Monday, November 28, 2016

Worth Reading

Sharing a few highlights from the past week.

1. Why Students Can’t Google Their Way to the Truth (Sam Wineburg and Sarah McGrew)- we and our kids need to get a lot smarter when it comes to conducting online research

True, many of our kids can flit between Facebook and Twitter while uploading a selfie to Instagram and texting a friend. But when it comes to using the Internet to get to the bottom of things, Junior’s no better than the rest of us. Often he’s worse.

2. The Reading Rules We Never Follow As Adult Readers (Ripp)- rules placed upon students in school in regards to reading and how these procedures contradict the way we read as adults

Yet, how often is this a reality for the students we teach?  How often, in our eagerness to be great teachers, do we remove or disallow the very things students yearn for to have meaningful literacy experiences?  How many of the things we do to students would we never put up with ourselves?  In our quest to create lifelong readers, we seem to be missing some very basic truths about what makes a reader.  So what are the rules we would probably not always follow ourselves?

3. Is Problem Solving Complicated or Complex (Kaplinsky)- discerning the difference between complicated and complex work and how this subtle difference impacts the way we mentor students to become effective problem-solvers.

To make this clearer, think about the differences between programming a TV remote control and learning how to drive a car.  Programming a remote control can certainly be a pain, but as long as you follow the instructions it can be completed.  Now think about what happens when someone learns how to drive a car.  While instructions on how to drive can teach you the basics, there are so many variables you can’t control, from icy roads to road construction to defensive driving.  This results in no instructions covering it all.

4. What Neuroscience Can Tell Us About Making Fractions Stick (Schwartz)- To improve a student’s information processing around fractions neuroscience tells us teachers should both present information and give students ways to interact with it, in a variety of ways

“Every time you are visualizing this in a different way, you are recruiting different neurons and neural connections,” Salimpoor said. And she says active learning through problem solving or manipulation is a whole different ballpark neurally than passively listening, partly because even if a student looks like she is listening she still may not be paying attention.

5. Getting Schools Ready for the World (Richardson)- schools must rethink what they do to produce global-ready citizens

Regardless of their educational path, students moving into adulthood today need more than anything else to be voracious, passionate learners, adept at creating their own personal learning curriculum, finding their own teachers to mentor and guide them in their efforts, and connecting with other learners with whom they can collaborate and create.

6. How Mindfulness Practices Are Changing An Inner-City School (St. George)- using practices to help student become aware of emotions is changing a school culture

As Thompson looked on with surprise, she said, the girl coached herself through breathing exercises. She told herself — speaking aloud — that she was not going to fight that day, she was not going to curse that day. She was 8 or 9 years old.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Education is the answer...

Sharing an excerpt from Seth Godin's post Education is the Answer.  The post talks to assuming ownership over one's learning and the need to connect with others to help build deeper meaning.  Seth Godin's post also reminds me of Kio Stark's book Don't Go Back to School (which I am in the middle of reading).  Both hit at informal pathways of learning that at times, contradict the types of formal learning promoted in schools.  

Everyone is an independent actor, now more than ever, with access to information, to tools, to the leverage to make a difference.
Instead of being a cog merely waiting for instructions, we get to make decisions and take action based on what we know and what we believe.
Change what you know, change what you believe, and you change the actions. Learn to see, to understand, to have patience, and you learn to be the kind of person who can make a difference.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Worth Reading.....

1. Why the Problem with Learning is Unlearning (Bonchek)- the biggest challenge is not learning something new, but unlearning what old ways of thinking.

Unlearning is not about forgetting. It’s about the ability to choose an alternative mental model or paradigm. When we learn, we add new skills or knowledge to what we already know. When we unlearn, we step outside the mental model in order to choose a different one.

2. Meaningful Making: Projects and Inspiration for Fab Labs and Makerspaces (Blikstein, Martinez and Pang)- A compilation of articles about making and fabrication as well as ideas for projects, assessment strategies and public exhibitions.

3. Terms We Need to Rethink in Education (Couros)- an attempt for clarity around educational buzzwords

Risk Taking
What a lot of people hear – Doing something crazy or dangerous with kids!
What I hope it means – Moving from something “known”, to an “unknown” in pursuit of doing something better for and with students.

4. The Key to Learner Agency is Ownership (Ferriter)- the difference between learning and schooling and how they are not the same thing.  Learning is about agency, and the individual owning the inquiry process.
When we strip away ownership over every learning experience and create highly scripted spaces where kids are never given the chance to set their own direction or examine their own interests or answer their own questions, we create passive students who are dependent on others for direction instead of active learners who are developing the skills and dispositions necessary to be the change agents that our world needs them to be.

5. From Deficiency to Strength: Shifting the Mindset about Education Inequity (Zhao)- discusses the failed model of remediating gaps through teaching around a student's deficiency as opposed to focusing on what kids do well.
Thus to shift the paradigm, we must start with rethinking about human differences and adopt the mindset that differences are not a deficit. Instead, education needs to assume that every child comes to school with strength, although their strength may not be aligned with prescribed standards and expectations. It is the school’s responsibility to help children discover and cultivate children’s strengths instead of fixing their deficits.