Posted to Diigo 02/25/2011

    • As scientists and other specialists learn more about how our brains work, for example, many of the traditional instructional methods used for the past 100 years (or more) seem to be out of kilter with how human beings really pay attention, engage, and actually learn something
    • utter incredulity concerning the continuation of the old one-way large lecture hall
    • The massive lecture rooms are not designed to produce an ideal learning situation but rather to get a great amount of people through the material on a large scale
    • “tiny professor somewhere down there” in front going through the material but without engagement or connection with the students
    • If one of the goals of education is to “have a lively exchange of ideas,” the depersonalized one-way lecture seems to be an outdated method for stimulating this exchange
    • Einstein said many years ago that “it is in fact nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry….”
    • We are obsessed with giving prizes to students who memorize the most facts and bits of information (and in the shortest amount of time). Why don’t we give prizes for the students who demonstrate their unabashed curiosity and demonstrable pursuit of discovery?
    • The curious can eventually overcome their ignorance, but the chronically incurious—and yet self-assured—are stuck with their ignorance for a lifetime.
    • The ineffective teachers are the ones who have lost their curiosity and sense of wonder for their subject or even for their job
    • The best teachers guide, coach, inspire, and feed that natural flame of curiosity that lives within every child
    • The courage to teach, then, is the courage to expose yourself as you demonstrate your curiosity and wonder for your subject
    • This kind of passion is infectious (and memorable).
    • School for a student is ephemeral and short, but learning, self-education, and inquiry last a life time so long as a student’s unabashed curiosity remains alive
    • The best teachers (or trainers, coaches, etc.) are those who light the sparks and inspire students to pursue a lifetime of exploration and discovery
    • When designing an online or blended course, then, the question might be, “Which of these skills and those closely related skills are core for your discipline and map to your learning goals and outcomes?

    • A useful design theme for thinking about new writing spaces is “cognitive surplus.”
    • Shirky describes cognitive surplus as “the shared, online work we do with our spare brain cycles.”
    • The motivation for doing shared work with those “spare brain cycles” is simple: We, as people, like to create and we like to share.
    • an emerging trend in online courses is for learners to create while learning
    • Some of this creation work focuses on current course topics, resulting in mini-conferences and expansion of course materials. Other creative course work flows forward to future learners, to the community, and to other groups
    • So what are the alternatives to the traditional research paper?
    • Why is the traditional paper so prevalent in assessment, and how can we move beyond it to alternative evidence of student learning?
    • Writing is a core competency and we are now writing more than ever
    • What kinds of writing do learners need to do in their chosen careers, lives, and professions? Much of the writing will rely even more on critical thinking and research skills
    • Papers are popular because writing requires skills such as: