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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-04-12

  • @sbestbier enjoyed it too, been thinking about ways to break away from the linear presentation, looking forward to your thoughts #
  • @clivesimpkins Good idea, I’ll bring it up with him & ask about opening the platform to other students for editing #
  • Never really had much use for mindmapping, so when I played with #xmind before, it didn’t really impress me. Boy, have I changed my tune #
  • @clivesimpkins …but, I take your point and might bring it up with him later #
  • @clivesimpkins As it was initiated by the student & is a great eg of social responsibility, I thought I’d only encourage at this early stage #
  • The Youth issues of South Africa: Current issues that are tearing us apart! Beginnings of a blog by one of our students #
  • Hot for Teachers w/ Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green ~ Stephen’s Web ~ by Stephen Downes #
  • The 2009 Chronic Awards | Very funny, a good read on a Saturday morning #
  • The Chronic | Bringing you the Ed Tech Buzz #
  • South African scientist Uses Google Earth to Find Ancient Ancestor #
  • Can You Get an Education in Spite of School? #
  • Resistance is Futile. Interesting thoughts in the iPad in education, by David Warlick #
  • Thinking is hard… #
  • Busy capturing data for test-retest reliability analysis of my questionnaire…behind the scenes of being a research rock-star #
  • Personalizing Learning – The Important Role of Technology #
  • “Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?” Douglas Adams #

Bloom’s new taxonomy

The title of this post is taken from a section of David Warlick’sExploring the Future of Schooling in Windsor” post, in which he includes a table of Blooms new taxonomy, which I’ve reproduced below.

Blooms New Taxonomy
Creatingassemble, construct, create, design, develop, formulate, write.
Evaluatingappraise, argue, defend, judge, select, support, value, evaluate
Analyzingappraise, compare, contrast, criticize, differentiate, discriminate, distinguish, examine, experiment, question, test.
Applyingchoose, demonstrate, dramatize, employ, illustrate, interpret, operate, schedule, sketch, solve, use, write.
Understandingclassify, describe, discuss, explain, identify, locate, recognize, report, select, translate, paraphrase
Rememberingdefine, duplicate, list, memorize, recall, repeat, reproduce state

Another thing he says in his post is that “Learning is a lifestyle”. I’ve been thinking about learning as a type of focused curiosity that we all have, and David’s suggestion that it’s a lifestyle adds another facet to that idea. When I think of the word “studying”, it seems like a chore or an unpleasant task I have to endure. Being curious and trying to find the answers to meaningful questions seems like a more agreeable way to think about it. The perception among many of my students is that studying is hard work and something to be avoided, which is why I’m trying to think of ways to get them curious about answering questions that are important to them.


e-Learning is not an option

A few weeks ago I posted a quote by David Warlick who suggested that e-learning is not an optional approach to education and in fact has little to do with good teaching (Digital kids / Analogue schools). He points out that it’s merely a tool that’ll be used with varying degrees of success, which will be dependant on the quality of the teacher, not the tool.

This idea that e-learning is happening whether we like it or not, was highlighted to me the other day when I received a letter regarding a conference taking place in Israel that will look at the management of higher education institutions. The author, Dr. Joseph Shevel writes:

“This shift from reading books to e-learning isn’t optional; it doesn’t depend upon the assessment of educational experts as to whether it is good or bad. It doesn’t depend on whether these institutions are ready for such dramatic change. Regardless of whether they have the money, the infrastructure, the staff, the skills – or most significantly – the online content – digital delivery is now a reality of every classroom…”

Dr. Shevel goes on to say that “e-learning is here to stay, it will increasingly become a vital item in the training plan, there is a growing need for experts in designing digital teaching and learning, and in response, we must learn how and when to use it to it’s and our best advantage”.

The question is not whether e-learning works because e-learning is already happening. Our students are using this new methodology in the way they work, socialise and communicate, right now. The question is: “What are we going to do about it?”


Digital kids / Analogue schools

Recently I came across a collection of quotes on the website of Scott McLeod, an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Iowa State University. It mostly consists of quotes by David Warlick but also has a few from other blogs.

Here are a few that I enjoyed:

  • “I’m getting tired of hearing people continue to ask for the evidence that technology helps students learn. It doesn’t matter. We know that good teachers help students learn. We need technology in every classroom and in every student and teacher’s hand, because it is the pen and paper of our time, and it is the lens through which we experience much of our world.”
  • “One of our problems has been that we have tried to shape the technology around outdated notions of what schooling is about, rather than reshaping our notions to reflect new world conditions…  In a rapidly changing world, it becomes much less valuable to be able to memorize the answer, and much more valuable to be able to find and even invent the answers…  We can’t keep up with making the technology the curriculum. All we can do is prepare our students to teach themselves. It’s the only way to keep up.”
  • “The kids who start school today will be retiring in the year 2065, and yet we know as little about what the world will look like then as we do five years from now. We can give them all the content we want, but in this age, in won’t make much difference if we don’t teach them how to learn first. And they do that not by spitting back at us what they “know.” They do it by being creative, by trying and failing, by succeeding and reflecting.” (

I think it’s great that people are challenging the traditional stereotypes of students, classrooms and the learning process and I agree that rote memorisation and the regurgitation of facts does nothing to prepare our students for the challenges of reasoning in a clinical environment.

Link to the original PDF: