It started with a hole in the wall. Sugata Mitra, working for a software company in Delhi, cut a gap between his firm and the slum next door, putting out an Internet-connected computer for kids in the community to use. That simple experiment has turned into a radical idea that children can teach themselves in self-organized learning environments. Economics correspondent Paul Solman reports.
At one point in the not-so-distant past, it was the norm to specify that a game you were playing was an online game, or that the map you were using was Google Maps and not a fold-up one from AAA. Nowadays, people tend to just assume that the tool you’re using is an online one. This is the basis of the argument in this research article from Portugal. Even though the term e-learning is still used widely today, the authors suggest that as technology and electronic devices become more ubiquitous, the eused to denote an electronic version of a tool or resource will disappear entirely from the term.
Teachers who are moving to a blended learning paradigm soon realize that their traditional physical “classrooms” need modification. In most cases, traditional furniture in a traditional room with a whiteboard at the front doesn’t support any of the blended learning models.
This can produce a loss of momentum and enthusiasm as the teacher struggles to find a solution. Teachers who are implementing blended learning have to “mark time,” get frustrated or attempt to “get by” with what is available while flexible learning spaces are designed and built.
Thus, an organization that is moving to a blended learning model needs to be aware of a number of important planning, design and timing aspects of flexible learning environments. Some of the areas that need consideration are covered in this article. A radar graph is provided to allow an organization to determine its understanding of and commitment to the changes that are needed.
Students may not consider their interactions on Facebook, Pinterest, or LinkedIn as part of a digital narrative. The authors of the study hoped that this process would make students aware of their role in scholarly conversation and give them a greater understanding of their power in transforming language communications online.
Rebecca Mead on Max Ventilla’s startup, which uses big data, responsive lesson plans, and student surveillance in micro-schools.
Inside, the space has been partitioned with dividers creating several classrooms. The décor evokes an IKEA showroom: low-slung couches, beanbags, clusters of tables, and wooden chairs in progressively smaller sizes, like those belonging to Goldilocks’s three bears. There is no principal’s office and no principal. Like the five other AltSchools that have opened in the past three years—the rest are in the Bay Area—the school is run by teachers, one of whom serves as the head of the school. There is no school secretary: many administrative matters are handled at AltSchool’s headquarters, in the SOMA district of San Francisco. There aren’t even many children. Every AltSchool is a “micro-school.” In Brooklyn Heights, there are thirty-five students, ranging from pre-kindergarten to third grade. Only a few dozen more children will be added as the school matures. AltSchool’s ambition, however, is huge. Five more schools are scheduled to open by the end of 2017, in San Francisco, Manhattan, and Chicago, and the goal is to expand into other parts of the country, offering a highly tailored education that uses technology to target each student’s “needs and passions.”
We’re calling our project “MAD About Mattering,” and I can’t wait to get started! MAD About Mattering is a collaborative app-building challenge that is going to bring students together to create apps that will change the world for the better. By asking students to identify their heartbreak, we’re inviting them to work together to develop innovative solutions to spark real and lasting change in our world.
In something of a stunning reversal , the American Academy of Pediatrics has changed its stance on the potential harm devices can do to developing children.
t's no longer a question of whether parents will allow small screens on tablets and smartphones into the lives of their young children, it's just a question of how. To that end, the group has come up with a new set of advisories.
Digital media can be used to facilitate executive function, build self-control and problem-solving skills
Digital media can be used to facilitate executive function, build self-control and problem-solving skills, and improve children’s ability to follow directions," reads one passage from the new position paper released by the AAP earlier this month.
The group's expert panelists also found that "parent and child’s co-viewing and co-participation with media facilitates any educational experience gained from media activities in the youngest children."
Design educator, Howard Stern puts his passion for architecture simply, "I like building things." And so do many students throughout NYC but, more often than not, the typical classroom curriculum doesn't leave much room for children and teens to tap into their love of design and construction. Fortunately, since 2003 the Center for Architecture has functioned as the hub for anyone fascinated by the built environment. With famed skyscrapers, tunnels, and detailed facades as the perfect backdrop for celebration and study, the Center for Architecture is home to many exhibitions, special events, and educational programs that cater to the general public, professionals in the field, and young enthusiasts.
As creatives we all want the same things: To be known. To make an impact. To connect with people who care about and support our work. Succeeding in this has always required imagination, curiosity, discipline and grit.
But as contemporary creatives we’re faced with a further challenge: To create, share, and promote our work in a rapidly evolving digital landscape. To succeed in this we must cultivate an entirely new mindset.
Because the context for our work now spans two worlds: A physical one, where time and place and sensory details create one kind of context for meaning and work; and a digital one, where connection, communication, and innovation happens in the digital now: Where the past is flat— archived and searchable—and everything is happening and available this minute, anywhere.
The beginning of the school year is a time to set the tone for a student’s learning experience, including what teachers expect from students and families. But that first week of school is also the time to teach valuable learning skills that will be used throughout the year.
Arguments for the dual-role professor seem logical. Knowledge production should make one a better instructor. Students should benefit from teachers producing the latest knowledge. But there’s precious little data to support that adding the research job to the instruction job improves student outcomes.
The downside is that both jobs require significant expertise and commitment to do well. And so I often think about this question: would faculty be better teachers and produce superior student outcomes if we asked them to focus solely on instruction? If today’s answer is “maybe,” tomorrow’s will be “probably” due to three shifts that will make instruction more complex and involved, requiring specialized knowledge and skills and unquestionably a full-time commitment.
Building students’ learning autonomy through data-driven online learning.
In today’s climate of prioritizing data-driven practices in education, it is usually teachers and administrators poring over student performance data; rarely is the focus ever on students using data to improve their learning. But recently, researchers conducted a study on two sixth grade science classes in the Midwest, hoping to answer the question of whether middle school students can think metacognitively about their learning and use data about their performance to seek appropriate supports in their learning.
After being introduced to the Internet of Things (IoT) by a local software company, Tiffany Davis’ first instinct was to consider what the concept would look like in the K-12 setting.
Defined by Gartner as “the network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate and sense or interact with their internal states or the external environment,” IoT is a somewhat nebulous concept that promises to change the way we use objects, products, and technology in general. In A Simple Explanation Of ‘The Internet Of Things,” Forbes’ Jacob Morgandefines IoT as the act of connecting any device with an on and off switch to the internet (and/or to each other). In the consumer world, these devices include mobile phones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices like Fitbits, and even heavy equipment like jet engines.
Too often when we talk about “innovation” in education, we point to that new set of Chromebooks or those shiny new Smartboards as examples of our efforts to change what we do in the classroom. That is, after all, what “innovation” is all about, to “make changes in something established, especially by introducing new methods, ideas, or products.” Over the last few years, many schools in the developed world have done a pretty good job on the new products front, earning billions of dollars for vendors who sell their gadgets or code under the guise of “innovation” of some degree or another. We’ve definitely got more stuff. And it’s arguable that our methods are changing, even if just a bit; the Maker Movement in schools, when fully embraced, is one such example of shifting roles in the classroom. But on balance, is all of this “innovation” really changing us? Not so much. Our efforts at innovating, regardless of method, idea, or product, have been focused far too much on incrementally improving the centuries old structures and practices we employ in schools, not on fundamentally rethinking them. And the vast majority of “innovation” I’ve seen in my visits to schools around the world doesn’t amount to much change at all in the area where we need it most: using those new methods, ideas, or products to shift agency for learning to the learner. To put it simply, innovation in schools today is far too focused on improving teaching, not amplifying learning.
Parents are embracing technology to help their kids learning at school and are ready to ‘swap book lists for app lists’, according to newly released research from NBN..
According to the research – commissioned by nbn and conducted by Colmar Brunton, the majority of Aussie parents surveyed (76%) understand the need to harness the internet for education in the home in order to help prepare them for the future with almost half (48%) co-viewing educational material with their kids online to learn something new together.
Anytime, Anywhere Learning Foundation, President, Bruce Dixon said the nbn network was helping to break down the walls of the classroom by providing “access to experts, experiences and information which were previously unimaginable. We have found that online, collaborative learning supported by access to fast broadband in both the home and the school can motivate children to become even more engaged in their education.”
How do you build a modern learning environment, one that unleashes the thinking, doing, and creating opportunities made possible when technology is ubiquitous, personal, and wisely used?
#AnytimeAnywhereLearners is the essential guide for leaders of schools and districts seeking to create a learning environment built on the simple proposition that young people will have unprecedented opportunities for learning when they have unlimited access to their own personal, portable, fully functional digital device.
Since 1989, not only have individual schools and districts moved to what is often referred to as 1:1, but whole states and, in some cases, countries, have invested in providing their students access to their own personal, portable devices. The #AnytimeAnywhereLearners framework is based on the experiences of thousands of these 1:1 schools around the world and the courageous and committed educators leading them.
Not a checklist or set of instructions for an easy-to-assemble, 21st century school, the #AnytimeAnywhereLearners framework lays out a roadmap designed to help you, as district or school leader, determine what you need to know and do at each step of your 1:1 planning and development process. Written by Bruce Dixon, President and Co-founder of the Anytime Anywhere Learning Foundation(AALF), and Susan Einhorn, AALF Executive Director, this in depth guide, with links to hundreds of additional resources, will help you make critical decisions, know the strategic questions to ask, understand what will be required of district personnel and school leadership, and have realistic expectations about what the outcomes will be.
The Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access was awarded a $500,000 grant to fund a two-year research project on digital learning.
They will analyze teacher and student use of more than 1 million digital learning assets and tools from the Smithsonian’s collections that are available through the Learning Lab. Designed for learners of all ages, the Learning Lab is an engaging digital destination for the discovery, creation and sharing of new ideas and knowledge and supports development of critical, lifelong skills.
Here’s a conundrum: The smaller the college, the fewer resources it has to experiment with different models to meet the demands of a rapidly changing workforce. At the same time, students are increasingly eyeing “bootcamps” and non-institutional providers that promise industry-relevant skills—but may not be able to afford their costs.
Ted Mitchell, Under Secretary of Education at the US Department of Education, thinks he has an answer. Today he is announcing that the federal government will loosen restrictions on schools that work with “alternative education providers,” including massive online open course (MOOCs) developers and coding bootcamps.
Several schools are embracing self-organized learning environments as a way to engage students through inquiry, ownership and collaboration by starting with a "messy question."
Recently, Bechtel has been experimenting withSelf-Organized Learning Environments, or SOLEs, in her elementary school classes. SOLEs are short forays into the kind of self-organized learning that Sugata Mitra found to be so powerful.
In a classroom SOLE, Bechtel asks her students a “messy question,” something that doesn’t have just one right answer, then sets them loose to research the question in small groups. Students choose who they work with, find their own information, draw their own conclusions and present their findings to the whole class. It can be a bit chaotic, but Bechtel says that’s often good.
A COMMUNITY OF SCIENTISTS, ENGINEERS & CHILDREN, CREATING TOGETHER.
We believe children learn by building. Engineering design challenges are hands-on projects inspired by the cutting-edge work of scientists and engineers. In each challenge, children are presented with a complex problem to solve, and they progress with support from a trained mentor who guides and encourages them to persist through failure and bring their ideas to reality.
History is full of faulty proclamations about the future of education and technology. (No doubt, Silicon Valley and education reformers continue to churn out these predictions – many prophesying doom for universities, many actively working to bring that doom about.)
What’s striking about these early 20th century predictions is that Thorndike set the tone, over one hundred years ago, for machines taking over instruction. And while he was wrong about films replacing textbooks, Edison was largely right that the arguments in support of education technology, of instructional technology would frequently be made in terms of “efficiency.” Much of the history of education technology, indeed the history of education itself, in the twentieth century onward involves this push for “efficiency.” To replace, to supplant – to move from textbooks to film or from chalkboards to interactive whiteboards or from face-to-face lecture halls to MOOCs or from human teachers to robots – comes in the name of “progress,” where progress demands “efficiency.”
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