3 min read
I've been helping a few different universities setup clones on the OU Docs site. I was doing some work for Middlebury College and they were asking for a documentation site. Ours was running, but just barely, on an instance of DokuWiki, so we went through some options of what to do:
Option 1: Transition to a flat file CMS. Pros: This could seemingly be forkable by any institution, especially if we used Jekyll has the CMS. But the downside is that it doesn't have the friendliness of a WYSIWIG editor.
Option 2: Transition to Wordpress. Pros: it's very easy to use and manage multiple users. Cons: Most of the better plugins were premium and we had a hard time finding an open source one.
We've opted for Wordpress and as long as the premium plugin is purchased, we can still share our data very easy. With a couple of really handy plugins we can also quickly convert mentions of the platform "OU Create"and URLs "create.ou.edu" over to anything else.
Because Amy Collier allowed me to share what was built for MiddCreate, I've been able to help three other institutions stand up similar instances of documentation. It's certainly not a perfect model (I think in a perfect model there's a central documentation site into your bank a la federated wiki and they get auto-white labeled) but it's proved to be scalable enough. Below is a tutorial for how an exact replica of our site and custom tailor it to your institution.
1. Install Wordpress
2. Install the Sparkling Wordpress theme.
3. Install Documentor (a premium plugin). I've bought a multi license which gave me five sites for $35. Not too shabby.
4. Import an XML file containing all previous Docs. You can get this by going to a previous document site, going to Documentor > Manage and clicking Export (I'm always happy to share).
5. Create a page titled "Support" and change page template to full-width (no sidebar)
6. Add shortcode [documentor 1] to page and Publish.
7. Change front page to static page "Support".
8. Install Text Replace plugin
Add following code under Settings > Text Replace
middcreate.net => NEWSITE.net
middcreate => UNIVERSITY Create
MiddCreate => UNIVERSITY Create
Middlebury => UNIVERSITY
Middcreate.net => plymouthcreate.net
9. Install Velvet Blues Update URLs plugin
10. Go to Tools > Update URLs
11. Go to Appearance > Menu and add new menu with custom link that takes user back to home page
11 min read
This post is a contribution for an online book club reading of We Make the Road by Walking by Paolo Freire and Myles Horton. Here's the reading schedule, my notes from Chapters 1 and 2 and 3. You can also check out my quote generator.
As an undergraduate, I studied Advertising in the the College of Journalism and Mass Communication. The advertising program, like many advertising programs, is built around the concept of the advertising agency. Thus, the core of your curriculum is situated around understanding the different departments of a traditional ad agency: research, media buying, and creative. Industry changes faster than higher education curriculum and other than large agencies, most now focus on a very specific niche. I've always found these niche boutique shops much more appealing--much more entrepreneurial--than large agencies.
Unfortunately, I wasn't looking far enough ahead or simply unaware of what exactly an agency fully did to recognize that my curriculum was built to feed agencies until it was too late. At earliest, you take your first Advertising course in your third semester. Mine was my fourth semester and it only took a few weeks for me to realize I had no desire to work for an advertising agency and it was quite possible that I would never use me (I now am teaching the same advertising courses I took so it's now fair to say this is inaccurate). But I can still vividly remember that moment--sitting in the back of the 100 person class--where I felt that advertising wasn't for me.
This was later confirmed in my favorite course of the Advertising sequence which is called Contemporary Advertising Problems and it plays the role of the ethics/critical course and is arguably the only theory based course of the curriculum. It was taught by an adjunct professor who owned a mid-size agency in OKC and had taught the course for years. The semester I took the course, the owners of the Seattle Supersonics, OKC tycoons, decided to move the Seattle Supersonics to Oklahoma City and rebrand the team the Oklahoma City Thunder. Roy asked us to raise our hand on if we liked or disliked the team name. To my surprise, I was the only one to raise my hand. From the beginning, I was imagining the type of theatrical atmosphere you could create in an arena for a team named afterwards a very large bass-y weather noise. Now, to everyone else's credit, the Thunder logo still seems very uninspired, which makes a great case study for why you shouldn't groupthink creative work.
Anyways, the second thing I remember well from this course was a story Roy told us. Oklahoma is now home to several large casinos. These were just starting to really get built while I was in school and Roy told us a story where he had decided that his agency would not compete for casino bids even though they were bound to be very large clients as he had an ethical dilemma with promoting gambling. I don't know if this was due to personal reasons or not--and really all arguments about the specific issue aside--I really respected that he had decided would turn down work that he felt he couldn't promote in good conscience. I then begin to really think about if I could truly design/promote/sell anything that anybody asked, and I knew that the answer was definitively "no." I was definitely never going to work for an agency.
I share this story because it's a story of a youth at a crossroads discovering his boundaries and that sums up a lot of my view about my collegiate experience. Chapter 4 of We Make the Road by Walking focuses a lot on teaching but it's also about having a position. Much of it is about those positions being brought into the classroom and whether or not that breeds an authoritarian environment. It was a major moment for me to be awoken to the ethical struggles of the sector and to be ok with turning my back on it and I'm thankful that there were people who weren't afraid to expose me to that.
And so I try to bring that into my own classes. Nearly every semester that I've been in the classroom, I've had "the talk" with the students. And it goes something like "Look. I know much of your curriculum is based around the appearance of the outcome of you eventually working for an advertising or public relations agency. The truth is that, particularly if you are going to stay in Oklahoma, you won't be doing that. You might not even be in the field at all. This course is about creativity and the lens is ad/pr but it's also about you being able to recognize your own creative potential. You'll learn valuable skill sets but you'll also learn how to think with design."
For some strange personal reason, I feel like it's part of my duty to tell students it's okay if you never enter this field.
2016 has been (understatement) a lot of feelings for me. As it will be mentioned over and over again as we end the year, we lost a lot of wonderful people. For me, the biggest emotional hit was Seymour Papert. When I'm asked who my educational hero is, I always (and will always) say Papert. His way of thinking about technology and education--that the child should program the computer, not the computer program the child--was ahead of its time and may only ever be actualized in small pockets.
In Papert's book The Children's Machine he contrasts what he calls Schoolers and Yearners. I've paraphrased it below:
The parable sets up the question: Why, through a period when so much human activity has been revolutionized, have we not seen comparable change int he way we help our children learn?
People on one side, the Schoolers, are taken aback by my question... Many become indignant... Education today is faced with immediate, urgent problems. Tell us how to use your computers to solve some of the many immediate practical problems we have, they say.
On the other side of the great divide are the Yearners, who respond by citing impediments to change in education such as cost, politics, the immense power of the vested interests of school bureaucrats, or the lack of scientific research on new forms of learning. These people do not say "I can't imagine what you could possibly be looking for," because they have themselves felt the yearning for something different. (2-3)
Papert lays out this dichotomy of people sold out to the educational system who work tirelessly only to maintain the system and people for whom the system will never serve because there is a burning desire for something more.
And here is where I--somewhat dangerously--find myself in both camps. Someone who is coming to trying to find ways in which the system will allow for yearning to prevail. Papert acknowledges this as well.
Another important class of Yearners operates as a sort of fifth column within School itself: Large numbers of teachers manage to create within the walls of their own classrooms oases of learning profoundly at odds with the education philosophy publicly espoused by their administrators; some public school districts, perhaps those where Yearners have moved into administration, have made spaces for Yearners within the School system, allowing such programs to deviate from district policies on method and curriculum (3)
Open is not simply a quality to adopt or a direction to pursue. Open is attitude towards systems and the desire those systems empower and focus.
I can't think of a better way to describe a quality that we need on both the student/non-student sides of the institution than "yearning." All other words are just synonyms or adjacent. Wonder. Awe. Love.
Freire uses one that I like: "humility."
One of the virtues we have to create in ourselves as progressive educators is the virtue of humility. (195)
He talks about this knowledges inability to stay static; that it's a process. He talks about incompleteness.
I am humble because I am incomplete (194)
That last quote is probably my favorite so far of the entire book. I want to embrace my incompleteness in order to yearn for humility. (Side note: I read up on Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem for this blog post and I'm not going to build that in to this post, but I secretly hope someday Mike Caulfield will because he's better at thinking than me).
Very rarely do I sense a lot of tension between Horton and Freire. In fact, I often sense the exact opposite. It feels like a deep sense of love and reverence for another. But this chapter seems to subtly bring out some of the differences between them. For instance, Freire talks about teaching as a vehicle that comes through content whereas Horton seems to talk about a process of eliciting it from students:
My system is to make him thirsty, so he'll volunteer to drink. (148).
And there's an interesting moment in their conversation where I feel like "Third Party," is trying to confront an issue. Freire is very much open about being incomplete and learning from his students where Horton, as an organization, feels the strong burden to make change when he sees it, which can come across authoritarian. This negotiation--hold so firm to beliefs while also embracing humility and incompleteness--it brings me back to me wrestling with myself as an advertising undergraduate student.
MYLES: Well I think you have to divide that into principles. When I say what I believe, I'm talking about principles such as love and democracy, where people control their lives.
THIRD PARTY: Your vision.
MYLES: My vision. Now the strategy for my vision, the approaches and processes, I've learned from other people.
Amy Collier wrote a post about the burden you can face when yearning within the school--being critical--and it's beautiful in it's honesty and openness. I, too, think a lot about being on the wrong side with my ideas. When progressive agendas fail, whether they are political or institutional, I think it's important for me to remember the incompleteness and not falter from my vision, to use Horton's words.
If I was smart, I would end my blog post there because I've already written too much that nobody is going to read it, but I wanted to capture one last thing that I took away from Chapter 4 and that's Myles Horton about the three traits of progressive education:
I think if I had to put a finger on what I consider a good education, a good radical education, it wouldn't be anything about methods or techniques. It would be loving people first.
Next is respect for people's abilities to learn and to act and to shape their own lives.
The third thing grows out of caring for people and having respect for people's ability to do things, and that is that you value their experiences. (177)
I'm not any good about writing about love and education so I'll leave that to those who know better than me. There's also a line about being involved at a micro and macro level.
We were part of the world but we had to start locally. (179)
I'm continually more and more interested in how to promote localized movements and sharing those broadly rather than trying to collectively do something similar. Maybe I should have written about that before running out of steam, but I'm open to suggestions on how to organize that. I'm also still thinking through Kate Bowles' post on lenses and Mastodon so check that out. Onward and upward, #HortonFreire.
7 min read
I took the day off after the election. I wanted to spend it with all of my girls. I have two young daughters, one of whom has started in the public education system this year.
Every culture has negativeness and positiveness, and what we have to do is to improve the positive and to overcome the negativeness. (134)
I live in whatever the opposite of a swing state is. When it comes to presidential elections, you can bank on Oklahoma turning red. Now to all my U.S. friends in more liberal areas of the nation, I want to be very clear that it's actually fine to live in red state. I've done it my whole life and I love my home. But it can feel hopeless knowing that their are certain conversations that aren't worth having with people because, to them, the world is very white or black, whereas most of the world I inhabit is the space between.
I remember I learned a lot from being a father. (138)
When Katie and I found out we were going to have our first daughter, I was turning to male mentors I had to ask what it is like to be a dad. One guy here at OU gave me really good insight that I will never forget and that I continue to pass on to other people becoming parents. He told me that when you become a parent, your life changes instantly because every single decision you make requires a new question to think through. Every question and every decision you make has positive and negative consequences on this new person who is dependent on you and it will change the way you think.
And it, indeed, changes the way you think. As a parent, I want nothing more than for my children to grow up in a world where they love themselves, love others, and love learning. I want light to be in abundance.
You also learn so many lessons about life through being parent. You learn that you are a very flawed, selfish person. And you learn that even though you want to control each and every outside force--it's nearly impossible.
Chapter 3 from We Make the Road by Walking is titled Ideas. I love the title in that its bold. I also hate it in the same way I hate getting a calendar meeting invitation cryptically titled "Brainstorming." It's a bit vague and, for goodness sake, please tell me one meet where it is okay for us to turn off our brains. But ANYWAYS much of the chapter focuses on political and social organization. And while presidential voting in Oklahoma was predictable, there were other issues personal to my heart at stake for our state as well--specifically in education.
On November 8, Oklahoma voted on State Question 779, which was a penny sales tax that would fund state education. Of the money raised, 60 percent would provide a $5,000 salary increase for every public school teacher. The rest would be divided between public schools (9.5%), higher (19.25%), career and tech ed (3.25%), and early childhood ed (8%).
You see, Oklahoma ranks 48th (soon to be 50th as both South Dakota and Mississippi are raising pay) in K-12 teacher pay and our teachers have not had a raise in eight years. In fact, this issue isn't even a Republican or Democrat issue. Democrats actually controlled the Oklahoma Senate until 2005, yet we dropped from 41st to 48th between 1980 and 2000 and the Republican-controlled Senates have kept us there. The state legislature in its totality has failed at providing adequate pay for teachers for decades.
Of course, a penny sales tax doesn't necessary look the prettiest on paper. They're regressive, which means that the tax increase will affect low- and moderate-income households more than wealthier households. Plus, Oklahoma sales tax is already high and this would make it the highest in the nation. But, according to the initiatives biggest supporters, it wouldn't and it shouldn't have ever got to this had the state legislature figured out a way to fund education. This felt very much like a last ditch effort Hail Mary.
The only way teachers have to demonstrate to the students that they are serious sometimes is to ght-to ght in order to get a better salary and then to begin to become more competent. (60)
It was ambitious and a long shot and everyone knew it from the beginning. But momentum began to build and with it came hope in the eyes of teachers with many of them signing on. State Questions require a little under 125,000 signatures to make the ballot. It received 300,000. Early polling showed it at about 60% to pass.
And then it failed. 60% no / 40% yes. The state of public education is no longer just a failure of the Oklahoma legislature. This is now a failure of the state to either put forth the correct plan or pass this one. I, too, share in this failure.
It's the structures of society that we've got to change. We don't change men's hearts. (103)
The day after Oklahoma decided to not give teachers a raise but did decide to elect donald, I took my daughters to school, and had to look the teachers in the eyes.
Every day at my daughter's school they have a school-wide morning assembly. The Friday of election week was Veterans Day and a handful of the fourth graders were sharing poems about freedom. They had been learning about similies and metaphors. "Freedom is _______." I felt a little heartbroken but also moved.
I pulled out my phone to quickly type out some of the lines and immediately a student read: "Freedom is the feeling of victory and hardship."
It's so true. And, as much as I want that perfect environment to magically materialize for my girls--as much as I want them to see with their own eyes that they can be and do and love so long as they love--I know that it's also true that, as a wise fourth grade once told me, freedom is equal parts victory and hardship.
That day I felt an immense amount of guilt for not campaigning harder for the state question; for not campaigning with the teachers. For believing for it in my heart but never publicly letting it leave my mouth. This is a feeling I've felt so much more as I've grown older and is arguably my largest personal struggle. Why--so often--do I allow myself to be controlled by fear? I could have done something to advocate for it and I let my pride get in the way.
Reading Horton has given me courage. It reminds me to speak out and to stand up. It reminds me to look at my community as a place where their exist people like teachers, the most undervalued public employees, need me to speak up.
It is cultural and historical, and if it is cultural and historical, it can be changed. And if it can be changed, it's not unethical to put the possibility of change on the table. (132)
Not all hope is lost. It would be hard to imagine State Question 779 will be the last teacher raise proposal in history. It would be hard to believe that ground can't be made in education both locally and nationally. And you better believe that I won't miss the opportunity to particpate--to organize--again.
I also want to add that #HortonFreire has given me much as well. Specifically, more thanks for Bryan Alexander for organizing, Kristen Eshleman for organizing the Twitter chat, John Stewart for giving me someone to talk through it out loud, and Amy Collier for giving me the drive to write better. And thanks to anybody that's reading this. It's working.
2 min read
But it's not and I'll tell you why. The thing is I'm really good at distracting myself by making some type of resource, like a graphic or spreadsheet, to help me process. But what I'm really doing is just delaying the whole processing part.
The format of my first #HortonFreire (we officially have a hashtag) post was mostly commentary on everything I highlighted in Chapter 2, and, well, I highlighted much more in Chapter 3. So rather than sticking with that format, I decided to type out all of my highlighted quotes into a spreadsheet. My thought was that this might help me see themes and maybe I could share the resource with others as we tend to want to use the same quotes as it might saving others some typing time.
It's small, the number of use cases are slim-to-none, and the world would have probably done just fine without it. But it's there. The page is live at adamcroom.com/hortonfreire. The code is on Github if you want add quotes or fix my spelling errors (thanks Alan and John, for already doing so).
I guess that Chapter 3 post will have to wait until tomorrow...
12 min read
"History gets in your way. History gets in your way." -Myles Horton
These are the two sentences that end the second chapter of We Make the Road by Walking, which is a transcribed dialogue between Myles Horton and Paulo Freire. For the uninitiated, Horton is best known for his role in cofounding Highlander Folk School, which focused its energies on civil rights and desegregation during the Civil Rights Movements and provided training for many movement activists. Paulo Freire is best known for coining critical pedagogy and his book Pedagogy of the Oppressed.
I am reading this book as part of an online book club that's being thankfully stewarded by Bryan Alexander. You can read up on background and reading dates here. I'm not exactly sure if this is the proper way to be involved, but it's how I intend to capture my thoughts.
I should probably mention I'm not reading this book to not just be a part of the book club. A few weeks before the election I took a semi-purposefully timed break from social media. A lot of it was an excuse to escape; to reconsider the media I was consuming; to re-shuffle the deck so to speak. I remember joking in graduate school that I would be so happy to just read fiction again, but the problem was I never actually did that. The break would give me that opportunity. I found an early 20th century American lit syllabus online and selectively worked my way through the books I had yet to read.
Since the election, I've found myself in a very different headspace and I believe it's fair to say that it's one I wasn't foreseeing. My hope was that the election season would end, both teams would shake hands and say we'll see you next season and we would go back to deciding whether the dress is blue or gold. I was deeply mistaken. For the passed couple of weeks, I've struggled with how to best work, act, and discuss in this "new" environment. A lot of this is for reasons I'm currently uncomfortable completely discussing publicly.
And that's why I am here. Hemingway is out the window and instead I've been currently working through other books that I hope will help me better critically evaluate the world around me and the role educators (I fear blanketing the conversations with education and will stick with the self version, educator, for the moment) hope to play. It is here, through my own reflections of the works of others, that I hope to both struggle and make sense of the level of weariness, guilt, burden, (insert other emotions) that I currently feel. I feel more motivated than ever--more of a sense of purpose--to be working in education.
It's also fair to say that because of these recent events I'll be reading through this book from a very specific perspective or lens, or as Freire would say, "in a historical space, in a context with some special historical, political, social, cultural elements." I was at OLC Accelerate a couple weeks ago watching a panel discussion on Gender Equity in Higher Ed. There were too many powerful moments to distill the conversation into a sentence, but, as Carl Moore from the University of the District of Columbia said, "I've put on the glasses and I can't take them off anymore." Me too, Carl. Me too.
With this in mind, I apologize in advance if some of my reflections read as if they are overly appropriated for the current climate. I mean to write these only as a way to document my current thoughts and know all well and good they could potentially be in no way beneficial to anybody else including future selves.
I should probably setup how I plan to respond. I'll likely be pulling pieces out of the book and commenting directly on how I see them applying to what's currently happening within education and education technology and sharing my reactions. Bryan has been kind enough to write some reflection questions for each chapter (see the questions for Chapters 1 and 2 here). It's possible that I'll touch on those and it's also possible I'll shy away from reading them as well for fear of them steering my own thoughts. I truly hope that my reflections are raw.
So thank you, again, Bryan for organizing. Thanks also to Allison Salisbury, who at the same afformentioned conference, encouraged me to join after mentioning she's read this book multiple times. I promise to not provide a 600-word qualifier for every chapter post, so thank you for putting up with it this one time. :-)
Much of the conversation between Horton and Freire focuses on place. In one instance, Horton outlines how Citizenship Schools came to be in Johns Island, South Carolina, through way of Esau Jenkins, who was passionate about building literacy in his town since it was required to register to vote. Jenkins would leverage the long bus rides as a place to teach reading to a captive audience.
Horton spent time there setting up the first Citizenship School (these would later spread and help thousands of Blacks register to vote) where students would learn to read by first reading the Declaration of Human Rights. This was a suggestion by Bernice Robinson, who really set much of the success of the schools into motion. She remembered the Declaration of Human Rights poster being hung on the wall in Highlander. She wasn't a formally trained teacher and though she only had a high school education, her ability to follow her intuition with teaching was beyond her years. The way Horton recounts her first talking with her students is very beautiful:
"I'm not a teacher. I really don't know why they wanted me to do this, but I'm here and I'll learn with you. I'll learn as I go along" -Bernice Robinson
The declaration is a document worth visiting if you've never read it and revisiting if you have. Back to the Citizenship school: it's a beautiful story of how, as Freire puts, of how people learned to "read the world" as well as the words. As someone who is just finished teaching their daughter to read through sounds, gibberish really, and not narrative, it's timely for me.
Before telling this story, both Horton and Freire recount their formative years (the chapter bears this title) and both point to a similar first experience with learning teaching. I'm going to skip to learning part and jump to teaching. Neither learned much about teaching or pedagogy before taking the role of teacher. Horton led community conversations in Ozone, Tennessee as well as Vacation Bible Schools. Freire taught Portuguese. Horton describes these first teaching moments like so:
I was trying to find something that would fit, something that would be relevant. I wasn't looking for a technique or a method. I wasn't, and you know I still am not. That's not what I've ever been interested in. I was looking for a process of how to relate to people. Finally, it just became very clear that I would never find what I was looking for. I was trying the wrong approach. The thing to do was just find a place, move in and start, and let it grow.
There's a lot I see in that graph. Mostly, teaching not as a technique but as an human interacted situated in a place and time. I've spent time trying to think through the term of independent edtech (or indie edtech) as an approach of leveraging open tools to serve a local need, much like independent artists serving a local cultural need; as a way of serving your community. This has manifested itself best in the work that I've been doing alongside a student at Georgetown to build a community tool.
I've come to thinking about a localized approach to education technology from both my background as a musician as well as someone attracted to the new urbanism movement, which I've watched mostly from afar. New urbanism focuses specifically on real estate development and urban planning through the lens of building a sense of community and the development of ecological practices. The principles of new urbanism remind me a lot of the principles of indie web. Both have diversity, connectedness, and community at their core. Eventually, I'll write more on this, but these really are the intersection of my fundamental beliefs of good communities.
The other piece to what Horton is saying is time as a necessity. One thing that I've seen particularly conflated by the media is desire to speed up time to success/demise. Models like the Gartner Hype Cycle, Clay Christensen's Disruptive Innovation, or "fail fast" models, build in a desire too often to look for the conclusion. If it's growing incorrectly, rather than letting it grow, they say, kill it off now, build toward a different market indicator. I deeply fear the trusts we lose in rarely nurturing ideas in favor of the ever-churning news cycle.
Freire: I learned like Myles, no? He said some beautiful things. He said, more or less, it took time. Yes, it took time. One of the things that men like us, like lots of other people we know in the world--one of the things that we can do in order to help the younger generation is to tell them our stories and to speak out-- Myles: How long it takes. Freire: How long it takes. Maybe they will shorten their time to learn.
I think about this a lot in leadership. How long something takes to happen versus how long we have to enact it. Presidents get four years minimum and I don't know if that's a blessing or a curse. In education, we have grown comfortable to experimenting, even researching, sixteen week semesters. I should also note Freire's sexist phrasing above (again, I can't not take off the glasses). This is a documented criticism of Freire.
There is also some language that Horton uses that makes me think about the need for humanness versus algorithmic intervention. He makes this strong statement:
Third Party: Do you see... pockets of hope now? What are they? Horton: As you've heard me say, I'm not out in the situations where I know well enough what's going on. Finding the pockets is not an intellectual process. It's a process of being involved... I had to spend a long time down in Johns Island before people would really confide in me and talk to me so I could get a feel of where they were. I'm sure that in all times in history there are little places where things are beginning to develop, but I don't think you can arrive at that intellectually or by making surveys or taking polls or things of that kind.
It's an important point that Horton makes. You can't build models that produce trust.
The last point that I want to think about is stories. I'll briefly say this is where Horton and Freire do really well working off of one another. Horton tells these stories that have magnificent impact but come across so humbly. Freire then has the ability to counteract with almost a grandiose statement that sounds much like a universal truth. It happens multiple times within this Formative Years chapter. His critique, if you can call it that, of the Citizenship Schools is as such:
When we think that these things Myles spoke about, the struggle for black to read and to write; when we read that this fantastic man Jenkins, a great educator in being a driver who created a school in the back of a bus in order for people to learn, it was yesterday. Yesterday. At the same time, in Brazil we had discrimination. I am speaking here not as a Brazilian but as a human being just recognizing how much we have to do still all over the world in order to try to reinvent the world.
One of my major criticisms of how higher education media is not just how it is covered but how it is then leveraged at universities to push agendas without any idea as to whether something 1. completely worked or 2. if it can be replicated locally, let alone anywhere else (See: Purdue's Course Signals).
There's a bigger story here though about how strong narratives can drive the mass. TED Talks are one example of a vehicle that is too often used to try to follow up anecdotes with horoscope-like "truths." As of today, the Electoral College results show that the system has produced for us a president who ran his campaign off of stories rather than experience.
Freire and Horton end this specific conversation questioning whether something like Citizenship School could happen again. Blacks in the sixties were highly motivated to become literate not just because of the opportunity to vote but to, as Freire puts it, "to know why to vote and for whom to vote."
The question was not exclusively to teach how to read and to write but to challenge future readers concerning how to use the right the vote.
Ultimately, Freire and Horton decided at the time (1990) there wasn't anything of national significance that could warrant a national campaign. I don't know whether to worried or excited about the period that we are entering into. In some respects, I do see that national campaign; one which is an attempt to return to "great"--whenever that was--and I don't know what undoings have to take place to get there. On the other end, I can also see a real resistance beginning to assemble itself to be at the ready. And it leads to me to consider whether if anything is ever progress or if we are as humans are one vicious cycle exchanging blows.
The only way teachers have to demonstrate to the students that they are serious sometimes is to fight--to fight in order to get a better salary and then to begin to become more competent.
History gets in your way. History gets in your way.
2 min read
If you're a Domain of One's Own campus on Reclaim Hosting, occasionally, you might want to create specific "custom" installs for specific courses or groups to give everyone a specific look or functionality.. Luckily, Installatron, the application installer Reclaim uses, makes this a really straightforward process--though it's limited to applications that are under the Content Management category (Wordpress, Drupal, Joomla, Omeka, etc.)
The first thing you'll want to do is login to your WHM on your server and install that specific application in any location. Next customize it to exactly how you would like it to appear on a fresh installation. Say, for instance, you are working with Wordpress. You can customize the theme, plugins, and even pages to your taste.
Once you've customized it, go back to Installatron and you'll notice a star button next to the site. Click it!
Next file out the form fields that will give your template a title and description:
Now when someone goes to install that application they'll see the template under the "version" portion of the application.
Installatron also allows you to activate/deactivate templates (check box below) as well as set the default installation (star below) in case you would rather have users get a template rather than a clean installation.
1 min read
Content is the least stable and least valuable part of education. Reports continue to emphasize the automated future of work (pfdf). The skills needed by 2020 are process attributes and not product skills. Process attributes involve being able to work with others, think creatively, self-regulate, set goals, and solve complex challenges. Product skills, in contrast, involve the ability to do a technical skill or perform routine tasks (anything routine is at risk for automation).
This is where adaptive learning fails today: the future of work is about process attributes whereas the focus of adaptive learning is on product skills and low-level memorizable knowledge. I’ll take it a step further: today’s adaptive software robs learners of the development of the key attributes needed for continual learning – metacognitive, goal setting, and self-regulation – because it makes those decisions on behalf of the learner. (Source)
3 min read
A response to a KQED Teach Lesson:
This assignment, first of all, breaks most of the assignment rules. First, I found six selfies instead of taking them, I used Photoshop instead of Pixlr, and, to be honest, I think one isn't even a selfie. But let's play along like it's the work that matters, not the ability to stick to a rubric for just a second. :-)
But nevertheless here's six "selfies" merged together to give the illusion of one nice selfie. I purposely tried to find six "selfies" with varying aesthetics: hats, beard lengths, sunglasses, hairstyles (even more with a fancy headset!) Here's what I'm thinking about:
Cross posted on the KQED Teach site.