Teaching Critical Thinking in Age of Digital Credulity

Howard Rheingold wants to address how to “impart to young people the always useful but now essential skills of how to question, investigate, analyze and judge that link they just got in email or the factual claim they just found through a search engine.”  In his video interview with me, I emphasize the “challenge of… get[ting] students to take themselves seriously — not to perform according to some standards of mastery of content, but to identify projects that are really important to them to advance in the program and to continue afterward.”

Teaching Evolution = changes in the diversity of forms (of something) over time

Originally posted on Intersecting Processes:

Notes from presentation, 10/11/2006.


Studying biological evolution requires us to note six features:

— There is a diversity of forms and patterns in that diversity

— There is a geological record and patterns in this record

— Organisms tend to be adapted to their environment

— Characters or features of organisms are part of an organized form which is developed anew each generation

— There is change over time and sometimes improvement over observable time.

— All life and change occurs at some place/ in some circumstances 

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On methods: The need for dialogue and reflective practice

The conventional status hierarchy for methods of research could (should?) be inverted.

It is conventional for social science and education doctoral programs to include courses on quantitative methods (statistics and perhaps survey and experimental design).  Sometimes such courses are supplemented by qualitative methods.  Action Research may be mentioned, but the value given to the products of Action Research is lower to the extent that there are multiple authors, including non-academics, and distributed in non-academic venues (e.g., reports, meetings).  Moreover, tools and processes for dialogue, collaboration, and reflective practice are rarely if ever included in methods courses.  After all, how are they related to evidence-based practice?  Let us consider where this status hierarchy gets us. Read more of this post

Comparing graduation in 6 years is a way to penalize colleges that serve students with lower average SES & SATs

A. Two colleges; one has retention rate 90% of the other. After 4 years, the graduation rate of the lower-retention college will be 66% of the other. 66% looks much worse than 90%.

B. Retention rate is easy to calculate, so use this to compare colleges and for any particular college to set a target. Read more of this post

PBL: project- or problem-based learning — an updated guided tour

PBL can be thought of in terms of the following elements, which are played out in relation to a number of tensions.(updates) Read more of this post

Vanzetti on gardens after 5+ years in prison & 10 months before execution


Communter (a grassroots alternative to Uber)

Communter (Community and Unter playing off Uber, but emphasizing support from underneath not above) is designed to facilitate non-commercial support within a community, beginning with help transporting the elderly to libraries, shops, medical appointments, and concerts, but extending in whatever ways the community members invent (e.g., designing a permaculture plot for a household, providing company in the form of sitting with the person, gardening together, etc.)

(This proposal arose as a “Design sketch” on Case 4 of Design for Living Complexities: What would it look like for a community to integrate the elderly into community life and enable their full participation? How would the transition to there from where we are now be organized?)
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