The iPod Turns 10 Today!

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We can’t just drop some new electronic device into education and think our job is done. Quite the contrary, new technology is merely a catalyst for a serious rethinking of higher education for the Information Age.

California or Bust

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Californians, Cathy Davidson is coming your way! Tuesday, October 25: Listen to Capital Public Radio on October 25, 10-11am for a LIVE interview. Cathy will be speaking with Jeffrey Callison, host of “Insight.”… Read more »

The Best Idea for Higher Ed That I've Seen in Ages

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At a time when higher education is under constant assault from legislators looking for places to cut public funding and from taxpayers who aren’t sure that they are getting their money’s worth from higher education, The Conversation makes abundantly clear–to that very public and to policy makers–the wealth of ideas that universities contribute to the good of society. Anyone can learn from these engaging stories, including other teachers (at any level) and college students, high school kids, home schoolers, informal learners, Peer-to-Peer learners, lifelong learners, those who cannot afford college but deserve and desire access to the world of learning college (literally) affords.

Why Has Prescription Anti-Depressant Drug Use Increased 400%? (And How the TV Ads Contribute!)

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I am not being judgmental about the use of anti-depressants. They can be life savers, especially when accompanied by counselling therapy by a professional. But the 400% increase is not simply by accident. Laws forbidding tv commercials for prescription drugs changed during the Reagan Administration, making the U.S. one of only two countries in the world that allow direct-to-consumer RX advertising. And since then, prescription drug use has soared. And there is a booming business in making adds that conceal in plain sight the FDA-required side effects of these potent medicines.

What Are Some Better, More Useful Ways to Think About Attention Today?

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Not every wired prefrontal cortex bursting into illumination on a CT-Scan gives us solid, useful information that helps us decide how and what to teach a child, or how to reform the institutions that frustrate us. Having been involved with neurological rehabbing on an intensely personal level, having seen brilliant therapists work with mind and body to rehab both, I am humbled by how much we know and how little about the brain’s abilities and its disabilities, how baffled we ultimately are by the complex thing we like to call “the brain.”

What's It Like To Be On an Author Tour in the Digital Age? (Just ask Parson Weems!)

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It is fascinating being an author in what historian Robert Darnton calls humanity’s fourth great Information Age. Sometimes, it’s Internet all the time. Other times, I feel like America’s first professional author, Mason Locke “Parson” Weems, who plied bestselling novels and other fictions, such as his own The Life of Washington (“I cannot tell a lie! I chopped down the cherry tree!”–which, of course, was itself a fabrication), from town to town, with a horse and cart. He’d enter the town square and shout “Murder! Seduction! Treason!” and people would come running and then he would sell books. Yep, it’s a little like this being an author in the Internet Age.

The Ecstasy and the Agony of Steve Jobs (1955-2011)

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I’m not sure it is possible to resolve the agony and the ecstasy of Steve Jobs, which is to say the agony and the ecstasy of the interconnected world we live in together and interdependently, in complicated ways that defy the elegant simplicity that defines Apple and defined Steve Jobs.

Why We Need Internet Activism Now: From Peer-Learning to Free Speech

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There are many, many reasons why we need Internet activism now. Here are seven good ones. You can add your own. These are basically what Howard Rheingold has called “twenty-first century literacies” transformed into activist principles with some real-world examples

If Bubble Tests are the Wrong Answer, What's the Right One?

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Bubble tests are the wrong answer. The 1914 inventor of the item-response test, Frederick Kelly, recanted this reductive, standardized way of assessment as soon as the national crisis of a teacher shortage during World War I ended. I tell his story in the Washington Post editorial and at greater length in Now You See It. I also tell the story of so many teachers, parents, educators, and others who are working to find a better way to measure achievement. I am confident that, together, we can find much better answers than A, B, C, D, or none of the above.

Cathy N. Davidson

Cathy N. Davidson

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