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Rule of Three and other ideas
"and other handy thoughts: so many folks have asked me for a "quick start" set of rules for the design of 3rd Millennium learning spaces...
... this Rule of Three section and some of the other ideas here (see top of this page), have all been well received in conferences, seminars and most importantly adopted / shared with success by practitioners. These are proven, working ideas, so I thought it was time to park some of them on a web page:

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rule of three - physical

I guess rule one is really that there is no absolutely right way to make learning better - schools are all different, their communities, contexts vary and as I have often observed on a windy day they become different places again. So you build your local recipe for great learning from the trusted and tested ingredients of others, adding a bit of local flair too. But this rule of three helps:

one: never more than three walls

two: no fewer than three points of focus

three: always able to accommodate at least three teachers, three activities (for the larger spaces three full "classes" too)

make no mistake - this is not a plea for those ghastly open plan spaces of the 1960s with their thermoplastic floors under high alumina concrete beams - with the consequent cacophony that deafened their teachers. Today's third millennium learning spaces are multi-faceted, agile (and thus easily re-configured by users as they use them), but allow all effective teaching and learning approaches, now and in the future, to be incorporated: collaborative work, mentoring, one-on-one, quiet reading, presentation, large group team taught groups... and more.

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rule of three - pedagogic

one: ask three then me

A simple way to encourage peer support, especially in a larger mixed age, stage not age space, but it even works fine in a small 'traditional" closed single class classroom. Put simply the students should ask 3 of their peers before approaching the teacher for help. I've watched, amused in classes where a student approaches the teacher who simply holds up 3 fingers, with a quizzical expression and the student paused, turned and looked for help for her peers first. Works on so many levels...

two: three heads are better than one

Everyone engaging in team teaching reports that, once you get over the trust-wall of being confident that your colleagues will do their bit (see Superclasses) the experience of working with others, the professional gains, and the reduction in workloads are real and worthwhile. You really do learn rapidly from other teachers, the children's behaviour defaults to the expectations of the teacher in the room with the highest expectations, and so on. Remarkably schools especially report on the rapid progress of newly qualified teachers who move forward so quickly that people forget they are still NQTs. And older teachers at career end become rejuvenated by a heady mix of new ideas and of self esteem as they see that their "teaching craft" skills are valued and valuable.

three: three periods a day or fewer

Particularly in 2ndary schools a fragmented timetable of 5 or 6 lessons a day wastes so much time stopping and starting. Children arrive and spend, say, 3 minutes getting unpacked, briefed and started, then end 2 minutes before the "bell" and have 5 minutes travelling time between classes. On a 5 period day that is (3+2+5) x 5 = 50 minutes "lost" each day, 50 x 5 = 250 lost each week, which is effectively throwing away a day a week. Longer blocks, immersion can be solid blocks of a day of more, some schools even adopt a week, gets students truly engaged - and serves as a clear barrier to Dick Turpin teaching ("Stand and Deliver!") - which simply cannot be sustained for long blocks of time - thank goodness. This doesn't mean that the occasional "rapid fire" day (a bit like pedagogic Speed Dating!) can't be used to add variety. But longer blocks of time work better mainly.

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rule of three - BYOD / UMOD

some schools adopting Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), or more recently Use My Own Device (UMOD - somehow, bringing them wasn't enough!) initially adopted really comprehensive "acceptable use policies" - bulging folders of policy that were neither understood nor adhered too (see for example the "sacrificial phones" mention under "What young people say" in the 2011 Nominet funded Cloudlearn research project).

Today though (2015) schools around the world, from Scandinavia to Australasia, are simpifying all this by three simple rules.

one: phones out, on the desk, screen up

Not everyone has a "desk" anymore of course, but the point here is that a device hidden under a work surface is more likely to be a problem than one on the worksurface, screen up. This makes it quick and easy to use, where appropriate, and simple to monitor by teachers or peers.

two: if you bring it, be prepared to share sometimes

This is more complex that it looks. Obviously handing your phone or tablet over to just anyone isn't going to happen, but the expectation that friends, or project collaborators, might simply pick up "your" device and chat to Siri, Google for resources, or whatever, means that bullying, inappropriate texts / images, or general misdemeanours are always likely to be discovered. Transparency is your friend here, secrecy masks mischief - and the expectation of occasional sharing is transparency enough. It also helps students develop simply safety / security habits - like logging out of social media to prevent Frapping or similar.

three: if you bring it, the school might notice and respond positively

If you've brought your own device along, the least you might expect is that the school gives you useful things to do, that you could not otherwise do, or couldn't do so well, without that device.

This requires a bit of imagination all round! A simple example would be the many schools that now do outdoor maths project tasks using the devices GPS trace capability (the device is sealed in a box during the excercise) like the children below tasked with drawing a Christmas tree on the park next to their school: estimating skills, geometry, measurement, scale, collaboration.... and really jolly hard to do with a pencil!

[image of a GPS traced tree]

***

knowing the 3rd millennium ABCs

A

ambition: how good might your children be?

agility: how quickly can we reconfigure to catch the wave - at a moment, only over a year, or at best across a generation?

astonishment: we want people to be astonished by what these children, and teachers, might achieve - how do we showcase this? how do we respond to it ourselves?

B

brave: what are others doing, what tested ideas can we borrow, how can we feed our own ideas to others? Brave is not foolhardy or reckless!

breadth: learning reaches out to who? embraces what? what support do you give for your school's grandparents for example?

blockers: you will need help with beating the blockers - if you run at the front, you need resources that win arguments: what is the evidence that...? why doesn't everyone do this...? where can I see it in action...? why should I change, ever...? all this exists of course (see top of page for example), but you need to organise it and be ready with it. A direct example is this workshop manual we developed for the new science spaces at Perth's Wesley College in Australia.

C

collegiality: that sense of belonging, of us-ness, sense of family, sharing, co-exploring, research. Also a sense of us (the team working on this innovation) being learners too - and able to show that we are trying cool stuff too - you won't win hearts and minds by saying but not doing;

communication: how does a learning space / building communicate what happens within? and this is about symmetry: how does the school listen to what happens outside school? how do we share and exchange all this with others?

collaboration: we don't want to be told, but we want to do this with others. How do we share what we learn as we do it? Who do we share with? How do we learn from them?"
tcsnmy  lcproject  openstudioproject  edtech  technology  schooldesign  stephenheppell  via:sebastienmarion  pedagogy  howweteach  howwelearn  education  teaching  learning  schools  collaboration  byod  umod  sharing  ambition  agility  astonishment  bravery  breadth  blockers  collegiality  communication  simplicity  mobile  phones  desks  furniture  computers  laptops  etiquette  conviviality  scheduling  teams  interdependence  canon  sfsh 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Mu of Zero | ThinkThankThunk
"What happens when you get to the bottom of a slippery slope?

You end up attempting to optimize a system that has no high point.

It began simply: someone, somewhere, said that they knew a few things that they were sure everyone needed to know, probably on East Coast around 1910.

The list grew exponentially [http://www.corestandards.org/Math/ ]. The draws [http://www.jamievollmer.com/poster.html ] on school grew with them, and you end up with an institution designed to be bad spaghetti sauce.

Surely, though, there are some golden pieces of knowledge [http://thinklab.typepad.com/think_lab/2006/03/8th_grade_exami.html ] that everyone must know:

Reading, writing, arithmetic…

Philosophy, theology, personal finance…

Basic biology, abstract thinking skills, algebra…

Cooking, cleaning, candlestick making…

Oh, wait.

Curriculum isn’t an outcome. The fact that no one can agree on the list above, is exactly why trying to make that list is damaging. Damaging to students, teachers, parents, and a society.

Allowing someone the mentorship to discover that a specific piece of content is necessary to create economic and/or social value. That’s an easy package for me to wrap. Much easier than pretending that learning to divide polynomials is the best way to become an abstract critical thinker, whatever that means."
shawncornally  curriculum  schools  education  content  teaching  society  mentorship  2015  workload  breadth  outcomes  lists 
february 2015 by robertogreco
I'm Unschooled. Yes, I Can Write.: Learning Advice from a Learning Life
"Be comfortable learning just enough and nothing more…

Be comfortable focusing on one subject to the exclusion of (almost) all else…

Learn alone: Books are great. So is the internet. So are solitary walks in the woods.

Seek out groups, teachers, or mentors to learn: Sometimes learning with other people really feels best (for some people often, others, rarely). Whether it's in a group where big interesting discussions can happen, or finding a teacher who can help you gain the level of skill you want to have, learning with other people can be wonderful. There's nothing that says just because you're a self-directed learner you can't direct yourself towards lots of other people!

Don't force it: If you find yourself reading the same paragraph half a dozen times because you're just not taking it in, stop. Put the book down. Maybe permanently, maybe just until the next day if it seems interesting again then. But I do find, in my experience at least, that anything I've ever had to choke down or really force myself through, I've forgotten. Every single time. That doesn't mean you might not want to force yourself through a boring chapter in an otherwise interesting book on occasion, or get through a not-so-interesting article online because it's the only place you've found to get that specific information you want. Just that if you're really not enjoying something and there's nothing forcing you to do it (as in, you're not studying for a test you really want to pass), then give up. If you're not enjoying it and not taking it in, what's the point?

Learn to quit: We live in a society that despises "quitters," and we're reminded of this in small ways on a very regular basis. Quitting is usually equated with "failure" (something else we're taught to avoid at all cost), when in fact quitting is sometimes the best and healthiest thing to do. If you thought you wanted to learn ballroom dancing, but then find you hate ballroom dancing class with a passion, stop going. If you loved a subject deeply and spent all your time studying it, but now find yourself no longer feeling it's draw, find something else you want to devote your time to. If everything you've been doing for years has been towards achieving a specific goal, yet you come to the realization that that's no longer a goal that will make you happy, let go of it. This is a lot harder in practice than in theory, but I know I've found much happiness when I realize something's no longer working for me, no longer what I want, and choose to let go.

Ask for help: Even for unschoolers, who usually strive to learn from their community, asking for help can be hard (or at least it can be for this perfectionist unschooler!). But I've had to come to realize that sometimes, you really do need to just ask for help. People are usually very happy to oblige in sharing something they know about and enjoy doing!

Don't fear mistakes…

Don't compare yourself to others…

Don't let others' ideas about the right way to learn get in your way…"
unschoolign  deschooling  learning  education  idziedesmarais  solitude  alone  mistakes  comparisons  quitting  readiness  2013  howwelearn  justenough  justintimelearning  depth  breadth 
march 2013 by robertogreco
Those Awful Texas Social Studies Standards
"all this Texas bashing implies that standards everywhere else are good and fair and true. In fact, other states’ social studies standards have their own conservative biases (and occasional silliness) and deserve the same critical scrutiny that Texas’ new standards are receiving. Other states may not celebrate Jefferson Davis, but neither do they encourage teachers to equip students with the historical background and analytical tools that they’ll need to understand and address today’s social and environmental crises. …

Social studies should help students grasp knowledge and tools of analysis so as to make the world a better place. Social studies should help students name and explain obstacles to justice, peace, equality, and sustainability. Instead, social studies standards like Oregon’s are simply about covering material."
standards  us  history  curriculum  bias  2010  texas  oregon  california  breadth  teaching  schools  billbigelow  socialstudies  tcsnmy 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Saul Griffith: The 21st Century's Benjamin Franklin | The Stimulist
"Griffith undoubtedly could have gone to work for a think tank, but as he stated in an interview with CNN, he’d rather work for Squid, which he calls a “do-tank.” ... But above all, Franklin and Griffith share a sense that they do not have to focus in a single area to make a big difference. As Jessie Scanlon wrote in Business Week, "While most scientists go deep but narrow, focusing on one subject or problem, Griffith is ecumenical, following his curiosity and his conscience wherever they take him, and then digging deep into the issues that grab him.""
saulgriffith  tinkering  do  science  problemsolving  breadth  depth  benjaminfranklin  history  makingadifference  making  doing  tcsnmy  lcproject  glvo  via:preoccupations 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Will Depth Replace Breadth in Schools? - Class Struggle - Jay Mathews on Education
"[A] surprising study — certain to be a hot topic in teacher lounges and education schools — is providing new data that suggest educators should spend much more time on a few issues and let some topics slide. Based on a sample of 8,310 undergraduates, the national study says that students who spend at least a month on just one topic in a high school science course get better grades in a freshman college course in that subject than students whose high school courses were more balanced.
education  depthoverbreadth  depth  breadth  learning  testing  assessment  schools  curriculum  science  research  teaching  tcsnmy 
march 2009 by robertogreco
Will Depth Replace Breadth in Schools? - Class Struggle - Jay Mathews on Education
"Sadler and Tai have previously hinted at where this was going. In 2001 they reported that students who did not use a textbook in high school physics—an indication that their teachers disdained hitting every topic — achieved higher college grades than those who used a textbook.
teaching  learning  textbooks  science  curriculum  jaymatthews  education  policy  tcsnmy  depth  breadth 
march 2009 by robertogreco

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