Glenn Beck’s New Online Program and Network

[I] was at least somewhat saddened when I heard that Glenn Beck is ending the spectacular run of his program on Fox News Channel. It is one of the few regularly scheduled programs that I record with my DVR and watch every episode.

Mr. Beck is launching a new program on September 12 in a whole new format, on the Internet. My kind of stuff!

He and his team have produced a stage-setting initial program that I found fascinating. I am excited to see how they will perform thorough research, produce it with integrity and excellence, and deliver it with absolute cutting-edge distribution technologies. It will be great to watch, and even more important, to participate in. That’s because the focus is going to be helping us understand what we can DO to reclaim America’s exceptionalism and become forces for good within our culture, rather than being just entertained or merely inspired.

I invite you to join me. Here is the initial episode:

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Five Minds for the Future – Howard Gardner

Howard Gardner portraitHaving discovered Howard Gardner’s work (Harvard University) a few years ago, particularly his theory of multiple intelligences, I have been keenly interested in following further developments in the field. I am now reading a more recent book he wrote, Five Minds For The Future.

I recently discovered this interview Dr. Gardner gave for the Australian Institute for Company Directors, where he discusses a bit of the history of the book and what implications it has for educators. I encourage you to listen to it and ponder, as I have.

You may also be interested in Dr. Gardner’s blog at

Disclaimer: While I believe Dr. Gardner has done some fascinating work that has value in its application, I have also discovered that Dr. Gardner and I diverge significantly in our views of human origins, society and politics. I have discovered elsewhere that Dr. Gardner celebrates Charles Darwin as perhaps the most significant investigator of our time. I, on the other hand, believe that science has failed to support Darwin’s  hypotheses of macro-evolution. Dr. Gardner is also a strong proponent of socialism, stating elsewhere some radical views on income redistribution that I find abhorrent (see his interview with Richard Heffner). Nevertheless, I find his work on the five minds fascinating and compelling, while drawing significantly different conclusions about applications.

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A whole new way of thinking

Author and speaker Daniel Pink has completed some very provocative work on trends in business and the economy. He is a hugely entertaining speaker, especially when he shares that he was a woefully unsuccessful student in law school. Dan shares three macro-level drivers of 21st century careers:

  • Abundance
  • Asia
  • Automation

This talk was delivered around 2006 while promoting his book, A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future. I have watched it multiple times, and it has profoundly affected how I think about how we should be planning our learning and our careers for the future. For us as educators, it should really spark discussion about what a higher education general education curriculum should look like. Ask yourself questions like these:”What types of careers will American students need to be prepared for in five or ten years?” “How do we identify the proper learning outcomes and the teaching methods to ensure our students are achieving them?” “What assessment methods and tools will allow us to measure student progress toward these outcomes?”

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Once you’ve finished the presentation, watch this ten-minute question and answer session with Mr. Pink:

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Semantically-linked photos: Coming soon to an Internet near you.

In the video presentation below, a new technology is discussed that practically blew me away. Imagine being able to upload photos to Flickr or some other photo sharing site, and then have them automatically linked to all the other photos and textual information from the Internet related to them, especially if they have geographic or other spatial attributes connected to them. And the resulting meta-display is almost instantly scalable and zoom-able.

Imagine having students do a research or exploratory project with this kind of rich information!

Check out the Photosynth project from Microsoft!

Linked data — the next Web generation

Tim Berners-Lee recently gave a presentation at a TED conference on what he sees as the next generation of the Web — Linked Data. He sees organizations and even us as individuals contributing to a growing, well-organized (albeit organically) repository of raw data. This is being fueled by the exponential expansion of social networking and social media sites on the Web.

This talk (in the video below) is only a little bit “techie”, and I think everyone who has used the Internet at all recently can find relevance in it. Berners-Lee is one of the two “real” inventors of the Internet (note: they did NOT talk to Al Gore first!), so his thoughts here should be considered very significant.

By the way, TED ( is a great source of short presentations by expert accomplished speakers. Students would do well to study the presentations there to get ideas for how to make their own presentations.