On listening

Car design Henry Ford famously dismissed listening to his customers, saying that if he'd bothered asking them, they'd have asked for faster horses. An early episode of The Simpsons riffed on this idea: Homer was brought into his brother's car company as a man of the people and asked to design exactly the kind of… Continue reading On listening

The central problem of educational technology

Inspired by Donald Clark, here's what I think is the central problem of educational technology: As a teacher, I have written some text and I want my students to be able to see it Blackboards Blackboards were invented because they allow a teacher to write words that are big enough for students to see. Two… Continue reading The central problem of educational technology

Issuing an Open Badge is easy, but making it valuable is hard

This is adapted from a comment I left on The three biggest (perceived) problems with Open Badges by Doug Belshaw. I really like David Wiley's points about quality and OERs, and agree they apply equally well to badges. I think Timothy Freeman Cook makes good points about motivation and badges here, especially where he says "Let… Continue reading Issuing an Open Badge is easy, but making it valuable is hard

How to make self checkouts better, in 4 easy steps

Self checkout machines, once an amusing novelty, are now just another mundane fact of life. A harried clerk rushes between impatient, sighing customers. The customers put unexpected items in the bagging area. The machine sits stupidly, admonishing us, eating our money, spitting out change, and, in the meantime, taking our jobs. These machines obviously raise questions about human labour.… Continue reading How to make self checkouts better, in 4 easy steps

De facto standards for search engines, and why it doesn’t hurt to follow them

I wrote a while ago about dominant design, whereby one design becomes the standard way of doing things. In that post, I gave examples of play/stop/pause icons on media players, qwerty keyboards and traffic lights, though there are plenty of other examples out there. One thing I didn't mention was the distinction between these two:… Continue reading De facto standards for search engines, and why it doesn’t hurt to follow them

Flipped teaching: narrow and wide definitions

Narrow Flipped teaching is sometimes presented narrowly, like this: Traditional = teacher spends class time lecturing, then students do exercises at home. Flipped = students watch video lectures at home, then do exercises in class. Wide You also see it presented more widely, like this: Traditional = teacher spends class time on content coverage, then students apply… Continue reading Flipped teaching: narrow and wide definitions