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Don’t Go Back to School: How to Fuel the Internal Engine of Learning

Don’t Go Back to School: How to Fuel the Internal Engine of Learning
by Maria Popova “When you step away from the prepackaged structure of traditional education, you’ll discover that there are many more ways to learn outside school than within.” “The present education system is the trampling of the herd,” legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright lamented in 1956. Half a century later, I started Brain Pickings in large part out of frustration and disappointment with my trampling experience of our culturally fetishized “Ivy League education.” I found myself intellectually and creatively unstimulated by the industrialized model of the large lecture hall, the PowerPoint presentations, the standardized tests assessing my rote memorization of facts rather than my ability to transmute that factual knowledge into a pattern-recognition mechanism that connects different disciplines to cultivate wisdom about how the world works and a moral lens on how it should work. People who forgo school build their own infrastructures. I learned how to teach myself. Related:  Effective learning

The complete guide to taking notes effectively at work - Quartz Often, you’ll hear people say that you should “trust your instincts” when making decisions. But are first instincts always the best? Psychological research has shown many times that no, they are often no better—and in many cases worse—than a revision or change. Despite enormous popular belief that first instincts are special, dozens of experiments have found that they are not. While that may be a useful fact to bring up in an academic discussion, anyone who has ever made a decision in real life will undoubtedly reply: But I remember times when I made a correct choice, then changed my mind and was wrong. This happens for two reasons: First, humans naturally have something called an endowment bias, where we feel strongly attached to things we already have (our first instinct, in this case). Often, you’ll hear people say that you should “trust your instincts” when making decisions. The second reason is more obvious: sometimes first instincts actually are correct. The experiment

Smoke and mirrors mask corruption at Pennsylvania’s largest cyber-charter school By Carmel DeAmicis On August 26, 2013 For the last decade, cyber charter schools have been springing up all over the country. Cyber schools give classes over the Internet to students in grades K-12, who get their education entirely online instead of in a brick-and-mortar location. Despite the lack of research into these schools’ educational quality, in recent years some states have removed limitations to their growth. Pennsylvania is one such state pioneering cyber charter schools. On Friday, the founder of Pennsylvania’s bigger charter school — PA Cyber — was charged with fraud, for funneling $8 million of the school’s funds into his personal companies and holdings. The indictment raises questions about whether regulatory bodies need to monitor cyber schools more closely. Youth cyber school programs are controversial in education. Critics have also pointed to the for-profit motive behind many cyber charter schools that distorts the educational purpose and leads to inflated costs.

David Foster Wallace's timeless graduation speech on the meaning of life, adapted in a short film" by Maria Popova “The real value of a real education … has almost nothing to do with knowledge and everything to do with simple awareness.” On May 21, 2005, David Foster Wallace got up before the graduating class of Kenyon college and delivered one of history’s most memorable commencement addresses. UPDATE: The David Foster Wallace Literary Trust exemplifies everything that’s wrong with copyright law. The most obvious, important realities are often the ones that are hardest to see and talk about. Hear the full speech in its sublime entirety, along with transcript and highlights, here, then wash it down with Wallace on ambition and why writers write. Thanks, Matt Donating = Loving Bringing you (ad-free) Brain Pickings takes hundreds of hours each month. You can also become a one-time patron with a single donation in any amount: Brain Pickings has a free weekly newsletter. Share on Tumblr

5 Steps to a Clearer Mind d13/Shutterstock Have you ever tried working on a project only to find thoughts from all the other areas of your life intruding in your mind, making it difficult to concentrate on the task at hand? This kind of distracted state can be debilitating. It might be a sign that you have ADD and could benefit from any of a number of treatment options or coping strategies. It might be a sign of other problems as well. But there’s a very good chance that you’ve simply acquired too many open loops in your mind, and you can get long-lasting relief within the hour. I teach a five-step method for getting a clear mind. The Clear Mind Procedure Write down everything that’s on your mind on one piece of paper (use more than one piece if you need).Create three columns on a second piece of paper, and label them: To Be Done; Maybe Later; and Delete. This process often works wonders for people. What Kinds of Things Do People Have on Their Minds? “Everything” means Everything Give It a Try Go ahead.

What You Need to Know About MOOCs - Technology We'll be updating this page regularly.Please check back for updates. Call it the year of the mega-class. Colleges and professors have rushed to try a new form of online teaching known as MOOCs—short for "massive open online courses." The courses raise questions about the future of teaching, the value of a degree, and the effect technology will have on how colleges operate. If you'd like to learn more about MOOCs in a condensed format, try reading "Beyond the MOOC Hype: A Guide to Higher Education's High-Tech Disruption," a new e-book by The Chronicle's technology editor. What are MOOCs? MOOCs are classes that are taught online to large numbers of students, with minimal involvement by professors. Why all the hype? Advocates of MOOCs have big ambitions, and that makes some college leaders nervous. These are like OpenCourseWare projects, right? Sort of. So if you take tests, do you get credit? So far there aren't any colleges that offer credit for their MOOCs. Who are the major players? edX Udemy

To Advance Education, We Must First Reimagine Society Why haven’t education reform efforts amounted to much? Because they start with the wrong problem, says John Abbott, director of the 21st Century Learning Initiative. Because disaffection with the education system reflects a much deeper societal malaise, it’s imperative that we first figure out what kind of world we really want: a world populated by responsible adults who thrive on interdependence and community, or a world of “customers” who feel dependent on products, services, and authority figures, and don’t take full responsibility for their actions? The answer, he says, will point to the changes needed in all three pillars of education — schools, families, and communities. As Abbott sees it, the need for reflection has never been greater. Spurred by technological advances, “civilization is on the cusp of a metamorphosis,” he says, that will lead either to societal collapse and chaos, or to a resurgence of liberty, community, and ethics. Re-Imagining Society First, Education Second

How to Stop Being Lazy and Get More Done: 5 Expert Tips Before we commence with the festivities, I wanted to thank everyone for helping my first book become a Wall Street Journal bestseller. To check it out, click here. Some days the to-do list seems bottomless. Just looking at it is exhausting. We all want to know how to stop being lazy and get more done. So I decided to call a friend who manages to do this — and more. Cal Newport impresses the heck out of me. He has a full-time job as a professor at Georgetown University, teaching classes and meeting with students.He writes 6 (or more) peer-reviewed academic journal papers per year.He’s the author of 4 books including the wonderful “So Good They Can’t Ignore You.” And yet he finishes work at 5:30PM every day and rarely works weekends. No, he does not have superpowers or a staff of 15. Below you’ll get Cal’s secrets on how you can better manage your time, stop being lazy, get more done — and be finished by 5:30. 1) To-Do Lists Are Evil. To-do lists by themselves are useless. Here’s Cal: Sum Up

Applying Cognitive Psychology to Enhance Educational Practice Edssential article from Robert Bjork : The primary goal of this research, which is funded by the James S. McDonnell foundation, is to promote learning and memory performance within educational contexts through the investigation of principles in cognitive psychology. Studies address issues of transfer-appropriate and material-appropriate processing between encoding and retrieval. Applying tests in order to enhance learning and determining the desirable amount and timing of feedback regarding an individual’s memory performance are methods that are currently under investigation. The overlying theme of “desirable difficulties,” first introduced by Robert Bjork (1994), is also explored through manipulations in the spacing of learning events and the study schedule produced by interleaving various to-be-learned items, such as English-Swahili translated word pairs or prose materials. Read More About the Author Social Share

Hackschooling Jason, what's with the John Lennon quote? It's a great quote, but unless someone has explicitly told you otherwise, it has nothing to do with Logan any more than it has to do with your story above; which might be fine less the need to somehow single out your obsession with John Lennon (who's great but your making big reaches; not a good sign). It's not really necessary to try and make a great link in the specific way you have, between a good historical quote and some necessity by Logan to somehow tell the audience; "Hey, everything I've done is from John Lennon." It's not of course; maybe Logan hasn't listened to a Beatles song in his entire life. Maybe he has, but don't presume what you don't know and don't reach too far. If you read-up, Logan re-wrote his entire talk he had worked on for some 60 days, just prior to this TEDx event because he wasn't quite happy with it and asked others for advice. Finally, I have to address this privilege thing you refer to.

ed_tech_promoters_need_to_realize_we_re_not_all_autodidacts Photo by Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters When Bill Gates was still a teenager, he would sneak out of his family’s house before dawn and ride his bike to a building on the campus of the University of Washington. He had discovered that the university’s huge supercomputers were idle between the hours of 3 and 6 in the morning, allowing the budding computer enthusiast to teach himself how to program—night after night, until the sun came up. At a young age, Gates was already an autodidact, someone compelled to learn for himself what he needed to know. Over the course of his life, Gates has maintained this habit: He dropped out of college after two years, but he has continued his education through incessant reading and conversing. Michael Specter, a New Yorker writer who profiled Gates for the magazine, has said that the Microsoft founder “is one of these autodidacts who reads, reads, reads. This is no surprise: We all rely on our own experiences in forming our ideas of how learning works.

A story of education before technology | Pearson Blog I don’t feel I was at school too long ago. I finished in 1997, after sixth-form. But this week I was reminded that people born in 1997 are now legally adults. Then after wondering how I had changed, I began to ponder how education in my lifetime has changed; which is largely the pondering of the impact of technology. While at school (in the UK) I did have access to a computer suite – a room full of BBC computers where we were able to attempt some word processing and basic programming. Off to university in 1997, and surely this would be the step change. But what was this I heard – final dissertations had to be submitted ‘online’. I hope it’s not from a naivety of relative affluence that I presume most new college goers won’t start their studies struggling, like I did, to buy a computer. That today’s students take their technology for granted is a very, very good thing indeed for education.

The 3 Most Important Words You Should Learn Right Now 36 Flares 36 Flares × One thing I’ve learned at Buffer is that being open to not knowing things seems to be the best way to learn quickly and teach others at the same time. So many of our biggest hits on the blog have come from saying, “We don’t know the answer. On many matters, we haven’t any authority. Is this an OK way to get by? We’ve found great success in not knowing, and there’s no reason why you can’t, too. You can survive and thrive by embracing “I don’t know.” Here’s what we’ve learned so far. The leading authorities on not knowing An interesting phenomenon occurs when you’ve been not knowing things for as long as we have. That seems to be the case here at the Buffer blog. At the same time, we understand that we may not be authorities on everything social media—we may not have all the answers right away, near at hand. And that seems to be alright. If you aren’t able to claim authority in your chosen field, you can still seek after a subset of authority. We’re not alone.