Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Unreasonable Institute

Friday, August 27, 2010

10 New Education Ideas That Are Changing How Our Students Learn

My students swallowed hard during the first day of classes when I assigned them the task of creating a professional Personal Learning Network tied to their studies using a number of diverse online social media platforms. After sitting down with the current issue of Good magazine [14 pages], I feel emboldened. Here are some quotes.

“Technology is a way to open the window for [students].” David Bitten, superintendent, Wyoming, Michigan, [colonelb on Twitter]

The Obama administration’s National Education Technology Plan: “It calls for teachers and students to be provided with an “access device” so they can stay connected to homework assignments, events and each other.” I have found a closer connection with my students as a result of online media which makes the class time more effective and their overall educational endeavors more effective.

“Education is a knowledge industry and in 2010 that really means access to technology.” Karen Cator, director of education technology for the US Dept of Education. And “Using technology for social reasons is very different from leveraging technology to think and learn and solve complex problems.”

I have incorporated a variety of social media formats into my classes since 2007. It has had the effect of building community and teamwork within the programs I direct.

Some assignments are public via these media, which has increased individual assessment and, as a result, learning. Students write more when they blog; when they write they better understand what they think. One of my favorite quotes is something to the effect of writers write in order to understand what they think. I add, artists make to understand what they think and feel about what is going on around them.

Indeed we are a globally networked society and students today [and all of us] need to understand how to be digital citizens.

  • an online platform for thought and action around education
  • goal: top create a vibrant discussion about these topics- online, in print, in the real world

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Jewelry Project at the House of Ruth

Check this out.....great idea!

Friday, October 2, 2009

"Profit is useful if it serves as a means toward an end."

Interesting review of Michael Moore's "Capitalism: A Love Story" in the Washington Post.

Ties in nicely with many of our consumerism discussions in Design and Social Entrepreneurship course.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Photograph Your Guerilla Project

Many guerilla tactics are temporary so photograph your guerilla tactic in situ.
Post on your blog. Document your process/progress as well.

Give aesthetic consideration to your guerilla install/tactic. Anita has a great idea that I can image would be just lovely when first installed. Think color, materials, design....etc.

Sketch. add color. Sketch the guerilla tactic in situ.
Design It! from start to finish.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Listen! Pay Attention.

I continue to be surprised when my students do not know what public radio is and they are not familiar with the local stations WYPR in Baltimore and WAMU in DC. Once you get comfortable with the local stations, start streaming public radios stations from the more diverse and forward-thinking cities in our country. A telling statement came from one of my students a
Link number of years go in response to the integration of ethical issues into the art and design courses I teach. I designed an assignment on the issue of Blood Diamonds. We watched The History Channel's documentary together because of its horrific and blunt content. I put together and gave students lists of references for further research/learning: projects designed around the issue, websites, other documentaries and movies, and of course books. Part way through the project this student who I had assessed as being a "good" student said out loud in class, "How did I not know this was happening?" How indeed I thought to myself. I replied, "Where do you get your news? What are you reading?"

This memory indelibly lodged in my mind, came to the fore this morning as I sipped coffee standing in my kitchen, listening to WYPR. Sheila Kast hosted Bill Barry, the
Director of Labor Studies at the Community College of Baltimore County's Dundalk Campus. He talked about the origins--and the future--of Labor Day and the labor movement. I am not an expert on labor history but found this interesting. The modern work week was based on an 8-hour workday so that people could have balanced lives: spend time with their families and friends, participate in civic and religious entities, and have a healthy, balanced life. Makes sense. We know that balanced people make better decisions- big and small- when they are balanced. When did we lose this as a national value? I was educated with a liberal arts undergraduate degree and teach in a liberal arts educational system. Our society will function best if we grow well-rounded, balanced citizens. I encourage you to visit the WYPR website and listen to the re-play of today’s conversation. Be informed.

This story also reminded me of the social design course I teach. On Thursday we had our first class brainstorming session in response to the question, "Before we begin to do our research in this course, what do you see as the social issues of the day?" I love this course. Students love this course. I couldn't shut them up- these students had so many ideas, opinions, thoughts about what is going on in our society today. Work is one factor. People are working too much.

Bill Barry closed with the following ideas and imperatives. "Get up, get out, get angry, get organized." This is the history of America, or it was. "What is a little law to a big bank?" This is especially apropos on the heels of multiple events such as the Bernie Madoff scheme and the failure of many people at the SEC[!] Enron, Wallstreet, etc, etc. Businesses, and the the bigger the business the more prevalent the attitude, willingly, knowingly break the law and pay the penalty because it still comes out in their favor. Why have laws if the predominant attitude from the biggest and the most powerful is to ignore them and as a society we accept and tolerate this? Are we really surprised where we are as a society? Really? And finally, as Woodie Guthrie said,
"Take it easy, but take it."

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Be Informed

I saw a great exposé on the largely unregulated debt collection business in this country and the illegal tactics used to scare people. Check this out. One debt collection business profiled was owned by an individual with a felony record whose employees impersonated police officers and bullied in some cases innocent citizens. It amazes me [still] how much poor behavior is permitted in our civil, democratic society. How far Main Street has fallen. Be informed. I don't want to live in a bully culture, so you? Stand up for the country you want.Link