Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Worth Reading...

A few posts to read while on the plane, at the beach or sitting in front of the fire this holiday season.

1. How a Teen Knew She Was Ready to Teach Computer Coding Skills (Sung)-  Ming Horn was debating her sense of readiness earlier this year when she set out on an ambitious plan to teach code to teens at the Future Light Orphanage in Cambodia. Horn, then a junior at Berkeley High School in California, had never taught a classroom of students, nor did she have any fluency in Khmer. What she did have, however, was her experience as a learner.

“I don’t know how computer science classes are taught, but I know how I learn — project-based, experimental, asking people in the community,” she told an audience this week at the Big Ideas Fest hosted by ISKME. “My time was spent writing pitches, emailing people, developing the curriculum and learning on the fly.” Pulling off this project “was not about your coding skills, but really about your organization.”

2. How Deprogramming Kids From How To Do School could Improve Learning (Schwartz)- shares the story of how one teacher changed his class.  The article reminds of others teachers who have come to a similar realization that by a certain point students have mastered the art of playing the game of school and that there is a need to create an environment where learning, empowerment, creativity, and even failure are rewarded and not compliance.

“It wasn’t perfect and it didn’t turn my kids into all physics majors, but for the kids who were on the border, it made a difference,” Holman said. Discussing their learning with them, switching grading policies and assigning more inquiry-based, hands on lessons all helped Holman’s students feel he trusted and respected them. And they rose to the challenge. “I think the kids were just waiting to be let loose and to be treated like adults,” Holman said.

3. We Need Schools to be Different (McLeod)- the impact the digital revolution / information age has on the way schools are structured and what is expected of students- points to the fact that schools cannot exist in a bubble isolated / immune from larger societal shifts

Essentially, we now have the ability to learn about whatever we want, from whomever we want, whenever and wherever we want, and we also can contribute to this learning environment for the benefit of others. The possibilities for learning and teaching in this information space are both amazing and nearly limitless, but right now this learning often is disconnected from our formal education institutions.

4. The Gift of Education (Kristof)- a poignant reminder of what education means from a global perspective

A few days ago, we saw the news of the horrific Pakistani Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar. The Taliban attacks schools because it understands that education corrodes extremism; I wish we would absorb that lesson as well. In his first presidential campaign, President Obama spoke of starting a global education fund, but he seems to have forgotten the idea. I wish he would revive it!

5. 10-year-old tells school board: I love to read..I love to do math.  But I do not love PARCC.  Why?  Because it stinks (Strauss)- standardized testing from the perspective of a elementary school student

6. Learning From What Doesn't Work: The Power of Embracing a Prototyping Mindset (Carroll)- what is gained by having students, tinker, experiment, fail, rebuild...

7. The Random Events That Sparked 8 of the World's Biggest Startups (Fast Company)- Light-bulb moments don’t happen on command, and brainstorming sessions rarely produce extraordinary results. More often it’s a random remark, event, or memory that sends an entrepreneur down the rabbit hole of innovation. From Airbnbto Yelp, here are the surprising origin stories to eight of today’s hottest companies.