Ed-Tech Vendors: The Unintentional Enemy Outside?
Christian LongChristian Long, Think:Labthink:lab,

The session title was outrageous to bring Christian Long back from his hiatus - a conference seminar by Chris Ridgway, Sophos, titled The Enemy Within: Stop Students from Bypassing Your Web Filters. It sparked a wave of reaction, including a two-part post (part one, part two) from Sylvia Martinez asserting bluntly that studetns are not the enemy. And as Bud Hunt wrote to Ridgway, "I find this session title and the frame that you're using to sell your services to be offensive and beyond the pale. Our students are not our enemies and their behaviors are not rooted in violence." And Long concludes, "At worst, your language strips the very industry you are paid to serve of its mission and heart, not to mention the fairly painful irony that it attacks the very group that schools exist to advocate for...and to empower..." Today: Total:68 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Before I Go
Christian LongChristian Long, Think:Labthink:lab,

Christian Long has discontinued his think:lab weblog. "My days as an edu-blogger are now officially in the past tense. All that previous "think:lab" blogging energy will now be dedicated 100% to my kiddo (and his bro/sis-to-be) and to my HS English students." You know, I don't say this enough, that you should continue a thing only so long as you're getting out of it what you need in your personal or professional life. I am as happy to support a decision to stop as I am to support a decision to start. And the last word, appropriately, belongs to Long: "I consider it the equivalent of a remarkable 'graduate' degree that I've been blessed to experience for the 3 years and claim many mentors, friends, & colleagues from this process." Today: Total:45 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Loving the Collision, Not Just Hugs/Content
Christian LongChristian Long, think:labthink:lab,

In general, requests for the inherent properties are misplaced ('inherent properties' sometimes also thought of as the intrinsic properties, essential properties, or defining properties). Very few properties are inherent, and none of these are complex. Things related to meaning (see below), use, role, learning, behaviour, culture, and the like, are complex properties, and are observable only as a consequence of the interaction of a thing with its environment. There are no inherent properties of a teacher - what matters is only that people can learn from such a person. Today: Total:70 [Comment] [Direct Link]

I Can See Clearly Now (And I'm Smiling)
Chistian LongChistian Long, think:labthink:lab,

I've thought a lot about presentations - I've had to - and I'm mostly uncomfortable with the advice in this post. First of all, my presentations are vry rarely to pursuade. I am more often trying to explain or describe. My purpose is to model and demonstrate. I want people to see how I think about these topics, to see how I approach them. This requires clarity, and clarity - rather than, say, colour - is my main goal. I try to put enough text on the slide to be useful - the words help people who have difficulty hearing or who speak a different language. The illustrations are useful, but pointless illustrations - and the slides described here are full of them - merely add deadweight to the download. For visibility, text should be dark on white, and separate from images. Slides should flow - text and images combine to create a message, something viewers can interpret while hearing the presentation. Yes, I've seen poor presentations. But abandoning everything we know about clarity and cognition is not the answer. Good list of resources on the second-last slide. Today: Total:83 [Comment] [Direct Link]

A Thread of Real-World Critique
Christian LongChristian Long, think:labthink:lab,

I thought this was a great example that combined communication and community, learning, the open market, and collective wisdom - all centered around the design, production and sale of t-shirts. Do take a look - in my view, some of these designs are amazing. Christian Long writes, "Wanna know why it matters that our kids/students 'test' their best ideas on the open market? Because they get legitimate feedback and not a single cute 'atta-boy' pat on the head. It's not about the grade. But the results matter greatly." Today: Total:43 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Voice Matters. A Lot.
Christian LongChristian Long, think:labthink:lab,

Christian Long proposes that to get an 'A' means to have changed the reader's way of thinking about a topic. "Want an A? Change the way I see and think. Demonstrate that you have changed as well. And expect me to come back by choice next time... Just like the blogosphere. Just like the real world." Interesting tat the grade should depend as much on the reader as on the writer - something that may get an 'A' from Long might, at my much more cynical and jaded hand, receive only a 'C'. Also, it makes choice of topic a lot more important. You are much more likely to engage your reader by sticking to the mainstream. But in general, I would ask - do we want people assesed in school the same way they are assessed in real life? Today: Total:46 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Have You Watched Blogging: In Their Own Words Yet?
Christian LongChristian Long, think:labthink:lab,

Christian Long writes, "Wonderful to hear students and teachers talk candidly about the impact of blogging on their academic lives. Certainly more striking (and relevant) than yet another (me, included) edu-blogger trying to trumpet the message on their virtual own." Today: Total:72 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Seth Godin: Why Liveblogging has Little to Do with the Reader
Christian LongChristian Long, think:labthink:lab,

The proposition is that live-blogging (that is, blogging about an event during an event) is not particularly useful, because the results aren;t very good. "most people don't take notes to be read. They take notes to write them. The act of writing things down triggers different areas of our brain, it focuses attention, it makes it easier to remember things." Well, maybe. But there's no reason a person cannot liveblog well - which is to say, satisfy both purposes. It is possible to compose readable prose on the fly - if you learn how to write well enough. I humbly submit my own liveblogging as an example. Today: Total:64 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Teaching Kids About Their Own Brains
Christian LongChristian Long, think:labthink:lab,

I've read Hawkins's 'On Intelligence'; I thought it was pretty good. But this post reminds us how much knowledge is a matter of perspective. Long writes, "He believes that 'prediction is the fundamental component of intelligence.' Prediction? Prediction? Prediction?" Well, OK. That's not too far out there. From my perspective, pattern matching is the fundamental component of intelligence, reasoning that proceeds by means of similarity. But the very same phenomenon, viewed from a different perspective, becomes "prediction" (though not of the Hypothetical-Deductive variety). Today: Total:116 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Let's Toss Jobs Under the Bus
Christian LongChristian Long, think:labthink:lab,

I don't recommend such drastic action as indicated by the headline, but I do share the author's displeasure with Steven Jobs's simpleminded 'blame the union' analyis of education. If unions were the cause of a malfunctioning educational system, then education in places without teachers' unions would automatically be that much better. But there's no evidence of this; just look at the lacklustre accomplishments of the union-busting private and charter schools that have been launched in various places throughout the U.S. I agree with this assessment: "Perhaps we ought agree -- for once -- that the entire 'public education experiment' (in the US) of the last 150+ years has been an insanely SUCCESSFUL adventure. It worked." That's why it is so mysterious - and so disturbing - that people want to destroy it. What, are they pining for the halcyon days of the 1850s? Today: Total:70 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Paolo's View of the Future of School
Vhristian LongVhristian Long, think:labthink:lab,

The link is broken right now - it's Java code, so I'm not surprised, it probably couldn't handle the traffic - so I'll link to Christian Long's links to this video conversation between Paolo Friere and Seymour Papert. One for the ages, I would say. Posted by Barbara Dieu from Brazil to the TALO Google Group. Today: Total:63 [Comment] [Direct Link]

College Recruitment: Ripping a Page from MySpace?
Christian LongChristian Long, think:labthink:lab,

Funny how the logic works. Something like this: "Students like X, we want students to come, thus, if we build X, students will come." These days it's MySpace. "From a marketing-gone-wild perspective, this will spark a 1000 colleges to create their own MySpace-like tools. Lots of buzz. Long-term value? Mmmm. And in about 6 months, nobody will come back." Don't build a MySpace-like took. Think deeper - think about how your tool (your class, whatever) could work with whatever tools the students happen to be using. Today: Total:82 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Top 100 List Still Fishy
Christian LongChristian Long, think:labthink:lab,

The edublogosphere is in a tizzy about a Top 100 list of educational blogs that was posted last week and marketed with individual 'congratulations' letters to each of the bloggers so listed. Imagine! An upstart with no history in the edublogosphere coming up with a list of the top blogs. What's next, a newsletter and a conference? Christian Long demands that his link be removed (what, now we have constraints on linking?), Darren Kuropatwa asks, Why would Jimmy do this?, John Pederson creates wiki out of the list and says, "fix it." Stephanie Sandifer raises the question of transparency and blogging ethics. Dean Shareski quotes some Seinfeld. Miguel Guhlin ponders the nature of publicity and thinks about truth, trust and transparency. Every person starts somewhere. So what, may I ask, is Jimmy Atkinson's misdeed? Nothing, really - no ads, no commercialism, no payment-based linking. Is it just because he's not one of them? Meanwhile, Bryan Alexander remains neutral and points to some who react more positively: Cool Cat Teacher, Jon Yang, Alan Levine, NYC Educator. Today: Total:136 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Welcome UVA Students!
Christian LongChristian Long, think:labthink:lab,

Christian Long is featuring 7 UVA students on his blog, an arranglement that has resulted in some cracking good content. From UVA 3: "The 5 senses are vital" From UVA 5: "We can continue to fill their brains with core information, or we can begin to help them think... ultimately learning doesn't distinguish between the two." From UVA 6: " The minute a student realizes, subconsciously or not, that their school does not 'practice what it preaches' they stop listening to its sermons." Today: Total:75 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Toymakers and Textbook Publishers In a Race to Keep Up with Those Pesky Astronomers
Christian LongChristian Long, think:labthink:lab,

Within a few seconds of the IAU vote, Wikipedia will be up to date, recording the fact that we have 12 planets in the solar system. Newspapers and television will record the information some hours later, some course materials by this september, textbooks in a year or two. Encyclopedia Britannica? Maybe never. As for me, well, while I celebrate the addition of Ceres and Xena to the solar system, I question why Charon ought not be counted as a moon, and I will not rest until Sedna takes its place in the pantheon. Today: Total:76 [Comment] [Direct Link]

A Lack of Transparency In the News Aggregator World
Christian LongChristian Long, think:labthink:lab,

Christian Long struggles with aggregation, and in particular the work of Jym Brittain. In a comment, Brittain writes, "If you object to your content being syndicated, turn off the syndication function of your blog." It's an issue that occupies many people with RSS feeds (and for that matter Creative Commons licenses). It's something that I addressed recently (and you should also see Tom Hoffman's more recent response to my comments). Today: Total:61 [Comment] [Direct Link]

A Worthy Pass-Through in the Edu-Blogosphere
Christian LongChristian Long, think:labthink:lab,

More blogs that may be new to you. In this post, Christian Long points to Andrew Pass, who writes, The Current Events in Education. Also, Patric Dunn, who has recently launched Networked Learning Design, blogs at Occasional Rants. I would also like to highlight Digital Latchkey, by J. Ritchie Boyd, which was started as a consequence of an email dialoguie between the two of us. Worth noting is his longer response to my post on adults and MySpace. Today: Total:50 [Comment] [Direct Link]

PodTech Goes the Scoble! and Why it Matters!
Christian LongChristian Long, think:labthink:lab,

I never really followed Robert Scoble's blog after the first few weeks. It was an interesting experiment, though, and Christian Long captures the end of his term with eloquence and in a way that makes it directly relevant to me. Because, isn't this what I have been saying recently? "If we do not soon begin to realize that the learner ultimately decides what learning environments they will join, that engagement is not about force-feeding and innovation is not about tightly wrapped up corporate policies and that when you have talent in your ranks you better provide them the most dynamic learning and collaboration tools known to mankind or lose them." There's a lot more in this item, and what's interesting to me is why these new tools matter. Today: Total:70 [Comment] [Direct Link]

A Weekend Reflection: Jodie Foster, Eminem, Middle School Cheerleaders
Christian LongChristian Long, think:labthink:lab,

I have always liked Jodie Foster, but maybe that's just an appearance thing. And I've always liked Eminem, and that's a lyrics thing. Like this:

You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime yo

And this is what Jodie Foster liked, and what Christian Long thought about as he watched inner city kids holding a car wash to pay for cheerleader uniforms. "Like the young girls in the parking lot running the car wash to raise funds for cheerleading uniforms to blance the socio-economic scale a bit, like all the rest of us who push day after day for something that sometimes comes only in a 'whisper' in our guts. A guy who is often derided for his politics. For his lyrics. For his social influence." And as he so rightly says, it is this that we have to convey to our students. And I would add - the only way to convery it, is to live it ourselves.

Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted-One moment
Would you capture it or just let it slip?

Today: Total:112 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Sorry, We Own That Smiley Face!
Christian LongChristian Long, think:labthink:lab,

Maybe it's overkill, but I want to list this item just to remind people why I think it is more often the copyright and trademark owners who are the thieves, and not the file sharers. Today: Total:60 [Comment] [Direct Link]

think:lab Closing Its Doors in 12 Days
Christian LongChristian Long, think:labthink:lab,

Christian Long has decided to shut down his blog. "when a 'successful' blog simply becomes better and better at 'Hey, look at my links!', and doesn't fulfill its genetic promise to be a collectively-owned conversation that ebbs and flows like a young river growing larger and larger as its meander pulls in the river bank little by little until its a wiser and more powerful river following its destined call towards the larger seas... then something precious is getting lost." That's an awful lot to ask of a blog, or of anything, for that matter. Still, I'm sympathetic. Today: Total:64 [Comment] [Direct Link]

10 Brain Things...and One Reminder that People are the Curriculum!
Christian LongChristian Long, think:labthink:lab,

Eleven posts - some of which have been seen before in these pages - juxtaposed under the heading of 'brain things'. An interesting gestalt. "See the 'box' even though there are only a few line segments. Your eye does the rest. The Greeks offered constellations, night star 'stories'. And patterns are truths (again, my opinon) much as the "medium is the message" (thank you, Marshall)." No, patterns are not truth - patterns are perception, how we see the world. I am a specialist in pattern recognition, and I am aware more than most (perhaps) that when our mind leaps into some sort of recognition of what it 'sees' there remains considerable room for error. You and I will each see different things when we look at these ten stories. And that is true of experience in general. That is why people (and not merely facts and brains and syntax) must be, will be, the ultimate objective of any pedagogy (or epistemology). Today: Total:67 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Blogging and the Changing Environment of Education and Collaboration
Christian LongChristian Long, think:labthink:lab,

Important. "We live in a remarkable world where the Internet has moved from a research experiment to a social curiosity to a frenzy to a normal part of each of our day-to-day existence. In many ways, schools and classrooms are at the center of it all. Computers are tools and in many ways similar to pens and radios and a screwdriver in the fact that they exist simply to help us do things. On the other hand, the raw existence of the Internet is something far more powerful. And whatâxTMs just beginning to unfold in blogging, podcasting, and other Web2.0 ways is even more impressive and curious." Today: Total:62 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Reviewing the top-10 Ed-Tech Stories of 2005
Christian LongChristian Long, think:labthink:lab,

Christian Long summarizes, in a much more accessible form, the list of top 10 stories from last year, as seen by eSchool News. Their point of view is rather different from my own - they highlight, in my view, events rather than trends, appearances rather than underlying reality. Sure, Katrina was a big story (so was the tsunami recovery, but it didn't make the list), but it would have been more approriate to talk about the changing environment and its impact on schools generally. Or "globalization drives U.S. school reform efforts." Globaization isn't a unidimensional thing: sure, it's the weaving of the global information matrix (the red pill) but it's also the increasing corporatization of governance and finance (the blue pill). These are driving school reform in opposite directions. Today: Total:68 [Comment] [Direct Link]

DreamWorks Does School
Christian LongChristian Long, think:labthink:lab,

Animation is important, especially to a young child. My first concrete memory as a child is, believe it or not, of the John F. Kennedy assassination - not because of the significance of the event (it happened when I was four) but because the coverage pre-empted my favorite television show, Fireball XL5 (which later morphed into the Thunderbirds). I loved that show - it was all I thought about. So it is not surprising to see animators taking learning, and e-learning, seriously, and it is also not surprising to see them rethinking 'school' and how they educate good animators. Good read. Today: Total:63 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Blog-Connecting to David Gurteen & Knowledge Cafes
Christian LongChristian Long, think:labthink:lab,

I have been thinking about the concept of 'community of communities' recently (as opposed to the mass-market concept of communities fostered by sites such as Technorati) and the question of how knowledge and ideas flow through such a distributed network. And it's like this, via connectors from one community to the next. And just so, this post from Christian Long connects me to the Gurteen Knowledge Community, something worth exploring - what is interesting is that Gurteen has explicitly adopted the model of 'Knowledge Cafés' as a model of learning, "mini-workshops where the participants engage in the theme of the evening. They are about networking, knowledge sharing and learning from each other - not chalk-and-talk." Today: Total:61 [Comment] [Direct Link]


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