Thursday, November 3, 2011

Design, Context, Flipped, and other Links

From "The Power of Design . . . ."
The Power of Design and Visualization Data
There’s a growing recognition that design is not simply about making products attractive. A well-designed product, (or space, image, service) can be easier to use, fit better into the flow of people’s lives, suit the needs of a broader range of end-users, increase productivity, and even influence emotions (which in turn can influence cognition). Sectors as hard-nosed and utilitarian as healthcare and manufacturing are now taking the “soft” subject of design very seriously.
Blog Post:

Bring Your Own Context
If I am processing audio, I want to be on a Mac. If I am tweeting on the bus, I want to be on a smartphone. If I am reading the news, I want to kick back with a tablet. If I am learning a new language, my iPod will do just fine.

Can Apple Products Pave the Way to Personalized Learning?
But as ZDNet’s Christopher Dawson recently noted, “the jury’s still out” on the success of these deployments. Despite the move towards a more paper-free classroom and despite all the new apps and e-books available, it’s hard to know if the adoption of the Apple devices — the tablets as well as iPod Touches — is necessarily changing things. Without adjusting classroom instruction to take full advantage of a one-to-one classroom, many of these schools are just doing the “same old thing” but using more expensive tools to do so. And the operative word here may be “expensive” too.

Learners, Not Knowers
This is why we should all be feeling an acute urgency right now to take back the definition of what “learning” really is in a world filled with content and teachers and personalization. It’s not an easy task, especially when test scores and grades take such precedence in the conversation. Don’t get me wrong; there is some opportunity in the use of technology to prepare kids at a content level for the bigger learning conversations to come, the conversations that we need real teachers for, the ones which develop the dispositions of learning that are uniquely human.

Radical Flip at Macomb County School Getting Results

And when kids do homework in class, they're getting help from their teacher rather than parents who might struggle with the material. Teachers say flipping at times quadruples the amount of time they spend working directly with students -- ensuring students have a firm grasp of the lesson.
The initial success has gained Clintondale and Green some notice in national education circles. Green's a hot ticket at teacher conferences and has been speaking to packed rooms.

The Rise (and Fall?) of Text Messaging in Schools
It’s an indication that text-messaging is becoming recognized as a powerful tool that schools should find a way to use. It’s one that can keep students engaged in class (though that idea remains fairly controversial, as cell phones are still viewed by many as a distraction). And it’s one that can help bridge the communication gulf between home and school.

But just as text-messaging may be on the cusp of widespread adoption in schools, there are rumblings in other sectors that text-messaging is dead. Or more accurately, perhaps, that text-messaging should simply die.

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