Reflections

On Education

star Steve Denning, a Forbes columnist, recently wrote “The Single Best Idea for Reforming K-12 Education.” In it, he says: “… the single most important idea for reform in K-12 education concerns a change in goal. The goal needs to shift from one of making a system that teaches children a curriculum more efficiently to one of making the system more effective by inspiring lifelong learning in students, so that they are able to have full and productive lives in a rapidly shifting economy.”

I have Lucie deLaBruere (Tech Integration Specialist, St. Albans City Schoool) to thank for some of the leads that follow. Find out about what she’s doing at www.LearningWithLucie.com and/or blog.infinitethinking.org/ .

Smithsonian has an interesting article about the success of Finland’s schools and how they got to be that way. “There are no mandated standardized tests in Finland, apart from one exam at the end of students’ senior year in high school. There are no rankings, no comparisons or competition between students, schools or regions. Finland’s schools are publicly funded. The people in the government agencies running them, from national officials to local authorities, are educators, not business people, military leaders or career politicians.” Will Richardson had an interesting piece on this titled “We Prepare Children to Learn How to Learn.”

The TED talks are often brilliant & thought-provoking. One I watched recently is titled “Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity” – it’s one of the Top Ten TED Talks. Another talk by Ken Robinson is “Changing Education Paradigms.” It’s mentioned in 8 Great TED Talks About The Future Of Education And Teaching.

The Glen Allen High School Department of Mathematics has a link to A Mathematician’s Lament – positing that mathematics is an art, and that the way it’s taught kills any innate interest students might have. It starts by positing what it might be like if music or art were taught as mathematics is. On a similar theme is a New York Times editorial, How to Fix Our Math Education. And another – Conrad Wolfram’s TED Talk: “Stop Teaching Calculating, Start Teaching Math” appears on the site computerbasedmath.org. Comments about the talk can be found at the Wolfram Blog post on Wolfram’s TED talk.

Interesting article titled “Using Technology as a Learning Tool, Not Just the Cool New Thing” (from educause.edu). Here’s are some strung-together snippets from the section, “Challenges to Higher Education,” which I think apply more broadly.

Net Geners want … interactivity. [T]he social component of learning is required.

First, technology costs money.

Second, students need to be able to use the technology. … [T]here is such a thing as a “digital divide.” … [T]he only way for some school systems to afford computer labs is if computers are donated. … [Donated computers may] not be able to support the latest technology. … [C]omputers ideally should be relatively up to date and able to provide students with not only fundamental skills but also the chance to learn intermediate and advanced skills as the “cool new thing” rolls out of the factory.

Third, technology must be relevant and interactive to the coursework. Students need a practical use for technology. … Students need to communicate quickly with each other, but in a centralized manner. …

Fourth, technology must be used for a practical purpose [e.g.,] a final project, where creativity and uniqueness is required and rewarded. … Using technology for some practical purpose … must be the clear objective.

An interesting video from a teacher who has re-focused her classes for to Learning How to Learn.

Michigan’s Department of Education is interested in having 21st century libraries. To that end they have measurement criteria that could largely apply to considering 21st century classrooms in general.

 

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