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