What is school for?


Seth Godin’s speaking is one way of summarizing all we’ve discussed through this course. Students need to be taught how to connect dots, not to collect dots; in other words we should teach them how to think not what to think. Although I agree with Seth Godin on most things, I don’t agree all “eight things that he thinks are going to change completely”.

  1. Homework by day, lectures by night.
  2. No memorization.
  3. No predetermined course order.
  4. Precise, focused education.
  5. Experience based.
  6. Coach not teacher.
  7. Lifelong learning.
  8. No brand name colleges.

Especially one reply of the TED talk said that “How can you . . . . you who attended Tufts and Stanford. . . . . . that college did not help. YOU are the ultimate beneficiary of a college education. It is highly unlikely you would be in the position that you are in, without this. Rather hypocritical here. (David Orman).” I agree with the comment. This comment leads me to think of this in a different way than what Godin mentioned. Simply, we are able to have a chance think this type of issue with all resources because we are here at VT and especially we are taking this course. The brand name and raking of institute mean a lot in many different ways for students and society. The reputation of an institution is not only one of academic motivation to the students, also it symbolizes its contribution of intellectual part in its society.  Also, the reputation/brand of institute is the system we’ve created through industrialization; there have been numerous educational systems in different shapes through human history. I believe the problem is not brand name but the ranking system to order all institutions in one way of evaluation.

How diversity can be worked

It is obvious that being around people who are different from us makes us more creative and innovative. Theoretically, there are numerous benefits of diversity. However, as Phillips mentioned that the first thing to acknowledge about diversity is that it can be difficult. It is truly difficult in other countries; the mention of the word “diversity” can lead to more than anxiety and conflict, one can be to lose one’s job and their livelihoods, even worse, one might need to move to find a new place to live.

In the U.S., from my perspective, the dialogue of inclusion is very advanced, therefore, I’m always thinking how diversity can be worked in my country, or any other countries as increasing numbers of benefits of diversity i found in the U.S. Strategically, we should think about how we can adapt the concept of diversity into our education setting and society without all the problems discomfort, rougher interactions, a lack of trust, greater perceived interpersonal conflict, lower communication, less cohesion, more concern about disrespect, as Phillips listed. It is complicated, and it can be achieved when we discuss as a whole group of society, not discuss only in universities.



“Grades tend to diminish students’ interest in whatever they’re learning.”

“Grades create a preference for the easiest possible task.”

“Grades tend to reduce the quality of students’ thinking.”

I truly agree the three conclusions of the study on the effects of grading, and it is not surprising at all. We need to think about what benefits we’ve got from those grading systems in higher education seriously.

I’ve tried my best to receive the best grade for all courses through all my degrees. I believe my great GPA scores are one of my important achievements. However, I’m not sure that my high GPA exemplifies all that I can achieve, because I had to please my professors to get grades instead of pleasing my own creativity.

Undoubtedly without the grading system my education even my life would be much different. At this PhD level of my education, I’m able to have the chance to learn how to be a self-generated and self-motivated researcher without any threats from the grading system. The examples Lombardi mentioned show the opportunities for effective assessment of authentic learning that I would definitely try to utilize for my students in future.

Thinking outside the box




Connect 9 dots with four lines, without lifting your pencil from the paper.














These are the answers for this 9-dot puzzle. To solve the puzzle, we should step outside the normal or expected pattern of responses. In my view, there can be more answers by adjusting line style, plus line weight.

“Yea, Nay or A Third Way?”

I believe that it truly is one of most controversial questions I ever had. My answer is that everything can be the answer for the question: “Yea, Nay or A Third Way?”, the point of my answer is having “openness to change” and “an atmosphere of freedom” in any class(room).

"We can also ask students to use their devices in ways that help them and the rest of the class, looking up a confusing term, polling their friends on Facebook about a topic we're discussing or taking collaborative notes in an open document."

"We can ask students to close their laptops at particular moments, recognizing that it is useful to learn different things, at different times, in different ways."

I understand both approaches, the core is finding a way to balance the use of those new tools in order to maximize educational efficiency. There is no right answer, there could be various answers based on the type of subjects, the field of study, and the level of study. The point is either not allows them to use their laptops in class or not, rather we should focus on the question that Douglas Thomas posed: In the twenty-first century, “how do we cultivate the imagination?”


The meaning of pedagogy for me is constantly changing as time goes on, particularly due to changing my cultural aspect and the rapid development of technology.

Pedagogy means교육학[敎育學] in Korean; 교육[敎育] can be interpreted into two meanings: education or training. I believe the education we are referring to in higher education is education rather than training. 학[學] is the word which represents a field of study.

In the Korean dictionary, 교육(education) is aiming to build one’s personality by teaching knowledge or skills. In the process of education, the important role is building one’s character/personality, which differentiates education and just training. For instance, educators play the important role not only in helping one achieve their academic goals, but also in helping the formation of one’s character. In Korean society, there is an old saying that teacher is considered as a parent. As Korea is part of the Confucian culture, the idea of Confucian 군사부일체 [君師父一體] could be a great indicator of status. It means that the king, teacher, and father should be treated the same.” Such strong responsibilities have framed my approach in understanding of pedagogy, and now it’s being developed in global society by interacting with inspiring colleagues from different backgrounds and countries.