Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Are our kids ready for neoliberal education? Absolutely!

Teaching a course is a lot of fun. The difficult part is to convert all these highbrow ideas to a group of 22-year old "kids" at 8:30 am in the morning. I really like the concept of serendipity (or is this just a justification for being glued to Google Reader and my new RSS feeds), but I stumbled across this blog post at the beginning of the semester: Are our kids ready for this? by Will Richardson from Weblogg-ed.

And here this is serendipity squared: it talks about the same issue, but from a different perspective (how critical thinking-ish): A neoliberal education. From Wired.

It is of course not really serendipity, since they all cater to the start of the new semester, and all educators are exploring these ideas, but still, it is fun to put these ideas together and to have somebody else clarify explicitly what I implemented in my course (implicitly?).

So these are now my official goals for the semester:

  • Negotiated, emergent, rhizomatic knowledge creation:
    • Create 2 lab protocols together with the students
    • Create an impressive wikipedia entry with the students on the predicted effects of the Gulf Oil Spill on the aquatic ecosystem 
  • Create a networked, decentralized, and participatory system to accomplish this knowledge creation
    • At the end of the semester, my presence will not be necessary to run the class effectively
    • The only source of chaos in class is the creative process, not the system
I have of course also objectives for my students:
  • Official course objectives (will be graded)
    • Learn about Biology of Polluted Waters
    • Improve critical thinking skills through the use of concept mapping
  • Bonus objectives (which I will evaluate with anecdotal evidence)
    • independent, goal-driven
    • willing to engage with people and ideas
I will dabble in and adapt if necessary the different courses listed in the neoliberal education to accomplish most of them:
  • Statistical literacy (the why's behind every statistical analysis)
  • Post-state diplomacy (successfully negotiating group work)
  • Remix culture (all the knowledge we create in this course are remixes)
  • Applied cognition (I love this kind of stuff)
  • Writing for new forms (can we still call collaborative editing for "the internet" new?)

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