The Online Community

The learning that takes place with people you’ve never met is quite a unique experience. Currently I’m enrolled in a graduate class from Athabasca University. The course is called Human Factors in Distance Education. It’s project based which I prefer but it’s unusual in that most of the students are not educators. We’re developing a website on the Freedom of Information and Privacy Protection. Learning from non-teachers is valuable.

Will Richardson wrote recently about his thoughts on blogging and the online community. Everyone can potentially be an authority. This can be dangerous but it also opens up great possibilities.

Another great example of the need for teachers to be experts of information literacy not technology.

Rattling my chains

I heard Alfie Kohn speak this morning. He raised some interesting issues regarding grading and teaching in general. His basic premise is that extrinsic rewards are in direct conflict with intrinsic rewards and thus students will work towards a grade rather than towards learning and the love of it. If our collective long term goal for our students are to help them become critical thinkers, caring citizens and lll’s (life long learners), is what were doing with kids now really going to achieve this?

He also talked specifically about the Saskatchewan situation. Commending our province on the one hand for being front runners in opposing the strong move towards standardized testing and “potato sorting” of students. He was also very critical of Saskatchewan’s Evergreen Curriculum stating that it’s objective heavy mandated approach limits teachers in discovering content because of the perceived need to cover content.

Very interesting stuff and things that I’ve been pondering for a while. His philosophy of education coincides well with two other speakers I’ve heard in the last 6 months. Willard Daggett and Ken O’Connor. Maybe we will see a change….

Weird and yet engaging

We all know the internet is a weird place. Here are two very odd sites that I came across recently.

One is called Nobody Here. I can’t really figure it out but it’s quite captivating. I’d like to know what others think about this one.

The other one I believe has some mathematical usefulness. I think it’s called Drawtoy but I’m not really sure. It allows you to build a kalediescope and apply all kings of effects.

Theses sites are courtesy of a previous post on Stumble upon.

Personal, portable computers for everyone

How long before everyone has some type of wireless portable computer.

MIT is currently working on developing a laptop for under $100. The intent is to provide 3rd world countries with technology.

A High School in Arizona is replacing textbooks with laptops. Every student gets a laptop and the cost isn’t going to be significantly higher as the cost of textbooks for all classes will exceed the costs of the laptops.

Duke University is giving every freshman an iPod. The iPod comes preloaded with university information and can be used to record lectures and yes, download and listen to music.

My belief is that at some point and it may be sooner than we think, we need 1-1 computing for all students. One to one portable as well. Be it a PDA, laptop or some other technology, it’s coming. I hope we don’t get caught sleeping and miss out on providing students with the kind of education they need as they enter the 21st century.

Any thoughts?

Let’s get this right!

The power of the internet is hard to understand sometimes.

Working with students at King George on Wednesday, they were determined to achieve perfection. As we were shooting segments for their news broadcast, they kept wanting to redo scenes over and over again. I finally had to tell them we only have so much time and they would have to settle for something less than perfection.

Why were they so concerned about the quality of their work? Are they simply perfectionists? Are they this way about all their work?

I think knowing they will have a larger audience makes all the difference. A website called fanfiction illustrates this point well.

Why worry about work that only one person will see, when you can share you work with thousands?

This is what the King George students were essentially telling me.