Friday, January 30, 2009

Skype Lecture w Clarence Fisher

Dead Writing.

The idea of writing and presenting in a school environment is too often contrived. In math, when I see hwk answers that say nothing more than =12, my teacher hackles go up.

No no! I say. Show your work. Pretend that I don't know the question!

Why are we asking students to pretend?

Similarly with so amny forms of academic written work. Traditional teachers are always forced to ask studnets to suspend belief and work in contrived environments of writing to imaginary non-expert readers- when in fact, they are writing for teachers who are subject matter experts.

The internet, blogs and wikis eliminate this problem. By writing on online environments, the audience is the world and students no longer need to write to pretend audiences.

Common Craft Video

Common Craft presentation this morning redefined the role of the teacher. I loved the terms used to define what a teacher needs to be. Guide kids through mountains of information, teach them how how politely ask experts for help, assess the validity of sources, etc...

This is just as much of a continuum process as learning to read or write. The final product shown in the C.C. video was the equivalent of a thesis paper. This level of intellectual curiosity manefesting in a quality, self-motived venture was not something that can taught in one year or in one course. It is the product of many influences both academic and social that come together to create something new and special and important.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Hopes for I.T. Masters

On entering the IT Masters program, I must admit that I am coming in a little bit of a skeptic.

This is not to say that I do not believe in the power of the internet, or that I am in any way a techno-phobe.

The opposite is true. I feel that throughout each mach advent of new communitcation technology, I have been an early adapter. Email in 1992. Blogging in 2001. Skype when there was no one to skype with. MySpace. Facebook. Ning. Moodle...

I think this stuff is powerful.


I have been an disbeliever in fully integrating into education. This skeptisism was strengthened at the Tech2.008 conferenece in ShangHai where classroom after classroom was filled with people tuning out their presenters, cell phones ringing, twitters twittering, and wikis chatting.

Teaching teachers is not an easy job. Teachers (in my experience) make erogant, overly critical, disrespectful, and generally lousy students. That said, in my opinion, Tech 2.008 didn't look like learning.

What I want from this course is to be convinced.

Convinced of a different way of looking at what was happening in the classrooms in ShangHai.

Convinced of the idea that is at the heart of school: learning and socialization. The internet is an avenue for both, but are the two sides of school simultaniously compatible?!?!...