Tuesday, September 27, 2005

SimCity Learning

A great account of the challenges and opportunities in using SimCity with middle school students. Wonderful stuff...

The Next Learning Landscape

Congratulations to David Tosh and Ben Werdmuller on the launch of a new release of their Elgg web app. They've polished and simplified the interface across the board and added new administrative functions (among other enhancements).

The potential for this learning landscape stuff is great -- I could see community groups, homeschool associations, wine clubs, schools, distributed project teams, and research groups (etc, etc) of all kinds getting huge value out of this combination of social software, file storage/sharing, and flexible permissions. It'll be exciting to see how it develops in the next year or two.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


“Engage Me or Enrage Me”: What Today’s Learners Demand:
"And what they are being served is, for the most part, stale, bland, and almost entirely stuff from the past. Yesterday’s education for tomorrow’s kids. Where is the programming, the genomics, the bioethics, the nanotech—the stuff of their time? It’s not there. Not even once a week on Fridays.

That’s one more reason the kids are so enraged—they know their stuff is missing!"

Teaching Happiness?

What Does It Mean to Educate the Whole Child?:
"Recently, I have suggested another aim: happiness (Noddings, 2003). Great thinkers have associated happiness with such qualities as a rich intellectual life, rewarding human relationships, love of home and place, sound character, good parenting, spirituality, and a job that one loves. We incorporate this aim into education not only by helping our students understand the components of happiness but also by making classrooms genuinely happy places.

Few of these aims can be pursued directly, the way we attack behavioral objectives. Indeed, I dread the day when I will enter a classroom and find Happiness posted as an instructional objective. Although I may be able to state exactly what students should be able to do when it comes to adding fractions, I cannot make such specific statements about happiness, worthy home membership, use of leisure, or ethical character. These great aims are meant to guide our instructional decisions. They are meant to broaden our thinking—to remind us to ask why we have chosen certain curriculums, pedagogical methods, classroom arrangements, and learning objectives. They remind us, too, that students are whole persons—not mere collections of attributes, some to be addressed in one place and others to be addressed elsewhere."
Via Stephen