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Monday, July 20, 2020

Online teaching not working?

 Online teaching not working? Maybe you don’t know what you are doing.

1. A good online course must be driven by doing, not by listening; ask students to try to accomplish something they don’t know how to do and help them do it. To do this you must build “goal based scenarios” with built in expert help A. 

2. You cannot be the only expert in the room. You must find experts an record them (or provide short readings) so they can pop up as needed when a student is lost. You need to be there as needed as well. And the other students can serve can provide just in time help as well. Don’t attempt to recreate the classroom. You want students to talk to each other.

3. There can be no tests. Only goals and the possibility  that the students can achieve the goal set out for them. 

4. Get over theory.  Professors love to teach theories, usually because they have had no real world practice themselves. Stop building your courses around theory.

5. Make it fun.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

When can students return to the classroom?

Why do we hear so much about this? Politicians, doctors, parents all talking about it non-stop.

Here is why:

We have built a world based on the existence of schools. Parents can go to work because the state is taking care of their children. (And there is stuff they must learn — no one ask why.) But what are we doing to kids when they are taking care of them?

1- making them anxious about grades

2- making them memorize stuff they will never need

3- creating a world where kids can bully each other

4- making them learn to sit down and shut up

5- preventing kids from following their own interests  

(none of this is the fault of teachers; this 
is the fault of he system they have to teach in)

so why do we have school? (hint - its not for the kids)

Imagine a world where we could choose what to learn and what to do. Most kids have that world when they are at home. Why not in “school” as well?

1- we can create places where kids can go that are safe
2- we can create places where kids can go where they can follow their own interests
3- we can eliminate anxiety about tests and grades

Imagine a world with happy kids.

Why can’t we do this? Because we have been doing it the other way for so long we don’t even realize there is an alternative. There is important stuff they should learn: ancient literature, the quadratic formula; SP3 bonding.

What is the alternative? 

We set up places (run by teachers who will no longer “teach”) where kids have experiences (virtual and live) that will (as it happens) teach you things.

We set up places where kids can play as much as they like (but we try and play the play valuable.)

We know how to build high quality online experiences and we know how to build safe places for kids.

(Yes, I know the Romans thought it was important to learn history, literature and philosophy.)

It has been 2000 years. Time to get over it.