Monthly Archives: January 2012

Self-Organized Learning

Source: Ted Blog, Jan 2012

What is self-organized learning?
In most schools, we measure children on what they know. By and large, they have to memorize the content of whatever test is coming up. Because measuring the results of rote learning is easy, rote prevails. What kids know is just not important in comparison with whether they can think.

Self-organized learning is a process where children in groups take on a topic or question which they then research using the Internet. While doing it, they have myriad discussions with each other that deepen their understanding of the answer. Along the way, there is no adult supervision or guidance of any sort.

How is this form of learning better?
Experiments show that children in unsupervised groups are capable of answering questions many years ahead of the material they’re learning in school. In fact, they seem to enjoy the absence of adult supervision, and they are very confident of finding the right answer. Ultimately, they retain the learning effortlessly and for years, much longer than what we see with rote memorization of facts and figures.



1-to-1 instruction for math

Source: Mindshift, Jan 2012

The folks behind The School of One, famous for creating daily playlists as lesson plans for students, have launched a non-profit that will allow any school to use its high-tech, personalized learning model.

Their first product is a middle-school math model called Teach to One: Math, with which students can learn in small groups, one-on-one with teachers, with math software and with online tutors, very much like students do at the School of One.

As with most adaptive software programs, the model will allow teachers to collect real-time data of student progress and design each student’s learning plan around that data. Parents will also have access to the information.


Wow!  It can be charged by either a hand-crank, or a solar panel.  See HERE for more information. 

Striving is Important

Source: Washington Post, Jan 2012

A growing body of research over three decades shows that easy, unearned praise does not help students but instead interferes with significant learning opportunities.  As schools ratchet up academic standards for all students, new buzzwords are “persistence,” “risk-taking” and “resilience” — each implying more sweat and strain than fuzzy, warm feelings.

“We used to think we could hand children self-esteem on a platter,” Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck said. “That has backfired.”

Dweck’s studies, embraced in Montgomery schools and elsewhere, have found that praising children for intelligence — “You’re so clever!” — also backfires. In study after study, children rewarded for being smart become more likely to shy away from hard assignments that might tarnish their star reputations.

But children praised for trying hard or taking risks tend to enjoy challenges and find greater success. Children also perform better in the long term when they believe that their intellect is not a birthright but something that grows and develops as they learn new things.

Brain imaging shows how this is true, how connections between nerve cells in the cortex multiply and grow stronger as people learn and practice new skills. This bit of science has proved to be motivating to struggling students because it gives them a sense of control over their success.

Dweck said it is important to be clear with children about what proficient or gold-medal performance looks like so they know what to strive for. (Unhelpful: “You were robbed! Those judges must be blind!”)

But she stresses the importance of using praise to encourage risk-taking and learning from failure in the classroom, experiences that make way for invention, creativity and resilience.

A US$50 Computer Tablet (from India)

Source: WSJ, Jan 2012

It’s called the Aakash Ubislate 7, and its humble specs would cause iPad owners to burst out in hysterical laughter: A 7-inch screen without multitouch. A battery that lasts a little under three hours. A processor that runs at a tenth the speed of iPad 2′s A5 chip and just two gigabytes of storage — all running a four-year-old version of the Android OS and crammed into a chunky case reminiscent of a vintage GPS.

Datawind made use of the 17 patents they’d obtained for compression and image rendering to ensure that the Aakash could deliver a 3G experience on a 2.5G connection. “So the experience you get on GPRS with our tablet is as good or better than the one you’d get on 3G in India,” says Tuli. “We built our tablet understanding that the default network it would run on is one of the slowest and most congested in the world.”

Test Embedded Malay-subtitled Video-Clip



Approval to Use the Khan Academy name for our website

My Jan 6, 2012 e-mail to a KA team member:

Do we need explicit permission from the Khan Academy to use the either of the following domain names: KhanAcademyMalay or KhanAcademyBM? If so, how should we comply with the KA restrictions? For example:
The Khan Academy Bangla website has the following text 
The video content here is licensed under Creative Commons. Original content was generated by Khan Academy and the translation into Bangla is done by Nascenia IT in collaboration with Khan Academy. The compilation, site development and maintenance are done by Nascenia IT, as a pro bono. 
Will including the text as above be sufficient?  


KA Team Member Jan 6, 2012 response 

Sounds good Mark.  An approach similar to the one that the Bengali team followed would be fine.  You can create a domain name that makes sense for you.