Greta Thunberg is the youngest TIME Person of the Year ever. Here’s how she made history — from time.com

Excerpt:

The politics of climate action are as entrenched and complex as the phenomenon itself, and Thunberg has no magic solution. But she has succeeded in creating a global attitudinal shift, transforming millions of vague, middle-of-the-night anxieties into a worldwide movement calling for urgent change. She has offered a moral clarion call to those who are willing to act, and hurled shame on those who are not. She has persuaded leaders, from mayors to Presidents, to make commitments where they had previously fumbled: after she spoke to Parliament and demonstrated with the British environmental group Extinction Rebellion, the U.K. passed a law requiring that the country eliminate its carbon footprint. She has focused the world’s attention on environmental injustices that young indigenous activists have been protesting for years. Because of her, hundreds of thousands of teenage “Gretas,” from Lebanon to Liberia, have skipped school to lead their peers in climate strikes around the world.

 

Young people! You CAN and will make a big impact/difference!

 

A parent’s guide to prioritizing emotional well-being — from modernlearners.com by Richard Ten Eyck, with thanks to Missy Emler from Modern Learners for this resource

Excerpt:

I wonder what we are doing in our families, in our schools, in our society that is causing this dramatic rise among our youth. I wonder if my kids feel like they belong at their school? I wonder what school policies/practices my kids find stressful?

I wonder what we could do differently in our families, in our schools, in our society that could make a difference. I wonder why we still have grades, age grouped classes, separate subjects? I wonder what would happen if, like some schools, we tried to eliminate them?

Couldn’t we at least try? Should we just keep doing what we are doing even though we know it’s making kids anxious?

How can we help one another?

What really matters?

 

 

3 ways to boost middle schoolers’ confidence in class — from edutopia.org by Phyllis Fagell
Middle school is a distinct phase, and a school counselor has ideas for how teachers can draw out their students’ best work.

Excerpt:

I heard Mara’s muffled cries from the bathroom stall and weighed my options. I could give her privacy, or tell her I knew why she was crying and offer reassurance. I decided on a hybrid approach. “I’m going to give you some space,” I told her from a few feet away. “But I’ll come back in a few minutes to check on you. If you’re worried about your presentation, I can help you. Lots of seventh graders think it’s scary.”

As I started to leave, Mara—not her real name—called out, “Wait! How did you know that’s why I’m upset?”

 

 

Using technology to inspire creativity boosts student outcomes — from thejournal.com by Sara Friedman

Transformative technology uses include using tablets or computers to create multimedia projects, conduct research and analyze information.

Teachers’ use of creativity in learning was determined how many times students were allowing to:

  • Choose what to learn in class.
  • Try different ways of doing things, even if they might not work.
  • Come up with their own ways to solve a problem
  • Discuss topics with no right or wrong answer.
  • Create a project to express what they’ve learned.
  • Work on a multidisciplinary project.
  • Work on a project with real-world applications.
  • Publish or share projects with people outside the classroom.
 

Students nationwide to join coding boot camp phase of 2019 National Cyber Robotics Coding Competition — from gocoderz.com

Excerpts:

During the first phase, a two-week boot camp, students and educators begin learning about coding and robotics in a virtual, highly scaffolded “sandbox” on the competition platform, the award-winning CoderZ Cyber Robotics Learning Environment. The cloud-based platform features a graphical simulation of LEGO Mindstorms EV3 robots; users activate the virtual robot, or “cyber-robot,” in game-like “missions” and watch the results in a real-time simulation.

Organized by ISCEF, the Intelitek STEM and CTE Education Foundation, the national CRCC is the first-of-its-kind, online coding and robotics tournament for students in grades 5-8 that enables schools, districts, after-school programs and clubs to engage students in STEM learning.

 

Also see:

Cyber Robotics 101 Course

Bring Cyber Robotics into your classroom. Use the appeal of robotics and gaming to introduce all your students to coding

The solution empowers all students to learn STEM.
Students learn how to code and operate virtual robots guided by a step-by-step instruction and gamified missions completely online. No need for expensive hardware or specialized training.

CoderZ is classroom ready, designed for teachers, and school friendly. The courseware can be teacher-led, self-paced or used in flipped classroom.

Level: Middle School (5 – 8th Grade). No previous knowledge is needed.
Length: 15 hours of courseware and programming exercises

Give students an in depth look at STEM and cyber robotics using all the available teacher resources…

Coding Robots

Introduce students to the concepts of Robots and Code with CoderZ, an online learning environment for programming real and virtual robots.

The Robotics & Coding STEM Curriculum brings your students up to speed with code and robotics in no time. This 45 hour program will teach your students to solve STEM problems through code, using math and engineering to overcome challenges. CoderZ uses engaging simulation so students will have immediate life-like feedback and can work from any computer, even from home, making sure all students get to code their robot even when time and resources are limited.

The Coding Robots STEM Curriculum brings your students up to speed with code and robotics in no time. This 45 hour program will teach your students to solve STEM problems through code, using math and engineering to overcome challenges. CoderZ helps get teachers started with robotics and bring the interdisciplinary value of STEM into the classroom. CoderZ uses engaging simulation so students will have immediate life-like feedback and can work from any computer, in class or at home, making sure all students get to code their robot even when time and resources are limited.

Learning Robotics and Coding with CoderZ

CoderZ is an online STEM learning environment where students worldwide engage in Robotics and Computer Science Education (CSEd) by coding virtual 3D robots.

 

Kansas City high schools add real-world learning — from gettingsmart.com by Tom Vander Ark

Excerpt:

The good news is that more young people are graduating from high school than ever. The bad news? High school is often less relevant to them and their futures than ever.

The largest effort to make high school more valuable—to young people and their communities— is underway in the six-county two-state Kansas City metro area.

About 60 schools in 15 districts from Kansas and Missouri are spending this school year investigating ways they can make high school more valuable to young people by incorporating more real-world learning.

 

From DSC:
I know that by the end of his junior year, our son was so tired of having information crammed down his throat. He viewed so much of the content of his courses as irrelevant and unimportant. This year, he is immersed in what he wants to do — acting. And now he is soooooo much more motivated to learn and to grow now that he is able to pursue his passion.

 

 

 

The Adaptable Organization Series: Part 5: The Ecosystem — from capitalhblog.deloitte.com; posted by Don Miller and Tiffany McDowell

Excerpt:

In an Adaptable Organization, understanding the external environment becomes a continuous activity that fuels constant efforts to evolve the business.

Encouraging people to constantly sense the external environment helps people inside the organization to be open about what they are seeing and how they believe it will impact the organization.

It is a stark contrast to the “set it and forget it” strategy and organizational design that traditionally occurred every three to five years.

Yet this expansive system can easily become misaligned and requires a greater purpose to remain connected.

A shared purpose connects the ecosystem; defines success through the eyes of customers, stakeholders and society; and helps motivate people to succeed. Not only are Adaptable Organizations able to respond quickly to changes, but they also take their role as a social enterprise seriously, moving away from being solely a “business enterprise.” These organizations aim to engage and connect with the hearts and minds of their workers, customers, communities, and societies-at-large. Adaptable Organizations are grounded in social purpose and bring teams on a journey while responding to changes with agility, speed, and ease.

A shared purpose holds the ecosystem together. Direction is given from the shared purpose and not from an organizational hierarchy. By bringing a purpose statement to life and connecting the dots for workers through storytelling and meaningful narratives, workers are more likely to commit to the organization’s strategy and execution.

 

Belief in Learning Styles Myth May Be Detrimental — from apa.org
Many people believe learning styles predict academic and career success, study finds

Excerpts:

WASHINGTON — Many people, including educators, believe learning styles are set at birth and predict both academic and career success even though there is no scientific evidence to support this common myth, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

Previous surveys in the United States and other industrialized countries across the world have shown that 80% to 95% of people believe in learning styles. It’s difficult to say how that myth became so widespread, Nancekivell said.

 

Also see:

  • Maybe They’re Born With It, or Maybe It’s Experience: Toward a Deeper Understanding of the Learning Style Myth — from apa.org by Shaylene E. Nancekivell, Priti Shah, and Susan A. Gelman
    .
  • Learning Styles are NOT an Effective Guide for Learning Design — from debunker.club
    Excerpt:
    The strength of evidence against the use of learning styles is very strong. To put it simply, using learning styles to design or deploy learning is not likely to lead to improved learning effectiveness. While it may be true that learners have different learning preferences, those preference are not likely to be a good guide for learning. The bottom line is that when we design learning, there are far better heuristics to use than learning styles.
    .
  • Learning styles: Worth our time? — from Cathy Moore
    .
  • Learning Styles Debunked: There is No Evidence Supporting Auditory and Visual Learning, Psychologists Say — from psychologicalscience.org
    .
  • Learning Styles FAQ — by Daniel Willingham
    Excerpt:
    How can you not believe that that people learn differently? Isn’t it obvious?
    People do learn differently, but I think it is very important to say exactly how they learn differently, and focus our attention on those differences that really matter. If learning styles were obviously right it would be easy to observe evidence for them in experiments. Yet there is no supporting evidence. There are differences among kids that both seem obvious to us and for which evidence is easily obtained in experiments, e.g., that people differ in their interests, that students vary in how much they think of schoolwork as part of their identity (“I’m the kind of kid who works hard in school”) and that kids differ in what they already know at the start of a lesson. All three of these have sizable, easily observed effects on learning. I think that often when people believe that they observe obvious evidence for learning styles, they are mistaking it for ability.

 

From DSC:
While I’ve heard and read through the years that there isn’t support for learning styles — and I’ve come to adopt that perspective as well due to what I’ve read, such as the items listed above — I do think that each of us has our learning preferences (as the debunker club mentioned as well). That is, how we prefer to learn about a new subject:

  • Some people like to read the manual.
  • Others never pick up the manual…they prefer to use the trial and error / hands-on method.
  • Some people prefer to listen to audio books.
  • Others prefer to watch videos.
  • Others like to read about a new topic.
  • Others like to study in a very quiet place — while others prefer some background noise.
  • Some people love to learn in a 100% online-based mode…some people hate it, and that delivery method doesn’t work as well for them.

Along these lines…in my mind, offering learning in multiple media and in multiple ways maximizes the enjoyment of learning by a group of people. And now that we’re all into lifelong learning, the enjoyment of learning has notched waaay up in importance in my book. The more we enjoy learning, the more we enjoy life (and vice versa).

In fact, I’m getting closer to the point of putting enjoyment of learning over grades in terms of importance. Grades are a way to compare people/school systems/colleges/universities/etcetera…they are the currency of our current systems…and they are used to “incentivize” students. But such systems and methods often produce game players, not learners.

 

 

‘Robots’ Are Not ‘Coming for Your Job’—Management Is — from gizmodo.com by Brian Merchant; with a special thanks going out to Keesa Johnson for her posting this out on LinkedIn

A robot is not ‘coming for’, or ‘stealing’ or ‘killing’ or ‘threatening’ to take away your job. Management is.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

At first glance, this might like a nitpicky semantic complaint, but I assure you it’s not—this phrasing helps, and has historically helped, mask the agency behind the *decision* to automate jobs. And this decision is not made by ‘robots,’ but management. It is a decision most often made with the intention of saving a company or institution money by reducing human labor costs (though it is also made in the interests of bolstering efficiency and improving operations and safety). It is a human decision that ultimately eliminates the job.

 

From DSC:
I’ve often said that if all the C-Suite cares about is maximizing profits — instead of thinking about their fellow humankind and society as a whole —  we’re in big trouble.

If the thinking goes, “Heh — it’s just business!” <– Again, then we’re in big trouble here.

Just because we can, should we? Many people should be reflecting upon this question…and not just members of the C-Suite.

 

 

 

Cut the curriculum — from willrichardson.com by Will Richardson

Excerpt:

Here’s an idea: A Minimal Viable Curriculum (MVC). That’s what Christian Talbot over at Basecamp is proposing, and I have to say, I love the idea.

He writes: “What if we were to design MVCs: Minimum Viable Curricula centered on just enough content to empower learners to examine questions or pursue challenges with rigor? Then, as learners go deeper into a question or challenge, they update their MVC…which is pretty much how learning happens in the real world.”

The key there to me is that THEY update their MVC. That resonates so deeply; it feels like that’s what I’m doing with my learning each day as I read about and work with school leaders who are thinking deeply about change.

 

When we pursue questions that matter to us, rigor is baked in.

 

From DSC:
I love the idea of giving students — as they can handle it — more choice, more control. So anytime around 8th-12th grade, I say we turn much more control over to the students, and let them make more choices on what they want to learn about. We should at least try some experiments along these lines.

 

 

As everyone in the workforce is now required to be a lifelong learner, our quality of life goes much higher if we actually enjoy learning. As I think about it, I have often heard an adult (especially middle age and older) say something like, “I hated school, but now, I love to learn.”

Plus, I can easily imagine greater engagement with the materials that students choose for themselves, as well as increased attention spans and higher motivation levels.

Also, here’s a major shout out to Will Richardson, Bruce Dixon, Missy Emler and Lyn Hilt for the work they are doing at ModernLearners.com.

 

Check out the work over at Modern Learners dot com

 

 

From DSC:
First of all, an excerpt from an email from RetrievalPractice.org:

Last week, we talked about an activity we call Flash Forward. Simply ask your students these questions:

“Now that you’ve taken this class, what is one thing you want to remember 10 years from now (and why)?”

“How will you remember that one thing? What will you do to make sure you don’t forget?”

Second of all, the topic of remembering something 10 years from now (from some current learning) made me think about obtaining a long-term return on investment (ROI) from that learning.

In the online-based course that I’ve been teaching for a while now, I’m all about helping the students in my classes obtain long-term benefits from taking the class. Grades aren’t the key. The learning is the key!

The class is entitled, “Foundations of Information Technology” and I want them to be using the tools, technologies, services, and concepts (that we learned about) loooooong after they graduate from college! We work on things like RSS feeds, Twitter, LinkedIn, WordPress, building their network, building their personal brand, HTML/web design, Microsoft Excel, the Internet of Things and much more. I want them to be practicing those things, leveraging those tools, pulse-checking their surroundings, networking with others, serving others with their gifts, and building on the foundations that they put into place waaaay back in 201__.

 

 

 

From DSC:
The picture below was posted in the item below from edutopia. What a powerful picture! And not just for art or drama teachers!

Does it not once again illustrate that we are different? The lenses that we view the world through are different. Our learners are different. Each of us comes to a learning experience with different backgrounds, emotions, knowledge…and different real-life experiences.

As the article mentions, we need to create safe and supportive learning environments, where the love of (or at least the enjoyment of) learning can thrive.

 

Getting creative with social and emotional learning (SEL) — from by Maurice Elias, Sara LaHayne
How to incorporate creative expression and movement in the classroom while building social and emotional learning skills.

Excerpt:

Being creative is an inherently vulnerable process. In order to authentically build SEL competencies through creative expression, teachers need to strive to create a safe space, provide time, and open doors for validation.

  • Creating a safe and supportive classroom environment
  • Providing time
  • Opening the doors for validation

 

 

From DSC:
Ever notice how effective Ted Talks begin? They seek to instantly grab your attention with a zinger question, a somewhat shocking statement, an interesting story, a joke, an important problem or an issue, a personal anecdote or experience, a powerful image/photo/graphic, a brief demonstration, and the like.

Grabbing someone’s attention is a key first step in getting a piece of information into someone’s short-term memory — what I call getting through “the gate.” If we can’t get through the gate into someone’s short-term memory, we have zero (0) chance of having them actually process that information and to think about and engage with that piece of content. If we can’t make it into someone’s short-term memory, we can’t get that piece of information into their long-term memory for later retrieval/recall. There won’t be any return on investment (ROI) in that case.

 

 

So why not try starting up one of your classes this week with a zinger question, a powerful image/photo/video, or a story from your own work experience? I’ll bet you’ll grab your students’ attentions instantly! Then you can move on into the material for a greater ROI. From there, offering frequent, low-stakes quizzes will hopefully help your students slow down their forgetting curves and help them practice recalling/retrieving that information. By the way, that’s why stories are quite powerful. We often remember them better. So if you can weave an illustrative story into your next class, your students might really benefit from it come final test time!

Also relevant/see:

Ready, set, speak: 5 strong ways to start your next presentation — from abovethelaw.com by Olga Mack, with thanks to Mr. Otto Stockmeyer for this resource
No matter which of these five ways you decide to launch your presentation, ensure that you make it count, and make it memorable.

Excerpts:

  1. Tell a captivating story
  2. Ask thought-provoking questions to the audience
  3. State a shocking headline or statistic
  4. Use a powerful quote
  5. Use silence
    When delivering a speech, a pause of about three or even as many as 10 seconds will allow your audience to sit and quiet down. Because most people always expect the speaker to start immediately, this silence will thus catch the attention of the audience. They will be instinctively more interested in what you had to say, and why you took your time to say it. This time will also help you gather your nerves and prepare to speak.

 

 

 

Why giving kids a roadmap to their brain can make learning easier — from edsurge.com by Megan Nellis

Excerpts:

Learning, Down to a Science
Metacognition. Neuroplasticity. Retrieval Practice. Amygdala. These aren’t the normal words you’d expect to hear in a 15-year-old rural South African’s vocabulary. Here, though, it’s common talk. And why shouldn’t it be? Over the years, we’ve found youth are innately hungry to learn about the inner workings of their mind—where, why and how learning, thinking and decision-making happens. So, we teach them cognitive science.

Over the next three years, we teach students about the software and hardware of the brain. From Carol Dweck’s online Brainology curriculum, they learn about growth mindset, memory and mnemonics, the neural infrastructure of the brain. They learn how stress impacts learning and about neuroplasticity—or how the brain learns. From David Eagleman and Dan Siegel, they learn about the changing landscape of the adolescent brain and how novelty, emotionality and peer relationships aid in learning.

Pulling from books such as Make It Stick and How We Learn, we pointedly teach students about the science behind retrieval practice, metacognition and other strategies. We expressly use them in our classes so students see and experience the direct impact, and we also dedicate a whole class in our program for students to practice applying these strategies toward their own academic learning from school.

 

 

 

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!

© 2019 | Daniel Christian