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Helping the poor — without conditions
Dana Goldstein, The Atlantic, December 25, 2012

Coverage of an assistance plan that "would give poor families in rural Kenya $1,000 over the course of 10 months, and let them do whatever they wanted with the money." The idea here is that if the money is donated without strings attached, people would spend it on what they needed or wanted most. The hard part is for the donors to not make judgments about that. In practice, the program was generally effective. The major problems were theft of the donations by village elders, and jealousy on the part of others in the community. And, of course, "unconditional cash transfers to individuals do little to address the structural factors responsible for poverty, such as government corruption, gender discrimination, and the lack of quality jobs, schools, and health care."

Today: Total:1483 [Comment] [Direct Link]
How Do Millennials Like to Read the News? Very Much Like Their Grandparents
Derek Thompson, The Atlantic, December 12, 2012

This is an interesting result: "Young mobile readers don't want apps and mobile browsers that look like the future. They want apps that look like the past: 58% of those under 50, and 60% of Millennials, prefer a 'print-like experience' over tech features like audio, video, and complex graphics. That preference toward plain text "tends to hold up across age, gender and other groups." Pew reports: 'Those under 40 prefer the print-like experience to the same degree as those 40 and over.'" But I have an explanation: print (and print with images) give the reader control over presentation other formats do not. You can't really skim a video. You can't watch a video backwards the way you can read an article bottom-up. The only way to browse a video is to use text-based chaptger headings. It's not that readers are traditionalists. It's that they like control.

Today: Total:1266 [Comment] [Direct Link]
Dark Social: We Have the Whole History of the Web Wrong
Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic, October 15, 2012

There's a reason I still have an email newsletter and why I spend so much time and attention on email and the website and the rest, and not so much on my Twitter and Facebook channels. It's because these are my promary delivery channels. If, for example, I want a lot of people to see my photos, I put them in the email newsletter. And where Twitter, Facebook and Google+ combined would produce 167 views (this is an actual number), putting it into the newsletter creates 830 views (that's another actual number). Alexis Madrigal writes, "this vast trove of social traffic is essentially invisible to most analytics programs. I call it Dark Social. It shows up variously in programs as 'direct' or 'typed/bookmarked' traffic, which implies to many site owners that you actually have a bookmark or typed in www.theatlantic.com into your browser. But that's not actually what's happening a lot of the time. Most of the time, someone Gchatted someone a link, or it came in on a big email distribution list, or your dad sent it to you."

Today: Total:815 [Comment] [Direct Link]
What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland's School Success
Anu Partanen, The Atlantic, September 15, 2012

I don't think this can be repeated enough. "Herein lay the real shocker. As Sahlberg continued, his core message emerged, whether or not anyone in his American audience heard it. Decades ago, when the Finnish school system was badly in need of reform, the goal of the program that Finland instituted, resulting in so much success today, was never excellence. It was equity." Pasi Sahlberg is director of the Finnish Ministry of Education's Center for International Mobility and author of the new book Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland?

Today: Total:2404 [Comment] [Direct Link]
How the Professor Who Fooled Wikipedia Got Caught by Reddit
Yoni Appelbaum, The Atlantic, May 16, 2012

Good story about T. Mills Kelly's course, Lying About the Past. The idea here is to engage students by having them create a fabricated hostory and attempt to fool a community with it. Their first attempt succeeded in planting a false Wikipedia article. But their efforts from the current year, including one that was undone on Reddit in a mere matter of minutes. What's really inteersting about the article is the anaysis of why Wikipedia was fooled and Reddit wasn't. "One answer lies in the structure of the Internet's various communities. Wikipedia has a weak community, but centralizes the exchange of information. It has a small number of extremely active editors, but participation is declining, and most users feel little ownership of the content." As Wikipedia editors gain more authority and nfluence, as they have over the last few years, the ability of the site to detect errors and falsehoods actually decreases. Of course - this Atlantic article may also be a deception. Who's to know?

Today: Total:996 [Comment] [Direct Link]
What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland's School Success
Anu Partanen, The Atlantic, January 1, 2012

Excellent article about the success of the Finnish educational system, from a Finnish author who makes many of the same points others cited in these pages have made in the past. The Finnish model is exactly the opposite of what is touted as 'reform' in the United States: teachers are unionized, they are highly paid and take responsibility (as opposed to 'accountability), there are no private schools, the overall aim of the system is equity, and success is not based on competition. The comment thread, by contrast, is terribly disappointing, indeed a disgrace, offering tangible but sad proof that a certain readership would rather just change the subject (and play the race card) than deal head on with the proposition that a school system that is most successful is one that focuses on success for all its students, not a selected few. Despite the comment thread, this is a must-read article. Today: Total:1069 [Comment] [Direct Link]

The Rise of the New Global Elite
Chrystia Freeland, The Atlantic, February 2, 2011

This is going to have to be fixed before education is fixed. Because education can't fix this: "the vast majority of U.S. workers, however devoted and skilled at their jobs, have missed out on the windfalls of this winner-take-most economy-or worse, found their savings, employers, or professions ravaged by the same forces that have enriched the plutocratic elite. The result of these divergent trends is a jaw-dropping surge in U.S. income inequality." Not just in the U.S., either - the article documents this as a global trend. And if it is this global elite that is increasingly in charge of education policy, what sort of system would one suppose they are interested in fostering? I would suggest: one that can be turned off. Realted: Don Tapscott in Davos. Today: Total:1152 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Academics Build Blog-to-eBook Publishing Tool in One Week
Alexis Madrigal, The Atlantic, August 4, 2010

What's interesting about #oneweek isn't the book publisher Wordpress plugin they built, it's the way they captured the web's imagination and drew people into the process. As the Atlantic reports, "Last week, twelve scholars came together at the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University to participate in the inaugural One Week, One Tool program. Supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, their mandate was to build something useful: they called it a barn raising, and the structure they built is Anthologize.org. Anthologize is a Wordpress plugin that allows scholars, conference organizers, and bloggers to create eBooks out of websites." You can export in several formats, including PDF, ePUB, and TEI.

More from parezco y digo, sample reality, Found History, with a three-part 'lessons learned' series (part one, part two, part three), coverage of the live launch by Digital Campus, National Endowment for the Humanities (who funded the project) report by Brett Bobley , Teleogistic, Dan Cohen, the Chronicle, ReadWriteWeb, Sherman Dorn, Bigger Picture, Musematic, the development team's Google Group.

Brett Bobley writes, "What made this institute so compelling was the format. Rather than a more typical series of lectures, CHNM went with a "learn by doing" format. For Oneweek, the 12 participants traveled to Fairfax, Virginia for a very intense week learning how to plan, build, market, and deploy an actual, useful digital humanities software tool." Today: Total:1146 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Closing the Digital Frontier
Michael Hirschorn, The Atlantic, July 13, 2010

More on how the shift from browsers to mobile internet also spells the end of the era of free. "They (Apple) are operating on the largely correct assumption that people will be more likely to pay for consumer-friendly apps via the iPad, and a multitude of competing devices due out this year, than they are to subscribe to the same old kludgy Web site they have been using freely for years." Yes, well, we'll see how happy people are to pay (and keep paying) for every little thing. Today: Total:920 [Comment] [Direct Link]

First, Kill All the School Boards
Matt Miller, The Atlantic, January 25, 2008

First of all, Canada has school boards, and it performs well in international evaluations, so it seems unlikely that the school boards are the problem. Second, invoking Prussia as a model of school reform invites objections that would run perilously close to Godwin's Law. Why raise 100 year-old comparisons when better models are so close at hand? Of course, such models do not involve either standards-based education nor top-down national control. Rather, what we see are strong public school systems, equitable funding, and local management within provincial frameworks. Via Tim Lauer. Today: Total:790 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Caring for Your Introvert
Jonathan Rauch, The Atlantic, February 25, 2003

Maybe it links to learning styles and maybe it doesn't. I don't know. But certainly it links to learning. Like the author, I am also an introvert. What does that mean? "After an hour or two of being socially 'on,' we introverts need to turn off and recharge. My own formula is roughly two hours alone for every hour of socializing. This isn't antisocial. It isn't a sign of depression. It does not call for medication. For introverts, to be alone with our thoughts is as restorative as sleeping, as nourishing as eating." Now think about how we structure traditional learning: hours on end of very public engagement. If I could have said anything to my teachers during my education it would have been something like, "Give me some space, I'll get back to you when I'm ready." Of course responses like that usually landed me in the principal's office. Today: Total:625 [Comment] [Direct Link]

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