs like Read 180 can provide structure and a basis for instruction but there is an implicit message being sent to educators: We don’t trust you to handle it alone. Such prescriptive programs can lower morale but also affect the sense of community. Make no mistake, I still think that any teacher that feels that they can be replaced by a computer probably should be. But we should take care not to use web-based programs and curriculum in a way that removes learners from the community of education in a school because they will simply seek out another to be a part of instead.
The Future Is Digital and Will Need Curation
NPR comes on strong in it’s Monkey See blog with two points.
There is no other future for reading but a digital one, and getting misty about the decline of tangible books is an exercise in futility. Reading itself has never been more popular, even if formats are in flux.
Bookstores are very special places, even the behemoths. They provide a space for cultural dilettantism. You can get lost in them for hours, perusing covers and picking up obscure titles. They are dedicated to discovery and are curated by some of the most dedicated retail employees around (even to get hired at a large corporate chain, one is still required to exhibit a sharp passion for reading).
The lesson for education?
Educators have to embrace multiple forms of authorship when it comes to content for their students both in terms of source and creation. Saying that you are a digital educator because you have a PowerPoint or Twitter lesson just isn’t going to cut it. This isn’t to say that all students need to be educated to be the next Amanda Hocking - but they should be allowed the option to geo that route if their passion dictates it.
The second point brings up the salience of curation. This point concerns me the more I learn about student motivation in the face of increased accountability testing. Right now education’s focus is more “what’s on the test” than it is “what are my students passionate about learning.”
People have written about how much they are going to miss Borders and just as many have written about the mistakes that got Borders to this point. One could say that a series of bad decisions broke the chain. But the real take-away from an educational standpoint is that technology was either dismissed or discounted to Borders’ detriment. These are mistakes that education not only cannot afford to make but also possesses the means to surmount. If education embraces technology, and through it change, Borders will be a cautionary tale. If not it will become an outlier.
Flickr user André Rabelo saw when he uploaded this b&w photo to a Flickr pool called DeleteMe!, which votes on whether a photo has any right being amongst the top classes of photography.
However, the joke was on the people commenting on “Rabelo’s” photo. The photo was actually one by Henri Cartier-Bresson. Yes, the Henri “father of modern photojournalism" Cartier-Bresson. But the plot thickens:
Over 500 comments have been added to Rabelo’s uploaded photo, and it makes for a hilarious yet thought-provoking read flipping through the pages. The first batch of comments from the DeleteMe! group some 68 months ago look rather foolish in hindsight, but not as foolish (in my eyes) as the bandwagon-jumpers who latched onto the prank once it was revealed, calling it “art” and a “masterpiece.”
This is kind of a case of “Schrödinger’s Photograph” - is something quality based on its observable merits? Or should the overall work transcend its constituent parts? Who decides what is “Art” or merely “art?” What about learning?
Given the rise of the aforementioned socially curated news and web content this story could be an outlier. While I love using Google+ and want schools to have the option of adding it to the Google Apps for Education suite, I have to take Rabelo’s photo as an admonition.
As an educator, the danger is to be a commenter of either extreme. Yes, there are many that want web 2.0 tools used in education, but when the discussion spirals out of the black & white which side should we be on? The one of process and
There’s a great article at Slate right now called “Groundhog Decade” that details how the movie industry is failing to learn from the decade of market disruption that’s just occurred. The money quote:
If the studios were smart they’d go to the mat and create a massive one-stop shop for TV and movies, find a price point they can live with and then set programmers loose to make the thing as easy to use and ubiquitous as possible. Instead they’ve been wasting their time strong-arming the cable companies to help them on a new crusade against illegal downloaders—an unwieldy process that doesn’t address the root problem and won’t work.
My takeaway is that, like many media outlets the movie industry would be better off if it embraced the disruption as what it is; change. Instead of having articles, posts, and tweets about how to thwart the New York Times pay-wall, what if they went to an National Public Radio model of funding? What would this embracing of disruption look like in education?
We’ve all heard a lot about how education is going to be disrupted by technology. Most involve someone from outside of the education world invoking specters of fear by citing the rapid change in technology, mentioning flip thinking, and a reference to Khan Academy.
There are those who fear change in any profession. But could with disruption come realignment?
At the end of the school year I often stand outside the school with my fellow teachers to bid farewell to our students. It’s a great way to end the year, to bring things to a close. Without fail we often notice that the students that are the most reluctant to leave are the students who like to spend more time in the hallway than class. The students who refer to school as a prison have tears streaming down their faces viewing the prospect of nearly three months of freedom. These students are mourning the impending loss of their friends, their community.
Some of the students that are the most challenging students in schools still see it as their community. Some of the technologies that challenge education use social media; technologies that create and cultivate community.
Where some fear disruption I choose to see an opportunity for realignment.