School Blog

Commentpress in the Classroom

Hot on the heels of demonstrating it at the Peer Education briefing (see my last post), the Institute for the Future of the Book has some interesting thoughts about using Commentpress in classrooms.

It's interesting to see how the digital divide is still noticeable, even in a relatively affluent New York school. It's also interesting to see how Sol Gaitan, the teacher, weighs up the pros and cons of continuing her face-to-face teaching in virtual space.

"CommentPress has added work to my daily life because I must check student work more often, I must send them grammatical tidbits, and I must add my own comments when things need clarification. However, I can feel the pulse of the class more closely and accurately, and I don't have a ton of papers or exams to grade all at once."

Obviously it's not enough just to network everything; there are no magical solutions to teaching or learning something. But wherever it becomes more or less widespread, technology is irrevocably changing what we think learning is, and how it's done.

Peer education briefing

sMary and Andy from School of Everything talked about free schools and peer learning, as part of the Open for Business series of events organised by Saul at The People Speak.

They were joined by Ben from the Institute for the Future of the Book, who talked about several of the Institute's projects including Commentpress, a Wordpress hack that allows paragraph-by-paragraph commenting alongside the main text.

Might sound a bit abstract, but it's dead handy for carrying on a conversation after a live event. It's also free to download as a Wordpress theme.

The evening's talks were uploaded into Commentpress here. Take a look - and feel free to add your comments...

School of Everything in Berlin

I'll be at Web 2.0 Expo in Berlin next week as part of the Seedcamp panel (1.30-3,30pm Monday 5th November). If you're going to be there come and say hello!

Britney Spears goes Drupal

All the best people are using Drupal to build their sites these days. As well as School of Everything, Britney Spears has just joined the open source club. Now I wonder what she could teach in the School of Everything...

[via Dries]

What students think of their education

Michael Wesch is developing quite a reputation for creating thought-provoking Youtube videos (check out this and this if you haven't seen any of his work before). This one is related more closely to the ideas behind School of Everything.

[Thanks JP!]

Learn game design

The London Games Festival and Fringe runs from October 22nd until early November. As part of the festival, Skillset and the LDA are running Skills Week, a series of free workshops offering a chance to learn about existing and emerging skills in this fast-changing industry.

There's more information on the LGFF website.

Learn eco-building

Having built their own low-impact home in a forest in Wales, uber-green parents Simon and Jasmine are now making preparations to create a whole village with a group of like-minded people.

They need people to come and help them build over summer 2008. It's a great chance to learn hands-on, for free (well, in exchange for your efforts) how to do this stuff.

If you've ever daydreamed about leading a green life, learning a bit more about permaculture, or just having a working holiday where you really get to achieve something, get in touch with them!


Instructables: share your how-tos

Some people teach; some think about it; everyone has something to teach. That's the point of the School of Everything. Another take on the idea, less face-to-face oriented than Project Everything but no less intriguing, is Instructables.

Some of you probably know it already. But for those who don't, take a look - it's a site where you can create videos showing people how to do something, and upload them for others to enjoy. There's all sorts there, from Lego fractals to domestic safety via science projects and cooking. It's good browsing stuff.

Do you have an Instructable? Or something cool you know how to do on YouTube? Planning on making a video? If so, we want to know! Send the link to mary [at] - if you're into it that'll help me bully ahem persuade the lovely Greenman to add video uploading to the teacher profiles...

Do schools today kill creativity?

Education guru Sir Ken Robinson makes a funny and passionate case for building an education system that nurtures creativity.

Anybody got a pump?

So Andy was clearing out his wardrobe and found a couple of inflatable chairs that he's donated to the Team Everything furniture pool. I think they'll look rather fetching on our astroturf balcony but it's going to take me weeks to blow them up. Anybody got a pump I can borrow?

Don't be shy, say hello. We'd love to hear from you.

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