Learning to Work, Or Working to Learn? — from insidehighered.com by Erin Crisp; via Melanie Booth, Ed.D. on LinkedIn
We need a systems approach to making work-to-learn models just as accessible as traditional learn-to-work pathways, Erin Crisp writes.

Over the past two years, I have had the unique experience of scaling support for a statewide registered teacher-apprenticeship program while also parenting three college-aged sons. The declining appeal of postsecondary education, especially among young men, is evident at my dinner table, in my office, and in my dreams (literally).

Scaling a statewide apprenticeship program for the preparation of teachers has meant that I am consistently hearing from four stakeholder groups—K-12 school district leaders, college and university leaders, aspiring young educators, and local workforce development leaders.

A theme has emerged from my professional life, one that echoes the dinner table conversations happening in my personal life: Society needs systematic work-to-learn pathways in addition to the current learn-to-work ecosystem. This is not an either/or. What we need is a systematic expansion of effort.

In a work-to-learn model, the traditional college sequence is flipped. Instead of starting with general education coursework or survey courses, the working learner is actively engaged in practicing the skills they are interested in acquiring. A workplace supervisor often helps him make connections between the coursework and the job. The learner’s attention is piqued. The learning is relevant. The learner gains confidence, and seeing their influence in the workplace (and paycheck) is satisfying. All of the ARCS model elements are easily achieved.

 
 

In Iowa, a “Billy Madison Project” Yields a Different Way to do School — from by Sam Chaltain
A great flood reveals a new path . . .

The idea was simple: ask sixty community leaders to fan across the city’s public schools, follow in the footsteps of its youngest citizens, and report back on what they saw.

Fifty-nine said yes. What they found, Pickering says, “were kids with dead eyes. Kids not engaged. And kids who knew that school was a game – and the game was rigged.”

So the Billy Madison team used its findings to design a prospective high school that would actually produce what its participants said they wanted to see: 

Let kids pursue their passions. Give them real work to do.  And get them out of the school building, and in the community. 

Passion. Projects. People.


How 9 of the World’s Most Innovative Schools Ignite Children’s Love for Learning — from learntrepreneurs.com by Eva Keffenheim
And equip the next generation to become changemakers.


This thought-provoking discussion delves into the topic of system replacement in education. Is school transformation possible without replacing the existing education system? Joining [Michael] to discuss the question are Thomas Arnett of the Christensen Institute and Kelly Young of Education Reimagined.

In an educational landscape that constantly seeks marginal improvements, [Michael’s] guests speak to the importance of embracing new value networks that support innovative approaches to learning. They bring to light the issue of programs that remain niche solutions, rather than robust, learner-centered alternatives. In exploring the concept of value networks, [Michael’s] guests challenge the notion of transforming individual schools or districts alone. They argue for the creation of a new value network to truly revolutionize the education system. Of course, they admit that achieving this is no small feat, as it requires a paradigm shift in mindset and a careful balance between innovation and existing structures. In this conversation, we wrestle with the full implications of their findings and more.

From DSC:
This reminds me of the importance of TrimTab Groups who invent or test out something new apart from the mothership.


Technology in education — from unesco.org by ; via Eva Keffenheim
A tool on whose terms?

The 2023 GEM Report on technology and education explores these debates, examining education challenges to which appropriate use of technology can offer solutions (access, equity and inclusion; quality; technology advancement; system management), while recognizing that many solutions proposed may also be detrimental.

The report also explores three system-wide conditions (access to technology, governance regulation, and teacher preparation) that need to be met for any technology in education to reach its full potential.



Campus Road Trip Diary: 8 Things We Learned This Year About America’s Most Innovative High Schools — from the74million.org by Greg Toppo & Emmeline Zhao

Since last spring, journalists at The 74 have been crossing the U.S. as part of our 2023 High School Road Trip. It has embraced both emerging and established high school models, taking us to 13 schools from Rhode Island to California, Arizona to South Carolina, and in between.

It has brought us face-to-face with innovation, with programs that promote everything from nursing to aerospace to maritime-themed careers.

At each school, educators seem to be asking one key question: What if we could start over and try something totally new?

What we’ve found represents just a small sample of the incredible diversity that U.S. high schools now offer, but we’re noticing a few striking similarities that educators in these schools, free to experiment with new models, now share. Here are the top eight:
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Campus Road Trip Diary: 8 Things We Learned This Year About America’s Most Innovative High Schools

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Learners need: More voice. More choice. More control. -- this image was created by Daniel Christian

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Empowering Parents: School Choice and Technology — from obviouslythefuture.substack.com
Ep 2 | Joe Connor, Odyssey Education, ESAs, Streamlined Technology Platform, Informed Choices

What does it take to empower parents and decentralize schooling? Why is a diversity of school models important to parents? Are we at a tipping point?
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PROOF POINTS: Lowering test anxiety in the classroom — from hechingerreport.org/ by Jill Barshay
Review of 24 studies finds quizzes boost achievement and alleviate stress over exams

Several meta-analyses, which summarize the evidence from many studies, have found higher achievement when students take quizzes instead of, say, reviewing notes or rereading a book chapter. “There’s decades and decades of research showing that taking practice tests will actually improve your learning,” said David Shanks, a professor of psychology and deputy dean of the Faculty of Brain Sciences at University College London.

Still, many students get overwhelmed during tests. Shanks and a team of four researchers wanted to find out whether quizzes exacerbate test anxiety.  The team collected 24 studies that measured students’ test anxiety and found that, on average, practice tests and quizzes not only improved academic achievement, but also ended up reducing test anxiety. Their meta-analysis was published in Educational Psychology Review in August 2023.


The End of Scantron Tests — from theatlantic.com by Matteo Wong
Machine-graded bubble sheets are the defining feature of American schools. Today’s kindergartners may never have to fill one out.


Benefits of Pretesting in the Classroom — from learningscientists.org by Cindy Nebel

There are several possible reasons why pretesting worked in this study.

  1. Students paid more attention to the pretested material during the lecture.
  2. The pretest activated prior knowledge (some of them are clearly doing a lot of prework), and allowed them to encode the new information more deeply.
  3. They were doing a lot of studying of the pretested information outside of class.
  4. There are some great spaced retrieval effects going on. That is, students saw the material before lecture, they took a quiz on it during the pretest, then later they reviewed or quizzed themselves on that same material again during self-study.

 

Next, The Future of Work is… Intersections — from linkedin.com by Gary A. Bolles; via Roberto Ferraro

So much of the way that we think about education and work is organized into silos. Sure, that’s one way to ensure a depth of knowledge in a field and to encourage learners to develop mastery. But it also leads to domains with strict boundaries. Colleges are typically organized into school sub-domains, managed like fiefdoms, with strict rules for professors who can teach in different schools.

Yet it’s at the intersections of seemingly-disparate domains where breakthrough innovation can occur.

Maybe intersections bring a greater chance of future work opportunity, because that young person can increase their focus in one arena or another as they discover new options for work — and because this is what meaningful work in the future is going to look like.

From DSC:
This posting strikes me as an endorsement for interdisciplinary degrees. I agree with much of this. It’s just hard to find the right combination of disciplines. But I supposed that depends upon the individual student and what he/she is passionate or curious about.


Speaking of the future of work, also see:

Centaurs and Cyborgs on the Jagged Frontier — from oneusefulthing.org by Ethan Mollick
I think we have an answer on whether AIs will reshape work…

A lot of people have been asking if AI is really a big deal for the future of work. We have a new paper that strongly suggests the answer is YES.
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Consultants using AI finished 12.2% more tasks on average, completed tasks 25.1% more quickly, and produced 40% higher quality results than those without. Those are some very big impacts. Now, let’s add in the nuance.

 

Will one of our future learning ecosystems look like a Discord server type of service? [Christian]

 

How Schools Can Use Cultural Performing Arts to Reimagine Community-Engaged Learning — from edsurge.com by Christopher Sandoval

Excerpt:

My experience has taught me that if students do not believe their school is invested in activities and programs that reflect their community and culture, they will not feel a sense of belonging in the classroom, which will negatively impact student engagement and their ability to understand and appreciate cultural differences among one another.

Unfortunately, not every school believes the performing arts are worth the investment; if anything, the trend of school funding in the performing arts has been in sharp decline for some time. While student engagement continues to be a significant issue for classrooms across the country, I believe the performing arts can be an opportunity for schools to reimagine community engagement in schools and get students back on track.

 

Teaching With Music: 5 Tips for Using it With Any Subject — from by Erik Ofgang
Tips for teaching with music as a helpful learning tool regardless of the subject from school social worker Sherena Small

Excerpt:

Teaching with music can enhance learning in almost any subject area, says Sherena Small, a school social worker at Champaign Unit 4 School District in Illinois.

“It’s just such a good way to enhance what kids are learning,” says Small, who uses hip-hop and other music to teach social-emotional learning skills, including empathy and active listening. Earlier this year, Nearpod recognized Small as an Educator of the Year for her innovative efforts using Nearpod’s Flocabulary tool to incorporate music into class.


Speaking of multimedia, also see:

A DEEP DIVE INTO PEER LEARNING AND STUDENT VIDEO CREATION WITH KRISTEN BROOKS – EASY EDTECH PODCAST 218


And here’s another interesting item from Dr. Burns:

HOW MICROLEARNING IS RESHAPING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT – BONUS EPISODE WITH BRITANNICA EDUCATION

 
 

In Finland, the Future of Learning Has Arrived — Just Not Where You Think — from samchaltain.substack.com by Sam Chaltain
It turns out the “Finnish Miracle” is more (and less) miraculous than you think . . .

But whereas Finland’s schools are still characterized by a culture of teaching, Oodi stands as a beacon of learning — self-organizing, emergent, and overflowing with the life force of its inhabitants.
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From DSC:
As the above got me to thinking about learning spaces, here’s another somewhat relevant item from Steelcase:


Addendum on 6/6/23:
Also relevant to the first item in this posting, see:

Looking for Miracles in the Wrong Places — from nataliewexler.substack.com by Natalie Wexler
An “edutourist” in Finland finds the ideal school, but it isn’t a school at all.

Counterpoint/excerpt:

It sounds appealing, but any country following that route is not only likely to find itself at the bottom of the PISA heap. It’s also likely to do a profound disservice to many of its children, particularly those from less highly educated families, who depend on teachers to impart information they don’t already have and to systematically build their knowledge.

Of course it’s possible for explicit, teacher-directed instruction to be soul-crushing for students. But it certainly doesn’t have to be, and there’s no indication from Mr. X’s account that the students in the schools he visited felt their experience was oppressive. When teachers get good training—of the kind apparently provided in Finland—they know how to engage students in the content they’re teaching and guide them to think about it deeply and analytically.

That’s not oppressive. In fact, it’s the key to enabling students to reach their full potential. In that sense, it’s liberating.

 

Below comments/notes are from DSC (with thanks to Roberto Ferraro for this resource):
according to Dan Pink, intrinsic motivation is very powerful — much more powerful for many types of “messy/unclear” cognitive work (vs. clear, more mechanical types of work). What’s involved here according to Pink? Autonomy, mastery, and purpose. 

Dan Pink makes his case in the video below. My question is:

  • If this is true, how might this be applied to education/training/lifelong learning?

From DSC (cont’d):

As Dan mentions, we each know this to be true. For example, for each of our kids, my wife and I introduced them to a variety of things — music, sports, art, etc. We kept waiting for them to discover which thing(s) that THEY wanted to pursue. Perhaps we’ll find out that this was the wrong thing to do. but according to Pink, it’s aligned with the type of energy and productivity that gets released when we pursue something that we want to pursue. Plus creativity flows in this type of setting. 

Again, my thanks to Roberto Ferraro for resurfacing this item as his “One ‘must read’ for this week” item of his newsletter.


Learners need: More voice. More choice. More control. -- this image was created by Daniel Christian

 

Red Sox Turn Fenway Park into “Learning Lab” for Boston 6th Graders — from by Ira Stoll
“The key to unlock opportunity is education and hard work,” students are told at launch event

Students from the 6th grade at Nathan Hale School complete a “bingo challenge” as part of the Red Sox Hall of Fame stop on their guided tour of the Fenway Park Learning Lab.

Students from the 6th grade at Nathan Hale School complete a “bingo challenge” as part of the Red Sox Hall of Fame stop on their guided tour of the Fenway Park Learning Lab.

Excerpt:

The six-stop tour has students learning history, geography, math, and science. Student visitors get baseball caps, t-shirts, and a backpack full of other souvenir items like baseball cards, binoculars, a calculator, and a pen. The most important piece of equipment may be a 40-page, seriously substantive workbook, developed with the Boston Public Schools, that students work their way through along the hourlong guided tour.

From DSC:
Very interesting.

 

Inviting Learners into Work That Matters — from gettingsmart.com by Tom Vander Ark

Key Points

  • We’ve found pockets of excellence in three dozen high school visits this spring.
  • Where we’ve spotted evidence of deeper learning (i.e., engagement, critical thinking, excellent public products) it’s been work that matters to the learner and their community– it’s relevant, purposeful, and consequential work.

Students and teachers collaborating in a smart, active classroom type of setup at Barrington High's Incubatoredu class

 

Pathways With a Purpose: Supporting Students in Revealing Meaning — from gettingsmart.com by Michalle Blanchet

Key Points

  • As we look at career pathways for students we might do more to support students to find meaningful work.
  • Data suggests young people care about having jobs that make an impact.

Difference-making, social innovation, social entrepreneurship – there’s a thread that unites these various themes. They are purpose-driven. As we look at career pathways for students we might do more to support students to find meaningful work. Data suggests young people care about having jobs that make an impact. They want to do something that contributes positively to society, and the environment while earning a paycheck. This is something that we must nurture as educators.

 

Promoting Student Agency in Learning — from rdene915.com by Rachelle Dené Poth

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

In many conversations, teachers are starting to shift from what has been a focus on “learning loss” and instead focus on reflecting on the skills that students gained by learning in different yet challenging ways. Some skills such as digital citizenship, how to collaborate and build relationships when not in the classroom together, and essential technology skills. Teachers learned a lot about themselves and the importance of reflecting on their practice. We learned in new ways and now, we have to continue to provide more authentic and meaningful learning experiences for all students.

From DSC:
I couldn’t agree more. There was a different type of learning going on during the pandemic. And that type of learning will be very helpful as our students live the rest of their days in an increasingly Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous (VOCA) world. That kind of learning wasn’t assessed in our normal standardized tests. It may not have shown up in official transcripts. But it will come in handy in the real world.

When students experience learning that is meaningful, purposeful, and relevant to their lives, it boosts student engagement and amplifies their learning potential, to better prepare students for their future careers.

— Rachelle Dené Poth

 

Why The Education Economy Is The Next Big Thing For The American Workforce — from fastcompany.com by Brandon Busteed
How can integrating our educational system, our employers, and our job creators affect our modern economy?

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Though the economy and education have long been topics of top concern to Americans, we haven’t created strong linkages between the two.

The topics are more like two castles with a large moat between them. Yet there is nothing more important we can do as a country than to build the world’s most effective “educonomy,” which would seamlessly integrate our educational system, our employers, and our job creators.

All told, we collected the voices of close to 1 million Americans on this subject in the past year alone. And what we’ve learned is alarming:

Student engagement in school drops precipitously from 5th grade through 12th grade. About three quarters of elementary school kids (76%) are engaged in school, while only 44% of high school kids are engaged. The longer students stay in school, the less engaged they become. If we were doing this right, the trend would be going in the exact opposite direction.

From DSC:
I appreciated the imagery of the economy and education being like two castles with a large moat between them. I, like many others, also use the term siloed to describe our various learning ecosystems — PreK-12, higher education and vocational programming, and the corporate/business world (I realize I could also include those who work in other areas such as the government, but hopefully folks get the gist of what I’m trying to say).

But here’s the most disturbing part (albeit likely not a surprise to those working within K-12 environments):

About seven in 10 K-12 teachers are not engaged in their work (69%), and as a profession, teachers are dead last among all professions Gallup studied in saying their “opinions count” at work and their “supervisors create an open and trusting environment.” We also found that teacher engagement is the most important driver of student engagement. We’ll never improve student engagement until we boost teachers’ own workplace engagement first.

Our older daughter works in an elementary school where several of the teachers left prior to Christmas and more have announced that they are leaving after this academic year. For teachers to leave halfway through the year, you know something is majorly wrong!

I think that legislators are part of the problem, as they straight-jacket teachers, principals, and administrators with all kinds of standardized testing.

Standardized testing is like a wrecking ball on our educational systems -- impacting things like our students' and teachers' sense of joy, play, wonder, and motivation

I would think that such testing dictates the pace and the content and the overall agendas out there. I don’t recall taking nearly as many standardized tests as our youth do today. Looking back, each of my teachers was engaged and seemed to be happy and enthusiastic. I don’t think that’s the case any longer. Let’s ask the teachers — not the legislators — why that is the case and what they would recommend to change things (before it’s too late).

 
© 2024 | Daniel Christian