Daily Bookmarks 07/07/2008

  • Just like it sounds–best practices and broad guidlines for what constitutes fair use for online video

    tags: copyright, video

  • Looking at the resistance to change in education and the need for 21st century skills, with an intriguing perspective on how this connects to our attitudes about ADHD, Asperger’s, and other cognitive disabilities.

    tags: change, education, accessibility, 21stcenturyskills, diversity, technology

    • This is why – I think unconsciously – so many academics and educators resist contemporary ICT so fiercely. Accepting these new technologies means that the advantages they were taught to prize in themselves – their study habits, their ability to focus, their willingness to depend on authoritative sources and to observe classroom rules – might prove to be their undoing. And the disadvantages they despised in others, ADHD for example, processing information via pictures instead of the abstraction of text as another, the disadvantages that have been labelled as pathological “disabilities,” might prove to be advantageous in this new world.
    • That ADHD kid might be far better in front of multiple monitors with a dozen windows open and 15 tabs going in Firefox than the professor and former high school valedictorian who is really uncomfortable if a TV is on while she is reading. That Asperger’s kid who processes images efficiently might be far better at analysing changing maps than the text-dependent historian.
    • I feel the same watching most classrooms, seeing most reading assignments, observing how assessments are conducted in educational institutions. Yes, that carriage is wonderful, but the cars will rush past it. Yes, that calligraphy is beautiful but you just spent six months creating a single book. Certainly, that bronze sword is beautiful but the steel weapon will cut it in half. Yes, you did wonderfully on the multiple-choice exam but I need people who can find information and develop new ideas, not repeat what I already know. Yes, you read that whole book, but I need to know the range of observations from these twelve sources around the globe.

4 thoughts on “Daily Bookmarks 07/07/2008

  1. I think your thoughts are probably shared among most modern educators, educational technologists, or instructional designers “in the trenches,” who understand 21st century skills; there are probably more out there than we know about.

    It’s frustrating having to be absorbed into or go against the academic machine. I mean, I do what I need to do to design/develop an online course but when the top don’t really understand or care about the issues you’re suggesting, it’s easy to get discouraged.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Susannah. Most of the ideas above aren’t me though; I have three long quotes from Ira Socol in the bullet points. I just discovered his blog. He’s got some great content on accessibility and assistive technology. I’ve seen lots of frustration about resistance to change from various sources, but I think this is the first time I’ve seen cultural attitudes towards technological change connected to cultural attitudes towards cognitive disabilities.

    It is frustrating when we’re passionate about 21st century skills but don’t have that support from the top. I think I’ve been fortunate that I’ve always worked places where there were at least highly placed advocates for change. In my current position, it’s more of an issue to support change within the facilitators on the front lines than with the C-level people. We’ve still got a lot of educators who firmly believe it’s unreasonable for them to be expected to learn anything new. I just don’t get it–how can you help others learn if you’re dead set against learning anything yourself?

  3. Thanks for quoting Ira Socol and proving the link. I agree strongly with what he said – I have seen it in action. The ADHD and Aspergers kids have the confusing experience of knowing they have expertise but having its value denied and or even mocked. It makes school painful for them, and the schools are losing the very intelligences they need.

  4. Over the weekend, my sister and I had a conversation about how we grew up in this “alternate universe” where it was just assumed that accommodations would be made for individual differences, in learning and life. I realize our experience growing up was different from many others; we had both someone in a wheelchair and someone with Downs and CP in our neighborhood. Our early experiences have certainly shaped our outlook. But were our experiences that uncommon? Don’t most people get to know at least a few people with disabilities at some point in their educational careers? But maybe it’s not just the exposure to differences, but the attitude towards them.

    In the discussion on Fear of Virtual High Schools, one of the recurring points is that online education will allow more individualization. Whatever blends of online and face-to-face learning end up happening, however fast it grows, I think we’ll end up with more educational choices. That has to be a good thing; we can’t just pretend that one system is going to work for every student anymore. Having more options will help everyone, but especially those students with ADHD and Aspergers whose needs aren’t being met currently.

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