Stephen's Web

By Stephen Downes
June 12, 2002

Howard Gardner on Multiple Intelligences and New Forms of Assessment This month's Edutopia (from the George Lucas Educational Foundation) includes a set of clips from a 1997 interview with Harvard's Howard Gardner. I think the material on multiple intelligences and learner centered learning is relevant today. "We have this myth that the only way to learn something is read it in a textbook or hear a lecture on it. And the only way to show that we've understood something is to take a short-answer test or maybe occasionally with an essay question thrown in. But that's nonsense." By Unknown, Edutopia, June 12, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Wi-Fi Goes to School This project is so large it's daunting: a plan to provide 802.11b wireless access to the 12,000 schools in new York's School system. This article sketches IBM's plans to undertake the project and even hints at the educational consequences: "[IBM rep Kevin] Mazzatta said the 'n-generation' needed to be taught in different ways. 'We teach students now to learn how to learn, instead of just absorbing,' he said." By Brian Morrissey, InternetNews.Com, June 12, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Chief Learning Officer MediaTec Publishing is launching a new title, Chief Learning Officer, catering to what seems to me to be a fairly tight demographic. No content yet except a news archive of press release type items dating back to, well, yesterday. From the site: "CLO speaks to how training and education impact corporate productivity, providing information and resources to officers and executives directly involved in the development, implementation and funding of corporate training initiatives." By Various Authors, June, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Live Journal Many of the insights I gain about the way people use the web are obtained by peering into the minds of users by means of services such as this. It's easy to dismiss online journals as day to day banality, but serious researchers will find here a data mine of shared assumptions, interests, concerns and trends expressed by web web users. To dive in, click on 'Random' and start reading a journal. There is a wealth of useful information for educators here, trust me. By Various Authors, Undated [Refer][Research][Reflect]

sodaconstructor This one is going to take you a few moments to understand and a lot longer to master (if you have the time). But take a look. What we have here is a wonderfully cool tool that lets you simulate the actions of muscles and springs. This sounds like the world's most boring subject, and the mathematics involved would send a chill down the spines of even the most numerate, but the simulations bring the concept to life in the most engaging manner possible. The site features tools to let you create your own simulations (read the instructions carefully; there are some less than clear bits) and the promise of competitions in the future. By Soda Software, Undated [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Online Education's Drawbacks Include Misunderstood E-Mail Messages, Panelists Say Online educators have known for years that email messages can be misunderstood, but the Chronicle just now decides to reveal this insightful fact. Maybe I'm just misreading the Chronicle's online communications, but it seems to me that the paper publishes an endless barrage of negative commentary about e-learning. If you don't believe me, follow the [Research] link and have a look at the Chronicle's track record. By Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 11, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Issues Affecting Skill Demand and Supply in Australia's Education and Training Sector It's a familiar story bolstered by a new study: post secondary education is becoming necessary for people hoping to have anything more than a basic income. The study reports "a shift in many, if not most, jobs away from low-level skills to higher level skills in line with a changing labour market." Additionally, there is a "need for employees to gain higher order cognitive and generic skills to enable them to perform in a complex modern working environment. These skills include highly developed analytical and research skills as well as interpersonal and human relations skills, networking and negotiation skills, computer skills and so forth." This detailed summary in PDF format (1 meg) is free. There is also a shorter HTML outline available. By Unknown, NCVER, June, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2002 Stephen Downes