Now that teachers have easy access to tools like Garage Band and iPods that make recording a breeze, podcasting is quickly becoming the latest creative mode of learning and presenting in schools. Here are ten ideas to try in your classroom today.
"'Every moment is the paradox of now or never.' ~ Simon Van Booy
This week we begin the 4th cycle and year of the 30 Goals Challenge for Educators. This year’s theme is, 'This is MY Moment.' Each goal will focus on getting educators to believe their plans of action now will lead to positive changes and transformation in their teaching and learning environments.
I’ve learned a lot throughout my journey as a teacher, especially undergoing the 30 Goals for Educators. We are now in our 4th year and over 9000 educators have joined in aiming to complete short-term goals to become better educators for themselves and learners. I’ve been blessed to be the igniter of this movement and see the impact and the way this process has transformed lives. Like any other movement and action it begins with a choice and 4 years ago when I posted the first goal as a new blogger I encountered many fears and excuses for never starting this journey. I had that moment in which the idea came to me and at the time I remember thinking of all the ways this would fail. I had been blogging for less than a year and had thought only a few people read my blog. I didn’t have enough time and each year I become busier and each year I wonder if it is the last year. The 30 Goals continue to be my inspiration and get me through the obstacles I put in my mind. There will always be things that get in the way of transformational action. We will always have time constraints or many other “busy things to do” but in the end I remember that I have this moment. The idea came to me now for a reason and I can decide to either take that moment and idea and live the transformational life I want to or I can let that moment slip by and continue to live in the mundane and routine that doesn’t really make me a happy person. I can continue to do the things that make my life stressful and uninspiring or I can take this moment and make my life purposeful and inspiring."
"Although there is broad agreement that teacher preparation must improve, first-ever rankings draw fire."
"While debate swirls about the validity of the ratings of individual schools, there is broad agreement among educators and public officials — from U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan to governors to unions — that the country is failing to adequately train the 200,000 people who become teachers each year.
'We don’t know how to prepare teachers,' said Arthur Levine, former president of Teachers College at Columbia University and author of a scathing critique of teacher preparation. 'We can’t decide whether it’s a craft or a profession. Do you need a lot of education as you would in a profession, or do you need a little bit and then learn on the job, like a craft? I don’t know of any other profession that’s so uncertain about how to educate their professionals.'
Many education schools suffer from the same maladies, Levine said. 'Admission standards are low, no connection between clinical work and academic work and some of the faculty haven’t been in a school for years,' he said.
The topic has gained urgency, with new research that shows teacher quality is the single most important factor inside a classroom that affects student learning. As baby boomers retire, classrooms increasingly have newly minted teachers at the helm."
"Here is a competition which is aimed at secondary school students. I quite like the idea of this: both the topic and the nature of what has to be submitted by entrants: a video of not more than 90 seconds answering the question: In the future, how will technology help an ageing population?" "Peter Fouquet, President of Bosch in the UK said: “Bosch is committed to developing technologies that improve the quality of people’s lives and an ageing population is not only a big issue for the UK, but many countries around the world. 'Our challenge to entrants of this year’s Bosch Technology Horizons Award is to think about how engineering and technologies, such as those pioneered by Bosch, will help to address such a major societal issue. We believe that inspiring young people to consider careers in engineering is vital to a sustainable future and for targeting the UK’s skills gap.' "For more information on the Bosch Technology Horizons Award, including a video guide on how to enter, visit https://www.facebook.com/BoschUK."
"Because we have the chance to reinvent the learning model as we know it—with far fewer constituencies standing in the way of protecting the “status quo” in online learning—there is currently a window in which to put in place policies that create the proper incentives. Paying providers for student outcomes; not regulating and paying for inputs so as to free up educators on the ground to make smart decisions for their students; moving to a competency-based learning system, in which students progress once they have mastered a concept, not when the calendar says it is time to move on; and having appropriate on-demand systems of assessments that allow for a bottoms-up accountability that rewards growth instead of today’s top-down accountability system together appear to be critical pieces." - "We education transformers—those who do not want to just reform education but to transform it into a student-centric design—don’t have all the answers for how to do this well. We should admit that. But Cuban and others could help. Rather than simply act as naysayers who say why everything is doomed to fail, they could be part of “the solution.” Asking how we might make this unique opportunity different—or pointing out where we are erring in shaping it in a constructive fashion—would go a long way. The past is instructive, but it should help guide us forward, not hold us back."
Wells Elementary School's STEM teacher, Mr. I, explains the exciting work the 4th graders have been doing with "Vital Signs." —Wells, ME
Dennis Richards's insight:
What a wonderful example of a school where all the 3rd and 4th grade students are learning to love learning in science, technology and math!
Three cheers for Mr. I, the students in Wells, Maine and Bob Sprankle, who brought this exciting teaching and learning to our attention! Super work, everyone. Love it!
Exactly the kind of teaching and learning E. O. Wilson (of EOL.com & TED.com fame) speaks about in his latest book, Letters to a Young Scientist, 2013:
"...an important principle I've seen unfold in the careers of many successful scientists...is quite simple: put passion ahead of training. Feel out in any way you can what you most want to do in science, or technology, or some other science-related profession. Obey that passion as long as it lasts. Feed it with the knowledge the mind needs to grow. Sample other subjects, acquire a general education in science, and be smart enough to switch to a greater love if one appears. But don't just drift through courses in science hoping that love will come to you. Maybe it well, but don't take the chance. As in other big choices in your life, there is too much at stake. Decision and hard work based on enduring passion will never fail you. (Wilson 25)"
"Thirty years later, we’re still “a nation at risk."
"Teaching requires a professional model, like we have in medicine, law, engineering, accounting, architecture and many other fields. In these professions, consistency of quality is created less by holding individual practitioners accountable and more by building a body of knowledge, carefully training people in that knowledge, requiring them to show expertise before they become licensed, and then using their professions’ standards to guide their work.
By these criteria, American education is a failed profession. There is no widely agreed-upon knowledge base, training is brief or nonexistent, the criteria for passing licensing exams are much lower than in other fields, and there is little continuous professional guidance. It is not surprising, then, that researchers find wide variation in teaching skills across classrooms; in the absence of a system devoted to developing consistent expertise, we have teachers essentially winging it as they go along, with predictably uneven results."
"Over 9000 educators have joined the The 30 Goals Challenge since January 2010. You have the opportunity to join our community of educators throughout the next few months of 2013 as we aim to accomplish 30 short-term goals related to education. These are short-term goals we reflect on and see how they help us aim towards long-term goals to make us better educators. We support each other through various social networks- Our Facebook group, Youtube, Twitter (#30GoalsEdu), Livebinders, and blogs.
Throughout 2013, I will share in this blog 2 to 3 suggested goals we hope to accomplish for the week. For the most part, these goals will be voted upon and recommended by our Facebook group community. Feel free to join and take part in the voting process. These goals are previous goals from our previous 3 cycles. Below is an embedded Livebinder featuring all these goals. If you choose, you can accomplish the same 2 to 3 goals a week with many members of our community. We hope that you will post your reflections in a blog but you can always leave a comment instead or an update on Our Facebook group, Youtube, and Twitter (#30GoalsEdu)."
"This evening I had some wonderful conversations with John McGettigan and Vincent Mamer about the upcoming Saskatoon Festival of Learning in February 2014, as well as the ways Saskatoon community leaders are coming together under the banner of creativity to support high quality schools for every student. Both John and Vincent came to Oklahoma City last November for our annual Creativity Forum, and have been working closely with Sir Ken Robinson on a similar creativity initiative for Saskatoon. I’m extremely energized by and hopeful for the work they are doing with Sir Ken and other international education leaders like Pasi Sahlberg. As a result of our conversations I’ve added 'Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland?' by Pasi Sahlberg to my 'read soon' list, as well as 'A Fair Country: Telling Truths About Canada' by John Ralston Saul."
"In the process of writing and finalizing the chapter on “Visual Notetaking” for my forthcoming eBook, “Mapping Media to the Common Core,” I found Giulia Forsythe‘s blog page “Visual Practice” and her WONDERFUL presentation a year ago for the 2012 University of Mary Washington Faculty Academy. Her presentation slides are available on SlideShare, and the entire 68 minute, recorded presentation is on Vimeo. I highly recommend you watch this entire presentation if you’re interested (as you should be) in learning more about visual notes.
"Abuse of the public trust is one of the many temptations Chief Technology Officers face in their jobs. But, there is one more pernicious, more debilitating to an organization than the temptation to be all-powerful. It can be marked by unilateral decisions on the part of Technology to take actions like the following: - Indiscriminately block web sites, citing CIPA concerns, but providing little explanation or room for discussion. - Purchase equipment that's easy to deploy and maintain without regard to what end users see as necessary or worthwhile. - Spend district funds to the sole benefit of the Technology infrastructure to meet world-class standards without carefully considering how those purchases align to district goals. - Implementing data management processes without involving stakeholders. - Unblocking or blocking services (e.g. VOIP) to further an agenda (my favorite story is the blocking of VOIP technologies because the CTO wanted to push a particular solution he was sold on...hmm)."
"If you’ve been looking for an internship and just can’t get one, here are some tips."
"Sharef cited a recent HireArt candidate who wanted to be a product manager: He was unemployed for more than six months after his company went under. During his layoff, said Sharef, 'he taught himself how to code by taking free online classes at Codecademy. He did a product management course at General Assembly, which was taught by product managers at two New York companies. He also spent a lot of time networking ... with product managers. He started a Web site with a friend just to get practice. For every job he applied for, he would create a product pitch, with wire frames and designs the company could use. Eventually, when he told his story to potential employers, he had a compelling professional narrative about making a career switch. Looking at his résumé, it’s actually hard to even tell that he was unemployed. He still got rejected a lot, but he finally got an amazing job as a product manager.'"
"Starting on June 7, about 9.2 million Chinese high-school students will take nine hours of tests that will determine where they go to university. Taxis have been ordered to be silent near testing centers and construction crews have been sent home. To prevent cheating via listening devices, schools in the northeast have installed metal detectors and warned female students that even bras with metal clips will be confiscated. China's national college entrance exam, or the gaokao, is criticized for how much stress it causes. Nervous breakdowns and suicides aren't uncommon -- students have been in cram classes, often for more than 10 hours straight, over the past year. But it's even more stressful for students from rural parts of the country who need to score especially high to get into one of the top universities. China's best schools like Peking University and Tsinghua in Beijing, or Fudan University in Shanghai, for example, give preference to students who have resident status in those cities and take the exam locally."
"'The results being released today show that we are indeed in a new world. And we as adults need to learn from kids in this instance. We need to learn from students about how they learn, where they learn, and how they seek information. I believe we must harness this information to give all students a 21st century skill set to prepare them for high-growth, high-demand jobs in the global economy.' —U.S. Rep. George Miller, the senior Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee.
'From Chalkboards to Tablets: The Emergence of the K-12 Digital Learner' is the second in a two part series to document the key national findings from Speak Up 2012. In 2003, The Speak Up National Research Project was born to give K-12 students a voice in critical conversations, and to hopefully provide their parents, teachers and administrators with new insights about the expectations and aspirations of these newly minted digital learners. Now in its tenth year, the annual Speak Up National Research Project and the resulting trends analysis provides a birds’ eye view of the changing environment for digital learning, both in and out of school.
As the digital learner has emerged over the past ten years, we have noticed a significant shift in the student perspective on using technology for learning. To bring new insights and context to this digital learning metamorphosis, 'From Chalkboards to Tablets: The Emergence of the K-12 Digital Learner' examines the current views of students from Kindergarten through 12th grade with a special look at digital learners in third, sixth, ninth and twelfth grades. Where appropriate we compare the ideas of this year’s digital learners with their predecessors over the past ten years. Most importantly, in honor of the over 2.5 million K-12 students who have shared their hopes and dreams for digital learning through the Speak Up project over the past ten years, we address these critical questions with this new report:
"It is time for a sea change. If we allow such opportunistic do-gooders to dominate the contemporary art world, if we allow galleries and art institutions to laugh all the way to the bank by exploiting social consciousness, and if we don't educate the public to be weary of their manipulative rhetoric of political correctness, we will have failed the grand legacy of generations of free-thinking artists who came before us.
This time, I [Filip Noterdaeme] am not going to point my finger at cultural and commercial institutions. This is about the artists who will define our future. Call it a manifesto for making the art world bearable again.
- We need more artists who are not concerned with doing the "right thing."
- We need more artists who find ways to examine and express human misery or bliss without a political agenda.
- We need more artists who don't play by the rules imposed by curators, gallerists, museums and art collectors.
- We need more artists who are wary of "meaning" and embrace contradiction.
- We need more artists who don't pretend to have the right answers.
- We need more artists who don't give a damn about making you feel good or bad.
- We need more artists who are not afraid of running into trouble.
- We need more artists who are able to laugh at the absurdity of life and art.
- We need more artists who don't resemble anybody's idea of what an artist ought to be and who nonetheless produce great art that takes us by surprise, makes us think and reflect, and leaves plenty of room for multiple interpretations.