Showing posts from October, 2020

Into Stink and Scandal: Government's Hit or Miss Strategies

Image Source: Whose Knowledge?

In his blog entry, Government Initiatives, Terry Freedman points to past prognostication about government and edtech. With the opposite of the Midas touch, government's sink any initiative meant to assist into stink and scandal. Terry makes the point that what the government promised never arrived: On 12 October 2018 I wrote an article stating that I have grave doubts about governments getting involved in ed tech initiatives because, somehow, they usually mess them up, or at least the initiatives don’t work. The government nevertheless trumpets how successful they’ve been — I suspect the press releases are prepared in advance — and life goes on in much the same way as before. 
Here we are, two years later, and the government recently announced that laptops would be provided to disadvantaged kids. In spite of the best intentions, or perhaps because of them, governments fail to implement anything properly. One can only point to the COVID-19 pandemic'…

Trim Your Arbustos

One of the consequences of hating to do your own lawn work? Unsolicited requests to provide assistance from lawn care professionals. During a time when I was traveling for work, my wife had to handle lawn care arrangements. The lawn care guy was from Mexico and preferred to speak Spanish. However, we both occasionally would lapse into English while explaining what work needed doing. 

An Unfortunate Choice of Words?"Can I come trim your bush?" My wife showed me the brief SMS/Text message she had received on her phone. When we saw who sent it, we both laughed until we had to sit down. The yard guy had been wanting to cut the front hedge. We had to smile at his attempt to poorly worded up-sell his lawn-mowing services. English was his second language, and it's possible his attempt to solicit business had been poorly worded. 
In this case, our problem was how to characterize the word "hedge." My Spanish language experience did not include lawns, nor do I remember l…

Design Short

Get to the point. One of my favorite titles on writing is, How To Write Short. You could strip two words out of that title. The virtual book jacket at Amazon says: this ever-changing Internet age, short-form writing has become an essential skill.
Clark covers how to write effective and powerful titles, headlines, essays, sales pitches, Tweets, letters, and even self-descriptions for online dating services. With examples from the long tradition of short-form writing in Western culture, How to Write Short guides writers to crafting brilliant prose, even in 140 characters. Who can argue with that? Write short. You know what, though? We need to do the same with online courses. Over the last few years, I've had a bit of an epiphany. Maybe, it was my patience snapping. 
Too many online courses get designed as long flowing ballads that involve reflection and online discussions behind a walled garden. Cut those courses down. Make them short.
Stephen Downes summarizes a 37-page PDF. Steph…

People Over Profit

"Fund people over stuff," my mentor, Mark Gabehart, would often say. Of course, he may not have said it in such a blunt way. But that's definitely the message that came across. It affirmed that in education settings, if nowhere else, you put people above materialistic goals (e.g. making money). In schools, you always rank people over stuff. People come before technology. People come before pretty furniture.
The struggle to protect people continues. Even today, we see entire school districts, governments putting money and stuff first. That's why when I read about Austin teachers taking a stand, I had to applaud.
About 850 Austin district teachers have pledged not to return to their campuses Monday when school buildings reopen for learning. Concerned about the threat of the coronavirus to both their students and themselves, the educators said they remain committed to teaching their students, but will do so only in a virtual setting. Of the 925 teachers who requested medica…