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Best. Lecture. Ever.

Whether you're an inventor, writer, teacher, or any other kind of human being, you will find great enlightenment and hope in this talk by Jeremy Rifkin at the Ross Institute:


I first wrote about the core of Rifkin's talk months ago after having watched an abbreviated, illustrated version. But after watching his entire talk today, it's changed my life in a few ways:

  • I'm going to redesign all my courses to enable students to share in the teaching to help them learn better. This is part of Rifkin's urging, that teachers join the "distributed and collaborative communication and energy/mind revolution" that's happening right now. I already do a lot of this in my literature and advanced courses, but I'm also going to use this framework in my 300-level technical-writing course.

  • I'm going to re-roof the house with solar collectors to transform my habitation from energy-consumer to energy-producer. Heck, I expect to sell power back to the utility most days!

  • I want to create a course centered around the concepts in Rifkin's talks and book, The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis, or at least find a way to include the book in my spring "Science, Technology, and Society" course.

  • On a larger scale, I would LOVE to create a school - could be for young people, could simply be part of the Center for the Study of Science Fiction's mission - centered around this approach, that's cross-curricular, one that empowers students to be active participants in their education and the education of their fellow students. This is an idea I've been kicking around for years, outlining details, but Rifkin's talk finally crystallized the structures in my mind. SO EXCITED and motivated!

Anyhow, go listen to the talk. It's about 1-1/2 hours long, so it might take a while. I'd love to hear what you think.

Chris

Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
roseconnelly
Apr. 15th, 2012 01:48 am (UTC)
could be for young people...that is centered around this approach, is cross-curricular, and empowers students to be active participants in their education and the education of their fellow students

They already have that for young people. It is called Montessori. And it is fabulous.
mckitterick
Apr. 15th, 2012 04:42 am (UTC)
They have Montessori all the way through high school? WHOAH! I thought it was just preschool....
_luaineach
Apr. 15th, 2012 05:49 am (UTC)
We have at least three charter Montessori schools here that go through 8th grade.
mckitterick
Apr. 15th, 2012 11:51 am (UTC)
That's very interesting! I wonder what it would look like for grades 8-12, though, which is where I'm interested (and of course college).

Montessori's theories (my understanding of them, anyway) don't really describe how to teach specific course materials. Here's where there's lots of room to develop pedagogy, and I think student-directed and -led research, collaboration, and sharing lead to the best outcomes for most (motivated) students, even in, say, a technical-writing course. Certainly that's true for literature courses, I've found.

I'll find out soon, anyway!
roseconnelly
Apr. 15th, 2012 01:02 pm (UTC)
Montessori's theories (my understanding of them, anyway) don't really describe how to teach specific course materials.

No, that isn't correct.

And yes, Maria Montessori only wrote her theories up to 6th grade, and her ideas on education of children beyond that age summarizes to "They belong on a farm." Okay, for the times she lived in, yes, probably.

There is Montessori education for kids of 7-12 grade, and unsurprisingly, it is on a farm. The Hershey Montessori school in Chicago is one. Raintree in Lawrence currently goes through 6th grade --this is the school that my kids go to--and they are in the starting point of building a 7-12 school modeled after the Hershey school. Right now, they are only to the point of looking at the purchase of land, but I'd be thrilled if they built one.
mckitterick
Apr. 15th, 2012 01:14 pm (UTC)
That's pretty cool. My vision is also outside of town, on a big piece of land with facilities to do all kinds of hands-on research. And of course a big Internet pipe.

I need to look more into this. Who knew? Well, people with kids, I guess ;-)
roseconnelly
Apr. 15th, 2012 01:52 pm (UTC)
My vision is also outside of town, on a big piece of land with facilities to do all kinds of hands-on research.

That's exactly what Montessori is. You'd like it.

There are two organizations that provide training and certification for teachers. Talking to some teachers at Raintree, they both support the exact same theory, but there are things they implement differently, and even some theories that they don't agree on, so you may see different info at the two.

AMS, which is the American Montessori organization-http://www.amshq.org/
AMI, which is the International Montessori organization - http://www.montessori-ami.org/

mckitterick
Apr. 15th, 2012 01:55 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I went to Montessori for preschool in Minneapolis, and later public-school teachers credited it for much of my later success. Man, if only I could have kept going to such a place for all my schooling....

Thanks for the links. Researching....
roseconnelly
Apr. 15th, 2012 01:23 pm (UTC)
I was hired to work on the thesis of a grad student as an undergrad doing the statistics as well as loaning out my class as test subjects. Her topic, summarized, was collaborative learning in lower level college math courses. The benefit was there, but it was really, really small. The only class that did really well with it was my Honors class, but that class section always did better even without it.

The biggest issue is that students in that level of class generally do not want to be there. They've made up their mind that they hate it, and it seems socially acceptable to claim math as being pointless. It is a difficult battle to fight when you have a bunch of students who are at the age where they think they already have all the answers to life.

Your classes are a bit different because at the upper levels, you can hopefully assume most students are there because they want to be. I can see what we did being more beneficial there, and I wish we had more of it in my math classes.

I believe in "get them while they are young." That's why I chuck out the money to send my kids to their current school.
mckitterick
Apr. 15th, 2012 01:46 pm (UTC)
I've noticed a downward trend in attention in my 300-level technical writing classes, so I'm going to give it a whirl. For sure, I'll be using these techniques in the upcoming online version, because they'll need to interact there so it doesn't just turn into a correspondence course, but I'm also going to see if it helps up the attention level in the live courses, too.
mckitterick
Apr. 15th, 2012 11:53 am (UTC)
For more thinking about this, here are my comments to another response (or just look below):

That's very interesting! I wonder what it would look like for grades 8-12, though, which is where I'm interested (and of course college).

Montessori's theories (my understanding of them, anyway) don't really describe how to teach specific course materials. Here's where there's lots of room to develop pedagogy, and I think student-directed and -led research, collaboration, and sharing lead to the best outcomes for most (motivated) students, even in, say, a technical-writing course. Certainly that's true for literature courses, I've found.

I'll find out soon, anyway!
minnehaha
Apr. 15th, 2012 01:06 pm (UTC)
His book has been on my reading list.

B
mckitterick
Apr. 15th, 2012 01:15 pm (UTC)
I've placed my order!
minnehaha
Apr. 15th, 2012 01:17 pm (UTC)
Note the weird paper vs e-book pricing.

B
mckitterick
Apr. 15th, 2012 01:43 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I was wondering about that! Penguin: still at a loss to understand epublishing.

The average donation people have given for downloading my novel: $5. Some have given more, a few lots more - as much as $50 - but most people seem to feel a novel is worth about five bucks.

Now, charging twenty up front? Hm.
minnehaha
Apr. 16th, 2012 06:20 pm (UTC)
There are a bunch of things going on. The Kindle Price is set by the publisher (they are acting as an agency publisher) so the price appears in the second column rather than the "Amazon Price." Amazon is selling two hardcover versions -- they set those prices -- and they're discounted to reflect the stock they have and the price they think they can get. For whatever reason, Amazon is not selling the paperback. Customers can purchase them new or used through third-party resellers on the Amazon site. The "Unknown Binding" is weird; it's probably a reseller who forgot to include a format -- so that's how it's classified.

B
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )