Thursday, February 19, 2009

Web 2.0's Seven Principles for Good Practice

Twenty-two years ago, well before we were using the internet for teaching and learning, Arthur Chickering and Zelda Gamson compiled a list of Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education. A copy of this list lived on the corkboard above my desk for the first few years that I was teaching. Although the corkboard is long gone, the list is still as important to me now as it was back then.

Over the next few weeks, I'll be discussing how these seven principles are still relevant today, and how Web 2.0 applications embedded into our teaching can help us to improve the outcomes for our students.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Bill Gates - Didn't that dinosaur retire?

In case you haven't yet seen it, Bill Gates spoke last week at the annual TED conference. The world's media widely reported his "malaria stunt", where he released a swarm of mosquitoes into the audience, saying: "there's no reason only poor people should have the experience". Sounds like Bill's lost the plot?

What wasn't reported was his bullshit on how technology can improve education:
Putting a few cameras in the classroom and saying that things are being recorded on an ongoing basis is very practical in all public schools... You can take those great courses and make them available so that a kid could go out and watch the physics course, learn from that. If you have a kid who's behind, you would know you could assign them that video to watch and review the concept. And in fact, these free courses could not only be available just on the Internet, but you could make it so that DVDs were always available, and so anybody who has access to a DVD player can have the very best teachers.
Sorry Bill, but this is not a good use of technology in education. Where's the interaction? Where's the engagement? How will our learners construct knowledge by watching a DVD? Learning is not a passive spectator sport!

It appears that retirement was the best move for old Bill... we are no longer living in the 1980's.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The New King

Most of my readers will already know that I teach Marketing at Monash University, in the Faculty of Business and Economics. And most will also be aware that Monash has just appointed a new Dean of Business and Economics, Professor Stephen King.

It was very refreshing to read the recent article in The Australian in which he spoke about the need to "re-engage a faculty that some believe has lost touch".

From what I have seen, Professor King appears to be an ideal appointment. As an active blogger (CoRE Economics), he understands the potential of engaging with the business world through new media. This experience, combined with his apparent commitment to teaching quality, is good news for all progressive teachers and students at Monash.

I'm certainly looking forward to the next couple of years, and the positive changes that will no doubt be implemented.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The death of education, but the dawn of learning

"The US Department of Commerce ranked 55 industry sectors by their level of IT intensiveness. Education was ranked #55, the lowest, below Coal Mining."

Thanks to Zac for pointing this one out to me.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Great ad from Kaplan University

Maybe it's just the marketer in me, but as an educator, I love this ad...

Thanks to Scott McLeod for pointing this one out!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Goodbye lectures!

Recent news from MIT - lectures are out, and smaller, interactive classes are in!

This recent story from the NY Times reports that MIT's Physics department "has replaced the traditional large introductory lecture with smaller classes that emphasize hands-on, interactive, collaborative learning. Last fall, after years of experimentation and debate and resistance from students, who initially petitioned against it, the department made the change permanent. Already, attendance is up and the failure rate has dropped by more than 50 percent."

Rather than the traditional 300-student lecture, this undergraduate course now consists of smaller, interactive classes. Students work together, discussing, sharing and exploring as they learn. The new high-tech classrooms are configured with networked PCs on shared tables, whiteboards, and display screens. The "lecturer", rather than talking at the students, briefly presents a set of principles, which the students then explore together, greatly enhancing their understanding.

MIT certainly aren't the first to recognise the importance of interaction and collaboration in true student-centered learning, but this news article will raise awareness of a trend that (hopefully) we'll all be following soon.