Open Education

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Children Largely Surf the Web Unsupervised.
Thomas J. Hanson Open Education

OK, there are a couple ways of looking at this. First, the astonishing headline news: "just under half of the parents have implemented internet filtering or parental controls, leaving nearly 60% of youngsters in the 12-15 age group to use the internet unsupervised... one in six users aged 5-7 are also mostly left to use the internet unsupervised as well." OK, if these numbers reflect anything like similar trends over the last decade or so, shouldn't we have seen by now a wave of injury and trauma? I mean, if this sort of situation is dangerous, shouldn't we be seeing casualties by now? If 60 percent of children ran through red lights, we'd be hearing about it. So, given these statistics, what is the case for Internet Safety, properly so-called?

It brings to mind a case from Halifax last night. In what must be a case of Worst. Babysitting. Ever. a naked three-year old child was found wandering up the on-ramp to a major bridge leading over the harbour. A person, when interviewed, expressed shock and said, "he could have been kidnapped or something." And I'm sitting there and thinking, your child is walking outside naked in late October on a major road leading over a bridge, and your perception of the risk is that he might be kidnapped? I think a lot of 'Internet Safety' falls into this category. Children face risks, sure, but they are at much greater risk from more immediate threats than from unspecified danger posed by the internet. Today: Total:60 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Beyond Textbooks - Andy Chlup Discusses Digital Learning Models
Thomas J. Hanson Open Education

I think we are closer than ever to being able to realistically comprehend a future without textbooks. Digital textbooks offer a world of improvements: not only are they lighter and more portable, they allow instant updates, collaboration and lower costs (in theory, at least). From the Q & A with Andy Chlup of the Vail School District: "Teachers are able to focus on what is the best way to creatively teach the learning objectives. So, often teachers are limited to teaching with the resources they have. We aim to leverage the nearly unlimited potential of the Internet to give teachers access to virtually any resource they can dream up. This includes materials created by other teachers, subscription services, and many incredible free resources out on the web." Today: Total:42 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Higher Education - Potential Financial Disaster for Students?
Thomas Open Education

Again, this is why I have devoted work to online learning. ""The proportion of students who graduate with more than $40,000 in debt jumped sixfold during that period, to 7.7% of the 1 million grads in 2004, or 77,500 people. Most will struggle for more than a decade to work it off..." They will, during this time, defer home ownership, investing in a business, and many other things taken for granted by a person who sails through their education without the need for financing. Today: Total:52 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Higher Education - State Universities Rival Ivy League?
Thomas J. Hanson Open Education

I have long felt that the reputation of the 'elite' universities is due mostly to marketing and money. Case in point: "Carol Hymowitz, writing for the Wall Street Journal, insists that when it comes to earning a degree 'Any College Will Do.' Hymowitz notes the words of some of the nation's top executives who insist that the 'path to the corner office usually starts at state university.'" Today: Total:30 [Comment] [Direct Link]

How to Model Deliberate Practice in the Classroom
Thomas Open Education

I oftent talk of teaching being 'modeling and demonstrating' (rather than 'information transfer'). But what does that mean? Modeling and demonstrating what? This post is a good insight into this. Things like goal-setting and self-reflection can be explicitly demonstrated. "While natural talent may be overrated, deliberate practice is not. In fact, deliberate practice is the place where self-reflection, work ethic and ambition all meet." (We will ignore the Dale's cone/pyramid diagram in the sidebar). Today: Total:78 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Higher Education - Dangerously Close to Becoming Irrelevant
Thomas Open Education

This post reads like a news article summarizing some of David Wiley's views and activities, so it feels a bit odd reading it on his 'Open Education' blog (it was written by someone called 'Thomas', according to the RSS feed; no attribution on the web page). Despite the oddity of the presentation, the message is worth heeding: "the Internet and wealth of developing technology provide young people outside of education with a sense of 'openness, connectedness, personalization, and participation' that is simply not found at the university level today." Today: Total:24 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Patton Oswalt's Brilliant, Politically Incorrect, Graduation Speech
Thomas Open Education

In the wake of Randy Pausch and this post celebrating both Pausch and Jim Valvano it seems appropriate to link to this earlier post citing from a talk by comedian Patton Oswalt. "First off," says Oswalt, "Reputation, Posterity and Cool are traps. They'll drain the life from your life. Reputation, Posterity and Cool = Fear." Right. "Secondly: The path is made by walking. And when you're walking that path, you choose how things affect you. You always have that freedom, no matter how much your liberty it curtailed. You... get to choose... how things affect you." Right again. And, finally, "There Is No Them."

Why does any of this matter? A little (very personal) story: as I was walking around Memphis, late at night, in the dark, talking to people on the street, I realized, I was not afraid. It was, for me, a very unusual feeling. You know, because you can say all this stuff about being your own person and all that, but in the end, this knowledge (like all knowledge) comes down to having the right sort of feeling, the right sort of sensation. Which, once had, is impossible to thereafter ignore (kind of like, as I have so often said, finding Waldo). We may get to choose - yes - but there is a very long journey between the choosing and the feeling, and that is what exploring the world is all about. Today: Total:22 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Walter Bender Discusses Sugar Labs Foundation
Tom Hanson Open Education

Interview with Walter Bender on the reasons he left OLPC and where he expects the Sugar system to go in the future. "Bringing the concepts together, the culture that is embodied in the FOSS movement - a meritocracy that is built upon both collaboration and critique - is synergistic with some core principles of learning, so, where possible, I try to embrace that culture." Today: Total:40 [Comment] [Direct Link]

The Digital Commons - Left Unregulated, Are We Destined for Tragedy?
Thomas J. Hanson Open Education

This essay looks at the use of the internet for open content from the perspective of the 'tragedy of the commons'. I think the main utility of the article is that it shows that the internet is very different from a pasture - it (and this is my perspective now) is kind of like a pasture that keeps growing and growing, a pasture characterized by abundance rather than scarcity. Today: Total:12 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Miller'S Kill All the School Boards - Just a Provocative Title?
Thomas J. Hanson Open Education

I linked last week to Matt Miller's article in The Atlantic, First, Kill All the School Boards. This post from the Open Education weblog argues that it is centralized control, not localized control, that has been the cause of decline of education. Today: Total:20 [Comment] [Direct Link]

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