Getting of wisdom

Steven Schwartz’s concerns of universities becoming training factories and neglecting a fuller (wisdom based) education, echo back to when I was at Macquarie uni in the 70’s. Then called the ‘arts factory’ MU was offering the rounded Oxbridge degree; insisting arts subjects were a part of all degrees and all students awarded a BA . The science swats always felt cheated by this- and in 1979- the approach was abandoned (with a lot of blood letting), for those doing science and fully reviewed  in the more economic rationalist ‘80s- as students wanted a more marketable degree  – and not the  artsy  degree ( ‘marriage’ 101) . The argument that institutions must offer a more industry oriented education reflected the concerns of the (business) community- at least in the rationalist decades. This orientation also spilt into our schools and perhaps its now time to ask the same question in the schools context- or is the getting of wisdom only for those more ‘aged’?  The teaching of ethics perhaps signals this intention? And the catch-all of C21 learning skills- are focused on learning to learn. How to access, interpret and represent information. But it still falls short of Schwartz’s notion of teaching of wisdom. Of course its difficult to teach wisdom- but maybe its more a question of making the teaching point-‘how would we teach wisdom’? This would make it a more personal undertaking for school students to carry into higher education, when they might come to confront the ultimate questions- and have possible answers.

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Posted in education, knowledge, Leadership | 2 Comments

Lost in a garden

Two days off and no family or neighbours around,  time to dust off the secateurs and steal into the garden.  Mid winters days perfect for pruning, mulching and getting all those dormant plants ready for their summer awakening . After alternating between sitting in practised meetings or at a computer five days a week,  I can now empty my head of the collective noise accumulated from the office  and constant  dialogue in the blog/twittersphere. Its cleansing  to immerse your hands and mind not in a virtual/contrived  reality, but rather the sensory reality in the realm of  mother earth. The ooze that you knew so well as a kid, reconnecting with dirt,  feeling the tug of weeds between the fingers, the smell of compost and occasional prickle of thorns, scratching of flesh – ah alive and reconnected with my real self! But deep down I feel some pangs of guilt- not so much from being away from  work;  but rather doing something no longer fashionable- gardening.  New age blokes don’t garden anymore- they cook. People around me hire gardeners to slip in while everyone’s at work to do the deed. Continue reading

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Nearing  2,200 members on the NSW DET Yammer community its undoubtedly the most subscribed (and active)  professional online network in NSW DET.   So I thought it might be timely to look at emerging patterns of use and engagement. Sampling the past week of activity (which was taken to be typical), there is clear group of regular contributors, with the majority relegated to either ‘joiners’, or ‘lurkers’.  Last week for instance we had on average 35-45 unique ‘contributors’ daily, and for the entire week this panned out to be (generously) around 70 . That’s a large imbalance. This ratio can be seen increasing since this community started in December 2009 (earlier?).

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Posted in Communities, CoPs, Informal learning, knowledge, Leadership, Social networking | 8 Comments

Becta & beyond

With the recent snuffing of BECTA, must also come the warning signals for similar organisations in many other western countries including Australia.  While an outpouring of comments might suggest messages are mixed on the success of BECTA, inevitably a structure like  BECTA will have detractors, especially within its own homeland. But over the years whenever I sought a reliable research paper – BECTA was  first up. This was so when colleague Sue Beveridge and I were looking at background work to the IWB experience in the UK many years ago. And in respect to the evolution of LMS/VLE/ePortfolios etc again BECTA was always my key reference.  As Gerry White stated BECTA “has been one of the leading global lighthouses in the use of digital technologies in education and the envy of educators worldwide seeking to improve education through the use of digital technologies”.   Continue reading

Posted in eLearning, Leadership, schooling, standards | 7 Comments

Adoption of new technologies

With the release of BlogED into its second month, we are quickly trying to assess its uptake. Since April 25, over 6 000 teachers now have been provisioned , and over 24% have actively built a blog. The rate of uptake of any new technology is always a source of interest, and needs to be carefully understood before we can say with any confidence if the adoption is what might be expected . Of course its not just the act of setting up a blog which might constitute real uptake, but rather to what extent teachers are embedding it in their own or students learning- is it innovation , true adoption or diffusion? Everett Rogers now seminal piece on the diffusion of innovation laid the ground for the famous Adoption cycle. Its not the exact % of adopters tht important but understanding the characteristics of each group and how adoption/ diffusion occurs. Moore (1991) suggests that the transition from the early adopters to the early majority–one that is essential to an innovation’s success–offers particular potential for breakdown because the differences between the two groups are so striking.

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Posted in blogging, Blogs, innovation, Leadership | 6 Comments

Building Innovation: learning with technologies

Kathryn Moyles Building Innovation is another example of some provocative issue papers already emerging this year. The paper explores national and international policy priorities for building students’ innovation capabilities through information and communication technologies (ICT) in Australian schools. Importantly it helps contextualise key current initiatives such as the Digital and Building Education revolution and National Curriculum and the Australian Govs Innovation Agenda. Inevitably tensions will exist between some of these policies, as they attempt to introduce innovatory practice into a rigid system of assessment and uniform traditional knowledge transfer. How do teachers/educators make sense of the competing interests and try to juggle competing those expressed in the new policy frameworks? Continue reading

Posted in Communities, education, eLearning, Informal learning, Leadership, open content, Opensource, policy, schooling, Web2 | 5 Comments

ICT and Educational Outcomes

With the paucity of good educational research on ICT on educational outcomes this report  (Are the millenium learners making the grade? ) makes a significant contribution to redefining the landscape and better focusing the research question. In 2006, PISA ran its third triennial survey of 15 yearold students to assess their knowledge and skills. 57 countries, involving 20 million 15‑year‑olds were surveyed. The report is strong on recommendations- especially in the policy areas. Coming into an election year this should resonate – (after having a number of large State and Federally funded ICT projects)- the questions are being asked – “has the investment in educational systems fulfilled expectations? ” Continue reading

Posted in access, Leadership, Outcomes, professional development, schooling | 9 Comments