Project Supervisor Chosen: The Manifesto

I think a great time to write in my blog is after a spirited debate, and having just had dinner with the extended family, such a discussion we have just had.

I want to organize my thoughts about education. As you will have seen from my previous blog posts, I have been motivated by in-ideal teaching scenarios that I have seen, and I have also learnt from some of the academic staff that there is a big deficit between the documented teaching methods available, and what is actually used.

Having presented my views to people currently working within teaching establishments, they weren’t entirely warmly welcomed. I got told things like ‘there’s a difference between what the university understands in the theoretical environment and what goes on in practice , and ‘some of the teachers at school X have incredibly interesting lessons’. This does differ largely (although kind of ironically) from what I have been told happens, that senior education officials dogmatically hold to ineffective and unsupported teaching styles at the expense of a legitimately better education.

I recently read an article, that outlines differences between talent and labor (Martin, 2012), which basically says ‘if a computer can do it, should it be taught in an academic environment?’ And this is the basis for many of the cognitive innovations which need to take place within education. I am told that these views aren’t always popular, even in the academic sphere.

So, what is the point of all this? I have just recently chosen my project supervisor for my dissertation. The critical factor that has always been meant to be the foundation of university is developing the skills to think, to create new knowledge, new solutions and novel tools to further societies development. While that means I need to find out for myself what is to be done, I also need to find out for myself that the entire premise which I have been taught is correct.

This blog is a journey, to find out the truth about good education, and to form ideas which may be the base of future innovation.

References:

Martin, J. (2012). Qualifications R US!, http://hethoughts.wordpress.com/2012/11/20/qualifications-r-us/

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Learning Just Got Effective!

It’s now 17 minutes past midnight. I should be tired, but my brain is wirring, mainly because I have just been up doing an online test, which is due for tomorrow morning. Bad, I know! But on the other hand, it is a pass/fail scenario, with unlimited attempts, and I am please to tell you I have passed!

Since I presented my manifesto, I have formed further new ideas, the main one of which was the Wiki, or knowledge base as I call it. Infact, it has been the wiki, which has been the means through which my new learning strategy has taken off. Re-watching lectures and merely sitting through them with paper and a highlighter outlining key terms and possible extra reading makes a nice managable task, and the terms can be easily carried to a new Wiki page after that. The excitement of seeing the Wiki fill up really seems to help me to learn the information. Image

In fact, relating to the topic at hand, that is learning, I can remember without looking to my notes that it is focussed study that is most effective for encoding information into long term memory. Depth is one construct for dealing with encoding, over which there are three levels, the most important of which is semantic depth. When things are encoded into a semantic level, they are well enshrined into long term memory. 

Now, admittedly, I cant remember any more than that for now, But a quick glance at the notes reminds me that semantic learning involves considering the meaning of things. And that is exactly what this method is trying to do. Sure, I write down a pile of key terms, but then I read up on them from the required text and possibly other sources. And I learn what those things are, and not just things. This is about bringing meaning and purpose to study. 

The only problem is it has been so easy to get into, compared with before, that I can now spend easily 4 hours or more a day working on it, which surrounded by classes, employment and a vibrant church life is heavy on my body. So I’m going to balance that out with an appropriate level of sleep and rest, and then I will continue!

By the way: it seems also that I smell like cat litter. This is not usual, I think I must have acquired it through something at work.