From Linda Naranjo-Huebl  on Sunday, July 14, 2013 — a day after George Zimmerman was found not guilty of murder in Trayvon Martin’s death

After discussions with my African American friends and a morning of intense prayer and tears, mingled with despair, a prayer:

God of the Universe, come to us in our despair and broken heartedness, and minister life to your children. God of Justice, reach us in our mourning over our African American brothers, fathers, and sons who are not safe on our streets. Stepping outside their homes–as objects of hatred, suspicion and fear–they face the very real threats of harassment, molestation, assault, and death by both police officers and citizens. Let me stand with my sisters who are mothers, daughters, wives, and sisters of black boys and men in the United States. Forgive me when I have let my own privileged position keep me at a safe distance from the fear and heartache that weighs on their hearts and souls every day. Let their despair, fear, anger, and heartbreak be my own. Help them as they struggle to support their sons, brothers, husbands, and fathers as they walk in this hostile world, as they try to encourage them to trust in a God who calls them beloved when the world will not, who will never forsake them in their trials.

Oh how hard it is right now to believe with our brother Martin Luther King Jr. that the “arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” We cry out with the prophet, “Let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” (Amos 5:24). Holy Spirit, grant us faith; help us believe that your justice reigns, that you record all our tears in a bottle and write them in your book (Ps. 56:8), that you will judge the unrighteousness, that you will one day wipe every tear from the eyes of the victims of injustice. Keep us from falling into hopelessness, cynicism, and despair. Take our anger and hopelessness and turn our energies into the work of justice and reconciliation between God and humans and among our human family, for this is the heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Regards,

Linda Naranjo-Huebl
Associate Professor of English
Calvin College

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Also see:

  • This video that the Howard University School of Law posted last year.

 

  • Lament From a White Father — from huffingtonpost.com by Jim Wallis
    Excerpts (emphasis DSC):
    It’s time for white people — especially white parents — to listen, to learn, and to speak out on the terribly painful loss of Trayvon Martin.  If my white 14-year-old son Luke had walked out that same night, in that same neighborhood, just to get a snack, he would have come back to his dad unharmed — and would still be with me and Joy today.  Everyone, being honest with ourselves, knows that is true.  But when black 17-year-old Trayvon Martin went out that night, just to get a snack, he ended up dead — and is no longer with his dad and mom. Try to imagine how that feels, as his parents.

    Listen to the stories from Saturday and Sunday nights, of 12-year-old black boys who asked to sleep in bed with their parents because they were afraid.  If black youth in America can’t rely on the police, the law, or their own neighborhood for protection — where can they go?

    Finally, there is a religious message here for all Christians. If there ever was a time that demonstrated why racially and culturally diverse congregations are needed — that time is now. The body of Christ is meant, instructed, and commanded by Christ to be racially inclusive. If white Christians stay in our mostly-white churches and talk mostly to each other we will never understand how our black brothers and sisters are feeling after a terrible weekend like this one. It was the conversation of every black church in America on this Sunday, but very few white Christians heard that discussion or felt that pain. White Christians cannot and must not leave the sole responsibility of telling the truth about America, how it has failed Trayvon Martin and so many black Americans, solely to their African-American brothers and sisters in Christ.  It’s time for white Christians to listen to their black brothers and sisters, to learn their stories, and to speak out for racial justice and reconciliation.  The country needs multi-racial communities of faith to show us how to live together.

 

 

My comments on Online Education Will Be the Next ‘Bubble’ To Pop, Not Traditional University Learning — from Forbes.com by John Tamny

From a 50,000 foot level…
There is little question that higher education is a bubble. With the hollowing out of the middle class, and the vast majority of the nation’s wealth going to the top 1-5%, how does one think that the average person will be able to afford higher education in 5-10 years (given the current trajectories of decreasing incomes yet increasing costs of higher education)?  Many can’t afford it *now*, even when they want to send their kids to college.

Given the status quo and the current trajectories, things don’t look good at all.  I strongly disagree with that article/piece — and my guess would be that the author of the piece:

  • Is pulling down a decent size salary and he doesn’t have to live from paycheck to paycheck — i.e. he doesn’t have to worry about where his next meal is coming from
  • Is a proponent of the current status quo
  • Has likely never taught online (or hasn’t for very long)
  • Hasn’t caught the vision of what MOOCs could morph into if something like IBM’s Watson, Apple’s Siri, or Google Now gets baked into the recipe
  • Doesn’t understand that those who thrive in the online learning world have to be highly-disciplined — i.e. they are the type of person who fits the often asked for “self starter” and the type of employee corporations love because they don’t have to supervise them much

But when parents spend a fortune on their children’s schooling they’re not buying education; rather they’re buying the ‘right’ friends for them, the right contacts for the future, access to the right husbands and wives, not to mention buying their own (‘Our son goes to Williams College’) status.

This may be true. But even the 1% will change their perspectives if employers start picking their talent primarily from predominantly online-based programs.  If Christensen and Horn are correct (which I believe they are), the innovations in the online world will continue to outpace innovations in the face-to-face world. Given time, the online-based programs could be mind-blowing. (That said, I still think blended learning is the most effective choice, as it combines the best of both worlds).

But the bottom line here is that for most Americans, there had ***better be*** a higher education bubble!!!

AmplifyMOOC-July2013

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Also see:

Northern Arizona wins regional accreditor’s approval for personalized learning program– from nextgenlearning.org by Nancy Millichap

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

It’s all systems go, at last: Northern Arizona University, one of the ten institutions presently developing breakthrough degree programs with NGLC support, recently got the green light to start enrolling students in their Personalized Learning program. The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC), NAU’s regional accreditor, approved their application to offer a competency-based degree program that moves away from the credit hour standard to use an approach referred to as “direct assessment” instead. In this approach, students receive credit related not to their presence in a real or virtual classroom for a specified period of time but instead to their successful completion of assessments that show they have mastered clearly defined competencies or are able to perform specific, predetermined tasks. HLC has created a pilot group of four institutions now approved to offer a competency-based degree program: NAU, the University of Wisconsin Colleges (a system of two-year campuses), the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, and Capella University.

The New ‘New Normal’ — by Kevin Kiley

Excerpt:

Mandatory tuition and fees at the University of California system have about doubled since 2007, but this year, if the state’s governor has his way, they will stay flat.

And the University of California is far from alone. Purdue University is freezing tuition for the first time since 1976. Iowa’s three universities will also probably hold tuition prices constant for the first time in more than 30 years.

 

From DSC:
Institutions of higher education seem to have been priding themselves on smaller tuition increases these last few years — while I’ve been disappointed that they rose at all!  In fact it should have gone in the other direction — i.e. price decreases.  Time will tell whether it’s too little too late; but tuition freezes may not prevent the alternatives from taking over now.

 

 

 

KPCB Internet Trends 2013by Mary Meeker and Liang Wu on May 29, 2013

Description:

The latest edition of the annual Internet Trends report finds continued robust online growth. There are now 2.4 billion Internet users around the world, and the total continues to grow apace. Mobile usage is expanding rapidly, while the mobile advertising opportunity remains largely untapped. The report reviews the shifting online landscape, which has become more social and content rich, with expanded use of photos, video and audio. Looking ahead, the report finds early signs of growth for wearable computing devices, like glasses, connected wrist bands and watches – and the emergence of connected cars, drones and other new platforms.

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Excerpts:
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Meeker-Wu-InternetTrends-5-29-13

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Meeker-Wu-5-InternetTrends-5-29-13

Open learning pioneer heads west  — from insidehighered.com by Doug Lederman

Excerpt:

Since long before the advent of massive open online courses, Candace Thille’s project to fuse learning science with open educational delivery, developed at Carnegie Mellon University, has been heralded as one of higher education’s most significant and promising developments.

Friday, Thille essentially launched stage two of her research-based effort to expand the reach and improve the quality of technology-enabled education, with word that she (and at least part of her Open Learning Initiative) would move to Stanford University.

Thille and Stanford officials alike believe that by merging her experience in building high-quality, data-driven, open online courses with Stanford’s expertise in research on teaching and learning – notably its focus on how different types of students learn in differing environments – the university can become a center of research and practice in the efficacy of digital education.

Michigan district fires all teachers, closes every school — from takepart.com by Suzi Parker
A funding crisis caused the Buena Vista School District to close its schools for the rest of the year—and perhaps permanently.

 

From DSC:
This is not right.

If the State of Michigan can’t resolve this…
I hope that a corporation or two — or a major philanthropist or two — steps in here to insure that all these students have Internet access. Then provide/allow these students to go online.  Let these students take any class that they want to — and help them enjoy learning as much as possible. They will learn things along the way — without even knowing that they are learning (along the lines of what Sugata Mitra has been saying).

Are there issues with this idea? You bet. I can think of several off the top of my head:

  • Parents out at work, kids at home…
  • Online learning works best with disciplined students…
  • The students may take courses that are not STEM-related
    (However, if they are interested in another discipline or topic, these things could be brought into their learning along the way.)
  • The students may not take courses related to the Common Core standards
    (However, this is not a big concern for me; as pounding everyone into a similar “mold” goes against the reality that each of us is different.  We each have different gifts, skills, abilities, strengths, weaknesses, passions, interests, and preferences.)

But we’ve let these kids down — and make no mistake, we will all pay the price for this type of thing — one way or another. We need to help these kids discover the joy of learning…before it’s too late. 

  

 

 

 

 

 

Calvin College professor: 18 reasons to save art education in elementary schools — from mlive.com by Jo-Ann VanReeuwyk

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artistjpg-07eaac856a9e51ae_large.jpg
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Jo-Ann VanReeuwyk holds a piece of art she created called “Sheath, ”
which she made from grapevine and is displaying during a
Calvin Symposium on Worship in 2010.
Paul Newby II | MLive.com

 

From DSC:
A valuable list of contributions that we receive/experience from the arts!!! Here are 5 of them:

  1. To participate in the arts is to be fully human.
  2. Art is a way of knowing and a form of communication.
  3. The arts teach problem-solving, risk-taking, creative thinking, collaborative thinking, innovative thinking. Indeed all of the higher level thinking skills.
  4. Art helps form multiple perspectives. It gives voice. It helps us identify and express issues that are global, common to all people groups.
  5. The arts emphasize value.

 

 

Technology is eating your job (part 2) — For those who need more convincing  — by Michelle Martin

Excerpts:

 

Screen shot 2013-04-02 at 7.34.20 AM

 

The reason I’m harping on technology so much is because for most of us, I believe this is a ticking time bomb we are trying to ignore. Most of us want to keep our heads down and just keep working, hoping that we aren’t going to be the ones displaced by a piece of software or some other form of automation.

This will be a mistake. And it will blow up in your face. You need to start thinking now about how to future-proof yourself as much as possible so that you’re more prepared for this breaking wave of technology.

 

From DSC:
This is truly a troubling subject. I often ask myself the following questions:

  • Is an entire swath of people being left behind?
  • Am I in that swath?
    (It sure feels like it at times; it feels like the tidal waves of change are washing over us and we’re all starting to flail about. Perhaps it’s too early to tell, but I think we’ll all feel this soon.)
  • What do we do about this developing situation?  What does it mean for K-12? Higher ed? The corporate world?

Thanks Michelle for the important posting/heads-up!

For some solutions/thoughts here, see Michelle’s posting:

 

 

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