Time for reform

What’s wrong with students today is what’s wrong with the world. Here’s a major cause of many of our modern day woes… and the solution.
 
Educators are not the problem,
Students are not the problem,
Even the educational content is not all bad.
 
Fix the diseducation system, train teachers to open minds, engage the curiosity of the students. If they see the beauty and the benefit behind learning they will become lifelong learners and this will change the world.
 
This is how we get good politicians, this is how we advance science, this is how we fix planetary issues, and this is how we will colonise space. Today’s students are our tomorrow.
 
Start a generational change today. Demand education reform, demand better pay and training for our educators so we can attract the best people to the most important jobs in the world. Demand these things now, tomorrow and always. Bring the passion back to teaching, bring the joy back to learning…. change the world starting today.
Disclaimer: These are my personal views of the worldwide state of education and in no way represent my view of any individual or specific organisation.

Sourced from YouTube by Prince Ea – CC BY

Online Education

There are a few types of online education available to people, not all do away with the classroom or the teacher.

Purely Online

This is great if you live a long way away from your learning institution. No need to get in a car, but make sure you have a good internet connection. It is well suited to purely theoretical studies where students do not need the motivation of an educator frequently reminding them to stay on track.

Blended Delivery

Attend some classes, do a bit of hands on learning in a workshop, catch up with the class for group sessions in a normal classroom, head home and watch a few recorded sessions and catch an instructional video. Resources, tutorials and a few classes might occur online but it is still very necessary to attend other classes at your learning institution.

This is not just having information repeated online, but having some information provided face to face as well as some provided online. Neither delivery method necessarily will provide all the information. For example, classroom lectures may be supported by 3-5 minute video bytes and tutorial discussions online.

Some assessment may occur online and some may require attendance. For example a few short quizzes using online delivery may count for 20%, an online assignment for 30%, and an attended paper and/or practical exam for the remaining 50% to make up the total assessment.

Complimentary Resources

This is where the course is classroom based and resources can be located through online delivery. As an example, the learning portal may provide access to class notes, readings, texts, links to legislation, tutorial information etc.

Complimentary resources are an excellent stepping stone towards blended delivery and a great way to scaffold your students learning.

The Benefits of online

There are many, but here are a few:

  • reduced paper consumption/ printing costs
  • reduced travelling time/ vehicle costs
  • reduced preparation time/ course information can be recycled
  • enriched learning/ greater engagement
  • flexible access times for students
  • analytics/ see access information for your resources/ quiz results etc.
  • reporting/ easy reporting on student results
  • automatic marking of some assessments
  • automatic generation of some assessments using question banks
  • controlled release requirements for many aspects (complete quiz; access resource; discuss; etc.)
  • professional development – teachers gain new skills too
  • access students in a way they are used to communicating
  • immediate access to new technology – give them knowledge of new tech as soon as you become aware of it
  • facilitate discussion – answer questions in a forum, thereby only needing to answer once
  • build your FAQ answers over time, and save time by doing so

TAFE Queensland is about to launch Connect as our new online LMS/CMS. This will be powered by Desire2Learn and looks like a great improvement over the old system. It is both easy to learn and easy to manage.

Underpinning sustainability

ok, we all know it is supposed to be there, they’ve even added it into all of our educational policies, and, of course, if we don’t take care of the planet, we all know it’s the only one we have, so what are we doing about sustainability.

Personally I add it into everything. I talk about repairing things, even if the boss says to ditch them, maybe there’s a buck to be made on the side? I discuss the savings we can make in design by using less products to do the same job, and the marketability of that smaller more energy efficient item.

Here are some free video presentations you can add to your delivery. It doesn’t matter if you’re teaching kids, barristas, hair dressers or plumbers, one of these will suit any audience. Teaching electronics I will probably use three of them, and then supply the link for anyone who wants to look at the rest.

By doing this you are not only going to find it easier to meet audit requirements you are also passing on some really important messages to ensure the world is still here for our grand kids.

Please, take the time to watch a few minutes of the first presentation, The Story of Stuff, which is also available on YouTube with a whole heap of others from the same producers. It’s a great way to keep the students occupied for a few minutes while you mark exams or make a coffee and the other benefits are boundless.

Towards a sustainable humanity

While studying sustainability I came across a TED lecture by Ray Anderson.

While sustainability is something we should all consider, the poem at the end of his talk by Glenn Thomas is something I’d like to share.

Tomorrow’s Child
Without a name, an unseen face,
and knowing not your time or place,
Tomorrow’s child, though yet unborn,
I met you first last Tuesday morn.
A wise friend introduced us two.
And through his sobering point of view
I saw a day that you would see,
a day for you but not for me.

Knowing you has changed my thinking.

For I never had an inkling
that perhaps the things I do
might someday, somehow threaten you.
Tomorrow’s child, my daughters son,
I’m afraid I’ve just begun
to think of you and of your good,
though always having known I should.

Begin, I will, to weigh the cost

of what I squander, what is lost,
if ever I forget that you
will someday come and live here too.
– Glenn Thomas
Glenn also wrote a response from Tomorrow’s Child to his ancestor
When Love and Common Sense Combined
A Poem From Tomorrow’s Child
 

Because you cared so long ago
although you know you’d never know
If anything you’d do or say
would make a difference here today.

Though you saw you’d never see,
yet you cared so much for me;
An unknown name, a hidden face,
a future time and secret place.

And when you threw away your fear
like a tired souvenir,
And learned that being strong
meant admitting you were wrong

I marked that day with humankind
when love and common sense combined,
And to my benefit unfurled
a rich endowment for the world.

– Glenn Thomas
Thanks to Glenn Thomas for sharing his poetry and to Ray Anderson for fighting for common sense, sustainability and the future of humanity.

3D Printers

One of my work colleagues purchased a 3D printer.

I had been looking forward to seeing him bring in one neat 3 dimensional object after another, but then he quit. Sadly I’ll now have to be happy with re-posting about other peoples experiences with these wonderful new toys. This one is great and has links to several other interesting but related articles.

http://www.manmonthly.com.au/features/10-incredible-things-you-can-make-with-3d-printers

I am however left wondering how long it will be until our next enemy turns out to be a self-duplicating robot with a superiority complex….

iPads?

I just saw a link on Jamie Robins blog to this article which explores the questions we might ask before considering mobile ICT devices in the classroom.

I’m currently considering parting with more money than I can afford for a tablet. Here are some things I am slowly considering…

Is there a benefit to having a tablet in the classroom?

What sort of processing power/ data storage/ screen do I want?

Is anything smaller than 10″ any use at all?

Cheaper, faster, more versatile Android or the more expensive iPad?

With an iPhone running iOS, a computer running Windows 7 and a tablet running Android JellyBean I should be able to do some pretty good cross platform stuff – but do I know enough to even contemplate this?

Food for thought. I’d love some feedback….

More Courses

Here are a few more courses I am enrolled in, all through Coursera. If you are a student, a colleague or an acquaintance, feel free to join in and discuss the course with me.

Introduction to Public Speaking; Jun 24th 2013 (10 weeks long); University of Washington; Dr. Matt McGarrity

Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy; July 2013 (8 weeks long); Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München; Dr.s Hannes Leitgeb and Stephan Hartmann

Social Psychology; Jul 8th 2013 (6 weeks long); Wesleyan University; Dr. Scott Plous

Creativity, Innovation, and Change; Sep 1st 2013 (8 weeks long); Pennsylvania State University; Dr. Jack V. Matson, Dr. Darrell Velegol and Dr. Kathryn W. Jablokow

From the Big Bang to Dark Energy; Sep 3rd 2013 (4 weeks long); The University of Tokyo; Dr. Hitoshi Murayama

Foundations of Virtual Instruction; Sep 30th 2013 (5 weeks long); University of California, Irvine; Cindy Carbajal

Evolution: A Course for Educators; Nov 4th 2013 (4 weeks long); American Museum of Natural History; Dr. Joel Cracraft

Soul Beliefs: Causes and Consequences; Dec 2nd 2013 (13 weeks long); Rutgers University; Dr.s Daniel M. Ogilvie and Leonard W. Hamilton