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.”
A survey of business school professors, deans and directors reveals that academics think learning tech will force universities to shut their doors or merge.
But tech also offers an opportunity, according to CarringtonCrisp. More than 90% of respondents said that technology will promote the growth of new business models, while 70% agree or strongly agree that technological innovation will bring new entrants to the business education market.
That is, despite all the potential to do things differently with computers and with the Internet and with ubiquitous digital information, school still puts content in the center. Content, once delivered by or mediated through a teacher or a textbook, now is delivered via various computer technologies.
Peer learning, networked learning — we talk a lot about these quite a bit in ed-tech today. We make some gestures to that end — the possibilities afforded to us, not so much by conference calls, but by newer forms of connectivity. By the Internet.
But more often than not, we still lasso technology for the more traditional purposes and practices of education: for content delivery. We keep designing education technology with an emphasis on knowledge acquisition, despite all our glee about a move into an information age where our relationship to knowledge will supposedly be transformed.
The readable, writable, programmable Web is so significant because, in part, it allows us to break from programmed instruction. That is, we needn’t all simply be on the receiving end of some computer-mediated instruction, some teacher-engineering. We can construct and create and connect for ourselves. And that means that — ideally — we can move beyond the technologies that deliver content more efficiently, more widely. It means too we can rethink “content” and “information” and “knowledge” — what it means to deliver or consume those things, alongside what it makes to build and control those things.
The 21st Century Fluencies are not about hardware, they are about headware and heartware. We need to move our thinking beyond our primary focus on traditional literacy to an additional set of 21st-century fluencies that reflect the times we live in.
For students to embrace the skills needed in a changing technology landscape, teachers must coordinate knowledge, instructional practices, and technologies to positively influence academic achievement.
Leaders who demonstrate a continual desire to learn and connect whenever possible help set a precedence of transparency and innovation in a school's culture.
Starting with a foundation of openness to learning new ideas and encouraging innovation among teachers is also important because social media often amplifies whatever school culture already exists. “If you don’t have a culture that’s a collaborative one, that’s relationship-based, that’s selfless, that’s constantly taking an inquiry stance, then a lot of the social media stuff isn’t going to fit the vision,” Mazza said.
The idea: Some previously unknown technology could, all by itself, catalyze a revolution in children’s learning, especially in the developing world.
‘We don’t know if this is going to work, but if it does, it’s transformative, and why not try?’
The latest incarnation of this idea was announced this week. The $15 millionGlobal Learning XPRIZE is being billed as the largest-ever technology competition in the private sector, to “revolutionize global education.”
The winning team of the Global Learning XPRIZE, organizers say, will “develop a free, open-source and scalable software solution in 18 months that can enable children to teach themselves basic reading, writing and arithmetic.” The software, says the challenge’s director, Matt Keller, will be designed to be deployed on very low cost Android tablet computers.
The belief that technology can automate education and replace teachers is pervasive. Framed in calls for greater efficiency, this belief is present in today’s educational innovations, reform endeavours, and technology products. We can do better than adopting this insipid perspective and aspire instead for a better future where innovations imagine creative new ways to organise education.
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?
What impacts learning are changes in instructional design and pedagogical practices supported by the introduction of new technologies, not the technology itself.
We still have a lot to learn about digital education. Rather than continuing to ask the same tired questions though, stakeholders need to search for answers to the questions for which we don't know much about: What is the nature of learning in digital learning environments? How do emerging technologies enable and support new approaches to teaching and education? How does our education system need to change to accommodate the learning needs of a global and networked society? And, how, and under which conditions, do emerging technologies foster the design of effective, powerful, and caring digital learning environments?
A Philadelphia center puts making connections between concepts and experiences central to the creative process for student-driven learning.
Open Connections is based on the premise that “learning is natural and self-motivated, does not have to be compelled, and is experiential, as in the Confucian proverb, ‘I hear and I forget; I see and I remember; I do and I understand,’” Bergson says. Its other core beliefs: There is variation in human development; there is inherent value in free play and taking pleasure in learning; collaboration is more useful than competition; learners have the right to pursue their own interests; and people learn best in mixed-age groups, in an atmosphere free of the anxiety generated by artificial grading and testing.
Having taught science and engineering for nearly twenty years, I was recently reflecting on what has changed about the technology I use to teach STEM topics. Is it that I now infuse projects with robotics, computer-based data logging systems and rapid prototyping? Nope. On their own, these technologies are “so last-century.” Or are they?
What is new, and why is the beginning of the 21st century an amazing time to be teaching and learning STEM with digital technology tools? Let’s examine a few trends.
Turing predicted that in 50 years there would be machines that, for five minutes, could fool a human questioner 30% of the time. Even though that is an exceedingly low bar, after more than 60 years, the only machines that can make feeble claims of passing the Turing Test are those programmed to give clever parlor-trick ripostes, and no one would believe they are actually engaged in serious thinking. More to the point, philosophers led by Berkeley professor John Searle contend that it would be wrong to ascribe intentions and consciousness and "thinking" to a machine, even if it could fool 100% of questioners indefinitely.
Despite occasional breathless headlines, the quest for pure artificial intelligence has so far proven disappointing. But the alternative approach of connecting humans and machines more intimately continues to produce astonishing innovations.
When someone has an idea, there's a natural desire to learn whatever is necessary to make it a reality. If there’s a need to know math to accomplish the goal, he or she is suddenly interested in math. If there’s a need to understand something about science to make a creation work, then science becomes attractive. If there’s a need to operate a machine to fabricate something that may never before been created, then there’s an interest in knowing how the machine works. Concepts and theories that were once thought to be useless information suddenly take on meaning and purpose when there is a concrete use for knowledge.
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