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Category Archives: Disruptive

Classroom sans borders, now that Google Classroom is for everyone

I liked the original Google Classroom, for how it simplified how a learners could belong to a ‘class’ even though they may not be in the same building. Or country.

But the latest improvements to Classroom take it further, letting anyone who plans to teach create a lesson and connect with students. I just created a class as an experimentt. It’s a class on Writing and Publishing — the basis for a project this summer.

Lots of potential in how they hand over the tools to engage students, and receive feedback.It’s evident Google is staking its claim on a sector ready for disruption. Especially since Khan Academy has prepared the ground for it.

As the New York Times put it, Google has practically out-maneuvered Apple in the education market. More than half the nation’s primary- and secondary-school students now use Google education apps, it says.

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2017 in Disruptive, Ed-Tech, Education

 

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If only schools can be like this!

I just interviewed Kris Canekeratne, CEO of Virtusa, a 20,000-strong global business consulting and IT outsourcing company headquartered in Massachusetts. Among the many strands we talked about, I was fascinated by his take on learning, and how schools ought to be the ‘ignition’ for curiosity.

“Students have an innate proclivity to curiosity,” he says – no different how engineers are inherently curious, with problem-solving and design thinking as part of their skill set. If only we could design schools to be the spark plugs of knowledge! It’s time we began exposing students to Big Data, Nanotech, AI, user experience, and gamification, he says, instead of teaching them how to memorize material just to pass exams.

To this end, here’s an example of design-thinking class at a Charter School in Berkeley, California.

 
 

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A weekend on the Moon? Soon, says Jim Bell

So here’s ASU’s (School of Earth and Space Exploration) version of TED Talks – KEDTalks.(In case you’re wondering, KED stands for  ‘Knowledge-Enterprise-Development.’)

Perhaps, SpaceX and AirBnb are already holding talks on this!

KEDtalks: Weekending on the moon from ASU Research on Vimeo.

 

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2017 in ASU, Disruptive, Technology

 

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Is surge of Signal, triggered by paranoia or cynicism?

Chat apps with encryption sound like an idea whose time has come. Or rather, an idea whose time came, did a quiet exit, and after some tangle with Twitter, did an U-turn and returned as ‘Signal’.

signalSignal has powerful encryption, and has supposedly grown by 400 percent since the US election. Indeed, most people are passionate about keeping their communication away from prying eyes of governments. Or is this paranoia, knowing what we know about email being easily hacked or compromised? Even Signal has been subpoenaed by the govt! No coincidence that journalists now use encrypted chat apps more than ever.

Which explains why Chat apps like WhatsApp, Line, SnapChat and FB Messenger have quietly changed how we communicate. Hike, the SnapChat clone in India lets users chat in eight languages!

To be sure, as I said (in the last chapter of my book, Chat Republic) ordinary citizens, not just journalists, who become wary of the status quo, would refine these modes of chat in ways that we never imagined. That was in 2013.

And we the ____________ people (insertcynical,’ ‘paranoid,’ etc) are probably taking that path too.

 

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What were they thinking? Water cannons used against those defending water rights!

File this under the How Ironic.

Protesters of the Dakota Access Pipeline, trying to draw attention to the tribe’s water rights, were confronted by law enforcement officials using water canons yesterday.

When rubber bullets and tear gas didn’t seem enough, they resorted to H2O.

The pipeline is half a mile from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, the sixth-largest reservation in land area in the US. The tribe has said the pipeline threatens ‘their waters and their sacred places.’

The events get more interesting as people like Neil Young, Dave Matthews and others chime in.

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2016 in Disruptive, Media

 

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“World Peace” game proves kids can problem solve (without Apps)

A friend sent me a link to this story of a “World Peace Game” played by 4th graders. Sorry it’s not as fancy as MineCraft, or pointless as Pokemon. What I love about John Hunter’s concept is that there is no “win” and that it truly demonstrates how students can learn, sans smart devices.

If you need some background to this, watch John Hunter’s Ted Talk. You’ll be blown away.

One of the best performance reviews a teacher could get is what one of Hunter’s students says: “My brain, when I come back from his class, it feels like ‘jelly’ –it learned sooo much.”

 
 

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Is there a ‘Maker’ in you?

Given how we’re being swamped by all things digital, don’t you long for a life with more hands-on experiences? I’ve written about (and visited) ‘Maker Spaces‘ that have been popping up in cities.

If you need inspiration, check out Intel’s ‘America’s Greatest Maker’ series. It will blow your mind to see a movement picking up steam that had young people becoming inventors and ‘makers.’ It is a TV show (similar to ‘The Voice,’ or ‘America’s Got Talent’), and a resource for learning the basics with plenty of how-to videos.  Watch someone who did just that.

“Inventing is really cool, because you don’t need a factory, you don’t have to be a certain age… as long as you have the right tools, and the right people to seek out.”  Shubham Banerjee, Maker

Also worth looking at is a fellow named Paulo De Souza who came up with the idea of equipping ”bees with backpacks” – um, tiny sensors. He has been addressing one of the world’s biggest problems, a diminishing bee population –or ‘colony collapse‘ as scientists call it.

Another great space for the movement is Maker Faire at Makerfaire.com

maker-faireFrom Art, and Arduino, to Fashion and Robotics and everything in-between, this annual festival has been instrumental in getting people to go out into their garages and tool sheds and discover their creativity. Like our ‘STEAM’ activities, but even beyond it, this it’s a fascinating trend!

There was a time when we did repair our own shoes (which lasted almost a decade), and build our own tree-houses (instead of ordering one from Walmart). There is a maker in each one of us, paralyzed by our fixation on apps and shiny new objects.

 

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