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How Harvard and Other Colleges Manage Their Endowments - YouTube
"College is expensive, but there is one place in higher education where there's no shortage of money – endowments. There's more than $616 billion worth of endowments assets in the U.S. Lawmakers are starting to questions why tuition is still rising if some schools have billions of dollars."
colleges  universities  ivyleague  endowments  2019  money  charitableindustrialcomplex  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  philanthropy  inequality  finance  highereducation  highered  power  wealth  universityoftexas  hedgefunds  yale  charity  hoarding  taxes  investment  stanford  divestment  economics  policy  politics  princeton 
22 days ago by robertogreco
Bay Area Disrupted: Fred Turner on Vimeo
"Interview with Fred Turner in his office at Stanford University.

http://bayareadisrupted.com/

https://fredturner.stanford.edu

Graphics: Magda Tu
Editing: Michael Krömer
Concept: Andreas Bick"
fredturner  counterculture  california  opensource  bayarea  google  softare  web  internet  history  sanfrancisco  anarchism  siliconvalley  creativity  freedom  individualism  libertarianism  2014  social  sociability  governance  myth  government  infrastructure  research  online  burningman  culture  style  ideology  philosophy  apolitical  individuality  apple  facebook  startups  precarity  informal  bureaucracy  prejudice  1960s  1970s  bias  racism  classism  exclusion  inclusivity  inclusion  communes  hippies  charism  cultofpersonality  whiteness  youth  ageism  inequality  poverty  technology  sharingeconomy  gigeconomy  capitalism  economics  neoliberalism  henryford  ford  empowerment  virtue  us  labor  ork  disruption  responsibility  citizenship  purpose  extraction  egalitarianism  society  edtech  military  1940s  1950s  collaboration  sharedconsciousness  lsd  music  computers  computing  utopia  tools  techculture  location  stanford  sociology  manufacturing  values  socialchange  communalism  technosolutionism  business  entrepreneurship  open  liberalism  commons  peerproduction  product 
december 2018 by robertogreco
Design Thinking is Kind of Like Syphilis — It’s Contagious and Rots Your Brains
"Miller never bothers to define all the modes, and we will consider them more below. But for now, we should just note that the entire model is based on design consulting: You try to understand the client’s problem, what he or she wants or needs. You sharpen that problem so it’s easier to solve. You think of ways to solve it. You try those solutions out to see if they work. And then once you’ve settled on something, you ask your client for feedback. By the end, you’ve created a “solution,” which is also apparently an “innovation.”

Miller also never bothers to define the liberal arts. The closest he comes is to say they are ways of “thinking that all students should be exposed to because it enhances their understanding of everything else.” Nor does he make clear what he means by the idea that Design Thinking is or could be the new liberal arts. Is it but one new art to be added to the traditional liberal arts, such as grammar, logic, rhetoric, math, music, and science? Or does Miller think, like Hennessy and Kelly, that all of education should be rebuilt around the DTs? Who knows.

Miller is most impressed with Design Thinking’s Empathize Mode. He writes lyrically, “Human-centered design redescribes the classical aim of education as the care and tending of the soul; its focus on empathy follows directly from Rousseau’s stress on compassion as a social virtue.” Beautiful. Interesting.

But what are we really talking about here? The d.school’s An Introduction to Design Thinking PROCESS GUIDE says, “The Empathize Mode is the work you do to understand people, within the context of your design challenge.” We can use language like “empathy” to dress things up, but this is Business 101. Listen to your client; find out what he or she wants or needs.

Miller calls the Empathize Mode “ethnography,” which is deeply uncharitable — and probably offensive — to cultural anthropologists who spend their entire lives learning how to observe other people. Few, if any, anthropologists would sign onto the idea that some amateurs at a d.school “boot camp,” strolling around Stanford and gawking at strangers, constitutes ethnography. The Empathize Mode of Design Thinking is roughly as ethnographic as a marketing focus group or a crew of sleazoid consultants trying to feel out and up their clients’ desires.

What Miller, Kelly, and Hennessy are asking us to imagine is that design consulting is or could be a model for retooling all of education, that it has some method for “producing reliably innovative results in any field.” They believe that we should use Design Thinking to reform education by treating students as customers, or clients, and making sure our customers are getting what they want. And they assert that Design Thinking should be a central part of what students learn, so that graduates come to approach social reality through the model of design consulting. In other words, we should view all of society as if we are in the design consulting business."



In recent episode of the Design Observer podcast, Jen added further thoughts on Design Thinking. “The marketing of design thinking is completely bullshit. It’s even getting worse and worse now that [Stanford has] three-day boot camps that offer certified programs — as if anyone who enrolled in these programs can become a designer and think like a designer and work like a designer.” She also resists the idea that any single methodology “can deal with any kind of situation — not to mention the very complex society that we’re in today.”

In informal survey I conducted with individuals who either teach at or were trained at the top art, architecture, and design schools in the USA, most respondents said that they and their colleagues do not use the term Design Thinking. Most of the people pushing the DTs in higher education are at second- and third-tier universities and, ironically, aren’t innovating but rather emulating Stanford. In afew cases, respondents said they did know a colleague or two who was saying “Design Thinking” frequently, but in every case, the individuals were using the DTs either to increase their turf within the university or to extract resources from college administrators who are often willing to throw money at anything that smacks of “innovation.”

Moreover, individuals working in art, architecture, and design schools tend to be quite critical of existing DT programs. Reportedly, some schools are creating Design Thinking tracks for unpromising students who couldn’t hack it in traditional architecture or design programs — DT as “design lite.” The individuals I talked to also had strong reservations about the products coming out of Design Thinking classes. A traditional project in DT classes involves undergraduate students leading “multidisciplinary” or “transdisciplinary” teams drawing on faculty expertise around campus to solve some problem of interest to the students. The students are not experts in anything, however, and the projects often take the form of, as one person put it, “kids trying to save the world.”

One architecture professor I interviewed had been asked to sit in on a Design Thinking course’s critique, a tradition at architecture and design schools where outside experts are brought in to offer (often tough) feedback on student projects. The professor watched a student explain her design: a technology that was meant to connect mothers with their premature babies who they cannot touch directly. The professor wondered, what is the message about learning that students get from such projects? “I guess the idea is that this work empowers the students to believe they are applying their design skills,” the professor told me. “But I couldn’t critique it as design because there was nothing to it as design. So what’s left? Is good will enough?

As others put it to me, Design Thinking gives students an unrealistic idea of design and the work that goes into creating positive change. Upending that old dictum “knowledge is power,” Design Thinkers giver their students power without knowledge, “creative confidence” without actual capabilities.

It’s also an elitist, Great White Hope vision of change that literally asks students to imagine themselves entering a situation to solve other people’s problems. Among other things, this situation often leads to significant mismatch between designers’ visions — even after practicing “empathy” — and users’ actual needs. Perhaps the most famous example is the PlayPump, a piece of merry-go-round equipment that would pump water when children used it. Designers envisioned that the PlayPump would provide water to thousands of African communities. Only kids didn’t show up, including because there was no local cultural tradition of playing with merry-go-rounds.

Unsurprisingly, Design Thinking-types were enthusiastic about the PlayPump. Tom Hulme, the design director at IDEO’s London office, created a webpage called OpenIDEO, where users could share “open source innovation.” Hulme explained that he found himself asking, “What would IDEO look like on steroids? [We might ask the same question about crack cocaine or PCP.] What would it look like when you invite everybody into everything? I set myself the challenge of . . . radical open-innovation collaboration.” OpenIDEO community users were enthusiastic about the PlayPump — even a year after the system had been debunked, suggesting inviting everyone to everything gets you people who don’t do research. One OpenIDEO user enthused that the PlayPump highlighted how “fun can be combined with real needs.”

Thom Moran, an Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of Michigan, told me that Design Thinking brought “a whole set of values about what design’s supposed to look like,” including that everything is supposed to be “fun” and “play,” and that the focus is less on “what would work.” Moran went on, “The disappointing part for me is that I really do believe that architecture, art, and design should be thought of as being a part of the liberal arts. They provide a unique skill set for looking at and engaging the world, and being critical of it.” Like others I talked to, Moran doesn’t see this kind of critical thinking in the popular form of Design Thinking, which tends to ignore politics, environmental issues, and global economic problems.

Moran holds up the Swiffer — the sweeper-mop with disposable covers designed by an IDEO-clone design consultancy, Continuum — as a good example of what Design Thinking is all about. “It’s design as marketing,” he said. “It’s about looking for and exploiting a market niche. It’s not really about a new and better world. It’s about exquisitely calibrating a product to a market niche that is underexploited.” The Swiffer involves a slight change in old technologies, and it is wasteful. Others made this same connection between Design Thinking and marketing. One architect said that Design Thinking “really belongs in business schools, where they teach marketing and other forms of moral depravity.”

“That’s what’s most annoying,” Moran went on. “I fundamentally believe in this stuff as a model of education. But it’s business consultants who give TED Talks who are out there selling it. It’s all anti-intellectual. That’s the problem. Architecture and design are profoundly intellectual. But for these people, it’s not a form of critical thought; it’s a form of salesmanship.”

Here’s my one caveat: it could be true that the DTs are a good way to teach design or business. I wouldn’t know. I am not a designer (or business school professor). I am struck, however, by how many designers, including Natasha Jen and Thom Moran, believe that the DTs are nonsense. In the end, I will leave this discussion up to designers. It’s their show. My concern is a different one — namely that… [more]
designthinking  innovation  ideas  2017  design  leevinsel  maintenance  repair  ideation  problemsolving  davidedgerton  willthomas  billburnett  daveevans  stanford  d.school  natashajen  herbertsimon  robertmckim  ideo  singularity  singularityuniversity  d.tech  education  schools  teaching  liberalarts  petermiller  esaleninstitute  newage  hassoplattner  johnhennessey  davidkelly  jimjones  empathy  ethnography  consulting  business  bullshit  marketing  snakeoil  criticism  criticalthinking  highereducation  highered  thomamoran  tedtalks  openideo  playpump  designimperialism  whitesaviors  post-its  transdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  art  architecture  complexity  simplicity  methodology  process  emptiness  universities  colleges  philipmirowski  entrepreneurship  lawrencebusch  elizabethpoppberman  nathanielcomfort  margaretbrindle  peterstearns  christophermckenna  hucksterism  self-promotion  hype  georgeorwell  nathanrosenberg  davidmowery  stevenklepper  davidhounshell  patrickmccray  marianamazzucato  andréspicer  humanitariandesign 
december 2017 by robertogreco
The Innovation Campus: Building Better Ideas - The New York Times
"Can architecture spur creativity? Universities are investing in big, high-tech buildings in the hope of evoking big, high-tech thinking."



"Though studies have shown that proximity and conversation can produce creative ideas, there’s little research on the designs needed to facilitate the process. Still, there are commonalities.

In many of the new buildings, an industrial look prevails, along with an end to privacy. You are more likely to find a garage door and a 3-D printer than book-lined offices and closed-off classrooms, more likely to huddle with peers at a round table than go to a lecture hall with seats for 100. Seating is flexible, ranging from bleachers to sofas, office chairs to privacy booths. Furniture is often on wheels, so that groups can rearrange it. (The Institute of Design at Stanford, a model for many, has directions for building a whiteboard z-rack on its website.)

Staircases and halls are wide and often daylit, encouraging people to dwell between their appointments in hopes of having a creative collision. Exposure to natural light itself contributes to improved workplace performance. There’s also much more to do with your hands than take notes in class: The need to move your body, by working on a prototype, taking the stairs or going in search of caffeine at a centralized cafe, is built in, providing breaks to let the mind wander.

The rationales for these buildings are varied: Employers are dissatisfied with graduates’ preparation, students are unhappy with outdated teaching methods, and colleges want to attract students whose eyes are on postgrad venture capital and whose scalable ideas might come in handy on campus. And so universities of all sizes, both public (Wichita State, University of Utah, University of Iowa) and private (Cornell, Northwestern, Stanford), have opened or are planning such facilities."



"How successful will Wichita State and other universities be at fueling innovation and, ultimately, a new entrepreneurship economy? The proof may be many years out, and difficult to quantify. But the pressure on administrators to change their campuses may soon come, not just from above and within, but from below.

An anecdote from Kevin B. Sullivan of Payette, whose firm has interdisciplinary science and engineering centers under construction at Northeastern and Tufts, underscores the urgency. “I’m on the board of my daughter’s high school, and what they are doing there is taking the existing library, gutting it and turning it into a tech-enablement space,” he said. “The college process may be dumbed down from what they do in high school.”"
alexandralange  architecture  highered  highereducation  universities  colleges  construction  innovation  economics  cornelltech  cornell  universityofutah  yorkuniversity  northwesternuniversity  stanford  universityofiowa  wichitastateuniversity  engineerting  creativity  stem 
august 2016 by robertogreco
Asawa Photos of San Francisco on Historypin | Stanford University Libraries
"As previously announced, the Ruth Asawa papers are now available. In thinking of fun and innovative ways to present certain aspects of her work, we decided to scan a small series of San Francisco architecture snapshots from her collection and upload them to the social mapping website Historypin, and also include them in their Year of the Bay local history project.  These photographs were probably used as research in creating the San Francisco Fountain in Union Square, which features many cast dough relief images of the city. Unfortunately there is no information on or about the prints in the collection. They are likely all from the 1960s, and were probably taken by Asawa (she has referred to taking pictures of the city in preparation). Architectural historian Sally Woodbridge may have also contributed. The varying qualities of the prints implies that several cameras or developers were used, and that they were probably taken over a period of time. At any rate, they collectively serve as a remarkable portrait of the city in that decade.

The Year of the Bay, which was was co-sponsored by Stanford University’s Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis (CESTA) and funded through the Mellon Foundation as part of a larger "Crowdsourcing For Humanities Research" effort, was intended for the year 2013, but the project is still maintained, with continued involvement from institutions such as the San Francisco Public Library and the SF MTA Archives. One of the best features of the project is History Mysteries, a tool which allows users to suggest information and match photos to Google Street View. Even with this help, many of these photos may never be identified. After fifty years or so, some houses, buildings and even streets have been removed, especially in the financial district, where the Embarcadero Center replaced several city blocks. The Southern Pacific Railroad Depot is also long gone. 

We're pleased to report that since the photos were posted, several more locations have been determined by Historypin users. However, one photo has proved an interesting (if very small scale) example of the need for vetting crowdsourced metadata. A user suggested that this photo (see also below) depicts the former Masonic Hall at 25 Van Ness Avenue, and a second user agreed. It was our first guess as well. However, there are many features that don't match (see here, here, here, and here for vintage images of the Hall). Of course we're open to evidence to the contrary, but for now we're sticking to our guns. Perhaps you recognize this building?"

[See also: http://www.historypin.org/en/ruth-asawa-papers-m1585-san-francisco-archite/ ]
ruthasawa  stanford  sanfrancisco  2015 
april 2016 by robertogreco
Ruth Asawa Papers Now Available | Stanford University Libraries
"After more than a year of intensive organizing and arranging, we are very proud to announce that the papers of artist and educator Ruth Asawa (M1585) are now available for research. The finding aid can be accessed from the Online Archive of Calfornia, and the collection record in the Searchworks catalog. A bibliography is also available from the Stanford Digital Repository.

The collection documents her commissions and other creative work as well her involvement in shaping civic arts and educational policy. Perhaps the greatest number of files contain correspondence from a remarkably diverse community of associates: friends, neighbors, artists, teachers, students, architects, designers, patrons, politicians, and philanthropists. She was also close to such major figures as Buckminster Fuller, Imogen Cunningham, Josef and Anni Albers, Ray Johnson, and countless others. In a sense, her papers can be considered a collection of collections. Scholars studying San Francisco history, art education pedagogy, fundraising for non-profits, public art, Japanese American Internment, or Black Mountain College will be rewarded by the collection's breadth.

Of course, there is also a great deal of information on Asawa's own art, particularly her unique wire constructions. The collection contains communication with galleries and museums, many photographs and slides, and insights on her artistic processes as included in portfolios and applications. For instance, here is some detail from an insert in her 1955 Guggenheim application. There are many of these halftone images of her crocheted wire shapes:"
ruthasawa  stanford  2015 
april 2016 by robertogreco
Universities Are Becoming Billion-Dollar Hedge Funds With Schools Attached | The Nation
" Students are beginning to urge divestment."



"All told, hedge funds have over $3 trillion worth of assets under management globally. In theory, they exist to provide a “hedge” to protect investor portfolios in tough times. Hedging, seen in this light, is simply one investment strategy among many. In practice, however, they are alternative investment vehicles that tend to be housed offshore to avoid oversight and taxes, which means they are largely unregulated, face minimal disclosure requirements, and can engage in all sorts of risky bets and market manipulations.

Not long ago universities were, in the words of one report, “careful stewards of endowment income” and avoided such shenanigans. In the early seventies Harvard and Yale spearheaded committees on investor responsibility and devised ethical investment policies for endowments that considered things like social impact. In the nineties things began to change. Many schools, private and public, have become high-risk gamblers, with finance overtaking fundraising as the main engine of endowment growth. A more aggressive approach to investing paid off—until the economy melted down and caused some endowments to lose up to 30 percent of their value.

But experts and activists have other concerns. Some commentators, for example, are troubled by public tax-exempt educational institutions doing business with companies notorious for dodging taxes in offshore havens. More generally, tax exemption is a giant government subsidy that disproportionately benefits elite schools (the ones that attract the biggest donations and earn the largest investment returns), thus further polarizing an educational system already separated into haves and have-nots.

And it gets worse. In a report called “Educational Endowments and the Financial Crisis,” Joshua Humphreys, president and senior fellow at Croatan Institute points to an even more disturbing consequence of risky investment practices. By embracing speculative trading tactics, exotic derivatives, hedge funds and private equity, “endowments played a role in magnifying certain systemic risks in the capital markets,” Humphreys writes. What’s more, their initial success encouraged other institutional investors (think pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, and foundations) to follow in their footsteps, amplifying the system’s overall volatility and instability. In other words, endowments were not just innocent victims of the 2008 financial crisis, but actually helped enable it.

“Hedge funds, as they were initially conceived, have a potential role to play in a long-term endowment seeking to ‘hedge’ certain risks,” Humphreys told me, making clear he’s hesitant to write them off entirely. “But their arbitrarily high fee structures, the excessive compensation of their managers, and their deliberate evasion of taxes and transparency make hedge funds easy targets for stakeholders rightly concerned about the simmering crisis of higher education today.”"



" The time has come for students to connect the dots between ballooning student debt, the poor treatment of campus workers, and the obscene wealth of hedge fund oligarchs. Once they do, they can fight back by following in the footsteps of recent mobilizations against the financial sector. In 2013, a group called Kick Wall Street Off Campus forced Minnesota’s Macalester College to move some, though not all, of its money out of Wells Fargo to protest the bank’s role in community foreclosures. In June of last year, Santa Cruz County pulled together to get its money out of five giant banks—including Citicorp and JPMorgan Chase and Barclays—that pleaded guilty in the spring to felony charges that they rigged the world’s foreign-currency market. Similar campaigns could easily be waged against university endowment partnerships with hedge funds.

Of course, kicking hedge funds of campus won’t solve the college crisis or instantly reform the financial sector. Nevertheless, targeting hedge funds remains a promising tactic for uniting students and workers against hedge funds’ efforts to increase inequality, and using our tuition dollars and public subsidies to do so. This tactic would be especially effective at public institutions where divestment campaigns should be coupled with calls for increased state funding for higher education and better pay for low-wage workers.

“It’s easy to feel powerless, but hedge funds need university endowments, just like they also need public pensions. If that money was taken away, it would really affect them,” Strain says, and he’s right. Campus divestment movements have a proven track record, going back to campaigns against Apartheid in the 1980s. Over the last few years, climate activists have pressured school trustees to divert trillions of dollars from fossil fuels, and last year Columbia became the first university to divest from private prisons. Hedge funds deserve to be next on the chopping block."
astrataylor  education  neoliberalism  2016  universities  colleges  endowments  divestment  finance  politics  money  hedgefunds  highered  highereducation  nonprofit  taxes  taxation  funding  inequality  ivyleague  harvard  princeton  stanford  yalconflisctsofinterest  nonprofits 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Why Harvard should be taxed ["Harvard is a 'hedge fund with a university attached to it'"] - Business Insider
"“The joke about Harvard is that it’s a hedge fund with a university attached to it,” Mark Schneider tells me. It’s a quip that, for obvious reasons, has become pretty popular in recent years.

In 2014, the university’s legendary endowment, overseen by a team of in-house experts and spread across a mind-bending array of investments that range from stocks and bonds to California wine vineyards, hit $36.4 billion.

“They’re just collecting tons, and tons, and tons of money,” says Schneider, a former Department of Education official who is currently a fellow at the American Institutes for Research.

Of course, normal hedge funds have to pay taxes on their earnings. Because it’s a nonprofit, Harvard doesn’t. And since bestowing tax exemptions is the same as spending cash from the government’s perspective (budgeteers call them “tax expenditures” for a reason), that means the American public effectively subsidizes Harvard’s moneymaking engine.

The same goes for Stanford (endowment: $21.4 billion), Princeton (endowment: $21 billion), Yale (endowment$23.9 billion), and the country’s other elite institutions of higher education.

Aiding wealthy research universities that cater to largely affluent undergraduates might have been acceptable in a more flush era. But at a time when state colleges are still suffering from deep budget cuts that have driven up tuition and politicians are stretching for ways to make school more affordable for middle-class students, clawing back some of that cash to spend on needier schools is starting to sound awfully appealing. Which is why it might just be time to start taxing Harvard and its cohort.

This isn’t a new idea by any stretch—in 2008, lawmakers in Massachusetts considered slapping a 2.5 percent tax on large university endowments—but Schneider has made an especially intriguing case for it."



"Another quandary: Today, the government generally doesn’t tax savings. It taxes income. So why take a cut of wealth from colleges when we don’t do it to individuals? As Kim Rueben, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center, put it to me, “We’re going to tax Harvard, but we’re not going to tax Warren Buffet?”

And, of course, there might be unintended consequences. Even with write-offs for financial aid, taxing endowments could encourage schools to spend less on things society generally likes, such as new research labs. The government could tax schools and require them to spend a minimum amount, which is how it treats private foundations. But then you have to consider to what creative lengths Harvard might go to avoid the IRS.

Cutting down the tax advantages of rich schools, obviously, would not be simple. But it still worth seriously considering the idea. Maybe we should consider taxing the Met as well. Maybe the government could stick to what it knows and tax Harvard’s capital gains instead of its whole endowment. Maybe we could learn to live with a little tax avoidance. However we choose to do it, I think we’d all like to spend a little less money sending other people’s kids to Harvard."
colleges  highered  highereducation  nonprofit  universities  money  finance  taxes  taxation  funding  inequality  ivyleague  harvard  endowments  princeton  stanford  yale  charitableindustrialcomplex  philanthropy  government  hedgefunds  jordanweissmann  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  nonprofits  capitalism  power  control 
february 2016 by robertogreco
John Green's tumblr • Fascinating chart from The Economist (not famed...
"Fascinating chart from The Economist (not famed for its liberal bias) showing how already-rich universities are receiving the most gifts from donors.

In the accompanying article, they write, “Philanthropy may be tilting America’s higher education system even further in favour of the rich.” 

I don’t think there’s any maybe about it. 

Harvard is (obviously) a great school. And because Harvard has an endowment of $32 billion, they can afford to give out a lot of scholarship aid; in fact, over 70% of their students receive aid; the amount is calculated based on family income and assets.

But at least according to Harvard’s financial aid calculator, you have to be ungodly rich not to be in that >70% of kids who receive scholarships. Like, if your parents make $150,000 a year, you personally have a $100,000 trust fund, and your parents have $1,000,000 of assets (not including their home), you get a scholarship.

The ~28% of Harvard students who don’t get merit scholarships are RICHER than that. Basically, over a quarter of Harvard student are in the top 5% of Americans when it comes to income and wealth. 

Meanwhile, as seen in the chart above, less-rich schools attract less donation money, which leads to smaller endowments and fewer scholarship dollars, which means more students have to take out loans, which only increases the U.S.’s already untenable economic inequality."
universities  highered  highereducation  endowments  2015  inequality  wealth  donations  harvard  riceuniversity  financialaid  loands  studentloans  debt  philanthropy  charitableindustrialcomplex  stanford  yale  princeton  sartmouth  duke  johnshopkins  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  capitalism  power  control 
june 2015 by robertogreco
What We Can Learn from Homeschooling - Hybrid Pedagogy
"I explain all of this not to suggest that homeschooling creates prodigies. It doesn’t, although some homeschoolers are advanced students. My daughter is a regular, bright kid who is flourishing because she has had the opportunity to follow a personal educational path with guidance and participation from the adults in her life. She has had the opportunity to work several grades ahead in her areas of strength and take her time with math, ultimately winding up ahead there, too. In addition, she has far more options for elective study. When I was in high school, I had to choose between orchestra and chorus. There wasn’t time for both. Using free or low-cost resources, my daughter has been able to pursue subjects that are important to her: art, music, computer programming, creating videos, writing novels, and reading — lots and lots of reading. She earns PE credit by taking karate classes, where she is always working towards the next goal of a tournament or belt test. Offering a selection of electives that aren’t necessarily offered by the school, and allowing students to choose several of them would either be impossible in or highly disruptive to the current system. Most kids in traditional school are riding atop an educational super tanker, huge, powerful, and slow to stop or change course, but because we can work outside that system, we’ve been able to speed around on a jet ski.

Let me clarify that I am not using personal learning to mean “personalized learning,” the theory advocating adaptive learning as a panacea for the efficiency problems seen in educating children. Education is a messy process. Like human history itself, it’s not linear but iterative, and we need to pay attention to where each child is on that somewhat unpredictable journey. I am an educational technology advocate who would agree that adaptive learning software is good (even fun) for learning certain things, and technology, used thoughtfully, is a tremendous tool in the hands of practiced educators. However, I would also assert that personal learning ultimately prioritizes human relationships, both faculty/student and students/peers. As in the case of my daughter’s math class, using telecommuting technologies may simply allow us to extend our network of faculty and peers beyond geographical constraints.

If we build this kind of flexibility with accountability into the curriculum, will teaching look different? Yes, and in many ways it will be more difficult. It will require working one on one with students in a very intense way. The hours may be longer, the scheduling different, and more will be expected in terms of collaboration, preparation, and continuing professional development. Finally, because such highly qualified professionals will require more compensation, they may be working with larger class sizes. That’s not ideal, just realistic. I suggest, though, that being an educator in this sort of environment will also be infinitely more rewarding. When educators become facilitators or even, as Chris Friend and Sean Michael Morris argue, “lab managers,” the student truly moves to the center of his or her own learning. If we prepare them, over time, to take control of that learning, then even when some require additional help, students are more likely to thrive."



"The University of Pennsylvania admissions page welcomes homeschooled applicants as “academically talented and often courageous pioneers who chart non-conventional academic paths.” The University of Arizona has a dedicated recruiter for homeschooled students, just as they do for each county in the state. MIT claims that they have long accepted homeschooled students, who become “successful and vibrant members of our community.” If the point of an education is to foster the kind of “intellectual vitality” noted by Reider in his search for Stanford University applicants, why wouldn’t we take what we’ve learned from homeschooling successes and apply it to the education of all our students? Forget iPads. Students need what homeschooling offers: autonomy, versatility, and freedom — in other words, jet skis."
melanieborrego  education  srg  edg  glvo  unschooling  deschooling  learning  colleges  universities  admissions  2015  chrisfriend  seanmichaelmorris  autonomy  homeschool  versitality  freedom  howwelearn  howweteach  messiness  relationships  personalization  personalizedlearning  personallearning  flexibility  johnholt  stanford  ucriverside  mit  penn  leifnelson  finland 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Don't be a Stanford asshole | 48 hills
"Every new social wave to roll through San Francisco during its brief history has brought major disruption. Chinese immigrants were the targets of savage riots and official persecution. The hippies and gays of the 1960s and ‘70s sparked police crackdowns, street murders and assassinations. As I write in “Season of the Witch,” what we now call San Francisco values were not born with flowers in their hair, but howling, in blood and strife. But these new waves of human energy that poured into the city in the past not only triumphed, they made the city a more enchanted place. They breathed new life into a city whose foggy mystery and shimmering light demands such everyday magic. They made the food better, the nightlife more fabulous, the music more ecstatic, and the politics more epic. In the end, what will we be able to say about the tech invaders after they’ve had their way with San Francisco?

San Francisco’s new tech masters feel no need to justify themselves. They are absolutely certain that everything they touch turns to gold. They are, by definition, the future. But machines are not destiny, they’re just machines. Some bring social benefits, along with sky-high IPOs – and some don’t. As Leon Wieseltier recently wrote in the New York Times Book Review, “The processing of information is not the highest aim to which the human spirit can aspire…The character of our society cannot be determined by engineers.”

And yet the spirit of engineering is ascendant, and no place more so than Stanford and its urban outpost, San Francisco. On campuses like this one, the humanities departments are increasingly diminished by the reign of engineering and computer science. In a world such as this, rife with technologies and ideas “that flatten and shrink and chill the human subject,” Wieseltier observed, “the humanist is the dissenter.”

The humanities – the study and critical appreciation of the human enterprise – do not require a dose of the hard sciences to become more relevant, as the prophets of techno supremacy like to preach. It’s the other way around. Technology needs to be humanized. It’s not enough to create a cool app – you have to ask what it’s for, and whose needs it serves.

Are you going to create a software tool that lays off an entire industry, and replaces human interaction with bots? Or are you going to find ways to save the planet? And help liberate the human spirit?

Are you going to join America’s perpetual war machine and go to work for the CIA or NSA and spy on your fellow citizens? Or sign up with a Silicon Valley company that feeds private information to the government? Or — in the brave spirit of Edward Snowden — are you going to challenge that Orwellian system of thought control? You know, Snowden is the real-life version of Steve Job’s brave, young rebel – the one who threw that hammer through the Big Brother video screen.

This is what it comes down to…Are you interested in going public, or in serving the public – that’s the fundamental question a Stanford student has to ask these days. When I was in college, we had a saying – “You’re either part of the problem or you’re part of the solution.” Which one are you? A Stanford dick? Or are you different?"
culture  history  technology  siliconvalley  sanfrancisco  2015  davidtalbot  stanford  cia  nsa  surveillance 
january 2015 by robertogreco
College for Grown-Ups - NYTimes.com
"Even at the schools where the party pathway is carefully policed, life on a residential campus can be a psychological strain. A substantial body of research demonstrates that first-generation college students, those from low-income families and racial minorities are particularly at risk for feelings of exclusion, loneliness and academic alienation. The costs of leaving college can be large for everyone: lost tuition, loan debt and a subtle but consequential diminishment of self-esteem.

The source of these problems is baked into the current organization of residential higher education. Virtually all selective schools arrange their undergraduate programs on the presumption that teenagers are the primary clients. Administrators plan dormitory architecture, academic calendars and marketing campaigns to appeal to high school juniors and seniors. Again the cruel paradox: In the ever-growing number of administrators and service people catering to those who pay tuition, there are grown-ups all over campus, but they are largely peripheral to undergraduate culture.

If we were starting from zero, we probably wouldn’t design colleges as age-segregated playgrounds in which teenagers and very young adults are given free rein to spend their time more or less as they choose. Yet this is the reality.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Rethinking the expectation that applicants to selective colleges be fresh out of high school would go far in reducing risk for young people while better protecting everyone’s college investment. Some of this rethinking is already underway. Temporarily delaying college for a year or two after high school is now becoming respectable among the admissions gatekeepers at top schools. Massive online open courses (MOOCs) and other forms of online learning make it possible to experience fragments of an elite education at little or no cost."



"At Stanford, where I teach, an idea still in the concept phase developed by a student-led team in the university’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design calls for the replacement of four consecutive college years in young adulthood with multiple residencies distributed over a lifetime. What the designers call Open Loop University would grant students admitted to Stanford multiple years to spend on campus, along with advisers to help them time those years strategically in light of their personal development and career ambitions. Today’s arbitrarily segregated world of teenagers and young adults would become an ever-replenished intergenerational community of purposeful learners.

This utopian ideal is admittedly quite a distance from the institutional arrangements we have inherited, which encourage the nation’s most privileged young people to enter and finish college by the ripe old age of 22. But the status quo is not sustainable. Unrelenting demand for better-educated workers, rapidly developing technological capacity to support learning digitally and the soaring costs of conventional campus life are driving us toward substantial change.

While innovators continue to imagine more flexible forms of college, traditionalists might champion two proven models: community colleges, which were designed to educate people of all ages and walks of life together, and the G.I. Bill, which sent more than two million grown-ups to college, made campus culture much more serious and helped American higher education become the envy of the world."
agesegregation  highered  highereducation  2014  education  colleges  universities  diversity  mitchellstevens  minervaproject  devbootcamp  stanford  d.school  openloopuniversity  learning  mooc  moocs 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Stanford: Tuesday, December 7 (Aaron Swartz: The Weblog)
"As usual, grades are about following orders, not doing something worthwhile"
grades  grading  stanford  aaronswartz  education  learning  authority  via:lukeneff 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Welcome, Freshmen. You Do Not Deserve to Be Here. - The Chronicle of Higher Education
"A few weeks ago, I attended a conference at Stanford University. We finished in the late afternoon, and as I walked out into the sunlight I noticed groups of people, young and old, all streaming in the same direction. I decided to follow them. We came to a large courtyard where several thousand people were gathered in front of a stage. It was the university's 123rd freshman convocation.

Richard Shaw, dean of admission and financial aid, was at the podium, dressed in academic regalia, telling a story about an American Indian student who had gone from the reservation to Stanford and become a NASA scientist. Dean Shaw announced that the freshman class included students from 49 states—"We miss you, Arkansas"—and 66 countries.

Then he looked out across the crowd of students and parents and said, "We have made no mistakes about your admission." And, in a rising voice, "You all deserve to be here!"

The crowd burst into applause.

I wish he had said something else. Something like this:

I know this is an important day for all of you. You have spent years of your lives trying to get here. Driving into Stanford this morning must have seemed like living a long-imagined dream.

And yet, I know many of you are nagged by something. Here you are, at a moment of unambiguous success and promise, sitting in a campus that looks like an American Versailles, the very best place you could possibly be. But you can't quite let yourself enjoy it, not entirely, because part of you is wondering, "Do I really deserve to be here?"

Well, as dean of admissions, no one is more qualified to answer that question than I am. Let me tell you, definitively, so there is no confusion among us.

You do not deserve to be here. Not yet.

"Deserve" is a heavy word, freighted with a shared sense of obligation. It can be understood only in a context of ethics. It denotes merit earned from service—that's where the "serve" part comes from.

That means service to others. And no, the nonprofit you founded in high school to shelter abandoned ferrets does not count. We live in a society increasingly defined by winner-takes-all competition. You're the winners. And you won by serving yourself.

You had a lot of help, of course. That story I told about the American Indian rocket scientist is interesting because, and only because, it's unusual. Most of you came here from privileged places. It was hard to miss all of those late-model luxury cars lined up in front of the dorms this morning, disgorging your stuff. You've inherited financial and social capital that the average person can scarcely imagine.

And let me be the first to say that Stanford is no better. This was just another struggling private university until the federal government started flooding the valley around us with billions of Defense Department research dollars after World War II. This palace of learning was built by the labor of less fortunate people, as palaces always are. Our predecessors were smart and diligent and sometimes wise, but most of all they were in the right place at the right time.

So I worry about you. Fate has endowed you with gifts, and instead of becoming humble, you want reassurance that all you have was well earned.

It gets worse from here. You may have noticed that, out past the medical center and the golf course, the campus is bordered by something called Sand Hill Road. If you follow it west for a few miles, you'll come upon row after row of buildings full of money. Vast amounts of money. Even more money than we have here at Stanford. And that, believe me, is saying something.

The men in those buildings are investors, and they will trip over themselves trying to give some of their money to you. They will tell you that your idea for a smartphone app that sends a text message every time your pet ferret updates his Tumblr account is nothing less than a world-changing business plan, poised to sweep aside the tired and the old and replace it with a new generation of leaders. People with the guts and brains and vision to take on the establishment. People just like you.

They will say you deserve it, and I'm afraid you'll believe them.

It's customary during ceremonies such as these to welcome one and all to the university family. I'm not going to do that, either. Universities worthy of the name insist on integrity of meaning. The word "family" means something. You just arrived here today. You are strangers to us, and, in many ways, to yourselves.

Fortunately, you have a chance to think about yourself in a different way. Stanford is best known for extending the boundaries of human knowledge, for uncovering mysteries of science and technology, and for creating and discovering things never known before.

But there are also people here who think very seriously about other things. Human things, like ethics and obligation and desire. Some of them work in our departments of history, literature, and philosophy, while others can be found among our engineers and scientists, too. Their concerns are as old as civilization, always present, never resolved.

Talk to them. Learn from them. You have the rest of your life to create the future, but less time than you realize to create yourself.

Don't mistake my talk of service for an appeal to your selfless nature. That need you feel to deserve what you haven't earned? That is a craving that can't be filled. That kind of desire will consume you in the end. You can choose otherwise.

So I say to you, on this brilliant day, in this lovely place, that while you do not deserve to be here, you could, someday. And I hope that if Stanford accomplishes only one thing on your behalf over the next four years, it will be some small assistance in really understanding what that means.

It won't be easy, and some of you won't make it. But I believe—I have to believe—that some of you will.

When you deserve it, come back to us. Share your service with your peers and your children. Then you'll be part of our family. Then you'll truly belong."
stanford  2013  kevincarey  privilege  highered  highereducation  siliconvalley  history  humanities  meaning  business  education  purpose 
october 2013 by robertogreco
About Us | Generation Anthropocene
"History is accelerating. Global population has crossed seven billion, the planet’s temperature continues its abrupt rise, and scientists warn we are in the midst of a new mass extinction.  Transformations this enormous are rare in earth’s 4.6 billion year history and humankind’s planetary impact is geologic in scale. We have caused a new geologic age, and it has a name: The Anthropocene.

In addition to our extensive physical and chemical influences on our planet, the Anthropocene has come to symbolize a cultural shift. The concept has spread from academic circles to popular media and we at Generation Anthropocene want to cast our butterfly net as wide as possible to capture the conversations about this new age.  We seek out cross-generational stories from our changing environmental and cultural landscapes, discussing all things Anthropocene with thought-leaders like geologists and historians, ecologists and philosophers. We’re grappling with our realization that we’re a geologic force and confronting the new reality with investigative storytelling.

We hope you enjoy the podcast and continue the story of our evolving planet with those around you."
anthropocene  podcasts  stanford  generationanthropocene  geology  earth  humans  via:greerjacob 
january 2013 by robertogreco
Die Luft der Freiheit weht
"This is the text of President Gerhard Casper's "Die Luft der Freiheit weht - On and Off" On the Origins and History of the Stanford Motto on October 5, 1995."
stanford  german  mottos  gerhardcasper  1995  history 
april 2011 by robertogreco
d.school Stanford / CDR - best of | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
Someone at the d.school is using the same trestles we've been using at TCSNMY.
d.school  stanford  tcsnmy  cv  furniture 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Educators Approach Curriculum Development as Product Design | Edutopia
"Designers see world differently than the rest of us...constantly deconstructing & rebuilding objects & ideas that most of us accept as static & fixed...Everything is negotiable, malleable, & improvable...By applying the techniques of product design to education, they want to loosen the narrow, rigid process of traditional learning and show teachers how to tap into students' deep wells of creativity, encourage them to see nuanced problems from inside the very core of an issue, and make critical thinking essential to solving any problem.
design  designbasedlearning  designthinking  education  tcsnmy  learning  teaching  schools  curriculum  problemsolving  criticalthinking  lcproject  deschooling  unschooling  glvo  k12lab  d.school  stanford 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Challenge Success: Championing a Broader Vision of Success for Youth
"We believe that real success results from attention to the basic developmental needs of children and a valuing of different types of skills and abilities. In particular, we endorse a vision of success that emphasizes character, health, independence, connection, creativity, enthusiasm, and achievement.
robertevans  parenting  schools  schooling  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  stress  homework  excellence  success  vision  youth  education  wendymogel  stanford  well-being 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Stanford Institute of Design | K-12 Lab
"new initiative that was started several years ago at Stanford's Hasso Plattner Institute of Design..main philosophy rests on the idea of design thinking - an orientation that new, better things are possible and that you & I can make it happen. Engaging students in design thinking means helping them to be aware of the situations around them, to see that they have a role in creating them & to decide to take action towards a more desirable future. Four principles we hold to in design thinking: 1) Human-centered. We believe that we achieve innovative solutions by getting out and talking to experts and users both to immerse ourselves in the problem and to test our ideas.
education  designthinking  stanford  dschool  tcsnmy  problemsolving  process  prototyping  learning  lcproject  schools  k-12 
august 2009 by robertogreco
d.school news: Rich Crandall extends his term at the d.school as Director of K-12
" He's been continuing the work of developing K-12 design thinking curriculum and has been spinning up teaching teams with the Nueva School, East Palo Alto Academy, the Henry Ford Learning Institute, and more.
richcrandall  d.school  stanford  education  nuevaschool  schools  learning  teaching  curriculum  design  designbasedlearning  lcproject  tcsnmy 
november 2008 by robertogreco
Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab
"creates insight into how computing products — from websites to mobile phone software — can be designed to change what people believe and what they do...We specialize in "mobile persuasion""
technology  mobile  phones  society  computing  research  stanford  persuasion  captology  design  usability  psychology  arg  ubiquitous  sociology  socialmedia 
may 2008 by robertogreco
Shake Girl, The Graphic Novel
"Shake Girl represents a massive collaborative effort from 17 people dedicated to completing a graphic novel in just a few weeks. It was finished in early 2008 and is now available online for free."
comics  culture  curriculum  graphicnovels  stanford  writing  collaborative  collaboration  learning  books 
may 2008 by robertogreco
Stanford drops tuition for some students
In a radical change to its financial aid program, Stanford University...will no longer charge tuition to students whose families earn < $100,000 a year...waive room and board fees for students whose families earn < $60,000 a year."
stanford  money  colleges  universities  education  tuition 
february 2008 by robertogreco

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