Information Age Education Blog

Information Age Education (IAE) is an Oregon not-for-profit corporation founded by David Moursund in August 2007. The IAE Blog was started in August 2010.
The goal of IAE is to help improve education at all levels throughout the world. This work is done through the publication of the IAE Blog, the IAE-pedia, the IAE Newsletter, books, and other materials all available free on the Web. See http://iae-pedia.org/.

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David Moursund

See http://iae-pedia.org/David_Moursund. My most recent project is the creation of a non-profit organization named Information Age Education (IAE). Its goal is to help improve teaching and learning by people of all ages, throughout the world. Current IAE activities include: Wiki: http://iae-pedia.org/. This is one of IAE's home pages. Web: http://i-a-e.org/home.html. This is one of IAE's home pages. Newsletter: http://i-a-e.org/iae-newsletter.html Blog: http://i-a-e.org/iae-blog.html. Books written by Moursund: See http://iae-pedia.org/David_Moursund_Books. Many are available free on the Web.

“In times of change, the learner will inherit the earth while the learned are beautifully equipped for a world that no longer exists.” (Eric Hoffer; American social writer and philosopher; 1902-1983.)

This is Part 2 of a two-part IAE Blog entry about our rapidly changing technology. The previous entry introduced the idea of a technological singularity. The term technological singularity refers to some time in the future when computers become much “smarter” than people.

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I am very proud of the new 48-page book that I have just written and made available free. The full title is Technology and Problem Solving: PreK-12 Education for Adult Life, Careers, and Further Education. Here is the first part of Chapter 1.

“Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.” (Thomas H. Huxley; English writer; 1825-1895.)

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Posted by on in Computers in Education

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” (Arthur C. Clarke; British science fiction author, inventor, and futurist; 1917-2008.)

This is Part 1 of a two-part IAE Blog. Part 2 explores some of the educational implications of the coming technological singularity. It is available at http://i-a-e.org/iae-blog/entry/education-for-the-coming-technological-singularity.html

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The title of this IAE Blog entry describes now and the future. My question is, what should our informal and formal educational systems—including schools, parents, and educational leaders—be doing about it?

We all know about outsourcing jobs to countries that have low labor costs. Perhaps we are less concerned about another type of outsourcing when industrial robots in our country and in many other countries take over jobs formerly performed by humans. This second type of “outsourcing” is decreasing the number of industrial manufacturing jobs performed by humans in the United States—a large and rapidly growing change.

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This is a Guest IAE Blog entry by Cathie Norris and Eliot Soloway.

Introduction by David Moursund

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The previous IAE Blog entry explored top-down approaches to attacking big problems. It illustrated this with the Apollo moon project and the War on Cancer. Both involved large amounts of funding distributed through a central source and coordinated in a top-down manner.

This blog entry considers the use of technology to attack some big problems by using a bottom-up or combined bottom-up and top-down approach. It focuses on improving education.

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Jason Pontin is the editor-in-chief and publisher of MIT Technology Review. His 2014 TED Talk is titled: Can technology solve our big problems? (10/4/2014). Examples of really big problems include: global warming; an increasing shortage of fresh water; sustainability; worldwide poverty, hunger, disease, and education; and war and terrorism.

Here is Pontin’s summary of four conditions that he argues must all be present if technology is going to help solve really big problems in a top-down manner:

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"The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new." (Socrates; Greek philosopher; circa 469 BC-399 BC.)

"If you want to make enemies, try to change something." (Thomas Woodrow Wilson; 28th President of the United States; 1856-1924.)

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I have been writing about education and computers in education for a very long time. Some of what I have written may now be of historical value, and quite a bit of that is available free on the Web.

From time to time, when I am in a reminiscing mood, I read some of my old articles, editorials, and blog entries. I reflect on what has changed in the ensuing years.

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James T. Fey (Jim Fey) is a national leader in math education. I first got to know him more than 30 years ago through his research and development work on use of computers in elementary school mathematics. There he explored how computers can be used to make significant changes in the math curriculum.

As an example, think about the math knowledge and skills in decimal arithmetic, percentages, angles, and the use of a protractor and compass needed to create pie charts. A couple of years before students acquire such knowledge and skills in the traditional grade school curriculum, they can create and use pie charts with the help of computers. The key idea is that they can make use of their vision abilities (their “mind’s eye”) in understanding pie charts, and creating them on a computer, before they have developed the math knowledge and skills to create them using “by hand” methods. Jim Fey referred to this specific visual math approach to curriculum change as an inverted curriculum.

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The Winter Solstice has just passed, and the days are getting longer on the Oregon coast where I live. I wish the best for all of my readers during the coming years. Rather than just saying, “I wish you a Happy New Year,” I am instead broadening this wish so that it applies to a much larger audience and a longer time period. I wish an improving Quality of Life (QoL) to all creatures on earth for which such a wish might be appropriate.

I think about QoL in a rather broad manner. Thus, I am concerned with:

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Posted by on in Education Reform

Law School enrollments have declined sharply in the past few years. I find it interesting to compare this decline in enrollment with the increase in enrollment in the Computer and Information Sciences.

Declines and Increases

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Posted by on in Education Reform

Education is a complex, multifaceted endeavor. We each have our own insights into what constitutes a good education. We realize that a good education comes from home, acquaintances, church, neighborhood, community, schools, online courses, the media, aids to entertainment, and so on.

We each have our own stories to tell about our own education and the education of people we know. We each know people whose quality of life is relatively independent of how well they did in school. For the great majority of people, how well they scored on the “high stakes” state and national tests turns out to be of modest consequence in their lives.

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All of the sciences make use of theoretical, experimental, and computational approaches as they work to advance their frontiers. This IAE Blog entry discusses a fourth approach that is now becoming quite important. It is based on analyzing huge sets of data (Big Data) that are gathered through the use of computerized data acquisition devices. Quoting from the Wikipedia:

Big data is an all-encompassing term for any collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process them using traditional data processing applications.

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Posted by on in Improving Instruction

The title of this IAE Blog entry is motivated by the following article:

Kamenetz, A. (11/8/2014). 5 Great Teachers On What Makes A Great Teacher. nprEd. Retrieved 11/13/2014 from http://www.npr.org/blogs/ed/2014/11/08/360426108/five-great-teachers-on-what-makes-a-great-teacher.

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Posted by on in Improving Education

Imagine that you are a parent with a grade school child. You have a very strange dream. In this dream you hear your child saying:

Can I go play now? I want to go do my homework, practice on the guitar, and read the book I just checked out from the school library.

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Here is a 1997 quote from Peter Drucker, one of the leading gurus of business management during the past half century:

Thirty years from now the big university campuses will be relics. Universities won't survive. It's as large a change as when we first got the printed book. Do you realize that the cost of higher education has risen as fast as the cost of health care?

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My IAE-pedia entry about Brain Science has now had over 95,000 hits. I strongly recommend the site to preservice and inservice teachers—because teaching, learning, and brain science are closely related topics.

I recently viewed the short video and read the article Seven Ways to Fine-tune Your Brain by Caroline Williams (Williams, 10/1/2014). Quoting from the introduction to the article:

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The nature and extent of homework assigned to students has long been a controversial issue. My 9/18/2014 Google search of the expression school homework produced about 145 million hits. What are the goals of such homework assignments? Are the goals being accomplished? What does the research literature tell us?

I view every person both as a lifelong leaner and as a lifelong teacher. In every interaction I have with another person, I both learn from that person and help that person learn from me. When I think about goals of education, I think both about the “traditional” content that is taught and also about the goal of helping every student to become better at being both a lifelong learner and a lifelong teacher.

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The terminology “disruptive innovation” is attributed to Clayton Christensen (2014). Here is his definition:

Disruptive innovation, describes a process by which a product or service takes root initially in simple applications at the bottom of a market and then relentlessly moves up market, eventually displacing established competitors.

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