Banned!

This is an interesting list of things banned by schools and explored in this slideshow by Lisa Nielson, at The Innovative Educator blog. We seem to ban things for questionable reasons. What does that say for trust? I wonder how often these bans are put in place as knee-jerk reactions to one incident, or as a matter of exerting control because we can. What other things are banned for no good reason?

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Comments on Online Learning

Not saying there isn’t any value to offering classes online. But if we do, let’s make sure they take advantage of the online piece to let participants develop the connections that will sustain them far beyond the class. Or, if not, let’s call it what it is…online coursework, not learning.

This is an excerpt from a Will Richardson blog post. He is responding to a post in the Huffignton Post about the benefits of online learning. While online learning can provide anytime, anywhere learning, I would agree with Richardson, that for real deep learning connections of all sorts must be made – with the material being studied, with people and ideas. It is not about getting a course done faster and working ahead, although I can see that as something a secondary student might like – heck, I would probably like to get some of them (courses) finished earlier too! If online learning is going to be innovative, it must, as Richardson points out, take advantage of what the Internet has to offer, not just dump content on to a screen that one can race through.

Digital Identity?

I started this journey because I’m interested in the idea of digital identity, of who we are when we’re online. What it means to “talk” to people on Twitter. What it means to interact digitally, and form deep connections with people we may have never met.  How writing one’s life can be different from telling it in person, because of what one is allowed to say and focus on. What it means to share our thoughts and life via RSS or tweet or status update rather than email or telephone. Why some of us @reply most of the time, using the medium almost as a party line. What kind of commitments – in terms of time and repeated engagement, in terms of pressure to be funny or interesting or smart – it takes to build and maintain a “self” online, an identity that others recognize and respond to. Whether there’s a digital identity even if nobody’s reading or following.

This excerpt is from the blog of Bonnie Stewart, who, like me, is undertaking studies in a Ph.D. program. I came across her blog after following her on twitter and found that her interests in social media are a pretty good match to mine. In this post she begins delving into the idea of digital identity. I just commented on her latest post. I love the way she writes and provokes thought and will be back to her blog often – a good read!

(I originally grabbed this excerpt on January 29, 2011)

Wozniak: ‘We’ve Lost a Lot of Control’

… [Steve] Wozniak paused to criticize the stranglehold technology has on our lives.

“We’re dependent on it,” he said at the museum, which holds one of the world’s largest collections of vintage computers and sits about six blocks from Google’s headquarters. “And eventually, we are going to have it doing every task we can in the world, so we can sit back and relax.”  ….

“All of a sudden, we’ve lost a lot of control,” he said. “We can’t turn off our internet; we can’t turn off our smartphones; we can’t turn off our computers.”

 Digital technology is ubiquitess, like many technologies before it, it has become an integral part of our world. Have we lost control?
(I originally grabbed this quote on January 4, 2011 – just catching up!)

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(http://www.flickr.com/photos/dkuropatwa/4285762190/)

Change Now, not in the future

I have a suggestion. Let’s stop talking about the future and start doing something now! Generations of children have missed-out on rewarding educational experiences while we worry about how corporate meetings will be conducted in 2019. Sheesh!

In this post, Gary Stager implores educators (& others) to stop talking about educational reform in terms of the future – and to act now. I certainly agree with this sentiment. When I started teaching over 30 years ago, there eas talk of inquiry based and procet based learning. I am seeing signs of real change in education at all levels, it is slow to come, and many people drag their feet or see reform as more testing, back to the old ways of doing things. It is high time we made real positive change for learners and quit trying to solve percieved problems with more of the same old – and do it now, not in 5 or 10  years.

(I grabbed this quote on January 04, 2011, talk about acting now! 🙂

BBC News – Photographer captures Northern Lights phenomenon

A photographer has managed to capture the Northern Lights phenomenon in Northern Norway, after he decided to place his camera on top of a mountain to shoot a time lapse of the sky.

Eirik Evjen who lives in Lofoten, took the pictures on Friday and was amazed by the results.

“It was very cold outside so I had to wrap the camera in the warm clothes I was wearing,” he said. “I got a real surprise when I picked up the camera eight hours later.”

Pictures courtesy of Eirik Evjen

Amazing video – the beauty of nature – the Northern Lights!