Modern learning is in a state of flux as it struggles to find out what it wants to become.
Schools continue to merely “add on” learning, while technology strongly suggests new possibilities for inside and beyond the classroom. From learning simulations and mobile learning, to adaptive apps, flipped classrooms, and self-directed learning through amazing digital channels, the possibilities for learning are almost overwhelming.
Below we’ve gathered a diverse list of learning apps across iOS and Android from giants like Google, Apple, Microsoft, as well as upstarts like Brainfeed, The Sandbox, and Knowji. None of the apps are perfect, but each app does something special, and in that talent represents what’s possible as we careen towards 2020 and beyond.
The only rational answer to the conundrum of curiosity is to disengage our educational system from standardized testing and common curricula. Curiosity does not hold up well under intense expectation. Give agency to teachers, with the explicit message to slow down and provide students time to wonder and be curious.
Without a coherent and consistent theory to underpin learning, you risk each lesson or learning episode becoming a stand alone and random opportunity.
Our friends at Educational Technology and Mobile Learning have referred us to the excellent work of Instructional Design who have published a list of fifty of the most influential educational theories which inform the design of learning.
Cognitive Load Theory builds upon the widely accepted model of human information processing shown in Figure 1 (this was published by Richard Atkinson and Richard Shiffrin in 1968.)
It describes the process as having three main parts: sensory memory, working memory and long-term memory. Since then, many researchers have added to our understanding of this concept, but the basic model remains the same.
Teachers are trying to get students to slow down and take note of how and why they are thinking and to see thinking as an action they are taking. But two other core components of metacognition often get left out of these discussions — monitoring thinking and directing thinking.
Why are we giving kids problems to solve? Why don’t we help them learn to find their own problems? George Couros left an Innovation Day wondering if the kids tried to solve new problems or if they just copied what they saw other kids do. Did the kids see problems and did they see themselves […]
I’ve scoured the internet, including all of my favourite social media sites, to bring you a fantastic collection of online inquiry and inventive thinking resources that I know will inspire and motivate both you and your students. The collection includes Lego, science, practical activity ideas, engineering, videos, animation, technology and a tonne of fun facts – so there is sure to be something for everyone!
This site aims to provide students and teachers with information and ideas to assist them apply the Habits of Mind. Each of the sixteen habits is presented along with information on when to use each habit and strategies to make the process easy. Each page includes a short video that demonstrates the Habit of Mind and could be used as a starting point for discussion.
In the report ‘New Vision for Education: Fostering Social and Emotional Learning through Technology', the World Economic Forum explores how "character qualities" such as collaboration, communication and critical thinking will equip students to succeed in the swiftly evolving digital economy.
To thrive in the 21st century, students need more than traditional academic learning. They must be adept at collaboration, communication and problem-solving, which are some of the skills developed through social and emotional learning (SEL).
In 2015, the World Economic Forum (WEF) published the report New Vision for Education: Unlocking the Potential of Technology that focused on the pressing issue of the 21st-century skills gap and ways to address it through technology. In that report, WEF defined a set of 16 crucial proficiencies for education. Of those skills, 10 were labelled either “competencies” or “character qualities”. Competencies are the means by which students approach complex challenges; they include collaboration, communication and critical thinking and problem-solving. Character qualities are the ways in which students approach their changing environment; they include curiosity, adaptability and social and cultural awareness.
“Within the world we find two dimensions, reflection and action, in such radical interaction that if one is sacrificed—even in part—the other immediately suffers.” –Paolo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed
Skilled learners are aware not only of what they’re learning but how they’re learning (or not learning) it. They stop a moment during their studies to consider how much they’re retaining, assess their methods, shift gears, and test their own understanding of new material. As we’ll see, doing so is crucial to any successful education. The good news is, making a habit of it is far less complicated than it sounds.
“When students are aware of themselves as learners, anything is possible,” says Starr Sackstein, a high school English teacher in New York and the author of Teaching Mythology Exposed: Helping Teachers Create Visionary Classroom Perspective. “Think about how much easier it would be to help students get their needs met if they knew exactly what to ask for help with. It has been my experience that teaching these skills to students enhances their learning experience exponentially.”
She adds: “Every kid is getting what he or she needs and the one size fits all approach isn’t the norm. I think kids are more independent learners now too because they realize they don’t need me for everything. I’m here to support, but not as the only one who knows how. It’s great to see kids trusting themselves more.”
Joshua Block, a humanities teacher at the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia, agrees. “The end of a [course] period may often feel like a time to slow down and regroup before another set of students arrives. An alternate view is that these last moments, which usually occur when ideas have had a chance to marinate, can be a time when quiet thinkers finally articulate their ideas.”
More than 100 years ago, American educator and philosopher John Dewey called for students to be taught in ways that helped them take charge of their own learning. But the idea of learning by doing has never really “stuck” in the United States.
Jal Mehta and Sarah Fine explain why not: "The qualities associated with deep learning— critical thinking, grappling with nuance and complexity, questioning authority, and embracing intellectual questions— are not ones that (have been) widely embraced by the American people."
Yes, that is right. Anti-intellectualism in the United States has been well documented. (Remember Richard Hofstadter’s 1963 book?)
But deeper learning has taken on a new urgency, Mehta and Fine point out. At the end of World War II, knowledge was doubling every 25 years—now it is doing so every 12 months. Meanwhile, today’s students are likely to hold a dozen or more jobs over their careers. And more and more of these opportunities will require them to work through complex problems rather than applying simple formulas to routine tasks.
In response, many venture capital and philanthropic investors are placing big bets on blended learning in which digital tools help students get the customized support necessary to engage them.
This commitment requires our schools and school systems to look very different, bringing about significant changes in the roles of those who teach.
It’s comforting to think that our intelligence isn’t reducible to a single number. Indeed, especially in education circles, the theory of multiple intelligences is widely embraced.
In today’s interview, part of a series called "The Eminents," I spoke with that theory’s creator, Howard Gardner. We spoke not only about that but about his current work examining U.S. higher education and ethical issues in the professions, including psychology.
Howard Gardner is the Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at Harvard. He received a MacArthur "Genius Grant," and has received honorary degrees from 31 colleges. He’s twice been selected by Foreign Policy and Prospect magazines as one of the world’s 100 most influential public intellectuals. He has written 30 books that have been translated into 32 languages
Think you know everything there is to know about smart studying? You may be surprised by some of the past year’s research. Below are 15 new insights on how to prep for exams and boost your academic achievements in general.
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