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.