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robertogreco : jonbecker   4

Are we overthinking general education? – Jonathan D. Becker, J.D., Ph.D.
"Many colleges and universities are trying to figure out new ways to tackle general education requirements. My own employer, VCU, has been undergoing an effort “to re-imagine our general education curriculum.” The proposed framework that my VCU colleagues came up with isn’t bad, but it still feels like picking courses out of individual boxes and checking boxes to complete a checklist. It feels like what happens when universities try to be innovative and break out of boxes, but turf wars ensue and departments dig in their heels. The result is an overwrought compromise that doesn’t serve anyone particularly well.

Here is something I wrote on Twitter back in 2015.

[embedded tweet: https://twitter.com/jonbecker/status/670360697105174529
@gsiemens I seriously want to teach a course where all we do is read and discuss @brainpicker and @Longreads.
]

Imagine this learning experience: 1 faculty member with 20-25 students just reading and discussing the Longreads Weekly Top 5. They’d meet once a week, in a meeting room or a coffee shop or outside on a lawn or in the forest; it doesn’t matter. And they’d just talk about what they learned. And maybe they’d blog about it so they could expand their discussion beyond the designated class time and space and could get others outside the class to weigh in. That’s it; that’s the whole instructional design. No predetermined curriculum; very little by way of planning. Learning outcomes? How about curiosity, wonder, critical thinking? Those are your “learning outcomes.” I’d bet students would learn more by reading and deeply discussing those 5 articles each week than they would in most other tightly-designed, pre-packaged curriculum-driven course.

I would also love to involve students in a learning experience built around food shows like Alton Brown’s Good Eats. Seriously. Watch just the first few minutes of this episode. In just the first 3+ minutes, we get history (information about the Ottoman Empire), science (cooking and surface area), and math (computing surface area). In a show about kabobs.

[embedded video: "Good Eats S09E2 Dis-Kabob-Ulated"
https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x5skv9x ]

What if general education was more like this? What if students read Longreads and watched episodes of Good Eats as part of an effort around interdisciplinary studies?

And then there’s Anthony Bourdain. To me, Parts Unknown was, at its heart, educational media.

I’m not from West Virginia like Craig Calcaterra (see below) is. But, I spent a lot of time in that state doing field research at the end of the 20th century. When I watched the episode of Parts Unknown that Calcaterra shares, I felt like Bourdain had really captured what I had come to know about the state and then some. Watch the episode and tell me that you didn’t learn a ton. The way Bourdain juxtaposes New York City and his fellow New Yorkers with the “existential enemy” in West Virginia is classic Bourdain."

[embedded tweet: https://twitter.com/craigcalcaterra/status/1005077364131422208
Anthony Bourdain went to West Virginia last year. In one hour he did way better capturing my home state than 1,000 poverty porn tourist journalists with pre-written stories parachuting in from coastal publications have ever done. https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x6inwh4
]

Parts Unknown is an interdisciplinary curriculum. It is about culture, food, history, politics, economics, etc. It’s about people.

[embedded tweet: https://twitter.com/ablington/status/1005056496609169409
Anthony Bourdain had one of the only shows on tv that tried with all its might to teach Americans not to be scared of other people.
]

And isn’t that what general education is?

Replace the word “travel” with the word “learning” in the following quote from Anthony Bourdain.

[embedded tweet: https://twitter.com/Tribeca/status/1005073364531269633
“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you... You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” — Anthony Bourdain #RIP
]

Maybe we’re overthinking general education in higher education. Probably, in fact.
jonbecker  education  generaleducation  anthonybourdain  2018  interdisciplinary  learning  travel  sharing  ideas  unschooling  deschooling  cv  culture  exploration  conversation  longreads  lcproject  openstudioproject  howweteach  howwelearn 
june 2018 by robertogreco
Squishy Not Slick - squishy not slick, the edtech futurist version / #thoughtvectors not call centers
"lots of rumblings lately, lots of connections

[most of this will just serve as placeholders until I have more time to fill in the missing pieces]

Is the future of educational technology going to look like a call center? (https://twitter.com/tressiemcphd/status/467867731254333441 )

Rob led me to Gardner Campbell’s talk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIzA4ItynYw ) [who I just realized is a colleague of some of my favorite people on the internet, @jonbecker and @twoodwar who are working on the #thoughtvectors thing at VCU], in which he explains the point of all this as ”networked transcontextualism,” which is the way to escape “the double bind,” a term from Gregory Bateson. (https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=gregory+bateson&btnG=&as_sdt=1%2C38&as_sdtp= )

In the same vein, Audrey Watters says all the right things (https://storify.com/rogre/more-audrey-watters-in-your-stream-please ) [and thanks to Rob for storifying it]

Seymour Papert (https://scholar.google.com/scholar?as_vis=1&q=seymour+papert&hl=en&as_sdt=1,38 ) keeps coming up [Campbell and Watters mention him]

Campbell’s “networked transcontextualism” especially reminded me of what Richard Elmore had to say about all this (http://www.c-span.org/video/?c4088865/richard-elmore-futures-school-reform ), that we’re moving from “nested hierarchy” to “networked relationships.”

Then Dan Meyer joined in, saying it with a Neil Diamond analogy. (http://blog.mrmeyer.com/2014/adaptive-learning-is-an-infinite-ipod-that-only-plays-neil-diamond/ )

This is all happens while I’m trying to make Sugata Mitra’s SOLE idea (http://www.ted.com/participate/ted-prize/prize-winning-wishes/school-in-the-cloud ), or something similar, happen in more traditional classrooms, an attempt at finding an alternate path, an escape from the call center version of our edtech future."
lukeneff  audreywatters  2014  gardnercampbell  jonbecker  tomwoodward  gregorybateson  danmeyer  seymourpapert  sugatamitra  sole  transcontextualism  edtech  education  learning  teaching  connections  networks  doublebind  richardelmore  transcontextualization 
may 2014 by robertogreco
Educational Insanity » Who are the thought leaders in educational leadership?
"If professors of educational leadership truly want to be the thought leaders and to be a part of any sort of school change process, they need to free themselves from the shackles of tradition. They need to stop publishing their high-quality, thoughtful work in journals that nobody who does the work of school leadership reads. They should make it a point to publish in open access journals; open access is not mutually exclusive from peer-reviewed."
opencontent  openaccess  leadership  jonbecker  education  publishing  books  academia  closedsystems 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Educational Insanity » The Logic of “Our” Arguments
"In sum, then, I think “we” are putting broken carts before the horses. “We” are concentrating too much on the “why change” argument without first fully and clearly articulating what it is “we” want from schools. Furthermore, the “why change” arguments, I argue (meta?), are fundamentally flawed. [The “Digital Natives” Argument, The Economics Argument, The Business Argument] There are lots of reasons for the institution of schooling to be transformed. Likewise, there are lots of reasons to consider the affordances of ubiquitous computing for learning. I ask you to help me think through those reasons in ways that are well-informed and logical…especially those of you with whom I hope to have fully maximized face-to-face experiences this weekend at Educon. I look forward to deliberating with many of you there!"
digitalnatives  edtech  education  change  reform  tcsnmy  purpose  technology  engagement  democracy  sla  chrislehmann  educon  learning  logic  jonbecker  richardflorida 
february 2010 by robertogreco

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