Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Education

#Libraries & #Learning: a #Survey

Surveys can be extremely misleading—those having skewed methods to produce biased results.

The survey featured today seems, to me, to have been conducted correctly—here’s their methodology page

And here’s a statement from the organization behind the survey:

Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. We conduct public opinion polling, demographic research, content analysis and other data-driven social science research. We do not take policy positions.”

The fact that the survey is about Americans and their libraries might be considered valuable by the majority of readers of this blog; but, minorities can be extremely important—so, I hope folks in countries other than the USA will share information in the comments

I’ll share some of the major findings and leave it to those needing more detailed information to visit this link —> Libraries and Learning:

“Library users think of themselves as lifelong learners”

“Library usage continues to evolve”

“The number of those visiting library buildings is trending down, while the number of library website users has leveled off”

“Those who use libraries and their digital materials are more likely to be parents of minors, women, under age 50, and better educated”

“Library users self-identify as lifelong learners and as people interested in new information”

“Library users are major technology adopters”

“Library users stand out as ‘personal learners’”

“Recent library users are more likely to cite benefits from personal learning than others”

“Those who use library websites are more likely to be professional learners in many contexts”

“Those who use libraries feel relatively satisfied with their performance in learning situations, particularly women, blacks, Hispanics, those in lower-income households and those ages 30 and older”

“Notable shares of Americans do not know that libraries offer learning-related programs and materials”

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Sometimes Writers Have To Go Back To School . . .

I’ve published two posts in the past about how writers (and, folks who don’t write much at all) can get free higher education to aid them in their work.

But I’m not talking about taking creative writing courses—more like having a character who’s a doctor and taking an anatomy course

Here are those two past posts:

Research Resources for Writers

More Help for Researching Writers

And, here come some more resources


From The Site:

“The idea is simple: to publish all of our course materials online and make them widely available to everyone.”
Dick K.P. Yue, Professor, MIT School of Engineering

Unlocking Knowledge

MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) is a web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content. OCW is open and available to the world and is a permanent MIT activity.

Empowering Minds

Through OCW, educators improve courses and curricula, making their schools more effective; students find additional resources to help them succeed; and independent learners enrich their lives and use the content to tackle some of our world’s most difficult challenges, including sustainable development, climate change, and cancer eradication.


Open Yale courses

From The Site:

A Welcome From Diana E. E. Kleiner
Founding Director and Principal Investigator

We welcome you to explore Open Yale Courses where you can discover a wide range of timely and timeless topics taught by Yale professors, each with a unique perspective and an individual interpretation of a particular field of study. We hope the lectures and other course materials, which reflect the values of a Yale liberal arts education, inspire your own critical thinking and creative imagination.


Academic Earth

From The Site:

Rethink Education

Academic Earth believes everyone deserves access to a world-class education, which is why we continue to offer a comprehensive collection of free online courses from the world’s top universities. And now, we take learning outside the classroom with our original series of thought-provoking videos, designed to spark your intellectual curiosity and start a conversation. Watch, learn, share, debate. After all, only through questioning the world around us, can we come to better understand it.


By The Way…

It certainly seems those are all Free

If you find out otherwise, please share in the Comments :-)
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Education For Writers ~ Did Your Teachers Help You Learn?

A writer begins to learn the moment they’re born.

First mom and dad are the teachers—maybe siblings and friends—then, the grades of school

In an essay I published 15 years ago, about my own education, I wrote:

“As I sit heresurveying the territories my learning and education have each secured, I see the utter dependence of education on the quality of the learning that fills it; and, more importantly, the need for clearly-defined, comprehensive goals of education to insure proper learning. I’m also aware of many other people called ‘bright’, ‘exceptional’ or ‘natural learners’ who are as chaotically confused as I was….

“This is an educational universe in which learning is a tool that acts to expand the potential for humanity’s education. Did that seem like a circuitous definition? Well It was meant to be.”

Back in March of 2011, I published the post, All About Kids And Creativity—worth checking out if you feel you got a bad education

That post has two videos of Sir Ken Robinson who says that his mission is “to transform the culture of education and organizations with a richer conception of human creativity and intelligence.”

The videos are called Do Schools Kill Creativity and Bring On The Learning Revolution!

Seems to me that any serious writer (even if they’re writing is all humorous) either has, or wishes they had, fully utilized their creativity and intelligence


Many of us grew up in educational systems that tried to cram information into our minds—turn us into Good Little Social Units

If I may be briefly blatant: Good Little Social Units are not creative writers—they may be “good” writers but their work doesn’t inspire or invigorate or vivify.

I had to work hard, for many years, to dismantle the parts of my mind that got indoctrinated in Social-Unit-Education.

Then, I had to learn new ways to release my ability to LearnOld English leornian “to get knowledge, be cultivated, study, read, think about,” from Proto-Germanic *liznojan (cf. Old Frisian lernia, Middle Dutch leeren, Dutch leren, Old High German lernen, German lernen “to learn,” Gothic lais “I know”), with a base sense of “to follow or find the track,” from PIE *leis- “track.” Related to German Gleis “track,” and to Old English læst “sole of the foot”.

Sir Ken Robinson has a new video called How to Escape Education’s Death Valley.

I would Love to see your thoughts and feelings about what he says, in the Comments :-)

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Education, Music, and Writing

“We don’t need no education” are words from Pink Floyd’s Another Brick In The Wall.

They’re followed by “We don’t need no thought-control”.

Equating education and thought-control is easy in our current world-culture.

Plus, thought-control doesn’t only happen in the classroom—film, TV shows, mainstream media, clergy, and advertising all attempt various forms of “education”

And, many books of fiction “educate” us by immersing our feelings in situations so seemingly real we absorb dangerous “lessons”—unless we’re on our guard.

The word-history of “education” includes the meanings “lead out”, “bring out”, and “lead forth”.

So it would seem we do have the ability to protect ourselves from improper “education” by not letting ourselves be led around, whether the enticement is to our hearts or minds.

In a post from March, Music & Writing ~ Kissin’ Cousins, I said:

“Many authors can’t even write if their favorite music isn’t playing

“Some writers have special music they play for each character in their story

“Even though I treasured books as a youth and considered English as a major in college, until I got to my 40s, Music was my Muse.

“I played brass instruments as a child—sang in the church and later on the secular stage.

“Even when I did write some poetry or attempt a story, I ‘thought’ of the writing as a performance nearly identical to music.”

“Personally, I find the Spirit of Music to be closely related to the Spirit of Literature—word and tone having sprung from the same human Roots

I also feel music educates us since it has such power to lead us, to bring forth feeling and thought

Some folks are very careful about what music they listen to.

Some folks are very careful about what they read.

Some folks aren’t careful at all about either

Can you see similarities between writing and music?

Do you think they both “educate” us, even if we sometimes don’t notice it’s happening?

I’ve always loved to study but always had problems with most of the “education” presented in schools.

Are you that way, too?

If so, you should appreciate this video:

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Education ~ Reading, Writing, and Publishing…

The three Rs, Readin’, Ritin’ and ‘Rithmetic, have been attacked as truly basic subjects for a proper education.

While all three demand a modicum of intelligent effort to learn, there are concerns about young students’ lack of critical thinking.

Reading needs an ability to evaluate what’s read.

Writing needs introspective analysis.

Math needs humane problems to solve.

Since I’m merely a man who’s loved to study but couldn’t deal with school, I’ll leave deeper considerations of proper educations to others

Since I’m a writer who hopes more readers will write, more writers will educate, and more publishers will concern themselves with more than their bottom-line, I found an article from DMLcentral of abiding interest.

DMLcentral is devoted to, “…analyzing and interpreting the impact of the Internet and digital media on education, civic engagement, and youth.”

The article is, Teaching Publishing as a 21st Century Literacy.

From the article:

“…here are three short ideas for how teachers can think about the overlapping literacies of writing and publishing.

Published writing is written for an audience.

Published writing depends on writing technologies.

Published writing helps students learn identity creation.

Before you follow the link to the article to read what they say about those three ideas, I’ll challenge you to sit and ponder; see what you come up with on your own, jot down a couple notes for each idea.

Then, go read the article and compare what those educators say with your own ideas—simple little exercise; kinda like school :-)

But I want to be more like some of my favorite teachers, the ones who lead you toward knowledge

Here’s another excerpt from the article to help orient your pondering on those three ideas:

“One of the goals of education—digital or otherwise—is to prepare students for thinking and doing outside the classroom. And while it is true that the goal of teaching writing has always been to prepare students for writing beyond the walls of the schoolhouse, this is even more the case now that digital publishing has become so widely available in our society. In other words, as much as possible, the task of teaching writing is also teaching writing for public consumption, and teaching writing for public consumption in the network society means teaching writing and publishing as being inseparable.”

Place your papers on my desk as you leave the classroom and enjoy your holiday vacation!
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