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April 05 2010

The Pendulum or the Butterfly? » Edurati Review

"We will loft education anew when we generate an ever-increasing ratio of educators who believe in a mission to create spaces of inspiration for learners and learning. It will take more than 1 or 10 percent of us speaking the poetic and political voices of passion, joy, and drive to create those spaces in which young people and educators can thrive in these contemporary days. Our vision must become a vision of lift, influence, and power that creates a front channel for our voices, shifting us out of the backchannel. We need our best educational technologists, our courageous leaders, our creative geniuses to create the front channel we must become. It’s our job, and our time, to increase the inspiration ratio in every community in this nation." [via: http://speedchange.blogspot.com/2010/04/easter-monday-proclamation-of.html]

Children Are Not the Enemy: Learning with Ira : Dream With Me

"So, when I read Ira’s book, I am reminded that our own educational failures of policy, institutional capabilities, imagination, and management create and sustain a schooling culture in which our most fragile and vulnerable learners become the enemy. Thankfully, I am also reminded through Glasser’s work and my mentor’s long-ago words that we educators have far more choice and power in our actions than we sometimes acknowledge. While we can’t change how other people feel or think, we can make explicit in all we do that the Iras of our world deserve the best we have to offer- a place at the learning table within a community of their peers and committed, thoughtful educators. We can see all our young people through a capacity rather than deficit lens. In Ira’s young world, Alan Shapiro made a critical difference by seeing him, not as the enemy, but as a young person with value. Ira became one of the lucky ones."

March 22 2010

Why teaching is 'not like making motorcars' - CNN.com

"Sir Ken Robinson says our education system works like a factory. It's based on models of mass production and conformity that actually prevent kids from finding their passions and succeeding, he said.

"The problem is that educating young people is not like making motorcars -- at all," the author and educator said in a recent interview. "And one key difference is that motorcars have no interest in how they're made, and young people do." ...

Instead of trying to mass-produce children who are good at taking tests and memorizing things, schools should emphasize personal development, Robinson said. Not all kids are good at the same things, and the education system shouldn't pretend they should all turn out the same, he said.

"We can't just improve [schools]," he said. "We have to radically transform them."

Schools today are "preoccupied with certain types of ability," he said."

March 11 2010

Weblogg-ed » The New National Ed Tech Plan…Pinch Me

"I’m trying not to get overly optimistic here, but suffice to say, if the rhetoric is any indication of the direction, we may have actually turned a corner.

* Personalized learning
* Learning that is “lifelong and life-wide and available on demand.”
* A device and ubiquitous access for every student and teacher.
* Professional development that focuses on “connected teaching” in “online learning communities” (Sounds familiar.)
* Professional learning that is “collaborative, coherent, and continuous.”
* Learning that is “always on”
* Learning that is no longer “one size fits all.”
* Student work on the cloud
* Student managed electronic learning portfolios
* Students as “networked learners”
* Broadband everywhere
* Open educational resources
* Creative Commons licenses
* Changes to CIPA and FERPA to open up access
* Rethinking the “basic assumptions” of schooling"

March 07 2010

March 05 2010

MindLab

"MindLab is a cross-ministerial innovation unit which involves citizens and businesses in creating new solutions for society. We are also a physical space – a neutral zone for inspiring creativity, innovation and collaboration.

We work with the civil servants in our three parent ministries: the Ministry of Economic and Business Affairs, the Ministry of Taxation and the Ministry of Employment. These three ministries cover broad policy areas that affect the daily lives of virtually all Danes. Entrepreneurship, climate change, digital self-service, citizen’s rights, emplyment services and workplace safety are some of the areas they address.

MindLab is instrumental in helping the ministry’s key decision-makers and employees view their efforts from the outside-in, to see them from a citizen’s perspective. We use this approach as a platform for co-creating better ideas."

Big City Superintendents - Volume 24 No. 1 - Autumn 2009 - Rethinking Schools Online

"Did you know Paulo Freire was a school district superintendent? His ideas are as thought provoking as ever. ...

In other words, educators, parents, and community members need to create schools together that are centers of community renaissance and resistance. We need to educate children to have the skills, dispositions, and civic courage to challenge the status quo, to connect with parents and their communities to fight for a more just and sustainable world. Freire spoke of creating the “popular public school” as “a school with another ‘face,’ one that is more joyful, harmonious, and democratic.” Can you imagine your superintendent outlining goals like that?"

March 01 2010

“Great” Teachers? « Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

"For the past quarter-century, however, policymakers and politicians have chopped, grated, and mixed together the goals of schooling into a concoction seeking to make education an arm of the economy. They scan international test scores, focus on achievement gaps, and boost teacher pay-for-performance plans. This policy direction has shoved the notion of “great” teaching into one corner of the ideological debate and thoroughly erased the distinction between the “good” and “successful” in teaching. Now “great” teaching means test scores go up and students go to college. A big mistake."

'The Death and Life of the Great American School System' by Diane Ravitch - latimes.com

"Diane Ravitch, probably this nation's most respected historian of education and long one of our most thoughtful educational conservatives, has changed her mind -- and changed it big time. Ravitch's critical guns are still firing, but now they're aimed at the forces of testing, accountability and educational markets, forces for which she was once a leading proponent and strategist. As President Obama and his education secretary, Arne Duncan, embrace charter schools and testing, picking up just where, in her opinion, the George W. Bush administration left off, "The Death and Life of the Great American School System" may yet inspire a lot of high-level rethinking. The book, titled to echo Jane Jacobs' 1961 demolition of grandiose urban planning schemes, "The Death and Life of Great American Cities," has similarly dark warnings and equally grand ambitions."
Reposted by02mydafsoup-01 02mydafsoup-01

February 23 2010

Philip K. Howard: Four ways to fix a broken legal system | Video on TED.com

The land of the free has become a legal minefield, says Philip K. Howard -- especially for teachers and doctors, whose work has been paralyzed by fear of suits. What's the answer? A lawyer himself, Howard has four propositions for simplifying US law.
Reposted by02mydafsoup-01 02mydafsoup-01

February 22 2010

Op-Ed Columnist - California Death Spiral - NYTimes.com

"So California’s woes show that conservative prescriptions for health reform just won’t work. What would work? By all means, let’s ban discrimination on the basis of medical history — but we also have to keep healthy people in the risk pool, which means requiring that people purchase insurance. This, in turn, requires substantial aid to lower-income Americans so that they can afford coverage. & if you put all of that together, you end up with something very much like health reform bills that have already passed both House & Senate. What about claims that these bills would force Americans into clutches of greedy insurance companies?...main answer is stronger regulation...would also be very good idea...for Senate to use reconciliation to put public option back into bill. But main point is this: California’s death spiral is a reminder that our health care system is unraveling, and that inaction isn’t an option. Congress and the president need to make reform happen — now."

February 20 2010

When Innovation Gets Difficult « iterating toward openness

"John Seely Brown...20th century was time of technological innovation, 21st century must be a time of institutional innovation...Anyone who has worked to reform an institution will readily admit that the more people are involved, & the more they are invested in maintaining status quo, the harder it is to affect change. Even something as small as a stepwise incremental policy change can be a multi-year battle. I can hear you now thinking, “Just burn it down & plant a new institution in ashes,” or “Just punch out & create a new institution to compete with the first.” Sometimes these are legitimate approaches to getting things done, but sometimes they aren’t... Imposing your will on bits and bytes is “easy.” Leading an established institution through the valley of the shadow of reform and up the opposite bank toward innovation is “hard.” But it is absolutely critical work, & precious few people are in positions that afford them opportunities to provide this kind of leadership."

February 19 2010

New Plan Will Let High Schoolers Graduate Early - NYTimes.com

"Dozens of public high schools in eight states will introduce a program next year allowing 10th graders who pass a battery of tests to get a diploma two years early and immediately enroll in community college. Students who pass but aspire to attend a selective college may continue with college preparatory courses in their junior and senior years, organizers of the new effort said. Students who fail the 10th-grade tests, known as board exams, can try again at the end of their 11th and 12th grades. The tests would cover not only English and math but also subjects like science and history. The new system of high school coursework with the accompanying board examinations is modeled largely on systems in high-performing nations including Denmark, England, Finland, France and Singapore."

TeachPaperless: Thoughts on History and the "Important Questions"

"More often then not, education finds itself in the position of responding to rather than initiating cultural change. This makes sense, given that so much of what we do in education is in using historical precedent to help students develop ways of knowing. All the more important then that in this era of rapid change, we should not forget that our educational predecessors have long grappled w/ societal paradigm shifts. ...a rather good way to consider the questions raised by the Weblogg-ed readers is through the lens of historical analysis. For these are important questions; they are questions dealing with the fundamentals of identity within an era of dramatic shift. And for that reason, we should look back into dramatic shifts in history and examine how -- or whether -- education itself rode out those storms. Over the next few months, I will be examining the historical nature of shift and the way in which education has responded to it (or how it has occasionally shaped it)."

February 18 2010

OurGoods: A Future History of Education

"More than anything Trade School for me is an archetype of the plausible alternative to over-structured, hierarchical and standardized learning we now take for granted and use in the developmental transformation of over 1.1 million school children. Trade School is an opportunity to subvert the teacher/student relationship to be reciprocal. For me it’s about valuing our collective knowledge and not the expertise of just one person. It’s about finding ways to eliminate currency and the problematic funding structures that currently drive educational institutions and their “innovation”."

February 08 2010

Now that we have selected the curtain colour, let’s build a new house « Connectivism

"I’m suggesting something much more subtle: that we no longer allow systems-based arguments and criticism to dampen our creative exploration for what is possible in education. A period of “no boundaries” in our thinking. Forget even arguing against those who appeal to integration with existing structures. Just ignore those discussions completely. I’d like to focus instead on creating a compelling vision of what education could be given new technologies and almost global connectivity. The timing is somewhat ideal. The growth of the internet, advancement in social media, frustration with quality of the current system (primary to university), reduced budgets, and greater awareness of the importance of creative and innovative thinkers, has created an almost perfect storm for reform. I doubt we’ll see, in our lifetime, similarly favorable conditions for change. We are, after all, in the youth of educational reform. No point in spending it in a wheelchair or pushing around a walker."

February 07 2010

Deborah Meier's Blog on Education: Learning: What and How?

"“misunderstandings” that occur between best teachers & best students (& mostly we have to contend w/ less than “best” of either) are where all the fun of learning actually takes place...begins at birth. Humans are not only born curious, but w/ capacity for rather rigorous mechanism for correcting mistakes. They build & rebuild their “theory” of world based on trial & error—over & over, w/ modifications & side paths, & adjustments & sometimes huge revisions! Sometimes this process stops—in face of too much uncertainty or not enough—& we fixate, obsessively, on theory that never gets revised even when faced w/ its “obvious” contradictions...I’ve more & more come to believe that this assumption—which academics call constructivism—that I hold about learning is much more controversial than I wish it were...I live so much w/in world that disagrees w/ me that sometimes I over-cling to that subset of people & institutions that are on my wavelength. Finding right balance is hard for me."

February 05 2010

Big Thinkers: Linda Darling-Hammond on Becoming Internationally Competitive | Edutopia

"Stanford University professor and noted researcher Linda Darling-Hammond discusses what the United States can learn from high-achieving countries on teaching, learning, and assessment -- from Finland to Singapore."

Call a Convention

"Our Congress is broken. Even at a moment of extraordinary crisis, Members spend an endless amount of time simply raising campaign cash. We need Congress to focus; to address the problems that burden America; to do its job. The first step to fixing Congress would be to enact Citizen Funded Elections. Every supporter of reform should be working as hard as possible to get the Fair Elections Now Act passed. But we can’t rely upon Congress alone. We must begin taking the steps necessary to secure to Congress the power to protect its own independence. To that end, we are launching a process today to get state legislatures to call for a Convention. Learn more about the path to a Constitutional Convention This is a movement to restore our democracy. Join us."

February 03 2010

Op-Ed Contributor - Playing to Learn - NYTimes.com

"During the school day, there should be extended time for play. Research has shown unequivocally that children learn best when they are interested in the material or activity they are learning. Play — from building contraptions to enacting stories to inventing games — can allow children to satisfy their curiosity about the things that interest them in their own way. It can also help them acquire higher-order thinking skills, like generating testable hypotheses, imagining situations from someone else’s perspective and thinking of alternate solutions."
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