As some of you might know, I’ve been working on a book for a while now called Teaching Machines that explores the history of education technology in the twentieth century. In part, the project grows out of my frustration with the claims made by the latest batch of Silicon Valley ed-tech entrepreneurs and their investors that ed-tech is “new” and that education – I’m quoting from The New York Times here – “is one of the last industries to be touched by Internet technology.” This is a powerful and purposeful re-telling and revising of history, I’d contend, designed to shape the direction of the future. In fact, education was one of the “industries” – I loathe that word, that framing too – that helped create Internet technology in the first place. Education – or more accurately, I suppose scientific and technical research at universities – was one of the first industries to be “networked” by the Internet.
Encouraging kids to develop their natural creativity.
Dave Peth, founder of Symbolic Studio, is exploring the intersection of art, education, and technology and helping people to learn the design process through media. With degrees from Harvard and Cornell Universities and an Emmy under his belt, Peth has been a Senior Producer of Interactive Media atWGBH where he worked on numerous projects including Curious George, NOVA, Martha Speaks, Medal Quest, and Design Squad Nation.
Los Angeles' iPad program was a debacle for many reasons, but one that's less talked about is the effect on students.
To explore the aftermath of the scandal that put them front and center of that cautionary education technology tale, students at Theodore Roosevelt High School in Boyle Heights conducted their own research on how the rollout was handled, talking to peers and family members and ultimately painting a very different picture of the lasting consequences.
Roosevelt students chose to investigate the lingering effects of the iPad rollout as part of a program called Council of Youth Research, a participatory research project started by two UCLA professors. Theparticipatory research model recognizes that people living within a context have just as much to add to research as outside academics. Researchers train young people on social theories during the summer and help them apply research methodologies to their school communities to investigate aspects of education that matter to their lives.
“When students do research they know what they’re looking for,” Carrasco said. “With people on the outside there are a lot of little things that get missed. If a student and a researcher did the same research, they’d get very different answers.”
I suggest that “book people” like you and I, who benefited so much from our nearly unlimited access to books, have a responsibility to help figure out what’s worth preserving from the print era and how to transform it so that it enhances future forms of communication. I realize that’s what you’ve in effect devoted much of your working life to, which is why I was particularly dismayed by your current tack, which seems to suggest an impossible divide between long-form texts and new networked modes.
Remind yourself of what it feels like to step into a place of creativity, knowing that just the act of taking that risk helps you feel aligned, calm, and even a little more confident than you were before.
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.
The area of learning has a justifiable claim to be a special case in how it can be enhanced or supported by technology. In areas such as commerce and web design the aim is usually to ensure efficiency and support specific actions such as purchasing or accessing information as quickly and easily as possible. Working with technology for the purpose of learning, the user is expected to spend time facing challenges, struggling through them and in almost every case the interaction with the technology is only one of many influences in achieving success. This does not mean that computing and the Internet has not had a major impact on how we learn and the choices available to learners. On the contrary, the area of formal learning is undergoing a period of rapid change, and the barriers between formal and informal learning are showing signs of falling away, in part due to the changes in the access to information or alternative modes of delivery.
A four-year research effort at the University of California, Irvine will test out the impact of changing the formatting of text to help middle school students improve their reading and writing abilities.
let's investigate this systematically ... Back in 2005, I helped put together a 'quick guide to ICT and education challenges and research questions' in developing countries. This list was meant to inform a research program at the time sponsored by the World Bank's infoDev program, but I figured I'd make it public, because the barriers to publishing were so low (copy -> paste -> save -> upload) and in case doing so might be useful to anyone else.
That said, in general the list seems to have held up quite well, and many of the research questions from 2005 continue to resonate in 2015. In some ways, this resonance is unfortunate, as it suggests that we still don't know answers to a lot of very basic questions. Indeed, in some cases we may know as little in 2015 as we knew in 2005, despite the explosion of activity and investment (and rhetoric) in exploring the relevance of technology use in education to help meet a wide variety of challenges faced by education systems, communities, teachers and learners around the world. This is not to imply that we haven't learned anything, of course (an upcoming EduTech blog post will look at two very useful surveys of research findings that have been published in the past year), but that we still have a long way to go.
Innovator and designer forging a new creative future.
I first discovered architecture in 1948, but wasn’t able to join a drafting class until high school. I managed to get a job at an architecture firm in my junior year and never left the field or returned to a formal classroom. This showed me that by insisting on a learning process, people are not able to learn what they are truly interested in. I have been a reader to this day; literally many books a week. My education was closer to that a 19th century gentleman’s son might have. I went directly to the sources of the knowledge I was seeking.
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."
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