Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Homelearning and Future Education

Chris Corrigan linked to a solid post by John Dumbrille about the future of education:
"Children have to be raised to be independent enough psychologically to be entrepreneurial. And for that to happen, education has to change - to move from mass systems of control and compliance, to systems that bring out the humanity and skills of a child, encouraging children to be themselves, stand in their own wisdom, and find their own way. I think this will require smaller classes and self-paced learning."
Chris also hints at a rich learning environment in his community that I'd love to hear more about:
"It bears mentioning that we are both involved in a wonderful community of homelearning families here on Bowen Island, working with our kids and each other to provide a creative learning environment outside of the school system.

Web Personalization

I had to save this article about web personalization. The focus is on marketing and e-commerce, but you can translate all the business terminology into the learning realm with ease. We know that one-size-fits-all doesn't tend to make for very compelling learning experiences, but personalization is more difficult and expensive to produce. This article goes beyond the idea that personalization has failed and offers advice for selecting, designing and justifying the value of these projects. Good comment section as well...

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Law of Content

Stephen Downes seems to have invented a word to encompass his Law of Content: aumsinism. Perhaps it's just a Google experiment, and I've just taken the bait, but I did want to save this for later:
"If you don't get this, then you don't get the information economy. More generally: Content sells products, but is not itself a product. Oh, sure, companies like Apple will pay people to produce content. So content producers will still get paid. But the content itself has value only if it encourages people to purchase things that cannot be duplicated."

Seven Cs

Reading this interview with Bernie Trilling is like listening in on a great conversation -- he asks as many questions as he answers, but he's doing some great big-picture thinking about the purpose of education now and in the future. In addition to the three Rs, he talks about the importance of the seven Cs:
  • Critical thinking and doing, and the doing is just as important as the thinking
  • Creativity
  • Collaboration
  • Cross cultural understanding
  • Communication skills
  • Computing skills, ICT skills
  • Career and learning self-reliance
Right now K-12 schools are spending piles of money on expensive tools that help them figure out how well kids can write tests, mostly in the three Rs. It's easier because it's quantifiable and standardized. Schools aren't as good at teaching and assessing messier skills like creativity, collaboration and understanding. (OLDaily)

Sunchild E-Learning Community

George linked to this great story about distance learning for First Nations students in remote areas. It's called Sunchild -- encouraging results, by the sounds of it.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Do-It-Yourself School

Joanne Jacobs linked to an article about a do-it-yourself school started by a parent. PTC Elementary is apparently a "parent teacher child cooperative school". I'm fascinated by these kinds of education alternatives -- not quite homeschooling, but radically different than "school" in the usual sense.

A few days later, Joanne posted this reaction to the Macleans cover story about grades, including many interesting reader comments. I sort of feel like both the article and the reaction miss the real points -- most of the material kids are being graded on is irrelevant, and the most common types of assessment don't measure anything resembling real learning.

Brian sounds off about opponents of alternative schooling: "...Instead of 'defining new forms of public schooling', why don't these people just let other people go ahead and do them? Especially when these schools only require 'reduced personnel and facilities'." He also posted some interesting ideas about the amateurization of everything in the internet age.