6 Truths of Effective Teachers

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  • View Their Teaching As A Science And An Art: methodologies change, they are not inflexible
  • Are Students of their Students: effective educators go deeper, they know their students on a personal level
  • Challenge All Students: the brain is malleable and hungers for challenge. Evidence shows that students, even those that may be struggling, rise to the occasion when challenged
  • Believe In The Success Of All Students, No Matter What: “A school staff that believes it can collectively accomplish great things is vital for the health of a school and if they believe they can make a positive difference then they very likely will” (Hatie)
  • Continuously Seeking Out Professional Learning: they are continuously seeking out professional learning. to improve all aspects of their practice
  • Feedback Is A Part Of Their Routine: they also look inward at their own practices, thinking about where they are in their teaching and where they want to improve

I don’t know if it’s just these six , or six of the many, but I agree with all of them in principal. As far as the second principle is concerned (becoming the student of the student) for me it doesn’t necessarily mean getting to know your students in depth, but more of being open to change because of them. i think tutors are constantly challenged by their students and therefore they too can revise the way they perceive their knowledge domain or their reality.

Full article available here

Delhaize store in Brussels grows its own vegetables

Delhaize created this farm back in Autumn with the idea of producing super fresh food for their customers (…) On the top of their store, they grew strawberries, lettuce, and tomatoes as well as small amounts of other fruits and vegetables. It recycles water, recovers heat from its greenhouses and relies on solar energy making it a permaculture farm (…) In the summer, Delhaize took their Urban Farm to a new level (metaphorically, as it’s already on the roof…) by introducing people up to the farm to attend workshops (…) The food is harvested at 8 am every morning and is on the shelves of the supermarket by 9 am

Image and article retrieved here

BBC Series on Italy’s invisible cities

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This was captivating! Professor Michael Scott in collaboration with
ScanLAB Projects uncover the subterranean infrastructure of Roman cities such as: Naples, Venice, Rome and Florence. I’ve just watched the Naples episode: Scott visits a series of the city’s underground tunnels and follows how the volcanoes’ eruptions have altered the city’s morphology.

High-precision laser-beam is used to read solid surfaces and, rather than building up an entire 3D model, it processes this image of an area as a series of points that make an overall cloud of how an area appears (…) 3D images are made possible using FARO 3D scanning equipment. The resulting point-clouds are also used for 3D virtual reality experience that can be viewed on the BBC website in browser or through a VR headset


Beau Jackson article

The images and the VR is breathtaking. Especially the ones retrieved from underwater. Image 2 belongs to the visual reconstruction of an ancient Roman villa that has been submerged. These were made possible through 3d scanning during an underwater dive to its remains. A must watch.

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Park Slope Food Coop

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I was amazed to see this documentary yesterday as I had no idea that such coop existed, especially in the US. This coop was originally founded in 1973 and it still is a very successful model of co-managing food resources in a way that the costs are decreased and the quality of the products gets better. Doc says that also Le Louve market in Paris was founded on the same principles more recently (2010). While here in Greece access to grocery is still very direct through local, open markets or smaller grocery stores, in the US and especially New York, this is not the case. People in the documentary explained how scarce and expensive quality food is and how the coop changed all that for the better. I was impressed by the coop’s organization; its principles and the way it brought people together not only as consumers, but also as members of a community. I got the following description from the doc’s webpage: 


FOOD COOP explores how ordinary people working together can upend the received wisdom of corporate America. Instead of treating shoppers as cash cows to be milked dry through infantalizing and manipulative marketing schemes, the Park Slope Food Coop believes in making its shoppers real stakeholders —literally the store’s sole shareholders— expected to shoulder the banal responsibilities that keep the massive machine going: receiving deliveries, cleaning floors and grease traps, putting stickers on produce, shelving cans, cutting cheese, putting spices in bags, scanning and weighing groceries—and standing at the exit to check the receipts of shoppers, who are almost physically forced the store by the constant crowds. It’s brutal, simple cooperative commerce—and no grocery store in New York City can touch its success.

It’s worth the shot to watch this. Very inspiring.

Algorithmic ethics

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In 2015, Grosz designed a new course called “Intelligent Systems: Design and Ethical Challenges that combined technical content with a series of real-life ethical conundrums and the relevant philosophical theories necessary to evaluate them.

Embedding ethics across the curriculum helps computer science students see how ethical issues can arise from many contexts, issues ranging from the way social networks facilitate the spread of false information to censorship to machine-learning techniques that empower statistical inferences in employment and in the criminal justice system.

Full article in Harvard Gazette, available here

The ‘Metamorphology’ Approach

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Article presents Damiano Cerrone, co-founder of Spin-Lab and his Metamorphology approach by measuring the spatial and configurational properties of urban spaces, local human activity patterns and socio-cultural value to create rankings of the popularity and attractivity of the place.

Having applied this methodology to over 80 Russian cities, the team used its discoveries to ” define knowledge-based guidelines to boost the social and economic life of streets and public spaces and improve the quality of life.” The team is also behind the Turku Open Platform (TOP) initiative for the city of Turku in Finland, an open platform that allows planners access to data of space, activities and value.

Cerrone goes on to claim the role of Interactional Planner instead of an Urban Planner as urbanity is much more than space, he claims, while “urban life is now diffused beyond the conceptual and political borders of one city.”

Student resistance to curriculum changes

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Sometimes, when we talk about learner independence, active learning or agency, we forget that this is not always for granted. Student consensus can not be considered a given. Trying out new things in a course (changing formats, layouts or mediums) produces changes that can be met with resistance and suspicion and it usually takes time until the cohort is convinced that what you are doing is actually working for them.

Student-Centered Learning and Student Buy-In article in Inside Higher Ed shows the results of curriculum change in a Biology course over a period of four years in relation to student satisfaction and acceptance. Pre- and post- course surveys show that student resistance decreased over the years and while grades did not change, the students’ perception of their gains has.

I remember that when we first introduced networked practices in an undergraduate design studio, students were terrified of the idea that their preliminary research and drawings would be published online for everyone to see. When talking about this, some expressed the fear that their ideas would loose their originality or that by the end of the semester everyone would converge to a single design idea/concept. Of course, none of this happened: in fact, it was quite revealing to see how diverse the research approaches and their respective representations actually were from a very early stage in the design process.

But there is also another interesting aspect in this article: the very fact that there was no single teacher but 13 of them. Now, I think this severely enhances the idea of a learning community. It’s not just about changing the format, it is about how you do it. By opening up the curriculum to more researchers and more teachers and by presenting the students with a course that is founded on a collaborative effort you ultimately denounce the idea of the expert and what comes along with that. And it is not by chance that grades have nothing to do with this. The very act of learning and being part of a learning community luckily can never fall into the hands of assessment.