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I think we all agree that the Web is creating amazing new opportunities to learn for kids of all ages. But the challenges to "school" are profound. Now that much of what we used to come to school to learn is in a bajillion places online, what changes? What are the enduring values and experiences of this thing we call "school" now that content information and learning are everywhere? It the question for our times.
Recording of full session at Educon, 1/26/13
Sylvia Martinez, Gary Stager
Bring the power of inventing to the classroom with new materials, digital fabrication, and computing by incorporating these new technologies across the curriculum. The making/tinkering/fabrication revolution is exploding outside of school. Now you can create a classroom makerspace regardless of budget or experience.
Recording of the full session from Educon, 1/26/14
RSA Animate recently released a video called 'The Power of Outrospection'. The video intrigued me and this post has helped me pull together some of my thoughts about the links between empathy and creativity.
Via Beth Dichter
From the website
"Are you smart as hell? Can you keep up with the most rigorous gap year program in the world? Does the future seem uncertain? Do you believe you can change the world and you don’t want to wait four years?
"There’s a better path to success. Click here to apply to the UnCollege Gap Year.
"INTRODUCING The UnCollege Gap Year Program
UnCollege is launching a Gap Year program to take ten people through a year long process of self-directed learning. The program will involve three months in San Francisco learning how to create your own learning plans, three months living abroad, three months pursuing a creative project, and three months doing an internship.
"PARTICIPANTS WILL COMPLETE WORK IN FOUR PRIMARY AREAS:
The Effective Self – Develop the habits and practices of successful people, understand the depths of who you are and what you want to contribute. Actualize all that you can be
Hackademics - Practice the basic and advanced skills required to participate in today’s information economy. From Math and Programming, to Design and Communication, you’ll quickly pick up skills above and beyond any college curriculum.
Common Experiences – Share adventures around the world with an awesome cadre of UnCollege Fellows, and visit pockets of great people and innovation across the globe. Have jobs and experiences that connect you with both the world’s elite and the rest of humanity.
Common Understanding – Learn the equivalent of a liberal arts education, developing a foundation of knowledge that bridges cultures and fosters meaningful connections across disciplines and boundaries."
By Josh McCoy
"The other day I sat thinking about all of the great SEO tools that have come about in the last few years. These online tools and software mashups make it so much easier to see SEO errors and mistakes. But they can also highlight the many opportunities that lie in front of us in the world of SEO, on-page and off-page. I also thought about the advancements in Google Analytics (GA) in the last few years as well as the lack of GA offerings I figured we would have by now. Now I don’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth, but the same search engine that gave me all these previous offerings also turned me into a mind-racing lunatic as I try to keep up with the search marketing landscape they so heavily influence on a continual basis. I think this allows me to ask for more.
By Shalini Ramachandran
"The SmartBook (not to be confused with the ill-fated mobile devices with the same name that were promoted a few years ago at CES) works like this: All readers essentially see the same textbook as they read for the first five minutes. But as a reader answers review questions placed throughout the chapter, different passages become highlighted to point the reader to where he or she should focus attention.
“It changes what is normally a static product to something that’s individualized to the learner,” said Ulrik Christensen, Chief Executive of Area9, the McGraw-Hill partner that developed the technology behind SmartBook.
"The e-book will initially work on computers, as well as tablets using Apple and Android operating systems. It will have full functionality both online and offline."
Excerpt clipped by Larry Ferlazzo
"California Jerry Brown just gave his State of the State address. Here’s an excerpt:
The laws that are in fashion demand tightly constrained curricula and reams of accountability data. All the better if it requires quiz-bits of information, regurgitated at regular intervals and stored in vast computers. Performance metrics, of course, are invoked like talismans. Distant authorities crack the whip, demanding quantitative measures and a stark, single number to encapsulate the precise achievement level of every child.
We seem to think that education is a thing—like a vaccine—that can be designed from afar and simply injected into our children. But as the Irish poet, William Butler Yeats said, “Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire.”
This year, as you consider new education laws, I ask you to consider the principle of Subsidiarity. Subsidiarity is the idea that a central authority should only perform those tasks which cannot be performed at a more immediate or local level. In other words, higher or more remote levels of government, like the state, should render assistance to local school districts, but always respect their primary jurisdiction and the dignity and freedom of teachers and students.
Subsidiarity is offended when distant authorities prescribe in minute detail what is taught, how it is taught and how it is to be measured. I would prefer to trust our teachers who are in the classroom each day, doing the real work – lighting fires in young minds.
Canadian ed tech company Desire2Learn has acquired Degree Compass, a course recommendation engine developed at Austin Peay State University with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Jim Lerman's insight:
It is amazing how fast the online higher education space is changing.
By Scott Jaschik
"Two announcements this week suggest that MOOCs -- massive open online courses -- will increasingly include a route for students to receive academic credit.
"Georgia State University announced Tuesday that it will start to review MOOCs for credit much like it reviews courses students have taken at other institutions, or exams they have taken to demonstrate competency in certain areas.
"And Academic Partnerships, a company that works with public universities to put their degree programs online, announced an effort in which the first course of these programs can become a MOOC, with full credit awarded to those who successfully complete the course. The educational idea is that this offering will encourage more students to start degree programs. The financial idea is that the tuition revenue gained by participating institutions when students move from the MOOC to the rest of the program (which will continue to charge tuition) will offset the additional costs of offering the first course free."
Christian Long, Laura Deisley, David Jakes
This conversation immerses participants in the process of design thinking and what it means to approach problems with a design mind. Come prepared to form design teams with your Educon colleagues and take a deep dive into the process of design thinking.
Recording of the full session from Educon, 1/26/13
Bill Fitzgerald, Jeff Graham, Andrea Burton
If you have ever wondered how or why someone would choose to start a non-profit organization - as opposed to a for-profit, or working for an existing company - this is the session for you.
77 minute recording of the session, direct from Educon.
"The process of combining more primitive pieces of information to create something more meaningful is a crucial aspect both of learning and of consciousness and is one of the defining features of human experience. Once we have reached adulthood, we have decades of intensive learning behind us, where the discovery of thousands of useful combinations of features, as well as combinations of combinations and so on, has collectively generated an amazingly rich, hierarchical model of the world. Inside us is also written a multitude of mini strategies about how to direct our attention in order to maximize further learning. We can allow our attention to roam anywhere around us and glean interesting new clues about any facet of our local environment, to compare and potentially add to our extensive internal model."
Via Howard Rheingold
From the website
"Student Voice is a grassroots support network that serves to aid and empower students in their efforts to be heard and earn their rightful seat at the table.
"t is a movement for students, by students, connecting and organizing America’s most underrepresented population – the students. We aim not to change a culture that ignores student voice, but rather create a culture that embraces it.
"Through the utilization of social media, millions of people have taken notice of students speaking out using the #StuVoice hashtag, thousands have read student entries on this very website, and we have become aware of hundreds of student-led protests across the United States alone.
"Student Voice aims to unite these voices into a powerful unified entity.
We take no stance on any issue other than those that are supported by students.
"Students from all different socioeconomic, geographic, and racial backgrounds connect through Student Voice both virtually and face-to-face. These relationships have empowered students to devise youth councils and organize education policy advocacy campaigns.
"From Fargo, North Dakota to New York City and as far as Nairobi, Kenya, students are sharing their unique perspectives and differing views on suitable solutions to improve education and public policy at-large worldwide. No story is left unheard and no perspective is left unaccounted for.
"Together we are uniting and centralizing the Student Voice. Together we are enhancing our voices and empowering our peers. Together we are creating change at a local level, on an international scale.
"We are students. We are changemakers."
Description by Internet Scout Project
"Szoter is a great way to annotate screenshots and images so that information can be shared with a wide range of people, organizations, and colleagues. Visitors can also sketch shapes, scale and rotate any image, adjust colors and outlines, or load local and network images. Visitors should look over the Features area before they dive in. This version of Szoter is compatible with all operating systems running Flash Player 10; Java Runtime is recommended."
How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character. By Paul Tough. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 256 pages; $27. Random House; £12.99. Buy from Amazon
From the website
"Paul Tough, a journalist and former editor at the New York Times Magazine, aims to answer these thorny questions in “How Children Succeed”, an ambitious and elegantly written new book, now out in Britain. The problem, he writes, is that academic success is believed to be a product of cognitive skills—the kind of intelligence that gets measured in IQ tests. This view has spawned a vibrant market for brain-building baby toys, and an education-reform movement that sweats over test scores. But new research from a spate of economists, psychologists, neuroscientists and educators has found that the skills that see a student through college and beyond have less to do with smarts than with more ordinary personality traits, like an ability to stay focused and control impulses. The KIPP students who graduated from college were not the academic stars but the workhorses, the ones who plugged away at problems and resolved to do better.
"So non-cognitive skills like persistence and curiosity are highly predictive of future success. But where do these traits come from? And how can they be developed? In search of answers, Mr Tough first looks at the problem on a neurological level. Apparently medical reasons explain why children who grow up in abusive or dysfunctional environments generally find it harder to concentrate, sit still and rebound from disappointments. The part of the brain most affected by early stress is the prefrontal cortex, which is critical for regulating thoughts and mediating behaviour. When this region is damaged—a common condition for children living amid the pressures of poverty—it is tougher to suppress unproductive instincts."
Jim Lerman's insight:
This book was recently published in the UK and the Economist gives it a glittering review. I read it this fall and agree wholeheartedly...wonderful book and wonderfully well written as well.
From the website
"Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick recently signed the Commonwealth Virtual Schools Act, which allows for the approval of up to 10 new virtual schools in Massachusetts. This legislation is simply one indicator of the fact that virtual schools continue to gain traction and are becoming more of a reality across the country. For traditional schools, this trend could mean a loss of students and funding, even though many students could be better served through online and blended options offered through their local school—where they have access to nearby faculty support, facilities, and extracurricular activities.
"Although virtual schools offer new options for students in the form of flexible online courses, local districts can provide the same flexibility without taking the student out of their local district, where they may have developed supportive relationships with friends, teachers, guidance counselors and other faculty. Students may also benefit from access to your facilities, and the social and extracurricular activities you provide."
By Roger Riddell
'With the proliferation of online degree programs, it was only a matter of time before U.S. News & World Report expanded their college rankings to reflect higher education’s growing presence in cyberspace. In 2012, 62.4% of colleges and universities offered fully online programs—almost twice as many as a decade before.
"Of the 237 online bachelor’s programs evaluated by U.S. News, these are the schools that made the top 10, based on a wide range of factors including assessments, faculty, graduation rates and technologies accessible to students."