“Exhausted majority” wants to rethink K-12 education— from axios.com by Stef W. Kight; via GSV

Excerpt:

Americans have drastically shifted some priorities on K-12 education since the start of COVID, a new study by Populace reveals.

Why it matters: There’s new pressure to change the existing model. Preparing students for college has fallen from 10th highest priority to 47th.

  • The study demonstrates what Populace co-founder Todd Rose called an “exhausted majority” who just wants kids to learn to think for themselves and find a career “with meaning and purpose.”

The big picture: Americans have a warped understanding of what the majority prioritizes in education.

  • U.S. adults overestimate the public’s desire for teachers to prepare kids for college, internships and only the highest-paying jobs. They also overestimate support for standardized processes and teaching social norms.
  • They underestimate preferences to allow students to learn at their own pace and according to their own interests and for kids to come away with more holistic, practical skills.

Also relevant/see:

New Survey: America’s Families are Rethinking K-12 Education — from schoolchoiceweek.com by the National School Choice Week Team

Excerpt:

K-12 education in America is experiencing a once-in-a-generation transformation, as tens of millions of parents rethink their children’s education and make crucial decisions about how and where their children learn. From exploring their school choice options to expressing interest in nontraditional learning models, parents are eager to find better or supplementary learning environments for their children. Parents don’t see this a dichotomous; a majority of them are open to change even as two thirds of all parents (67.9 percent) remain largely satisfied with the schools their children attend.

What do we mean by rethinking? Parents choosing new schools, parents considering options more frequently, and parents seeking to round out their children’s education by thinking outside the box and exploring new or nontraditional learning options.

On a related note see:

 

Education is about to radically change: AI for the masses — from gettingsmart.com by Nate McClennen and Rachelle Dené Poth

Key Points:

  • AI already does and will continue to impact education – along with every other sector.
  • Innovative education leaders have an opportunity to build the foundation for the most personalized learning system we have ever seen.

Action

Education leaders need to consider these possible futures now. There is no doubt that K-12 and higher ed learners will be using these tools immediately. It is not a question of preventing “AI plagiarism” (if such a thing could exist), but a question of how to modify teaching to take advantage of these new tools.

From DSC:
They go on to list some solid ideas and experiments to try out — both for students and for teachers. Thanks Nate and Rachelle!


Also from Rachelle, see:


 

From DSC:
For me, I wish politicians and legislators would stay out of the way and let public and private educators make the decisions. But if any politician is about to vote on significant education-related policies, laws, etc. — I would like to suggest that society require them to either:

  • teach a K12-based class for at least one month
    or
  • be in the classroom for the entire day to observe — and do this for at least one month 

Perhaps we would have far less standardized testing. Perhaps we would have far more joy and wonder — for the teachers as well as for the students. Perhaps lifelong learning — and the love of learning — would get the wind in its sails that it so desperately needs.
.


From DSC:
Along these lines of enjoyment in everyday things, could this type of thing happen more within education?

 

Also see:

Redbridge | The future of lifelong learning — from redbridgesf.org and with thanks to Michael Horn for this resource

Excerpts from their home page:

  • Red Bridge is a school that teaches students to set goals, work together, reflect, and own their learning.
  • For families who value lifelong learning and share a sense of responsibility for their community.
  • Our vision is for all students to graduate with a sense of ownership over their learning and their lives – so that no matter what the future looks like, they have the capacity to adapt and flourish.

 

 
  • From DSC:
    I continue to think about the idea of wiping the slate completely clean. If we were to design a lifelong learning ecosystem, what would it look like? How could we apply Design Thinking to this new slate/canvas?

Perhaps we could start by purposefully creating more pathways to weave in and out of the various siloes — and then come back into the “silos” with new ideas, knowledge, and experiences:

  • PreK-12
  • Higher education
  • Vocational programs
  • Business and the corporate world
  • Government
  • Communities of practice
  • Other

Integrate apprenticeships, jobs, sabbaticals, rest, purpose, passions, intrinsic motivations, other into this lifelong learning ecosystem. Take one’s new learning back to one’s former silo(s) and improve things therein. Such a design would help keep curricula and learning/training environments up-to-date and relevant.

It would also allow people more pathways through their careers — and to keep learning while doing real-world projects. It would help people — and institutions— grow in many ways.

 

Homeschooling high school with interest-led learning — from raisinglifelonglearners.com by Colleen Kessler

Excerpt:

There is a misconception that interest-led learning is not appropriate for a high school education in your homeschool. The good news is that all the same benefits of interest-led learning still apply in the middle and high school years.

Think of an interest-led homeschool as one that functions more as a college than a high school. Just as a college student declares a major and the bulk of their study is in that topic area with supplemental general education, your interest-led high school can function the same way.

Allowing interests to guide the educational path you take in your high school has tremendous benefits including:

    • Less resistance
    • Less learner anxiety
    • Increased self-confidence in learning
    • More in-depth studies in topics of interest
    • Self-motivated learning that can be applied in later college and career settings
 

Homeschooling High School With Interest-Led Learning — from raisinglifelonglearners.com by Colleen Kessler

Excerpt:

Think of an interest-led homeschool as one that functions more as a college than a high school. Just as a college student declares a major and the bulk of their study is in that topic area with supplemental general education, your interest-led high school can function the same way.

Also relevant/see:

This approach allows you to help them develop their interests, communicate that you see their interests as valuable, and it gives your child the chance to follow their own paths of interest. It’s an outstanding way to facilitate a self-motivated, self-directed learner and thinker. 

 

In elementary classrooms, demand grows for play-based learning — from hechingerreport.org by Ariel Gilreath
Play supporters point to improved literacy, fewer achievement gaps, and better motor skills for students

Excerpt:

It can be difficult to explain what play-based learning looks like, said Mara Krechevsky, senior researcher at Project Zero, an education research group in Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. Over the past seven years, Krechevsky and her research team have been working on a project called the Pedagogy of Play, studying play-based learning at schools in Boston, Denmark, South Africa and Colombia.

Through their research, Krechevsky’s group came up with three basic tenets for playful learning: students should be able to help lead their own learning, explore the unknown, and find joy. Under this framework, play time doesn’t have to be the reward for completing work and learning. Play can actually be the work, Krechevsky said.

Addendums on 11/20/22:

 

Teaching: Flipping a Class Helps — but Not for the Reason You’d Think — from the Teaching newsletter out at The Chronicle of Higher Education by Beckie Supiano

Excerpt:

The authors propose a different model of flipping that gives their paper its title, “Fail, Flip, Fix, and Feed — Rethinking Flipped Learning: A Review of Meta-Analyses and a Subsequent Meta-Analysis.”

Their model:

  • Fail: Give students a chance to try solving problems. They won’t have all the information needed to arrive at the solution, but the attempt activates their prior learning and primes them for the coming content.
  • Flip: Deliver the content ahead of class, perhaps in a video lecture.
  • Fix: During class time, a traditional lecture can deepen understanding and correct misperceptions.
  • Feed: Formative assessment lets students check their level of understanding.

I find this paper interesting for a number of reasons. It ties into a challenge I’d like to dig into in the future: the gap that can exist between a teaching approach as described in research literature and as applied in the classroom.

From DSC:
Though I haven’t read this analysis (please accept my apology here), I would hope that it would also mention one of the key benefits of the flipped classroom approach — giving students more control over the pacing of the content. Students can stop, fast-forward, rewind, and pause the content as necessary. This is very helpful for all students, but especially for students who don’t have English as their primary language.

I like this approach because if students fail to solve the problem at first, they will likely be listening more/very carefully as to how to solve it:

Drawing on related research, we proposed a more specific model for flipping, “Fail, Flip, Fix, and Feed” whereby students are asked to first engage in generating solutions to novel problems even if they fail to generate the correct solutions, before receiving instructions.

Plus, students will begin to recall/activate their prior knowledge on a subject in order to try to solve the problem. That retrieval practice in and of itself can be helpful.

 

In one giant classroom, four teachers manage 135 kids – and love it — from hechingerreport.org by Neal Morton
Schools in Mesa, Arizona, piloted a team teaching model to combat declining enrollment and teacher shortages; now the approach is spreading

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Five years ago, faced with high teacher turnover and declining student enrollment, Westwood’s leaders decided to try something different. Working with professors at Arizona State University’s teachers college, they piloted a classroom model known as team teaching. It allows teachers to voluntarily dissolve the walls that separate their classes across physical or grade divides.

Here, more than 130 freshmen at Westwood High School learn in one giant classroom overseen by four teachers. 

Team teaching is taking hold in Mesa, Arizona’s largest school district. Here, more than 130 freshmen at Westwood High School learn in one giant classroom overseen by four teachers. Credit: Matt York/Associated Press

 

By giving teachers more opportunities to collaborate and greater control over how and what they teach, Mesa’s administrators hoped to fill staffing gaps and boost teacher morale and retention. Initial research suggests the gamble could pay off.


Also see:

Educator shortages are a real crisis — especially in special education — from k12dive.com
Administrators are straining under the pressure of finding qualified personnel to meet federal requirements on specialized instruction and related services.

The Council of Administrators of Special Education is keenly aware of the shortage of qualified teachers, specialized instructional support personnel and administrators to fill vacancies in school districts across the country, with shortages particularly acute in special education. We hear daily from administrators citing the impossibility of finding qualified personnel to meet mandates of the federal law requiring specialized instruction and related services for children with disabilities.


 

I Never Wanted to Be a School Administrator. Here’s Why I Changed My Mind. — from edsurge.com by Patrick Harris II

Excerpt:

What made him so unique? Maybe it was his humility. He didn’t claim to have all the answers. Maybe it was the trust he put in me as a new teacher on his team. When I asked him which curriculum we used, he said, “I trust you to collaborate with the team and build it. I have some resources here to help us ensure that we create a scope-and-sequence for the literacy skills our students need. But we have to create it.” Maybe it was how frequently he said “we.”

Principal Williams had to answer to the school board, to our school’s executive director and to parents, but when it came down to decision-making, everything was up for discussion. I could walk into his office for anything. I felt motivated to become more involved in the school community because he made room for me.

He was flattening the hierarchy.

Cultivating a culture where every voice matters is not the quickest solution, nor is it the easiest, but my hope is that it will have a long-lasting impact at our school. The more that we flatten the hierarchy, focus our attention on building trust and talk more with one another, the better chance we have of creating schools that teachers want to stay at and that students want to learn in.

 

When It Comes to Picking Edtech, Are Schools Listening to Teachers? — from edsurge.com by Nadia Tamez-Robledo

Excerpt:

But where in the conversation are the people implementing those tools: the teachers? And how much say do they—or should they—have in edtech decisions?

For both questions, as it turns out, it depends on who you ask.

In a survey released earlier this year, the edtech company Clever found that 85 percent of administrators say teachers are involved in choosing tools. When the company asked teachers, more than 60 percent said they were hardly ever—or never—involved in those choices.

As we started asking educators, administrators and experts about the issue as part of an investigation into how teachers inform the development of edtech products, everyone agreed: teacher voice should be part of edtech decisions.

So what explains the disconnect?


Addendum on 11/9/22:

Lessons from Treadmills and Owls: The Most Important Feature in Educational Technology Products — from opencontent.org by David Wiley; with thanks to Mr. Stephen Downes for this resource

Excerpt:

The primary point, of course, is this: unused features in exercise technologies and educational technologies can improve neither fitness nor learning. From this perspective, one might argue:

The most important feature in educational technology products is the nudge – the feature that persuades you to actually use the features that will improve learning.

Duolingo is a great example here. On its surface, the language learning app may appear rather straightforward. But there are some pretty sophisticated things happening behind the scenes that make your language learning more effective.


 

Rethinking Learning Spaces: 4 Strategies for Student-Centered Learning — from techlearning.com by Erik Ofgang
The Brigantine Public School district has redesigned its learning spaces and rethought how and where learning takes place. Superintendent Glenn Robbins shares how others districts can do the same and prioritize student-centered learning in the process.

Excerpt:

Robbins shares how other educators can rethink their learning spaces and encourage student voice and choice in the process.

 

Sparking Curiosity for Learning — from rdene915.com by Rachelle Dene Poth

Excerpt:

When students are curious about learning, they become more invested in the process. Sparking curiosity will lead students to become problem solvers and critical thinkers and shift from being simply consumers to becoming creators and innovators. To bring these opportunities to our classrooms, we must first engage students in learning. But how?

 

Why Now Is The Time To Overhaul K-12 Education — from forbes.com by Phyllis Lockett and Michael Horn

Excerpts:

If you take a team approach, then one adult works with students on their social-emotional learning and how they connect to their learning. And another leverages data to create small group opportunities based on the learning objective. And another connects learning to real world projects and helps students build social capital in the community, which also creates a more permeable classroom that’s open to the outside world. Or there could be other ways the teams are structured to best support the student.

For all the plans in the past to “reinvent” K-12 education, none have questioned the fundamentals of time-based instruction. It’s no surprise then that the system produces the outcomes it does. Not every child needs exactly 180 days to master the knowledge and skills required for a third grader. Conversely, some kids need more time. It’s an arbitrary system that cuts off learning for children based on a calendar, yet doesn’t provide a different pathway forward for them that’s productive. In our current system, time is fixed and learning is variable, then students are labeled and sorted accordingly.

Michael Horn


From DSC:
This quote…

The answer is for district leaders to create independent teams of educators in which they are shielded from traditional day to day pressures and have the explicit license to do things differently. They can give these new “schools within schools” the resources they need without encumbering them by the old ways of doing things.

…makes me think of a graphic I did a while back about the need for more Trim Tabs within our learning ecosystems:


 
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