A warning to college profs from a high school teacher — from washingtonpost.com by Kenneth Bernstein
For more than a decade now we have heard that the high-stakes testing obsession in K-12 education that began with the enactment of No Child Left Behind 11 years ago has resulted in high school graduates who don’t think as analytically or as broadly as they should because so much emphasis has been placed on passing standardized tests. Here, an award-winning high school teacher who just retired, Kenneth Bernstein, warns college professors what they are up against. Bernstein, who lives near Washington, D.C. serves as a peer reviewer for educational journals and publishers, and he is nationally known as the blogger “teacherken.”  This appeared in Academe, the journal of the American Association of University Professors.


Where do I begin? I spent the last thirty minutes listening to a group of arrogant and condescending noneducators disrespect my colleagues and profession. I listened to a group of disingenuous people whose own self-interests guide their policies rather than the interests of children. I listened to a cabal of people who sit on national education committees that will have a profound impact on classroom teaching practices. And I heard nothing of value. “I’m thinking about the current health-care debate,” I said. “And I am wondering if I will be asked to sit on a national committee charged with the task of creating a core curriculum of medical procedures to be used in hospital emergency rooms.”

The strange little man cocks his head and, suddenly, the fly on the wall has everyone’s attention.

“I realize that most people would think I am unqualified to sit on such a committee because I am not a doctor, I have never worked in an emergency room, and I have never treated a single patient. So what? Today I have listened to people who are not teachers, have never worked in a classroom, and have never taught a single student tell me how to teach.”


From DSC:
I remember one of my first coaches saying, “always change a losing game. Never change a winning game.” Standardized tests = a losing game.


Integrating technology with classroom practice can be a great way to strengthen engagement by linking students to a global audience, turning them into creators of digital media, and helping them practice collaboration skills that will prepare them for the future. Read a short introductory article.

An animated highlight of John Seely Brown’s Keynote Presentation, “Cultivating the Entrepreneurial Learner in the 21st Century,” at the 2012 Digital Media and Learning Conference. Published on Sep 18, 2012 by DMLResearchHub.. With thanks going out to Mr. Joseph Byerwalter for this find/resource.



The Global One Room Schoolhouse -- John Seely Brown -- Highlights from JSB's Keynote at DML2012





The Global One Room Schoolhouse -- John Seely Brown -- Highlights from JSB's Keynote at DML2012



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From DSC: I like how Jackie titles her blog:

User Generated Education
Education as it should be – passion-based.

From DSC:
High-stakes testing: Is it removing the enjoyment ot teaching….and learning?
I reflected on that question after I saw the item below:



Opt-Out Movement Gains Steam -- Harvard Education Letter - Sep/Oct 2012


From DSC:
I wonder:

  • How such high-stakes assessment systems are impacting incentive systems and funding? Are they changing the field of teaching?
  • How much standardized testing — and having to teach to such tests — is impacting teachers’ enjoyment of their careers?
  • How much standardized testing is impacting learners’ enjoyment of their educational experiences?  If it’s killing the love of learning, I say we significantly lessen the importance that we place upon such standardized tests.  One of the key deliverables that I think we need to strive for right now in education is that people enjoy learning and appreciate it — because the reality in today’s workplace is that they’ll need to be doing it for the rest of their lives:

Mind the (Skills) Gap –– from HBR by William D. Eggers, John Hagel and Owen Sanderson


A bachelor’s degree used to provide enough basic training to last a career. Yet today, the skills college graduates acquire during college have an expected shelf life of only five years according to extensive work we’ve done in conjunction with Deloitte’s Shift Index. The key takeaway? The lessons learned in school can become outdated long before student loans are paid off.

And it’s not only white-collar, college-driven careers that will suffer rapid skills obsolescence. Think of how new metering systems and motion sensors suddenly require highly technical skills from contractors, plumbers and electricians. Or how welders working on wind turbines now need specialized degrees and the ability to read CAD blueprints or LEED certification requirements.




From DSC:
Some reflections on on David Warlick’s solid posting,
I never needed to know that. First, some excerpts (emphasis DSC):

But the fact is that one reason we, as educators, do not readily recognize this compelling truth and try to make sense of its profound implications is that we can not predict what our children will need to know and not need to know.  It would be nothing more than speculation.

So again, “What do our children need to be learning today?

Several ideas spring to my mind as I try to unfold this.

  1. Our children need to learn something.
  2. What they need to learn is no longer as important as it use to be.
  3. Increasing the stakes on what they learn does little more than punish our children for our own arrogance.
  4. If what they learn today may not be useful to them tomorrow, then how will they continue to learn what is?
  5. How they learn has become much more important.
  6. Perhaps the most important thing we can help our children learn, is how to teach themselves.

I think David’s comments are right on. How students learn — and I would add enjoying learning — are very important. If I don’t like to learn, or if school is a painful experience, I will be at a huge disadvantage in life these days. Lifelong learning is now a requirement for most of us, if we want to stay marketable/employed. But if I don’t like to learn, this is going to be an uphill battle for me.

So when I approach the Common Core, or standardized tests, or questions concerning curriculum, etc….I am looking through the lenses that constantly ask the questions:

  • Will this help develop a passion for learning?
  • Does this allow students to pursue their passions?


9 Signs We Have a “Boy Crisis” — collegestats.org

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The term [boy crisis] refers to the country’s seeming dilemma of underdevelopment and academic underachievement in young males. Although the issue began to surface as far back as the ’80s, some have held firm in their refusal to acknowledge a reason for concern for our next generation of men. But to us, the tell-tale signs are there to prove American society has a serious problem.


From DSC:
I care about this topic for a number of reasons, but I’ll just mention a few here:

  1. It involves our nation’s future.
  2. I believe we’re all in the same boat together; no person is an island.
  3. I also find it relevant because it clearly points out that boys/young men are not enjoying their learning experiences. Surprised?! I doubt it. The problem is that such an aversion to learning increasingly bodes poorly in terms of being able to remain employed over the long term.

I have a couple of thoughts about potential reasons why this might be occurring…but what do you all think about this topic?



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The decline of US manufacturing jobs and living standards — from bbc.co.uk by Jonny Dymond BBC News, Michigan


For decades America’s vibrant manufacturing sector provided poorly educated workers a bridge to the middle class. But today’s plants need highly skilled workers who know their way around ultra-high tech machinery.

From DSC:
While manufacturing levels are back up, unemployment rates continue (McAfee, 8/8/12 –> “But new manufacturing facilities in America and elsewhere today don’t need large numbers of hard-working-but-unskilled workers; they need small numbers of hard-working-and-highly-skilled ones.”).

I have a feeling the middle class is going to continue to shrink here in America, unless we can reinvent ourselves. But reinventing ourselves requires that people learn about new things — something much more feasible if people like to learn. 

Upon graduating high school, do our students like to learn? Upon graduating college, do your students enjoy learning about new things? If not, how can we make learning more engaging and enjoyable?  That’s imporant these days because there”s no more hopping on the corporate bandwagon for 40 years and then retiring with a nice pension/401(K) plan.  All of us will need to “go back to our drawing boards” many times during our lifetimes now.

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The first principle of blended learning — from innosightinstitute.org by Heather Clayton Staker


As I talk to people who want to blend online learning into students’ curriculum, the most frequent question I get is what online content is best? I respect that question, and others that sound really good too, like what does a student-centric classroom look like? Or what should be the teacher’s role?

But I am convinced that the infinitely most important question to ask first is what will motivate students to love this? My observation is that once a student’s heart is in it, the learning happens naturally, elegantly, and quickly. Imagine a classroom filled with students who want to be there, are focused, engaged, even clamoring to learn. But getting students into that righteous flow*, where they learn something because they genuinely love learning it—that’s where 90 percent of the battle is won or lost.

From DSC:
I think Heather & Co. are onto something here. One of the most important bottom lines and gifts that we can give our young people is a love for learning. 

I ask myself, if  and when students graduate from high school, what are their views on learning? Do they love it?  Are they looking forward to continuing a journey of lifelong learning? Are they prepared for being employed on a constant basis in a world of constant change?

How much more could lifelong learning be served if students developed a love of learning. Then, like Heather mentioned, “…once a student’s heart is in it, the learning happens naturally, elegantly, and quickly.”

Borrowing from a sports-related analogy…it’s like in tennis; don’t worry about the score. Play the point, mentally be in the point/moment and enjoy what you’re doing. Then the score will take care of itself. But if you are so focused on the score, you probably won’t enjoy what you’re doing and the score, most likely, will not take care of itself.


No more business as usual — from internettime.com by Jay Cross

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Business is changing, and the learning function must change along with it.

Learning is no longer optional
Continuous improvement and delighting customers require a culture of pervasive learning. We’re not talking classes and workshops here. Creating a new order of business requires learning ecologies — what we’ve been calling Workscapes — that make it simple and enjoyable for people to learn what they need to get the job done. Companies that fail to learn will wither and die.

As all business becomes social business, L&D professionals face a momentous choice. They can remain Chief Training Officers and instructors who get novices up to speed, deliver events required by compliance, and run in-house schools. These folks will be increasingly out of step with the times.

Or they can become business leaders who shape learning cultures, social networks, collaborative practices, information flows, federated content management, just-in-time performance support, customer feedback mechanisms, and structures for continuous improvement.

Smart Class 2025: How to make classrooms engaging [Heppell]

Two rants from DSC:

RANT #1:

When someone questions the value of investing in educational technology — especially those technologies that give a student access to the Internet — they’re often inferring that, “Other people don’t know anything of value.”

It should go without saying from here on out that if I can gain access to the Internet through a variety of educational technologies, I’ve just opened up a world of knowledge — tapping into expertise from all over the globe regarding any discipline imaginable! Whether that be at school, church, home, work, etc. — doesn’t matter…value is there…instantly.

Don’t tell me that isn’t valuable!  Stop saying that we’re not getting value from investing in such educational technologies.

RANT #2:

I dropped my daughter off early at school today so that she could help feed the animals in a classroom located at the back of the school (where the teacher had authorized access to such students). Another teacher told her to go to the front of the building…ok…

Then, as I’m driving her to the front of the building, I ask her, “How are things going in getting to the bus in time?” She had 4 minutes to make the trek the other day from the end of the school, carrying a backpack that weighs in at about 25-30 pounds!  She told me that she can not take her backpack to her last class in order to make the mad dash to the bus. Security precautions perhaps?

All these rules. All these “don’t do this”, “don’t do that!” “Sit down.” “Stand over there – now.” “Be quiet.”

Then we wonder why they don’t own their own learning. *&*$$%    Then we wonder why they don’t love learning.  Double *&*$$%



“We Prepare Children to Learn How to Learn” — from Will Richardson, LynNell Hancock

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