January 18, 2014

Hack Education Weekly Newsletter No. 44

Warm mid-January greetings (well, it's warm here in SoCal. So warm we have forest fires and drought)...

A week full of education news as entrepreneurs and college administrators gathered at the White House to talk about the future of education. Maybe there were educators and students there. I dunno. There were also acquisitions, court rulings, reports, decrees, investments, still more money earmarked for iPads in Los Angeles, and the like. If you're looking for all this week's news, be sure to check out my roundup on Hack Education.

If you're looking for great reads for the weekend, here are a few I recommend:
  • "Remembering Aaron" by Parker Higgins. "One year ago, we lost Aaron Swartz, a dear friend and a leader in the fight for a free and open Internet. The shock was, and remains, a profound one."
  • "Eating in School Cafeterias Isn’t Apartheid and Other Things I Shouldn’t Have to Tell Grown People" by Tressie McMillan Cottom. "Sometimes the symbolic nature of words and definitions obscures the intensity of emotional, embodied experience."
  • "George Siemens Gets Connected" by Steve Kolowich. "'Most learning needs today are becoming too complex to be addressed "in our heads,"' Mr. Siemens wrote in a 2008 blog post. 'We need to rely on a network of people (and, increasingly, technology) to store, access, and retrieve knowledge and motivate its use. The network becomes the learning.'"
  • "The vulnerability of learning" by George Siemens. "Learning is vulnerability. When we learn, we make ourselves vulnerable. When we engage in learning, we communicate that we want to grow, to become better, to improve ourselves."
  • "Meanwhile at Code.org" by Bret Victor. "Hey, congratulations to musician and entertainer will.i.am for at least having an educational philosophy that's not unreasonable, let alone horrifying."
  • "We Didn't Eat the Marshmallow. The Marshmallow Ate Us" by Michael Bourne. "We want the instant gratification of an easy answer. We want to hear that character traits can be taught like algebra and geometry and that if you can resist eating a marshmallow at 4, you possess the secret to a successful life. We want the world to be a big fluffy marshmallow, and we want to gobble it up. We want to eat the first marshmallow, but get the second one, too."
  • "In the Name of Love" by Miya Tokumitsu. "By keeping us focused on ourselves and our individual happiness, DWYL distracts us from the working conditions of others while validating our own choices and relieving us from obligations to all who labor, whether or not they love it."
  • "Social Media is a Conversation, Not a Press Release" by Zeynep Tufekci. "Good journalists know that—to understand a community, you have to spend time in it and embedded within it, not just read transcripts of snippets from a town-hall meeting. Social media is not a snapshot that can be understood in one moment, or through back-scrolling."
  • "The Teaching of Labor and the Labor of Teaching: Reflections on Publicness and Professionalism" by Karen Gregory. "In a well-meaning attempt to make transparent the labor conditions under which the university operates, I drove the course into a head-on collision with the relationship between time, labor, and value. It became apparent to me that my students’ demands for a private classroom were also a demand for a certain value to be place on their time."
  • "An MLA Story" by Lee Skallerup Bessette. "Our divided selves. We are more like other low-wage workers, but we have trouble seeing this because our privilege and education tells us we are different, for better and for worse."
  • "The Musical Mind of Marvin Minsky" by Margaret Minsky. "Sonata as teaching machine."
  • "15 Technologies That Were Supposed to Change Education Forever" by Matt Novak. Plus ça change...
Until next week...

Yours in struggle,