Article: The ‘graduate job’ gravy train is shuddering to a halt

An interesting article that turns the entire employability and “graduate premium” concept on its head.

“There is already alarming anecdotal evidence that the increase in ‘graduate’ jobs is failing to keep pace. Lots of graduates end up in the Uber economy. In any case, the ‘graduate premium’ has always been uneven – high for Oxbridge graduates heading for the City, wafer-thin for those from less prestigious universities working in the public sector (especially if they are women or from ethnic minorities).” (Emphasis, mine)

(Via The ‘graduate job’ gravy train is shuddering to a halt at.)


The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age, By Cathy N. Davidson and David Theo Goldberg

The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age, By Cathy N. Davidson and David Theo Goldberg, is a precursor to the The Future of Thinking, which a longer exposition of the ideas in this report (As the authors have chosen to call it). In that sense, this one, is a good first read. [Free download]


The report discusses the current status of education institutions and asks of the resistance to change, which perhaps is caused by the continuous success that these organisations have enjoyed for a few centuries now. Even where technology is present, it is subservient to the structures and hierarchies of the institutional mentality, which in turn, is not exploiting the potential of the technology that is available to us.

As the authors mention, this is a struggle to move from presumed authority to collective credibility. Key elements that are the defining characteristics of the models for digital, networked, and participatory learning are discussed in brief.

While these models are already in place and people around the world are already accessing them, the question is: when (and under what circumstances) will formal institutions converge to these new models.

For those of us working with technology in education, it’s a good read, even if we have thought (and worked) with these ideas in some form.

For me, the key takeaway was the use of technology in education needs to be free from the traditional codex structure, which is what most eLearning is in these days.

Marxism Today: The Forgotten Visionaries Whose Ideas Could Save Labour; John Harris

I would imagine that you would need to have some interest in British politics, if this article is to become an interest read. My interest, however, has stemmed from some recent books that I have read. And even with a very basic understanding of British politics, this article came across as interesting. Some excerpts:

In leftist circles today, one frequently hears the argument that the world was changed for ever by the crash of 2008. But a much older point has still to be satisfactorily answered: has the left ever really understood the consequences of the economic and political changes that began to reveal themselves in the 1970s, defined the 1980s, and have been hugely accelerating ever since?

A 34 min read. If it interests you!

The conversations at Wortley Hall touched on the decline of class politics, new conceptions of identity more complex than the hoary category of “worker”, how an insurgent women’s movement had highlighted huge changes to the fabric of everyday life, the rising importance of green politics, the increasing expectation of personal autonomy – and how seemingly unstoppable forces were weakening the traditional nation state. While the right had turned these changes to its advantage, far too much of the left still lived in a world that was fast disintegrating beneath its feet.

Via The Guardian | Marxism Today: the forgotten visionaries whose ideas could save Labour

What Happened When Marissa Mayer Tried to Be Steve Jobs; Nicholas Carlson;

The title could be misleading; this isn’t about gender. It is the history of, and more like the recent history of, Yahoo! If you are interested in tech, management, companies, strategy, (or a combination of these), do read. (27 minutes) 

“In many ways, Yahoo’s decline from a $128 billion company to one worth virtually nothing is entirely natural. Yahoo grew into a colossus by solving a problem that no longer exists. And while Yahoo’s products have undeniably improved, and its culture has become more innovative, it’s unlikely that Mayer can reverse an inevitability unless she creates the next iPod. All breakthrough companies, after all, will eventually plateau and then decline. U.S. Steel was the first billion-dollar company in 1901, but it was worth about the same in 1991. Kodak, which once employed nearly 80,000 people, now has a market value below $1 billion. Packard and Hudson ruled the roads for more than 40 years before disappearing. These companies matured and receded over the course of generations, in some cases even a century. Yahoo went through the process in 20 years. In the technology industry, things move fast.”

(Via.) What Happened When Marissa Mayer Tried to Be Steve Jobs – The New York Times, Dec. 17, 2014 


The Afterlife of a Manuscript; Emily Levine

A delightful read for people with interest in History, Art, WWII, and peculiar stories of this world. Oh, yes, and if you have seen “The Monuments Men“, you’ll like it. (If you are curious enough)

Historians would like to think that they ground their narratives in all available evidence, and that their conclusions, as a result, have epistemological credibility. But we are only as defensible as our evidence, and that evidence determines what stories we tell.

via The Afterlife of a Manuscript – The Los Angeles Review of Books.

The Limits of Satire; Tim Parks

Evaluating satire (8 minute read)

Since satire has this practical and pragmatic purpose, the criteria for assessing it are fairly simple: if it doesn’t point toward positive change, or encourage people to think in a more enlightened way, it has failed. That doesn’t mean it’s not amusing and well-observed, or even, for some, hilarious, in the way, say, witty mockery of a political enemy can be hilarious and gratifying and can intensify our sense of being morally superior. But as satire it has failed.

The NYR Blog

The Future of the Curriculum: School Knowledge in the Digital Age; Ben Williamson

17349916In an age and time where curriculum design is guided more by political compulsions rather than the needs of the society of today and of the future, this report is am important analysis of the environment in which curriculum is designed as well as the factors which help support the needs of the future.

The report examines various innovations in curriculum design and form. As digital becomes a pervasive aspect of our lives and an irreplaceable factor of future generations, the need to recast curriculum as a framework and not content structures has become important.

What then should guide us? That’s what this report looks at, while analysing “movements” that:

“represent a new “style of thought” about the school curriculum for the digital age.”

While it may seem that this report has a specific audience, that of policy makers and educators, it is an invaluable resource for teachers and parents, to understand the impact of curriculum on the society of tomorrow. In fact, that is one of the takeaway of the report.

If the report seems technical (which it is not), I would recommend reading the Conclusion which is a very good summary of the report.

The History Manifesto; David Armitage, Jo Guldi

23218890Generally a good read, if you don’t mind the academic style. The theme is compelling, for sure, however, the book is too broad-based for my liking. Perhaps that’s the message of the book, come to think of it.

I can’t say I thoroughly enjoyed the book, yet I cannot say I disliked it either.

As an amateur history enthusiast, there are many parts of the book that fail to leave an impression. Also, the repeated references to climate change were uninteresting.

In fact, if you do not want to go through the book, read the introduction — it provides a very good overview of what the book is all about, and should satisfy an amateur’s understanding of the three approaches that the book talks of.

In conclusion, I think this books is written for a very specific audience; and it’s not me.

The Dead End Roads to Manhood

There’s a plethora of subject-matter out there on feminism. Along comes an article that’s asking questions of masculinity, manhood, and being manly.

How should men live their lives in a time when traditional manhood is not needed, and in many cases not even wanted or respected? Is there any reason to strive to live the manly code if it does not come with societal honor and reward, and if failure to do so carries no threat of shame? Is it possible to conceive a manhood that stays true to the past but also offers men a way to move forward?

The author discusses the concept of manhood in modern times when the “traditional manly skills” are no more needed and society is now (fairly) well designed to protect and provide. Great read. Awaiting the next section, now.

The Dead End Roads to Manhood

The Gut-Wrenching Science Behind the World’s Hottest Peppers

If you don’t like chillies, read this for academic interest. If you like chillies, read it because you’ll enjoy the spice!

Food science has a theory called “dynamic contrast.” It holds that the human tongue likes variety and surprise. It likes a little salt with its sweet, a little crunchy with its creamy. Though technically an irritant, chili adds spice, literally and otherwise. Psychologists have other ideas on the topic. Some have explained the chili pepper’s popularity by way of the “risk-taking personality”: superhots as the edible version of sky diving. As a thrill seeker and a hot sauce fan, I’ve been looking forward to sampling the bhut.

The Gut-Wrenching Science Behind the World’s Hottest Peppers