From DSC:
I appreciated hearing the perspectives from Bruce Dixon and Will Richardson this morning, as I listed to a webinar that they recently offered. A few key takeaways for me from that webinar — and with a document that they shared — were:

  • The world has fundamentally changed. (Bruce and Will also mentioned the new pace of change; i.e., that it’s much faster.)
  • We need to have more urgency about the need to reimagine school, not to try to improve the existing model.
  • “Because of the advent of the Web and the technologies we use to access it, learning is, in a phrase, leaving the (school) building.”
  • There is a newfound capacity to take full control of one’s own learning; self-determined learning should be at the center of students’ and teachers’ work; co-constructed curriculum
  • And today, at a moment when learners of all ages have never had more agency over their own learning, schools must unlearn centuries old mindsets and practices and relearn them in ways that truly will serve every child living in the modern, connected world.
  • Will and Bruce believe that every educator — and district for that matter — should articulate their own “principles of learning”
  • Beliefs about how kids learn (powerfully and deeply) need to be articulated and consistently communicated and lived out
  • Everything we do as educators, administrators, etc. tells a story. What stories are we telling? (For example, what does the signage around your school building say? Is it about compliance? Is is about a love of learning? Wonder? What does the 20′ jumbo tron say about priorities? Etc.)
  • Bruce and Will covered a “story audit” and how to do one

 

“Learning is, in a phrase, leaving the (school) building.”

Richardson & Dixon

 

 

Also see:

 

 

 

These educators have decades worth of experience. They are pulse-checking their environments. They want to see students thrive both now and into the future. For these reasons, at least for me, their perspectives are highly worth reflecting upon.

 

 

 

From DSC:
Readers of this Learning Ecosystems blog will recognize the following graphic:

 

 

I have long believed that each of us needs to draw from the relevant streams of content that are constantly flowing by us — and also that we should be contributing content to those streams as well. Such content can come from blogs, websites, Twitter, LinkedIn, podcasts, YouTube channels, Google Alerts, periodicals, and via other means.

I’m a big fan of blogging and using RSS feeds along with feed aggregators such as Feedly. I also find that Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Alerts to be excellent means of tapping into — and contributing to — these streams of content. (See Jane Hart’s compilations to tap into other tools/means of learning as well.)

This perspective is echoed in the following article at the Harvard Business Review:

  • Help Employees Create Knowledge — Not Just Share It — from hbr.org by John Hagel III and John Seely Brown
    Excerpt:
    Without diminishing the value of knowledge sharing, we would suggest that the most valuable form of learning today is actually creating new knowledge. Organizations are increasingly being confronted with new and unexpected situations that go beyond the textbooks and operating manuals and require leaders to improvise on the spot, coming up with new approaches that haven’t been tried before. In the process, they develop new knowledge about what works and what doesn’t work in specific situations. We believe the old, “scalable efficiency” approach to knowledge needs to be replaced with a new, more nimble kind of “scalable learning.” To foster the latter, managers should understand five essential distinctions…

 

We need to be constantly challenging our assumptions and beliefs about what is required to achieve impact because, as the world changes, what used to work in the past may no longer work. 

— Hagel and Brown

 

So whether you are working or studying within the world of higher education, or whether you are in the corporate world, or working in a governmental office, or whether you are a student in K-12, you need to be drawing from — and contributing your voice/knowledge to — streams of content.

In fact, in my mind, that’s what Training/L&D Departments should shift their focus to, as employees are already self-motivated to build their own learning ecosystems. And in the world of higher education, that’s why I work to help students in my courses build their own online-based footprints, while encouraging them to draw from — contribute to — these streams of content. As more people are becoming freelancers and consultants, it makes even more sense to do this.

 

 

But when we recognize that the environment around us is rapidly changing, skills have a shorter and shorter half-life. While skills are still necessary for success, the focus should shift to cultivating the underlying capabilities that can accelerate learning so that new skills can be more rapidly acquired. These capabilities include curiosity, critical thinking, willingness to take risk, imagination, creativity, and social and emotional intelligence. If we can develop those learning capabilities, we should be able to rapidly evolve our skill sets in ways that keep us ahead of the game.

— Hagel and Brown

 

 

 

The woman who thinks time has rendered Western education obsolete — from unlimited.world with thanks to Maree Conway for her tweet on this

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

For years, Finland has loitered in the upper echelons of global literacy and numeracy tables, leading politicians from other Western nations to see its education system as a model of inspiration. Why, then, is the Finnish government submitting it to a radical overhaul?

Dr. Marjo Kyllonen is the Education Manager for Helsinki. Having devised the blueprint for the future of Finland’s school system, she is playing a pivotal role in driving these changes through. She is doing so because she sees the structure and aims of current education systems in the West as increasingly irrelevant and obsolete, relics of an Industrial Age that we started to leave behind a long time ago. She argues that we need to rethink our entire relationship to education to equip future generations with the tools they need to face the challenges to come –challenges such as climate collapse, automated workforces, urbanisation and social division. The key to her blueprint is an emphasis on collaborative, holistic, “phenomenon” teaching – a routine that is less beholden to traditional subject-based learning and instead teaches pupils to work together to deal with problems they will face in their everyday lives, including those they encounter online and in the digital world.

Other:

  • If schools were invented today, what would they be like?
  • Instead of studying different subjects in isolation, learning should be anchored to real-life phenomena, things that kids see around them, so they see the connection between what they’re learning and real life. The traditional way of teaching isolated subjects with a teacher as the sole oracle of knowledge is widening the gap between the lives kids are living today and what they do at school.
  • So we have to think, what skills will people need in 60 years? Life is not split into subjects, so why is learning? What is more crucial for future society is cross-disciplinary thinking; all the experts say that the big problems of tomorrow won’t be solved if you only have one approach.

 

From DSC:
Whether one agrees with Marjo or not, her assertions are very thought provoking.  I really enjoyed reading this piece.

 

 

Education Technology And Artificial Intelligence: How Education Chatbots [could] Revolutionize Personalized Learning — from parentherald.com by Kristine Walker

From DSC:
I inserted a [could] in the title, as I don’t think we’re there yet. That said, I don’t see chatbots, personal assistants, and the use of AI going away any time soon. This should be on our radars from here on out.  Chatbots could easily be assigned some heavy lifting duties within K-20 education as well as in the corporate world; but even then, we’ll still need excellent teachers, professors, and trainers/subject matter experts out there. I don’t see anyone being replaced at this point.

Excerpt:

As the equity gap in American education continues, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has been urging educators, investors and tech companies to be more open in investing time and money in artificial intelligence-driven education technology programs. The reason? Gates believed that these AI-based EdTech platforms could personalize and revolutionize school learning experience while eliminating the equity gap.

 

Also see:

Are ‘Motivation Bots’ Part of the Future of Education? — from educationworld.com

 

motivation-bots-aug-2016

 

The Motivation, Revision and Announcement bots each perform respective functions that are intended to help students master exams.

The Motivation bot, for instance, “keeps students motivated with reminders, social support, and other means,” while the Revision bot “helps students to best understand ways to improve their work” and the Announcement bot “tells students how much studying they need to do based on the amount of time available.”

 

 

 

 

Somewhat related:

Deep Learning Is Still A No-Show In Gartner 2016 Hype Cycle For Emerging Technologies — from .forbes.com by Gil Press

Excerpt:

Machine learning is best defined as the transition from feeding the computer with programs containing specific instructions in the forms of step-by-step rules or algorithms to feeding the computer with algorithms that can “learn” from data and can make inferences “on their own.” The computer is “trained” by data which is labeled or classified based on previous outcomes, and its software algorithms “learn” how to predict the classification of new data that is not labeled or classified. For example, after a period of training in which the computer is presented with spam and non-spam email messages, a good machine learning program will successfully identify, (i.e., predict,) which email message is spam and which is not without human intervention. In addition to spam filtering, machine learning has been applied successfully to problems such as hand-writing recognition, machine translation, fraud detection, and product recommendations.

 

 

 

 

Connecting the education community with research on learning — from digitalpromise.org

Excerpt:

When designing a program or product, many education leaders and ed-tech developers want to start with the best knowledge available on how students learn. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done.

Although thousands of academic articles are published every year, busy education leaders and product developers often don’t know where to start, or don’t have time to sift through and find studies that are relevant to their work. As pressure mounts for “evidence-based” practices and “research-based” products, many in the education community are frustrated, and want an easier way to find information that will help them deliver stronger programs and products — and results. We need better tools to help make research more accessible for everyday work in education.

The Digital Promise Research Map meets this need by connecting education leaders and product developers with research from thousands of articles in education and the learning sciences, along with easy-to-understand summaries on some of the most relevant findings in key research topics.

 

Also see:

DigitalPromise-ResearchMapJune2016

 

 

DigitalPromise-ChordView-June2016

 

DigitalPromise-NetworkView-June2016

 

DigitalPromise-NetworkView2-June2016

 

 

From DSC:
Let’s take some of the same powerful concepts (as mentioned below) into the living room; then let’s talk about learning-related applications.


 

Google alum launches MightyTV for cable cord-cutters — from bizjournals.com by Anthony Noto

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

MightyTV, which has raised more than $2 million in venture funding to date, launched today with a former Google exec at the helm. The startup’s technology incorporates machine learning with computer-generated recommendations in what is being touted as a “major step up” from other static list-making apps.

In this age of Roku and Apple TV, viewers can choose what to watch via the apps they’ve downloaded. MightyTV curates those programs — shows, movies and YouTube videos — into one app without constantly switching between Amazon, HBO, Netflix or Hulu.

Among the features included on MightyTV are:

*  A Tinder-like interface that allows users to swipe through content, allowing the service to learn what you’d like to watch
*  An organizer tool that lists content via price range
A discovery tool to see what friends are watching
*  Allows for group viewings and binge watching

 

From DSC:
What if your Apple TV could provide these sorts of functionalities for services and applications that are meant for K-12 education, higher education, and/or corporate training and development?

Instead of Amazon, HBO, Netflix or Hulu — what if the interface would present you with a series of learning modules, MOOCs, and/or courses from colleges and universities that had strong programs in the area(s) that you wanted to learn about?

That is, what if a tvOS-based system could learn more about you and what you are trying to learn about? It could draw upon IBM Watson-like functionality to provide you with a constantly morphing, up-to-date recommendation list of modules that you should look at.  Think microlearning. Reinventing oneself. Responding to the exponential pace of change. Pursuing one’s passions. More choice/more control. Lifelong learning. Staying relevant. Surviving.

…all from a convenient, accessible room in your home…your living room.

A cloud-based marketplace…matching learners with providers.

Now tie those concepts in with where LinkedIn.com and Lynda.com are going and how people will get jobs in the future.

 

The Living [Class] Room -- by Daniel Christian -- July 2012 -- a second device used in conjunction with a Smart/Connected TV

 

 

BlueJeans Unveils Enterprise Video Cloud as Businesses Hang Up on Audio-Only Communications
Global Enterprises Adopt Video as a First-Line Communications Strategy

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

April 12, 2016 — Mountain View, CA—BlueJeans Network, the global leader in cloud-based video communication services, today unveiled the Enterprise Video Cloud, a comprehensive platform built for today’s globally distributed, modern workforce with video communications at the core. New global research shows that 85% of employees are already using video in the workplace and 72% believe that video will transform the way they communicate at work.

“There is a transformation happening among business today – face-to-face video is quickly rising as the preferred communications medium, offering new opportunities for deeper personal relations and outreach, as well as for improved internal and external collaboration,” said Krish Ramakrishnan, CEO of BlueJeans. “Once people experience the power of video, they ‘hang-up’ on traditional conference calling. We are seeing this happen with the emergence of video cultures that power the most innovative cultures—from Facebook and Netflix to Viacom and Del Monte.”

 

From DSC:
I wonder if we’ll see video communication vendors such as BlueJeans or The Video Call Center merge with vendors like Bluescape, Mezzanine, or T1V with their collaboration tools. If so, some serious collaboration could all happen…again, right from within your living room!

 

 

The future belongs to the curious: How are we bringing curiosity into school? — from User Generated Education by Jackie Gerstein

Excerpt:

A recent research study found a connection between curiosity and deep learning:

The study revealed three major findings. First, as expected, when people were highly curious to find out the answer to a question, they were better at learning that information. More surprising, however, was that once their curiosity was aroused, they showed better learning of entirely unrelated information that they encountered but were not necessarily curious about. Curiosity may put the brain in a state that allows it to learn and retain any kind of information, like a vortex that sucks in what you are motivated to learn, and also everything around it. Second, the investigators found that when curiosity is stimulated, there is increased activity in the brain circuit related to reward.  Third, when curiosity motivated learning, there was increased activity in the hippocampus, a brain region that is important for forming new memories, as well as increased interactions between the hippocampus and the reward circuit. (How curiosity changes the brain to enhance learning)

 

 

 

From DSC:
Jackie’s posting reminded me of what Daniel Willingham asserts:  “Memory is the residue of thought.”  | “We remember what we think about.”

So to me, if you can’t get through the gate — get someone’s attention — you have zero chance of getting into their short-term memory, and thus zero chance to get into that person’s long-term memory.

Is-it-getting-harder-to-get-through-the-gate-2

 

Along these lines, if a student is curious about something, their motivation level increases and they actually THINK about something. (What a concept, right?!)

But the point here is that what a student thinks about now has a chance to make it into that student’s memories…thus, creating a variety of hooks on which to “hang future hats” (i.e., make cognitive connections in the future).

 

CognitiveHooks-Hats

 

 

Addendum on 11/24/15:

[Re: Emily Pilloton, founder and executive director of Project H Design] Her talk focused on three aspects of learning:

  • Seeking > Knowing. Pushing beyond your comfort zone is the way to challenge yourself. As mentioned above, Pilloton believes in experiential learning, in challenging students with big projects where they will learn new skills as needed to complete the project.
  • We > I. Teams and building trust in your teammates is critical. All of Pilloton’s projects are so big that no one person can complete them alone. By being forced to make decisions and learn to work as teams, group members realize that as a collective, they can achieve much more than they could individually.
  • Curiosity > Passion. Encouraging curiosity is more important than helping people find their passion. Pilloton argued that it is hard for many young people to know their passion. If we encourage curiosity and give students the opportunity to push the boundaries of what they think is possible, we provide them the opportunity to both build confidence and find their passion.
 

The future of education demands more questions, not answers — from edsurge.com by Jay Silver; with thanks to EDTECH@UTRGV for their Scoop on this resource

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Technology alone can’t educate students. It’s not some mystical, magical ingredient one sprinkles over core curricula like salt on a meal. The magic is inside the child.

A Pedagogy of Answers
Too many schools apply a paint-by-numbers approach to tech: “Let’s cover this fixed information, in this exact way, in this set amount of time, and judge ourselves as educators and students based on standardized test results.”

A Pedagogy of Questions
Our national teaching model has for too long been a pedagogy of answers. In its place I’d like to suggest a new pedagogy of questions—one that prizes interest-driven, project-based, exploratory studies. Personal gardens of learning with no single pathway through them. More open play and less rote memorization. More learning by discovery than following set instructions.

As an inventor and father, my advice to those looking to make digital in-roads into our nation’s schools is this: promote learning that encourages kids to choose their own problems and solutions rather than a single, siloed system.

Tech isn’t the answer, but it can help us create a new pedagogy of questions.

 

From DSC:
I can relate to Jay’s thoughts and perspectives here — we need to provide our young learners with more choice, more control. More play. More time for experimentation. More project-based learning that’s based upon what students want to learn about.

How many parents wouldn’t give their left leg (well…almost) to hear their kids say, “I can’t wait to go to school — I love going to school! I love learning about new things that I want to know about!”?  To see such excitement, engagement, and a love for learning would be mind-blowing, right? If your son or daughter has that perspective, I’d guess that you value that attitude and that learning situation a great deal.

This morning a faculty member said something that’s relevant here. [Paraphrasing what he said:] “There’s a paradigm shift occurring these days in how to get information. We need our students to understand and react to this paradigm shift and we need to help them make that shift. They need to be more proactive in how they get information; and not go along with the “Feed me! Feed me!” approach.”

A final comment here…my kids balk at having to learn so many things that they have little interest in; it’s force-fed learning surrounded by — and shaped by — standardized tests. The list of things they actually want to learn about is either very short or non-existent (depending upon their grade levels).  I understand that they are at different stages in their ability to make judgments about what they need to learn about; they need foundational skills to build upon…and that they don’t know what they don’t know.  That said, it would be an interesting experiment for each of them indeed, for them to be able to self-select/choose some more topics, projects, and assignments and then pursue them on their own or with other small groups of other students. How might that impact their engagement levels? How might that improve their views of learning? Perhaps I’m off here..and too Hallmarkish, too Pollyannaish; but I’m tired of hearing the moaning and groaning again about having to do this or that piece of homework.

 

————–

Addendums on 9/16/15:
I just ran across this item from Larry Ferlazzo out at edutopia.org that has a section in it —
Autonomy — that addresses ways that more choice, more control can be introduced.

The idea of asking better questions doesn’t just belong in K-12. Check out Jack Uldrich’s posting, A Framework for Questioning the Future.

Excerpt:

In today’s era of accelerating change, “answers” about the future are becoming more scarce. As a result, a premium is being placed on asking better questions about the future.

Unfortunately, because most business leaders, CEO’s and senior executives view themselves as action-oriented “problem-solvers,” they have a bias for “answers” instead of “questions.” As such, they don’t really know how to ask better questions.

In an effort to help individuals and organizations overcome this bias–and in the firm belief that it is better to have an imprecise answer to the right question than an exact answer to the wrong question,–I have put together a simple framework to help companies, businesses and organizations begin asking better questions about the future.

The eleven questions posted below are design to jumpstart the thinking–and questioning–process:

 

 

From DSC:
The following app looks to be something that the “makers” of the programming world might be interested in. Also, it could be great for those learners interested in engineering, robotics, and/or machine-to-machine communications; using this app could help start them down a very promising path/future.

 

Tickle-Sept2015

From their website:

Programming re-imagined for the connected world.
Learn to program Arduino, drones, robots, connected toys, and smart home devices, all wirelessly. Tickle is easy to learn, fun to use, and 1000x more powerful!

Easy to learn, yet incredibly powerful!
Start learning programming the same way as Computer Science courses at Harvard and UC Berkeley. Tickle is used by makers and designers around the world to create custom robots and interactive projects, including Stanford University computer scientists.

Spark your imagination.
Create stunning games and interactive stories using our library of animated characters and sounds. With the ability to program devices to interact with other devices and virtual characters, the possibilities are limitless.

1000X the super (programming) power.
If you’ve tried Scratch, Hopscotch, Tynker, Blockly, Scratch Jr, Kodable, Pyonkee, mBlock, or Code.org, now you can go beyond the screen and program your own connected future.

 

What the Future Economy Means for How Kids Learn Today — from kqed.org/mindshift by David Price

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

While this myopic and somewhat irrelevant argument takes place, the gulf in motivation between the learning that our students have to do, and the learning that they choose to do, grows ever wider. Meanwhile, the implementation of standardized testing and high-stakes accountability leaves a devastating legacy of what Yong Zhao calls side effects: increasing student (and staff) disengagement; perceived irrelevance of formal education; and the loss of autonomy and trust in the teaching profession.

If we want to re-engage learners, re-professionalize teachers, and re-think how we prepare students for a globally competitive working life, we need to follow the learners, and develop more open learning systems.

 

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