Trends that will impact education in the next 5 years

My colleague at BCIT in Vancouver, Kyle Hunter, recently asked the following question:

Here is my video response.

After I did the video I felt like singing that old Sesame Street song “one of these things is not like the other” as I have lumped Apple in with this fine batch of openness when, in fact, I have some issues with the open of Apple and iTunesU. But I still think that iTunesU and the announcement last week that they are going to offer full courses through iTunesU fits with the point I was trying to make, despite the open/closed distinction.

And I said Stanford Thrun when it is really Sebastian Thrun from Stanford University.


I wonder how these students felt at the end of this term with this instructor?

Valued? Recognized? Appreciated? I wonder what “assessment” of their work by their instructor, alejandra m. pickett, these students will remember 20 years from now: the mark they received, or this?

As I watched this, I was reminded of this quote by Malcolm Knowles:

Learning is a very human activity. The more people feel they are being treated as human beings – that their human needs are being taken into account – the more they are likely to learn, and learn to learn.

Could there be a more wonderful way to let your students know they are human beings than by acknowledging and recognizing the qualities and attributes in each one that make them unique individuals? That you noticed them, and appreciated the fact that each one of them brought something unique and special to the experience?

Side note: It looks like alejandra used Animoto to create this video, which is free for educators.


Pirate radio for the #ds106radio crew

Been meaning to post some of this audio for the #ds106radio community for awhile now, but it was Grant’s post last week on Lorenzo Milam’s Sex and Broadcasting, a how-to guide to radical, community based non-commercial radio from the early 60’s that finally got me off my butt and digging through my old radio collections to find this – a handful of pirate radio airchecks from classic British offshore radio stations of the 60’s and 70’s.

This first clip is from Radio London, dated 1965. In it you can hear some of the most well know pirate radio jingles – the “wonderful Radio London” jingles made famous by The Who on The Who Sells Out.

Radio London (5:56)

Up until I heard these clips in the mid-90’s, I had always thought that the pirate stations in the UK in the 60’s were a response to the reluctance of the BBC to play rock and roll – they were an an outlet for youth culture to have a voice after being shut out by the mainstream BBC. While that might be true to a certain extent, when I listened to these clips, I was surprised to hear advertising. Lots of advertising.  Companies were looking for ways to reach an audience, there was no commercial broadcasting to speak of in Britain, so entrepreneurs set up these floating money factories off shore to pump adverts into the UK, piggybacking on the latest Beatles & Stones cuts.

Yeah, it bummed me out a bit, too, when I made that connection. I had a romantic’s view of the pirate stations; that somehow they were fueling the youth rock and roll subculture of the mid-60’s when, in fact, it was just the man out for a buck.

Anyway, you can hear the hucksterism in full flight in this second clip from 1965, this time from Radio Caroline. In this clip you can hear some of the ad’s that ran on the station, plus an announcer pushing the benefits of advertising on Radio Caroline.

Radio Caroline (4:21)

This last couple of segments are my favorite because there is some serious drama here. These clips are from Radio North Sea and their infamous ship the Mebo II. The clips are from 1970 & 71 when Radio North Sea was undergoing some ownership issues. As you’ll hear in this first clip, things start off bad with the British government jamming their signal from the get go, and the Radio North Sea musical response to then UK Prime Minister Harold Wilson.

Radio North Sea getting jammed (2:58)

Then, things get heated when a tug pulls alongside the ship and a partner who has been shut out of the radio operations tries to board the ship.

Radio North Sea being boarded (3:57)

This last clip is one of the most compelling pieces of radio I have ever heard as Radio North Sea International and the Mebo II are attacked. A bomb thrown onto the Mebo II by a passing speedboat prompts these panicked moments. The bizarre juxtaposition of the panic-stricken announcer calling out mayday mayday over the top of an ever-looping bed of optimistically happy 60’s music is nothing short of eerie to hear, and utterly compelling to hear. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to hear this live.

Radio North Sea 1971 bombing (6:06)

Wikipedia has some more info on the Radio North Sea attempted 1970 hijacking and 1971 bombing.


Online is real life, too (RLT): A TedX Victoria talk by Alexandra Samuel

Great presentation from Alexandra Samuel at TedX Victoria on smashing the distinction between the interactions we have “in real life” and online. Both are real life.  Her final point drives home why it is important that we do away with the myth that virtual interactions are not “real life”.

“If we are not prepared to acknowledge our online conversations as real, they can be shut down. And when we shut them down, we close the door to the transformative  potential of online engagement. We have an incredible tool at our fingertips here, but every time we say it is not real, we limit it’s ability to change us, to change the world we live in, and to change our relationships to one another. It doesn’t have to be that way.”


The value of Android

Powered By Android

As I read about the low cost tablets popping up in India like the $140 Classmate and the $45 Akash, I can’t help but wonder, would these low cost tablets exist if it were not for Google and their open source Android operating system?

It once again points to the importance that open source software plays in driving innovation. If Google had decided to create a proprietary operating system available only to an elite group of manufacturers with hefty licensing fees, would we see these kinds of inexpensive products appearing? Would we be seeing the kind of uptake of mobile devices that we are seeing right now?

Sure, you can argue that these tablets are nothing but cheap riffs on a truly innovative product (the much more expensive iPad), and you wouldn’t find me necessarily disagreeing: the iPad was a truly innovative product that created a whole new segment of products. But it is one thing to create an innovative product, and quite another to create an innovative environment that enables more innovation, especially innovation that lowers the cost barrier and allows technology to move from the elite to the common.

More is different. And by providing us with an open source platform to build on, Google has helped ensure that we will see what this different will look like.

Image: Powered by Android by JD Hancock used under Creative Commons Attribution license.