Saturday, November 8, 2014

Crash-only Thinking

Came across something called Ribbonfarm, where there was a great piece on Crash-only Thinking, about transitions and changes.

Key phrase, 'Crash-only means there is no such thing as gracefully starting and stopping non-trivial parts of your life or business.  You have to crash what you’re doing and recover in a more promising direction. The fact that it is a crash means that, unlike normal decisions, there is a sharply increased probability of not coming out the other end.

Crashes are traumatic, high-entropy, messy ways to achieve transitions, which is why transitions in life and business are so hard. We want clean, smooth turns that smoothly and isentropically shed momentum in one direction and accumulate it in another direction.....It doesn't happen.'

Strong identities, brands, compelling narratives and self-talk that run counter to what's really happening contribute to the crash-only state, necessitating a clean start, a reboot and refresh.  

Is that what's happening here in education, at our institutions, in the state-supported systems?

Friday, November 7, 2014

Good, Bad, Very Bad, Really, Really Bad

And, then, there's the perspective of Maha Bali, an educator and Connected Courses standout, from Egypt.

Key quotes, 'BUT when someone over here in Egypt talks about safety online, it’s along the lines of possibly getting arrested, jailed and possibly tortured for your political beliefs.'

And, 'Something crossed my Twitter stream the other day, with a question “Are our schools worth dying for?” and a reference to Malallah. Umm. Not sure what the link is for, but I’m guessing, assuming here, that I’m sure Malallah’s school, the quality of it, was probably not worth dying for. It’s possible most schools even in the developed world are not worth dying for. The situation Malallah found herself in, that’s the REALLY REALLY bad. That’s not my country. Yet.'

Is that the situation where I work?  Where others, teachers, students, their families work, live, eat, sleep?   Are our schools worth dying for?  What if we approached our work believing that our schools were worth dying for?  

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Rebirth of Cool: Trust, Tech, and Dystopias

Tressie McMillan Cottom writes about joining in a MOOC and discusses the tools that participants are using there and in the classes she teaches and observes.  Lots of DIY here and emphasis on what works that is appealing.

Key phrase  "They don’t much like your top-down ed-tech tools. They use the tools they already have in service of what they need and want. They are making spaces that institutions do not provide them. They are adapting those spaces relative to their social locations and I suspect the differences are partially about who and what they trust."

Here's the complete post.

tressiemc is worth following!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Future of Education: Programmed or Programmable

Audrey Watters nails it in this transcript of a talk at Pepperdine.

Key quotes, 'The readable, writable, programmable Web is so significant because, in part, it allows us to break from programmed instruction. That is, we needn’t all simply be on the receiving end of some computer-mediated instruction, some teacher-engineering. We can construct and create and connect for ourselves.'

'One of the most powerful things that you can do on the Web is to be a node in a network of learners...'

"Do we want programmed instruction? Do we want teaching machines? Do we want videotaped lectures? Do we want content delivery systems? Or do we want education that is more student-centered, more networked-focused. Are we ready to move beyond “content” and even beyond “competencies”?'

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Thanks for the Change!

Change in sclerotic institutions is soul-sapping and energy-intensive.   And when you work in a state-funded educational system where the basic constructs were formed in the 19th Century (amount of learning, course structure, compensation and incentive system, budget process, labor-management relationship) as defined by the credit hour, a 'Carnegie Unit,' the paradigms don't work any more.   We run the risk of being irrelevant, like Tower Records, and ignore the future that will change how and where and why and for who we do business.  

For those who believe that, the conversations can be frustrating, especially when you have seen other paradigms that could be fruitful and others don't or won't.   When you push, you feel like you a rowing upstream with lots of water coming over the bow, doing the same dad-gum thing over and over again, having the same arguments, asking the same questions, and hoping against hope that you'll get different answers.

@EacherVeggies wrote about this frustration last week, asking the question this way, "how do I create a connected experience for people who are satisfied with boxed macaroni and cheese?"
The responses to that question are wonderful, crowdsourced advice and encouragement, full of fresh fettuccine, romano and asiago, giving more evidence to the value of the Connected Courses community.  

She's right, you know!

I Can Tell the Future, Just Look What's in Your Hand

Key phrase, 'Everybody gets a pocket supercomputer.'

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Alec Couros on Networks, Connected Learning, and Making Learning Visible

Networks matter in education, which is not just, well, duh, but actually is at the heart of how value is added by teachers to students, by plugging them into a network, and being a connector/distributor node in that network.

Craig Newmark on Trust, Integrity and His Moral Compass

Key phrase, 'it’s about time for people of goodwill to reassert their idea of what’s right and what’s wrong.

Who's Afraid of Teaching Online?

Adeline Koh's collection of thoughts and comments about teaching and learning, from Unit 4 of Connected Courses, focusing on Diversity, Equity and Access.

Key phrase, 'I have not found a replacement for the instructor’s in-person energy and charisma in the online environment. '