I enjoyed reading (January)


Constructivism in the shadow of a dead god (Michael Potter). Potter discusses how academics have dismissed positivism and objectivism only on a superficial level and these concepts are alive and well in the language, course outlines and physical structures of universities. We won’t be able to truly embrace ideas like social constructivism until we start thinking about our learning spaces very differently.


The earth as art (NASA). Beautiful images of the earth from space, shared with no restrictions as a downloadable PDF and iPad app. The iPad app is well-designed, easy to navigate, and visually stunning. It also connects you to online content like time-lapse satellite imagery of disappearing glaciers and the aftermath of a volcano.


Letters to a young teacher (Jonathan Kozol). Jonathan writes a series of letters to a teacher he befriended over the course of a few years, sharing his own experiences of teaching and learning with young children. I highly recommend this book for when you’re feeling a bit down about the barriers and limitations you face as a teacher. I found it inspiring and thought-provoking.


06-medications-wired-designRedesigning the medical record (Wired) and the Future of medical records (the Atlantic). I’ve been excited about the prospect of an Electronic Medical Record since I first came across it almost 10 years ago. Not much has happened (that’s worth noting) in the interim, which is why I got so excited with the design mock-ups in these two posts.


Three ideas that won’t change classrooms (George Couros). George makes some really good points about some of the ideas that are hitting mainstream media around innovations in the classroom (e.g. the “flipped” classroom and BYOD). He doesn’t say that they’re bad ideas, only that when they’re implemented without thinking deeply about them, they have little value in and of themselves.


Why learning should be messy (Mind/Shift). The idea of learning being “messy” forces us to consider removing the subject-specific boundaries and thinking of it as a holistic problem. My students don’t need to just know about anatomy. They need to know about anatomy in the context of human movement and dysfunction, which is how their patients will present in the real world. Yet we teach these concepts to them in separate subjects, which doesn’t help them integrate the concepts at all.

In practice, this means the elimination of English, mathematics, history, and science class. Instead, we need to arrange the curriculum around big ideas, questions, and conundrums. What does learning look like in this model? Letting kids learn by doing — the essence of the philosophy of educator John Dewey. He wrote: “The school must represent present life — life as real and vital to the child as that which he carries on in the home, in the neighborhood, or on the playground.”


Trying to write Rhizomatic learning in 300 words (Dave Cormier). The concept of rhizomatic learning fits in nicely with theories of complexity and authenticity in education, which is why I really like it as a way of thinking about learning.

The idea is to think of a classroom/community/network as an ecosystem in which each person is spreading their own understanding with the pieces the available in that ecosystem. The public negotiation of that ‘acquisition’ (through content creation, sharing) provides a contextual curriculum to remix back into the existing research/thoughts/ideas in a given field. Their own rhizomatic learning experience becomes more curriculum for others.

twitter feed

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2011-08-01

  • Cities Are Immortal; Companies Die Masie briefly mentioned this Kelly article (I think)  in his great presentation at #cityafrica # (link updated after the fact)
  • Historic medical manuscripts go online #
  • Omniscient Mobile Computing: What if Your Apps Knew Everything About Where You Are? Reminded of Masie at #cityafrica #
  • Is RT a form of legitimate peripheral participation? Attended #tedxstellenbosch yesterday & did a lot of RT, wondering “did I padticipate”? #
  • @Sharoncolback not sure if it’s so simple, see @jeffjarvis who is very public re. personal stuff & who inspires many in similar situations #
  • Am I addicted to the internet? Maybe, but so what? #
  • Before iPhone war, Samsung sells 5M GS2′s in 85 days Got my samsung galaxy S2 last week and loving it so far #
  • Are there some things that shouldn’t be tweeted about? #
  • Feds Will Pay Doctors For Using Medical Records iPad App #
  • Electronic medical records get a boost from iPad, federal funding #
  • The current impact agenda could consider the impact of inspirational teaching, not just research #
  • Mendeley 1.0 is here! #
  • Learning spaces haven’t changed much since structured education emerged centuries ago. #cityafrica providing inspiration for change #
  • @wesleylynch venue is packed, hard to find 5 seats next to each other, realm team always inviting 🙂 #
  • @wesleylynch re-designing cities to be integrated spaces for working, learning and living #
  • @wesleylynch not sitting with #realm team, but chatted a bit #
  • @hotdogcop “quality teaching” isn’t going to happen without policy change that affect salaries and other factors related to job satisfaction #
  • @hotdogcop interest groups aren’t confined to academia though…some academics seek radical change, institutional structure makes it hard #
  • @hotdogcop “academic” doesn’t have to mean “top-down” or “policy maker” #
  • @hotdogcop agreed, but we train the people who will be called on to implement change #
  • @hotdogcop Mokena has some great ideas re. the city & education. would be interesting have him talk to our academics #
  • RT @TEDxStellenbsch: The future city already exists <- no, the technology exists, it’ll take a few years to implement #cityafrica #
  • Mokena Makena the best speaker so far at #tedxstellenbosch #CityAfrica #
  • Classrooms are not inspiring #cityafrica #
  • How could learning spaces change if city / community / nature were more fully integrated? #cityafrica #
  • How would the world look if cities were planned to integrate nature? #cityafrica #
  • Cities and nature don’t have to be mutually exclusive #cityafrica #
  • @vivboz hi vivienne, I’m not sure what writing group you mean? #
  • If the world can’t see or hear you, are u relevant? Do gangs and violence allow young people to be feared, if not seen & heard? #cityafrica #
  • How do our living and working spaces change the way we think and what does that mean for how we live? #cityafrica #
  • At #tedxstellenbosch trying to better understand the relationship between city and community #cityafrica #
  • Using social media: practical and ethical guidance for doctors and medical students – The British Medical Association #
  • Sites for the QR-enabled Tourist #