2 Cents Worth



Engagement v. Empowerment
Dave Warlick 2 Cents WorthJan 08, 2010

Warlick is right to say, as many have, that we should aim for empowerment, not merely engagement. But the mathematical formula he offers in part two of his post is - if I may be so gentle - nonsense. What is it to divide, for example, 'information system' by 'skills'? What are the units of 'resourcefulness', or even more importantly, of 'surprise me'? Why is the impact of 'responsibility' exponential? And why is the unit of 'responsibility' the exponent, rather than, say, 'responsibility squared', which is also exponential? Why multiply these figures instead of add them? How would any of this be measured? It is not helpful to create fake mathematical expressions with utterly no basis in reality over and above one's own talking points - and the really sad part about this is that so many of Warlick's enthusiastic followers will interpret this as 'science'. Today: Total:1137 [Comment] [Direct Link]

About My New Header
David Warlick 2 cents worthAug 19, 2009

Very clever adaptation of a very service called Personas, an MIT project that analyzes your personal profile and creates a 'DNA' of your online character. I tried it out; it sorts based on your name, which means that if you're "Joe Smith" it will be terribly inaccurate. For my name it was OK. Today: Total:910 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Why did Google Make this Harder
Dave Warlick 2 cents WorthJul 16, 2009

Good question, and even more importantly, parsing of the steps required (now) to access an RSS feed of a Google news search. The autofind is still there for blog search, for example, this is a blogs search feed for Downes. Today: Total:963 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Information Architecture and Classical Music
Dave Warlick 2 cents worthMay 05, 2009

I'm not sure I would call avant-garde cello 'classical music', but this, her fusion of cello and technology, is certainly interesting. I like the way the baggage cart sound blends in around the 8:20 mark. Anyhow, don't miss this. From the site: "Avant-garde cellist Zoe Keating (zoekeating.com) covers "Time Is Running Out" by Muse in the pre-security concourse area of the international terminal at San Francisco International Airport." Today: Total:1269 [Comment] [Direct Link]

What Does Broadband Mean?
Dave Warlick 2 Cents WorthApr 09, 2009

As you know, I've had issues with bandwidth here in Australia, and today am paying $Aus 30 for one day of access barely adequate for a short newsletter. Australia has recently announced a broadband initiative, but what is significant is that the government here has (finally) realized that a private system will cherry-pick and overcharge. Canada privatized its telecom infrastructure a few years later than Australia and enjoys a relatively faster broadband, but the chart shows that we're lagging too. And as for the U.S., well, the internet has always been slow there. This is the time to build broadband, for the government to build broadband, when costs will be low and the need never greater. Anyone listening in Ottawa?
Today: Total:13488 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Solutions for Dropout Prevention
Dave Warlick 2 Cents WorthApr 09, 2009

The diagram supporting this post reminds me of the argument maps Tim van Gelder used to make. Warlick is working from an article posted by Wes Fryer, using an Inspiration diagram. "I, like Fryer, put the individualized graduation plan at the center of the diagram, with expectations, intervention, and a lot of input from staff, parents, and the student - establishing a meaningful high school experience." Today: Total:1174 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Personal Learning Networks - The Beginning
Dave Warlick 2 Cents WorthMar 23, 2009

Dave Warlick attributes the term 'Personal Learning Network' to George Siemens's 2004 paper, Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. In the comments I add that the term 'Personal Learning Network' is directly derived from 'Personal Learning Environment', which as this history shows was first used at the The Personal Learning Environments Session at a JISC/CETIS Conference in 2004 (this comment has yet to be approved by moderators as of this writing). Warlick wonders why he is being asked about the origin of the term: it could be because he has been busy popularizing it, as in this ISTE magazine article. For an overview of the concept of the PLN, see Lucy Gray's new slide show on the topic, and this presentation from David Jones on PLEs. Also, one of the most interesting PLNs I've found out there is this one by Chris Smith. Today: Total:1852 [Comment] [Direct Link]

The Future in Edmonton
David Warlick 2 Cents WorthMar 12, 2009

Dave Warlick was around my old stomping grounds, mentions in passing an interesting application called Knitter, and passes on the students' message for change. It's interesting to compare his approach with my own - his system has a message to the effect that "you must indicate your willingness to observe basic principles of information ethics. To sign in is to pledge..." and a list of principles follows. My conference chat (cchat) system allows anonymous comments and has no rules. I'll be using my system here in Austin at SXSW and adding some twists to it. Today: Total:1197 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Wikipedia & Edupunk
Dave Warlick 2 cents worthJun 04, 2008

Leaving aside the question of whether 'edupunk' deserves a Wikipedia entry: Dave Warlick notes, "The Wikipedia community works hard to earn respect among readers raised on authoritative, published print content." That, I think, is Wikipedia's mistake. It shouldn't bother. As Warlick says, "Yet, part of Wikipedia's value is its freshness, the fact that you can find the latest information there. And even if the term, Edupunk, does fizzle out in a few weeks or days, it might be of interest to someone, that for a few days during the approaching Summer of 2008, a group of educators were using a term so identified with rebellion and non-conformity to talk about the state of education." Right. Exactly. Today: Total:1750 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Percent of Teens Producing Digital Content Is Up
Dave Warlick 2 Cents WorthDec 20, 2007

The Pew survey is of Americans only, of course, and so there's no way to know whether the U.S. is leading a trend or catching up with the rest of the internet world. Still, the trend is a good one. Teens are producing more content, and "the survey found that content creation is not just about sharing creative output; it is also about participating in conversations fueled by that content." And, again, I think if people actually looked, they'd see that the internet is creating what is likely the most creative and literate generation in history.

Just found randomly following the DeviantArt link: Super Fun Buddy. A Tamagotchi with attitude. "This was my final for my Visual Computing class, so it took around a week to make. I've never animated anything substantial before in flash, so this was a real treat :] I made the music track in GarageBand, so don't bother asking what song it is." Do your students have 'visual computing class'?

Or how about this post from Dean Shareski describing those crazy kids and their YouTube. "Dan Pink is on to something. The kid didn't even use a camera. He took a song he liked but more importantly a lyric in the song and crafted a short but powerful message. Just messing around." Are your students studying video production? Shouldn't they? Today: Total:1239 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Be Very Careful About Student Panels
Dave Warlick 2 Cents WorthDec 12, 2007

I agree with Dave Warlick on this one. "These were... the kids who do what they're told and who have learned, from many years in the classroom, to tell us what they think we want to hear." This is typical of the "student input" that characterizes so many processes and serves to illicitly legitimize things with a false sort of 'student sanction'. Because, as Warlick notes, "They reinforced those teachers who believe that we are doing just fine with our kids, doing things the same way we've always done them." When 'student input' is sought, the students polled should not just be the 'A' kids. The dropouts and failures should be consulted as well. After all, that's what I was when I was in high school. If they had invited me to their education conferences - especially in Grade 12, when I was boycotting English tests - I would have had a few things to say, some of which might even have been relevant. Today: Total:10001 [Comment] [Direct Link]

How has Information Changed?
Dave Warlick 2 Cents WorthJun 14, 2007

Tom Hoffman's observations - that this post is not about the nature of information at all - are on point. But the post is illustrative of common misconceptions about the changing nature of media. Of these, forst is probably the confusion between 'information' and 'content'. By 'content' we can mean the messages sent over various media, including television, tabloid newspapers, email, radio, and the rest. But not all of this content is information - if the message is one you've already heard, or if the message is of no use to you, then it is not 'information'. To be information, the content needs to change your understanding of the world (cf. Fred Dretske). A second misconception is in the confusion between the medium and the information. If the information is 'Paris is the capital of France', the medium - be it networked, physical, overwhelming - does not change this information. Paris remains the capital of France. What changes is our understanding of the information - be cause we, being inescapably human, cannot resist bringing our prejudices and biases to the table. Today: Total:1658 [Comment] [Direct Link]

80% with a Second Life
Dave Warlick 2 Cents WorthMay 09, 2007

This is the sort of thing I think is just ridiculous. According to the Gartner press release cited here by Dave Warlick, 80 percent of active internet users will "have a second life" by 2011 - that is, they will be participants in a virtual world. If they mean 'will have tried it once' then maybe there's an outside chance. But if they mean 'will be an active participant', then there is no chance. Like the 'five laws' for participating in virtual world they also offer, the statement is not grounded in reality. "Behind every avatar is a real person?" Ridiculous - have they never heard of bots? Today: Total:1191 [Comment] [Direct Link]

What'S Good About the May 4 NY Times Article About Laptops in Schools
Dave Warlick 2 Cents WorthMay 07, 2007

So the New York Times make a flap last week with its article on why computers don't improve learning outcomes. What we learn is that if you don't change the way you teach - if you just leave the computers sitting there - you won't gain any benefit. And, as Dave Warlick points out here, while the students' test scores in traditional subjects do not change much, when they are given the opportunity to use the computer things that are not tested - like critical reasoning, information retrieval, collaboration and research - are greatly enhanced. Not sure why the testing agencies wouldn't care about that, though. Today: Total:1222 [Comment] [Direct Link]

I Just Don'T Get It Yet - Social Networks
Dave Warlick 2 Cents WorthMar 30, 2007

Dave Warlick echoes my comments on Ning, including the 'club' remark: "I'm wondering if this sort of social network 'place' is really more for kids. Children need a clubhouse, a place where they can be themselves, pretend to be somebody else, make up their own rules, and dream of other places and times. But clubhouses have walls, as does Ning! It seems to be a container and less in the spirit of small pieces loosely joined." Tony Karrer comments on Warlick's post: "any network that is a closed system needs something as a hook to achieve critical mass." Today: Total:1067 [Comment] [Direct Link]

I Just Don'T Get It Yet - Social Networks
Dave Warlick 2 Cents WorthMar 30, 2007

Dave Warlick echoes my comments on Ning, including the 'club' remark: "I'm wondering if this sort of social network 'place' is really more for kids. Children need a clubhouse, a place where they can be themselves, pretend to be somebody else, make up their own rules, and dream of other places and times. But clubhouses have walls, as does Ning! It seems to be a container and less in the spirit of small pieces loosely joined." Today: Total:1215 [Comment] [Direct Link]

I Just Don'T Get It Yet - Social Networks
Dave Warlick 2 Cents WorthMar 30, 2007

Dave Warlick echoes my comments on Ning, including the 'club' remark: "I'm wondering if this sort of social network 'place' is really more for kids. Children need a clubhouse, a place where they can be themselves, pretend to be somebody else, make up their own rules, and dream of other places and times. But clubhouses have walls, as does Ning! It seems to be a container and less in the spirit of small pieces loosely joined." Today: Total:1150 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Evaluating Blogs
Dave Warlick 2 Cents WorthDec 08, 2006

Dave Warlick offers some thoughts on evaluating websites. Of course readers may recall my observations on the subject last year in Principles for Evaluating Websites. Today: Total:1136 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Am I Getting This Wrong?
Dave Warlick 2 Cents Worth[Sept] 06, 2006

Dave Warlick looks at a study found through the National Center or Education Statistics, Computer and Internet Use by Students in 2003, dated September 5, 2006, that appears to use 6 year-old data. And he asks, is he wrong to think there's something wrong with this? "How many members were there of MySpace in 2003?" (I think that would be none, Dave, and the current figure is 86 million). Read the comments, not only for my response, but also for a link to "cartoon-style drawings of the DOE's vision of 'School 2.0.'"

(p.s. I am noticing that, because feeds are ordered alphabetically in Bloglines, I tend to favour some over others when I am in a rush - I wonder whether Dave planned to be at the top of the list his his title, '2 Cents Worth' (I wonder about everything) - anyhow, for people like 'Teachable Moment' or 'TechSmith Blog' note that I am aware of the bias and am working to redress it). Today: Total:1386 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Getting Right Down To It
Dave Warlick 2 Cents WorthAug 23, 2006

Dave Warlick posts a "Student and Teacher Information Code of Ethics." I personally think that a code of ethics is not useful, because if one believes in the ethics, the coded is not needed, and if one doesn't, the code will not be followed. Moreover, there is no need, again in my view, for an "Information" code of ethics - the basic principles apply in all areas of life: be honest, and take care not to harm others. And some of the specifics of this proposed code are, in my view, just wrong. To sample a few: "Always question the sources' motives?" No, because the motives are often irrelevant. "Consider all possible outcomes to the information you express?" Nice, but requires omniscience. "Encourage the information consumer to voice grievances about your information products?" Ack, ack ack! "Never use information from another person without proper citation and permission?" A bad principle; I would not be able to criticize most people and companies. Today: Total:1915 [Comment] [Direct Link]

DOPA Conversation
Dave Warlick 2 Cents WorthAug 04, 2006

Darve Warlick links to a number of commercial news outlets discussing the DOPA legislation (which makes things like blogging illegal in schools). Dave Tosh, meanwhile, links to a post on the impact of DOPA on ELGG. And Michael Feldstein has some suggestions to offer. Today: Total:793 [Comment] [Direct Link]

New Pew Internet Report&Comments
David Warlick 2 Cents WorthJul 20, 2006

A new report on bloggers and blogging from the Pew Internet in American Life project has been released. The general tgrend seems to be that bloggers are more diverse than one might expect, that they are generally young, and that tghey speak mostly to small audiences. Robert Paterson aslo comments in his post, Blogging - Not about the A list but the Long Tail. Today: Total:690 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Announcing hitchhikr.com
Dave Warlick 2 Cents WorthJun 20, 2006

Dave Warlick has hopped on to the Glu meme, in this case pulling together information from various sources about web conferences. It takes the conference aggregator I created for Merlot in 2003 (and NMC in 2004) one step further, bringing together Flickr images and adding a list of conferences in the right hand column. A good idea, but I have always wanted there to be some sort of conference RSS referencing system that organizers could use to really pull this together, using specific pointers in the XML rather than tags or keywords. The hitchhikr.com domain name wasn't active yet as I enter this, but this testbed site will give you the idea. Today: Total:814 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Richard Florida Presentation
Dave Warlick 2 Cents WorthFeb 24, 2006

Coverage of a recent talk by Richard Florida, the author who argues that creative people need specific types of environments in order to flourish. "Creativity knows no boundaries. Sex, color, nationality. It's universal. This is why, the places that are seeing their economies growing are places that are open and tolerant." This is something I believe, but mostly, I think, because this is what I, as a creative person, am seeking. Today: Total:1293 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Cultivating a Classroom Learning Engine through Information Economics
Dave Warlick 2 Cents WorthFeb 07, 2006

Interesting observation on the best strategy for schools in an era when control over content has slipped from their hands. "The content belongs to us. It's controlled by us. ..and we are producing an increasing amount of it. So I suspect that Khosla is right, we will not be able to control the content -- even in our classroom (especially in our classrooms?). Our best bet is to maintain the audience. Think about facilitating a successful classroom by cultivating its students into a learning engine." Today: Total:796 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Hack the System
Dave Warlick 2 Cents WorthJan 06, 2006

With a title like that, I had to run this item. Dave Warlick copmpares the "Industrial Model" of learning with the "Knowledge-Age Model," looking at conditions, goals, what we teach, how we teach, and assessment. You might want to contribute your ideas to his hack the system wiki. I like the comparison, so far as it goes, but I would like to see some of the more structural underpinnings examined. It's not just about information, job niches and a changing environment; that's kind of like saying 'the internet will be like television with more channels'. There's more going on here than people think. Today: Total:861 [Comment] [Direct Link]

A Season of Discontent
Dave Warlick 2 Cents WorthJan 05, 2006

I guess I wasn't alone. My own response to Will Richardson's reinventing ourselves on Tuesday, which I thought would quickly go away, seems to have reflected a wider sentiment in our community. Nathan Lowell takes notice, saying, "I thought it was just me and Donal." Bud the Teacher records a sympathetic podcast on it - I listened to it this afternoon. Dembo, reacting to Dave Warlick's podcast (a stream of interviews with teachers, the majority of them calling for an end to, or at least the reformation of, the classroom), says "the future is half empty." John Pederson actually up and quit his job as a district director of technology at the start of the year; he also comments, "The 2006 Kool Aid is a much crazier mix." Doug Noon took a look at what's happening and went out and joined the Electronic Frontier Foundation, citing Cory Doctorow's I quit my day job and the firing of Meg Spohn en passant. Alan Levine speculates, "Maybe it's time to brush the crumbs off the resume." Daniel Lemire also comments sympathetically. Jeremy Hiebert says, "it's not particularly encouraging to see smart, focused people in the community deciding to quit good jobs in educational technology for all the right reasons." Brian Alger writes, "There are times in life when we feel a certain pull on our being as if we are being drawn towards something we cannot fully comprehend in that moment. It invites intuition, or a sense of felt meaning (that is, meaning that cannot yet be expressed clearly in words). Often this intuitive sense is driven by mounting tension in our lives - the tension between the emerging reality of what we are doing with our lives, and the pull toward what we want to be doing with our lives." Today: Total:1030 [Comment] [Direct Link]

What's it all For?
Dave Warlick 2 Cents WorthDec 27, 2005

I ask myself "what's it all for" on something like a daily basis (I am always questioning myself, my motives, and my objectives) and so this short item gets to the heart of what we do. And the response - "to prepare children [or people] for the future" - doesn't satisfy. As Marco Polo asks, "When has mankind ever been ready for the future?" The problem with this isn't with the 'future' (after all, all our efforts are future-directed) or even 'mankind' (though it would be more inclusive to use the word 'humanity'). It's with the word 'prepare' - because it isn't about preparing for things. It is, in my opinion, about development, empowerment, self-fullfillment. In other words, the object of our endeavour isn't directed outward, at some (possibly hypothetical) scenario, work environment, or whatever, it is directed inward. And it seems to me that the best, the only, way to teach, is to make myself a better person, and to share this process with others - instead of telling, to show. This, of course, is the hard way, for who among us is ready to live up to the values we profess? Today: Total:724 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Insights from a Techie
Dave Warlick 2 Cents WorthNov 20, 2005

This subject came up several times over the last couple of weeks: how will schools and the education system be changed? And this is how I replied, each time: from the outside. Now this link: "Ok, so it isn’t the textbook? It's the audience? The class? What is the power of the audience? What is the power of the class? How might we turn the class audience into an engine for learning? What does it look like? Is this where we need to be thinking, in order to drive a bottom-up revolution in education?" Today: Total:692 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Information-Rich Classroom
Dave Warlick 2 cents Worth[Sept] 12, 2005

Why do people think that schools should fully equip students? Why, for example, do they think schools should provide computers, email, blog hosts, and the rest? It's not that I don't think students should have access to these things, but rather, that, that I think such things should be permanent and personal. Here, Dave Warlick describes the 'information-rich classroom' - and includes in his list a number of things that should belong to students, not the school. In the comments, I offer my own alternative to the list. Today: Total:724 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Blogs & RSS as a School Communication Environment
Dave Warlick 2 cents WorthAug 19, 2005

Dave Warlick has caught aggregator fever. In this post (and yes, it's a continuation of the 'blogs as conversation' conversation) he offers several ways aggregators could be used in a school environment: lesson plans, lesson reflections, lesson blogs, dynamic categorization, announcements and policy, subscription analysis. "The aggregator is the linchpin of this arrangement. Teachers must be able to refine their settings and how their subscriptions are organized." Yes. That's what we're saying. But it's a bit more difficult that just waving your hands and saying 'make it so'. You can't simply 'require' that teachers use this stuff; it's a whole different environment, a whole different mindset. Today: Total:619 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Four Reasons Why the Blogsphere Might Make a Better Professional Collaborative Environment than Discussion Forums
Dave Warlick 2 Cents WorthAug 15, 2005

This proposal outlines how teachers could use blogging as a conversation and collaboration tool. I think it's a bit complex (for now). But read it and judge for yourself. Today: Total:642 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Apple's In...
Dave Werlick 2 cents WorthJun 25, 2005

Coverage from NECC 2005. This item introduces the Apple Distinguished Educators podcasts, lamenting the new corporate influence (and, I would say, corporate-selected personalities) on a medium that has "come largely from people, who had an idea, made it work, and put it out there for the rest of us to use." This item also introduced four newish blogs that were unfamiliar to me: Teach 42, The Educational Mac, Learning Handheld and Connect Learning. Today: Total:686 [Comment] [Direct Link]


(Still working on this)