Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Courtside At The Blazers Game

I had the privilege to watch Portland vs. the Milwaukie Bucks tonight from a very choice perspective...front row, directly beneath the hoop.
The Blazers took a drubbing, but that even couldn't dampen the pleasure of sitting so close to the action. Three times, players crashed into the seats next to me. Once I had to deflect a loose ball that was coming at my face. That's NBA spectating the way it ought to be.
24 seconds into the following video, you might be able to make me out, sitting two seats left of the post, front row.

On the left side of the screen, I've circled me and my friend John.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Re-Thinking Education

I followed my brother's Google+ link to Seth Godin's Manifesto on Education and had to share with a bit of editorial, since there was so much great thought in it. 200+ pages.
For example:

43. How not to teach someone to be a baseball fan
Teach the history of baseball, beginning with Abner Doubleday and the impact
of cricket and imperialism. Have a test.
Starting with the Negro leagues and the early barnstorming teams, assign
students to memorize facts and figures about each player. Have a test.
Rank the class on who did well on the first two tests, and allow these students to
memorize even more statistics about baseball players. Make sure to give equal
time to players in Japan and the Dominican Republic. Send the students who
didn’t do as well to spend time with a lesser teacher, but assign them similar
work, just over a longer time frame. Have a test.
Sometime in the future, do a field trip and go to a baseball game. Make sure no
one has a good time.
If there’s time, let kids throw a baseball around during recess.
Obviously, there are plenty of kids (and adults) who know far more about
baseball than anyone could imagine knowing. And none of them learned it this
The industrialized, scalable, testable solution is almost never the best way to
generate exceptional learning.

This encapsulates quite a bit of what he says in the baseball to learn baseball.
Being a doer and creator will spark passion and generate the kind of people and products our world needs. Learning by rote kills passion and kills ambition.

One comment on this subject that strikes close to home is this:
We can teach kids to engage in poetry, to write poetry, and to demand poetry—
or we can take a shortcut and settle for push-pin, YouTube, and LOLcats.
I'm as big a fan of YouTube and LOLcats as the next guy...but I do fear the consequences in wallowing in self-indulgent consumerism, of media as much as material. The upshot for YouTube (and the internet in general) is that it has empowered more creators of content than was imaginable a few decades ago, so perhaps the net effect is positive, even if many hours are wasted in consuming the content.

Finally, Godin shares this great quote from Horace Mann, which summarizes an ideal I share:
…be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.