How does a new or veteran teacher handle the hours of grading that can amount to a second full-time job? And as our class sizes increase, something’s gotta give. The key is to provide feedback in different formats. It keeps students alert to your message, and it keeps you from going out of your mind.
“Academics are trapped in this paradox of using Wikipedia but not contributing. While there might be pockets of academics running very advanced projects and lots of academics contributing outside their fields of expertise, not enough are contributing to scholarly articles within their fields.”—
I am currently teaching an evening class at a new, modern campus at local community college. I wandered into the campus library before class tonight. It was a lot like the computer lab I teach in, with row after row of computers. Just one lonely bookshelf of reference books sat behind the main…
Using the platform, teachers can create profiles that describe their classes and teaching interests. They can then search a directory of teachers from all over the world by student age range, language and subject, finding classrooms that match theirs. This will allow teachers to connect with other classrooms around the globe, bring in guest speakers without asking them to travel, and take virtual field trips.
What an easy and accessible way to create a global classroom!
Last week, for the first time ever, world leaders in education from 17 countries gathered in New York and traded ideas about how to put the best on education’s front lines. As leaders of the world’s top school systems shared ideas on everything from credentialing to salaries, a number of tools for elevating the teaching profession emerged, and they may be Canada’s brightest hope to avoid falling further behind the likes of Hong Kong, Shanghai, Korea and Finland.
The summit’s focus on teaching is new, a nod to the fact that pedagogy in the 21st century is less of a science and more of an art. In a wired world where every addendum to human knowledge is just a Google search away, there’s a new emphasis on teaching critical thinking, problem solving and creativity.
The class met today (yes, we have classes on Saturday) and here’s how things have come along since the last post.
Once they decided on the coordinates for their initial destination, they DM’ed them to AgentShiva on twitter. This action unlocked an achievement on the website. They then officially became “agents” of the GODS (governmental order of divinity and society), whereupon AgentShiva responded with a DM that looked something like this:
Coordinates confirmed. Solve mission puzzle for further instructions: 40.295378,-74.727067, 954G51i
Essentially, they had to figure out on their own what to do next. To solve the puzzle they had to recognize that the first two numbers in the series were coordinates. If they plugged them into google, our school library would pop up. YAY! Then they would have to figure out that the last number is actually a call number for a book (I used only books in the India section so they would become familiar with where the India books are in the library). In retrieving the book (each had a unique call number), they each found an envelope inside, containing a letter and about 65,000 play Rupees. Here’s the letter:
I have confirmed receipt of your destination coordinates. We have performed a full background check on you and are happy to announce that we think you’re perfect for this mission.
Your destination looks promising; there is a great deal of information you can gather anywhere in India, but for now, you’ll spend time collecting intelligence at the site of your choosing. Don’t get too comfortable, though. There will be times when we’ll need you to pack up your things and hit the road. Our agents in the field will require your assistance throughout this journey. Be prepared for unexpected travel; anything can and may happen.
Now that you’ve chosen your destination, you’ll need to get to India. In this package I’ve included a stipend, which you must manage responsibly. If you go to the temple, you’ll find both a map and a key for travel costs. To get to India, you first need to find a flight from your current location. Use expedia or a similar travel site to choose an available flight leaving as soon as possible. Take note of the flight number and convert the price into rupees (rs). You’ll find the conversion rate on the travel key. Since you may have chosen a destination, which does not have an airport, you may have to find other ways to transport yourself there. Use the travel key and google map to calculate the distance, mode, and cost of travel.
When you finally arrive at your destination, find an internet cafe and in 200 words or more, detail the first leg of your journey. Detail your itinerary and costs. What was the trip like? What kind of things, people, and places did you experience?
Agent Shiva will be waiting to confirm your arrival in India. After you’ve completed your blogging quest, contact him. In order to be sure of your identity, he will present a series of tests. The first is to complete the next line of the password. Direct message him your response.
“This light hath come, of all the lights the fairest…”
This letter drove them back to the internet and the course website, where they needed to create an itinerary and really figure out how they were going to get to their destination in India. By last night, many students had posted their blog, describing their journey to India. Here are some examples:
What many had not done is read (understood) the last part of the letter, which requires them to DM AgentShiva with the second line of that passphrase. The passphrase comes from the Rig Veda. It’s the opening line to the first section on creation. I thought it would be a suitable starting point for their journey, and also because the unlocked achievement of “traveler” is represented by a picture of Brahma, which is the deity often associated with creation.
Once they figured out the pass code, their status of “traveler” was unlocked and they were sent the following from AgentShiva:
At the site above (feel free to go and use the passcode: “rig veda”), the GODS lay out the first Intelligence Quest (IQ), which will test the skills of gathering information on the Rig Veda and it’s context. However, I put a fun limitation on the challenge, which you can read about at the link.
So here we are now, all the students are in India, so to speak, and beginning their knowledge tasks.
Here’s what I’m working on: developing a store wherein they can trade in their karma points (which they get for participating with the website — its an automatic program that assigns particular amounts for particular tasks — like a blog post might be worth 20, or a comment might be worth 5). So at the store they can trade in their karma points for additional quests (these are easier than the IQ’s) which will reward them with more rupees. Or I’m thinking of other items that will be unlocked as they make progress — if you have any ideas here, comment on disqus and let me know.
Okay! That’s enough for today. I’ll keep you updated throughout the week.
“If you could put a number of items into a box that described your life, what would you include? What do you think would be included if you were a Victorian Servant or Queen Elizabeth I. If you lived during the English Civil War, what items would you include to make a case for, or against, the parliamentarians? And what if you were an abolitionist and wanted to show that slavery was wrong and unnecessary, how would you create your evidence.
Museum Box provides the tools for you to do just this. It allows you to build up an argument or description of an event, person or historical period by placing items in a virtual box. You can display anything from a text file to a movie. You can also view the museum boxes submitted by other people and comment on the contents.”
Alright, so the past week or so has been two things. 1. It’s been the most productive time for me in weeks. 2. It’s left me completely exhausted. There’s just not enough time in a day to do all the things I feel I need to do. Despite this, I tread onward.
In faculty meeting this week I gave a presentation on gaming and the elements of gaming that provide insight to human motivation and engagement. It was provocative and a pleasure to give. It’s great when people are confronted with new ideas and perspectives and was glad I got the chance to do that.
I’ve been working on the design of the game, and I can say now that it’s coming together. I’ve build a buddypress site with cubepoints integration, where the students will be asked to document their gameplay, and provide the evidence needed for the missions. I figured a single space where they can post their work, communicate with each other, both privately, through commenting on posts, and through groups/forums is ideal for this type of game. If you’d like to take a look at the site, its: http://india.lvillepress.com
AgentShiva is on twitter and functional. He’s received the results of their preliminary mission and is getting ready to send them on their first real quest: planning and executing the trip to India.
Today they were on google maps/Earth exploring India and looking for a place where they would go to first. They sent their coordinates to AgentShiva via twitter and are awaiting confirmation. Tomorrow he will send a Direct Message with three numbers: which will be a code that they have to decipher in order to discover the instructions for their next mission.
His name is Bridger Wilson, and he’s two years old. He’s just like any other toddler, full of imagination. But Bridger’s father Mike has bought him an iPad. It’s not immediately clear how much experience that Bridger has had with the device previous to the taking of this video (which we should mention is about 8 months old now), but the results are seemingly rather stunning.
He appears to have the basic methods of navigating the device down, which is somewhat amazing since he likely cannot read and is just learning to speak. But Bridger’s father Mike says in the comments that “his speech, understanding, word recognition, and even hand eye coordination have improved within just a short while.” Quite an an accomplishment for a gadget from Cupertino, no?
See for yourself:
Click through to see some fascinating YouTube videos.
IN a speech last week, President Obama said it was unacceptable that “as many as a quarter of American students are not finishing high school.” But our current educational approach doesn’t just fail to prepare teenagers for graduation or for college academics; it fails to prepare them, in a profound way, for adult life.
We want young people to become independent and capable, yet we structure their days to the minute and give them few opportunities to do anything but answer multiple-choice questions, follow instructions and memorize information. We cast social interaction as an impediment to learning, yet all evidence points to the huge role it plays in their psychological development.
That’s why we need to rethink the very nature of high school itself.
This is a great write-up from an educator who is working with a school to integrate Twitter into the learning process. They go into the setup, and share their resources. Anyone interested in using Twitter to teach should find something valuable here.
PS: Don’t forget…you can like…email these to people :o)
Since Facebook’s launch there have been a couple of attempts to build education related applications or communities on the platform but none of them actually succeeded in attracting a critical mass of users. The idea though seems to be pretty obvious. Facebook itself started as a closed network for Harvard University.
Only then it has become the world’s largest social network with users visiting the site on a almost daily basis. All the data you need as a developer can be found in the social graph plus you get access to all the friends a user has when signing up for the application you built.
But people did not care, at least not enough to make the applications viable enough. Apparently, learning is something we don’t want to share with our social graph on Facebook, e.g. family and friends. And on the other hand it is pretty clear that managers or other business people won’t share their latest score in English tests or assignments with their network on LinkedIn. That’s one of the reasons why services like the language learning communities I talked about last week in my first post here on Big Think launched outside of Facebook and managed to attract a fair amount of subscribers over the years.
Then things changed again. Zynga came and all of a sudden it became somewhat normal to receive friends’ messages or notifications in the Facebook news stream who found golden eggs or other mystical animals on their farms, a trend the language learning community Busuu realized early on. On their service people earn berries when completing exercises or correcting other member’s texts. Busuu then connected this feature to Facebook and enabled their members to share their berries / success with their friends on Facebook. It was basically the same as simply writing “I completed an exercise successfully” but using the Busuu berry system it became part of the new social gaming world that has effortlessly been accepted by Facebook users.
The next big thing for start-ups in the education space will be Facebook credits, of course. The potential is huge as it will also open possibilities to get revenue from a younger audience as they can already buy credits directly at the counter in super markets from their pocket money in the US, no credit card needed and I’m convinced that this concept is also going to be successful in the rest of the world.
I got some great feedback from Twitter and Gameful peeps about the game. One of my colleagues posed some pertinent questions, which got me thinking:
First, I haven’t thought about expanding the audience. Someone else asked me about this and while my goal is to make it clear and transparent, I haven’t found the right venue for that yet (online). But I get what you’re saying: I figure I can direct my twitter/fb/plp networks over to their “proofs of completion”, whatever those may be. Since they’ll have to find a way to post their proof online, why not allow them to get some “authentic feedback” from people outside the game.
In terms of skills outcomes — it’s definitely a question I’ve been thinking about. First off, the game context is meant to do a few things — it’s meant to engage them in ways they otherwise wouldn’t be engaged and it’s meant to motivate them, in a way only games can, through a feedback system that’s designed for leveling up. Second, the game asks them to engage in “simulation thinking” — a large part of that will be management of tasks, budget management, and strategic planning. The game also asks them to provide proof of completing their quests, so they must also think practically and creatively.
In terms of content — the players will experience the same content as those students in other classes, but each piece of content will take on added importance through the game context. One of the things I like about games is it shifts the idea of “you need to know this because it’s important” to “this is important to the successful completion of your quest”. That frame of reference adds a layer of value to the content.
The kids definitely have the skills they need to play this game. First, they spent two terms working on the outcomes intended for freshmen cultural studies. Also, there are a few ideas behind designing a good game that I’ve been thinking about:
1. The game has to start out easy and then get harder. They might move through the first quests rather quickly, but once they level up, they’ll be confronted with more rigorous challenges.
2. The game should be designed so that each person is granted the opportunity to work at the current limit of their skill/knowledge level.
2. The game has to reduce the treat caused by the risk of failure. (this is actually one of the driving forces behind this project) One of the interesting findings Jane wrote about in her book was that when failure is designed to happen in just the right way, people’s brains were activated in the centers correlated with rewardind behavior. Failure, when design properly, rewards the player to try again, this time harder.
As for how they know if they’re doing well..
I’m designing a progress panel for them that visualizes their stats. I’m still working this out, but it will be an indicator of how far they’ve come and how far they’ve left to go in order to level up (achieve mastery). I’m thinking that there will be different categories of “hindu virtues” in which they can accumulate points. For example: Ahimsa (non-violence), Compassion, Wisdom, Protection, as well as others.
What I’m curious about is the question of “discovering the feedback system” or “having it explained”. I’ll post more about that later. Anyway, since this is long enough, I’m just going to make it into an actual post. Thanks Kelley.
“Anything we institute ahead we’d really want to talk through with the community and together understand what makes sense for us both,” Mr. Applebaum said. “We’re open to changes in the future which are in reasonable step with the expectations and realities of the overall library communities.”
Publishers are nervous that e-book borrowing in libraries will cannibalize e-book retail sales. They also lose out on revenue realized as libraries replace tattered print books or supplement hardcover editions with paperbacks, a common practice. Sales to libraries can account for 7 to 9 percent of a publisher’s overall revenue, two major publishers said.
But e-books have downsides for libraries, too. Many libraries dispose of their unread books through used-book sales, a source of revenue that unread e-books can’t provide.
The American Library Association has assembled two task forces to study the issue.
Even among the librarians who have stopped buying HarperCollins e-books, many said that there might have to be a compromise.
“I can see their side of it,” said Lisa Sampley, the collection services manager in theSpringfield-Greene County Library District in Springfield, Mo. “I’m hoping that if other publishers try to change the model, they think about the libraries and how it will affect us. But I’m sure there is some kind of model that could work for us both.
Facebook announced their new anti-bullying tools last week at a White House conference on Bullying Prevention.
The new tools are targeted toward younger Facebook users, and will make it easier for them to report any type of bullying they come across online. The user can also choose to send the report to a trusted adult as a contact in the Facebook incident report. They also have the option to send a private message about the report to the person who posted the offensive content.
“[Facebook] spent some time looking at reports we were getting in different categories,” said Arturo Bejas, the director of engineering at Facebook. “We take down content that violates our policies, but we also wanted to help people get support from someone in their lives… someone you trust you can help you deal with this in a way that’s constructive.”
“In school, the grading system has created the moral hazard of game play. It has replaced the real reward – learning for learning’s sake – with artificial rewards, these arbitrary letters. And when you replace the real with the artificial, you invite people to game the system and take the actions that would earn them these artificial rewards.”—
After having read Jane McGonigal’s book Reality is Broken, I’m awash with ideas for my classes. The book wasn’t particularly about how to gamify education, but as an educator who recently heard John Gee’s pitch for doing just that, I’m ready.
On a side note, ever since I read the book, after I go to sleep, every one of my dreams has been about games — mostly where I’m a player in a game: unlocking achievements and levels, getting stuck, overcoming obstacles, etc.
The game I’m working on is a 10 week MRPG. The immersive environment will be India and the content will be history and culture. Students will be given missions and asked to provide proof of their missions through a twitter account, which will be kind of like Charlie from Charlies Angels or the Voice on Tape from Mission Impossible.
I figured I could use the twitter account the way video games use automatic feedback systems. In video games no one is there to tell you how you’re doing and mark down what you’ve done. I think the twitter account creates a feeling of automation. In class, I’m usually the authority that they go to for different information, but the more it seems like the missions aren’t coming from me, but from the game itself, the more likely kids will be motivated and engaged by game.
The game is really designed to facilitate personal exploration of the content (in this case India).
Here’s the setup:
You’ve been selected by the Governmental Order of Divinity and Society to go on a quest to India. Because your mission is secret we cannot inform you of all the details now. However, In time you will learn everything you need to know about your objective. Understand this though: your mission is vital.
The nation of India houses an ancient civilization, spanning thousands of years. It’s the seventh largest country in the world, and home to over 1 billion people. While China is the only other country that is bigger in both landmass and population, India is much more crowded. On average, nearly 900 people live in one square mile in India. There are people everywhere!
Your first quest is an easy one. Decide where you’re going to travel to. Use Google Maps or Google Earth, to explore towns and cities, and to look at pictures and videos. When you’ve chosen a location, Introduce yourself to @AgentShiva on Twitter and send him the coordinates of your destination, so he knows you’re serious and ready for this journey.
To ensure confidentiality, AgentShiva will send your next and all other quests via DM (Direct Message) on Twitter.
So this will get them started. I’m hoping to set up both Wiki and Blog where AgentShiva or another Agent will ask them to begin documenting the game/the mission. For the quests, they’ll need to provide proof of completing each quest, which they can do in any number of ways, but which will have to be posted online somewhere (preferably their blog) — that way they can use text, photo, video, et c.
Once they agree to play the game (by messaging AgentShiva) they’ll be given their next quest, which is to find a hidden envelope on campus with Rupees in it. In that envelope will be a link to a site with the blog/wiki, and a key to how much each mode of travel costs per 50 miles. They’ll need to use the money to get to their destination (which involves a plane ticket over there — i think they’ll have to find a real plane and convert the usdollars to rupees) and then travel by bus/taxi/train to their destination. So throughout the game they’ll be spending money as they travel from city to city, but they can also choose to go on small quests to make money. These might involve helping Indians with tasks (courier, fetch, read, write) or learning a trade.
Ok so that’s enough for now. I’ll be thinking throughout the day on what the reward/feedback system should look like and how to build failure into the game.
“School today for the most part is just one long series of necessary obstacles that produce negative stress. The work is mandatory and standardized, and failure goes on your permanent record. As a result, there’s growing disconnect between virtual environments and the classroom.”—Jane McGonical, Reality is Broken
“When we’re reminded of our own agency in such a positive way, it’s almost impossible not to feel optimistic. And that’s the positive effect the researchers were measuring in the M.I.N.D. Lab: excitement, joy, and interest. The more we fail, the more eager we are to do better. The researchers were able to demonstrate this: the right kind of failure feedback is a reward. It makes us more engaged and more optimistic about our odds of success.”—Jane McGonigal, “Reality is Broken”
“If there’s one goal of this conference, it’s to dispel the myth that bullying is just a harmless rite of passage or an inevitable part of growing up,” Mr. Obama told about 150 students, parents, teachers and advocates of prevention measures gathered in the East Room.
“With big ears and the name that I have, I wasn’t immune,” he added. “I didn’t emerge unscathed.”
While Mr. Obama elicited chuckles with that memory, he and other participants also recalled examples from more recent and tragic stories of young people who killed themselves rather than endure further abuse from classmates, often for being gay or for being thought to be gay.
Apple has said little about the smart cover since Mr. Jobs showcased it before a rapt audience in San Francisco last week. He said the cover was not an afterthought, but was designed simultaneously with the iPad 2. To highlight its importance, Mr. Jobs gave the smart cover a starring role in its own movie — a playful 32-second clip that, he said, reminded him of a Pixar short.
Tech bloggers are reacting with effusive praise for the cover, with comments ranging from “magical” to “mind blowing.” John Gruber, an influential blogger, said the smart cover may be the main reason some owners of the original iPad want to upgrade to the new version.
How well the cover works in real life remains to be seen. Will it slip off when the iPad 2 is pulled out of a bag? Will it work as well for left-handed users and right-handed users? Will it slide easily into a larger case?
Regardless of the answers, the smart cover appears to have carved its spot in tech history, if only for the praise it has earned for its stylish marriage of form and function. “It is such an elegant solution,” said Scott Yu, a former president of Gingko Design, a firm that designed products for the tech industry, and is now chief creative officer of Vode Lighting, an architectural lighting company.
You can help scientists studying these diseases by simply running a piece of software.
Folding@home is a distributed computing project — people from throughout the world download and run software to band together to make one of the largest supercomputers in the world. Every computer takes the project closer to our goals. Folding@home uses novel computational methods coupled to distributed computing, to simulate problems millions of times more challenging than previously achieved.
I have the first Ipad, but am ordering this one as soon as Apple opens up shop tomorrow. Have black — going for white. I’m going to keep the Ipad 1 as a classroom ipad for kids to use during class.
But as it turns out, the iPad’s appeal is more emotional than rational. Once you get it in your hands, you get caught up in the fascination of manipulating on-screen objects by touching them. Apple sold 15 million iPads in nine months, created a mammoth new product category and started an industry of copycats. Apparently, it doesn’t pay to bet against Steve Jobs’s gut instinct.
On Friday the iPad 2 goes on sale, for the same price as the old one (from $500 for the Wi-Fi-only model with 16 gigabytes of storage, to $830 with 64 gigabytes and both Wi-Fi and cellular Internet connections). And if you thought there was an intellectual/emotional disconnect before, wait till you see this thing.
On paper, Apple didn’t do much. It just made the iPad one-third thinner, 15 percent lighter and twice as fast. There are no new features except two cameras and a gyroscope. I mean, yawn, right?
And then you start playing with it.
My friends, I’m telling you: just that much improvement in thinness, weight and speed transforms the experience. We’re not talking about a laptop or a TV, where you don’t notice its thickness while in use. This is a tablet. You are almost always holding it. Thin and light are unbelievably important for comfort and the overall delight. So are rounded edges, which the first iPad didn’t have.
The Lab School has selective admissions, and Ms. Isaacson’s students have excelled. Her first year teaching, 65 of 66 scored proficient on the state language arts test, meaning they got 3’s or 4’s; only one scored below grade level with a 2. More than two dozen students from her first two years teaching have gone on to Stuyvesant High School or Bronx High School of Science, the city’s most competitive high schools.
“Definitely one of a kind,” said Isabelle St. Clair, now a sophomore at Bard, another selective high school. “I’ve had lots of good teachers, but she stood out — I learned so much from her.”
You would think the Department of Education would want to replicate Ms. Isaacson — who has degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia — and sprinkle Ms. Isaacsons all over town. Instead, the department’s accountability experts have developed a complex formula to calculate how much academic progress a teacher’s students make in a year — the teacher’s value-added score — and that formula indicates that Ms. Isaacson is one of the city’s worst teachers.
According to the formula, Ms. Isaacson ranks in the 7th percentile among her teaching peers — meaning 93 per cent are better.
It’s a inspiring look at Game design and gets you thinking about the potential to increase motivation and engagement with “necessary obstacles” by building game contexts around them. My goal for next trimester is to construct a gaming context to work in each of my courses. This should be fun!
Over the last few days, I’ve checked-in at several favorite haunts on Foursquare, favorited a few Lady Gaga and cat videos on YouTube, uploaded half a dozen photos of a cookie party to Instagram, and posted several status updates on Twitter and Facebook.
As individual pieces of data, each of these points contains a tiny bit of information about me and my life. But when combined, they start to shape into a larger narrative, a story of sorts about how I spent the last few days.
Memolane, a new start-up based in Denmark and San Francisco, is hoping to corral all of those data points into a single, visual timeline, to help users create an interactive scrapbook of sorts on the Web.
Cell phone cameras — and associated scandals — have become so ubiquitous that it’s important for students to realize “the full gravity of what’s at their fingertips and the power they can have,”Immaculata University communications professorSean Flannery said.
Flannery teaches the class with Hunter Martin, a professional photographer who works with students on the mechanics of making the images, including composition, lighting, and editing.
Flannery deals with such issues as voyeurism, ethics, citizen journalism, and the difference between public and private spaces.
With cell phone photos constantly making headlines — images ranging from a US Airways jet afloat in the Hudson River to a shirtless Rep. Chris Lee, which led to his resignation — Flannery said his goal is “to sell the students on the notion that the camera phone and its usage in culture is news in the making.”
“I think it’s part of our responsibility … to teach kids how to use this tool,” he said, adding that it’s no different from teaching proper use of a video camera in a broadcast news class.
We emphasize things that are rational and conscious and are inarticulate about the processes down below. We are really good at talking about material things but bad at talking about emotion.
When we raise our kids, we focus on the traits measured by grades and SAT scores. But when it comes to the most important things like character and how to build relationships, we often have nothing to say. Many of our public policies are proposed by experts who are comfortable only with correlations that can be measured, appropriated and quantified, and ignore everything else.
Yet while we are trapped within this amputated view of human nature, a richer and deeper view is coming back into view. It is being brought to us by researchers across an array of diverse fields: neuroscience, psychology, sociology, behavioral economics and so on.
“I have come to believe that a great teacher is a great artist and that there are as few as there are any other great artists. Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit.”—John Steinbeck (via kristen-thiess)
"Four thousand per application: Do you see a problem with that?" he asked the audience. "That doesn’t even pay for a really good foosball table."
Apple said Wednesday it has doled $2 billion out to app developers, which could put the average payout closer to $5,700. Either way, Hawkins said he believes the math makes it difficult for creators of apps to turn a profit.
"If we can’t figure out how to make it a healthy ecosystem, it’s not going to be a great business for developers to be able to remain employed in," he said.
Infants and young children can exhibit striking confusion about how the world works, from failing to grasp that wind causes waves, to being mystified about how babies are created. Indeed, some researchers have characterized a child’s knowledge of the world as a bundle of misconceptions awaiting replacement with correct concepts through education (1).
Evidence is mounting, however, that young children are often quite adept at uncovering statistical and causal patterns and that many foundations of scientific thought are built impressively early in our lives. This growing understanding of how children acquire many of the thinking skills used in science has implications not only for education but also for understanding how all of us make scientific progress in the face of ignorance and incomplete knowledge.
The leaders of the annual TED conference, known for featuring short, carefully prepared talks on big ideas about technology and society, hope to apply their approach to education.
This week they announced TED-Ed, which will provide a hand-picked set of free online educational talks (expected to be even shorter than the conference talks), many submitted by educators themselves but enhanced by TED officials. An online forum, the Ted-Ed Brain Trust, will encourage discussion of how to reform teaching using the videos and other technology.
The system is not up yet, but the online forum is scheduled to open as early as next week, says Logan Smalley, whose title is TED-Ed catalyst. The videos will be added in the coming months, he says.
I can see this working out well if there’s a healthy pool of actual educators involved in the community.