I assume you are one of the millions that are as inspired as I am by “Caine’s Arcade,” the endearing story of a boy who created his dream from the ground up – out of cardboard. Every time I watch these videos, I flash back to my own childhood,...
"That’s OK because we’re all different, and it’s the differences among us as teachers and learners that make what we do so infinitely engaging and interesting. Each one of us is at a different place and time along our own learning path, and there is no need for anyone to slow down, or catch up. We are where we are, and that is where we all need to be."
There is room for everyone. Understanding differences is the first step toward supporting, encouraging and collaborating well with peers.
To understand what is going on in Finland, its perhaps important to start not with a snapshot of their test scores and existing education structures but with a historical perspective.
Mary Perfitt-Nelson's insight:
systems moving from poor to fair rely far more heavily on policies that “tightly control teaching and learning processes from the center because minimizing variation across classrooms and schools is the core driver of performance improvement at this level.” Systems working to go from good to great, by contrast, “provide only loose guidelines on teaching and learning processes because peer-led creativity and innovation inside schools becomes the core driver for raising performance at this level.
What does that have to do with education reform in America? A lot, actually.
They released themselves from a top-down approach and gave more autonomy to the teachers/schools. They valued the group over the individual. They committed to the plan and implemented it well.
So much have been written about Bloom’s taxonomy; one click in a search engine will flood your page with hundreds of articles all of which revolve around this taxonomy. Only few are those who have tried to customize it to fit in the 21st century educational paradigm.
1. Skills are not sufficient; we must also have the disposition to use them. Possessing thinking skills and abilities alone is insufficient for good thinking. One must also have the disposition to use those abilities. This means schools must develop students’ inclination to think and awareness of occasions for thinking as well as their thinking skills and abilities. Having a disposition toward thinking enhances the likelihood that one can effectively use one’s abilities in new situations. 2. The development of thinking and understanding is fundamentally a social endeavor, taking place in a cultural context and occurring within the constant interplay between the group and the individual. Social situations that provide experience in communicating oneʼs own thinking as well as opportunities to understand othersʼ thinking enhance individual thinking. 3. The culture of the classroom teaches. It not only sets a tone for learning, but also determines what gets learned. The messages sent through the culture of the classroom communicate to students what it means to think and learn well. These messages are a curriculum in themselves, teaching students how to learn and ways of thinking. 4. As educators, we must strive to make students thinking visible. It is only by making thinking visible that we can begin to understand both what and how our students are learning. Under normal conditions, a studentʼs thinking is invisible to other students, the teacher, and even to him/herself, because people often think with little awareness of how they think. By using structures, routines, probing questions, and documentation we can make studentsʼ thinking more visible toward fostering better thinking and learning. 5. Good thinking utilizes a variety of resources and is facilitated by the use of external tools to “download” or “distribute” oneʼs thinking. Papers, logs, computers, conversation, and various means of recording and keeping track of ideas and thoughts free the mind up to engage in new and deeper thinking. 6. For classrooms to be cultures of thinking for students, schools must be cultures of thinking for teachers. The development of a professional community in which deep and rich discussions of teaching, learning, and thinking are a fundamental part of teachersʼ ongoing experience provides the foundation for nurturing studentsʼ thinking and learning.
I watch my niece finish up an assignment for science class when she said something that is heart breaking for educators.
Very sad commentary on how kids view much of what they do in school. How do we change this? Can we?
As I reflect on what I know about my kids, it seems things changed once they had a goal that wasn't just "to graduate". If the goal is diffuse and nebulous, then it seems you would be more likely to get responses such as these (UNLESS it was an area of interest OR the teacher was amazingly inspiring).
My 19 year old went from being a 16 year old skateboarder who spent most of the time in class listening to headphones to a college kid posting Richard Feynman -The Law of Gravitation on FB. I never saw it coming. He is very engaged now. And NOT because of a future job, but because he is now "turned on" to physics.
we are often forced to ask students to put their learning on hold … if not stop it all together while they compete for resources. That is a topic for next year. STOP Today’s lesson is on page 43. Turn to that page and do only questions 4 and 5.
My daughter is Director of Community Service for her HS student government. Her committee had to come up with a fundraiser for Common Ground (http://commongroundhelps.org/). Their idea was accepted: each teacher will have a piggy bank in their classroom. Students can donate money. The teacher who raises the most money will be "kidnapped" for the day and the student government will pay for their substitute. The teacher will be able to have the entire day available for learning and planning.
Very cool way to raise money AND give teachers more time to do their job well.
This was written by George Couros who is Division principal of Innovative Teaching and Learning for Parkland School Division in Alberta, Canada. He is suspiciously well dressed and has the healthiest head of hair I've ever seen.
Mary Perfitt-Nelson's insight:
The story of Cain is inspiring. Yes, what if school were more like this.
Core Strategies for Innovation and Reform in Learning
Mary Perfitt-Nelson's insight:
"These strategies -- and the educators who implement them -- are empowering students to think critically, access and analyze information, creatively problem solve, work collaboratively, and communicate with clarity and impact."
What do elementary pedagogy and artificial intelligence have in common? Leaders in both fields have abandoned the study of the trees for that of the forest.
From preschool through high school, progressive educators have long advocated for project-based learning as against old-school rote memorization. The goal is transferability of knowledge, as opposed to narrow, domain-based learning. Young children, for example, master the principles of addition faster, and can apply them more broadly, by grouping real-world objects than by manipulating numbers on paper.
A similar shift is happening in the field of artificial intelligence. Scientists are significantly improving machine-thinking by reverse-engineering human cognition. According to Ray Kurzweil, a pioneer in voice recognition technology and the author of How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed, the future of artificial intelligence is in pattern recognition. The basic algorithms of human thought, Kurzweil says, just aren’t that complicated. From an observation about the weather to a sophisticated joke, cognition at every level operates according to a few simple principles. Researchers have gotten lost, he says, in the diversity and complexity of individual neurons and are missing the bigger picture.
View the Video: Ray Kurzweil on project-based education
The evolution of education continues at a staggering pace.
This disrupter has the power to: 1. Bring about massive educational change. 2. Engage large groups of students and educators. 3. Create educational environments in the real and virtual world. 4. Design and execute dynamic and interactive learning. 5. Continue the educational evolution and add to the movement.
Many teachers use Bloom's Taxonomy and Bloom's Revised Taxonomy in developing and structuring their teaching & learning experiences. Bloom's Digital taxonomy is an attempt to marry Bloom's revised taxonomy and the key verbs to digital approaches and tools.