Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Worth Reading...

Sharing a few intriguing postings I came across.

1. Understanding Our Tools (Jarche)- examining the approach to media literacy and in particular how communication tools influence what’s filtered.

For individuals, the core skill is critical thinking, or questioning all assumptions, including one’s own. People can learn through their various communities and develop social literacy. Information literacy is improved by connecting to a diversity of networks. But control of networks by any single source (e.g. Facebook) destroys the ability for people and communities to develop real network era fluency, which is not good for society in the long run and may kill innovation and our collective ability to adapt.

2. Technological automation and the Soft Skill Revolution (Georgetown Public Policy)- research on the automation of employment and what skills will become valued in the face of growing automation.

Automation displacing a significant portion of global employment does not mean we will soon prostrating ourselves to robot overlords. Instead, as advanced algorithms become ingrained into the fabric of every industry, there will be an increasing demand for skills that augment machine intelligence. Higher level “sense-making” skills represent those analytical components of the decision making process that are difficult to distill into an automated algorithm (for now). As technology increasingly takes over menial tasks, those learning to deftly apply soft skills will be better able to perform sophisticated tasks that leverage the strengths of human cognition.

3. Learning to Disrupt: Six Courses that Must be Required for Every Pre-Service Teacher (Socol)- looking at any sort of teacher preparation program and rethinking course that are offered.
What if you didn’t have due dates? Or expected homework? Or switched activities based on a clock? Time, as “they” say, is the first technology of school and the most destructive of learning. And so this course will explore learning with adults only rarely telling kids to stop. With adults never saying, “a mediocre project now beats what you really wanted to do.” With adults never saying, “I’m sorry that you’re in a great conversation about engineering but now it’s Drop Everything And Read.”
Finding your way to a relatively ‘time limit free’ learning space isn’t easy. It goes against everything we know about school — which is why the switch is so important. You know that teacher that says, “You’re late!”? Never be that teacher.
4. Beyond Institutions Personal Learning in a Networked World (Downes)- makes a clear distinction between personal learning and personalized learning and discusses new models and designs for learning.
Personal learning is made to order. Personal learning can be learning you make yourself. Personal learning is where you build your learning, not from a kit, but from scratch. There’s a difference. People don't want customized, necessarily. Sometimes, they do, but typically they don't. They want something personal. They want something custom.
Institutions, I would argue, understand personalized. They don't understand personal. There are so many ways in which this is manifest. Even in some of the discussions about personal websites by institutional staff, the first response that comes up is, "But will they follow institutional standards?" (Hannon, Riddle, & Ryberg, 2014)  The answer, of course, is, "Well, no." There's the concern that widespread adoption of social media brings shared interactional practices that do not match university arrangements for learning.

The magic of our best schools is really simple. The places where people are year after year making schools better and improving teaching and learning, they are places where the faculty are having fun learning and improving their teaching. When people can find joy in their learning, they keep learning. When people can find joy in working with their colleagues, they keep collaborating. Our goal as leaders in schools–teachers, parents, principals, librarians, everyone–our goal is to create schools that are learning organizations, places where the explicit goal of the system is to sustain not just student learning, but learning for everyone involved in the organization.

6. What Is the Value of a Teacher (November)

Monday, December 5, 2016

Don't Go Back to School

Sharing highlights from Kio Stark's, Don't Go Back To School: A Handbook for Learning AnythingDon’t Go Back to School tells you how to learn what you need to learn in order to do what you need to do, without having to bend your life or your finances to fit into traditional schooling. This  guide provides concrete strategies and resources for getting started as an independent learner. 

My research revealed four facts shared by almost every successful form of learning outside of school: It isn’t done alone. For many professions, credentials aren’t necessary, and the processes for getting credentials are changing. The most effective, satisfying learning is learning that which is more likely to happen outside of school. People who are happiest with their learning process and at learning new things—in any educational environment—are people who are learning for the right reasons and who reflect on their own way of learning to figure out which processes and methods work best for

Learning your own way means finding the methods that work best for you and creating conditions that support sustained motivation. Perseverance, pleasure, and the ability to retain what you learn are among the wonderful byproducts of getting to learn using methods that suit you best and in contexts that keep you going 

Many people I interviewed described jumping in at the point of fascination and working their way in every direction to find what they needed to understand their subject. People who learn this about the value of connections they stumble into along the way—the purposeful feeling they bits and pieces in the context of an immediate need to understand something they are strongly motivated to understand, rather than because it’s the next chapter in the textbook

These are things such as grades, arbitrary deadlines, and test-based evaluation, with its “correct” answers. There’s artificially scarce rewards such as praise, attention, curve-based and diplomas—and for genuinely scarce resources such as scholarships. Often, this all has exactly the opposite effect that’s intended. To the people I spoke with who found school to be a poor learning environment, these motivational structures felt contrived, and pushed inherently smart, curious people to drop 

First, autonomy means that you follow your own path. You learn what you want to learn, when and how you want to learn it, for your own reasons. Your impetus to learn comes from within because you control the conditions of your learning rather than working within a structure that’s pre-made and inflexible

It’s about triangulating information. You have to go through a lot of different sources, trying to see what makes sense, asking people who might know, and compare what you find. See who agrees with whom and figure out why. It’s both the source and the voice of what you’re reading that tell you how to interpret it. You have to learn this by doing it. There’s no substitution for practice

It embodied everything about DIY ethics that I love: Nobody checking credentials, nobody asking if you have any real skills to do the things that you say you’re going to do, and instead really empowering people to do those things

You have these happy accidents where you do something the wrong way, but your work ends up having a different style or flavor by happenstance because you haven’t gone through the normal route of learning how to do it