Sail's Pedagogy

Sail's posts about her class, classes she is taking, and education.

Duke lets professors chose to ban laptops in classrooms

This week in the Duke Chronicle, the daily newspaper, there was an article that I was shocked to see. Band laptops… I could not believe that an article like this would even be considered today. I hope one of your most esteemed alumni have not read this – Tim Cook — the CEO of Apple.

I guess those professors do not remember their days of sitting listening to the “sage of the stage”. I do or rather, I don’t…… I do not remember most of my classes nor my professors. That is how much impact they had on my life. I tired to take notes (this was before computers) but mostly I doodled and had many things going though my head. But I am not alone. Research in neurology has proven, we or our brains cannot concentrate for very long. We may have some periods of “flow” in which we are so engaged that we loose track of time. But I can guaranteed this rarely happens in the classroom, most of us are looking at the clock and counting the minutes.

As students day are taking online classes and using iPads or smart phones in their K-12 education, I can only imagine that they will be even less engaged in a classroom like this. I am not saying that all Duke professors are saying this or believe in this. Cathy Davidson (founder of HASTAC), Tony O’Driscoll (leader in virtual worlds), Steven Craig (whose chemistry class in one of the first on iTunes U.,) the Duke School of Nursing using virtual worlds to learn. At least your medical school and new cancer center are moving into the 21st century. Every student should be required to learn the skills necessary for their future – content creation, communication, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity. How are you teaching your students these skills? One of the things that really struck me was when one of Duke’s students mentioned she could type much faster than writing notes.

I could give you a list of videos and article on the web that would show you how wrong you are, but you need a computer to read them. Howard Rhiengold, Sebastian Thrun, Khan Academy, Sir Ken Robinson, and Sugata Mitra, would be a real good start. In my opinion, professors should not be given this option. It should be a mandate by administration that computers need to be used by students in the classrooms, and it is up to the professors to keep your students engaged. I used to teach where all my students sat in front of computers in the classroom and online…. it is not that hard but you will have to change the way you think of yourself…. and your teaching ability. Students should be in the center and not the professors.

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First Responders in Second Life

Second Life is great for simulations.

http://www.firstresponder-sl.org/

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Alexandra Samuel: Ten Reasons to Stop Apologizing for your Online Life

Alexandra Samuel argues that once we embrace our online lives as part of our real lives we will unlock the potential of the internet.
Alexandra Samuel is the Director of the Social + Interactive Media Centre at Emily Carr University, and the co-founder and principal of Social Signal, one of the world’s most experienced social media agencies.

http://tedxvictoria.com

http://www.alexandrasamuel.com/

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Kids and Virtual Worlds

When I bring someone new into Second Life or OpenSim, I first explain why. One of the things I show people is how many virtual worlds there are for kids, especially young kids. Kzero has statistics on this. Virtual Worlds is the future for these kids — so instead of Facebook, your kids or grandkids will be in one or more Virtual Worlds. They already are….

Mashable has a great article about Club Penguin.

“Club Penguin is all about creating a digital space where kids can play, participate in events and socialize. The site hosts regular contests, online meetups, “concerts,” digital events (like a site-wide sports tournament), and an official newspaper called “The Club Penguin Times” which is read by more than 1.1 million kids.”

Club Penguin like most virtual worlds is also educational. The game is in 5 languages so kids can actually learn another language and talk to other kids in another language. It is reported by Lane Merrifield that kids improve their typing, reading and writing skills. They can take care of pets (Puffles) that make them responsible and of course it improvestheir social skills. Plus the site donates $1 million to charity.

The site has a wiki, real products and several sites for cheats and hacks.

Visit Club Penguins Youtube channel or one of their multiple twitter sites.

Another online virtual game “Lego Universe” is apparently closing down. So the kids have started an Occupy Lego Universe site. They are calling for a day of action on New Years Eve.

Visit Occupy Lego Universe on Twitter.

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Letter to “The Chronicle of Higher Education”

The Chronicle of Higher Education just ask a question to their readers — “Who Are the Top Technology Innovators in Higher Education? And this is my response.

It is not just one person or one great teacher I am learning from nowadays. It is many. Through the Internet I have created my own personal learning network, I am creating, curating and collaborating with many though out the world. These skills should be taught to all students from middle school on. It should be a requirement in the first month of any university.

Learning to search properly is one of the most important things I have learned. Curation though following using RSS and even Yahoo Pipes others blogs and having their titles dumped into Netvibes so I can quickly find articles that interest me. I find so many interesting people and links to articles (some in scientific journals) though Twitter. But went use an article in my own blog, I also know who to cite it properly and give that person create for their works. It takes time to learn who to follow and who to believe. Howard Rheingold calls this “crap detection“.

I have been to conferences and watched them streamed live. Last week it was a SWSX like technology conference in France and another conference on Virtual Worlds. I have also watch live streaming of Occupy Wall Street. I have taking several MOOCs – Massive Open Online Courses with thousands from all over the world lead by George Seimens and Stephen Downes. I just tried to take Artificial Intelligences course from Stanford with 120,00 others. I did not study as much math on Khan Academy YouTube videos that I need to and got lost. But I can take this again in the future or go back to YouTube and watch the lectures.

In Second Life, I have heard Clay Shirkey and Sir Ken Robinson talk. I have meet with libraries and other educators connected to real world organizations such as American Library Association and ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education). I have see how IBM and Cisco uses Virtual Worlds and to train their employees and get them to collaborate with each other. Tony O’Driscoll (from Duke) has a great book on this “Learning in 3D”.

I belong to an Alumi group of past Howard Rheingold’s students that is growing with people all over the world. We are co-learners — teaching each other. We reading books such Cathy Davidson’sNow You See It” (from Duke) and Douglas Rushkoff’sProgram or Be Programmed” — together and comment in a forum our thoughts and opinions. My co-learner and I meet twice weekly in either Adobe Connect or Google+ — not only learning from each other but also talking with a high school class, their teacher along with Roy Christopher about how they feel about classrooms and learning today. We even got Douglas Rushkoff to speak to our little group and Cathy Davidson is on our list.

And every Saturday afternoon I spend with TED, not a person, but short talks from some of the most inspirational and interesting people around the world. Just last week, I learned about the Knowmad’s movement. I am learning more than I have ever learned in my life. Learning is not just restricted to the classroom anymore. Anyone can create, curate and collaborate.

(Several Weeks later)
The Chronicle of Higher Education has picked their nominations, but at least did mention my post. I still think we need to find many people to learn from, whether on the web or in person. This is old fashions. We need to learn collaboration, we need to learn how to communicate with other in this new world, and to curate the web.

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Virtual Marathon for Medical Research

Avatars runin SL to raise funds to support research to battle HIV/AIDS, Prostate Cancer, Breast Cancer, Diabetes, Alzheimer’s Disease, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, Parkinson’s Disease, Visual Impairment, Autism and Spinal Cord Injury.

Institute for Medical Research Israel-Cananda

from New World Notes

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Networked Society ‘On the Brink’

What is the future?

“We are the last generation to grow up in a dumb society”

Great section on virtual worlds.

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V for Virtualization

Virtualization is the hottest new technotrend, with everything from commerce and supply chain management to storage and processing power migrating into the cloud and into virtual realities.

from http://bigthink.com/ideas/39548

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Music and the brain…..”The music never stops”

Music has always be a very important part of my life. I also have been very interested in the brain, having a bachelors degree in psychology and my master thesis was on brain based learning. There are many new studies and books out about the music and the brain.

“While music can affect all of us—calm us, animate us, comfort us, thrill us, or serve to organize and synchronize us at work or play—it may be especially powerful and have great therapeutic potential for patients with a variety of neurological conditions. Such people may respond powerfully and specifically to music (and, sometimes, to little else). Some of these patients have widespread cortical problems, whether from strokes or Alzheimer’s or other causes of dementia; others have specific cortical syndromes— loss of language or movement functions, amnesias, or frontal-lobe syndromes. Some are retarded, some autistic; others have subcortical syndromes such as parkinsonism or other movement disorders. All of these conditions and many others can potentially respond to music and music therapy.” (Musicophilia)

Last night I watched a movie about music and brain. Based on a true story and an essay called “The Last Hippie” from a book by Oliver Sacks, MD. “The Music Never Stopped“. Beside being about how music can heal the brain, this is a great family story about the love between a father and a son. It is a flash back to the music and the social problems in the 60’s and 70’s.

Other great books about Music and the brain:
This is Your Brain On Music” by Daniel Levitin

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Open University in Second Life

“The Open University is a world leader in modern distance learning, the pioneer of teaching and learning methods which enable people to achieve their career and life goals studying at times and in places to suit them……We have 13 centres across the UK and Ireland. Their role is to organise the support for our 250,000 distance learning students”

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