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robertogreco : longreads   7

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
The internet isn't harming our love of 'deep reading', it's cultivating it | Steven Poole | Comment is free | theguardian.com
"In our culture of excitable neuroscientism a lot of such arguments employ the sexy word "brain" and so sound scientifically objective, but they are really socio-cultural arguments. No doubt there are many kinds of task-specific neural developments (ie "brain" types) that have been lost in the mists of evolutionary time, and whose absence we have no reason to regret. Not many people in advanced industrial societies today, for example, grow up developing the mental skills required to kill tasty large mammals with a well-hurled spear. But we don't read hand-wringing stories about how we have lost the antelope-hunting brain. So there needs to be a further demonstration that the "deep-reading brain" is something worth valuing. And this is never going to be a (neuro)scientific argument; it's a cultural argument."



"And yet the assumption in such doomy pronouncements that we might all be slaves to skimming and thus be allowing our brains to atrophy sounds fantastically condescending, just as it did when expressed in Nicholas Carr's book The Shallows. This kind of paternalistic fatalism seems ably refuted by sales of Young Adult blockbusters, as well as by researchers who bother to find out what young people actually do.

According to John Palfrey and Urs Gasser's Born Digital, for example, a teenager's "news-gathering process" alternated skimming or "grazing" with a "deep dive" when she found something she could really get her teeth into.

And such nutritious, dense, lengthy pieces of writing are, of course, becoming ever more popular on the very same internet that pessimists blame for destroying our attention spans. More and more online magazine startups are devoted to in-depth reportage or cheerfully non-topical discussions of ideas over many thousands of beautifully typeset words. Ideal, you might even say, for slow reading.

For me, the only fly in the ointment is my insuperable allergy to the kitschy, infantilising generic term for such pieces, "long reads". (We don't call albums "long listens" or epic dinners "long eats".) The alternative, "longform", is simply oxymoronic – sheer length is not a form. What was wrong with "essays" again? Presumably the old-school littérateurs of the Slow Reading Movement could approve of that one."
reading  neuroscience  society  culture  attention  2014  stevenpoole  slowreading  distraction  nicholascarr  longreads  howweread  listening  grazing  johnpalfrey  ursgasser  skimming 
april 2014 by robertogreco
en.Slow Media
The Slow Media Manifesto [ http://en.slow-media.net/manifesto ]

“1. Slow media are a contribution to sustainability. …
2. Slow media promote monotasking. …
3. Slow media aim at perfection. …
4. Slow media make quality palpable. …
5. Slow media advance prosumers. …
6. Slow media are discursive and dialogic. …
7. Slow media are social media. …
8. Slow media respect their users. …
9. Slow media are distributed via recommendations, not advertising. …
10. Slow media are timeless. …
11. Slow media are auratic. …
12. Slow media are progressive, not reactionary. …
13. Slow media focus on quality. …
14. Slow media ask for confidence and take their time to be credible. …”
culture  philosophy  society  2010  attention  patience  lifestyle  simplicity  manifesto  manifestos  jörgblumtritt  sabriadavid  benediktköhler  via:litherland  timelessness  recommendations  credibility  respect  socialmedia  discourse  dialogics  prosumers  longreads  quality  monotasking  singletasking  sustainability  slowmedia  slow 
february 2012 by robertogreco
The Mixbook: A Print-on-Demand Compilation of Web Content
"Its 254 pages contain 29 articles I bookmarked over the past year, as well as a brief introduction I wrote, making 30 entries total. It also includes many improvements that I wish I could have made to the 2009 version, like a table of contents, better image quality, much better typography, and a very nice detail suggested by Mark—tinyurl's for each article (much easier for readers to type in). I also am pleased with the cover, which I created by scanning in my idea book—the composition book I use every day (see image below). Of course, I had to clean it up considerably as mine is getting pretty beat up.

At some point I realized that "mixbook" is the perfect word to describe what this is. I used to make mixtapes for friends in middle school and high school, and would spend tons of time hand-making covers and liner notes. I loved the idea of making each tape a unique object. Making books like this is similar."

[via: http://booktwo.org/notebook/items-received-by-post/ ]

[See also other volumes:
https://www.newfangled.com/a_year_of_ideas_volume_1
https://www.newfangled.com/a_year_of_ideas_volume_3
https://www.newfangled.com/a_year_of_ideas_volume_4 ]
mixbooks  papernet  instapaper  ebooks  books  paper  print  publishing  christopherbutler  2011  longreads  lulu  mixtapes 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Cities and Urban Life: A #Longreads #List - future perfect
"I often find that urbanism and urban living are overly romanticized, more often by citydwellers themselves: Stumbling through concrete caravans dripping with mystique, a day-to-day narrative of tempered chaos, or an odd catharsis as told through the lens of sidewalk meet-cute. I often long for life closer to the wilderness, clogged by forests and dirty roads, but I remain fascinated with the totally batshit way in which cities are planned and built, and how urban geography and city design transcribe social and psychological narratives on the human lives lived within. So I put together a list of five wonderful city narratives from the past several years:" [Read all of these but the first (will do), but this makes a nice index.]
urban  urbanism  cities  longreads  toread  gentrification 
january 2011 by robertogreco

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