Anya Kamenetz  @  ChelseaGreen

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My Latest Presentation; A Little Piece in the Times

Posted on Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011 at 11:19 am by Anya Kamenetz

This is the first time I’ve put up a set of slides for DIY U on Slideshare, an omission which obviously violates the principles of intellectual openness that I go around promoting. The reasons I would give for not doing it until now would be the same that any professor would give, I imagine: that the presentation is a work in progress, updated and changed slightly for every speech I give; that nevertheless, for the pieces that stay similar from speech to speech, I don’t want audiences to feel that they’re getting something stale from me; that even though I know audiences are coming to hear me, not a Powerpoint deck, I still worry about diminishing the value of my presentation.

But the arguments for doing it are far more powerful: I can get feedback and improve; It may serve as a form of promotion; and most importantly it gives people who aren’t able to hear me speak the opportunity to see a little bit of what DIY U is about.

Since I haven’t blogged here in a while (i’ve been blogging like crazy at FastCompany.com, first from TED, followed by SXSW) I have another note today: a 300-word statement in the New York Times Room for Debate. The question was: should we focus on career-oriented majors or the liberal arts? My response in part:

…while math, science and engineering are great — and there’s an argument to be made that technological skills constitute a new form of basic literacy for meaningful participation in society — it would be foolish to advocate a single, centrally mandated curriculum as the path to prosperity.

What’s needed most are a set of educational practices — whether in the context of the traditional liberal arts, a technical program, or something in between — that empower students to seek knowledge independently, to collaborate, follow their passions and to connect their knowledge with the real world.

Amusingly, originally the editor got back to me and said “We took off the last graf because it seemed like a diversion into a different topic.” I wrote back, via my phone, and said “My comments stand as a whole. You asked what people should study–liberal arts vs. technical subjects. My answer is that it’s more important HOW we study than WHAT we study.”

I’m glad they decided to run it as I wrote it.

Read the original post at DIYUBook.com.

diyu Anya Kamenetz is the author of DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education.
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