No minority short sticks in handschooling


Posted on 3rd January 2011 by Judy Breck in Equality | Mobiles


“Minority Students Get the Short End of the Democrat Stick” writes Kerri Toloczko today on the BigGovernment blog. As education moves on to the center stage of politics, one of the key questions is how to make the opportunity to learn equal for all children.

In the United States there are decades-old inequalities that affect mostly African-American and Hispanic students. In just about every country’s and culture’s education there are groups to whom the short stick of education is the norm. Eradicating these habits is not easy, and at best will take time. The minorities now school age are very unlikely to get their hands on a long stick of learning.


With a mobile device in a student’s hands, browsing the open Web connects to exactly the same knowledge to learn for every student. The online knowledge each student connects to is identical. The device and those who created the knowledge have no idea who is connected to the subject matter, so they cannot have prejudices against the student.

The FamousTrials website, for example, does not know if someone studying The Dakota Conflict Trials of 1862 is Korean, Nigerian, American, Black, White, Hispanic, or Sioux.

Mobile-only web use surging worldwide

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Posted on 16th December 2010 by Judy Breck in Mobiles | Next

Mobile advertising guru and renaissance guy Russell Buckley reports today on MobHappy:

Gen MO – Mobile-Only Generation: [These are people who only access the web via their mobile phones. They don't have PCs.... ]

The latest survey shows that mobile-only usage is as high as 70% in Egypt and 59% in India, with the Big Four Asian markets (India, China, Indonesia, Thailand) coming in at an average of 43% and the Big Five African ones (South Africa, Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya) even higher at 56%.

But the really big surprise for me is how many MOs we have in the US (25%) and the UK (22%).

Clearly, the case for mobile advertising is already proven beyond all possible doubt. But if you’re still not using mobile to reach your potential customers, there’s clearly a bunch of people you’re just not going to reach.

As a market, these MOs are someone we should all be studying closely. Not only will they give us clues about how they use mobile today, but will provide a really important insight into how we will all be behaving in the future and the tools we need to develop to enable the Post-PC world that we’ve been writing about for a long time now at MobHappy.

Educators, too, need to be studying the Post-PC world closely. It is pretty safe to assume that the highest number of MOs now are younger people — and that there are already many who have been born who will never have a PC, yet always carry their own web connected device.

It is also becoming increasingly clear that far from enough brick and mortar schools and universities will ever be built to served youngsters who qualify for them. As much as we older folks may be nostalgic for schools of yore, the reality of MO education is much more likely.

Education has much to learn about online optimization


Posted on 13th December 2010 by Judy Breck in Findability | Next

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Everything a student needs to learn to be highly educated is now online for free. BUT almost none of that knowledge is optimized.

What does optimized online mean?

If you will spend a few minutes clicking through the OMS schedule, you will get the idea of:

1) what is being done to make stuff findable to buy online
2) what is NOT being done to make stuff findable to learn online.

The online commerce world has developed a major search engine optimization (SEO) industry. SEO has spawned search engine marketing (SEM). The explosion of social networking is being harnessed by the experts and minions from these fields which connect customers with webpages that have products.

A student who wants to find out something about physics, or biology, or history, or literature, or any other “school” subject has no experts or minions organizing those topics online. Again, clicking through the OMS schedule will show you a lot about how this new industry connects people and products.

How to stimulate education quickly and globally? Knowledge needs to be treated like running shoes, books, cosmetics, plumbing fixtures, shampoo and thousands of other things you can find in a click or two online.

The dozens of topics in the OMS schedule suggest dozens of ways educators could approach making knowledge to learn more findable. That will not fix everything about education, but it makes a big start by optimizing  the ability of students to find what they need to learn.

Kids smart on apps and not at school

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Posted on 9th December 2010 by Judy Breck in Mobiles | Next | Schools we now have

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After smarting for a couple of days over the stories about how much smarter kids are in Shanghai (in math and science) than in the USA, we are now regaled with the dangers of preschoolers cracking password protection to buy Smurfberries for an iPhone app game they play.

An AP story today has 13 paragraphs of scariness about toddler “buying sprees in iPhone games” before the reader is told:

Apple defends its system. Spokeswoman Trudy Muller says the password system is adequate and points out that parents can restrict in-app purchases. The parents contacted for the story received refunds from Apple after complaining, and praised the company’s responsiveness.

When one reads what comes next in the article, it is fair to ask, why are oldtime schools instead of devices like iPhones and iPads used to teach little kids their 3Rs. If a 5-year-old can figure out how to go around the password delay to buy his Smurfberries can he not learn his arithmetic in a similar way?

The article continues:

However, there’s reason to believe that the password timeout doesn’t always work.

Andrew Butterworth of Brooklin, Ontario, was well aware of how in-app purchases work and of the password-free period. He was careful to let at least 15 minutes pass after a password entry before letting his 5-year-old son play with his iPod Touch. That didn’t help, once he’d loaded “The Smurfs’ Village.”

“He came to me all proud and said he’d figured out a way to get all these Smurfberries,” Butterworth says. “And as soon as I saw the Smurfberries, I knew that he’d purchased them using my credit card. I was amazed that he’d figured out a way to do it, because I was sure that he would have needed my password.”

There are two habits that need to be changed:
1. The media needs to rethink scaring the public about kids and digital devices.
2. Handschooling needs to be strongly considered as a means to develop the smarts of kids.

OER on Facebook lets nodes of knowledge friend each other


Posted on 1st December 2010 by Judy Breck in Findability | Next

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Wired Campus reports: British University Offers M.B.A. Courses on Facebook. From the article:

Facebook has changed the way students, faculty members, and administrators communicate outside the classroom. Now, with the introduction of the London School of Business & Finance’s Global MBA Facebook app, Facebook is becoming the classroom.

The Global MBA app—introduced in October—lets users sample typical business-school courses like corporate finance and organizational behavior through the social-networking site. The free course material includes interactive message boards, a note-taking tool, and video lectures and discussions with insiders from industry giants like Accenture Management Consulting and Deloitte. This may be a good way to market a school, notes an observer from a business-school accrediting organization, but it may not be the best way to deliver courses. . . .

The remainder of the Wired Campus article muses about the efficacy of Facebook as a venue for offering courses. More relevant to the future of learning is the small size of the unbundled nodes of “OER” (open educational resources) the article describes. In the networking structure of Facebook, a node (a lecture, a discussion with an expert) can have a life of its own. One node can show up in lots of different places and many patterns of other nodes. Nodes, in a real sense, friend each other. When that happens we get a glimpse of the emergent future of OER.

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