Comment on Society as Knowledge Machine by aakash58

I believe that we, as educators, have to spark the interest in children. There could be many ways of doing that. One that is particularly popular in literature is the use of problem-based learning activity before project works (for example, I feel that without interest, learning may not be entirely fruitful. I do not remember, and certainly cannot make use of, the things that I had learnt in classes where I was not interested. Learning should help learners get a better sense of the world – either by providing learners with the opportunities to use their knowledge in a way they find meaningful or use it for future (further) learning. Both of these require learners to be interested in the topic/content.

As you might have felt reading the post, I actually do not have a practical answer to solving the problem that you mention. I do have an ideal situation in mind where we let students negotiate learning goals, content coverage, and assessment criteria with the instructor. This is an ideal case and may not be practical (revolution, anyone?). Altschool is a good example ( but I do not know how good the implementation is. Because of the idea of “these are topics that all science undergraduates should know in the four years”, we have created situations where students do not know even the few topics which they could have mastered. In the future, I do see the possibility of a personalized, adaptive learning experience for all students.

Comment on My Teaching Goals and Plans by aakash58

Thank you for the post – I enjoyed reading your plans for your classroom. I can relate to the height problem but I haven’t had an experience teaching in a large classroom. One of the best teacher I have had till date was also short but he controlled his voice – loud, strong voice and slower speech – to make up for it during lectures. Would you try this and see if it helps?


Comment on Assessing assessments by aakash58

Exactly! When we negotiate for a task, we tend to work harder to achieve that goal. I am not saying that assessments should be removed but our approach to assessment as a ranking/objectively-measuring students need to change. Autonomy – in the form of negotiated targets – and self-determination – by defining one’s own learning objectives – could help students to take learning as a worthwhile process. More importantly, it would probably help them imbibe the idea of lifelong learning. For that to happen, we need to change our approach where instead of letting standards and assessments dictate our teaching practices, we should let students decide their learning objectives and our teaching methodology and tools, including assessments, should be designed to help students achieve those objectives.
In the same line, in a recent article (, the author discusses the possibility of competition destroying ethical behavior. With grades, although not always, we encourage the idea of competition which becomes the foremost focus for many students. Sustainable learning, on the other hand, should be collaborative, social, and intrinsically motivated. Also, what happens after they get the grades – would the students be motivated for future learning?

Comment on “Oh, that’s so significant!” by aakash58

In computer science, this would be somewhat like a project-based learning environment with greater autonomy and personalization where students develop their knowledge, and in turn prove their knowledge, by creating artifacts. Projects that target attempt to solve a real-life problem or that which is required by the industry would be the ideal cases. What I am advocating for is a more practice-based educational system whose aim is to nurture communities of interest.

This would imply letting go of the behaviorist approach where we try to control the environment through broad syllabus and hope that the information sticks (and transforms to knowledge). Each student has a different interest, pace, and style for learning and we need to cater to that. In schools, this is not supported at all – syllabus/standards are so vast that sometimes I am amazed that I went through all that! In college too, we have broad syllabus with limited opportunities to implement the knowledge and as Father Sarducci mentions in the video above, hardly any of it is learnt in the end. We can mitigate the problem by being flexible in the syllabus, focusing on active use of knowledge through practical projects, removing performance-based exams (summative assessments), using formative assessments with priority to student’s engagement in their topic of interest, and supporting involvement in community of interest.

Comment on On women equality by aakash58

Thank you for your suggestion. We will try to be more creative in the coming posts. It is a learning phase for all of us and feedback, like yours, will help us learn more and do better.
Now to come to the issue, having reservations for women in metros somewhat says that women are inferior (because of some reason) and that they need special treatment. There is a mindset among many men in Delhi ,and elsewhere in India, to treat women as second class citizens. I am optimistic that this way of thinking can change. And one good way to change this would be to have women fight for the same thing as men without any special treatment. I am not asking to remove the reserved compartment but it would be better if majority started using the general compartment and thereby, in the long term, making the ladies compartment obsolete.
Also, to deem this issue as trifle would be a mistake, in my view. Equality cannot be realized in paper or in big words. Rather, small things make a huge difference. This could be thought somewhat in the line of “Take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves”, albeit a cliched one.

Comment on Misconception on technology and globalization by aakash58

The idea of technology making us insatiable and less satisfied is another argument all together. If it is creating desire then so be it. It is up to the individual to decide what is good for him/her. Let them decide and choose what they think is best for themselves. However, this is more of a philosophical realm rather than pragmatic policy making so I will refrain myself (an example of the freedom that I have).
Regarding your privacy rights on social sites or elsewhere, people have the freedom to choose or not to choose. For example, if you read Facebook’s Data Use Policy, you will realize that they have clearly mentioned that they will gather data from your activity in order to find appropriate advertisements for you. But Facebook is not forced upon you and neither is any of the technology. Because you feel violated because of your own decision should not be an argument for restricting technology. Moreover, think about the businesses that have fostered by making such advertisements. People are voluntarily participating and with that businesses are growing because of it. What is wrong in that?
I agree that some of our advancements have been harmful to the environment. There have been huge amount of exploitation but that is a fallacy in implementation. With some proper regulations, some of which have already been formulated, such damage can be restricted, in fact, stopped completely. And to protect the environment, you need technology.