The Dynamo and the Social

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Thought this was an interesting piece at Slate based on Paul David’s paper. There are some obvious parallels with personal or mobile computing and education and the difficulties we have with using it well. “Electric light bulbs were available by 1879, and there were generating stations in New York and London by 1881. Yet a thoughtful observer in 1900 would … Read More

Why 21st Century Education is half-baked

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Perhaps it’s the bias of the medium, but spend much time online among teachery types and you come across a whole host of slightly hackneyed tropes. There is the “Shift Happens” video, Sir Ken Robinson, the “guide on the side vs sage on the stage” mantra, factory-model schooling is bunk, and long, well-meaning pieces about 21st century learning like this … Read More

Notes from Martin Robinson’s 21st C Trivium

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Some dog-ears from Martin Robinson’s Trivium 21stC Spoon-feeding “No longer were the students expected to enter the kitchen; rather they chose from a menu and expected it to be served up ready-cooked. This is the problem with spoon-feeding: the whole process devalues the making and concentrates on the service.” Art vs discipline An art offers an open-ended approach as opposed … Read More

Character Building 2.0

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Character building in the UK, I think, needs a little bit of an upgrade. Part of that means having a clearer idea of what we’re trying to build. Character building 1.0 & The Welsh 3000s Currently, character building is a euphemism for any experience that is uniformly dreadful and unrewarding. One example, from my childhood, was a challenge called the … Read More

Google makes broad-based knowledge more important

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Mind you, mastering “crap detection 101,” as digital guru Howard Rheingold dubs it, isn’t easy. One prerequisite is that you already know a lot about the world. For instance, Harris found that students had difficulty distinguishing a left-wing parody of the World Trade Organization’s website from the real WTO site. Why? Because you need to understand why someone would want … Read More

Flipped Classrooms

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Have mixed feelings about flipping classrooms (so to speak). Part of me loves the idea, part of me is suspicious of the hype and evangelical say no bad things about it. But hey, maybe that’s me and evangelicals. Created by Knewton and Column Five Media

Breadth is valuable

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Reflecting on Cardinal Newman’s ideas on the role of the university, my predecessor as vice-chancellor, Professor Dame Alison Richard, observed: “The dichotomy between ‘useful’ and ‘not useful’ is itself increasingly ‘not useful’.” With an anthropologist’s view of the benefits of biodiversity, she made a powerful case for its academic equivalent: “The case for breadth centres on the proposition that the … Read More

To do what needs doing

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Michael Ellsberg has a book out called The Education of Millionaires, which outlines the 7 key skills you need to know to become a millionaire like college drop-outs Zuckerberg or Gates. The argument, loosely, is: yes college can teach you many wonderful things but those things do not transfer easily to the real world. various millionaires have done really well … Read More