Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Edison School and CRUDE

The presentation from Edison Learning stimulated many questions and considerations. None of which seemed to have been unresearched by the company composed of former teachers and administrators. The three gentlemen had thoughtful answers for every question which was a sign to me that they all knew teaching and school systems very well--their online school is thorough. The new Pennsylvania school entirely online program's weakness is in the Arts. But the integrated partnership system, individually fostered regionally, is intended to make up for those valuable places it cannot extend through the digital interface. Perhaps the Menlo Park non-profit Arts in the Schools would be a fitting partnership for Edison. Most impressively, each student has a counselor who together with the student and family, determine the best education plan, checks progress regularly and administers tests.

I very much appreciated the thoroughness of the plan--from sending a computer to every student to science kits and, at one time, keyboards for music lessons. The ending of music training due to the high cost of inventory loss is understandable but the reasoning for not having mounted cameras is not strong enough. Cameras in computers are inexpensive and the value of presenting before a camera is vastly more enriching.

For the second part of this entry, I will state again my commitment to video technology not only for learning but for giving voice and empowering unrecognized populations. The documentary CRUDE (dir. Joe Berlinger, US/Ecuador) exposed for its audiences a contemporary David and Goliath story still happening to indigenous people in the Ecuadoran jungle at the hands of Texaco oil. The camera's eye and ear exposed a passionate local man who grew up in a village near the focal Texaco oil processing plant, was supported to go to law school and took command of this mammoth case because he lived the truth. The technology has the unique capacity to show humility versus artifice, ferocity and eloquence against deception and obfuscation. These are indeed valuable lessons that are learned most deeply when shown.

That commitment being made, it is highly likely that Artifact II will be in my medium of choice. I must state here that my subject matter will not go outside of the audience that I've worked with for years: American children, who unless they are offered education that supports their attaining a worldview, compassion and tolerance, then more will grow up to be like Texaco lawyers. A balance both inside and outside of powerful nations must be struck in our efforts to ameliorate international imbalance. That balance includes making the invisible visible, injustices tacit and showing another way to the future generations of this country.

For the online EdisonLearning to be a truly successful innovation in educating independent resourceful thinkers, it must provide education of the self. The Creative Arts are brilliant tools for such an outcome. Carefully directed engagement with an inexpensive computer mounted video camera could provide not only a means of presenting materials but also offering structure to the discovery of one's image, presence and voice.

Dr. Kim spoke of innovation and the importance of a test period. The first phase of a test will see multiple setbacks and surprising usages. "Don't give up during the test period!" he implored. Even if your test period has been ten plus can be counted as valuable research and test period. Good to hear that. Thanks, Dr. Kim.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Week 4, Fall and First Artifacts

The light is silver; hats and coats are on; it is Fall.

Course 391x gave its first artifact presentations this afternoon. I come away with my own hard lessons about technology in the classroom. A remote mouse is not a remote control. In a tech savvy millieu, correct vocabulary is paramount! But beyond that the information imparted from this great array of different reports about the ways the world wide web and technology based learning can assist people in need.

Technologies varied from recorded voice over video (I envied that choice), sound files, web pages, hand drawn icons in an interactive graphic, blog and a poster, all projected. The production was organized into themes: Cross-Cultural, Rural, Classroom, and with two unique focuses on elderly populations and sending disease and medical information through widgets. Every one of the topics was unique and presented valuable information. Moreover, each presenter knew the value of his/her efforts as usable information for the public. The event, in all, was moving and hopeful.

Arising out of this session of presentations was a recognition that many in our cohort desire further education in various forms of technology(web designer, Flash, Finalcut, etc) we are in the process of developing a means of training each other. Learning and teaching full circle. In addition, the assignment further deepened our knowledge of our cohort's individual concerns and has prompted a fresh exchange between us.

This fourth week started out with that classic university experience: encountering a professor who embodies the sort of worldly font of knowledge, excited to impart information of her speciality to an enquirer. Professor Patricia de Castieres not only allowed my early morning interruption but seemed to welcome it. She offered to send me all of the information to my email address--she opened her memory and made it digital--so much more than a good start. Three of us are setting out to do a piece of qualitative research on the influence of television and cinema on language learning. Prof. de Castieres and her assistants direct the activities at the French house, the common second language between the three of us. A person with a wonderful Greek name, Jean-Marie Apostolides, teaches a course in French cinema.

The group experience came to an impass today between myself and a dynamo 25 yr-old journalist working for the Wall Street Journal. We were meant to work together at two intervals today, and at both instances under pressure of time, we worked separately. And there was a coach there, but where was she? We are half of a team. Our entire team has a dynamic which is quite compelling. There are two male journalists--a Brit, and a young man who said he had a business voice when he was six-- a quiet Argentine young man, former investment banker and myself. I'm feeling the journalists' pull , seeing myself retreat into lionine/ feminine isolation. And the former banker in the MBA program, I'm not sure how he's feeling besides overwhelmed by a demanding program. We had been urged to meet socially on the weekend--none of them would have it.

I engaged with the graduate school of business on another level: at the first meeting of S356--and opportunity to team up with two MBA candidates and evaluate a business plan over the next two quarters. I pitched Screen 360 to offer the market-tested festival and potential for internet business to the ears of this world renowned school of business. Groups of four would receive coaching from veterans in the field most of whom are investors with venture capital firms. My application is in to find partners.

The danger here could be getting too involved in too many potentially good solutions. I am contemplating the relationship with the company or organization that provides my internship is entity to partner with entrepreneurially.

kk 10.14-10.19.09

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Discovering Mindmeister

Today, our fictitious education company sold an English speaking and writing proficiency system to a group of 90 managers for a technologically well-situated company in Taiwan. They each had some prior training in English but had little confidence in their capacity to conduct business in English, so were skeptical about their company's intention to provide further training.

Our task here was to use our knowledge of the Audience, Behavior, Condition, Degree model and design an education program for the managers in Taiwan, using a mindmapping technique found at
When the mindmap is visible (!) it is an extremely useful tool, not only for presentation or the outcome but for process--especially for brainstorming in the experience/empathy phase of a design project. I leave this here for those who have never seen a "mindmap"--I'm using mindmapping in d school bootcamp.

We offered the resistant managers opportunities to write and speak in several modes of practice, using their acumen in their language as a guide to achieving a similar level in English. The use of video on a weekly basis would help assess themselves and peer assessment groups would further rally comraderie. These managers are also encouraged through their companies generous incentive to become more confident in their business transactions with English speaking countries. Once through this year-long training, the managers will have the capacity to write a 500 word email with 90% accuracy and will have cultural sensitivity to engage and be engaging in their negotiations.

The ADDIE model is the generic process traditionally used by instructional designers and training developers. The five phases—Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation—represent a dynamic, flexible guideline for building effective training and performance support tools.

Both ABCD and ADDIE models are successful, well-tested models. A third measure is the consideration of Bloom's Taxonomy: Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Creation, Evaluation.

I was present while Dr. Kim and a student were engaging in a synthesis, the origin of a potential project perhaps to be presented at a Educational Technology conference in Malaysia in the Spring. Dr. Kim responded positively to my question about the possibility funding which made me very happy to hear, especially since I had been told previously that looking for funding was not suggested.

Fundraising and the avenues leading to it is an essential part of my goals here. So thank you, Dr. Kim for being outward about it.

My focus for an underserved population as a focus for my future work in 391x are rural American children, ages 4-14 who generally do not have access to art education which I believe is a very important element in the development of independence and self-reliance. Looking at the future for these children, if they are creative thinkers they will learn to listen to themselves and fins a way to live within or perhaps get out of the rural area that historically presents few opportunities for work or growth. The measurability of such subjects is not as vivid as foreign areas more largely known as under-served, but I have seen some statistics and just finished a long "think" on it while writing an essay on poverty for the IN THE RIVER THEY SWIM contest. My rationale for helping needy American children who are isolated in deep rural culture to become thoughtful, worldly children, is that it is a simple and accessible solution but few think about it. When these children who have lived in or close to need, are released by their own vision and succeed by it, then these are the ones who might be able to truly innovate solutions for poverty in the future.

If we are to attain real peace in this world, we will have to begin with the children.
~Mahatma Gandhi

Vygotsky and Social Cognition

The social cognition learning model asserts that culture is the prime determinant of individual development. Humans are the only species to have created culture, and every human child develops in the context of a culture. Therefore, a child’s learning development is affected in ways large and small by the culture–including the culture of family environment–in which he or she is enmeshed.

Following Vygotsky, if the culture around a developing mind is those astounded by the beauty and capacity of human expression and models that in works of art and appreciation for others...I assert that that child is more likely to be a peaceful, conscious, contributing citizen.

If we are to attain real peace in this world, we will have to begin with the children.
~Mahatma Gandhi

Sunday, October 4, 2009

391X Considerations of Web Education

I took the opportunity to read a few of my classmates' blogs and am struck by many diverse and rich qualities about them, but moreover about the great effectiveness of their purpose. Right here, right now, these blogs are doing what they are supposed to do: connect and inform. Having not been much of a blog reader or writer before this course, I feel privileged to know the writers in my first regular use of blogs. "Use" is the operative word, a verb, an action, something we do to a noun, here a blog, a tool for collaborative learning.

Our discussion Wednesday, 10/1, intensified with the consideration of offering technology to underserved communities. With the primary goal being stimulating motivation to create, the example of generating a story with a telephone application for a contest is potentially effective. The practical question of battery life arose and methods of recharging the battery are in active research. The question arose about the "dropping" of technology into the lives of underserved children for one project-- what happens afterward? Is there potential for appetites whetted then abandoned? It was stressed that these projects are undertaken in conjunction with NGOs connected to schools, so the projects likely work in with curriculum set by local educators. In addition to a great sense of humanitarian fulfillment, I imagine that there must be a sort of tabula rasa purity that appeals to the researcher who can measure high contrast effects. Another consideration arose that though we live in a wealthy nation, a population of children in the United States, would likewise benefit from such donations of funds, technology and intelligence. The concept of contextualizing the motivation to engage in foreign educational aid is essential.

Dr. Kim spelled out the essential elements of Contextualization:

Audience: Understand the people you intend to affect. What do they come to the project with?
Behavior: What do you want to occur?
Conditions: What is the environment? Is there electricity, battery recharging stations? What other technology might be necessary?
Degree: How much change? What degree of literacy can can be offered?

I would like to offer and E: Elevate to the next step through the same or different NGO. That step could be an annual return for five years, for example. This sort of information goes into the initial grantwriting for the project.

Paul Kim's storytelling project "1001 Nights" which offers a story writing application on a mobile telephone, is intended to generate a desire to create stories as its behavioral impact. He aspires that his participants will become so engaged that they become the next literary voices of their countries. The behavior, though, is actually very small, a short epiphany that produces a story. Because these moments of discovery in childhood can be many, guidance is required around them for reflect reflection and to help continue the practice of discovery. The degree hoped for is that the young writer will also be able to retell the story he/she has written and will want to write again.

"Pocket schools" on mobile devices are an amazing resource. I'm learning that they are popular and appealing in places where resources are minimal. But also popular because learning can happen anywhere, on the move. For a Stanford professor, the opposite is happening in the U.S. where movement may have been overwhelming and not productive. Here, the question becomes an issue of productivity and distribution. Consideration for the distribution of scholarly information for which great energy, travel, and time had historically been expended to attend conferences was the reason Professor Emeritus Mike Kirst decided to blog. Not only did this save him many hours of non-productive time, but also offered a platform to further develop his thoughts and writing craft as well as, very importantly, increased his audience so that when he did travel to conferences, there was an audience when he presented.

Bloom's Taxonomy came in as a reference and the discussion became a bit of a "meta-conversation."

Metacognition is classified into three components:

  1. Metacognitive knowledge (also called metacognitive awareness) is what individuals know about themselves and others as cognitive processors.
  2. Metacognitive regulation is the regulation of cognition and learning experiences through a set of activities that help people control their learning.
  3. Metacognitive experiences are those experiences that have something to do with the current, on-going cognitive endeavor.