Michigan district fires all teachers, closes every school — from takepart.com by Suzi Parker
A funding crisis caused the Buena Vista School District to close its schools for the rest of the year—and perhaps permanently.

 

From DSC:
This is not right.

If the State of Michigan can’t resolve this…
I hope that a corporation or two — or a major philanthropist or two — steps in here to insure that all these students have Internet access. Then provide/allow these students to go online.  Let these students take any class that they want to — and help them enjoy learning as much as possible. They will learn things along the way — without even knowing that they are learning (along the lines of what Sugata Mitra has been saying).

Are there issues with this idea? You bet. I can think of several off the top of my head:

  • Parents out at work, kids at home…
  • Online learning works best with disciplined students…
  • The students may take courses that are not STEM-related
    (However, if they are interested in another discipline or topic, these things could be brought into their learning along the way.)
  • The students may not take courses related to the Common Core standards
    (However, this is not a big concern for me; as pounding everyone into a similar “mold” goes against the reality that each of us is different.  We each have different gifts, skills, abilities, strengths, weaknesses, passions, interests, and preferences.)

But we’ve let these kids down — and make no mistake, we will all pay the price for this type of thing — one way or another. We need to help these kids discover the joy of learning…before it’s too late. 

  

 

 

 

 

 

Interactive whiteboards are front and center in college classrooms — from edtechmagazine.com
A look at whiteboards at New York’s Touro College.

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From DSC:
We currently have 3 types of Interactive WhiteBoards (IWB’s) on our campus:  Epson BrightLinks, SMART Boards, and/or an Eno Board from PolyVision.

However, the idea of using mobile interactive whiteboards is becoming increasingly popular — i.e. being able to annotate on an iPad, for example, and having everyone in the class see these annotations.  I’ve seen some K-12 folks use Apple TV for this type of thing, but Apple’s multi-cast wireless protocol doesn’t work as well for us in a campus environment.  I’ve also seen/heard of people using one of the following solutions listed below as well. (I wish I had more time to check each of them out, but I’ll simply list them for you here.)

 

 

40percentfreelancersby2020-quartz-april2013

 

Also, from Steve Wheeler’s

Etienne Wenger recently declared: ‘If any institutions are going to help learners with the real challenges they face…(they) will have to shift their focus from imparting curriculum to supporting the negotiation of productive identities through landscapes of practice’ (Wenger, 2010).

We live in uncertain times, where we cannot be sure how the economy is going to perform today, let alone predict what kind of jobs there will be for students when they graduate in a few years time. How can we prepare students for a world of work that doesn’t yet exist? How can we help learners to ready themselves for employment that is shifting like the sand, and where many of the jobs they will be applying for when they leave university probably don’t exist yet? It’s a conundrum many faculty and lecturers are wrestling with, and one which many others are ignoring in the hope that the problem will simply go away. Whether we are meerkats, looking out and anticipating the challenges, or ostriches burying our heads in the sand, the challenge remains, and it is growing stronger.

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Also see:

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401kworld-friedman-may2013

 

Also see:

  • The Nature of the Future: The Socialstructed World — from nextberlin.eu by Marina Gorbis, Institute for the Future
    Marina Gorbis, Executive Director of the Institute for the Future (iftf.org) discussed the evolution of communication and its consequences at NEXT13. She analyzed the perks and challenges of the new relationship-driven or “socialstructed” economy, stating that “humans and technology will team up”. Her new book ‘The Nature of the Future: Dispatches from the Socialstructed World’ was published in early 2013.  Watch her inspiring talk on April 23, 2013 at NEXT13.

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From DSC:
My best take on this at this point:

  • Give students more choice, more control of their learning
  • Help them discover their gifts, abilities, talents, passions
  • Help them develop their gifts, abilities, talents, passions
  • Provide content in as many ways as possible — and let the students work with what they prefer to work with
  • Implement story, emotion, creativity, and play as much as possible (providing plenty of chances for them to create what they want to create)
  • Utilize cross-disciplinary assignments and teams
  • Integrate real-world assignments/projects into the mix
  • Help them develop their own businesses while they are still in school — coach them along, provide mentors, relevant blogs/websites, etc.
  • Guide them as they create/develop their own “textbooks” and/or streams of content

 

From DSC:
THIS is what it could look like if students OWNED their own learning and could pursue their own passions! — A powerful piece!
Well worth your time if you are involved with — or concerned about — education in any way, shape, or form.

The video starts off with this troubling/deep assertion by a student (which I’m sure varies in actuality across the board):

  • “It’s crazy that…in a system that is meant to teach…and to help the youth, there is NO voice from the youth at all.”

 

IfStudentsDesignedTheirOwnSchools-March2013

 

From DSC:
A few radical — but powerful ideas — to help students OWN their own learning (something that they will need for the rest of their lives):

  • More choice, more control
  • Research what you want to research — “The most important thing about your question is that you ACTUALLY  WANT to know the answer.”
  • Students pursue their own passions — be that an interest in music, art, science, aviation, or in another discipline.
  • Student present their findings to each other — which involves more of a team-based approach (i.e. peer pressure in a positive way here, strongly encouraging each other to do their best work so as not to let others down)
  • Peer evaluation
  • No quizzes
  • No grades
  • Often no adults in the room; if adults are there, they are acting more as guides and facilitators
  • Multiple types of “assignments”/activities — some individualistic, some group work, some long-term

A couple of questions kept running through the back of my mind:

  • Did they hand select these particular students for this program?
  • If so, what were the predominant characteristics of those students?

 

 

With that said, this is a very powerful piece — well worth your time to check out.

 

 

From DSC:
The worlds of K-12, higher education, and corporate training/development are all seeking solid solutions to the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) or the Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) solution.  (The way I see it, it would sure be helpful it Apple worked with the other relevant vendors to establish better wireless networking protocols.)  Anyway, below are some items on this topic:


 

How to BYOT for Learning? – from shift2future.com by Brian Kuhn

Responding to the “Shift to the Future” — from seanrtech.blogspot.com by Sean Robinson

BYOD: 7 reasons to leave them to their own devices — from Donald Clark Plan B

Ten reasons the iPad is an awesome tool for classrooms and education — from isource.com with thanks to Krista Spahr, Senior Instructional Designer at Calvin College, for this resource

The 4 easiest ways to mirror the iPad (comparison chart) — from edudemic.com by Seth Hansen; working off of a similar posting from Tony Vincent 

Strategies for taking flight with BYOT  — from byotnetwork.com

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills identified 4 critical areas of learning for students that include creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration.  In Forsyth County Schools, we’ve been working hard with parents, teachers and students to embrace learning with student-owned technologies; something we call Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT).  What we know for sure is that BYOT is really more like Bring Your Own Learning because we’ve discovered that it is NOT about the technology – it IS about the learning.

 


From DSC:
This aligns well with Alan November’s replacing “one-to-one” with “one-to-world.”

But whether we use the acronomyns BYOD, BYOT or BYOL (or whatever), it’s all about students being able to contribute content (hopefully that they created) and participate in the discussions.

 

A piece of the Next Generation Smart Classroom -- Daniel Christian -- June 2012

From June 2012

 

Vision of a Next Gen Smart Classroom from March 2010

 From October 2009:
Building off of Steelcase’s media:scape product line

Defiance-FirstVideoGameTVShow-Feb2013

 

Excerpt:

It’s not unusual for a science fiction television show to spin off a video game. What is unusual is linking the show and the game together on an ongoing basis, with plot elements and characters from each crossing over to the other. In April, gaming company Trion Worlds and the Syfy cable television channel will unveil Defiance, the first such crossover massively multiplayer online game (MMO) and TV show.

 

From DSC:

Transmedia.

Multimedia.

Interactivity.

Participation.

Gamification.

Sounds like there must be something here for the next gen of learners — and learning from the living room.

 

 

Also see:

‘Warnings from the trenches’ — from insidehighered.com by Colleen Flaherty

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

“Thus, students arriving in our high school lacked experience and knowledge about how to do the kinds of writing that are expected at higher levels of education,” he wrote. And even though high school teachers may try their best to make up for lost time, they, too, are held accountable for standardized test scores. Beyond mandatory state tests, the broad scope of Advanced Placement exams can have the same short-sighted effect on instruction, he added (many of Bernstein’s courses were AP U.S. government and politics).

Consequently, he said in an interview, students now arriving at college — even elite ones — are better at “filling in bubbles” than thinking outside a discrete set of multiple choices, in the ways the higher education and adult life demand.

Bernstein said he’d planned on retiring from his Maryland high school several years from now, but decided to leave last month due to a combination of factors, including the increasingly frustrating nature of teaching in a test-focused system.

 

From DSC:
I saw a question out on the blogosphere the other day that asked, “After the SATs are gone, then what?”  I’d like to see us pursue that line of thinking, as we need to strive to do more things for students’ learning and not so much because that’s the most efficient way to “manage” education.  (I wonder about CMS’s/LMS’s in this regard as well.)  My vote is for helping students identify their God-given talents, interests, passions, abilities and to help them develop those gifts — creating WIN-WIN situations throughout society and the globe. Assessment is a key element of teaching and learning, but I think we’ve gone too far with these standardized tests — the pendulum needs to swing back the other way.

 

Also see:

  • The Future of Education .. from Isaac Asimov, 1988 #edcmooc — from dontwasteyourtime.co.uk
    Excerpt:
    “Once we have computer outlets in every home, each of them hooked up to enormous libraries where anyone can ask any question and be given answers, be given reference material in something you’re interested in knowing … you ask,you can find out, you can follow it up and you can do it in your own home, at your own speed, at your own direction, in your own time, then everyone will enjoy learning.

Can you apply Google’s 20% time in the classroom? — from guardian.co.uk/teacher-network by Stuart Spendlow
Google offers its engineers 20% of their timetable to work on their own projects. Keen to see if it could work for education, Stuart Spendlow introduced the idea to his own classroom

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Pupils cooking

20% time developed a class of intrinsically motivated learners who strive to
make themselves proud without any fear whatsoever of making mistakes,
says Stuart Spendlow.
Photograph: Paul Doyle/Alamy

From DSC:
A solid infographic is out at Knewton.com — of which I want to highlight 2 portions of it (below).

This first excerpt is not to dog teachers but rather it’s meant to support them and to say that we need to change a losing game (at least a part of the solution in ed reform is to get out of the business of focusing so much on standardized tests and another part of the solution resides in the second graphic below):

 

EducationCrisis-Jan2013

 

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EducationCrisis2-Jan2013

 

 

Also relevant see:

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