Jan 25, 2010

A Few Interesting Links Related to "21st Century" Thinking, Learning, and Education.

Thomas West is an author of the In the Mind's Eye, Dyslexic Renaissance blog. He is also the author of several books.  One of his recent post highlights a recent roundtable held on 1/16/10 at the International Academy for Research in Learning Disabilities:  Talents Among Dyslexics, Roundtable Discussion 

"Most professionals in the field agree that talents are important, but eventually they almost always come to focus almost exclusively on reading and academic remediation alone. We need to change this, especially as major technological and computer information trends tend to favor the visual strengths that many dyslexics have as their traditional academic weaknesses become less and less important."
Thomas West is a visual thinker who thinks in pictures, and has a deep understanding of what life is like in educational settings that continue to be word-dominant.  Below is a link to an on-line recorded   interview that sheds some light on what the world is like for bright people with dyslexia.  More people are visual thinkers than you might expect. The interview is worth a listen:
http://real.aarp.org/content/radio/2009/mf/mf08152009.mp3

Cathy Davidson
Cathy Davidson is the co-founder of HASTAC, the Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory, and also the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies and Ruth F. Devarney Professor of English at Duke University.  
Cathy blogs on the HASTAC website, and her blogs are worth taking the time to read. I especially liked one of her most recent posts: Why is the Information Age Without the Humanities Like the Industrial Revolution Without the Steam Engine?


The post is a small piece of a book that Cathy is currently writing, "Now You See It: The Science of Attention in the Classroom, at Work, and Everywhere Else."
Cathy's  recently co-authored a book that I plan on reading soon:
CN Davidson and David Theo Goldberg.  The Future of Thinking: Learning Institutions in a Digital Age. (pdf) 2010.
"....What happens to traditional educational institutions when learning also takes place on a vast range of Internet sites, from Pokemon Web pages to Wikipedia? This report investigates how traditional learning institutions can become as innovative, flexible, robust, and collaborative as the best social networking sites. The authors propose an alternative definition of "institution" as a "mobilizing network"—emphasizing its flexibility, the permeability of its boundaries, its interactive productivity, and its potential as a catalyst for change—and explore the implications for higher education."
This book can be downloaded for free from the MIT Press website.


Daniel S. Christian
Daniel S. Christian's blog, Learning Ecosystems, focuses on a variety of topics related to technology and education, with a focus on multimedia, technology integration, and discovering and implementing new and useful technologies:
"The purpose of this blog is to continue the dialog about how we can take advantage of the rapid technological changes that we are experiencing today (and in the future) in order to significantly enhance what we can achieve within our educational systems. It's not just about selecting and using the right CMS or implementing a small handful of tools anymore -- we need a thriving, growing, always-changing learning ecosystem in order to navigate today's various/relevant environments."
EMANTRAS
I came across the Emantras website today and was surprised that I had not previously heard of this company.  I'd like to learn more about them. The company has a variety of presentations and additional information about the company's services on the website. Emantras' most recent press release is an announcement of the launch of Mobl21, a mobile learning platform.
"Emantras was founded in 2000 and our vision since then has been to harness the unmatched power of digital and mobile technology to make education more relevant to changing times.We are a leading global digital education solutions company with its focus firmly fixed on providing top notch services. We train, educate and design work flow solutions for academic institutions, publishers, Fortune 500 companies and everyone in between.
Emantras aspires to be known as the industry gold standard in digital education. Our aim is to be an 'innovation' partner to enterprises and institutions by creating knowledge, enabling delivery, and empowering access and usability with effective technology. Our goal is to champion new advancements and innovations in eLearning and make it accessible to a wider teaching and learning audience."


Emantras is headquartered in Freemont, California, with offices in L.A., Atlanta, Philadelphia, Midland Park, N.J., India, France, and Netherlands. The website is visually appealing- almost cute-and gives the visitor a feeling that learning might even be.. fun!  
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