Today at 1:59 PM

“How robust is a cognitive tutor across cultures?” - Good question (though odd to see Arab cultures as not about reading and writing, considering they pretty much invented it). The more difficult issue is that cultures that see knowledge as given through the master will not take easily to the idea of knowledge as something for the learner to make their own. William Perry’s work at Harvard showed this is hard enough in our own culture.

“Nothing magical about online or free access or open source. It can be good or bad here too”. - Certainly can be bad, but there is something magical about it - that’s why we’re all here, and we still keep trying - it is adaptive, and shareable, therefore changes productivity of learner time, and productivity of teacher time. The productivity issue is crucial, as he later pointed out.

And it’s true that we have to invest a lot in what will be a radical change to a new business model, but it’s not as if we already have a productive and effective business model for education. Suppose the history of technology were different, and we were trying to persuade the economists that we should move from global online personalised education with local tutor/facilitators to institutions which require people to go to a particular place at a particular time for whole class teaching in small groups? That would present a pretty challenging business model!


Marsha Lovett's session on Learning Sciences

I have made a blog entry about Marsha's session over at

The graph that is discussed in the comments here is this one:
Reaction time graph


Illustrations of LP #2

The presentation of learning principle #2 (New knowledge is acquired through the lens of prior knowledge) reminded me on a few cartoons.

Find x
explain graph


Alaska in Pittsburg

Got in last night from the arctic circle and found it a bit colder here. We are unseasonably warm this year which does not bode well for spring travel across the tundra. What a welcome site to see fresh snow. Thanks Pittsburg.
Curt Madison