Book: Why School? by Will Richardson

World War I was an important point in the world’s history, and certainly one for Canada, both as a nation and as a nation of the world — so much so that The Great War was a major unit in the grade 10 Canadian history curriculum. Just like every other unit, there was a test at the end, to evaluate what we students had learned. To prepare I frantically poured over the class textbook and my notes, collecting important dates, places, people and events, and using them to draw out timelines.

I didn’t do well on that test; however, I ultimately cleared the class with an 83%. I credit part of this eventual success to an assignment, ironically tied to World War I. That assignment had us write a paper blog (I mean diary) of a soldier caught up in the war. Presented on tea-stained, oven-burnt paper, bound inside dirt-covered, paper-machéd cardboard covers, my diary was simply titled, “La Guerre Mondiale” (thankfully I caught a grammar mistake at the last second and added that last ‘e’ before submitting it). It detailed the desire to go home, the awful state of the trenches, loss of friends, and an impromptu sports game with both sides on Christmas Day.

In the days when Google was just getting started, well before things like Wikipedia and Call of Duty, I was researching and trying to envision what it would have been like to be in the front lines. I took the most complete picture I could piece together, peppered on WWI details and threw in my views on war and how I would feel losing my friends to gunfire. I wrote it all out. I did well.

This experience falls directly into Will Richardson’s premise in his short-length book Why School?: How Education Must Change When Information and Learning Are Everywhere (SEE: Book at ted.com). In his mind, the age of Memorize and Mumble is over. Knowledge and the ability to connect with others is no longer scarce. “If we have an Internet connection,” says Richardson, “we have fingertip, on-demand access to an amazing library that holds close to the sum of human knowledge and, equally important, to more than two billion people with whom we can potentially learn.” Why would we limit our youth’s studies to a handful of books and facts that likely leave very little long-term impression?

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External Video: RSA Animate: Changing Education Paradigms

“Don’t look. Don’t copy. That’s cheating! Outside school, that’s called ‘collaboration’.” – Sir Ken Robinson

This is a video animation based on a presentation given at the RSA by Sir Ken Robinson, a world-renowned education and creativity expert. In it, Robinson argues the need to change the current education paradigm, whose origins are rooted in the ideas of academic ability of the industrial revolution, to match the current world in which we live. Education is modelled after the interests of industrialism, notably by it’s assembly line-like design. “Why is there this assumption that the most important thing kids have in common is how old they are?

“We are getting our children through education by anaesthetizing them. We should be waking them up to what is inside of themselves!”

Please view the video below for the presentation:

View here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDZFcDGpL4U

NRN SKI: Working Towards Skill, Knowledge and Innovation Transfer

Since its inception in 2003, Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA) has been working to unite expatriate Nepalis from around the world and channelize their skills, knowledge and resources to help the NRN community and in the socio-economic development of Nepal. The establishment more than a dozen task forces including the Skill Knowledge and Innovation (SKI) Task Force, by the 4th global conference of the NRNA in Kathmandu in December 2009, was a major step forward in that direction.

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How Children Learn Themselves by Sugata Mitra

Dr. Sugata Mitra’s now famous “Hole in the Wall” experiments conducted in India’s slums and remote areas made the following four findings:

  1. Remoteness affects the quality of education
  2. Education Technology should be implemented in remote areas first
  3. Values are acquired: doctrine and dogma are imposed
  4. Learning is a self-organizing system

He proposes introduction of technology assisted and self-organizing learning systems to not only improve basic education but also the ability to deal with an increasingly complex and connected world. He expalins the need to create inclusive educational solutions that address all sections of society and help transform them. And proposes “Minimally Invasive Education” which uses the power of collaboration and the natural curiosity of children to catalyze learning.

Click here to see the TED presentation of Dr. Mitra, Professor of Educational Technology and the founder of hole-in-the-wall.com

Click here to see a new TED presentation of Dr. Mitra, with newer findings.

Where to Get the Best Free Education Online

Written by Whitson Gordon, Where to Get the Best Free Education Online is a great article that summarizes some of the best free and online education. The author writes about the resources of The OpenCourseWare Consortium, with mention are video courses and lectures on Software and Business from MIT, IT and Business Transformation from MIT, Introduction to Business from Kaplan University. He then goes on to introducing The Khan Academy, Academic Earth with special mention of lectures from 19 universities, iTunes U, WikiVersity, Textbook Revolution with special mention of its free textbooks, Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative, the Supplemental Resources section of MIT, and Google special search techniques and obscure tricks.

Please click here to go read the original article.

Distance Education at a Glance by Dr Willis

Dr. Barry Willis, Associate Dean-Engineering, University of Idaho, has prpared a guideline book for to help teachers, administrators, facilitators, and students understand distance education. He presents the following series of guides highlighting information detailed in Dr. Willis’ books, Distance Education–Strategies and Tools and Distance Education–A Practical Guide. (Please click here to go to Distance Education at a Glance website.)

Revolutionary Education by Prof. Hajime Yamsita

This is a Nepali translation of an article titled “Revolutionary Education” by Prof. Hajime Yamsita. It was translated and shared through email by Sudarsan Ghimire.

नेपालका नेताहरु इमान्दार भएनन् ? शिक्षामा सुधार गर !

प्रा. हाजिमे यामसिता

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Innovation in Education: A Story

Innovation in Education: Bill Gates’ favorite teacher

By David A. Kaplan, contributorAugust 24, 2010: 5:53 AM ET
(An article adopted from CNN)

FORTUNE — Sal Khan, you can count Bill Gates as your newest fan. Gates is a voracious consumer of online education. This past spring a colleague at his small think tank, bgC3, e-mailed him about the nonprofit khanacademy.org, a vast digital trove of free mini-lectures Continue reading

Nepal Ranks 124th among 133 countries in Net Readiness

Nepal’s ranking on Network Readiness Index (NRI) slightly improved to 124th in 2009-2010 compared to 124th in 2008-2009 among 133 countries primarily due to individual efforts, says the report, entitled “The Global Information Technology Report 2009–2010– ICT for Sustainability” produced by the World Economic Forum of Davos, in cooperation with INSEAD, a world business school.

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