Every article is worth reading, but if time’s an issue right now, (and when isn't it?), I recommend you start with these two:
Flexible Learning in New Zealand part 2 (You might like to read part 1 while you're at it.)Deschooling Society.
I think this piece is essential reading for all teachers. It's a great read, especially if you're familiar with Illich's work. But don't be put off if you're not. This is worth the time investment even if you've never heard of Ivan Illich or his deschooling ideas.
True to Leigh’s usual style, all the stuff on the blog is interesting, extremely well written, and thought provoking.
NOTE TO LEIGH: The Moment of Truth piece, struck a chord with me. My son, Simon, has a highly successful IT company. He and his guys have done some impressive stuff with network and internet security for government and large corporate clients, including Australian Defence.
I’ve been given the opportunity to sit in on development meetings from time to time. Listening to the guys talk about the problems they have to clean up daily, and hearing their horror stories, made me realise, a long time ago. that there's a lot a junk being given away in the public domain and it often causes more hassles than it’s worth.
The old cliché stands: you get what you pay for.
So what’s the problem? Why are people so hung up on free stuff?
Is it just that they have tight budgets and really can’t afford to pay for good proprietary product? Or is that humans, especially the Oz variety, just want something for nothing?
When I make a purchase I usually look for quality products. And I’m sure most people would like to have leading brand, top of the range, goods if they had the cash to fund the purchase.
Instead of us all getting behind the freebies, and making them appear to be in high demand because of consumer preference, why don’t we get together and lobby for domestic multi-user licence arrangements?
Hey, think about it. If fifty thousand consumers lobby Microsoft for domestic multi-user licences, don’t you think they would sit up and take notice?
Multi-user licences for the domestic market would allow ten friends to share the purchase cost and then they could all legally install the software on their home computers.
Microsoft sales would increase, unstable freebie software would diminish, and we would have standards again.
And don’t knock standards. I’m probably older than most people who will read this, and for many years I worked in the software engineering division of a large consultancy firm. I can remember the bad old days when every company had its own custom designed software. It was a nightmare. The designers were never available when things went wrong; training cost rocketed because new people had to be taught how to use the in-house systems; and don’t forget the endless update costs. Every time the programmers decided to make changes, whether they were needed or not, the business carried the cost.
I know it's all very exciting to get freebies, but how do you validate programming quality? And what do you do about the system configuration changes freebies often make when you install them? Even small config changes can send you down the path of destruction and you system can become highly unstable in no time at all.