by Stephen Downes
Mar 22, 2017
Summary and discussion of two books about teaching college classes in prison. "Just as a poor education transports people into prison, a rich one can transform them beyond it." It's focused especially on the Bard Prison Initiative (BPI). It shades into an interesting discussion of the value of an arts-focused education as compared to business or trades.
Linked data Notifications (LDN) is a little standard with big potential. It's very simple: you send a message to a server. I receive a notification. I access the server and retrieve the message. That's it. It sounds a lot like email, but it isn't email. In many ways it's better than email. It can be used to announce publications. It can be used to build a decentralized social network like sloph. From where I'm sitting, it could help a MOOC communicate with a PLE.
Larry Cuban describes a continuum between "teacher-centered lessons within the traditional age-graded school.... switching back and forth between phrases on 'competency-based education' and 'personalization'" and 'student-centered classrooms, programs, and schools often departing from the traditional age-graded school model'. The latter is what I have been calling "personal learning" and while Cuban stresses he will place "no value for either end (or the middle) of the personalized learning continuum" I've been pretty clear in my support for personal learning (though this hasn't earned me many friends).
While cautioning that test scores are a partial and often biased indication of learning, it has nonetheless been shown on numerous occasions that proper nutrition aids learning. This is a report on another study making the same point. "Students at schools that contract with a healthier school-lunch vendor perform somewhat better on state tests." I would add that the time to make this work is during pregnancy and in early childhood, but as a policy providing support to mothers and infants is required it is more difficult to find political support for this.
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