Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Rules for Teaching

  • Start simple.
  • Praise effort and progress.
  • Model desired behavior i.e. provide examples, demonstrate.
  • Use questions to determine what learners need to know.
  • Provide numerous opportunities for practice and feedback.
  • Establish routines, but embrace novelty.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Some Quotes on Thinking and Our willingness to Think New Thoughts

If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way.
- Bertrand Russell

The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority. The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority. The first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking.
- AA Milne

Not much of an update to the blog, but don't think I'm really disappointing any readers, hehe. Oh well, back to work.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Crucial Lawmaker Outlines Changes to Education Law - New York Times

Crucial Lawmaker Outlines Changes to Education Law - New York Times

Probably the most crucial part of this article is the need for better and more extensive measures of student performance than math and reading tests. So many schools are failing to accurately report graduation rates and the emphasis on testing has discounted course mastery requirements.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

"I now perceive one immense omission in my psychology: the deepest principle of human nature is the craving to be appreciated." - William James

Thursday, May 03, 2007


Google: "America believes in education: the average professor earns more money in a year than a professional athlete earns in a whole week.
- Evan Esar"

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Dell’s Founder Is Rethinking Direct Sales - New York Times

Dell’s Founder Is Rethinking Direct Sales - New York Times: " *

"Found this article interesting even though it has little to do with eLearning. Dell is a big influence here in Central Texas, and its lagging sales and consequent falling stock performance have been the talk of the town recently. Now it seems that Dell is re-thinking its Direct sales model and may begin to sell to consumers in retail outlets. Supposedly the shift last year to more people buying laptops as opposed to desktops was the turning point. Laptops are harder to customize than desktops, therefore the "build to order" makes less sense.

However, I think that consumers like the shopping experience and many want the hands-on touch and feel they can get when they go to the Apple store or CompUSA, in addition to the immediate gratification of carrying something out the door. It will be interesting to see how Dell can transform its internet/catalog sales to retail outlets.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Austin Independent School District : High School Redesign

Austin Independent School District : High School Redesign

Austin is going through a high school redesign process. This page provides lots of links to similar projects and some results of their research, as well as listing requirements and successful models.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Creating Passionate Users: Random Tuesday Links

Creating Passionate Users: Random Tuesday Links: "There's a very short video clip the SXSW folks put together, edited from my opening remarks there. It's not exactly the way it happened in the talk -- they cut things and rearranged things -- but it does show a couple of the slides about The Suck Threshold."

More on Kathy Sierra's talk at SXSW. After subbing today for a high school theater class, I wish I knew how to create passionate learners. Some of the students were motivated and engaged. Some were bored -- of course, having a sub is often a clear signal to goof off. Some of the students were taking the class simply to fulfill the requirement for a fine arts credit. Too much of today's "schooling" offers students too little inspiration.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

SWSWi 2007 Interactive Panels

Those of us who have been to SXSW Interactive know that it is a rare opportunity for the world of interactive media to come to us here in Austin. This year I didn't get to attend but was glad that other fans have posted links to the podcasts available. So far I've enjoyed Bruce Sterling's witty remarks and
Kathy Sierra's keynote. I want to hear more from the panels.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Spinning: EDUCATION: And The Internet

Spinning: EDUCATION: And The Internet

Interesting blog on writing and reading in NewMedia context. Followed lots of her links and want to explore more.

Creating Passionate Users: Face-to-Face Trumps Twitter, Blogs, Podcasts, Video...

Creating Passionate Users: Face-to-Face Trumps Twitter, Blogs, Podcasts, Video...: "The most underrated benefit of the face-to-face effect of conferences is INSPIRATION."

Listening to Kathy Sierra Podcast from SXSWi

Lately, I've become a fan of Kathy Sierra, not even knowing that she was speaking at SXSWi. Her website makes great use of graphics, as well as words. Her writing in the Head First series is engaging and interactive. How do we make our applications, our content, our subject matter so compelling that our readers stay with us, through the "suck threshold" as she's dubbed it.

Interestingly enough, you almost have to listen to the podcast as you look at her blog entry because she uses so many visuals.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

No Apple for Teachers

Steve Jobs was in town speaking to a group of education reformers.

Essentially the guru of Apple said schools would never improve as long as teachers couldn't be fired by principals. This statement made me wonder what Jobs knows about public schools, the power of principals, and the actual problems present in today's Texas classrooms. Jobs decried the teachers' unions in a state where unions barely exist, and teacher unions wield almost no power. What's interesting is that Jobs' message was probably more threatening to school book publishers and the textbook adoption process over which Texas exerts tremendous influence. I agree with what Jobs was proposing regarding using online textbooks instead of paper ones. However, I believe that the previous post on relearning learning and creating communities of learners via the internet is a much more powerful paradigm.

Now I have to find this group so powerful that they can get Steve Jobs and Michael Dell in the same room. It sounds like this group was created to support the development of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, known to most Texans as the TAKS.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Relearning Learning

Reading this blognote, from www.elearning blog about Relearning Learning: Applying the Long Tail to Learning--led me to watching the video. I was inspired. However below are simply my notes and cribbing of Dr. John Seely Brown's PowerPoint presentation. You'll have to view it yourself to see the Matrix/ Naruto / Narutrix video or maybe you can view on YouTube, if that's your interest. But for me, it was interesting to hear an engineer talking so creatively about learning and how we might re-create our institutions of learning for today's students and tomorrow's world.

Notes: Listening to Seely Brown presentation at MIT talk about how we can support more collaborative life-long learning.
Learning as enculturation into a Practice.
Studio-based learning via the architecture studio model at MIT. All learning is public, from idea to design to prototype to master critique.
Learning a practice -- like an apprentice. "Moving seamlessly between lecture, experiment & discussion and addressing the drop-out rate." Pilot worked kind of well -- have to change teaching practices -- changing from being a "Sage on a Stage." Technology by itself is not the game.
Learning about vs. Learning to be (sooner rather than later) happens with in an epistemic frame -- a way of seeing the world, a way of knowing the world --

examples: Open source movment: write code that can be read, can be understood, and can be added to -- a community
Decameron Web -- Open Review of Articles / work in progress rendered public / Nature: the Publication

What creates meaning for the new digital culture?

"Creating meaning by what I produce and others build on -- a remix, open source culture, and even doing homework with IM."

Remix & Mashup - creative tinkering & the play of imagination -- but it is also creative rendering & the play of imagination.

Naruto & Matrix-- REmix of Matrix using Naruto anime series The Narutrix

Not just consumers of mass media/ amators (doing it for love)

But what about Knowledege Production? Not linear but interactive, recursive - Spiral structures???
The rise of the amateur (amator) class as builder, researcher, scholar, inventor -- Example from amateur astronomy yahoo groups. Faulkes Telescope Project -- Students get remote access Set up on Maui


Tapping abundant resources of the net -- Open Educational Resources

OCW - MIT's open courseware
MIT Lecture Browser (video) - experiencing the best

OpenCourseWare Consortium

Connexions - Rice's open content initiative/tools
OLI - CMU's open learning initiative
Open Portals:
WGBH - 113,000 lectures, many on video, BBC . . .

Resources galore. But are they getting better? Creating a learning loop or learning ecology -- the diversity of the users gives us insight into how to improve it.

Next Slide;

A Circle of Knowlege Building and Sharing

support for creating respresentations of pedagogical knowledge & learning experiences

Encourage teachers/students to review, critique, and learn from peers' represented knowledge

----> Blogs, Wiki, KEEP Toolkit, social networks, Web 2.0, etc

Integrate local mods/remixes into communal knowledge base

All connected by an Extended Teaching Commons
providing venues for sharing experiences/evidence to improve practice


A Fundamental Transition is Underway in this Age of abundance
supply push-----> demand pull
physical stores ---> online shopping
. . . .

. . . .. News in Korea, citizen reporting, professional editing

inventory based schemes to lean schemes

supply push works in scarcity / demand pull works in abundance

Slide: A Grand Transition (supply) Push ----> (Demand) Pull


Building stocks of knowledge --> supporting flows of knowledge
(factory model of educ.) ---> learning ecologies model

Informal learning:
Revisiting constructivist learning but now in virtual communities of practice -- learning by tinkering, designing, creating, remixing, and researching

Uniting the cognitive and social basis of learning -- re-conceiving Dewey in the digital age and . . .

The long tail distribution of the networked age (circumventing the scarce shelfspace) how do you serve the longtail -- documentaries -- NetFlicks

The long Tail in Education
Leveraging each segment quite differently Supporting the rise of an ecology of learning/doing niches
Ah, demand pull - I am passionate about this niche topic. I want to learn/do more! Scaffolding for fat part of tail, simulation kits (Moses - nanos, mems?) Spikes

Compactness Theorem Result -- Any kid has a passionate interest can find a niche in community of interest - Spike - Group joining and apprenticing

In School Model: a hybrid passion-based participation in niche communities of co-creation complemented by a minimal core curriculum.

But more generally: could we enable recreation to become a form of re-creation (remix, tinkering, sharing) based on productive inquiry in communities of co-creation.

Retired people can keep boot-strapping their own skills through this passion-based learning.

Productive Inquiry -->social networking

When relaxation becomes an act of re-creation/remix & productive inquiry
Culture of learning -- a culture that thrives on innovation, life long learning, edge thinking/doing and inspiration - closing the inspiration gap. And national competiveness in a global world.

visual learner --> abstract thinkers -->concrete doers

Atonal music / Abstract art / Remix of Romeo Julie --> WestSide Story --> Spiral of learning --> feedback

Join the ateliers to learn / participate, stay in dorm to learn thru OCW / Build up the edge/ transforms the core/ Carnegie group of teachers/ learning through stories/ When do you consolidate learning / blogs in classes/ externalize the class discussion for more reflective learners. MITs Portal for Shakespeare / MashUps / copyrights/ fears of technology/ Creative Commons / wikipedia / We are in a age of transitions, we don't have stable genres, cyber infrastructure how to make it more secure/ SecondLife? / MySpace / study groups/ IM and virtual study groups/ John

eLearning Post

I like this blog for its up-to-date reviews of edublogs.

Campus Technology

Campus Technology has a great article re-thinking learning for the 21st century. Oh, I think I have my reference wrong. That's why I have to get a blogger toolbar. There is no doubt that while classroom instruction still has value, it can be greatly enhanced by online tools.

I've found it interesting that as much as businesses have tried to monopolize the technology for profit, such as the merger of Blackboard and WebCBT, new technologies arise that capture our students' imaginations quicker than corporations can respond.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

How Do You Learn?

Amazing research is being done about how our brains work. We can now map brain activity and simulate processes, and yet there is still so much we don't know about how the chemicals and nerves create those incredible ideas, images, feeling, and memories. If you have a memory, but you can't retrieve it, does it still exist, somewhere in your brain?

Saturday, January 20, 2007

How to Learn

"I hear and I forget; I see and I remember; I do and I understand." - Chinese Proverb

Monday, January 15, 2007


xPlanazine doesn't seem to be keeping the blog up with the daily frequency they once were. Oh well, neither do I.

Here are some new favorite links to ed sites I try to check regularly.

Stephen Downes website

Oh, he's got such a list, I'll have to investigate and get back later.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

My favorite new education blog. I wanna podcast so bad, and these guys and gals convince me that it's not only possible, it can be envigorating to converse at the edges of today's information tech spheres.

Of course, I have to add

I'm subjected to this all day by my son, but I have to admit about half the time I enjoy it.

And for just the facts -- a domain name I like,

later, gaters