A Curiosity Guide — from byrdseed.com Ian Byrd


Excerpts:

Anticipation and Dopamine: In part one of this curiosity series, we explore the connection between curiosity, anticipation, and dopamine and discover why we remember things better when we are allowed to wonder.

So, to wrap up our first round of exploring curiosity:

  • When we become curious, we are anticipating learning information.
  • Our brain releases dopamine, a pleasurable chemical related to the anticipation of a reward (in this case information).
  • Simply being in this curious state activates the hippocampus, enhancing memory.
  • We remember things better when we are in this state, even things we weren’t actually curious about.

Closing Question:
How many times a day are your students in a curious state, eagerly anticipating information?

 

Confusion and Curiosity: So how do we make kids curious? We’ll cover two aspects: creating information gaps and (yes) purposefully confusing our students.

In the first article, we covered what happenings in our brains when we become curious. We also noted that just being in a state of curiosity can improve memory, even for things you’re not curious about.

Here’s one key: to become curious, you must already know something about the topic. Curiosity only fires up when we discover that some important information is missing or that it contradicts information we already had. George Loewenstein calls this the Information Gap theory of curiosity.

Simply put: we have to give students enough information for them to become curious about the missing information.

To wrap up part two:

  • Curiosity requires us to know something about the topic.
  • We become curious when information doesn’t fit an existing mental model.
  • Confusion is part of curiosity. We enjoy a certain amount of cognitive disequilibrium.
  • But! No one wants to be curious forever. It must be resolved.

 

Curiosity Is Social: When we’re curious, we can enhance that curiosity by discussing it with others. Our mutual confusion takes us deeper into the experience.

So, in classrooms, it’s worth purposefully (but gently) confusing students and then letting them talk to each other. It will build their interest and enhance their curiosity.

 

Creating Cultures of Curiosity: The biggest factor in our students’ curiosity at school is us! Teachers can create (or kill) cultures of curiosity. We’ll look at four qualities and a couple experiments run by Susan Engel.

Teachers have enormous power to encourage or discourage curiosity. Every word and action can either build a culture of curiosity or a culture of compliance.

 

 

 

From DSC:
While I haven’t gone through all of these videos/modules/practice problems, I find the idea of using music to teach math very intriguing. So I wanted to pass this information along in case it helps some students (and teachers) out there!

You might find some (or all) of this a bit corny, but some kids out there might find this style much more interesting and engaging. It might better help get and maintain their attentions. It might help them better remember some of these concepts.

I’m posting these resources/links on my blog here because of such students. If such an approach helps them connect with the material, I say, “Good deal!”  Such an approach might suit their preferences quite well.

In fact, perhaps teachers could have their students design and produce these sorts of videos themselves! Talk about active learning/project based learning! Such a cross-disciplinary, team-based approach would involve students with interests and developing skills involving:

  • Digital video editing
  • Digital audio editing
  • Music
  • Drama/acting
  • Script writing
  • Instructional design

 


 

Per Matt Wolf, Managing Director at Tylerbarnettpr.com:

Singing math tutor, Huzefa Kapedia, has launched a new musically-based SAT Math Video Course that is sure to bring a smile to faces.

From crooning about the quadratic formula to rapping about slope intercept form, Huzefa introduces the only math SAT course to teach difficult concepts through the power of song.

Additionally, he provides 700 practice problems (all frequency-based), each with its own video explanation.

And…it actually works. Huzefa is not only helping kids score big on their SATs; he is also making the whole math studying thing pretty darn enjoyable.

 


Problem Solved: Scalar Learning Proves Any Person Can Be a Math Person
Online and In-Person Tutoring Platform Introduces Modern Mathematics for Today’s Student

Scalar Learning introduces an innovative online and in-person tutoring platform that enables individuals of all ages and backgrounds with the skills and confidence needed to master mathematics. Founded by software engineer and former patent attorney Huzefa Kapadia, Scalar Learning offers a variety of online courses, private tutoring sessions with specialized educators, and entertaining (and effective) math music videos geared at breathing new life into the outdated tutoring model.

“With Scalar Learning, I wanted to reinvent the tutoring concept for the modern world,” said Kapadia. “Everything I have designed and built is a product of my experience tutoring over 2,500 hours and teaching classrooms of both sixth and second grade math students. By blending vibrant and engaging video tutorials, high quality music videos to convey difficult formulas and concepts, and highly personalized and energetic one-on-one environments, we are able to engage our students on multiple levels. Too many people label themselves as ‘not a math person;’ my goal is to prove to them and the world that there is no such thing. Any person can become a math whiz with the right encouragement and training.”

Scalar Learning offers students a multi-tiered approach to mathematics, designed to engage at every level:

  • Online video courses, in subjects ranging from multiplication mastery to SAT prep, impart vital math concepts in an easy-to-digest and entertaining format.
  • One-on-one tutoring sessions with passionate educators can be arranged in-person, via Skype, or as a combination of the two, offering a welcomed flexibility to the traditional tutoring model.
  • A library of fun and highly entertaining free math music videos help reinforce important mathematical concepts through song, making it easier for students to remember complex formulas and explanations.

“Mathematics has always been my passion, which is why after years as an attorney, I made the career shift to education,” says Kapadia. “Having worked as a teacher and tutor at both private and public schools, I soon noticed how many students had a mental block when it came to math. They would admit defeat far too early simply because they were intimidated. Scalar Learning was born as a means to dismantle that premature defeat. Our system is proof that there is no such thing as being ‘bad at math.’ With the proper tools, practice, and guidance, any person can not only ‘get it,’ but they can also enjoy it.”

For more information, please visit http://scalarlearning.com.

 


 

 


 

 


From DSC:
From an early age, we need to help our students learn how to learn. What tips, advice, and/or questions can we help our students get into the habit of asking themselves? Along these lines, the article below,”How Metacognition Boosts Learning,” provides some excellent questions. 

Speaking of questions…I’ll add some more, but of a different sort:

  • How can all educators do a better job of helping their students learn how to learn?
  • How can Instructional Designers and Instructional Technologists help out here? Librarians? Provosts? Deans? Department Chairs? Teachers? Trainers (in the corporate L&D space)?
  • How might technologies come into play here in terms of building more effective web-based learner profiles that can be fed into various platforms and/or into teachers’ game plans?

I appreciate Bill Knapp and his perspectives very much (see here and here; Bill is GRCC’s Executive Director of Distance Learning & Instructional Technologies). The last we got together, we wondered out loud:

  • Why don’t teachers, professors, school systems, administrations within in K-20 address this need/topic more directly…? (i.e., how can we best help our students learn how to learn?)
  • Should we provide a list of potentially helpful techniques, questions, tools, courses, modules, streams of content, or other resources on how to learn?
  • Should we be weaving these sorts of things into our pedagogies?
  • Are there tools — such as smartphone related apps — that can be of great service here? For example, are there apps for sending out reminders and/or motivational messages?

As Bill asserted, we need to help our students build self-efficacy and a mindset of how to learn. Then learners can pivot into new areas with much more confidence. I agree. In an era that continues to emphasize freelancing and entrepreneurship — plus dealing with a rapidly-changing workforce — people now need to be able to learn quickly and effectively. They need to have the self confidence to be able to pivot. So how can we best prepare our students for their futures?

Also, on a relevant but slightly different note (and I suppose is of the flavor of a Universal Design for Learning approach)…I think that “tests” given to special needs children — for example that might have to do with executive functioning, and/or identifying issues, and/or providing feedback as to how a particular learner might best absorb information — would be helpful for ALL students to take. If I realize that the way my brain learns best is to have aural and visual materials presented on any given topic, that is very useful information for me to realize — and the sooner the better!

 



How Metacognition Boosts Learning — from edutopia.org by Youki Terada
Students often lack the metacognitive skills they need to succeed, but they can develop these skills by addressing some simple questions.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Strategies that target students’ metacognition—the ability to think about thinking—can close a gap that some students experience between how prepared they feel for a test and how prepared they actually are. In a new study, students in an introductory college statistics class who took a short online survey before each exam asking them to think about how they would prepare for it earned higher grades in the course than their peers—a third of a letter grade higher, on average. This low-cost intervention helped students gain insight into their study strategies, boosting their metacognitive skills and giving them tools to be more independent learners.

More recently, a team of psychologists and neuroscientists published a comprehensive analysis of 10 learning techniques commonly used by students. They discovered that one of the most popular techniques—rereading material and highlighting key points—is also one of the least effective because it leads students to develop a false sense of mastery. They review a passage and move on without realizing that they haven’t thoroughly understood and absorbed the material.

Metacognition helps students recognize the gap between being familiar with a topic and understanding it deeply. But weaker students often don’t have this metacognitive recognition—which leads to disappointment and can discourage them from trying harder the next time.

To promote students’ metacognition, middle and high school teachers can implement the following strategies. Elementary teachers can model or modify these strategies with their students to provide more scaffolding.

During class, students should ask themselves:

  • What are the main ideas of today’s lesson?
  • Was anything confusing or difficult?
  • If something isn’t making sense, what question should I ask the teacher?
  • Am I taking proper notes?
  • What can I do if I get stuck on a problem?

Before a test, students should ask themselves:

  • What will be on the test?
  • What areas do I struggle with or feel confused about?
  • How much time should I set aside to prepare for an upcoming test?
  • Do I have the necessary materials (books, school supplies, a computer and online access, etc.) and a quiet place to study, with no distractions?
  • What strategies will I use to study? Is it enough to simply read and review the material, or will I take practice tests, study with a friend, or write note cards?
  • What grade would I get if I were to take the test right now?

After a test, students should ask themselves:

  • What questions did I get wrong, and why did I get them wrong?
  • Were there any surprises during the test?
  • Was I well-prepared for the test?
  • What could I have done differently?
  • Am I receiving useful, specific feedback from my teacher to help me progress?

 



From DSC:
Below are a few resources more about metacognition and learning how to learn:

 

 

 

  • Students should be taught how to study. — from Daniel Willingham
    Excerpt:
    Rereading is a terribly ineffective strategy. The best strategy–by far–is to self-test–which is the 9th most popular strategy out of 11 in this study. Self-testing leads to better memory even compared to concept mapping (Karpicke & Blunt, 2011).

 

 

 

  • The Lesson You Never Got Taught in School: How to Learn! — from bigthink.com
    Excerpt:
    Have you ever wondered whether it is best to do your studying in large chunks or divide your studying over a period of time? Research has found that the optimal level of distribution of sessions for learning is 10-20% of the length of time that something needs to be remembered. So if you want to remember something for a year you should study at least every month, if you want to remember something for five years you should space your learning every six to twelve months. If you want to remember something for a week you should space your learning 12-24 hours apart. It does seem however that the distributed-practice effect may work best when processing information deeply – so for best results you might want to try a distributed practice and self-testing combo.There is however a major catch – do you ever find that the amount of studying you do massively increases before an exam? Most students fall in to the “procrastination scallop” – we are all guilty at one point of cramming all the knowledge in right before an exam, but the evidence is pretty conclusive that this is the worst way to study, certainly when it comes to remembering for the long term. What is unclear is whether cramming is so popular because students don’t understand the benefits of distributed practice or whether testing practices are to blame – probably a combination of both. One thing is for sure, if you take it upon yourself to space your learning over time you are pretty much guaranteed to see improvements.

 

 



 

 

Why Don’t Educators in Higher Ed Take Education Classes? — from insidehighered.com by Jillian Joyce
If we’re in higher education to educate, Jillian Joyce asks, what keeps college teachers from learning more about teaching?

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

If we’re in higher education to educate, what keeps college teachers from learning more about teaching? You’re busy. You’ve been doing this a long time. It’s really up to the students to learn the material. You’re already an excellent lecturer. Anyone can teach; it’s not that complicated. While those phrases begin to scratch the surface, I propose we take a step back to examine the internal narratives and pervading ideologies that surround our ideas about teaching at the university.

Three Myths
In her 2003 text Practice Makes Practice, Deborah P. Britzman, a professor at York University in Toronto, describes three myths that summon teachers to the field of education: 1) everything depends upon the teacher, 2) the teacher is the expert and 3) teachers are self-made. While Britzman’s audience is largely teachers at the primary and secondary levels, these myths abound in higher education, as well.

Similarly, professors at a university are typically required to wear two hats: one hat as a researcher and another as a teacher. But only the researcher hat is fashionable. It brings in money for the university, it looks good on a curriculum vitae and it promotes the climb up the academic latter.

In contrast, the teacher hat is slumpy. It’s necessary but not pretty. It’s the kind of hat you wear grocery shopping hoping no one will recognize you. The fancy hat promotes the educator as the expert, while the slumpy hat is seen as “just” teaching. This distinction fosters the idea that teaching is easy and requires little effort. The uncomfortable adage “those who can’t do, teach” suggests that research is “doing,” while teaching is a second-rate activity.

 


From DSC:
Teaching effectively is a very complex, deep, and difficult task to do well. Those who say it’s easy have likely never tried doing it themselves. Also, in higher education, doing research is one thing, but teaching well is a whole different set of (often undervalued) skills.

My alma mater (Northwestern University) prides itself on faculty who are doing leading edge research. According to this page, there was $676.5 million in annual sponsored research back in 2016-2017. (Brief insert from DSC: For those who say higher ed isn’t a business, how would you respond to this kind of thing? Or this?*) I remember taking courses from researchers like these and many of them shouldn’t have been teaching at all — they weren’t nearly worth the cost of tuition. I also remember taking courses from graduate students who likely hadn’t had any coursework on how to teach either.

The tragedy here is that it’s the students who are paying increasingly huge tuition bills to attend Northwestern and other such universities and colleges. This is not right. Let’s lift up the craft of teaching and let those who do research, research. Researchers can relay the highlights of their research to those who have taken the time to work on their teaching-related skills. 

My vote? If you don’t care about your teaching, you shouldn’t be teaching at all.

As a relevant side question here: What would you say to your doctor if they didn’t keep learning and growing in their skillset?!? How would you feel about that?

If you are teaching, you should have taken some coursework in how to teach — and how people learn — and you should be required to attend several professional development related events: Every. Single. Year.

 


 

DSC: Higher education not a business you say? Are you sure about that!?
The University of Alabama is paying its football coach, Nick Saban, more than $11 million this season, which puts him ahead of every coach in the professional National Football League. Clemson University coach Dabo Sweeney will earn $8.5 million, and the University of Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh $7 million, not including money from endorsements.

 


 

 

Developing a learning culture: A framework for the growth of teaching expertise — from facultyfocus.com by Nancy Chick, Natasha Kenny, Carol Berenson, Carol Johnson, David Keegan, Emma Read, & Leslie Reid

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Many postsecondary institutions have started to explore what it means to develop and demonstrate teaching expertise, recognizing not only the complexities of teaching and of documenting the experiences of teaching, but also that teaching expertise is developed through a learning process that continues over time (Hendry & Dean, 2002; Kreber, 2002). Our framework (see below graphic) for this growth of teaching expertise draws from the scholarly literature related to postsecondary teaching and learning to demonstrate that teaching expertise involves multiple facets, habits of mind (or ways of knowing and being), and possible developmental activities.

The Structure of the Framework
Our framework (Figure 1) introduces three foundational habits of mind—inclusive, learning-centered, and collaborative ways of knowing and being—that ground five interwoven and non-hierarchical facets of teaching expertise:

  • teaching and supporting learning
  • professional learning and development
  • mentorship
  • research, scholarship, and inquiry
  • educational leadership

 

Figure 1: Conceptualization of a framework for the development of teaching expertise

 

 

 

 

This framework is “written in pencil” in that it is meant to be shared, adapted, and used according to the needs of local contexts. The intention is to provide a scholarly framework for recognizing the breadth of characteristics involved in the development of teaching expertise in postsecondary contexts across all career stages.

 

 

 

 

 

DC: The next generation learning platform will likely offer us such virtual reality-enabled learning experiences such as this “flight simulator for teachers.”

Virtual reality simulates classroom environment for aspiring teachers — from phys.org by Charles Anzalone, University at Buffalo

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Two University at Buffalo education researchers have teamed up to create an interactive classroom environment in which state-of-the-art virtual reality simulates difficult student behavior, a training method its designers compare to a “flight simulator for teachers.”

The new program, already earning endorsements from teachers and administrators in an inner-city Buffalo school, ties into State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher’s call for innovative teaching experiences and “immersive” clinical experiences and teacher preparation.

The training simulator Lamb compared to a teacher flight simulator uses an emerging computer technology known as virtual reality. Becoming more popular and accessible commercially, virtual reality immerses the subject in what Lamb calls “three-dimensional environments in such a way where that environment is continuous around them.” An important characteristic of the best virtual reality environments is a convincing and powerful representation of the imaginary setting.

 

Also related/see:

 

  • TeachLive.org
    TLE TeachLivE™ is a mixed-reality classroom with simulated students that provides teachers the opportunity to develop their pedagogical practice in a safe environment that doesn’t place real students at risk.  This lab is currently the only one in the country using a mixed reality environment to prepare or retrain pre-service and in-service teachers. The use of TLE TeachLivE™ Lab has also been instrumental in developing transition skills for students with significant disabilities, providing immediate feedback through bug-in-ear technology to pre-service teachers, developing discrete trial skills in pre-service and in-service teachers, and preparing teachers in the use of STEM-related instructional strategies.

 

 

 

 

 

This start-up uses virtual reality to get your kids excited about learning chemistry — from Lora Kolodny and Erin Black

  • MEL Science raised $2.2 million in venture funding to bring virtual reality chemistry lessons to schools in the U.S.
  • Eighty-two percent of science teachers surveyed in the U.S. believe virtual reality content can help their students master their subjects.

 

This start-up uses virtual reality to get your kids excited about learning chemistry from CNBC.

 

 


From DSC:
It will be interesting to see all the “places” we will be able to go and interact within — all from the comfort of our living rooms! Next generation simulators should be something else for teaching/learning & training-related purposes!!!

The next gen learning platform will likely offer such virtual reality-enabled learning experiences, along with voice recognition/translation services and a slew of other technologies — such as AI, blockchain*, chatbots, data mining/analytics, web-based learner profiles, an online-based marketplace supported by the work of learning-based free agents, and others — running in the background. All of these elements will work to offer us personalized, up-to-date learning experiences — helping each of us stay relevant in the marketplace as well as simply enabling us to enjoy learning about new things.

But the potentially disruptive piece of all of this is that this next generation learning platform could create an Amazon.com of what we now refer to as “higher education.”  It could just as easily serve as a platform for offering learning experiences for learners in K-12 as well as the corporate learning & development space.

 

I’m tracking these developments at:
http://danielschristian.com/thelivingclassroom/

 

 

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

 


*  Also see:


Blockchain, Bitcoin and the Tokenization of Learning — from edsurge.com by Sydney Johnson

Excerpt:

In 2014, Kings College in New York became the first university in the U.S. to accept Bitcoin for tuition payments, a move that seemed more of a PR stunt than the start of some new movement. Much has changed since then, including the value of Bitcoin itself, which skyrocketed to more than $19,000 earlier this month, catapulting cryptocurrencies into the mainstream.

A handful of other universities (and even preschools) now accept Bitcoin for tuition, but that’s hardly the extent of how blockchains and tokens are weaving their way into education: Educators and edtech entrepreneurs are now testing out everything from issuing degrees on the blockchain to paying people in cryptocurrency for their teaching.

 

 

 

 

Keeping Joy in the Classroom — from teachervision.com by Lisa Koplik
How do we keep joy in our classrooms — for both students and teachers?

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Teaching today is nothing like it was in the past. Gone are the days of loose curriculum, infrequent observations by your principal, and learning cursive; we now have structured lessons, unannounced walkthroughs by both the principal and the superintendent, and a lack of downtime.

How do we keep joy in our classrooms — for the kids and also for us? Take a look at some tips for continuing to make teaching and learning fun.

4. Allow for Choice
As much as you can, give the kids choices. While this isn’t always possible, there are ways to promote student choice. If your school has an intervention time, or a “What I Need” (WIN) block, create a menu of student options. Recently, my WIN time menu has included Greek myths, multiplication practice, a persuasive essay piece, informational task cards, and multi-step word problems in math. These activities are considered Must-Do, and if they finish all Must-Dos, they can move on to optional choices. Another great way to allow for choice is by using Seesaw, a website that allows for students to represent their learning in a variety of ways. I have used Seesaw during assessments to allow students the choice of typing, voice recording, or writing by hand. They definitely enjoy filming themselves talking!

 

 

From DSC:
Seeing as all of us are now into lifelong learning, it’s to all of our benefits to make learning fun and enjoyable. In fact, I wish that were more a part of our formative assessments…not just how did our students score on this or that standardized test. The skills that are needed in the future are hard to cram into a standardized test; skills such as creativity, entrepreneurship, tenacity/grit, patience, teamwork and collaboration, being innovative, being able to quickly adapt to change, etc.

Sometimes the problem is that it takes too much time to provide a solid level of choice. I get that. But with some tools/services — as in the case where Lisa mentioned her use of Seesaw — there are some options that aren’t so labor-intensive for the teachers.

I have it that if someone has had an extended period of painful or bad learning experiences, chances are that they won’t want to “go back to school” — in whatever form that additional training/education might look like. But if they enjoyed their learning experiences, it becomes much easier for consistent, lifelong learning to get baked into our daily/weekly habits and into our lives.

 

 

 

 

 

How a Flipped Syllabus, Twitter and YouTube Made This Professor Teacher of the Year — from edsurge.com by Bruce Anderson

Excerpt:

A few years after John Boyer began teaching world geography at Virginia Tech, a survey revealed that 58 percent of college-aged Americans could not locate Japan on a map. Sixty-nine percent could not find the United Kingdom.

Boyer raced ahead undaunted. He loved the scope and implications of his subject. “The great thing about geography is . . . everything happens somewhere,” he explains. “Geography is the somewhere.”

Boyer is now a senior instructor and researcher at Virginia Tech. He took over World Regions, an entry-level geography class, while he was working on a master’s degree nearly 20 years ago. The class then had 50 students. Now the course is offered each semester and a whopping 3,000 students take it in any given school year.

What has made it so popular? Innovative pedagogy, for starters. Boyer uses a “flipped syllabus” in which students’ final grades are based on the points they’ve earned—not lost—throughout the semester. His legendary assignments range from reviewing films to tweeting on behalf of world leaders (more on that below). Mostly, Boyer himself has made the class a rite of passage for undergraduates, who typically find him funny, passionate, and consummately engaging. Boyer even created a comic alter ego called the Plaid Avenger, who has narrated textbooks and podcasts but is now largely retired—though Boyer still sports his famous plaid jackets and drives a plaid Scion.

 

 

Given the disparity in knowledge levels as well as the disparity in what they like to do in terms of work, whether that be watching international film or writing papers, I wanted to increase the flexibility of what the students could do to achieve a grade in this class.

 

 

Tell us about the Twitter World Leaders.
You can choose to be a true, real world leader. Of course, they’re fake accounts and we make sure everyone knows you’re the fake Donald Trump or the fake Angela Merkel of Germany. Once you take on that role, you will tweet as the world leader for the entire semester, and you have to tweet two to three times a day. And it’s not silly stuff. What is the chancellor of Germany working on right now? What other world leaders is Angela Merkel meeting with? What’s going on in Germany or the EEU?

 

 

 

Education must transform to make people ready for AI — from ft.com by Jo Owen
Schools will need to teach know-how, not know-what

Excerpts:

A recent study by Oxford university estimates that nearly half of all jobs in the US are at risk from automation and computers in the next 20 years. While advancing technologies have been endangering jobs since the start of the Industrial Revolution, this time it is not just manual posts: artificial intelligence — the so-called fourth industrial revolution — promises to change the shape of professional work as well.

For instance, lawtech is already proving adept at sorting and analysing legal documents far faster and more cheaply than junior lawyers can. Similarly, routine tasks in accounting are succumbing to AI at the expense of more junior staff.

 

The next generation will need a new set of skills to survive, let alone thrive, in an AI world. Literacy, numeracy, science and languages are all important, but they share one thing in common: computers are going to be far better than humans at processing these forms of explicit knowledge. The risk is that the education system will be churning out humans who are no more than second-rate computers, so if the focus of education continues to be on transferring explicit knowledge across the generations, we will be in trouble.

The AI challenge is not just about educating more AI and computer experts, although that is important. It is also about building skills that AI cannot emulate. These are essential human skills such as teamwork, leadership, listening, staying positive, dealing with people and managing crises and conflict.

 

Evaluation and league tables are a barrier to success — you get what you measure in education as much as you do in business.

 

From DSC:
“Teamwork, leadership, listening, staying positive, dealing with people and managing crises and conflict.” Do our standardized tests measure these types of things? No, I agree with you. They don’t. They measure “know-what skills.”

 

“We are doubling down on the idea that if we get children to know things and regurgitate them in a certain way in an exam, then we are setting them up for success in life.”

Tom Ravenscroft

 

 

 

 


Also see:


 

Capitalism that Works for Everyone — from gettingsmart.com by Tom Vander Ark

Excerpts:

Inequality Gets Worse From Here
Our new report on the future of work and learning illustrated how the combination of artificial intelligence, big data and enabling technologies like robotics are changing the employment landscape fast.

Our new paper on the future of work and learning suggests a couple solutions…

 

From DSC:
I sat down for a cup of coffee the other day with an experienced, wise, elderly learning expert. He was virtually a walking encyclopedia of knowledge around matters related to training, teaching, and learning. It was such a gift to learn from his numerous years’ worth of experience and his hard earned knowledge!!!  I rarely use the phrase learning expert because it’s very difficult to be an expert when it comes to how people learn. But in this case, that phrase works just fine for me.

This elderly gentleman had years’ worth of experiences involving instructional design, coaching, teaching, and training behind him. He mentioned several things that I want to record and relay here, such as:

  • In terms of higher education, we need to move from a content orientation to a process orientationi.e., helping our students learn how to learn (i.e., providing some effective methods/best practices such as this article and this study discuss for example).
    While
    I agree that this is a good call, I still think that we’ll need some level of content delivery though. As Daniel Willingham asserts in his book, Why don’t students like school?, students still need to have a base knowledge of a subject so that they can recall that information and integrate it into other situations. Per Willingham, we can’t expect learners to become experts and think like experts without that base level of knowledge in a subject. But if they never had that information in the first place, they couldn’t recall it or bring it up for application in another context. That said, I highly agree that students need to graduate from high school and college having a much better idea on how to learn. Such a skill will serve them very well over their lifetimes, especially in this new exponential pace of change that we’re now experiencing.

 

  • Speaking of contexts, this wise gentleman said that we need to move from being content driven to being concept driven and context driven.
    The trick here is how to implement this type of pedagogy within higher education. It’s hard to anticipate the myriad of potential contexts our students could find themselves in in the future. Perhaps we could provide 2-3 contexts as examples for them.

 

  • Students need to interact with the content. It won’t have any sort of lasting impact if it’s simply an information transmission model. This is why he practiced (what we today call) active learning based classrooms and project-based learning when he taught college students years ago. This is why he has attendees in his current training-related courses apply/practice what they’ve just been told. Along these lines, he also likes to use open-ended questions and allow for the process of discovery to occur.

 

  • The point of teaching is to make learning possible.

 

  • Learning is change. No change. No learning.
    An interesting, bold perspective that I appreciated hearing. What do you think of this assertion?

 

  • For each educational/training-related item, he asks 3 questions:
    • What does it mean?
    • Why is it important?
    • What am I going to do with it?

 

There was soooooo much knowledge in this wise man’s brain. I reflected on how much information and expertise we lose when instructional designers, teachers, professors, learning theorists (and many others) retire and leave their fields. I asked him if he was blogging to help pass this information along to the next generations, but he said no…there was too much on his plate (which I believe, as he was highly energetic, driven, and active). But I find that when one finally gets enough knowledge to even being close to being called an expert, then it’s time to retire. We often lose that knowledge and people end up reinventing the wheel all over again.

Again, it was such a pleasure to talk with an older gentleman with years of experience under his belt — one who had clearly put a great deal of time and effort into his learning about learning. In an age when America discards the elderly and worships youth, there is an important lesson here.

In an age when organizations are letting their older, more experienced employees go — only to hire much younger people at 1/2 the former wages — we should learn from some of the other nations and cultures who highly respect and lift up the more experienced employees — and the elderly — and who actively seek out their counsel and wisdom. Such people are often worth every penny of their wages.

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What do you think? Am I off base on some of my responses/reflections? How do these things strike you?

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