pameladlloyd: Alya, an original character by Ian L. Powell (Default)
Filmaker Astra Taylor was unschooled at home, until she chose to attend high school and college. Here, in her first speech, she discusses what it means to be unschooled, the advantages and disadvantages for individuals, and the consequences for our society of schooling and unschooling.

This video, part of the Walker Art Center Artist Talk series, is quite long, an hour and fifteen minutes, but Astra makes some interesting and astute points about education in and out of formal institutions. Oh, and you can safely skip most of the long introduction by the announcer; the actual talk starts at 0:03:45.

pameladlloyd: Girl on a space walk (space girl)
I just ran across the article Hacking science: the intersection of web geeks and science geeks, by Ariel Waldman, on the Scientific American Guest Blog, thanks to someone on Google+ mentioning another article on the blog.

The brain storm of Jeremy Keith, Science Hack Day is a 48-hour marathon event intended to motivate adults to: "Get excited and make things with science!" The first of these events was held in London and the second in San Francisco, last year. This year, events are being planned in cities in Europe and across the North American continent.

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is offering ten scholarships to people interested in attending this year's event in San Francisco (November 12-13, 2011) and learning how to organize a Science Hack Day for their communities. The application deadline is September 2, 2011. For links to additional information, including the application, check out the article on the Scientific American Guest Blog.
pameladlloyd: Alya, an original character by Ian L. Powell (stories and fortunes)
Jonathan Morrow has a thought-provoking article on the 7 Bad Writing Habits You Learned in School.

I think that in stating his case, he may have gone a bit too far. For example, there are many situations when I want to know the source of information and I'm not always averse to footnotes. I also think that it's important that students learn enough grammar to be able to express themselves in something approaching standard English. But, I do think it's true that students' creativity can be endangered by too many stultifying writing assignments and too many rules to follow. I do believe that it's important that students develop the ability to write in ways that provoke both thought and feeling. I want students to have the self-confidence to allow themselves to break grammatical rules in the interests of voice.

What are your thoughts on the matter?

ETA: I'm listening to music composed by John Boswell that uses electronic modulation to remix snippets of old science shows. You can see videos and download mp3s at
pameladlloyd: Alya, an original character by Ian L. Powell (Kitty Call Out)
A friend of mine, Paul Tumarkin, is involved with producing a Cyber Summit on 21st Century Skills in association with The Partnership for 21st Century Skills. The Cyber Summit is being held in conjunction with the National Summit on 21st Century Skills in Washington, D.C. on June 12. It's free to register and the events will include a series of free live webinars, to be held between June 1-10, as well as online discussions on multiple topics. If you are involved in education, come join in the discussion and help shape the future of education.
pameladlloyd: Alya, an original character by Ian L. Powell (Blodeudd)
Yesterday, I taught my first two sections of Career Development at Tucson College. My students are great; I'm so impressed by them. Many have worked so hard and made incredible sacrifices to be there. All of them, every single one, regardless of how academically inclined, is a winner.

Our textbook, Peak Performance: Success in College and Beyond, lists the qualities of "peak performers" and it's clear to me that just by doing what it takes to get themselves enrolled and show up to class these students are already more than halfway there. My students have chosen to:
  • Take responsibility for their futures (and for many of them, this means also acting as a role model for their children);
  • To move outside of their comfort zones by taking on a new, and anxiety-provoking, challenge;
  • To make sound judgments and decisions about what it takes to create a better future for themselves;
  • To involve themselves in more positive relationships by getting to know instructors who will help mentor them and other students who are also striving to better themselves;
  • To learn new skills and competencies;
  • To have enough confidence in themselves that they are willing to challenge themselves by attending school, even though many of them have struggled with academics in the past;
  • To overcome barriers to getting an education;
  • To take the first of many steps toward their long-term goals

Have I mentioned recently how Absolutely AWESOME my students are?

I am so impressed by these people, and I hope that I will be able to help them to achieve their current goals and to have the confidence and skills to go on from here to keep setting higher goals and reaching for them.

On a slightly more personal note, I'm exhausted. I pushed really hard in the days leading up to my classes, as I prepared my schedule, calendar, lesson plans, PowerPoint presentations, and in-class activities. I'm still adjusting to a split-shift schedule of five hours in the morning and five in the evening, and I live far enough away from the school that it's impossible for me to get a full eight hours of sleep at night. (I try to take naps during the afternoon while I'm home, but I still don't get enough sleep during the week.) Yesterday I was so charged with adrenaline, I was hardly aware of being tired until about 9 or 9:30 last night, but I finished the day with a stiff and aching back. It was incredibly odd, too, that I never felt more than mildly nervous about my very first ever teaching gig; except for my work as a tutor, which was pretty much 1-1, the most I'd done before were study sessions I led when I was a student assistant back in my twenties, and training courses for a handful of coworkers I knew and liked. I know my teaching skills are not perfect and I will continue to work on them and to improve, but in many ways I felt like I was doing something I was made to do. This is so-o-o wonderful and I can tell that I will find this work incredibly rewarding.


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