Why Self-Education Or Homeschooling Is Becoming More Popular


“Drop out of school before your mind rots from exposure to our mediocre educational system. Forget about the Senior Prom and go to the library and educate yourself if you’ve got any guts. Some of you like Pep rallies and plastic robots who tell you what to read.” – Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa pointed that the standardized educational system often limits people’s imagination and will for learning. If you want to break the boundaries and surpass mediocrity, you may just have to get out of that system, and self-education is the way to do it. Here are the most important reasons to start investigating your own interests without any postponements:

Related CE Article: This Is What Happens When A Kid Leaves Traditional Education

1. There Are No Grades

You will be the judge for your own accomplishments. There will be no standardized tests and subjective grades on papers that don’t awaken your interest. You will learn for the purpose of learning. When the pressure of a grade goes away, you will be amazed by your genuine motivation for self-development.

2. Self-Education Fulfills You

When you realize that you’re making real efforts to fulfill your own dreams, you’ll feel like a complete person. Have you noticed the enthusiasm in the eyes of people who are doing what they love? That’s what self-education does – it gives you inner satisfaction and certainty in all decisions you make.

3. No One Can Take Your Knowledge Away

Sometimes college and university professors are the greatest demotivators. They give you low grades on projects, even though you tried your best to meet their requirements and made sure to conduct an in-depth research. It’s like they are underestimating your efforts. When you are learning what you want to learn, you will be the only person in charge of the projects and lectures relevant to your interests.

4. You Will Discover New Opportunities

College does prepare you for a professional career. However, you can’t expect to get the job of your dreams just because you have a degree. Do you know what makes certain graduates more successful than others? Their practical skills and the knowledge they have gained outside the classroom. When you consider learning to be a lifetime activity, you’ll keep discovering new opportunities as you expand beyond the boundaries of traditional education.

5. There Are No Limits You Can’t Push

When you start investing time and effort in self-education, you’ll realize that there is no end to that journey. As soon as you discover the things you want to know, you’ll start wondering about something else, and that will raise other questions. That’s the whole beauty of learning without being limited by textbooks and a standardized system – you never stop wondering. Your perspective of impossible will shift and you’ll understand that the capacity of your mind is much greater than you ever imagined.

6. You’ll Adapt To The Ever-changing World

In other words, you’ll always stay relevant. Your current skills and knowledge can easily become obsolete when the next generations graduate. Thus, success in any profession is intertwined with self-development. Make sure to learn new techniques and skills if you want to make progress in your career.

7. Self-Education Makes You A More Interesting Person

There are two types of people in a conversation: those who have nothing to say and those who can always think of fun facts that amuse everyone around. Which one are you going to be? The more information you know and the more areas you explore – the more interesting you become. Don’t stop seeking out new challenges; they will add more depth and appeal to your character.

 

Original source (Collective Evolution)

PhD Lifestyle: Are Most Academics Lonely at Work?


There are clearly benefits of being part of an on-campus community. If you listen to PhD students talk, you might get the idea that poor supervision is the main problem, but survey after survey shows that PhD students everywhere think universities are doing a poor job of creating a sense of community.

So why are students reporting a lack of community? Some element is clearly missing – but what?

‘Community’ is defined in two ways: the first as a ‘being together’ in the same physical place, and the second as ‘feeling together’ – a sense of belonging that comes with working with people of like mind and heart.

Community is not just about being in the same place or having the same events to go to – it’s about that ‘feeling of fellowship’ that comes with sharing common interests and goals. The quickest way to achieve a sense of belonging, aside from perhaps religion, is shared work.

If you think about it, the structure of academic work does not give us many opportunities to work together on shared goals. Being an academic is nothing like my previous careers where I worked in large teams. On my research days at home it’s common for me not to speak to a soul.

Last week at a dinner party, someone said that being an academic is a bit like owning your own small business. This struck me as being very true. Being an academic is like managing a small shop that doesn’t get many customers each day. You set the performance targets. You decide if your ‘product lines’ (research, teaching) are profitable enough. You might have a few people in to help you during the busy times, but essentially you open and close the shop most days.

In fact, if I think too much about it, often my working life feels this way. No wonder many academics report feeling intensely lonely at times. Kate Bowles wrote beautifully about how academic work can make us feel estranged from the rest of the world. For many, the loneliness starts with the PhD itself. I’ve written before about how weird it feels that no one seems to care as much as you.

So what can we do about it?
Here are a few ideas on how to make the experience more communal:
1) Book Club Model: Simply make a regular meet up time for your group or department to have coffee, discuss the course content together and your reactions to it. The course content will launch on a Wednesday because I think this a good, midweek catch up day.

2) Blended Classroom Model: If you are a supervisor or researcher developer, consider using the course as part of your own workshop series and convene discussion sessions around it – either for students or supervisors. If I were doing this, I would take the opportunity to build my own content or activities around the course.

3) Virtual and Local Communities: Create your own Facebook group to connect people online to discuss themes and organise meetups, either as a ‘virtual community of interest’ (such as for people in African studies as an example) or a ‘local community of practice’ (for people in your location, meetups, etc.). A virtual community of interest would help you connect scholars in your discipline, the local community of practice could help you connect with and meet people in in your physical location.

4) Get Social on social networks with national and international peers.

What MOOCs Are Teaching Universities


MOOCs are inspiring university and high school teachers to try assigning video lectures for homework so class time can be used for asking questions and hands-on assignments.
When the first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) enrolled over a hundred thousand students from all over the world, it started an education buzz about how technology could revolutionize higher education.

A few years later, MOOCs haven’t exactly replaced expensive college degrees, but edX CEO Anant Agarwal says the MIT experiment with MOOCs has given educators important insights into how students learn.

In his TED talk, Agarwal describes how MOOCs are inspiring university and high school teachers to try assigning video lectures for homework so class time can be used for asking questions and hands-on assignments.

He’s fired up at how engaged students have been and at the power of immediate feedback the online platform offers. Even more impressive, students from around the world are discussing concepts together online, eventually finding answers to questions on their own.

MOOCs may not have upended the university system as predicted, but they may have done something better, Agarwal says — force inert institutions to rethink their practices.

Original Source (MindShift)

The World We Explore – Sir Ken Robinson


Hey there,

I’ve found this Youtube video of genius educator Sir Ken Robinson a couple of years ago and bookmarked it.

Today, while doing some “bookmark clean up” on Chrome I found out why I bookmarked it on the first place, and I hope you find it equally interesting and insightful as I did.


Curiosity encourages us to push boundaries into uncharted territories. Where can our hunger for discovery take us – both outside and inside ourselves?

See also: Sir Ken Robinson: The True Story of an Education Revolutionary

Best regards,
Pedro Calado

5 Science Videos That Make You Think About Ethics, Habitat and Climate Change


There’s an abundance of science videos on the internet, but not all equally amazing, so, offering an eclectic mix of cool science videos, Molly Michelson (Science Today producer) recommends 5 of her favorite clips.

1. WHERE’D YOU GET ALL THOSE DEAD ANIMALS?
2. THE ANIMATED LIFE OF A.R. WALLACE
3. TRADE OFFS FOR BIODIVERSITY
4. HOW OCEAN ACIDIFICATION AFFECTS BIODIVERSITY
5. IMPACTS OF NEW TECHNOLOGY ON SCIENCE

Learn here more about each video and why they are important to Science.
Okay, they aren’t TED Talks, but I hope you enjoy them as much as I did, especially the 2nd and 3rd videos.

Best regards,
Pedro Calado

Original Source – MindShift

How and Why Academics Really Use Twitter


Many academics view Twitter with serious skepticism. At best, it seems difficult to communicate anything of complexity within 140 characters. However, university professors in many disciplines are increasingly using Twitter to share links to articles and ideas, to reach out to colleagues in other parts of the world, and to reflect on papers presented at conferences.  Twitter helps researchers to foster interdisciplinary connections, to spread the word about research fellowships and opportunities, and to share information quickly (and at scale). – Alisa Gross

How Academics Use Twitter

As the use of Twitter amongst academics has become more widespread, researchers have become interested in considering academic patterns of use and perspectives on its professional and research utility.
Articles published over the past five years have covered the following topics:
1) General statistics and observations about academics on Twitter
2) How Twitter is used as a mechanism for both discussing and publicizing research
3) Differences between Twitter scholarly communication amongst disciplines
4) How Twitter is used within academic conferences
5) Perspectives on Twitter’s utility for making professional connections and for networking. – Alisa Gross

Original Source: The Acclaim Blog

The Building Blocks of Skills Teaching


Oxford University Press

What are the building blocks of skills teaching and how can these help your learners listen and read for tomorrow?

Take a look at this infographic to find out more.

Navigate Infographic

Navigate is a brand new General English course that takes an innovative approach to reading and listening based on this academic research as to how adults best learn languages. It teaches reading and listening from the bottom up, giving learners the skills they need to understand the next text they will read and hear, not just the one they are reading or hearing now. The course content also has been extensively piloted and reviewed in ELT classrooms across the world, giving teachers the confidence that it really works. Find out more at www.oup.com/elt/yourdirectroute

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