Tag Archives: online learning

‘Technology’ Needs a New Name

Trying to understand how new gadgets, iPads, smartphones, tablets, Kindles, and whatever else you can name are changing the way we learn, I’m prompted again with an annoying error message: Technology.

Sure, back in the day, when regular mail became electronic, remotes were without cords, and phones could actually be carried “mobilely,” using the word ‘technology’ seemed appropriate.  It made sense to know that ‘technology’ in Greek meant ‘art,’ since we were witnessing new forms, with the world acting as its gallery.

But now, the term ‘technology’ seems too formal, sounds too weird, mechanical, a ‘technical’ abstraction— separated from reality.

Technology used in the old way reminds me of how my mother uses the word, computer.  She speaks about it as so different, distant, disjointed, and always foreign from her real world. 

But in reality, ‘technology’, is ever-present, seemingly integrated naturally into our daily lives. Emerging innovations makes it a lifetime companion, a new edition to the family, again and again. It is already a common language shared around the world, speaking many tongues with variety. 

So, I think we should find a better term to reflect just how well it functions today, labelling it in the right way to fit its continuing leading role. 

You know, if I told my mother that I will order a new refrigerator to be sent tomorrow (never reminding her that a ‘computer’ will make the order) she would appreciate how it made her life easier, rather than having to make a special trip all-the-way to Sears.


Wake Up! It’s Time for School: Yeah You Too

BigStockPhoto_DmitriyMelnikovBack-to-school sales, crates and boxes, papers, pens, and ‘Post-Its’ are here again, falling on us like autumn leaves soon to follow.

Yet this time it’s different: The students are not just the toddler skipping to kindergarten; the teenager roving through highschool halls, or even the college freshmen with backpack, foot-locker, and laundry bin. The students today are the actual parents of these youths and young adults. They have jobs (or at least looking for one) with bills, mortgages, car-notes and responsibilities more than turning in homework.

Recent stats suggest the average college student is getting older, over 25, looking for an education. With many adults having to change jobs or keep-up with their career, going back-to-school is now a shared experience across generations.  Thus, three (3) critical roles about this trend we must reconsider: 

1) Changing the role of education:  No longer should education be reduced to schooling with abstract facts and irrelevant concepts.  Education is a part of life and living. So the content should change along with our mindset. We must view education not as an end, but a ‘continual beginning.’

2) Changing the role of ‘teacher’: Throughout the history of education, the teacher was the main character.  The teacher was all-wise, all-knowing, keeper of ruler, chalk, and grade report.  Today , the role of teacher must act as partner.  A partnership where all parties have some knowledge, experience, and most importantly, details making learning a living story; an enlightened and educative soap opera at best.

3) Changing the role of society:  When we see the news on education, they usually refer to elementary and secondary schooling.  Rarely is their discussion about the adult learning community.  I mean, learning beyond basic literacy, english as a second language, or the how-to, self-help presentation.  Our society must include the 45-year-old mother of two enrolled as a first-year college student.  Or a returning military veteran, taking advantage of the G.I. Bill headed for a new direction. And lastly, the unable-to-retire workers, who make very little and see the only way to make more is to pay the costs of classes: at night, on-line, or at their community college.

The alarm bell is ringing, and some of us have pressed the snooze far too many:  We must get-UP!

32 Days without a Cell Phone

ole bage phoneand still counting… What started as a refusal to pay an overpriced bill has turned into a personal research project.  I wondered what it would be like to not use a cell phone, and I came up with 3 major findings so far:

1.   Cell phones are biological just as red & white blood “cells.”  Imagine if you lost an arm or even a best friend.  There are bonds to our cell phones that we ignore until it is lost or gone.  Cellphones are mini-representations of ourselves and make statements about who we are.  Look at the Blackberry- i-phone war going on now: it’s really personal and we discover that ‘cellphone blood’ is thicker than plastic.

2. Cell phones are not actually for talking.  Some call these smartphones or super smartphones, but many applications attached to cellphones makes it unnecessary to speak.  In fact, due to texting or checking emails; talking is an afterthought.  A better outlook is that they are used for contacting and locating each other.  It’s probably weird today for someone to make a surprise visit stopping by while pressing a doorbell.   

3.  Cellphones acts as contact information.  What I mean is that having a cellphone is what people keep for the sake of others.  Additional examples are: home phones (some cells act as such); business cards; websites, and of course a facebook page.  If you are without any of these, you may appear outdated, disconnected, anti-social, or even suspicious.     

Overall, what I noticed in these 32 days is that I am more free. Free from checking my phone so often that I never  concentrate on one thing at a time.  Free from frustration when my signal is low, battery dying, or periodic drop calls.  However, although I enjoy these freedoms, they are  only temporary.  I’m still bound by the wave of social connection and constant communication.  Having what could be considered as a PC bagphone on your hip, you have complete access to the world. 

But, when I finally succumb to being cell-phoned again, I hope to keep in mind that my life is more than devices. I’m convinced that being truly connected means being fully linked-in with oneself.

Best Teachers in Today’s Television: A Discussion

The idea of the ‘Best Teachers of Today’s Television’  comes from when I click the remote, browsing through channels, I noticed that I immediately pause for certain individuals when they appear.  I know I would do better getting a tv listing or finding on-demand telecasts, but for now I want to recognize those who keep me interested and informed-everytime I get the chance to see them. 

Best Teachers in Today’s Television Nominee


Charlie Rose

I remember years ago when I first saw this program: I took a nap. Later, I realized that the basic setting of a “round table and a conversation” was not visually exciting, but intellectually awakening.  Charlie Rose, is the exceptional everything, confronting current issues and topics around the world within one-hour segments.  His range is enormous: from politics, education, and science to movies, music, comedy and even sports.  I mention sports last because I would argue it is his weakest subject although he asked more than basic questions.  Rose seem to look at the transforming effect of all subjects under discussion and how they can improve to serve a larger society.

Those who may not have the time to read a newspaper, or frustrated for haven’t picked up a book in a while, Rose would be a great start.    The round table, where he and his guest(s) talk, has a space just for you to sit and learn to get-in-the-know.   If I was to develop a free, independent learning course, Charlie Rose would be the first part of the suggested curriculum.   

Social Networking Sites to Check Out

There is a great blog called the Lifelong Learning Blog by DiplomaGuide.com that provides information about a few other social networks than the Facebook & Ning that many of us know.   Here’s the link:


What’s funny in all of this, is that as we become more social, we  are more isolated in groups.  Something about saying that I belong to 10 social sites seems odd.  Why don’t some of these “social sites” get together to create a larger community of learning and sharing interests.  I think this blog and website take a great first step to tie these sites together.

AB UNO DISCE OMNES:  From One Learn All