This, that and the other

It’s Sunday night and I’m just now trying to pull together some thoughts about some things that I started reading on Friday night but have had to let wait because I had more pressing work and social engagements. Now I’m wondering how to make any sense of what is a very mixed bag of posts I marked as I came across them. Perhaps the only way is to work through them as I come to them and see if some pattern emerges from the apparent chaos.

On Thursday (Friday AEST) George Siemens at elearnspace posted the PowerPoint file from a presentation he gave at Manitoba about Connectivism and Web 2.0. I pulled that down on Friday evening and flicked through the slides. I don’t recall any major surprises, but it brought the key ideas together in one place and there were some interesting variations on the theme. A day later he posted a version with audio produced in a Flash format using Articulate. I haven’t had time to listen all the way through yet but I expect it will round out the text in the slides into a more coherent picture of current thought on the subject.

James Farmer at incorporated subversion has picked up on a post from Chris Bigum about Lemmings and similar phenomena in which he argues that secondary schooling is a form of organised child abuse – in the sense that by operating selectively it inevitably condemns a large proportion of students to being labelled as failures. I worked in secondary schools long enough to recognise that there is an element of truth in there but that it is by no means universally true. Still, there has to be a better way or arranging education in an age when rote learning of yesterday’s knowledge is less and less relevant.

David Warlick and Wesley Fryer each share some thoughts about teacher preparation for technology (ICT in our terms) use. Warlick writes about learning to use tools in the context of solving problems rather than because somebody thinks that learning specific tools might be useful sometime in the future. That certainly works for me and ought to work for our students if we can get past the “tell what I need to do to pass” approach that many adopt, whether from pragmatism, boredom or other reasons is hard to know. Fryer picks up on article about The New Teacher Education from the current issue of Educational Researcher. He raises a long list of questions on the basis of his reading of the article which I will need to read before I can get further into this.

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