Designing Our Learning Futures

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Designing Future of Learning Conference Draws 500 Thought Leaders, Innovators, Designers, Educators, Activists to Long Beach—-and that has to be good for our kids and the future of higher education. HASTAC, the organization I cofounded in 2002, administers the annual HASTAC/MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning Competition to identify, support, and then mentor to success teams of people who are figuring out brilliant new ways for us to learn together. This year’s winners will be showcasing their projects at this conference. I’ll be on two panels. There will a science fair, a hundred or so kids coming to the Showcase . . . and we’ll be tweeting and blogging about all of it, and videocasting too, so you can see what we are all up to on behalf of our kids’ future (and our own).

Why IBM's Watson Is Dumber than a 5th Grader

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I know you saw IBM’s impressive Watson robot/computer/cyborg wipe the floor with some of Jeopardy’s smartest winners this week. There is no question that it is brilliant AI (Artificial Intelligence) programming and that the team of computer scientists, coders, linguists, and other knowledge-makers have done an incredible job pushing robotics forward. But is Watson smarter than a 5th grader? Short answer: no. Longer answer: well, in some things he is lots smarter and in others, he doesn’t stand a chance.

Students Today Get Away With . . . What Exactly?

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I wrote a blog that has seen over 20,000 visitors on “How to Crowdsource Grading” and now I’m always asked, as if people know the answer, “Is it still working? Aren’t students getting away with murder?”

Well, no, in fact.

What's an Ignite Talk? And How Can I Give One?

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This is a delightful Call for Proposals for Ignite Talks on the topic of creative ideas that will transform the future of education. If you have any ideas worth igniting, all the information is provided below for how to propose a talk:

Love the Open Web or Lose it!

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Since around 1995, when the Internet was commercialized for the general public, millions and millions of us have enjoyed one of the great resources in the history of human communication (and I mean going back not just to telegraph and telephone but, according to historian Robert Darnton, going all the way back, to the invention of writing, in 4000 BC Mesopotamia). The World Wide Web, that open system of all the world’s documents in all the media that sits upon the Internet, is there for most of us, now even accessible through very inexpensive mobile devices that connect even the world’s poorest. And Chris Anderson, editor of Wired magazine, and many other experts is concerned that, unless we all champion the Open Web, we are going to lose it. What a tragedy for human kind!

Think Big. Build Open. Power Everyone.

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We have lots of hierarchical, closed systems divided up in specialized fields and disciplines, all inspired by the divisions of labor and task necessary for the industrial age. We’re in a new age now and we need institutions that inspire us and support us and help us learn how to (you guessed it): Think Big. Build Open. Power Everyone.

Ending One-Size-Fits-All Education

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Our current system of education is priced out of the market of many, often prepares students for jobs that no longer exist, and shortchanges those with different talents and interests that are not encompassed by the basic college curriculum. If we want to address the drop out rate, offering more diverse education . . . is a better, more positive way of diversifying education than labeling students and creating special education courses for the “attention disabled.” Are they disabled or disinterested?”

So Why An Author Blog?

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You probably know that I blog several times a week on the www.hastac.org site as “Cat in the Stack.” I co-founded HASTAC (“haystack”) in 2002, and it has grown from an idea to a network of nearly 5000 individuals and a hundred institutions dedicated to new ways of learning, working, and thinking together in the digital age. I’m very proud of HASTAC but, at the same time, as Founding Mother, I have to maintain a modicum of decorum there.

Cathy N. Davidson

Cathy N. Davidson

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