by Stephen Downes
Dec 21, 2016
Design thinking is to a large degree what I do. “It's not as simple as [just] identifying a problem. ‘Yay! We found something that customers are frustrated with.'" You need to do more; you need to engage people and consider a wider set of possibilities. "Traditional business thinking methods can overemphasize analysis and deliberation, making it difficult for organizations to react quickly. In contrast, design thinking emphasizes learning by doing and agile, iterative solutions that can have startlingly effective results."
Obviously the messaging coming out of the US Department of Education will be in a state of flux. But one thing unlikely to change much is the emphasis on personalized learning. And as always, teachers have to experience it before they will teach it. "Kettle Moraine School District in Wisconsin, Superintendent Patricia Deklotz found that they 'had to give teachers the opportunity to experience personalized learning' for themselves. This was an effective professional development model and cultivated buy-in from teachers."
Here's some nice year-end reading for you. This collection of essays covers a range of perspectives on open learning around the world. The authors range froam a consideration of open learning as emancipation, to an analysis of open education users, to open assessment. As David Wiley says in his Preface. "The importance of openness in education is only now beginning to be appreciated, and I hope this volume can increase the pace of its spread. This volume contains stories of people and institutions around the world acting in accordance with the value of openness, and relates the amazing results that come from those actions."
The inimitable Tony Bates offers his personal restrspective on 2016. Normally I don't post end-of-year stuff, but it's Tony Bates. And I really like that he begins with the Global Peace Index. He notes, " blended learning is not only gaining ground in Canadian post-secondary education at a much faster rate than I had anticipated, but is raising critical questions about what is best done online and what face-to-face, and how to prepare institutions and instructors for what is essentially a revolution in teaching."
This is interesting for a number of reasons. Probably my best practical learning in mathematics came while working at the concession stands in the local football stadium; I had to make change a lot. Here's how you do it: leave what they paid you easily video (so they don't later say "but didn't I give you a twenty?). Start with the amount owed. "That'll be $2.21." Count small change to even the number (in this case 4 cents to reach $2.25), large change to add up to an even dollar ("50... 75... 3 dollars), dollars to all to the total (5 dollars, 10 dollars, thank you). It's the opposite of the 'greedy' algorithm described by Miles Berry, and is what you actually do in practice.
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