Startling how a country as vast and great as the Unites States has such a disjointed and ineffective strategy for addressing mental illness. The autho...moreStartling how a country as vast and great as the Unites States has such a disjointed and ineffective strategy for addressing mental illness. The author covers the history of mental health policy and programs revealing the gaps and loopholes for caring for those in most need of care. Though depressing and disturbing, the book finishes by outlining a plan of what is needed to bring care standards up to at least an acceptable level. Though given the history, and current challenges with the implementation of the affordable health care act, it's a daunting task to say the least. (less)
The Global Village, published posthumously is one of Marshall McLuhan's best works (1989). The book, a collaborative effort with McLuhan's long-time f...moreThe Global Village, published posthumously is one of Marshall McLuhan's best works (1989). The book, a collaborative effort with McLuhan's long-time friend and colleague Bruce Powers, summarizes McLuhan's lifelong exploration and analysis of media, culture and man's relationship with technology. McLuhan was a media philosopher, author, professor, scholar and is best known for coining the term the medium is the message.
McLuhan's books are challenging reads, which is why I persevered and read the entire book--to challenge my comprehension skills for one, but also to gain another perspective on how our culture is assimilating and responding to technology. And though the book was written over twenty years ago, it is just as relevant today as it was in 1989. The book prompts reflection and forward thinking at the same time.
McLuhan and Powers introduce a framework for analyzing media via a tetrad. A tetrad is any set of four things; McLuhan uses the tetrad as a pedagogical tool for examining an artifact or concept (not necessarily a communication medium) through a metaphoric lens, which according to McLuhan translates to "two grounds and two figures in dynamic and analogical relationship to each other". You can see how the idea can stretch one's cognitive processes. The framework began to make sense when reviewing the tetradic glossary at the end of the book which examines twenty or more ideas and artifacts through the tetrad framework, including periodic tables, a clock, cable television, and the telephone.
What would be a most challenging in a media and communications class might be to have students apply the tetrad structure to current technological tools and applications. How might the iPhone be viewed? Or Twitter? Though provoking to say the least.
The more I read of McLuhan's work, and about McLuhan himself, the more I am convinced the man was a genius. He predicts events, media tools and media culture during his lifetime that no one could have imagined or even considered in the 70's and 80's. Yet he could see into the future, see how our society is shaped and influenced by technological forces on media.
I picked up this book at an author's festival at the Huntington Library Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, CA. The author is a curat...moreI picked up this book at an author's festival at the Huntington Library Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, CA. The author is a curator at the museum. The book provides a historical background of Dolley Madison's role as first lady when her husband was in office as the president of the United States. What was most interesting was the level of 'politicking' that went on even in the early years of the United States democratic establishment after its independence from Britain.
First Lady Dolley, set the standard for the influence and control that the wife of a president holds - which Dolley certainly appeared to do as described. President Madison was the more introverted of the two, while Dolley the socialite and extrovert.
A good read for those interested in US polictics and history.(less)
"I Got Schooled" is an ambitious book. The author, M. Night Shyamalan is not an educator, policy analyst or even parent of public schooled children (h...more"I Got Schooled" is an ambitious book. The author, M. Night Shyamalan is not an educator, policy analyst or even parent of public schooled children (his three girls go to private school); but a film producer, and a successful one at that. I admire his willingness and tenacity to tackle this complex and politically charged issue of public school education in the United States. He shares five tenets which he suggests will close the education gap, with data to back each up. Though there is nothing really new or startling in 'I Got Schooled', Shyamalan does frame the research data, and findings from extensive personal interviews in such a way that it provides another perspective on the problem of poor performing public schools.
I see the book as a useful resource for policy makers, educators and parents - it highlights the root of numerous misconceptions, for example 'smaller class sizes produce better results'. For this reason, some groups may discount it [chapter 3].
Shyamanlan's five keys to closing the education gap:
1. No Roadblock Teachers 2. The Right Balance of Leadership 3. Feedback 4. Smaller Schools 5. More Time in School
I agree with four of five of the keys; though I disagree with #5, more time in school. Many schools could use time more efficiently, rather than lengthening the school day which is what Shyamanlan suggests. I use my children's public high school as an example - cut out the daily brunch of 20 minutes (recess), shorten lunch hour and cut out the teacher collaboration days, and late start Wednesdays (also for collaboration and student help, which few students take advantage of).
Overall it's an enlightening and fresh read, though the barriers to implementing the 'five keys' are such that another book would need to be written on how to dismantle them.
Mindstorms: Children, Computers and Powerful Ideas by Seymour Papert is a brilliant book. It’s as relevant today as it was when first published in 198...moreMindstorms: Children, Computers and Powerful Ideas by Seymour Papert is a brilliant book. It’s as relevant today as it was when first published in 1980. Its applications to learning and teaching in 2013 are no less than startling. Mindstorms ranks in the top ten education books I’ve read. It describes not just how children develop intellectually, but frames the role that educational technology plays in teaching and learning.
Background In Mindstorms, Papert shares his experience and research with the program Logo, a program he designed with a team at MIT to teach children how to write computer code. Quite a feat, considering that learning to code at that time was reserved for computer science, undergraduate students.
But the book is not about the tactics used to teach children a new type of language—computer code, nor is it about using a structured linear framework to teach children how to think, but rather it is about learning; how children approach learning in a novel way. It provides a window into the cognitive processes of children through the lens of their phases of development as theorized by Jean Piaget. The four stages of a child's development are a hallmark of Piaget's work—Piaget's influence on Papert's' work was significant. Deeply interested in learning theories, Papert worked closely with Piaget at the University of Geneva between 1958 and 1963 conducting epistemological studies with children.
Highlights The book is an essential read for educators, especially teachers of elementary students, parents and administrators. I say essential because Papert touches on and explores numerous issues that educators are dealing with today. Mathophobia for instance that turns students away from math and science (pg. 38 − 54). Also, how culture affects learning. Papert is heavily influenced by Piaget on this issue—Papert believes that a culture’s materials influence a child’s development, specifically when it comes to building logic and math skills (pg. 20 − 24).
I consider Cognitive Surplus a sequel to Shirky's "Here Comes Everybody" [which I read last year]. Published in 2010, Shirky's narrative is not only r...moreI consider Cognitive Surplus a sequel to Shirky's "Here Comes Everybody" [which I read last year]. Published in 2010, Shirky's narrative is not only relevant today, but accurate in his predictions of how society behaves today given our abundance of time, 24/7 connectivity and technological tools that allows [almost] everyone to be a publisher, author, performer and even inventor.
Cognitive surplus is the time, energy, and willingness individuals contribute to collective causes that the world wide web affords us. Wikipedia, patientslikeme.com, and pickuppals.com are examples of causes Shirky discusses; groups of coming together to create services that provide knowledge, support and and even infrastructure by means of the internet. Described as the 'connective tissue' that binds people together that can enhance and improve lives.
An excellent book for anyone involved or interested in education, technology, public service or business.(less)
The e-book MOOC Yourself by Inge Ignatia de Waard is a brief read but packed full of useful information about MOOCs. Though the subtitle, “Set Up Your...moreThe e-book MOOC Yourself by Inge Ignatia de Waard is a brief read but packed full of useful information about MOOCs. Though the subtitle, “Set Up Your Own MOOC for Business, Non-Profits and Informal Communities,” implies it’s a how-to book, de Waard goes into MOOC history and more. MOOC Yourself book review Inge de Waard
In fact the first third of MOOC Yourself provides a detailed background about massive open online courses with information on their origins, founders, platforms, trends and controversies. The book’s target audience is educators who are interested in developing a cMOOC for a business or a non-profit organization.
The term cMOOC refers to a connectivist-type of MOOC — quite different from the xMOOCs most commonly discussed in the media from platforms such as Coursera, iversity or edX. (To learn more about cMOOCs and xMOOCs you can read my article on that topic for beginners here.)Each style of MOOC requires a unique development strategy, even though they share numerous common factors. Thus educators who are working with xMOOC formats will still find several sections of MOOC Yourself applicable. The book is also conducive to searching for specific content of interest, as the table of contents at the front of the book resembles an index with short content sections listed by topic.
Highlights The first third of the book, as already mentioned, is dedicated to the background of MOOCs; history, types, controversies, pros and cons etc. de Waard includes links to several resources that readers may find helpful if they are new to the MOOC format.
The how-to section of the book offers a mix of guidelines for course development, implementation and facilitation. Several sections list succinct and practical advice in numbered and bullet points. I found the section on “What to Consider before rolling out a MOOC” and “Launching a MOOC is the easy part, how to keep it going” particularly helpful. For example,
“As the MOOC proceeds some MOOC participants can get tired of the constant overload so make sure you also provide some days off, especially if your course is longer than three weeks! Here are 4 simple suggestions that can boost morale and keep the course moving forward . . . .”
An insightful section on creative MOOC pedagogy provides a good analysis of the learning approaches of constructivism and connectivism in the context of MOOCs and briefly describes the flipped classroom method and problem-centered learning. de Waard does not prescribe which pedagogical approach to apply but accurately states that “a mix of approaches will reach the most learners. One solution never fit all.” [sic]
The latter part of the book gives practical advice on copyright considerations, costs to MOOC development and facilitation. Though the costs associated with a MOOC and copyright issues are complex, de Waard’s section provides introduction to the factors to consider. She does attempt to describe ROI, return on investment, for MOOCs, though really none of the MOOC providers has demonstrated the ability to calculate this accurately.
I’ve watched several of Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talks about education, [as have millions of others] which is why I chose to read his book ‘Out of our M...moreI’ve watched several of Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talks about education, [as have millions of others] which is why I chose to read his book ‘Out of our Minds: Learning to be Creative’. This version is the updated edition, published in 2011—”fully revised” from the bestselling 2001 version. I enjoyed the book, but a warning to readers, the title is misleading. I’m not sure what I expected, but likely I was looking for detailed ideas and strategies on how to foster creativity. Though the content was interesting, at times thought-provoking, the ‘learning to be creative’ part didn’t appear until chapter nine and ten, the last two of the book. However, there is powerful underlying message for readers, especially for educators and parents—an education that includes instruction [not just experience] in the humanities—music, art, history etc. is essential, as are opportunities for games, personal interaction, play time and discussion. Though the message is perhaps a bit different from Robinson’s intent for the book:
“My aims in this book are to help individuals to understand the depth of their creative abilities and why they might have doubted them; to encourage organizations to believe in their powers of innovation and to create the conditions where they will flourish; and to promote a creative revolution in education.” (Robinson, 2013, p xvi)
I loved this book! Set in France shortly after the wall in Germany collapsed in 1989. The protagonist is an emotionally-numb man, Feliks, in his early...moreI loved this book! Set in France shortly after the wall in Germany collapsed in 1989. The protagonist is an emotionally-numb man, Feliks, in his early sixties, a former communist with no family to speak of. His mother abandoned both him and his brother when they were young boys, and his brother left him a few years later. The story is of a journey to find his brother, his long-lost lover of 30 years past, and the discovery of his 29-year old daughter with political convictions quite opposite to his own.
I'm enjoying this book a great deal so far. A challenging read, but worth it. Written by a Canadian scholar and published by the University of Toronto...moreI'm enjoying this book a great deal so far. A challenging read, but worth it. Written by a Canadian scholar and published by the University of Toronto Press.
Book Description: "Since its first appearance in 1962, the impact of The Gutenberg Galaxy has been felt around the world. It gave us the concept of the global village; that phrase has now been translated, along with the rest of the book, into twelve languages, from Japanese to Serbo-Croat. It helped establish Marshall McLuhan as the original 'media guru.' More than 200,000 copies are in print. The reissue of this landmark book reflects the continuing importance of McLuhan's work for contemporary readers."(less)
According to Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, at least one-third of the populations are introverts. I just finished...moreAccording to Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, at least one-third of the populations are introverts. I just finished reading this superb, well-researched book. It was the title that piqued my interest. I classify myself as an introvert; was curious about what power introverts might have. Though the book went beyond describing the power and positives of introverts. It provided far more than profiles or strategies—it provides rich insight about introverts living within a culture that rewards and favors extroversion. It also delves into educating introverts in the classroom, describing how peers perceive quiet students, and their teachers and parents. Cain describes what drives introverts’ learning and gives practical advice for educators.
Despite being written over ten years ago, the book is relevant still, yet more so now that we have the Internet to push the tipping point that much fu...moreDespite being written over ten years ago, the book is relevant still, yet more so now that we have the Internet to push the tipping point that much further. The three principles of the Tipping Point resound, 1) the law of few, 2) stickiness and 3) . Good read overall, though I preferred the Outliers, the more recent of Gladwell's book. (less)