by Stephen Downes
Feb 18, 2015
Techniques for Unleashing Student Work from Learning Management Systems
This is a good start and we learn something about the techniques applies (and my own perspective is called "radical" and an "an affront to the profession," but hey, I'm good with it). But I wish we learned more about what happened in the course. Of the number of people signed up, how many of them created their own blogs or websites. Did hashtags really help them find each other? How many of them wrote angry emails demanding to use the LMS? How well did the syndication engine work? I'm especially interested in the last question because it resembles Pageflakes more than a regular reader, much less the email newsletters send by gRSShopper.
Economists Say Millennials Should Consider Careers In Trades
I too would recommend people pursue a career in the trades, but I want to add a few caveats that economists aren't yet ready to concede (or so it seems to me). One thing is that we have to reposition trades in society. In many parts of the world - Europe springs to mind - people who work in the trades are respected as professionals, well-paid (often by virtue of their union or trade association) and play a significant role in society. They are well educated and well-rounded, and often partake in creating and enjoying the best of music, art and culture in the society. In North America we have demoted the trades to servants, mostly disbanded their associations and unions, and have been squeezing their pay and benefits to decades. Now we are reaping what we have sown. If I were a millennial I would tell the economists that I need more than just education; I would say that the social contract needs to be renegotiated before I would consider a career in the trades. That said, there is still time, and there is yet money (though it lies in the hands of a very few people and languishes unspent in offshore accounts).
School Is About More Than Training Kids to Be Adults
As summarized in the ASCD Smart Brief newsletter where I saw this, "College- and career-readiness lessons sometimes miss the mark, especially with students who see few rewards in adult life, English teacher Michael Godsey writes in this commentary." I get the idea but I'm not sure I agree with the 'kids just want to have fun' undertone to the article. It is true that their interests and their tastes haven't matured. But that is often not because their tastes are juvenile, but simply because the kids themselves haven't matured yet. So in supporting their current interests, educators are very much preparing them for adult life - but for their adult life, and not our own.
Is Connectivism A New Learning Theory Based on Old Ideas?
Tecnologias e Educação,
Bruna writes, "the successful students are usually the ones who understand what they have to reach and which path they need to follow. They are recognized and rewarded (good grades) by their abilities to follow rules..." We've seen this observation before, for example, in John Holt.It suggests a strategy for reshaping learning: reshaping the rules (or better, the outcomes) needed to be successful. But this, she writes, points both to a strength and a failingin connectivism: "Students' creativity and engagement are considered of high importance in connectivism but, according to the passage presented above, connectivism may be failing in developing and evaluating those, just as 'obsolete' learning theories do." Thus is a challenge for all theories: how to promote desirable traits in students, without imposing a set of rules and values that promote success by obedience.
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