Next-Gen Classrooms: Aces of Space — from by Jennifer Demski
Four schools use cutting-edge design principles and technology to create next-gen learning spaces, with a focus on collaboration and student engagement.




media:scape with HD videoconferencing


From DSC:
I originally saw this at:


Of course, the future belongs to the young. You get a decent look at it ahead of time, though, by watching how they build new ways seize it.

Earlier today a 17 year old named Priyanka Jain launched a student run nonprofit called iCAREweCARE, which is dedicated to helping high school and college students identify causes they care about, find local organizations that address those problems, and then write about their experiences,  or connect with their friends over them. There is a Web site, and Facebook connections for rapid and deep information sharing.

The cause-centered orientation is praiseworthy. The implications of this kind of social platform, however, could be what proves really world-changing

The New 3 E's of Education: Enabled; Empowered; Engaged -- May 2011 from Project Tomorrow


Excerpt from introduction (emphasis DSC):

Three factors are driving this new interest and enthusiasm for digital learning by educators. First, teachers and administrators are increasingly become technology-enabled themselves, using emerging technologies such as mobile devices, online classes and digital content to improve their own productivity. This development of a personal value proposition with the technology is propelling educators to think creatively about how to leverage these same tools in the classroom. Second, students and increasingly parents are demanding a different kind of learning experience and that is forcing even the most reluctant teachers and administrators to re-evaluate their perspectives about the value of technology within learning. As noted in prior Speak Up national reports, students have a very clear vision for 21st century learning. Their preference is for learning environments that are socially-based, un-tethered and digitally rich. Parents are also supportive of this new learning paradigm and as we noted in our first Speak Up 2010 report (released in April 2011) the emergence of a new trend of parental digital choice is an indication of this unprecedented support level. And schools and districts are waking up to this new trend. Concerns about parents’ capability to, for example, enroll their children in non-district provided online classes are compelling many districts to start virtual schools themselves. The third factor, the economy, and its resulting financial pressures on school and district budgets, has created a sense of urgency to more fully investigate how technologies can help educators meet their instructional goals with less expense.

All three factors converging at the same time has opened up a new window of possibilities for achieving the promise of technology to transform education. Evidence of this shift in perspective and vision by educators is noted in some comparative Speak Up findings over the past few years.

This report is the second in a two-part series to document the key national findings from Speak Up 2010.

In this companion report, “The New 3E’s of Education: Enabled, Engaged, Empowered – How Today’s Educators are Advancing a New Vision for Teaching and Learning,” we explore how teachers, principals, district administrators, librarians and technology coordinators are addressing the student vision for learning around three key trends. These trends have generated significant interest in the past year at conferences, in policy discussions and within our schools and districts: mobile learning, online and blended learning and digital content.

While each of these trends includes the essential components of the student vision of socially-based, un-tethered and digitally-rich learning, they also provide a unique backdrop for investigating the role of educators to engage, enable and empower students through the use of these emerging technologies.
• Role of Librarians and Technology Coordinators: To enable student use of the emerging technologies through their planning, support and recommendation responsibilities.
• Role of Classroom Teachers: To engage students in rich, compelling learning experiences through the effective use of these technologies in the classroom.
• Role of School and District Administrators: To empower both teachers and students to creatively envision the future of digital learning, and to provide opportunities for exploring the elements of a new shared vision for learning.


MIT creates the one video game you’ll be thrilled to see your kid get hooked on — from by David Zax

MIT's Vanished Game

“The premise is that people living in the future have contacted us in the present, to answer a question: What event occurred between our time and theirs that led to the loss of civilization’s historical records? Students must decode clues in hidden messages, and in response find and provide information about Earth’s current condition, such as temperature and species data, to help people in the future deduce what wound up happening.”

What does it mean to teach in the 21st century?

Originally saw this at:
The Educator’s PLN- posted by Chris McEnroe on 3/28/11


Also, very relevant here is the following posting from Arne Duncan at blog:

  • The Changing Face of American Education
    (Cross-posted from the White House Blog

    One of the greatest challenges facing our country is the coming retirement of more than 1 million baby-boomer teachers. This challenge has presented us with a once in a lifetime opportunity to help reshape education in America by recruiting and training the next generation of great American teachers.

Teaching is a rewarding and challenging profession where you can make a lasting impact. Teachers have a positive influence on students, schools, and communities, now and into the future. Schools across the nation are in need of a diverse set of talented teachers, especially in our big cities and rural areas, and especially in the areas of Math, Science, Technology, Special Education, and English Language Learning.

That’s why the department launched the TEACH campaign — a bold new initiative to inspire and empower the most talented and dedicated Americans to become teachers. We know that next to parental support, there is nothing more important to a child’s education than the quality of his or her teachers.

Many of you are already thinking about becoming teachers. The TEACH campaign provides tools at your fingertips to navigate the academic and professional requirements that will credential you to succeed as a teacher in one of our schools. features an online path to teaching and over 4,000 listed, open teaching positions.



Also see:



If you want to truly engage students, give up the reins — from Ewan McIntosh

During the final half of 2010, I asked more than 1,500 teachers around the globe two questions: what are your happiest memories from learning at school, and what are your least happy experiences?

When I do the “reveal” of what I think their answers will be, every workshop has a “but how did he know?” reaction. It’s more akin to an audience’s response to illusionist Derren Brown than to the beginning of a day of professional development.

For teachers’ answers are always the same. At the top is “making stuff”, then school trips, “feeling I’m making a contribution” and “following my own ideas”. Their least happy experiences are “a frustration at not understanding things”, “not having any help on hand” and “being bored”, mostly by “dull presentations”. “Not seeing why we had to do certain tasks” appeared in every continent.
Most of these educators agreed that the positive experiences they loved about school were too few, and were outnumbered by the “important but dull” parts of today’s schooling: delivering content, preparing for and doing exams.

But while a third of teachers generally remember “making stuff” as their most memorable and happy experience at school, we see few curricula where “making stuff” and letting students “follow their own ideas” makes up at least a third of the planned activity.

More here…

@GOOD Asks: How can we lower high school drop out rates?


We’ve covered the drop out epidemic before. In the United States, a kid drops out of high school every 26 seconds. Over the course of a year, that adds up to 1.2 million students. How can we lower this number?


From DSC:
This is unbelievable! Again, I’m reminded of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion — spilling out valuable resources that are going untapped. What a waste of God-given gifts!

  • 40 million American adults did not complete high school.
  • The high school graduate, on average, earns $500,000 more in a lifetime as compared to an individual who did not complete high school.
  • Most high school dropouts (70%) have the intellectual ability to complete the courses needed for high school graduation.
  • Most high school dropouts do not feel a connection between high school courses and future employment.
  • 75% of high school dropouts stated that if they could relive the experience, they would have stayed in high school.
  • 81% of dropouts expressed a need for schooling that connected academics and employment.


Addendum 4/5/11:



Alternative reality games (ARGs) as mobile learning — from Float Mobile Learning by John Feser


An alternate reality game, or ARG for short, (pronounced by saying the letters ‘A-R-G’, not by sounding like a pirate) is an interactive narrative that uses the real world as a stage for telling a story, playing out a scenario or creating a learning experience.  ARGs make use of diverse media and game elements to help tell and impact the outcome of the story.

Mobile devices combined with a good story and an educational game can be a powerful way to increase engagement and activity level of your learners. ARGs offer an interesting way to bring your mobile technology along for the ride. ARGs are being successfully used in marketing and entertainment as well as to train and solve real world problems. Organizations that are looking for creative ways to engage in mobile learning should consider the benefits ARGs have to offer. By crafting a realistic, enjoyable experience, you’ll be reinforcing behavior that most companies are actively seeking in their employees: critical problem solving, inquisitiveness and creativity.

Reconnecting Students in Alternative Education — from The Journal by Chris Riedel

In an effort to reduce truancies and tardiness among alternative education students, Kingsville ISD in Texas has started using videoconferencing to reconnect those students to their original classrooms. The results from the initial pilot have included improved attendance and, for the district, $200,000 in annual savings.

When Jennifer Kent, chief academic officer for Kingsville Independent School District in Kingsville, TX, joined the district 18 months ago, she was faced with some daunting challenges.

In a district of approximately 4,000 students, 82 percent were receiving free or reduced lunch; less than 75 percent of students were completing high school in five years; enrollment was on the decline; achievement in special education classes was below state standards; and the district’s middle schools were struggling to maintain an “acceptable” rating by the Texas Education Agency (TEA).

Speaking to several dozen teachers and administrators at the FETC 2011 conference in Orlando, FL Wednesday, Kent acknowledged “something had to be done.” And it had to start with the way the district handled its Disciplinary Alternative Education Program (DAEP).

“Every Prodigi ® lesson begins with Easy questions that review prerequisite concepts and get students warmed up. Based on student performance, questions increase in difficulty to Medium, and then to Hard (examination level), and finally Extreme (recreational). Not only that, but students have live access to hints and worked solutions to plug any gaps in their knowledge”

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