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Neil Postman – Bullshit and the Art of Crap-Detection

With a title like this, I think I ought to dispense with the rhetorical amenities and come straight to the point. For those of you who do not know, it may be worth saying that the phrase, “crap-detecting,” originated with Ernest Hemingway who when asked if there were one quality needed, above all others, to be a good writer, replied, “Yes, a built-in, shock-proof, crap detector.”

As I see it, the best things schools can do for kids is to help them learn how to distinguish useful talk from bullshit. I will ask only that you agree that every day in almost every way people are exposed to more bullshit than it is healthy for them to endure, and that if we can help them to recognize this fact, they might turn away from it and toward language that might do them some earthly good.

Read more Here

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Sugata Mitra – Build a School in the Cloud

Onstage at TED2013, Sugata Mitra makes his bold TED Prize wish: Help me design the School in the Cloud, a learning lab in India, where children can explore and learn from each other — using resources and mentoring from the cloud. Hear his inspiring vision for Self Organized Learning Environments (SOLE), and learn more at tedprize.org

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Why Don’t Students Use Teacher Feedback to Improve? by Maryellen Weimer, PhD

Here’s the conclusion of a small but intriguing study. Its findings reveal “only limited support for the idea that students actually do respond to feedback and make changes in a subsequent piece of assessable work consistent with the intentions that underlay the provided feedback.” (p. 577)

And what’s the evidence that supports this conclusion? A cohort of 51 undergraduate social work students (some taking the course online and some on campus) wrote two 1,750-word essays six weeks apart. – See more HERE

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Wellesley College’s Netiquette Guidelines: How to E-mail Your Professor

How to E-mail Your Professor

Students often tell us that they worry about how to address an e-mail message to a professor – especially one whom they don’t know. Below are suggestions that answer concerns we’ve heard not just from students, but from professors. And note: use these tips not just for e-mailing professors, but people who work in college offices, your employers and job supervisors, and your class deans and RDs.

 Read more about these exciting and informative guidelines HERE

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A Brief Summary of the Best Practices in College Teaching

Intended to Challenge the Professional Development of All Teachers
Compiled by Tom Drummond
North Seattle Community College

Introduction/Overview:
I have collected here, without examples or detailed explanations, a collection of practices that constitute excellence in college teaching. These elements represent the broad range of effective actions teachers take, and requisite conditions that teachers establish, to facilitate learning. I have tried to make this listing intentionally brief and can be scanned to serve more as a reference to the scope of excellent teaching techniques than as a source of enlightenment. For information on items that are unfamiliar, either post an email or refer to the citations.

Read more HERE.

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Avoid death by PowerPoint – seven simple rules by Lars Thore Jensen

PowerPoint has conquered the classrooms, the auditoriums and the boardrooms. This conquest seems to have spread like a virus displacing all other tools of communication. Sadly, in many cases, the use of PowerPoint has made teaching, lecturing and presentations rather boring, uninteresting and therefore less informative.
 
This depreciation of teaching and communication happens because of a misguided approach to the use of PowerPoint by many teachers and presenters who seem to think that a PowerPoint presentation is a collection of notes. Furthermore, it seems that the same teachers and presenters think they have the right, and almost an obligation, to hurl these notes at their innocent students, pupils and other listeners. The way in which PowerPoint is often used therefore kills creativity and blocs learning.
 
Sadly, this description of the use of PowerPoint is not an isolated case. The poor use of PowerPoint can be seen throughout the educational sector from preschools to universities.  These bad habits are increasingly found in any country wherever electronic projectors are installed in lecture theaters, boardrooms and other meeting places.
 
Read more here.

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Humanize Your Syllabus!

Creating a Humanized Syllabus – with Populr! by Michelle Pacansky-Brock

Any teacher that has taught a face-to-face class understands the preciousness of that first class meeting. So much rides on those first impressions.  As educators, we too can reflect on our own experiences as students and recall how a first class meeting formed impressions about what a class would be like — I can remember thinking all of these thoughts in college on day one:
  • “This instructor is so disorganized!” 
  • “I can tell this class is going to be really interesting!” 
  • “That was the most boring 50 minutes of my life.”
  • “This instructor totally inspires me.”

Read more HERE.

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