Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Worth Reading

Passing along a few interesting reads from the past couple of weeks....

1. Entrepreneurship is Elementary:  How A Project-Based Curriculum Catalyzed A Community (Rappaport)- a program in which elementary students are pushed to think and act like entrepreneurs.

Realizing that our little tech community could essentially be STEM Sesame Street, I set out to design a curriculum that would introduce the students to 21st-century careers and skills, from engineering to design to public speaking. It was one part career day, one part entrepreneurship workshop. As an education entrepreneur for years, I knew that the skills we used daily at our startups--critical thinking, creativity, collaboration--also happened to be central tenets of the fledgling Common Core State Standards.

2. Send Your Students’ (and anyone else’s) High Hopes Up High (Crosby)- update about the High Hopes project where students launch a balloon in the air with a camera attached to it.  The project was explained by Brain Crosby in his TEDxDenver ED Talk several years ago.

3. You Know What You Need... You Need A Learning Contract (Cormier)- thinking about the contracts we make with students in the classroom.  Here is an idea which views the learning contract as the basis for what is accomplished in that it takes the place of a syllabus, a textbook, an assessment model and a social contract.

I’m fascinated by how so many folks seem to have the same response to it that I did the first time I started reading about it – “this is exactly what i need.” It’s a simple concept – come to an agreement with people about what they want to work on, how much they want to work, who’s responsible for what and what everyone expects from the time you’re going to spend together.

4. Knowledge Building, Knowledge Of in Contrast to Knowledge About (Reilly)- what type of knowledge do we value and foster in our classrooms and beyond

Knowledge about dominates traditional educational practice. It is the stuff of textbooks, curriculum guidelines, subject-matter tests, and typical school “projects” and “research” papers. Knowledge of, by contrast, suffers massive neglect. There is instruction in skills (procedural knowledge), but it is not integrated with understanding in a way that would justify saying “Alexa has a deep knowledge of arithmetic”—or chemistry or the stock market or anything else. Knowledge about is not entirely useless, but its usefulness is limited to situations in which knowledge about something has value independently of skill and understanding. Such situations are largely limited to social small talk, trivia games, quiz shows, and—the one biggy—test taking.

5.  The Evolution of Product Design As Told By Citizens Watches- the video depicts this evolution as it occurs on a watch designer's desk, as well as through various taglines and typography over the years. Kramer used a variety of cameras, like a handcranked 35mm from the 1930s and a 1980s VHS camera, to get the looks of each era right. Each new product innovation is marked as "The End," leading to the question, "What if every ending was the chance to start something better?"

6. The History of Our World In 18 Minutes- David Christian narrates a complete history of the universe, from the Big Bang to the Internet, in a riveting 18 minutes. This is "Big History": an enlightening, wide-angle look at complexity, life and humanity, set against our slim share of the cosmic timeline.

7. How Video Powers Global Innovation- Chris Anderson says the rise of web video is driving a worldwide phenomenon he calls Crowd Accelerated Innovation — a self-fueling cycle of learning that could be as significant as the invention of print.  But to tap into its power, organizations will need to embrace radical openness.