The fact remains that today’s dominant formal education model is a broken system based on antiquated paradigms. The most compelling and visionary reading on reinventing education from the past century.
“Once we have computer outlets in every home, each of them hooked up to enormous libraries where anyone can ask any question and be given answers, be given reference materials, be something you’re interested in knowing, from an early age, however silly it might seem to someone else… that’s what YOU are interested in, and you can ask, and you can find out, and you can do it in your own home, at your own speed, in your own direction, in your own time… Then, everyone would enjoy learning. Nowadays, what people call learning is forced on you, and everyone is forced to learn the same thing on the same day at the same speed in class, and everyone is different.”—Isaac Asimov
A great conversation that just skims over the deeper feeling I have that “we” are slowly working out the problems with the current system and working out how to deliver a revolution.
We’ve had a spate of books that point to the internet as making this generation dumber or damaging our brains, or making us all more distractable. But thanks to Pew Research and work by MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning Program, we have excellent research that says none of that is true.
So now we can relax, get a little more calm and think more creatively and critically about what we need to do better to prepare students and adults for the possibilities and challenges of the new technology.
The Web has unlocked the keys to a worldwide virtual school, potentially leveling the playing field for students around the world.
The observation that there hasn’t been a major disruption in the education industry (such as the like seen in music, film and books) is so true. And just imagine the effects of such a disruption! Traditional education institutions becoming as relevant as Blockbuster was to the film industry.
There have been changes sure, wikipedia, youtube, google and electronic text books - but nothing that means students learn more out of the institutions than inside them. These changes have been no different that what the CD was for music.
This is where I think the “gaming layer" will break that ground. Such initiatives as Gameful and all the other game based learning software that I’ve been mentioning in previous posts, will mean that the hours and hours spent by people playing games will actually replace the hours and hours spent sitting in a class room doing tasks and projects.
The prime example I always refer to - imagine if Pokemon was based on biological science! We’d have a whole generation that could skip 1st year biology class.
The Web gives lifelong learners the tools to become autodidacts, eschewing exorbitant tuition and joining the ranks of other self-taught great thinkers in history such as Albert Einstein, Alexander Graham Bell, Paul Allen and Ernest Hemingway.
“The zombie hordes then, of course, divide and multiply. In the process, basic elements of game theory, classical economics and budget allocation are slipped in.”—Yahoo Uses “Shambling Hordes" of Zombies to Teach Economic Theory - FastCompany
To those that argue that copyright impedes knowledge, we say this: copyright creates diversity. It is an essential component of a democratic society. It should be available to those who want to benefit from its existence, and respected by those who wish to access materials created under its protection.
I can see how schools paying $54.3m to the Copyright Agency Ltd in 08-09 could be considered creating diversity but I would like to know what the schools are paying for. Is it specific educationally designed material? I am wondering if anyone can access these survey results:
Last year surveys were carried out in over 300 educational institutions, including 280 schools, 8 universities, 15 TAFEs and 6 community colleges. Digital use continues to increase in schools…
I hope these results reveal quality, educationally sound resources.
“Lectures at night, “homework” during the day. Call it the Fisch Flip.”—
“The idea behind [uploading the lectures on youtube] was to flip it. The students can watch it outside of class, pause it, replay it, view it several times, even mute me if they want,” says Fisch, who emphasises that he didn’t come up with the idea, nor is he the only teacher in the country giving it a try. “That allows us to work on what we used to do as homework when I’m they’re to help students and they’re there to help each other.”
MARK COLVIN: One of the foremost thinkers on the way the internet has revolutionised our lives says that the web has created problems of concentration and that we ought to redesign school curriculums to deal with it.
There was a similar thing that happened obviously with the rise of the printing press, where it became obvious that no-one is natively good at reading; no-one learns to read by accident. And for any society to take advantage of the printing press, we had to institute this incredible curriculum. Anybody’s who’s watched a five-year-old learn to read, has seen how much effort it takes for each person every year to get a kid to this point and we just took on that cost as a society.
… in the same way that we teach children literacy, I think we need to teach them concentration.
… rather than fearing the globalization of higher education, which will be counterproductive, we should embrace it. As executives in the tech industry know, the best strategy to compete is to hire all stars from wherever you can find them.
A 10-week after school program that teaches New York City high schoolers to use design to change their communities. Run by three MFA Interaction Design students - Derek Chan, Carmen Dukes, and Katie Koch - their students are encouraged to “tackle issues that matter to them with the prospect of creating viable solutions. The 1 page Curriculum Overview shows what they cover and, for high school students, what a brilliant heads up to the opportunities available to them in the design field.
It’s really important to introduce kids to the intricacies of investigating and solving the problems in their local communities; as adults they are more likely to attempt proactive solutions when issues arise.
"What impact is digital interactive technology having on education? And what will the classroom of the future look like? These are just some of the questions that were raised at the 2010 Australian Council for Computer Education conference."
There are some great audio grabs here and it’s great to hear a lot of interviewees talking about the importance of peer education and the teacher as a facilitator.
“You’ve got a lot of coasting kids [in schools]. And the only way you’ll stop them coasting is to really just open the door and let them go. Learning got out of it’s boxes; out of the architectural structures, out of the subject structure, it’s out of the pedagogy structures - it’s just got out and I don’t think anybody put the genie back in the bottle. So we’ll be either left managing empty boxes or we’re going to go where the kids have gone.”—http://www.educationau.edu.au/stephen-heppell
Listened to Stephen Heppell (seen as Europe’s leading online education guru) who was asked to give a talk addressing the questions:
Given the reform in Australian education (school improvement, national curriculum and media-rich classrooms), what can we here in Australia learn from the UK and other countries’ experiences about creating learning institutions for the 21st century? What does this mean for student entitlement and the kinds of resources needed to support such a reform package?
"Teachers haven’t got their heads around the power of what’s possible [with ICT]" … "Technology has allowed us to do practically anything but the question now is then what would you like to do…?"
It seems boring at the start but the gold starts about half way through his talk and then the comments to questions from the floor. (there is an audio hiccup short way in for 5 seconds or so but it corrects itself).
Interesting to watch those students that have grown from the challenge of running or contributing to the radio station. Particularly the guitarist that dropped out of school but is now back and contributing jingles and editing sound bites.
Rather than a set of notes describing what happened with my thoughts attached (which, if your interested, can be read by some of the otherparticipants), this will be the answer to the final question, “What will I take away from the day”.
"The education system has more people hiding in it than contributing to it."
Mauricio Buchler evangelised the need for a better educational system. He contends that it’s not bad, it can just be soooo much better. I travelled from Adelaide to hear him speak and it was great to hear an educator that was passionate about improvement in education with a proper perspective on technology.
My current position with Behind the News has the potential to help teachers provide topical content in an engaging medium. Unfortunately I was hoping to gain some practical outcomes on ways to do that from Mauricio. Either programs/systems that are on the go that BtN could help with or successful classroom techniques that I could imagine BtN doing… or some other way we could disseminate/integrate BtN.
This is not to suggest that Mauricio’s talk wasn’t good though! I believe he understood who he was talking to. He was passionate about change and encouraged the audience to think more about education and it’s role. I forgot that not everyone there was thinking that way too ;) I was in total agreement with his talk the whole time. Mauricio considered his audience and delivered a talk that would deliver maximum shift, that would help cultivate his idea. We ned more educators that are this passionate.
I was able to chat shortly with Mauricio and hope to make contact again to see if there are any avenues that could be explored. I notice too that he has strong links with Moodle which I would like to hear his views about.
I intend to find teachers that are contributing to the system and construct teaching resources that will be fun to use. I intend to keep in mind the need to create content that respects educational outcomes but releases it from educational boredom.
Continue with My Education System. "The thing about the autistic mind is it tends to be fixated. Like if a kid loves race cars, let’s use race cars for math. Let’s figure out how long it takes a race car to go a certain distance. In other words, use that fixation in order to motivate that kid, that’s one of the things we need to do. I really get fed up when they, you know, the teachers, especially when you get away from this part of the country, they don’t know what to do with these smart kids. It just drives me crazy." Temple Grandin
It drives me crazy too. Having a son with a “verbal mind” means he exhausts the details out of any subject he absorbs himself in, and yet, that passion is not picked up by his teachers in class. Only once in his 4 years so far have I seen him get passionate about some work in class to continue it at home. The only way teachers can think of accommodating him is to give him higher grade components of the task, i.e. instead of yr 3 spelling words he gets yr 4.
Frustrated by this I had a think about what I would do if I was to create an education system and one night wrote out the plans I had swirling in my head (It’s actually still a draft in this Tumblr blog). One of the principle tenants is to inject new learning into whatever they are interested in at the time - just as Temple suggests.
Using Temple’s desire as my academic approval I will try and finish that draft and get it out there for critique, expansion or connection to established pedagogy. Hopefully this will either connect me to emerging methodology that I can draw from or contribute to the discussion for others to build upon.
Research Educational Methods Apart from the few I have heard of like Montessori and International Bacheloriate I don’t know of many others. A recent discovery has been the Taxonomy of Effective Teaching Practices. At TEDxMelbourne someone mentioned the Victorian Essential Learning Standards (VELS) which I will also check out along with other government initiatives. I feel like I need to have a historical & current understanding of what has been covered already to help better understand how Behind the News can facilitate.
TED Adelaide? I noticed there wasn’t a TED in Adelaide… I may consider the requirements and consider if I could arrange to do one. If you are from Adelaide and like the idea, let me know.
Finally, the day was great. I initially was apprehensive and didn’t know what I was getting into (group discussions!) but the organisers did a great job and the attendees were just as I had hoped - just as passionate about ideas worth spreading as I was.