Friday's Finds #170

Here are some of the observations and insights that were shared via Twitter (and other places) this past week.

It should be possible to build a city where you can go your whole life without owning a car and not feel deprived.” —Toronto planner Paul Bedford – via @grescoe

Creativity is not an escape from disciplined thinking. It is an escape with disciplined thinking.” – Jerry Hirschberg – via @BarbaraOrmsby

@euan – A slap in the face

The worst illiterate is the political illiterate. He hears nothing, sees nothing, takes no part in political life. He doesn’t seem to know that the cost of living, the price of beans, of flour, of rent, of medicines, all depend on political decisions. He even prides himself on his political ignorance, sticks out his chest and says he hates politics. He doesn’t know, the imbecile, that from his political non- participation comes the prostitute, the abandoned child, the robber and, worst of all, corrupt officials, the lackeys of exploitative multinational corporations. — Bertolt Brecht

@downes – The Robot Teachers

But here’s where the challenge arises for the education and university system: it was designed to support income inequality and designed to favour the wealthy …

Examine the structure of the traditional university system, especially as instantiated in the United States, but also to a certain degree in Canada and many other nations. Admission is regulated by tuition, and in the most elite institutions, the tuition is the highest. The recent British experiment in voluntary moderation was a failure. Admission in private universities is also enabled by legacy, the result of favours granted by and to alumni of the university. There is in addition a bias in elite universities toward graduates of a small number of preparatory school.

@RogerSchank – Teaching Minds: How cognitive science can save our schools Note: I can definitely relate

Academic subjects are irrelevant to real learning. They are not irrelevant to the education of academics of course. But, how many people really want to become experts in the academic fields?

@JohnnieMoore – A few thoughts on peer-to-peer networks in meetings – Note: I have had similar thoughts about meetings.

In practice, one of my beefs with Q and A is that it purports to introduce interactivity to meetings but is often deadly dull. Generally after a speaker has already gone on too long, the more fidgety members of the audience need to do something different, and that may take the form of an overlong question that actually is more annoying to much of the audience than the speaker has been. What would often be much better is a complete break in the pattern. Have you noticed the energy level soar when we break for drinks? I don’t think it’s just the liquids.


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