How hierarchies kill creativity

David Burkus mentions a common view about the behaviour of people in hierarchies and the role of ideas

Creative ideas that come from the middle or lower levels of a hierarchy have to work their way up through a series of managers, each with the power to veto but each lacking the power to implement. Supervisors often reject innovative ideas because the individuals who developed theses ideas understand the novelty and applicability of them better than supervisors. As an idea moves through the different levels, the likelihood of rejection increases, since those managers are further from the domain the idea applies to and less likely to understand its true value in that domain

He discusses a company where they had an internal stock market and invested in ideas

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The Educational Value of Creative Disobedience

Andrea Kuszewski describes her father as her walking encyclopaedia when she was a child and how she used watch him in his workshop and ask lots of random questions. One time he was unable to answer her question and she began a process of investigation and discovery for herself which changed her attitude to school

As much as I loved learning, school was uninspiring and left me hollow. I saw school as a necessary time commitment, but not much else. I ended up doing most of my learning and exploration on my own with whatever tools I had at my disposal—books, observation, watching people, and of course—my imagination.

Obviously my love for science and learning was not completely destroyed by my early school experience, or I wouldn’t be where I am today.

She is now looking at psychology and neuroscience for answers and has created some hypotheses about action sequences, direct instruction and problem solving.

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Using Social Media to Engage and Improve Learning in any Medical Conference.

Christian Assad mentions that traditional conferences are difficult to digest

It is like trying to give someone a boiled chicken thigh with no salt or spices. If you are vegetarian it would equal an uncooked piece of Tempeh.  They are both good for you but good luck swallowing more than 3 pieces

He reveals examples of presentation slides he created which have a twitter link from an idea by Timo Elliott

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The Scholarly Web

John Elmes refers to a blog post by Professor Martin Weller who feels that the development of a more formal structure for MOOCs is likely. He has been an advocate of open education but has some reservations about MOOCs.

The beauty of forming a MOOC, he says, was that it “allowed you to explore new pedagogy…and subject matter”. He believes the latest models are too conventional.

Professor Weller also worries that, while they are free, they are not open in the sense of being “reusable and openly accessible”.

He is also concerned that if MOOCs were to develop a commercial aspect, it would not be long before “they are engaged in Facebook-type data selling, for instance”.

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Is Sebastian Thrun’s Udacity the future of higher education?

William Bennett, U.S. secretary of education from 1985 to 1988 and director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy under President George H.W. Bush interviewed Sebastian Thrun about Udacity and participation in the Stanford AI MOOC, reporting on CNN.

He explains the interest in the AI content and how they have now launched 11 additional STEM courses available in the same MOOC format. They are partnering with US companies to encourage them to employ people with Udacity certificates and doing more extensive checking on in-person testing centers to verify identities and knowledge.

“I asked Thrun whether his enterprise and others like it will be the end of higher education as we know it — exclusive enclaves for a limited number of students at high tuitions? “I think it’s the beginning of higher education,” Thrun replied. “It’s the beginning of higher education for everybody.”

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Can Free Online Courses Transform the Higher Education Industry?

Knowledge@Wharton provide their take on higher education, MOOCS and change. They report on a participant of the AI Stanford course who got a job in machine learning shortly afterwards. They look back at online education initiatives in recent years and wonder if this is different

Why might Coursera or another of the new enterprises succeed where others have failed? For one, the technology has evolved. Video and audio are crisper. Desktop sharing tools and discussion boards are easier to navigate. There is greater access to Internet libraries. Course developers also have a more nuanced understanding of how people learn online and the best ways to present information in that format. Coursera, for example, slices lectures into digestible 10- or 15-minute segments and provides online quizzes as part of each section. Professors answer questions from students in online forums. This is a vast improvement from previous online education ventures that offered a less dynamic learning model where students watched canned lectures, with no interaction.

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Innovation paths

Maureen Devlin reflects on how her thinking and work in education has dramatically changed in recent years.

I no longer create a static system for students to follow and obey, instead I create paths of learning–fluid paths of exploration, discovery, voice and practice that build students’ skill, knowledge and concept foundation while also offering students real-time opportunities to develop communication, critical thinking, creativity and collaboration skills and understanding.

These new learning paths leave room for spontaneous challenge, innovation and change.  We begin the paths with the creation of goals and vision, then as we meander down the learning path we stop repeatedly to look back, analyze, revise and move forward again

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Purpose (and life’s lessons learnt in video games)

Nicky has decided that she never wants to stop learning and she wants to contribute to the collective of human knowledge sometime in her lifetime. She has found a sense of purpose in many aspects of her life and her academic studies but then felt challenged further whilst playing a video game

I wasn’t even considering the topic at hand one night whilst playing Skyrim on the PC. ;My character was seeking out a particular mage in a tower and when I got close enough to him he spoke an offhanded one-liner like most of the NPCs (non-human characters) in the game: “They say the pursuit of knowledge is it’s own reward.” It didn’t strike me as being particularly inspirational but I found myself thinking, “Right on, little elven dude.”Later I reflected on the concept more, and came to the conclusion my university studies had always been a means to an end, rather an end in and of itself. Could I be content that my goal, both academically and career-wise, is simply the pursuit of knowledge?

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Free online courses at Harvard and MIT

Seniors Aloud proving that there is never a time to stop learning – excited by the new opportunities presented by MOOCs.

For older adults and retirees keen on going back to school again, this news is heaven-sent. With an empty nest at home and time on their hands, this is a wonderful opportunity for them to acquire new knowledge and prevent the brain from getting rusty.

If you think that your age might pose an obstacle to learning, look at Dr Allan Stewart a former dental surgeon from Australia. Last Friday he obtained his fourth degree – Master in Clinical Science (Complementary Medicine) at the ripe old age of 97!!!  He currently holds the world record for being the oldest graduate.

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