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Learning, narratives, time and halloween
I just finished Write of Passage, a writing course conducted on Zoom. The amazing thing is I felt I was learning more in the last 5 weeks than any 5 week period when I was last at school - in Stanford.
With all the hate that Zoom school gets, I think Write of Passage succeeded because it focused on how/why students learn rather than how to give an impressive sounding lecture.
Lots have been written about Write of Passage, but I want to focus on one aspect: David Perrell gives a high energy maybe 10 minute mini-lecture on one facet of writing, say writing with a spiky point of view. We are then given an exercise to practice this eg. writing down what points of view we have that could be spiky or controversial. Then, we are placed into breakout rooms of 2-4 classmates where we discuss what we each came up with.
listening to nugget → trying out/practicing → getting feedback from peers
was an excellent way to learn.
Learning is social. High schools and universities can learn a lot from elementary schools.
This is what I like about’s Course Clubs. It can potentially turn any set of online videos into a much more social, interactive cohort-based class. But how do you get distribution and critical mass? Still mulling on that…
Writing is about laying out a narrative. But what if we get the narrative wrong? Steven Sinofsky writes about the role of narratives in why there are big misses in tech. Ben Thompson’s essay that prompted this thread is also well worth a read
Quantifying who we spend our time with over the course of our lives can result in surprising insights, Sahil “Gumroad” Bloom reminds us ahead of (US) Thanksgiving.
Finally, Halloween may be over, but this blow-by-blow tale of Jana Pruden’s Halloween night is a perennial treat.