Month: August 2010

The experience of learning

My friend and colleague Kat Bailey at APSU has some great observations on Lessons from the Game Culture for Education. For instance:

[E]xperience is the heart of learning, it is the best teacher. Flat knowledge in books or lectures are leap points for learning, but activity is the key to success in the learning cycle.

This shows something of why Second Life can be an important factor in teaching a variety of subjects, but it obviously goes much more broadly than that. It’s not so much that Kat gets at a reason to use games and game environments in teaching, but rather that she gets at the very nature of learning.

Here’s another one:

Too often, we define learning by objectives, assessments and due dates. The experience of learning can be described but not explained by statistics.

Amen, sister! Preach on! My take: this is not anti-assessment. Just a recognition that the really important stuff goes beyond assessment.

There’s an old story about a drunk searching for something around the base of a street light. A passerby says, “What are you looking for?”

The drunk says, “I lost my watch.”

So the passerby helps look for a bit, and then says, “Are you sure you lost it around here?”

“No, I lost it over there in that alley.”

“Then why are you looking for it over here under the streetlight?”

“This is where the light is. It’s dark over there.”

If we focus only on the stuff that is relatively easy to measure, we are going to miss the important stuff.

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Mayo Clinic sets up SL presence

According to the Star Tribune, the venerable Mayo Clinic has opened a presence in Second Life. The article discusses a lot of stuff related to education and SL. I find it interesting for a couple of reasons.

First, this is coming at a time when a lot of people are ready to write SL off as having been just a fad. While it has fallen off the hype cycle of the media, it seems that plenty of organizations continue to probe its possibilities.

Second, one of the commenters had an interesting observation:

Eventually, more patients are likely to turn to Second Life or other virtual worlds for information, says Jennifer Keelan, an assistant professor of public health who helped conduct the University of Toronto study. So it makes sense for the medical profession to get ready. “You have to be engaged in these platforms in order to be there when the people arrive.”

Hmmm. Interesting point. In any case, I’ll be using SL in one of my speech classes this term in an environment that really supports providing the support to students. We’ll see how it goes.

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Spiritual materialism misses point

Here’s another post related to the common book. At first glance you may think it makes fun of spiritual materialism (read the post to see what I mean by that if you’re not sure), but Kept in the Dark and Fed Sh*t is actually fairly respectful of those who engage in it. They simply make the point that it’s not the “real article.” Do you think the post relates to The Geography of Bliss in some way? (Use the comments below if you would like.)

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Spending may have permanently shifted

This is the first post on this blog in a new category, which I’ve simply labeled “Bliss.” It’s in support of the use of this year’s common book, The Geography of Bliss. I’m still not quite sure how I’m going to develop it for use in my own classes, and I’m still reading through it myself. But as I’m reading it, I’m getting sensitized to articles, posts, Web pages, etc., that perhaps connect to it. Posts here related to the common book will not go into any discussion of the concepts (I don’t want to impose my own view on whatever it is students are doing with the topics), but will simply point to the related resources with perhaps a brief explanation of what provides the relevance.

Today, I would like to point you to But Will It Make You Happy?, an article that first appeared in the New York Times, that has been shared from them via Yahoo Finance. There is some depth here around recent research that suggests you are better off spending on experiences rather than things, and also that the way you spend has more to do with happiness than does your income.

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Conversation Cafes at PSCC have a new home

Without claiming any kind of authority over them, King’s Corner has off-and-on provided a place for news and information about Conversation Cafes at Pellissippi State. (Off-and-on because many of them have happened without posting anything here.) Because of a new initiative that will unfold over the coming year, there is now an official blog dedicated to Conversation Cafes at PSCC. We are developing it now, hope to have something substantive in place before the semester starts this fall, and will direct all further traffic about CCs there. The existing posts here have been copied over there, but will remain here just in case someone somewhere has already linked to one of them.

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