Bring on the Learning Revolution! a TED talk from Sir Ken Robinson

In this video Sir Ken Robinson talks about what is wrong with the education system – namely us.  We push children down the cookie cutter assembly line of education and expect them all to come out the same at the end.  This doesn’t account for passion or individuality.

And we have sold ourselves into a fast food model of education. And it’s impoverishing our spirit and our energies as much as fast food is depleting our physical bodies.

He offers the suggestion of moving to system that feeds their passion, encourages growth and development.

We have to move to a model that is based more on principles of agriculture. We have to recognize that human flourishing is not a mechanical process, it’s an organic process. And you cannot predict the outcome of human development; all you can do, like a farmer, is create the conditions under which they will begin to flourish.

What does this have to do with Libraries and Transliteracy? It is a wider approach to education and learning.  If you’ve heard me speak about transliteracy you have heard me say our education system is broken and is preparing students for a world that no longer exists.  Sir Ken Robinson is essentially saying the same thing, but with a British accent and much more eloquently :-)

Transcripts are available on TED.com

Your Brain on Computers

The New York Times is running an interesting series called “Your Brain on Computers,” which investigates the impact of technology on everyday life. According to the NY Times, the series aims to examine “how a deluge of data can affect the way people think and behave.” So far, the series comprises three articles:

Of interest as well are some of the sidebar information:

As you can probably tell by the headlines, many of these articles paint heavy use of technology as a potential danger. For example, in Hooked on Gadgets, and Paying a Mental Price, Matt Richel writes:

While many people say multitasking makes them more productive, research shows otherwise. Heavy multitaskers actually have more trouble focusing and shutting out irrelevant information, scientists say, and they experience more stress.

And scientists are discovering that even after the multitasking ends, fractured thinking and lack of focus persist. In other words, this is also your brain off computers.

I would imagine most readers of this blog have a more positive experience with technology than presented in these articles. Do the research and anecdotes reflect your experiences with technology?

<update>Steven Pinker, in his article, Mind Over Mass Media also from the New York Times, is not responding directly to the Your Brain on Computers series, but he certainly is addressing very similar issues and presents a seemingly contradictory point of view:

Critics of new media sometimes use science itself to press their case, citing research that shows how “experience can change the brain.” But cognitive neuroscientists roll their eyes at such talk. Yes, every time we learn a fact or skill the wiring of the brain changes; it’s not as if the information is stored in the pancreas. But the existence of neural plasticity does not mean the brain is a blob of clay pounded into shape by experience.

Perhaps it’s safe to say the jury is still out on these issues.

</update>

Apology for Unwanted Google Ads on this Blog

Today I got a reminder that I can always learn something new, even about a tool or service I’ve been using for a long time and *think* I know everything about.

I was viewing this blog without being signed into wordperss.com and noticed a Google ad.

Google Ads on Libraries and Transliteracy - NOT cool

I have had multiple blogs with wordpress.com over the years and never seen a Google ad on any of my sites.  I did some investigating and discovered that those ads are placed there by wordpress.com. You can pay 29.95 a year to have them turned off.

no_ads

To say I am unhappy is an understatement. I love wordpress.com for blogs, is it the one I recommend to anyone looking to start a blog or web presence.  I’m not so much unhappy about the ads but the fact that I have been blogging with wordpress.com for FIVE years and had no idea this was happening.  I am angry that I was not better informed, that bloggers have NO control over the ads on their site, that the bloggers that write for LaT do so on their own time and dime because they believe in it. I choose wordpress.com because I thought it was the “best” free option for bloggers, but it is not really free.  Would I have chosen it any way knowing about the ads? Maybe. I don’t know.

I want to be clear that neither I, Bobbi, or any of the other bloggers for Libraries and Transliteracy have anything to do with any of the ads or the links provided in them. I offer a sincere apology to all of our readers.

Sincerely,

Bobbi Newman

Resources for Learning and Teaching Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is a 21st Century Literacy everyone should be familiar with, but how do you learn it? or teach it?

Howard Rheingold and a group of educators have created the Critical Thinking Compendium with resources such as tools which includes a great list of resources to help students (and anyone) evaluate resources they find online.  Definitions are offered on the vocabulary page and  there is even a Diigo Resources page

Introduction to Multimedia Scholarship: Student Handbook

The University of Southern California has available online “Introduction to Multimedia Scholarship”. It is

the Companion Handbook for MDA 140, offered in conjunction with the Multimedia in the Core and Multimedia Across the College Programs

The handbook explains the rational behind the course

The Multimedia in the Core program was formally established in April 2006 after a mandate from the University’s Provost Max Nikias in which he announced his desire to offer every student at USC the opportunity to gain skills in multimedia production. The reason behind this mandate is the idea that to be literate in the 21st century requires not only effective skills in reading and writing, but also the ability to use and interpret media effectively. The Multimedia Across the College program expands the opportunities for USC students to gain exposure to multimedia, offering labs in conjunction of a full array of College courses.

It includes five foundational literacies

  1. Digital literacy refers to the ability to understand the basic aspects of multimedia tools and software, and covers everything from the protocols for compression, back-up and file naming to definitions of terms (frame rate, dpi, etc.) and basic equipment usage.
  2. Network literacy refers to the ability to use networked software for intelligent participation in online communities.
  3. Design literacy refers to the ability to use appropriate design principles for multimedia authoring in a specific context, and the ability to control the relationship between form and content.
  4. Argumentation focuses on the ability to develop, express and defend a persuasive thesis using media, as well as the ability to use evidence and complex thinking in constructing an argument.
  5. Research literacy refers to the ability to perform effective, critical online research; knowledge of academically appropriate protocols for selection, citation and attribution of source materials; and knowledge of fair use and copyright issues.

and ten supplemental literacies

  1. Presentation: The ability to understand and articulate basic strategies for effective presentation using multimedia, as well as how to disseminate these materials to a wide audience.
  2. Visual literacy: The abilities to convey information visually and to understand and control systems of visual signification.
  3. Sonic literacy: The ability to communicate effectively with sound.
  4. Interpretation: The ability to use multimedia to enhance a critical interpretation, and the ability to identify and articulate the cultural, historical and ideological contexts of a media object.
  5. Annotation: Understanding strategies for critical annotation of text, images and media.
  6. Collaboration: The ability to work effectively in a group authoring environment, as well as the ability to lead a team project.
  7. Narrative literacy: Knowledge of basic components and genres of narrative, and the ability to deploy elements of narrative in a critical context.
  8. Pedagogical literacy: Understanding strategies for creating an effective tool for teaching.
  9. Interactivity: The ability to communicate effectively in a non-linear, interactive context, and the ability to design an effective interface or navigational structure.
  10. Code literacy: The ability to understand the basics of how code operates, and the ability to write or use basic code.

Clay Shirky Discusses the Emergence of New Literacies

Clay Shirky responds to Nicholas Carr’s assertion that “the Internet is making us dumber” with his essay, “Does the Internet Make You Smarter” in the Wall Street Journal. Shirky thoughtfully makes the case that we are living in a transitory period in which new forms of reading and writing are emerging as well as evolving meanings of “literacy.”

Every increase in freedom to create or consume media, from paperback books to YouTube, alarms people accustomed to the restrictions of the old system, convincing them that the new media will make young people stupid. This fear dates back to at least the invention of movable type.

This essay can help educators and librarians better conceptualize the scale of change and provides insights into the paradigm shift we are experiencing in how we define literacy.

Free Webinar Tonight: Transmedia Navigation

from the New Media Literacies network:

Join us on Wednesday, June 9, 2010 at 7PM–8:30 PM EST for an in-depth panel discussion about Transmedia Navigation led by Henry Jenkins and joined by Mark Warshaw (The Alchemists, LA and Brazil) and Clement Chau (DevTech Research Group, Tufts University). The goal of this session is to help educators better understand about transmedia navigation and the value it can have in learning.

This free webinar, hosted via Elluminate, can be accessed by clicking here. The session will be recorded and archived for those who cannot attend this learning session live.

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