Posts about Education

There goes the class system

This is too damned sad:

Teachers are being urged to stop using the word clever and talk about successful children to curb school bullying. Union leaders said hundreds of children were being targeted because they were considered clever, and some bright students were refusing school prizes for fear of being picked on by classmates. . . .

Last year the conference heard calls from members to delete the word “failure” from the educational vocabulary and replace it with the concept of “deferred success”.

PC is spreading faster than bird flu.

Overdue recommendation for Will Richardson’s book

This is criminally overdue: I got a copy of Will Richardson‘s excellent book, Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms, but I’m embarrassed to say that I misplaced it in the mess that is my office and my life. It surfaced like an iceberg of knowledge and I have to tell you that it is very good: clear, concise, useful. A far more important critic than I likes it, too. I apologize to Will and to you for taking a few weeks too many to recommend the book. But if you’re planning to use these tools in classrooms — or other organizations — I’d buy it.

: LATER: Another far more important critic, Howard Rheingold, likes it, too. Like me, he’s taking Will’s advice for the college classroom, not just elementary and high school. I’d say it works in any learning environment — which should mean companies, too.

Who does what

Richard Sambrook, the visionary director of global news at the BBC, blogs about the role of citizen journalism but, more interesting to me, he codifies what professional journalists do in a distributed world:

So if information is commodotised, and the public can tell their own stories, what’s the role for the journalist? I came up with three things – verification (testing rumour and clearing fog), explanation (context and background) and analysis (a Google search won’t provide judgement). And journalists still have the resources to go places and uncover things that might otherwise remain hidden. Citizens can do all of those things, but not consistently, and with even less accountability than the media. Brand still matters.

I would add that the professionals also have to add a few new roles, both of which require a new level of openness and generosity: They need to share their knowhow with citizen journalists (I dare not say “train” them but rather let their reader-colleagues know how to avoid libel or get access to records or doublecheck a source). And they need to share trust (that is, find out who knows their stuff and link to them, since the professional journalist can no longer pretend to cover everything). [via David Weinberger]

I won’t be on the final

I’m not sure whether I’m amused, flattered, or worried that I find links to my blog showing up on various school assignments in classes that blog. Give them As, teachers.

School’s open

I just spent two days teaching the light tools of new media for the future faculty of CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism with Will Richardson (whose book is coming out soon), Saul Spicer of CUNY TV, and my son, Jake. It was exhausting, challenging, and fun. The faculty was eager, curious, and tolerant of my learning about teaching while teaching.

Here’s an outline of what we covered. We didn’t concentrate on the tools that allow news sites to add bells and whistles — the usual definition of new media — but, instead, on the tools that allow anyone to report, edit, add to, challenge, and organize news across media. The most important message I wanted to leave with the group — the headline of the PowerPoint overview at the start — was that these tools really are as simple as they look; that’s why so many are using them. The question is how we take advantage of this to expand and improve journalism and journalism education. What was best about all this was the discussion of the new opportunities made possible by these new tools — and no small debate about the dangers, which is where I always find journalists, in the classroom or the newsroom, approaching this phenomenon. A year ago, those fearing danger drowned out those seeing opportunity; today, everywhere, that tide has turned.

I think this sort of session would work well in newsrooms to bring out creative ideas for using these tools to find new ways to gather and share news: Get the bloggers to show everyone how to blog, the podcasters podcasting. Turn the newsroom into a classroom.

: Here’s Will Richardson’s take on the day. I’ll know I’ll have succeeded in corrupting our world when I can also point to 20 faculty blogs with their takes.

Navel journaling

Oxford and Reuters establish a new institute to, the Guardian reports, “bridge the gap between the gritty newspaper newsroom and the ivory towers of academia by providing research into topical media issues… [and] break down the mutual distrust between journalists and academics who analyse the media.” Beer’s on them.

Junket, please

Through Gerd Stodiek’s bilingualblog Bordbuch, I came across a link for the International School of New Media at the University of Luebeck. Very impressive program: looks like an MIT Media Lab with a reality check.

It’ll be on the final

The syllabus for the digital journalism course Howard Rheingold is teaching at Stanford is just great. Word file here.