I enjoyed reading (February)


Is the lecture dead?

The real purpose of a lecture is to show the mind and heart of the lecturer at work, and to engage the minds and hearts of learners.

It’s important to understand that lectures in themselves are not bad but that they, like any teaching medium can be used badly. A good lecturer tells a story that inspires and motivates students, so we should use caution when speaking poorly of lectures. When the lecture fails as a teaching medium, it is the lecturer who is at fault.

I was asked (Stephen Downes)

…focus your work on serving others, not enriching yourself, because your work will have no value to you otherwise. Write from the heart; don’t be a slave to academic form, but don’t ignore it. Back up your reasoning with evidence, and reason soundly from what you know and what you have experienced, not what you have been told. Understand that argument rarely convinces anyone of anything, that an understanding of principles of reasoning is to protect yourself from error, not to correct other people in theirs, that time spent explaining what you are doing and why will often pay off, but not everyone will support you, and often nobody will, but if you are true to these principles, that won’t matter. And, at the end of life, the only thing that will matter to you will be what you gave to the world, not what you took from it. Share.


I used to think (Shelley Wright).

I used to think marks were important. Now I think they’re arbitrary at best. What does 82% really mean? I’ve asked my students that question. They don’t know, and the truth is, most often, neither do I. I would like to get rid of all marks, and move solely to feedback, and the more often this feedback can be verbal dialogue the better. When my students receive lots of formative feedback they know where they stand as learners. Then it’s about learning, not marks and grades.


Freedom to connect (Eben Moglen): Eben makes the argument that in a digital and networked world, open source software and hardware are essential if citizens are going to maintain control of their civil liberties. When governments and corporations control our devices and the code that runs on them, we will find ourselves with fewer and fewer private places to go.

So here we are, asking ourselves what the educational systems of the 21st century will be like, and how they will socially distribute knowledge across the human race. I have a question for you. How many of the Einsteins who ever lived were allowed to learn physics? A couple. How many of the Shakespeares who ever lived, lived and died without learning to read and write? Almost all of them. With 7 billion people in the world right now, 3 billion of them are children; how many Einsteins do you want to throw away today? The universalization of access to education, to knowledge, is the single-most important force available for increasing innovation and human welfare on the planet. Nobody should be afraid to advocate for it because somebody might shout “copyright”.