April 30, 2006

Your micro-business vs working in a corporation

A big corporation is a powerful machine with a lot of moving parts and very little tolerance for parts that are not able to contribute to the motion. Your decisions are limited, even at the highest levels, and your actions require coordination with those around you even when this doesn't seem to make sense.

There is a great deal of momentum in a corporation and it takes forever to make any changes in direction or speed. Your praiseworthy attempts to develop a social conscience in the corporation, or to improve customer support to an acceptable level do not fall on deaf ears, they are an unacceptable irritant to those who are keeping the giant machine going.

David St Lawrence's blog is full of useful nuggets. If you are looking for work, or thinking of changing jobs, you might be interested to read his book Danger Quicksand - Have a Nice Day.. David is a man who has put his money where his mouth is.

April 29, 2006

Teaching freshmen students

I've learned a lot from this book: Thinking About Teaching and Learning: Developing Habits of Learning With First Year College and University Students. The author suggests there's a culture gap between college professors and freshmen students; a culture gap that can be bridged if teachers first obtain a clearer understanding of where students are at, and then work to devise activities that will help them get from where they are (mentally speaking) to where they can better deal with the expectations of college educators.

Another book that looks like fun is Generation X Goes to College, by Peter Sacks. A short review and links are here.

Video on peer learning and autonomy (thanks to a rich patron)

Meant to blog this, and didn't, then forgot where I saw it, but English360 it was. Thanks, Cleve.

April 27, 2006

How the Internet affects learning

After reading this post by Doug of the Borderland, I was reminded of this (pdf) article on Blended Learning and of some sections in this book on teaching college freshmen.

The Blended Learning article includes this quote:

Technology is something invented after we were born. All
of the things we now take for granted such as
telephones, TV, radio, cars, refrigerators, washing
machines, and so on, we regard, not as technology but as
commodities. For this reason we are almost lulled into
thinking that e-learning is the first time that technology
has influenced learning in any significant way. This is a
mistake, as the Internet is merely the culmination of wave
after wave of technological innovation in learning.
In fact, there have been six major waves of technological
innovation in learning:
  1. Writing

  2. Printing

  3. Broadcast media

  4. Consumer storage media

  5. PC and CD-ROM

  6. Internet technology

Writing can be considered as the first technological
innovation, with phonetic alphabets, papyrus and paper.
Printing was the second, with moveable type. The third
was broadcast media such as film, radio and television.
The fourth was a range of mass media storage devices
including audio-cassette, videotape and CD. The fifth was
the mass produced computer with CD-ROM. The sixth is
the current networked, web-based e-learning revolution.
With each of these innovations, new forms of blended
learning arose. The ancient and medieval classroom was
oral, with some writing. With the addition of printing the
learner could blend by reading at his or her own pace in
their own time, giving a blend of live, synchronous
learning with self-paced asynchronous learning.

Ewan Macintosh is on a roll

Haven't blogged or read anyone else's for a couple of weeks, but I visited Ewan Macintosh's blog searching for something. I never found it, but I found lots of other fascinating posts. Ewan is really on a roll. Check out this intriguing suggestion for using GPS and photos in an inter-school collaboration. (And if that gets your pulse racing, be sure to check out Dave Warlick's podcast on a similar subject with a great bunch of creative teachers).

Then there's this list of cool blogging tools, including a tip I've long been looking for, how to record .amr audio files which have been uploaded from cell phones to a computer's hard-drive).

And this discussion of the role of teacher, with links to a couple of stimulating (aren't they all?) posts by AJ.

And at last I've found the link to Ewan's podcast.

And a big thanks to Ewan for linking to the fascinating "The Movies of Campus Moviefest". Check out "Elevator Girl".

Speaking of movies, here's one, Epic 2014, that I saw at least a year or more ago, but hadn't bookmarked and am grateful to Dave Warlick for providing the link to it. It's about the future history of the media, both online and print. Short, Flash movie. Well worth a look.  "2010... Google buys Amazon...."  Although this development may throw a major spanner in the works (and more details here by the very smart and funny Josh Marshall, and if he's concerned, I reckon I should be.)

April 26, 2006

Too much (personal) information?

I clicked on an ad for a (US) TV program called Dateline which has a series on men seeking children online, lured by people posing as teens, then caught. Scroll down this page a bit and in the subsection "On Kids, Blogs and Too Much Information" I clicked on "Can YOU spot the mistakes on this profile?". This could be useful for people (teachers for instance) who are thinking of introducing, or have introduced, their students to public blogs or similar online spaces.
Millions of our kids
are online, but how do you keep them out of danger? Dateline’s
unprecedented look at Internet predators is back. Find out how to keep
your children from becoming a target... and watch as the men get an
unexpected date with Dateline! An all new “To Catch a Predator.” Four
new Dateline specials starting Wednesday, 9 p.m. on NBC

April 08, 2006

Will Richardson's book

Will Richardson's book An Educator's Guide to Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, And Other Dynamic Internet Tools That Are Transforming the Classroom, ordered back in January from Amazon Japan, finally arrived yesterday. As top priorities right now are getting ready for the new academic year which starts this week and next (depending on the institution), I just skimmed it quickly and gave it to the library to catalogue (it belongs to the library anyway). But in a couple of weeks, I'll be browsing it at leisure.

Speaking of Will (funny how I say, sorry, write "speaking" when I'm typing), a recent post points to some Flickr photos by Stephen Downes. The name of the island(s?) rang a bell: a very funny French Canadian movie based there. I saw it on a plane last September, Singapore-Auckland. Can't find it on IMDB (I thought it had Magdalene in the title). Perhaps someone can find identify it? Not a Hollywood movie, and well worth seeing. (Really, there are far too many otherwise well educated people who believe that a movie not made in Hollywood and not benefiting from a multi-billion-dollar advertising campaing can't be worth watching. Like my daughter who thought Hershey's chocolate was delicious... until she tasted real (Belgian) chocolate. Ha!).

Congratulations to Will on the smooth transition to WP. I'm getting sweaty palms and headaches just trying to install Moodle. And that's WITH James Farmer's help!

Will's migration (if that's the word) has provided me unexpectedly with a chance to re-read some of Will's old posts, including this one with a list of 10 points teachers who blog (or are thinking of blogging) might usefullly consider.