[Squeakland] Panel discussion: Can the American Mind be Opened?
mmille10 at comcast.net
mmille10 at comcast.net
Tue Nov 20 12:47:06 PST 2007
"I recall an allegation that ninety percent of everything is crap. Further, I personally recall that if even ten percent of my classmates were interested and engaged in any particular class, then it was a delightful exception to the general rule."
Now that you mention it, this sounds true. I was reflecting recently on the idea of schools as cartels. That term was used in the panel discussion, but I'm using it in a bit of a different way. I wondered what if we could have free market access, as it were, to the teachers who taught what we wanted to learn, in the way that best suited us? The way many schools have operated is as a "package deal". To become a student you've had to consent to buy in to the whole program, even if there are probably only a few exceptional teachers in it. The only schools I've seen that seem to give you the freedom to take a class here and there are community colleges. At the university level there is the possibility of transfers, but it seems to me this process is hindered by whether one school will give you credit for a course taken at another. If the curriculums diverge this becomes a challenge. The systems are oriented towards school as an institution, though they've had distance-learning programs
so it feels a bit less site-based. I imagine if an enterprising student were to try to pick and choose their teachers from different schools now for what they'd need to satisfy a degree they might be able to do it, but it would be time-consuming. Unless they were on-site they wouldn't get the interactivity, either.
There have been visions of "remote lectures" put forward, where distance learners could be part of live lectures, be a part of the class discussion, etc. So far I haven't seen this play out.
Re: attempts with constructivism
I hope you're right. I have heard criticisms of constructivism, based on anecdotes, but I've always wondered whether what's been evaluated is actually constructivism or just some group's ideological interpretation of it (the group that says they're implementing the pedagogy, that is). I haven't studied it in detail, but the ideas behind it, as presented by Kay, make sense to me.
mmille10 at comcast.net
-------------- Original message --------------
> Date: Fri, 16 Nov 2007 19:44:36 -0800
> From: Richard Karpinski
> Subject: [Squeakland] Re:Can the American Mind be Opened?
> To: squeakland at squeakland.org
> Thanks, mmille10, for an interesting discussion. I recall an
> allegation that ninety percent of everything is crap. Further, I
> personally recall that if even ten percent of my classmates were
> interested and engaged in any particular class, then it was a
> delightful exception to the general rule.
> Indeed, it is my understanding, perhaps shallow and incomplete, that
> the constructionist/constructivist intent behind OLPC is to counter
> that trend toward useless education by getting students engaged in
> individual or team projects. With the engagement comes attenti on and
> intention which together make the learning both deeper and broader as
> well as very much faster than the typical classroom setting
> One hopes that every level of education fosters a love of reading,
> thinking, conversing, and acting in its participants, no matter how
> often that turns out not to happen. Literacy, numeracy, and critical
> thought all demand bi-directionality. One must not only read but also
> write, not only be able to calculate but also choose to calculate
> about new topics, not only think and reason but also act in support
> of those conclusions.
> Otherwise, one is a mere observer without a life of her own worth
> living, worth the air breathed and the space taken in the bio-sphere.
> Fortunately, in the first world at least, we have convenient access
> to tremendous educational resources outside the formal ins titutions
> putatively dedicated to that purpose. That access is exactly what we
> hope to spread into and outside of the formal institutions of
> education outside the first world, is it not?
> No wonder politicians are a bit leery of enthusiastic support for
> this effort in their own domains. It could foster uncontrolled
> activities by students and even teachers. Pretty scary.
> Richard Karpinski, Nitpicker dick at cfcl.com
> 148 Sequoia Circle, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
> Home +1 707-546-6760 Cell +1 707-228-9716
> ps Put "nitpicker" in the subject line to get past my spam filters.
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