Navigating Higher Education

Note: this is the first post in a series that looks at how higher education needs to change in response to the wicked problems we face in the 21st century. Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash I think a lot about my daughter’s prospects. Her generation will inherit some of the greatest challenges that humanity has ever…

Food for Thought

https://unsplash.com/photos/Nsjv5z9zRng Photo by Swaminathan Jayaraman on Unsplash Cognitive Humanities For the longest time I have been thinking of a non-existent set of disciplines that I call the cognitive humanities. If cognitive science is the scientific study of the human mind and behavior, the cognitive humanities is the humanistic study of the human mind and behavior. Cognitive…

Knowledge Media

The Message is in the Medium Scholars create and communicate knowledge in several ways. The most public media we create are papers and books that are published after review and editing. We also write in other venues: newspaper articles, blogs and other venues that don’t have the same formality or prestige as papers and books but…

Neoliberal Academia

Academia plays several roles in modern society. Professors educate the not-so young, advance the frontiers of knowledge and act as critical mirrors of the larger culture. Neoliberal academia has reduced all of these functions to the furtherance of economic activity. That new goal is enforced with metrics that track those narrow concerns. In this new…

The Theory Formerly Known as Mathematics

It was my second year of graduate school. I had been in the US for a year. I had cracked my qualifiers. I knew the difference between pop tarts and Belgian waffles. I felt confident enough to start talking to non-mathematicians. After a few failed attempts, I met an economist (I will call her N)…

Organic Learning

While I have my doubts about disrupting any public service, including education, I can’t deny that the internet has made it possible for alternative learning communities, especially those that don’t have an established hierarchy such as professor-postdoc-grad student-undergraduate student. I call communities of self-organized individuals organic learning communities. The organic learner’s biggest advantage is also…

Education Digest

I have been writing here and there about the nature of education and how it should be transformed if we are to meet learners needs in the future. There a few themes that run through my work: equity and quality, technology and design and an orientation towards the future. However, my larger concern is not…

The Value of Education

When it comes to learning, I am like Mallory when asked why he wanted to climb Mt. Everest: “because it’s there.” Learning for it’s own sake is the only reason to learn as far as I am concerned. Research suggests that people have two different kinds of values: sacred values and utilitarian values. Sacred entities…