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Archive for February, 2008

Make Art

Glen Hansard’s acceptance speech for Best Song was one of my favourite moments from last night’s Oscars.  “Make art!” he said.  Good advice for anyone, no matter who you are or what you do.  We’re all artists.

Here’s Hansard & his partner Marketa Irglova singing the Oscar-winning song.  It’s so beautiful it makes me weep.

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What would a course look like if it happened through YouTube?  Pizer College Media Studies professor Alex Juhasz did just that. She recorded all the class sessions and fed them to YouTube. In addition, all the assignments were either YouTube comments or videos.

Despite the “YouTubiness” of the course, it’s more than just a course about YouTube. It’s an exploration of how people learn (she calls it “amateur-led pedagogy”) and what difference a medium makes.

Also, don’t miss Henry Jenkins interview with Juhasz (Part A, Part B).

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olpcMy 11 year-old son’s OLPC laptop arrived this afternoon, and those were his first words as he opened the box and pulled out the tiny green and white machine. That’s a profound statement about how he sees technology.

Remember when the computer was the thing you used to write an essay? Remember when educational technology was Reader Rabbit instead of a chat client? Now technology is more the thing that connects you to a community. My hunch is the little “thinking tool” in my son’s hands is going to transform his world.

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Clive Shepherd on instructional design:

under construction“Those who work in the classroom can teach instructional designers a thing or two; they don’t spend endless hours in analysis paralysis trying to predict exactly what will happen at every point in their face-to-face workshops – they put together a quick and dirty design, give it a go and see what happens. The first offering will probably be a little shaky, with some ideas working and others not. No problem, because next time the design can be tweaked, and the next time and the time after that.”

(Photo, | under construction |, by Emi Yanez)

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Radical idea.  Mostly because I may be talking myself out of a job.  🙂

Participatory design is not new.  In fact, it’s an incredibly successful model for the web.  The whole idea behind sites like Ebay or Amazon is that much of the site is built by the people who use it.   Wikipedia is a collection of content built from the ground up by an army of contributors some of whom may be experts but most are not.  If collective intelligence is a successful model in other places on the web, why not with course design?  Do we really need courses to be designed by experts? 

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Remix Barack

I’m a total political junkie. I have to admit that one of the reasons I’ve been such a poor blogger lately is because I’ve been sucked in by the American primary season (even though I’m Canadian).

I noticed tonight that Barack Obama’s web site offers high-resolution video footage that you can download and remix. Some have used the footage to create their own ads, and they’re uploading them to YouTube. Obama’s site even offers instructions on how to do it. Between videos like this and will.i.am’s “Yes We Can” video, viewed over 8 million times since it first aired a few weeks ago, the Obama campaign is getting some masterful publicity and it’s not costing them a dime (especially since YouTube and people like me are the distribution channel).

Does anyone know of an educational institution that offers remixable media as a promotion?

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yawnAlthough I no longer teach regularly in the classroom, I’ve racked up a few years of MST (mainstream teaching), but lately I’ve been feeling a bit ambivalent. I used to get so much energy from walking into a classroom. But now, I’m just not feeling it. It feels a bit like falling out of love. Where did the feeling go?

I was reading Scott Karp’s reflections on his preference for reading online, and the idea came to me. Maybe after teaching a bit online, teaching face-to-face has become too boring. Teaching on a network is just more fun. I’m like the student that Marc Prensky mentions who feels like they have to power down when they step into the classroom.

How does that happen? Does your teaching style get rewired when you teach online?

(Photo, 195/365, by marie-II)

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