Monday, July 29, 2013

Transforming education: Stop teaching and begin learning with your students

Traditional teaching - 1950s
It seems counter-intuitive but students are failing because teachers are teaching too well.
Teachers spend hours and hours of their time preparing lessons for their students but all too often the only person learning anything are the teachers themselves. Even the most attentive and compliant of students do not get what the teachers intend – and worse still researchers have shown that that such teaching does not change students’ minds – and changing minds is the definition of learning.

Let's learn from Sir Ken
Many students learn to play the game and give back to the teachers what their teachers want to hear without really comprehending what it is they repeating. One educator calls this inert knowledge. Others call it 'fragile', 'trivial', or 'ritual'.Research shows that the 'prior knowledge' students bring to any learning situation has been shown hard alter. Many teachers are unaware of their students prior views ignoring educationalist David Ausabel’s advice ‘ascertain what the learner knows and teach accordingly’. All too often the more teachers’ teach the more students’ curiosity, the key to learning at any age, is lost.  Consider who asks all the questions in class.
So what is the alternative?

Stop teaching - start listening
The answer is to observe what appeals to students and then to help then dig deeper ensuring feelings of accomplishment and success and, in the process, create a desire for them to learn more – for their own reasons. Educationalist Jerome Bruner has written that ‘teaching is the canny art of intellectual temptation’. Thankfully, curious children are easily tempted!

Once teachers appreciate the importance of tapping  and amplifying their students’ curiosity then they can begin ‘teaching’.
Students are innately curious – it their default way of learning. There  is an evolutionary drive for the young  to make sense of their experiences and, in turn, to express what it is they are thinking or learning – using whatever media is available. Humans are meaning hunters!
And this drive to make sense applies to all areas of learning.
Traditional classrooms are almost obsessive about ensuring their students learn to read, write and do mathematics – the ‘three Rs’  as exemplified by their latest iteration National Standards and the obsessive associated testing. Such an audit culture narrows the curriculum killing the initiative and  creativity of both teachers and students in the process.  Add to this the negative effects of ability grouping or streaming!
The real solution is to place students in situations that create the desire to talk, write and read. The secret is to value the voice/ ideas of each student, to help them express what they are thinking and then, where possible, help them to share their ideas. The same process applies to mathematics. Students naturally involve themselves in mathematical activities from a very early age – counting, grouping, sharing, sorting and predicting. That so many students leave formal schooling with negative feelings about reading and mathematics shows that more of the same is not working. Even worse far too many students leave alienated from schooling altogether.
The art of teaching is ensure that this innate curiosity, this desire to learn, their ‘default’ way of learning is not crushed by formal schooling by our misplaced effort to teach students what ‘we’ feel we think they ought to know
National Standards!

A twenty first century school would not be based on transmission assumptions of an industrial age where schools are based around the metaphor of a benevolent factory, students divided by age, placed in ability groups and taught a range of fragmented subjects. In contrast a twenty first century school would be one where students have access to whatever learning disciplines and expertise they need to complete self-chosen tasks. Teachers in a twenty first century school needs to work alongside their students, challenging them to think deeply, helping them reflect on their ideas, giving them feedback, encouraging them to be creative and to provide them with whatever resources, including full range of information technology. To succeed all students need to appreciate the need to persevere and to realise that any real achievement involves effort and often involves confusion and false trails – there are no right and wrongs.
True learning is to be seen as enlightened trial and error not pre-determined by teachers as is all too common now.
In contrast to traditional standardised schooling the twenty first century requires teachers to personalise, or ‘tailor’ the learning to the needs of their students. In depth content understanding will still be important students but students will need to develop the attitudes and dispositions to enable them to thrive in an increasingly ambiguous and unpredictable world.
This requires a very open ended approach to  teacher planning  to ensure teachers have enough background material to assist students in their own learning. Teachers will expect certain concepts, or big ideas, to be gained but can never be sure what it is  each of their students will finally learn - except for the strengthening of learning dispositions. Teachers , as it says in the 2007 New Zealand Curriculum, need to ensure all students have the attitudes and skills to be  able to 'seek, use and create their own learning'.

The future will requires an education system based on helping each learner develop their unique set of gift and talents that will  eventually lead them to areas of vocation of personal meaning to them.
To create such a learning environment schools will change dramatically - indeed the word school may be too antiquated to continue using.  Teachers might be better referred to as learning advisers, advisers who are free to call on assistance of any adult that may be of value for the learners to interact with. Another important realisation for teachers is that learners learn best through interactions with their peers while involved in project based collaborative tasks – this is a contrast to traditional transmission learning centred around assessing  only individual student achievement.
Twenty first century schools will need to break down divisive boundaries between home and school and the various divisions of schooling.  Future learning communities ( the word school may itself be seen as a barrier to learners) will be integrated with their immediate environment  ( 'schools without walls')and the world of adult work.
Plan for active learning
In such environments no students will be seen as failures . All students will  graduate able to demonstrate through their actions what they are able to do.
Until schools are transformed  up to twenty-five percent of students will continue to fail –and, sadly, even those deemed as successful will leave without all their talents and gifts developed.
The business philosopher Peter Drucker has written that the first country to develop a twenty first century education system will win the future.
For most it hasn't!
 Our current system has no chance but, with  wit and the imagination, we have an opportunity to do so but only if we change our own minds first.
Our job as teachers is to stop teaching what we think they should know and help them learn what they need.

Some great book to inspire change

Friday, July 26, 2013

Educational Readings - what's the truth Hekia?

By Allan Alach
So what’s the truth, Hekia?

My latest article for The Daily Blog.
US educator Antony Cody: “I offer this warning to the people down under and beyond. This misguided emphasis is no more likely to work there than it has in the US—unless of course, New Zealand truly is “opposite land,” where hot snow falls up.”
I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at
This week’s homework!
Quality of learning, process vs. product
‘Measuring quality in education is hard, partly because there is not one universal definition what good quality learning looks like. People have different connotations about educational quality, and the cultural perceptions are also very diverse.  Learning, like play, is individual and very situational and contextual.’

Poverty is what’s crippling public education in the US—not bad teachers (via Dianne Khan)
Recently New Zealand’s Minister of Education, Hekia Parata, referenced Eric Hanushek’s ‘four great teachers will solve all poverty related education issues’. Yeah right, as Antony Cody points out.

So I offer this warning to the people down under and beyond. This misguided emphasis is no more likely to work there than it has in the US—unless of course, New Zealand truly is “opposite land,” where hot snow falls up.’

The Only Thing You Need To Be A 21st Century Teacher
If you’re not a 21st century teacher already then you’ve missed the boat and should seriously consider whether another occupation is in order. Today’s 5 year olds hit the work force about 2028 and many will live to see the 22nd century. Are you teaching for their future or your past?

Writing survives the digital onslaught
“Can kidz rite 2day? Despite popular perceptions that the onslaught of texting, tweeting and other digital technologies is ruining students writing skills, a national survey of US teachers released last week found they offered such advantages as greater creativity, personal expression and increased collaboration.”

England vs Scotland: Competing school reform visions
Let’s move to Scotland; or, how the Scots will kick butt …
‘England and Scotland may both be part of Great Britain, but they do not share a primary and secondary education system.  Indeed, those two systems appear to be headed in decidedly different directions.’

Study Finds Spatial Skill Is Early Sign of Creativity
And not a national standard in sight...
“A gift for spatial reasoning — the kind that may inspire an imaginative child to dismantle a clock or the family refrigerator — may be a greater predictor of future creativity or innovation than math or verbal skills, particularly in math, science and related fields…”
Girls Should Play More Video Games, And Other Thoughts On “Cognitive Balance”
This follows on from the previous article, which found that girls were less competent in use of their spatial skills.
‘But males’ spatial edge may also reflect, in part, differences in the leisure-time activities of boys and girls, activities that add up to a kind of daily drill in spatial skills for boys.
Madam Curie - girls can do anything
If that’s the case, then offering girls more opportunities to practice their spatial skills may begin to close the spatial-skills gender gap—and produce more female scientists, engineers and mathematicians in the bargain.’

Why teachers should read more children's books
A research project has found that teachers who read for pleasure have better book knowledge and feel more confident, calm and stress-free in the classroom. Research has shown that there is value in helping teachers become reading role models for the pupils they teach, and that developing teachers' subject knowledge of children's literature can contribute to a child or young person's enjoyment of reading.”

Project Learning in History Class (via Bruce Hammonds)
The idea behind Project Based Learning is that students will understand more if they make meaning through inquiry based creation. Project Based Learning can apply to any discipline. We’ve tried it in our history classroom to varying levels of success. Being proponents of constructivism, Project Based Learning was not too much of a stretch for us to embrace, pedagogically. However, there are some challenges that result.”

Monday, July 22, 2013

A Twenty first Century Vision of Education for New Zealand

New Zealand - the creative country or NZ the standardized country?

Developing the gifts and talents  of all students needs to be seen as the foundation for developing an innovative, more prosperous and fairer New Zealand. We can’t afford not to give all our children the best start in life in our schools.


Schools needto move away from the current government’s standardised ‘one size fits all’approach towards more personalised approach where learning is ‘tailored’ to each learner’s unique needs.

      We need to:

  • To place trust in teacher professionalism as the key to improving learning

  • Ensure all students leave school with the foundation skills of literacy and numeracy in place –literacy  and numeracy need to be seen as a means to an end and not as isolated subjects

  • Assist schools  develop challenging integrated learning experiences that engage and develop the talents of all learners as well ensuring as in-depth content knowledge , an appreciation of the importance of environmental sustainability, and expertise in ICT

  • Value  the importance of ensuring all students develop lifelong learning how to learn dispositions and attitudes

  • Introduce clear and easy to understand school report cards so parents know how well their child is performing.

  •  Introduce National sampling to ensure school improvement is monitored so as to recognise and share strengths and to identify areas of concern.

  • Ensure all teachers receive professional development  and encourage inter-school collaboration to share proven pedagogy; in particular to value the expertise of practicing teachers.

  • Assist low decile schools to compensate for the disadvantages students enter schools with (the one in five currently being seen as failing).

  • Bridge the gap between the classroom and the workforce so young people can get into training or work by developing a process to assist all students achieve this end.

What is required isfor a political party to recognise that the real future assets of New Zealand are thecreative and innovative talents of all students. Schools need to be held accountable for all students leaving with their love of learning intact and their unique set of talents developed.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Holiday Educational Readings -time to think where we are going ( or being taken)

By Allan Alach
Key is not the key, Pressure Cooker, and other poems
Diane at Save Our Schools NZ ran an Educational Poetry Slam. There are some rather talented people out there…
I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at
This week’s homework!
Teacher LEARNing, PD, CPD, Training….wotever! When are we going to get it ‘right’?
Another thoughtful post from Tony Gurr.
‘The learning opportunities we provide them just need it to be “fit-for-purpose”…to be convenient…to be useful…and fun (but not just a “laugh-and-giggle show”)…’
The Big Lie in Education
‘“Preparing kids for the Real World” is a phrase that many educators and schools use without regard for the consequence of what they selectively choose as reality for their students. Both educators and institutions in many cases are still choosing for students by educating them traditionally, or more progressively using technology tools for learning. This probably begins with educators’ misconception of the real world. We cannot prepare kids for the Real World when we still have a 20th century view of it.’
Why Testing Fails: How Numbers Deceive Us All
‘But, "teaching-to-the-test" is something different. It is an educational mindset, in which test scores are not measures of learning outcomes; the test scores are the outcomes. While that distinction might be subtle, it has real effects on how classes are taught, and in the messages we communicate to students about the goals of an education. Tests are measurement tools; they should not be the reasons that students come to class.’
Why Are the Rich So Interested in Public-School Reform?
“...reformers need now to think beyond the numbers and admit that closing achievement gaps is not as simple as adopting a set of standards, accountability and instructional improvement strategies.”
“In other words, more than good teachers, more than targeted testing, more than careful calibrations of performance measures and metrics that can standardize and quantify every aspect of learning, it’s the messy business of life — where a child comes from and what he or she goes home to at the end of the day — that really determines success in school.”
Teachers or ‘Quantitative Learning Gains Facilitators?’
There is a myth going around our country that goes something like this: American (New Zealand? Australian?)schools have been dumbed down, bad teachers have been given free reign, our educational system is failing, and we will fail to be competitive in the new global economy.’

And so on. Recommended.
Creativity unleashed!
Steve Wheeler, Associate Professor of learning technology in the Faculty of Health, Education and Society, at Plymouth University,  (Twitter @timbuckteeth) is well known to many teachers and is well worth following.
Testing young children will cause untold damage (via Mike Boon)
Not exactly rocket science, is it? So why are politicians incapable of understanding this?
Teaching Through Inquiry:Engage, Explore, Explain, and Extend
Holiday reading suggestion from Bruce Hammonds.
This article gives an overview of an instructional framework that takes students through the four components of inquiry: engage, explore, explain, and extend. The author describes the central aspects of each inquiry phase, the types of questions students might consider, assessments that check readiness to progress to the next level, and what reflective teacher practice might look like at each phase.’
Henry Giroux - lessons for New Zealand educators.Revitalizing the role of public education, by Bruce Hammonds:
‘I was recently sent a rather long article written by Henry Giroux. I struggled to read it but I believe it is important to share the ideas he writes about if the true aims of education are to realised. Giroux sees education as central to the development of a just and democratic society currently under attack by neo –liberal thinking.’

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Henry Giroux - lessons for New Zealand educators.Revitalizing the role of public education –

I was recently sent a rather long article written by Henry Giroux. I struggled to read it but I believe it is important to share the ideas he writes about if the true aims of education are to realised. Giroux sees education as central to the development of a just and democratic society currently under attack by neo –liberal thinking.
There is no doubt that current political leadership, influenced by a neo –liberal philosophy of small government, individualism and the need to privatise of all aspects of living has led to the erosion of the belief in the common good resulting in a growing gap between so called ‘winners and losers’.
The winners are the financial and corporate elite - the one percent.
The corporate and financial elite, right wing think tanks –and extreme fundamentalist political groups (the Tea Party in America and the ACT party in New Zealand) are increasingly focusing on privatising education for their own profit. There is big money to be made!
The neo-liberal authoritarian (‘big brother’) political landscape does not encourage questioning and those who dare are regarded as mischievous or ignored. This has been the fate of respected educationalists that have criticized the National Party’s imposition of National Standards which are more about political than education ends.
 To open the way for privatisation (Charter Schools) there is a need to compare schools (to prove school failure) so data is required – unfortunately data only gathered from a narrow range of learning areas resulting in a narrowing of the curriculum and eventually teaching to the tests.
Since the 1980s there has been an intensification of the anti-democratic pressures of neo –liberal governments of the Anglo West. The welfare state is being dismantled, social services reduced and, as a result, creating growing unemployment, crime rates and environments that see people as disposable and, in some cases (unemployed youth), a problem rather than an opportunity. Poor minorities and vast numbers of the working class, and increasingly the middle class, are denied social support.  Keeping up with the Joneses has been replaced with the struggle to simply survive. According to Giroux we have moved ‘from a society of producers to a society of consumers’.  
Young people in particular, says Giroux, no longer see much hope in such an unfair society with its ethos of greed. ‘The mall and the prison’ he writes, ‘have  become the preeminent institutions  for symbolizing what the future hold for them as they suffer the soft war of commodification or the hard war of hyper-punishment and possible incarceration’. This marginalisation of youth can be seen in in any city and town in New Zealand. The belief in the common good with its shared social bonds, established  after the Great Depression (in America by Roosevelt’s ‘New Deal’ by the Welfare State established (and at the same time by the first Labour Government in New Zealand) have been replaced by rampant selfish individualism. In response, around the world, young people are taking things into their own hands (the 99%) demonstrating against this creeping authoritarianism – about the pernicious effect of corporate influence in all aspects of life.
'Greed is good!"
The shared destiny  and collective responsibility  of a decent life for all of earlier times has been ‘replaced by a market driven ideology that now privatises, commodifies, atomizes and taints most everything it takes’.  Today right wing politicians happily demonize people on welfare (‘the poor have it too easy’) and the unemployed (too lazy) – such people are seen as a burden – a problem they wish would go away forgetting it was their polices that created the situation in the first place.
The savage neo-liberal worldview that has a grip on American society has its grip equally in New Zealand. The ‘cheerleaders for neo- liberalism’, Giroux writes, ’live in circles of certainty and are deeply suspicious of anyone who dares think critically, asks damaging questions, holds power accountable, or challenges the existing order’. Giroux calls this a ‘hardening of the culture’ ….ushering a spirit of meanness’ where ‘bonds of trust are replaced by bonds of fear and humiliation’. We now live in an environment in which mass surveillance by Governments (coming soon in New Zealand) makes it clear that the distinction between the innocent and the guilty has broken down. The ‘nanny state’, so despised by the neo-liberals, has been replaced by Orwell’s ‘big brother’ state.
As a result of these undemocratic forces Giroux believes that education as an alternative liberating force needs to be taken seriously. ‘No democracy,’ he writes, ‘can survive without an education system  that offers the public the opportunities to broaden their knowledge, skills and values in ways that enhance and expand their capacities to think critically, imagine otherwise, create the conditions for shared responsibilities’.
This takes the educational debate well away from the current narrowness of National Standards. In contrast Giroux sees schools as ‘enabling people to be able to assume the role of critical agents, thinking subjects, and critically engaged citizens willing to learn how to govern ….able to care for others’. This is the intent of the all but side-lined 2007 New Zealand Curriculum. 
Education as a means to provide the conditions to produce an informed citizenry is the last thing  Giroux believes the financial and corporate elite would want. They prefer, for the masses, the ‘idiocy of celebrity culture….embraced by a commodity based culture, the privatisation of all services, possessive individualism (‘me first’), and crass materialism’.  What the corporate elite want is a compliant unquestioning world with pedagogy that that produces political quietism served by the repressive surveillance view of education that schools that are being forced to comply with.
To escape this world view, which is increasingly being taken for granted, there needs to be a collective transformation of consciousness and values. ‘Until people unlearn values’, Giroux writes, ’neoliberalism and other forms of oppression will be normalised, viewed as common sense, self-evident ,and removed from critical inquiry’.’ Without a change of consciousness, it becomes difficult  for people to recognise the predatory and pernicious ideologies and effects of a savage casino capitalism that has real stake in producing injustice…and a full-fledged assault on the environment’. It was in this cut throat world of ‘winners and losers’ ‘casino capitalism’ that our current Prime Minister gained his reputation.
For many it seems as we have no alternative (TINA); that we all have to live with the demands of the market and that ‘sufferings, hardships and successes are simply a function of individual choice and responsibility’. To combat this, schools need to develop a ‘language of both critique and hope’. Only through education will people be able to unlearn their attachments.
Giroux writes ‘once education becomes instrumentalized, transformed into training for the workplace, or reduced to mind numbing misery of teaching to the test those pedagogies and values that encourages students to take risks, engage in critical, creative and collaborative thinking, care for the other, and cultivate a deep commitment to the public good begin to vanish from our educational institutions’. What is being lost in this push for quantitative measurement is not only the loss of respect for teachers, students and professional judgement but also seeing public education as a means of sustain a real  inclusive democracy – an alternative to the current rule by financial and corporate elites.
As in American we have seen right wing politicians (including our Prime Minister) blame school failure on teachers and on their unions rather than seeing them as dedicated public servants. To combat the forces behind these attacks, if education is to be reclaimed as a common good, these threats need to be made visible. We need fully educated citizens, with their unique talents developed in preference to being sorted into above, at, or below by the ‘shonky’ limited National Standards schools are being forced to comply with; we need  a personalised rather than a standardized education system.
While the right wing politicians blame schools for the ‘one in five failing’, ignoring in the process the effects of the poverty their very policies have produced, the’ biggest problem’ Giroux writes, ‘is not they were failing – but that they were public’. The so called new “reformers” want to privatise education as a ‘part of their attack on all things public, which also includes public servants such as teachers and especially teacher unions’, disguising their intentions by pushing such terms as freedom and choice.  According to their rhetoric teachers are the problem because they lack accountability and are protected by self-serving unions. Underlying their claims of school failure there is a ‘refusal to  address how larger structural issues such as racism, income inequality and exploding poverty impact on school failings or how education should be reformed in light of these forces’.
The new ‘reformers’, who push their agenda of privatisation( funnelling taxpayers money into private schools), standardisation, high stakes testing, and school competition, are really reactionaries intent on returning schooling to its earlier grading and sorting role. In the process the “new reformers”, by privatising education through charter schools, by the provision of textbooks and tests, allow vested interests to make a lot of money. ‘Another get rich scheme shrouded in the veneer of altruism’!
In contrast, those who advocate egalitarian reforms, see schools  as organisations that promote democracy, where young people have  ‘access to the expertise, skills and experience that both deepen  their understanding of history, the arts, the sciences – of humanist traditions…and the new world of advanced technologies, digital communications and screen culture’. Such an enlightened view of education is not just for students to find meaningful work but also to ensure students ‘become critical and engaged citizens of the world.’
The message for New Zealand teachers is to focus on implementing the 2007 New Zealand Curriculum, place an emphasis on developing the diverse gifts and talents of all students, and not to be side- tracked by limiting National Standards.
Public schools need to be defended as public goods that benefit not just individual children and their parents but an entire society’. New Zealand would be well-advised to look towards Finland rather than America for their inspiration in this respect.
‘Those  market and corporate forces that now undermine public education in the name of fixing it have little to do with democracy and critical teaching and learning….battling against those forces puts one on the side of genuine educational reform’.
Giroux writes that we should be ‘fighting for smaller schools and classes, more resources, more full time quality teachers’. And, he continues, ‘all attempts at the privatisation and corporatisation of schools must be rejected as to make education truly public and widely accessible’.
Teachers’, he writes, ‘ need to work under conditions that provides them with the autonomy that enables them to take risks, be creative, and draw upon a range of educational approaches and pedagogies’. Teachers need to fight ‘against the imperatives of standardisation and testing’. He continues, ‘we need modes of pedagogies that enliven the imagination, create thoughtful and curious students, incorporates an ethic of civic responsibility, and teach the practice of freedom’. He writes that ‘we need to connect education to the lives and ideas that young people bring to any learning situation’.
Giroux, quite rightly, sees education as a political act helping every student come to terms with their own powers as individual and social agents. Pedagogy is not neutral, must treat young people with respect and enable them to develop their own voice and sense of agency, ‘a viable  mode of critical pedagogy  and to do so in an environment that is thoughtful, critical, humane, and challenging’.
Giroux, echoing the thoughts of John Dewey, believes that ‘education at all levels is the fundamental precondition that makes democratic politics possible, providing the space where meaningful histories, voices and cultural differences can flourish’.
It seems to me that in New Zealand (as in America) we have yet to realize such a vision of democratic schooling and, if we continue with the current standardisation, we never will.
Such a vision is surely worth fighting for.
What is the alternative?

Friday, July 12, 2013

Holiday Educational Readings

By Allan Alach

On Wednesday Labour Party education spokesperson Chris Hipkins released a press statement about the very obvious intention to turn PaCT into a form of national testing.

Better late than never - I predicted this (as did Kelvin Smythe) when PaCT was first publicised in October 2011. I raised many issues about PaCT in this article Smoke and Mirrors that I wrote at the time - these are still very valid, even if the resulting fall out was rather unpleasant for me.

SInce then, Hekia has pulled back from making PaCT compulsory in 2015. Good news, but beware - this victory was much too easy to achieve.

Have a well deserved rest and recuperation over the next two weeks.

I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at

This week’s homework!

A truly great question

US educator Jamie McKenzie is another valuable person to add to your reading list, and if you get a chance to attend one of his workshops, take it! In this article he explores the value of truly great questions in stimulating purposeful inquiry learning.

Lester Flockton:National Standards and PaCT – no way to solve the problem of student underachievement..

Bruce Hammonds posted this last week - hopefully you will have read it then. However, in case you missed it, this is a very valuable article.

My Message to the Badass Association of Teachers

Diane Ravitch, probably the leading voice in the USA anti-GERM battle, wrote the following message when asked to join the Badass Teachers  Association, formed to empower teachers’ voices. Her message is powerful indeed, for all teachers wherever they may be.

‘Teachers must resist, because you care about your students, and you care about your profession. You became a teacher to make a difference in the lives of children, not to take orders and obey the dictates of someone who doesn’t know your students.’

Bruce Hammonds has posted this article about Diane.

The Mother of all Curriculum Myths …(the RE-boot)

In-depth posting by Tony Gurr that examines the difference between GERM like imposed curricula and the real learning involved in genuinely holistic curricula. This is an excellent resource for anti-GERM debates.

Time to fight back!

Freedom from Wasted Training: The e-Learning Bill of Rights (via David Kinane)
One of my greatest frustrations in working in e-learning for so many years, is that as technologies come and go, the rights and values of the learner are repeatedly compromised in preference to arbitrary limitations set by software, management systems, unrealistic development environments, impossible performance expectations, etc.  In pursuing some particular development goal, the central importance of the learner experience is lost, or at least muddled.’


We’re Not in Kansas Anymore…

Interesting article about adapting Google’s 20% time to the classroom.

So much for the language police (via Bruce Hammonds)

Stephen Fry takes a firm stance on grammar. He doesn't go the way you'd think.