- My eBooks
Current song: Loading ...
About Stephen Downes
About Stephen's Web
Subscribe to Newsletters
Privacy and Security Policy
Web - Today's OLDaily
Web - This Week's OLWeekly
Email - Subscribe
RSS - Individual Posts
RSS - Combined version
JSON - OLDaily
Stephen's Web and OLDaily
Half an Hour Blog
Google Plus Page
Huffington Post Blog
National Research Council Canada
Research Topics, Research Wiki, Code
All My Articles
December 31, 2012
Gary Stager reports, "I have been stunned to observe the complete and utter return to whole class instruction in nearly every school I visit (public, private, rich, poor, urban, suburban and rural) everywhere in the world. New teachers have little or no experience with classroom centers, independent work, student projects and the sorts of agency that allow children to enjoy the 'flow' experiences that build upon their obsessions and lead to understanding." If true (and I have no reason to doubt it) that would be sad. Much of my own creativity and independence was developed working on independent projects, elective classes, and the like. These did not simply enable learning in the classroom - they created in me the capacity to learn anywhere, from anything (which I do, wholeheartedly, to this day (how do you measure that?)).
[Comment] [Direct Link] [Tags: Schools, Project Based Learning, Experience, Online Learning]
January 6, 2012
October 12, 2011
Gary Stager - who is becoming the David Noble of the 2010s - pens a strongly worded editorial calling 'Bring Your Own Device' (BYOD) "the worst idea of the 21st century" because it aggravates inequality, causes teacher anxiety, and narrows the learning process. "It is miseducative to make important educational decisions based on price," he writes. I think he misunderstands the nature of personal devices - first of all, and most importantly, that they are personal, and secondly, that a pocket-sized device sold for the price of a single textbook carries more computing power than the average school-supplied computer purchased five years ago. Audrey Watters responds to Stager in Michael Feldstein's e-Literate blog: "I’m hopeful BYOD can help challenge some of the vendor lock-in with software that, say, only works on Windows, or only works on iPads. I hope this is something that will drive schools to the Web versus native apps."
[Comment] [Direct Link] [Tags: Schools, Microsoft, Books, Web Logs, Online Learning]
July 22, 2011
Oh, hey, a conference that tried something other than stand-and-lecture. The 'Constructing Modern Knowledge' conference described here by Gary Stager reminds me of the educamps Diego Leal hosted in Colombia. "Supported by an amazing faculty, CMK 2011 participants engaged in dozens of hands-on/minds-on projects and expanded their vision of how computers can transform learning. (Specific examples will be shared at constructingmodernknowledge.com in the coming days.)" What made it work? No deep educational secret, but something quite basic. "Learners at CMK 2011 had complete freedom to choose, what, how and when they would learn. Participants selected projects in a coercive-free environment unimpeded by curriculum." We need more conferences like that.
[Comment] [Direct Link] [Tags: Project Based Learning]
July 7, 2011
Interesting conversation between Gary Stager and Will Richardson which features Stager saying "I support universal charters - I think every school should be a charter." I think what Stager is missing is that charter schools are often not managed by parents and community, as he suggests, but by charter school conglomerates that manage charters as a business and minimize 'interference' by teachers and community. The reason the public school system exists in in order to ensure schools are managed by parents and community.
[Comment] [Direct Link] [Tags: Schools, Online Learning]
April 4, 2011
I'm a little bit sympathetic with Gary Stager's point here. I've seen the comment section in YouTube, Huffington Post, CBC, Globe and Mail, Kos, and the rest of them. As the list of comments numbers into the hundreds, the opinions become less considered, more extreme and even offensive. But unlike Stager, I don't blame social media. These comment forums are just the outlets though while the bile flows. We ought to be looking at what caused this sort of outpouring in the first place, a toxic media environment in which the one-liner on Springer or Carson was the peak of wisdom, where the crazies are elevated to a platform and represented as normal, where insult, innuendo, and ignorance are propagated as punditry. Combine that with an education system where repeating what you are told is the highest virtue, and the wonder would be that you get anything else in the comments.
You reap what you sow, and in these disgusting comment threads the political and media elite are seeing themselves reflected, and are repulsed at what they see. As they should be. But shutting down the comments is not the answer; that's just a guarantee that nothing will change, that people can pay hundreds of dollars to hear political leaders tell them all is right with the world while meanwhile the rest of us are treated to I Love Lucy or Everybody Hates Chris. If we did not have the eruptions we see in the comment threads, how else would we see how poorly we have used the potential of print, film and electronic media over the last 50 years. [Comment] [Direct Link] [Tags: YouTube, Video]
February 24, 2011
Gary Stager has launched a website titled The Daily Papert "to bring Seymour Papert's powerful ideas to our short attention-span culture." I have already subscribed to the RSS feed. He cites "three provocations" inspiring the work: Papert's legacy at constructionism conferences, Paprt's past work addressing of problems faced today by teachers and academics, and that "his half century of contributions to his major field of choice, education, is largely invisible." True, and having an online version of his 'day to day reflections' (and maybe an online reference library of his longer works, Gary?) would be of great help to scholars and practitioners everywhere.
[Comment] [Direct Link] [Tags: RSS, Constructionism, Academia]
June 27, 2008
Stager is releasing some of his lost episodes, meaning those columns or articles that must have been too controversial to get published, or where "the publisher or Editor-in-Chief objected to the content of a column and refused to punish (sic) it. On other occasions I would not make changes I felt would dilute my argument or insult the intelligence of the reader." Issue 1 is a six year old open letter to Steve Jobs asking him to not promote sales of laptop carts to schools. The magazine didn't want to offend Apple or Jobs so they wouldn't run it. Stager lists 11 reasons why Jobs "should help schools think different about laptops and education." That list includes 2) kids can and should be trusted with a laptop, 4) teacher professionalism is enhanced, 6) the digital divide may be closed, and 11) new models of learning, teaching and schooling may emerge. He closes with "Here's to the crazy ones who will free computers from the shackles of computer labs and newfangled carts by giving kids freedom to be their very best." -BD
[Comment] [Direct Link] [Tags: Schools, Portable Computers, Books, Apple Inc.]
September 4, 2007
I think that Gary Stager has struck at the heart of what's wrong with the 'School 2.0' movement, a movement that is essentially about teachers using Web 2.0 tools in the classroom. He is quite right when he says that many of the proponents have no sense of the history of school reform, and certainly no grasp of the grounds for school reform. As it is now, he suggests, the movement is essentially a leaderless group of anti-intellectualists centered around the tools, not any big or deep ideas. There's a lot more in this post, including a history of Logo and a consideration of some of the thinking behind it. This forms the basis for a sustained set of criticisms of the 2.0 crowd that does deserve a reply, not so much because they're incorrect, but because, in being addressed to people like Warlick and Utecht and Richardson, they're really misdirected. What I have called 'e-learning 2.0' is absolutely not about using Web 2.0 in the schools - it is not about preserving existing structures and existing authority. It is about deschooling, not reschooling, and it is about putting the capacity to learn into the hands of indivduals, wherever they may be, not locking them in a room and blocking their internet access. I address these themes at greater length on the other blog.
[Comment] [Direct Link] [Tags: Schools, Web 2.0, Web Logs, Patents, E-Learning 2.0, Online Learning]
July 31, 2007
Gary Stager mixes a good point in with a bunch of bad ones. The good point is that textbooks are about control - and that's what the textbook industry sells, and it will be very difficult for the school system to give up on this. Yes, the textbook industry is like a Zelig - throw a new technology at it, as Stager says, and they'll turn it into a textbook. Nobody is discounting the size and power of the textbook industry. But it needs to change. Because - contra Stager - it is the textbook publishers, not advocates of free and open content, that promulgate "the flawed premise that education equals access to content." People who actually take the time to read about open content and open educational resources understand that the movement is about much more than merely making content available for free - and it is that, and not some flawed business model, that makes it a treat to textbook publishers (and traditionalists).
[Comment] [Direct Link] [Tags: Schools, Open Content, Books, Online Learning]