This comment left by Anne Blocker, Director of the National Learning Laboratory is a great example of what’s great about Weblogs. Considering it was the absolute first thing I read online in 2005, it hopefully augers a great blog year upcoming.
Her comment has left me thinking a great deal about how technology offers different value to different learners. I’m such a visual learner that perhaps the iPod may not be a tool I use often. But for Anne, obviously, the iPod plays a very important role in how she learns. And as an instructional technology supervisor, I appreciate the reminder. Her process is such an eye-opener to me, and it’s got me looking for a way to replicate it in Windows. WireTap Pro looks like an amazing program, but because it’s MAC only, it’s one I can’t use, and neither can my students. I’m also thinking about her statement that “slow students need everything faster.” There is obviously a lot I have to learn.
It’s interactions like these that make me such a blogvangelist. Like Anne, I can’t imagine my life without the constant learning opportunities that these tools offer.
Here’s to a great year!
Anne Blocker says
Will, if you’re going to be that nice to your first-timers, you’re going to be flooded with postings in 2005. We have spent a decade on the issues of learning differences. The National Learning Laboratory was endowed for a limited time with a limited mission to explore the benefits and limits of a new method of learning.
THE TECHNOLOGY. The Neogenesis Method was delivered on a Sharp Wizard OZ-7600 with a 32KB capacity, a laughable addition to school tools being provided to Directors of Technology by large companies. It came with an OZ-770 integrated circuit card with 64KB RAM. We were able to find a way to use the MEMO pad to hold up to 50 lessons at a time. In this configuration, Sharp’s “Businessman’s Rolodex” was transformed into a learning machine. It could be uploaded or downloaded to Macs or PCs with a standard RS232 port. By contrast, the early Palms can hold 15,000 lessons.
LEARNING DIFFERENCES. Statistically, the machine was able to detect who was using it (visual, auditory, kinesthetic) and to teach each student with an optimal and different learning strategy according to the student’s neurological needs. A lesson was 12 things at a time learned to total recall, 100% correct and 100% confidence level — regardless of prior school performance, race, socioeconomic level, reading ability, neighborhood values, parental participation or IQ scores. It became an equalizer in the classroom. In a class of thirty students, there are thirty machines and each student has the same material to learn, but learns it in a different way. It is like having thirty highly skilled tutors, each tuned to a specific student.
BLAME AND BELIEF. Many of the needs of students are beyond the physical capabilities of teachers. We are not sure that school failure is anyone’s fault. Many of our most basic beliefs about education, schools and learning have been turned upside down by classroom usage.
RESULTS. In practical terms, this means we could go into a classroom blind, knowing nothing about the students. An hour later, students had moved on to critical and creative thinking, instructional design and teaching others. With this degree of change and excitement, the sound level does tend to be a bit high, but it is a small price to pay for learning.
HIGHEST AND BEST USE. For students who are learning for the very first time, the highest and best use of a new method of learning is, we believe, self-transformation and high self-esteem. Over time, we discovered that these students had almost no skills for winning academically and that the traditional best students had few skills for losing. As the hierarchy changes, some training in paradigm shifts is helpful, even for the technology experts and the administrators. The first question we hear from students learning for the first time: “Does this mean I can go to Harvard?”
SHARING WITH THE WORLD. Thanks for the opportunities your blog provides. Over the years of patents and Nondisclosure Agreements, we wondered what we tell the world and how (when we could). The intelligence community has tracked us for some time and the latest PowerPoint briefing on the status of Macintosh, PC and PDA prototype products can be found at
We are just beginning to explore the Blogs — real people with hard questions. This may be the best way to release so much good news for the world. Our Indonesian project is reported in video form at
We believe that the future of global literacy will have little to do with online education and elearning as we know it today. Our first gifts of licensing right will provide endowments for other nonprofit organizations as we close our own. Again, thanks, you have a great site