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A Better University

I previously wrote about the financial value of a university degree [1], my general conclusion is that the value is decreasing for most fields of employment that don’t have a legal requirement for a degree. In the past I wrote about some ideas for a home university [2], basically extending the home-schooling concept to a […]

The Financial Value of a University Degree

I’ve read quite a few articles about the value of a degree. Most of them come from the US where the combination of increasing tuition fees and uncertain job market makes a degree seem like a risky investment. I think that most analysis of the value of a degree are missing some important points.

The […]

Effective Computers for Schools

Sam Varghese has written an article that is very skeptical of the educational value of the OLPC project [1].

Are Laptops Any Good for Schools?

Sam cites an article in the New York Times by Winnie Hu about schools removing laptop programs due to a lack of success [2]. Winnie’s article gives an example of […]

Open Source Learning

Richard Baraniuk gave an interesting TED talk about Open Source Learning [1]. His project named Connexions which is dedicated to the purpose of creating Creative Commons free textbooks is a leader in this space [2].

He spoke about Catherine Schmidt-Jones who wrote 197 modules and 12 courses on music [3], that’s a very significant amount […]

A School IP Project

The music industry seems fairly aggressive in taking legal action against children when they break the licence terms of copyright material. I think it would be good to teach children about how the IP industry really works.

It seems to me that you could have a school project that involves an entire year level (maybe […]

School Reunions

I’ve never understood the point of school reunions. The past students association of a secondary school can potentially be of some use when you are looking for your first job, but once your career gets started it seems to be of minimal benefit. But apart from that there is no direct benefit.

I didn’t enjoy […]

Christmas Toys for Children

It’s almost Christmas and time to buy scientific toys for children. Here are some random ideas, of course it’s probably too late for the online stores to deliver – but there’s always next year.

The MikroKopter is a kit helicopter based on four propellors (two rotating in each direction) and is capable of semi-autonomous flight […]

Keating College

Some time ago I spoke to Craig Keating about his plans for a new secondary school in the center of Melbourne. His plan was to focus on the core academic areas and cater to academically gifted students. He had some interesting ideas for his business, one of which was to pay teachers rates that are […]

Programming and Games for Children

The design of levels for computer games is a form of programming, particularly for games with deterministic NPCs. It seems to me that for a large portion of the modern computer user-base the design of games levels will be their first experience of programming computers, the people who don’t start programming by creating games levels […]

Awful Computers for Kids

I have just observed demonstration units of the V-Smile system [1]. They have “educational games” aimed at ages 3-5, 4-7, and some similar ranges. The first thing I noticed was that children who were able to correctly play the games were a lot older than the designated ages. For example 10yo children were playing the […]