Khan Academy = learning

Khan Academy just added an Android app to go along with its existing iOS app. Download from Google Play and check it out.  This is the future of learning, where the emphasis is placed on learning and not what the “education establishment” considers “education”.  What I mean by that is that “professional educators” all too often are mostly concerned with two things.  First, they want to keep the “education club” exclusive, optimizing their wages and job security, but not student success.  Second, they emphasize testing as a way to rank students, not as a way to improve learning.  There are exceptions of course.  Khan Academy is one.  For more on this subject, get this book.

New Fast Path to a Degree

According to Money Magazine, several top tier universities are beginning to offer credits towards a degree through competency-based testing.  If you know the material, should it matter if you learned by sitting in a lecture, reading a book, or taking a free online course?  The University of Wisconsin seems to be a leader in this progressive thinking, along with U of Mich, U of Texas system, and Purdue.  Frankly, I’m a little surprised that these middle-of-the-country bastions of academia are on the forefront of what I think is a great idea.  But it shows that the coasts aren’t always leading progress.  If more institutions put students first, this would help slow the skyrocketing costs of college degrees.

Retiring the Clydesdales

According to a 11/24 article in the WSJ, 44% of 21-27 year-olds in the US have not tried Budweiser.  There was a time that it was the “standard” lager that you either drank or claimed that your beer was better than.  Times have changed for the better.  So in an attempt to woo the younger crowd, the folks who own Bud will stop or slow down the use of their trademark hay burners.

bud

B2B Communication Returns Us to the Stone Age

And it’s not just B2B, but it’s the worst offender.  For millions of years, people communicated orally; sometimes augmented by arm waving and maybe even drawing.  Then writing was invented, then the printing press, and a great deal of communication (and learning) became a matter of reading and writing.  In the late 1900s, PowerPoint was invented and within business, the written word has been replaced by meetings and oral presentations, sometimes augmented by arm waving and PowerPoint drawings. Heck the written word is even discouraged:

death-by-ppt-28j3ceh

Nearly everything is communicated orally now.  So instead of doing useful work, you are forced to attend a mind-numbing number of meetings to hear your company’s business plan, or sales plan, or to learn about your new product, or what the competition is doing.  Heaven forbid someone would write something down so you can read it when it’s convenient. Or so someone can reflect on it and offer well reasoned input.  Or so there’s a record of what you’re communicating.  So welcome to the past.  Me done. Ugh.

Telegrams end on July 13, 2013

I’m sure that most young people today don’t know what a telegram is, and for sure have never seen one.  Still, it’s interesting to note that as of July 13, 2013, the last telegram will be sent.  In India, the country’s state-owned telecom company, BSNL, will end its telegraph service for good, the Christian Science Monitor reports.