Monday, February 22, 2016

Worth Reading...

Sharing a few posts from the past couple of weeks.

1. Turning the Tide: Inspiring Concern for Others and the Common Good Through College Admissions- Report making the case that the college admission process can promote that ethical and intellectual engagement are both highly important

How might we construct an admissions process that sends compelling messages that both academic achievement and commitment to others and the common good are highly important? How might we construct a process that motivates young people to contribute to others and their communities in ways that are more authentic and meaningful and that promote in them greater appreciation of and commitment to others, especially those different from them in background and character? How might we increase young people’s understanding of and commitment to the public good? Just as important, how might the admissions process assess young people’s contributions to others and their communities in ways that are more valid and meaningful, especially students varying widely by race, culture and class?

2. Using Snapchat to Develop Empathy in a Technology Driven World (Holland)- using snapchat to tell stories as a way to develop empathy as part of the problem-solving process

Imagine asking students  to watch the Snapchat story featuring the city of the day and respond to the visible thinking routine, "I used to think.... But now I think..." Consider the discussions that could take place as we come to a self-realization about the depth of people around the world and what it means to be a global citizen. That moment of self-assessment, where you realize what you used to think and what you now have learned, truly leaves you feeling more cautious about the biases you develop towards people and places with which you are not familiar.

3. Why Coding is the Vanguard for Modern Learning (Olsen)- learning to code isn’t acquiring skills but rather how coding enables development that is not possible without coding

Code enables us to experiment. To imagine solutions or creations, and then see if we can in fact make them. Code enables us to solve problems that would otherwise be beyond our capacity because they would take far too long, or be difficult not to introduce mistakes. The computer language provides precision and consistency to a level beyond what we can usually do by hand.

4. Welcome to the Postnormal Paradox (Boyd)- thoughts on the changing economy and how what people are investing in is evolving

Through the 20th century, as we shifted from a horse-and-sun-powered agrarian economy to an electricity-and-motor-powered industrial economy to a silicon-based information economy, it was clear that every company had to invest in the new thing that was coming. These were big, expensive investments in buildings and machinery and computer technology. Today, though, value is created far more through new ideas and new ways of interaction. Ideas appear and spread much more quickly, and their worth is much harder to estimate.

5. The Math Class Paradox (Boaler)- how the growth mindset can save math class
Educators know that the most productive math-learning environments are those in which students receive positive messages about their unlimited potential and work on interesting and complex problems; in which they feel free to try ideas, fail, and revise their thinking. Students with a “growth” mindset are those who believe that their ability is not “fixed” and that failure is a natural part of learning. These are the students who perform at higher levels in math and in life. But students don’t get the opportunity to see math as a growth subject if they mainly work on short, closed questions accompanied by frequent tests that communicate to them that math is all about performance and there is no room for failure. When students inevitably struggle, most decide they are not a “math person.” The last decade has seen a nation of children emerge from our schools terrified of failing in math and believing that only some students can be good at it—those who can effortlessly achieve on narrow tests.

6. How Frustration Can Make Us More Creative

7. Team 19: Rapid Innovation in Public Schools

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A Few Highlights

Sharing a few highlights from OPEN: How we'll work, live and learn in the future by David Price.  A worthwhile read as Price discusses how going 'open' has the potential to change the professional world and education.  Even though examples of successful businesses and schools are presented, a key point is that certain changes are beneficial regardless of the type of organization.  The latter point is important to serve as a reminder that schools need to reflect larger societal changes and that the work students do needs to resemble the manner in which the global community interacts, creates and makes meaning.

Gee and Shaffer argue that the US education system is still preparing students for commodity jobs, and thus facing overwhelming competition from developing countries, when it should be educating and training for ‘innovation jobs’, which are less easily outsourced

In almost every form of transaction we make, social and cultural as well as financial, we’re removing the ‘middle-men’ who historically have connected producer to customers, experts to novices

We need asset-based approaches to education – what do you already know, what have you got to share, what can we build on?

The opening of learning is transforming every aspect of our lives. It offers the promise of a more equal distribution of wealth, opportunity and power. It can close the gap between rich and poor, sick and healthy, strong and weak, and it accelerates the speed at which we solve intractable problems.

‘Open’ is shifting the focus of attention from how we should teach, to the best ways to learn. It’s no longer about traditional vs progressive, didactic vs experiential. Instead, it’s about what we can do for ourselves, how we can tap into the knowledge and expertise that is within all of us, but rarely mined. In short, it’s about the rise of informal learning

Polyani, however, argued that when it comes to learning, true objectivity is impossible, since all acts of discovery are personal and fuelled by strong motivations and commitments

The wisest course of action is to create the right learning environment, culture and context, which brings people together to learn from each other. The old joke that ‘collaboration is an unnatural act between non-consenting adults’ may have had its roots in corporations trying to break down silo mentalities. But if ‘open’ tells us anything, it points to a realisation that we have to understand how people learn when they have a choice (in what to learn, and who to learn with) and bring that into the places where they are required to learn

“If you have a work culture where bringing your mistakes to the table every week is a normal thing to do, it feels less like failing and more like learning”

Great learning environments aren’t afraid of passion, because of its key role in motivation. Being passionate in formal learning situations is so unexpected that it’s frequently confused with eccentricity

Vimeo, YouTube and Twitter are filled with examples of extraordinary student work, where the public assessment means far more to these young people than whether they got a B+ from their teacher

‘when people are intrinsically motivated, they engage in the work for the challenge and enjoyment of it… Managers in successful, creative organisations rarely (need to) offer specific extrinsic rewards for particular outcomes… The work itself is motivating… the most common extrinsic motivator managers use is money, which doesn’t necessarily stop people from being creative. But, in many cases, it doesn’t help either

Most of the powerful learning experiences happened outside school or college (e.g. learning to swim, ride a bike, process life-changing events). They involve some kind of mentoring, backed up by some form of study group. They arise from some form of project – putting on a play, realising an ambition – that blends thinking and doing. They involve challenge, risk, and learning from failure. They force us to put ourselves outside our comfort zone, working through our doubts and fears, often by trial-and-error. There’s invariably that light-bulb moment, followed by a gain in confidence and pride. People frequently recall some form of public presentation helping to cement the experience in our memories