New Course: From Nand to Tetris in 12 steps

December 22, 2007

I really feel strongly that we should be academically boycotting Israel so perhaps I shouldn’t be posting this? Anyway its a great lecture so I’ll let it slide this once…

I think this is exactly what I was hoping university would be like when I first entered.

Innovative, create, dynamic, useful, involved, challenging.

You learn in a useful way and you learning the whole process inside
and out. Also its entertaining and fun.

I don’t know why University is so stale. Perhaps theres too many money
men and too much bureaucracy?

This course is also worth a mention. By the end of the course the student is able to make there own amazon.com, a bold claim. Whats more the MIT professor has realeased the book/course for free over the internet. Again the kind of thing I believe Universites should be doing.

It was through a talk with the author on IT conversations that I came across it

Software Engineering for Internet Applications


Computer literacy better self-taught or schooled?

October 2, 2007

I heard a vice-president of IBM tell an audience of people assembled to redesign the process of teacher certification that in his opinion this country became computer-literate by self-teaching, not through any action of schools. He said 45 million people were comfortable with computers who had learned through dozens of non-systematic strategies, none of them very formal; if schools had pre-empted the right to teach computer use we would be in a horrible mess right now instead of leading the world in this literacy.

Probably most people working in IT learned most of what they know on their own.  Is it possible that creating fixed lessons could damage this enthusiasm?  I remember I was a huge technology geek, but found the Computer Studies standard grade so dull, I didn’t go on to do the Higher.  It was only later I returned to University to Study Computing and got very bored in the first year where compulsory classes explained what a mouse was.  The rest of the article is also very interesting, do we have the PhD because of a lost war?

The Public School Nightmare:
Why fix a system designed to destroy individual thought?
by John Taylor Gatto
Read the rest of this entry »


Do we need more technology in Schools? A luddites view

August 24, 2007

[technologies] have nothing whatever to do with the fundamental problems we have to solve in schooling our young. If I do harbor any hostility toward these machines, it is only because they are distractions. They divert the intelligence and energy of talented people from addressing the issues we need most to confront.

 I agree the main problems we should all face in education are with its fundamental aims and we shouldn’t allow ourselves to get to distracted by technology that doesn’t really allow us to do anything we couldn’t do before.  I’d really like to hear peoples opinions on this so please comment.

TECHNOS QUARTERLY Winter 1993 Vol. 2 No. 4

Of Luddites, Learning, and Life

By Neil Postman

“I would bar educators from talking about technical improvements until they have disclosed their reasons for offering an education in the first place.” So wrote Neil Postman in his cautionary tale, “Deus Machina,” in the Winter 1992 issue of TECHNOS. Here he takes his challenge one step further, to those who say that new technologies will soon make schools extinct. They have it all wrong, Postman says, because they don’t understand the real purpose of schools.

Read the rest of this entry »


Journals: Open Access and RSS

July 4, 2007

 

Last month five leading European research institutions launched a petition that called on the European Commission to establish a new policy that would require all government-funded research to be made available to the public shortly after publication.

In response, the European Commission committed more than $100m (£51m) towards facilitating greater open access through support for open access journals and for the building of the infrastructure needed to house institutional repositories that can store the millions of academic articles written each year.

The European developments demonstrate the growing global demand for open access, a trend that is forcing researchers, publishers, universities, and funding agencies to reconsider their role in the creation and dissemination of knowledge.

That requirement – called an open access principle – would leverage widespread internet connectivity with low-cost electronic publication to create a freely available virtual scientific library available to the entire globe.

Given the connection between research and economic prosperity, the time has come for governments, their funding agencies, and the international research community to maximise the public’s investment in research by prioritising open access.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Push for open access to research

After reading these BBC article on Open Access Journals I am convinced that they all should be and as a consequence signed the petition.  I think if all Universities made all research available to everyone for free, we would take a large step toward the betterment of all mankind.  Also many of the fee paying journal sites are failing to grasp the nature of the internet.  Many times I’ve been frustrated with the prospect of a great article only to find I’d need to pay a fee.  Aside from anything else, I’m not sure how these fee paying journals will compete.  MIT’s open access program has shown that it can be beneficial to offer your information and work for free, and I hope all Universities will follow.

I’ve passed the link onto a few friends who are still at University.  Although they were not that interested when I first explained it to them, they came back to me later raving at how useful the open access journals were.  They found that although the University offered them free access to fee paying journals, they were not a source they could use from home where they did much of their research and studying.

Links


School Projects: Net some resources

June 28, 2007


In 2004 I visited Japan for a month and had an excellent time.  This year my mums Primary School did a project on Japan and she asked that I email her my photos.  Just being asked to do this demonstrated the power of some of the new web 2.0 applications as a teaching resource.  I sent her the following

Checking these sites was second nature for me but for my mum this was a completly new idea.  How many projects could benefit from these links?  Are Primary School projects nationwide?  Perhaps there should be a delicious application on the Scottish Schools Intranet (Glow) so teachers can pull good and safe resources they find for projects (also with a delicious system you would see which resources were most popular).


A History of the Web

June 25, 2007

A brief history of the web by an anthropology academic.


Pupils lead the way with blogging

June 25, 2007

Woodhill Primary School in Scotland has shown that Podcasting and Blogging can be useful educational tools.  After receiving permission from the local authority and handling security issues the school has been using ICT technology to enhance learning and to communicate with schools through Europe (e-Twinning).

“The children look forward to the project time, they enjoy being out of the classroom environment.
She added: “It is extremely effective way of teaching and we are starting to introduce these methods into our normal language lessons.”

Both teachers and parents say they have seen a huge improvement in their vocabulary, confidence in speaking and their accents since they started the blogs in January.

Emails have been exchanged with classes in Trinidad and Tobago as well as in China, swapping experiences of life in the childrens’ home countries.

The ability to answer questions and communicate with teachers and pupils in France and in Coventry is a motivation for pupils to log on regularly.

They enjoy reading emails from their international friends in the ‘e-twinning’ link with a school in Nancy.

Primary seven pupils on a trip to Paris updated their blog from hotel rooms, adding pictures and sending electronic postcards to classmates at home. 

Pupils lead the way with blogging