Joi Ito was named director of the famous MIT Media Lab in 2011. He was not your run of the mill choice.
Mitch Resnick [head of the Media Lab’s Lifelong Kindergarten group] always talks about the four Ps—which is Projects, Peers, Passion, and Play—being the four elements of creative learning.
Since the Industrial Revolution we’ve been training human beings to behave like robots and computers: reliable, punctual, not creative, answer-producing. I think that human beings actually are unreliable and messy and creative and funny and sloppy. I think that creative learning is key to us regaining what we are as human beings. And so what we’re doing in the Lifelong Kindergarten group is to say that kindergarten should go through adulthood. That creative learning drives the kind of design thinking we are talking about.
[We’re also] thinking about science with this very open approach, rather than, ‘Who are the eight people that I need to get peer-review signoff on this paper?’ You don’t get a Nobel prize by doing what you’re told. You get a Nobel prize by questioning authority, thinking for yourself—and I think that when you see kids, even at MIT, when they’re suddenly later in life given permission to think for themselves, people often don’t know what to do. A lot of the lab is about deprogramming people of the learning that they have of obedience and of this culture of having the right answer to the question you’re going to be asked. One of the things as an institution builder that I have to think a lot about is this idea of disobedience.
There is always wisdom to be gained from studying the past, but trying to replicate a previous generation’s career paths in the current climate of relentless innovation is clearly misguided. How can our emerging talent respond appropriately to this situation and how should education be helping them?
I believe there are three key shifts that need to be considered. The first is that we now all have access to professional tools and resources that will empower us to engage with pretty much any creative task. Affordable technology and software brings us tools, while Google provides basic understanding.
....no generation has had more ability to create its own future.
The year was 1984 and in addition to the chalkboards and alphabet posters, our 2nd grade classroom was equipped with an odd, beige box at a table in the back behind the students. It was an Apple II computer and over the course of the year we'd learn how to operate it - mainly to make a turtle-shaped cursor shuttle across the screen.
We would get dedicated time to interact with the computer and, through trial-and-error and with a few tips from our teachers, I and hundreds of thousands of other students across America learned how to turn a turtle into a rocket ship or fill the screen with colors using a computer programming language called Logo on a platform that had less computing power than today's microwaves.
Have you ever been "in the zone"? As an instructional designer have you ever considered your job to be getting people OUT of their comfort zone? This is, as they say, where the magic happens...in the Learning Zone! The Learning Zone rests between the Comfort Zone and the Chaos Zone
Good game designers figured it out. The ideal game puts the gamer into the learning zone continuously. The mechanics of game design automatically forces players into new, increasingly more difficult, tasks as a way of constantly keeping players in the learning zone.
Students that have more control than ever over their own identity have, unsurprisingly, lost control of that identity.
Before the normalization of technology-addiction and the fetishization of being “connected,” that identity was more of a novel function or complementary tool than living space. But for students that rabidly send and receive versions of themselves and others through facebook, Instagram, Vine, tumblr, snapchat, and other emerging social channels, they’re (unwittingly?) coding an identity that not only is not within their control, but never was by design. The images and words–the social templates–have had the power all long.
By the quantification and commodification of a student’s “identity,” that identity becomes other. Over there. Not self. It’s not an identity anyone from even 20 years ago would recognize.
A strong element of the Biophilia curriculum is music making. In fact, following a performance at the New York Hall of Science in Queens, Björk’s co-designed Biophilia curriculum inspired workshops for middle school students to make Biophilia themed music on iPads. The goal of the Biophlia Project is to inspire students to learn more about natural sciences. On the website it states, "pupils not only get introduced to the world of musical theory, but through it they explore the wonders of black holes, crystals, moons, lightening, continental drift, gravity, viruses, axial tilt and DNA.
We live in a historic moment in which new technologies, with enormous potential for giving agency back to the learner. At the core, these technologies connect timeless craft traditions (learning-by-doing) and remarkable technological progress in a fashion accessible to learners of all ages and affordable for schools.
You think math and English have high standards? Try the arts.
The National Core Arts Standards were released in October. They update the initial standards released in 1994, which included instructional guidelines for dance, music, theater and visual arts.
The new standards add media arts such as animation, film, gaming and computer design. They emphasize developing artistic ideas, refining them, and following projects through to completion. They also require students to analyze artworks, including by examining societal, cultural and historical contexts.
I recently had the opportunity to speak at an event dedicated to ‘The Talent Revolution’ and organized by the Google Digital Academy. Most of the other speakers and attendees were from industry and shared insights and practices of talent recruitment, development, and retention. They highlighted some of the extraordinary opportunities currently being pursued by organizations armed with new digital tools and resources. My remarks sought to offer historical, social and institutional context for – and pose a few fundamental questions around – these far-reaching changes.
Among today’s challenges to these models, many of them brought by or associated with digital technologies, we might identify four tendencies.
I spent much of 2014 on the road, traveling and speaking extensively about education technology’s histories, ideologies, and mythologies.The Monsters of Education Technology is a collection of fourteen of those talks on topics ranging from teaching machines to convivial tools, from ed-tech mansplaining to information justice.
Susan Einhorn's insight:
A very thought-provoking, worthwhile read for anyone involved, connected to, interested in education, technology, and their intersection.
There’s a new vanguard creating the future of the U.S. manufacturing economy.
Companies like MakerBot, TechShop and Kickstarter are playing a large part in fixing the breakdown between historical industrialized employment and manufacturing models, which people still depend on for work, and the more flat and networked world in which we now live.
Teachers have long known that struggles in the classroom are often a reflection of society as much as of academic ability. And beyond the many challenges related to rising poverty rates, there is the uniquely confusing moment in which society finds itself. Around the globe, economies are shifting away from machine-focused industries and toward human-powered creative industries. Many adults are caught in the middle of this awkward shift, educated for the industrial age but trying to make a living in the information age. In an uncertain moment, they can be nervous about letting young people find their own way forward.
Computing devices embedded in jewelry and glasses. Microchips tattooed into skin and sewn into clothing.
Schools in 2015 will spend less time discussing whether technology has a role in instruction—Einhorn believes that question is mostly resolved by the intense push for using Common Core.
“Once you have devices available for assessment, there is a greater impetus to look at them for other uses in the classroom,” she says. “There is also a greater understanding that this (use of devices) is what our kids know. They don’t even have a ‘before tech’ landscape to compare it to.”
Creativity can seem like an abstract concept, but having a definition can give a learner the power to practice it on a regular basis.
Creativity is putting your imagination to work. It is applied imagination. Innovation is putting new ideas into practice.
Creativity draws from many powers that we all have by virtue of being human.
Creativity is not a linear process, in which you have to learn all the necessary skills before you get started. It is true that creative work in any field involves a growing mastery of skills and concepts. It is not true that they have to be mastered before the creative work can begin. Focusing on skills in isolation can kill interest in any discipline.
The real driver of creativity is an appetite for discovery and a passion for the work itself.
To be honest with you, professional learning in many cases needs an overhaul. If the best thing that professional learning has to offer is lunch, we need to think different. But how many educators are really excited about the types of professional learning opportunities that are offered in their school? Like, “wake-up-in-the-morning-and-can’t-wait-to-get-to-work” excited? What is promising though, is that many schools are moving away from the traditional types of professional learning that weren’t working for staff, and trying some new ideas.
So where I thought I would start is taking each one of the elements shared in the “8 Things”, and try to share an idea that focuses on one of the elements specifically, but obviously, each idea can have multiple elements.
Here is each element with the corresponding letters to identify them in each activity.
More schools are experimenting with telepresence robots that carry a teacher's image and can move around the classroom.
These are not the only schools to be using robots in the classroom. Researchers in Switzerland have created a CoWriterrobot, which helps students build confidence in their writing skills. Students are asked to teach the 23-inch tall robot to write by placing magnetic letters on a table and asking the robot to write the word. The robot will then purposely write the word poorly, at which point the student must write the word correctly underneath.
“We believe that after a few hours of being the teacher, their barriers may vanish and they may recover enough self-esteem to move forward,” says Séverin Lemaignan, a researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, in Lausanne. “Often it’s a matter not that they’re bad at writing, but that they feel they are bad at writing.”
Heatherwick Studio’s first major new building in Asia, the Learning Hub, which opened Tuesday at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, is an answer to the question of how to build a 21st-century learning institution in an era when you can get higher education via smartphone and the college library is now accessible from virtually anywhere.
In September 1982, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a similar version of the Computer Equipment Contribution Act, AB 3194, which allowed a 25% tax credit against the state corporate income tax for computer equipment donated to schools. According to the California State Assembly Office of Research, “proponents of this bill feel that computer literacy for children is becoming a necessity in today’s world. They state that this bill will aid placing needed ‘hardware’ in schools unable to afford computers in any other way.
So in turn, under its Kids Can’t Wait program, Apple donated a computer to each of the roughly 9000 eligible elementary and secondary schools in California.
"…The concern over training teachers to use these Apples is scaring some administrators. An administrator in the San Juan Unified School District near Sacramento, the state capital, is “frightened” of what the giveaway program could do to educational computing."
What we would like to do in this brief note is to discuss some aspects of the learning process which we feel can be augmented through technological media. Most of the notions have at their root a number of theories about the child. We feel that a child is a "verb" rather than a "noun", an actor rather than an object; he is not a scaled-up pigeon or rat; he is trying to acquire a model of his surrounding environment in order to deal with it; his theories are "practical" notions of how to get from idea A to idea B rather than "consistent" branches of formal logic, etc. We would like to hook into his current modes of thought in order to influence him rather than just trying to replace his model with one of our own.
We do not feel that technology is a necessary constituent for this process any more than is the book. It may, however, provide us with a better "book", one which is active (like the child) rather than passive. It may be something with the attention grabbing powers of TV, but controllable by the child rather than the networks. It can be like a piano: (a product of technology, yes), but one which can be a tool, a toy, a medium of expression, a source of unending pleasure and delight...and, as with most gadgets in unenlightened hands, a terrible drudge!!
Decades before 3-D printers brought manufacturing closer to home, copiers transformed offices, politics and art
For centuries, if you weren’t going to the trouble of publishing an entire book, copying a single document was a slow, arduous process, done mostly by hand. Inventors had long sought a device to automate the process, with limited success. Then in 1959, Xerox released the “914”—the first easy-to-use photocopier. The explosion of copying began.
“It was a huge change in the amount of information moving around,” said David Owen, author of Copies in Seconds, a history of Xerox.
Indeed, it transformed the pathways through which knowledge flowed in a corporation.
Copying also infected everyday life. The bizarre welter of things being replicated ade even the folks at Xerox worry they had unleashed Promethean forces.
Susan Einhorn's insight:
Fascinating, especially if you thought this flood of info, junk, and other copied materials started with the internet.
February 12 marks the 25th anniversary of the first school one-to-one laptop program. That is, one computing device for each student.
Contrary to a narrative that posits education technology is new and all education technology innovation originates in Cupertino, California (that is, Apple’s headquarters) or Redmond, Washington (Microsoft’s) or even Cambridge, Massachusetts (MIT and Harvard), this “first” occurred at the Methodist Ladies’ College, an independent girls’ school in Melbourne, Australia.
B. F. Skinner is often credited as the inventor of the “teaching machine.” While no doubt the phrase is often associated with his name and with his behaviorist theories, he was hardly the first person to design a machine for teaching.
In the 1960 book Teaching Machines and Programmed Learning: A Source Book, A. A. Lumsdaine argues that to count as teaching machines, devices must have the following properties:
"First, continuous active student response is required, providing explicit practice and testing of each step of what is to be learned.
Second, a basis is provided for informing the student with minimal delay whether each response he makes is correct, leading him directly or indirectly to correction of his errors.
Third, the student proceeds on an individual basis at his own rate — faster students romping through an instructional sequence very rapidly, slower students being tutored as slowly as necessary, with indefinite patience to meet their special needs."
The virtual classroom has evolved, and expectations for quality are higher than ever. Some organizations have been teaching and learning this way for over a decade, and are ready to bring their virtual learning design and delivery to the next level to ensure virtual delivery is meeting, and potentially exceeding, the traditional classroom experience.
After your organization has implemented specialized techniques in support of virtual instructional design and virtual facilitation, what do designers and facilitators need to become masters at their crafts?
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