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SVS/Unschooling Controversy - YouTube
"This is a commentary on the currently controversial article by Daniel Greenberg https://sudburyvalley.org/article/lets-be-clear-sudbury-valley-school-and-un-schooling-have-nothing-common . The article is not summarised during the commentary so it will be necessary to read it before listening. Further discussion is available to join on the forums at www.self-directed.org.

"Differences Between Self-Directed and Progressive Education" can be read here https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/comment/924407 . This commentary is offered by Jeanna L Clements in her private capacity and does not represent any other individual or collective. Please feel free to share. Thank you."
education  schools  schooling  sudburyschools  self-directed  self-directedlearning  progessive  petergray  je'annaclements  howwelearn  howweteach  teaching  learning  unschooling  homeschool  deschooling  montessori  northstar  agillearningcenters  agilelearning  tcsnmy  lcproject  openstudioproject  sfsh  jeannaclements  individualism  collective  collectivism  parenting  danielgreenberg  children  2018  johnholt  patfarenga  sudburyvalleyschool  agilelearningcenters 
january 2019 by robertogreco
The Stories We Were Told about Education Technology (2018)
"It’s been quite a year for education news, not that you’d know that by listening to much of the ed-tech industry (press). Subsidized by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, some publications have repeatedly run overtly and covertly sponsored articles that hawk the future of learning as “personalized,” as focused on “the whole child.” Some of these attempt to stretch a contemporary high-tech vision of social emotional surveillance so it can map onto a strange vision of progressive education, overlooking no doubt how the history of progressive education has so often been intertwined with race science and eugenics.

Meanwhile this year, immigrant, refugee children at the United States border were separated from their parents and kept in cages, deprived of legal counsel, deprived of access to education, deprived in some cases of water.

“Whole child” and cages – it’s hardly the only jarring juxtaposition I could point to.

2018 was another year of #MeToo, when revelations about sexual assault and sexual harassment shook almost every section of society – the media and the tech industries, unsurprisingly, but the education sector as well – higher ed, K–12, and non-profits alike, as well school sports all saw major and devastating reports about cultures and patterns of sexual violence. These behaviors were, once again, part of the hearings and debates about a Supreme Court Justice nominee – a sickening deja vu not only for those of us that remember Anita Hill ’s testimony decades ago but for those of us who have experienced something similar at the hands of powerful people. And on and on and on.

And yet the education/technology industry (press) kept up with its rosy repetition that social equality is surely its priority, a product feature even – that VR, for example, a technology it has for so long promised is “on the horizon,” is poised to help everyone, particularly teachers and students, become more empathetic. Meanwhile, the founder of Oculus Rift is now selling surveillance technology for a virtual border wall between the US and Mexico.

2018 was a year in which public school teachers all over the US rose up in protest over pay, working conditions, and funding, striking in red states like West Virginia, Kentucky, and Oklahoma despite an anti-union ruling by the Supreme Court.

And yet the education/technology industry (press) was wowed by teacher influencers and teacher PD on Instagram, touting the promise for more income via a side-hustle like tutoring rather by structural or institutional agitation. Don’t worry, teachers. Robots won’t replace you, the press repeatedly said. Unsaid: robots will just de-professionalize, outsource, or privatize the work. Or, as the AI makers like to say, robots will make us all work harder (and no doubt, with no unions, cheaper).

2018 was a year of ongoing and increased hate speech and bullying – racism and anti-Semitism – on campuses and online.

And yet the education/technology industry (press) still maintained that blockchain would surely revolutionize the transcript and help insure that no one lies about who they are or what they know. Blockchain would enhance “smart spending” and teach financial literacy, the ed-tech industry (press) insisted, never once mentioning the deep entanglements between anti-Semitism and the alt-right and blockchain (specifically Bitcoin) backers.

2018 was a year in which hate and misinformation, magnified and spread by technology giants, continued to plague the world. Their algorithmic recommendation engines peddled conspiracy theories (to kids, to teens, to adults). “YouTube, the Great Radicalizer” as sociologist Zeynep Tufekci put it in a NYT op-ed.

And yet the education/technology industry (press) still talked about YouTube as the future of education, cheerfully highlighting (that is, spreading) its viral bullshit. Folks still retyped the press releases Google issued and retyped the press releases Facebook issued, lauding these companies’ (and their founders’) efforts to reshape the curriculum and reshape the classroom.

This is the ninth year that I’ve reviewed the stories we’re being told about education technology. Typically, this has been a ten (or more) part series. But I just can’t do it any more. Some people think it’s hilarious that I’m ed-tech’s Cassandra, but it’s not funny at all. It’s depressing, and it’s painful. And no one fucking listens.

If I look back at what I’ve written in previous years, I feel like I’ve already covered everything I could say about 2018. Hell, I’ve already written about the whole notion of the “zombie idea” in ed-tech – that bad ideas never seem to go away, that just get rebranded and repackaged. I’ve written about misinformation and ed-tech (and ed-tech as misinformation). I’ve written about the innovation gospel that makes people pitch dangerously bad ideas like “Uber for education” or “Alexa for babysitting.” I’ve written about the tech industry’s attempts to reshape the school system as its personal job training provider. I’ve written about the promise to “rethink the transcript” and to “revolutionize credentialing.” I’ve written about outsourcing and online education. I’ve written about coding bootcamps as the “new” for-profit higher ed, with all the exploitation that entails. I’ve written about the dangers of data collection and data analysis, about the loss of privacy and the lack of security.

And yet here we are, with Mark Zuckerberg – education philanthropist and investor – blinking before Congress, promising that AI will fix everything, while the biased algorithms keep churning out bias, while the education/technology industry (press) continues to be so blinded by “disruption” it doesn’t notice (or care) what’s happened to desegregation, and with so many data breaches and privacy gaffes that they barely make headlines anymore.

Folks. I’m done.

I’m also writing a book, and frankly that’s where my time and energy is going.

There is some delicious irony, I suppose, in the fact that there isn’t much that’s interesting or “innovative” to talk about in ed-tech, particularly since industry folks want to sell us on the story that tech is moving faster than it’s ever moved before, so fast in fact that the ol’ factory model school system simply cannot keep up.

I’ve always considered these year-in-review articles to be mini-histories of sorts – history of the very, very recent past. Now, instead, I plan to spend my time taking a longer, deeper look at the history of education technology, with particular attention for the next few months, as the title of my book suggests, to teaching machines – to the promises that machines will augment, automate, standardize, and individualize instruction. My focus is on the teaching machines of the mid-twentieth century, but clearly there are echoes – echoes of behaviorism and personalization, namely – still today.

In his 1954 book La Technique (published in English a decade later as The Technological Society), the sociologist Jacques Ellul observes how education had become oriented towards creating technicians, less interested in intellectual development than in personality development – a new “psychopedagogy” that he links to Maria Montessori. “The human brain must be made to conform to the much more advanced brain of the machine,” Ellul writes. “And education will no longer be an unpredictable and exciting adventure in human enlightenment , but an exercise in conformity and apprenticeship to whatever gadgetry is useful in a technical world.” I believe today we call this "social emotional learning" and once again (and so insistently by the ed-tech press and its billionaire backers), Montessori’s name is invoked as the key to preparing students for their place in the technological society.

Despite scant evidence in support of the psychopedagogies of mindsets, mindfulness, wellness, and grit, the ed-tech industry (press) markets these as solutions to racial and gender inequality (among other things), as the psychotechnologies of personalization are now increasingly intertwined not just with surveillance and with behavioral data analytics, but with genomics as well. “Why Progressives Should Embrace the Genetics of Education,” a NYT op-ed piece argued in July, perhaps forgetting that education’s progressives (including Montessori) have been down this path before.

This is the only good grit:

[image of Gritty]

If I were writing a lengthier series on the year in ed-tech, I’d spend much more time talking about the promises made about personalization and social emotional learning. I’ll just note here that the most important “innovator” in this area this year (other than Gritty) was surely the e-cigarette maker Juul, which offered a mindfulness curriculum to schools – offered them the curriculum and $20,000, that is – to talk about vaping. “‘The message: Our thoughts are powerful and can set action in motion,’ the lesson plan states.”

The most important event in ed-tech this year might have occurred on February 14, when a gunman opened fire on his former classmates at Marjory Stone Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 students and staff and injuring 17 others. (I chose this particular school shooting because of the student activism it unleashed.)

Oh, I know, I know – school shootings and school security aren’t ed-tech, ed-tech evangelists have long tried to insist, an argument I’ve heard far too often. But this year – the worst year on record for school shootings (according to some calculations) – I think that argument started to shift a bit. Perhaps because there’s clearly a lot of money to be made in selling schools “security” products and services: shooting simulation software, facial recognition technology, metal detectors, cameras, social media surveillance software, panic buttons, clear backpacks, bulletproof backpacks, … [more]
audreywatters  education  technology  edtech  2018  surveillance  privacy  personalization  progressive  schools  quantification  gamification  wholechild  montessori  mariamontessori  eugenics  psychology  siliconvalley  history  venturecapital  highereducation  highered  guns  gunviolence  children  youth  teens  shootings  money  influence  policy  politics  society  economics  capitalism  mindfulness  juul  marketing  gritty  innovation  genetics  psychotechnologies  gender  race  racism  sexism  research  socialemotional  psychopedagogy  pedagogy  teaching  howweteach  learning  howwelearn  teachingmachines  nonprofits  nonprofit  media  journalism  access  donaldtrump  bias  algorithms  facebook  amazon  disruption  data  bigdata  security  jacquesellul  sociology  activism  sel  socialemotionallearning 
december 2018 by robertogreco
(Some excerpts from recent Alan Kay emails)
"Socrates didn't charge for "education" because when you are in business, the "customer starts to become right". Whereas in education, the customer is generally "not right". Marketeers are catering to what people *want*, educators are trying to deal with what they think people *need* (and this is often not at all what they *want*). Part of Montessori's genius was to realize early that children *want* to get fluent in their surrounding environs and culture, and this can be really powerful if one embeds what they *need* in the environs and culture."

[via: https://www.are.na/block/1546832 ]
alankay  brettvictor  socrates  education  sfsh  mariamontessori  montessori  children  environment  lcproject  openstudioproject  unschooling  deschooling  culture  society  consumerism  marketing  howweteach  howwelearn  history  parc  philosophy  learning 
january 2018 by robertogreco
Bowman School – Discover. Create. Become.
"Discover, Create, Become: Learning to Innovate for the Future
"Education should no longer be mostly imparting knowledge, but must take a new path, seeking the release of human potentials.”

~Dr. Maria Montessori

In an increasingly technological and globalized world, children need more than just job skills—they need to learn how to think, problem solve, innovate, and communicate. Schools must go beyond the educational models of years past to prepare children for our ever-changing future.

At Bowman, we embrace the challenge of equipping the next generation through an integrated, hands-on approach based on a Montessori understanding of development and learning. We provide a dynamic and prepared environment for children to explore big questions about the world and their potential to affect positive change.

Experienced Montessori teachers provide individual guidance to students in following their developmentally-specific educational path through broad-focused inquiry and examination. Bowman creates responsible and responsive global citizens.

Our Mission
Simply put, Bowman inspires children to love learning in an academically challenging and internationally-aware program that promotes leadership, respect, responsibility, and independence.

Our School
Founded in 1995, Bowman International School is an independent, non-profit, K-8 school committed to educating tomorrow's leaders by promoting a rigorously self-directed and individualized approach to learning year-round. We are pleased to hold the distinction of being one of only two WASC-accredited Montessori schools in California and considered one of the top seven Montessori elementary schools in the world by Tim Seldin, founder of the International Montessori Council (IMC).

Our teachers are models of initiative and engagement as active contributors to education-focused publications, presenters at local and national conferences, and leaders in numerous Montessori organizations. As a result of their influence, Bowman students—representing more than 30 countries—transition to highly competitive high schools, and are accepted to public and private colleges including Stanford, UC Berkeley, Princeton, and Yale.

The Bowman community is comprised of forward-thinkers who are motivated to share knowledge and grow together. Situated on a 1.5- acre site in Palo Alto, our campus currently includes inspirational classrooms and outdoor spaces for gardening, physical activities, and events. We are now coming together to achieve our goal of adding a “Learning Village,” including a new preschool, STEAM laboratory, and gymnasium. By providing the best teaching and resources, Bowman will empower the younger generation toward their highest aspirations for years to come!"
schools  paloalto  bayarea  montessori 
december 2017 by robertogreco
Why a key research finding is ruining teaching in Texas - The Washington Post
"Three Texas researchers spent a year watching and then recording Hispanic first-graders from low-income families as they experienced an unusual approach to learning. They were encouraged to initiate projects, ask questions without raising their hands, give feedback to one another, and decide where and with whom to work.

This method has proved effective in Montessori classrooms worldwide for more than a century. It is still relatively uncommon in the United States, but it worked in the Texas school. The students eventually scored 30 percentile points above similar children in ordinary classes.

So the researchers were stunned at the negative reaction when they showed the video to first-graders who had not been taught that way. What they found casts troubling light on one of the most influential educational research findings ever.

The first-graders shown the video “seemed to think the learning was terrible,” said researchers Jennifer Keys Adair, Kiyomi Sánchez-Suzuki Colegrove and Molly E. McManus in the fall issue of the Harvard Educational Review. They all agreed that “the children in the film should be less noisy, more still and much more obedient to have any chance of being good learners.”

One boy said the right way to learn was to “keep your mouth zipped, eyes watching . . . and ears listening!”

Their teachers told the researchers they liked the new approach but stuck with traditional methods because they didn’t think bilingual children from low-income backgrounds could handle it.

Why? They didn’t have enough vocabulary, the teachers said. “In school after school, we heard educators repeat that parents did not talk to their children enough or give them the vocabulary they needed to be successful in school.”

The researchers, who work at the University of Texas at Austin and Texas State University, knew where that idea came from. Few studies have been reported as widely as the 1995 work of University of Kansas psychologists Betty Hart and Todd R. Risley. Working with 1,318 observations of just 42 children, Hart and Risley concluded that in their first four years, impoverished children heard 13 million words on average, compared with 45 million heard by children of affluent parents. The early advantage in word exposure correlated strongly with better language and literacy skills five or six years later.

In a 2003 article, Hart and Risley said “the risk to our nation and its children” made anti-poverty efforts to change children’s lives “more urgent than ever.”

For 35 years, I have covered educators trying to raise achievement for low-income children. They told me the Hart-Risley findings meant children’s language experiences had to be enriched as early as possible, essentially from birth, and at every grade after that. Apparently, many people in education didn’t get that message. Much more research and outreach is necessary.

I had no idea educators were misinterpreting the Hart-Risley conclusions as a warning against ambitious methods such as those in the video. The Texas researchers have so far found this misunderstanding in only the five schools they have studied, but it is deep and consistent enough to suggest that the problem is widespread.

Risley died in 2007, Hart in 2012. University of Kansas researcher Dale Walker, their close associate, told me they would be “extremely disheartened that their research was being misinterpreted and misrepresented for what appears to be an excuse to not provide young students with the educational content they need to be successful.”

The Texas researchers critique how the Hart-Risley study was conducted as well as how it has been interpreted. But their most compelling finding is the need to help teachers adopt the student-led learning they found worked so well. The classroom dialogue and sharing in their video are essential for building vocabulary, but “when classrooms are too rigid, controlled and task driven, students cannot initiate and continue conversations with their peers,” they said.

It is hard to think of anything more disheartening than denying 6-year-olds a chance to be enriched by a stimulating program for fear their vocabularies aren’t good enough. I have never encountered educational research so distorted, to such ill effect."

[via: "Wow. They can literally torture the data to justify stifling life-sucking instruction no matter what it is."
https://twitter.com/cblack__/status/924444303719415808 ]
education  progressive  schools  texas  jaymathews  2017  polict  data  research  sfsh  montessori  control  dalewalker  bettyhart  toddrisley 
october 2017 by robertogreco
Wildflower Montessori
"ABOUT

Wildflower is an innovative, open-source approach to Montessori learning. Its aim is to be an experiment in a new learning environment, blurring the boundaries between home-schooling and institutional schooling, between scientists and teachers, between schools and the neighborhoods around them. At the core of Wildflower are 9 principles that define the approach.

A growing number of shopfront Montessori lab schools have been started using the Wildflower approach. These schools are listed here.

ORIGINS

Wildflower Montessori is the labor of love of our founder, Sep Kamvar. Unable to find a school which combined Montessori education, an inclusive family environment, and a small, responsive school size, Sep was inspired to create his own. A professor and scientist, Sep sought the support of experienced Montessori leaders to design the school and to identify ways in which the long-history of experimentation and scientific practice in Montessori could be linked to his research. The outcome is a collaborative team of Montessori experts, scientists and designers working together to create a child-centered learning experience.

After the first Wildflower school was created in January of 2014, there was intense interest in the school and the approach. This interest led us to open-source the model and help other family groups and teacher-leaders to create new Wildflower schools. Each teacher-leader at each Wildflower school serves on the board of at least one other Wildflower school, creating a community of schools that are linked by both a shared philosophy and a network of shared relationships. However, each school is autonomous and independently run, with no operational involvement from Sep or MIT. Sep currently serves as an advisor to the Wildflower Foundation, a foundation that was set up to support teacher-leaders at Wildflower schools."



[9 Principles]

1. An Authentic Montessori Environment: providing a peaceful, mixed-age, child-directed environment.

In identifying Montessori as our guide for Wildflower schools, we were drawn to the unique combination of a few factors. The Montessori Method emphasizes the potential of the child, if served well, to change the world. We valued its intrinsic respect for that potential, its promotion of peaceful communities, and its specific pedagogical structures. As a model which prioritizes the development of the individual child, we value the balance of Montessori's scientific approach to children's development and its assertion that childhood is a unique period of growth to be protected at its own pace.

2. A Shopfront, Neighborhood-nested Design:</strong> committed to remaining small, teacher-led, integrated in the community, and responsive to the needs of children

Inspired by the work of Christopher Alexander, Wildflower schools are shopfront schools that consist of a single classroom, with the faculty both teaching in the classroom and administrating the school. By preserving a small scale, teachers are able to make decisions in their day-to-day teaching that respond to the intellectual needs of the children, and are able to make decisions on a school-wide basis that respond to their own vision and the contextual needs of the families. The shopfront model also allows these communities to seamlessly integrate into neighborhoods. Children are visible in the community as they walk to and from school, to their local playground or garden, and to civic spaces that would otherwise be on-site in a larger institution.

3. A Lab School: serving as a research setting dedicated to advancing the Montessori Method in the context of the modern world.

Each of the Wildflower schools serves as a lab school to help us better understand and advance the Montessori Method, and to help us propose empirically-supported design for new materials. We seek to integrate modern technologies in observation and documentation without changing the concrete, didactic nature of the classroom itself. We further seek to refine the development of Montessori-consistent apparatuses that prepare children for the cognitive patterns of modern fluencies.

4. A Seamless Learning Community: blurring the boundaries of home-schooling and institutional schooling by placing high priority on parent education and giving parents and integral role in the classroom.

Wildflower schools look for ways in which children's home, school, and community environments can offer more seamless experiences, reflecting consistent perspectives on children's development and engaging them as authentic contributors in each setting. We believe that parents and families offer a knowledge about children which is equally important to the professional preparation of teachers, and seek opportunities for parent-knowledge to inform classroom practice and teacher-knowledge to inform the home.

5. An Artist-in-residence: bringing richness to the learning environment by giving the children opportunities to observe and interact with adults doing day-to-day creative work.

Because we believe that children learn best in environments that model lifelong learning and creativity, each Wildflower school engages an artist-in-residence. Each school offers their artist studio space in a place accessible to the children, where the children can see them doing the work of their lives. In exchange, artists offer their work back to the classroom weekly, teaching children about their craft and helping children to develop their own skills. Through the artists-in-residence program, we seek to increase the awareness of the inner lives of children available to artists of all kinds and to protect children's understanding that learning and creating can happen throughout their lives and beyond their formal school experiences.

6. A spirit of generosity: Reflecting a spirit of generosity to all stakeholders, to children, to parents, to those in need, and to the local community.

Often, schools are seen as a service relationship, with parents as customers, teachers as service-providers, and children as recipients of the service, to be filled with information and assessed. We see it differently -- we see that each constituency brings their special gift to one another. We see the teachers bring the gift of their love and skillfulness to the children and the parents, the parents bring the gift of nurturing and advancing the teachers in their practice and growth as teachers and leaders, and the children bring the gift of helping all of us see in a new way.&nbsp; Importantly, this spirit of gift extends beyond the walls of the school: each school seeks to bring their gifts to the broader community, by being involved in the local community, by making educational opportunities that are free to the public, and by reserving slots in our schools for those in need.

7. An Attention to Nature: emphasizing the nonseparation between nature and human nature through a unique living-classroom design and extensive time in nature.

It is both a contemporary imperative and an essential quality of our design that we think proactively about the impact of our work on the environment around us. By limiting the footprint of each school to a storefront, we necessarily limit the availability of private, outdoor space. Instead, we design the interior of the school to allow children to learn to care for their living environment and to surround them with abundant plant life. We site schools near to public play spaces and work with city partners to design sustainable urban gardens for which the school and neighborhood community can care. We carefully consider the materials used in the classroom and choose sustainable, nontoxic and earth-friendly options. Finally, we maintain nutritional standards that are earth-conscious and protect natural, healthful diets for children.

8. A Role in Shaping the Neighborhood: working with the community to improve local parks, streets, and establishments to create an urban environment that is healthier for children.

Wildflower schools should change the way their immediate communities function and, as a part of a larger network, change the nature of their entire cities. The integration of children and families into the daily fabric of the neighborhood, we believe, will influence the lives of other neighbors, the questions asked in other educational settings, and the priorities of policymakers. We implement, then, structures that make our work transparent to their communities and expand who we define as "stakeholders" to include more than just the families we serve. From opportunities for passers-by to stop and observe the classrooms to the presence of children in local eateries, from the public gardens we create and tend, to the regular, open information sessions to inform our community about our work, we judge our approach not only by its influence on enrolled children and their families but on the city beyond our rolls.

9. An Open-source Design and Decentralized Network: advancing an ecosystem of independent Wildflower schools that mutually support one another.

Finally, we recognize that issues of scale -- including increased centralized decision-making, larger administrative bureaucracies and operational overhead -- decrease the autonomy available to individual classrooms. At the same time, we value the practical benefits of a community of learners and professionals working together, and the economic efficiencies that can arise from shared resources. To balance those concerns, each school sees itself as a node in a network, maintaining autonomy in school-level decision-making while able to access the resources of the network when those resources are useful and compelling to the school. Reciprocally, each school also sees itself not only as responsible for its own operations, but as responsible for helping other schools in the network, and for helping other interested family groups to start their own Wildflower schools."
schools  education  small  microschools  montessori  via:aimee  opensource  homeschool  christopheralexander  labschools  networks  community  art  generosity  urban  cities  lcproject  sfsh  openstudioproject  decentralization  sepkamvar 
march 2017 by robertogreco
Tyler Reinhard on Twitter: "how come no one is saying that school itself is a bad idea?"
"how come no one is saying that school itself is a bad idea?

learning — obviously — is something that occurs throughout life and intersects with creative and communal activity and cannot be confined.

there is no reason schools should resemble factories or prisons (as they do now) or startups. schools must instead be community centers.

most importantly, schools cannot be standardized to move with the labor markets. it’s impossible and foolish and destroys entire generations

when maria montessori drafted a model for a fusion of the scientific method and pedagogy she was optimizing for agrarian industrialism

we’ve barely improved on her ideas, and have yet to embrace her approach: build a community that extended thought beyond the industrial era.

we’ve moved beyond the industrial era, and our communities have too. we need communities that extend thought beyond the digital age

learning (like labor) will no longer be constrained by geography. accordingly, schools are a liability for both learners and teachers.

not to say we shouldn’t build social spaces for learning — we should! but those spaces need to be products of communities, not economies.

i dropped out of high school. best decision i ever made. i’ve spoken at length about how important teachers were both in and out of class.

instead of worrying about the state education leadership, we should be worried about whether our kids will even have communities to learn in

i outlined my opposition to schools over a year ago and @rogre collected my thoughts here: https://storify.com/rogre/the-lessons-between-the-lessons [Also collected here: https://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/b:802b607fc713 ]"
tylerreinhard  education  schools  unschooling  community  communitycenters  learning  howwelearn  geography  marimontessori  montessori  pedagogy  standardization  labor  industrialism 
february 2017 by robertogreco
Primary - Rediscover Parenting
"Rediscover Parenting
An app for parents, with tools to encourage positivity, engagement, and learning.

Receive Tips & Activities
Get a little dose of inspiration and guidance directly to your iPhone or Apple Watch. Every Saturday morning, receive a more extensive activity to do with your family over the weekend!

Enjoy Helpful Articles
Read exclusive articles from Primary Contributors, including Montessorians, parents, educators, and more.

Chat with Fellow Parents
Engage with like-minded parents in a positive and helpful way by sharing tips, ideas, and questions!"
parenting  bobbygeorge  applications  ios  montessori  education  positivity  engagement  listening  montessorium  learning 
july 2016 by robertogreco
The Minecraft Generation - The New York Times
"Seth Frey, a postdoctoral fellow in computational social science at Dartmouth College, has studied the behavior of thousands of youths on Minecraft servers, and he argues that their interactions are, essentially, teaching civic literacy. “You’ve got these kids, and they’re creating these worlds, and they think they’re just playing a game, but they have to solve some of the hardest problems facing humanity,” Frey says. “They have to solve the tragedy of the commons.” What’s more, they’re often anonymous teenagers who, studies suggest, are almost 90 percent male (online play attracts far fewer girls and women than single-­player mode). That makes them “what I like to think of as possibly the worst human beings around,” Frey adds, only half-­jokingly. “So this shouldn’t work. And the fact that this works is astonishing.”

Frey is an admirer of Elinor Ostrom, the Nobel Prize-­winning political economist who analyzed the often-­unexpected ways that everyday people govern themselves and manage resources. He sees a reflection of her work in Minecraft: Running a server becomes a crash course in how to compromise, balance one another’s demands and resolve conflict.

Three years ago, the public library in Darien, Conn., decided to host its own Minecraft server. To play, kids must acquire a library card. More than 900 kids have signed up, according to John Blyberg, the library’s assistant director for innovation and user experience. “The kids are really a community,” he told me. To prevent conflict, the library installed plug-ins that give players a chunk of land in the game that only they can access, unless they explicitly allow someone else to do so. Even so, conflict arises. “I’ll get a call saying, ‘This is Dasher80, and someone has come in and destroyed my house,’ ” Blyberg says. Sometimes library administrators will step in to adjudicate the dispute. But this is increasingly rare, Blyberg says. “Generally, the self-­governing takes over. I’ll log in, and there’ll be 10 or 15 messages, and it’ll start with, ‘So-and-so stole this,’ and each message is more of this,” he says. “And at the end, it’ll be: ‘It’s O.K., we worked it out! Disregard this message!’ ”

Several parents and academics I interviewed think Minecraft servers offer children a crucial “third place” to mature, where they can gather together outside the scrutiny and authority at home and school. Kids have been using social networks like Instagram or Snapchat as a digital third place for some time, but Minecraft imposes different social demands, because kids have to figure out how to respect one another’s virtual space and how to collaborate on real projects.

“We’re increasingly constraining youth’s ability to move through the world around them,” says Barry Joseph, the associate director for digital learning at the American Museum of Natural History. Joseph is in his 40s. When he was young, he and his friends roamed the neighborhood unattended, where they learned to manage themselves socially. Today’s fearful parents often restrict their children’s wanderings, Joseph notes (himself included, he adds). Minecraft serves as a new free-­ranging realm.

Joseph’s son, Akiva, is 9, and before and after school he and his school friend Eliana will meet on a Minecraft server to talk and play. His son, Joseph says, is “at home but still getting to be with a friend using technology, going to a place where they get to use pickaxes and they get to use shovels and they get to do that kind of building. I wonder how much Minecraft is meeting that need — that need that all children have.” In some respects, Minecraft can be as much social network as game.

Just as Minecraft propels kids to master Photoshop or video-­editing, server life often requires kids to acquire complex technical skills. One 13-year-old girl I interviewed, Lea, was a regular on a server called Total Freedom but became annoyed that its administrators weren’t clamping down on griefing. So she asked if she could become an administrator, and the owners said yes.

For a few months, Lea worked as a kind of cop on that beat. A software tool called “command spy” let her observe records of what players had done in the game; she teleported miscreants to a sort of virtual “time out” zone. She was eventually promoted to the next rank — “telnet admin,” which allowed her to log directly into the server via telnet, a command-­line tool often used by professionals to manage servers. Being deeply involved in the social world of Minecraft turned Lea into something rather like a professional systems administrator. “I’m supposed to take charge of anybody who’s breaking the rules,” she told me at the time.

Not everyone has found the online world of Minecraft so hospitable. One afternoon while visiting the offices of Mouse, a nonprofit organization in Manhattan that runs high-tech programs for kids, I spoke with Tori. She’s a quiet, dry-­witted 17-year-old who has been playing Minecraft for two years, mostly in single-­player mode; a recent castle-­building competition with her younger sister prompted some bickering after Tori won. But when she decided to try an online server one day, other players — after discovering she was a girl — spelled out “BITCH” in blocks.

She hasn’t gone back. A group of friends sitting with her in the Mouse offices, all boys, shook their heads in sympathy; they’ve seen this behavior “everywhere,” one said. I have been unable to find solid statistics on how frequently harassment happens in Minecraft. In the broader world of online games, though, there is more evidence: An academic study of online players of Halo, a shoot-’em-up game, found that women were harassed twice as often as men, and in an unscientific poll of 874 self-­described online gamers, 63 percent of women reported “sex-­based taunting, harassment or threats.” Parents are sometimes more fretful than the players; a few told me they didn’t let their daughters play online. Not all girls experience harassment in Minecraft, of course — Lea, for one, told me it has never happened to her — and it is easy to play online without disclosing your gender, age or name. In-game avatars can even be animals.

How long will Minecraft’s popularity endure? It depends very much on Microsoft’s stewardship of the game. Company executives have thus far kept a reasonably light hand on the game; they have left major decisions about the game’s development to Mojang and let the team remain in Sweden. But you can imagine how the game’s rich grass-roots culture might fray. Microsoft could, for example, try to broaden the game’s appeal by making it more user-­friendly — which might attenuate its rich tradition of information-­sharing among fans, who enjoy the opacity and mystery. Or a future update could tilt the game in a direction kids don’t like. (The introduction of a new style of combat this spring led to lively debate on forums — some enjoyed the new layer of strategy; others thought it made Minecraft too much like a typical hack-and-slash game.) Or an altogether new game could emerge, out-­Minecrafting Minecraft.

But for now, its grip is strong. And some are trying to strengthen it further by making it more accessible to lower-­income children. Mimi Ito has found that the kids who acquire real-world skills from the game — learning logic, administering servers, making YouTube channels — tend to be upper middle class. Their parents and after-­school programs help them shift from playing with virtual blocks to, say, writing code. So educators have begun trying to do something similar, bringing Minecraft into the classroom to create lessons on everything from math to history. Many libraries are installing Minecraft on their computers."
2016  clivethompson  education  videogames  games  minecraft  digitalculture  gaming  mimiito  robinsloan  coding  computationalthinking  stem  programming  commandline  ianbogost  walterbenjamin  children  learning  resilience  colinfanning  toys  lego  wood  friedrichfroebel  johnlocke  rebeccamir  mariamontessori  montessori  carltheodorsorensen  guilds  mentoring  mentorship  sloyd  denmark  construction  building  woodcrafting  woodcraft  adventureplaygrounds  material  logic  basic  mojang  microsoft  markuspersson  notch  modding  photoshop  texturepacks  elinorostrom  collaboration  sethfrey  civics  youtube  networkedlearning  digitalliteracy  hacking  computers  screentime  creativity  howwelearn  computing  froebel 
april 2016 by robertogreco
Start-Up School Designs Outside the Traditional Mold — and Finds Many Benefits - Independent Ideas Blog
"School design should both challenge and reify a school’s culture and mission. Choosing a design can be a task that overwhelms, and as the moments of decision making draw ever closer, it is natural for the school team to simply settle on the most expedient option.

We justify this expedient thinking by citing a number of factors, including community buy-in, the budget, the politics of teacher territory, students and their relationship to the learning environment, and, perhaps most important, time. But if we make design decisions with expediency, we lose a key opportunity and could fundamentally alter or weaken the school’s mission and culture.

At Beacon Academy (Illinois), we instead decided to take an intentional design approach — which we credit with strengthening our mission and culture.

Thinking Beyond the Traditional Model of School

We faced many of the issues above as we planned Beacon Academy, a start-up Montessori-based 9-12 high school that opened in Evanston, Illinois, in fall 2014. Today, we serve 125 day students with a mission grounded in the Montessori principles of experiential learning, entrepreneurial thinking, and in-depth interdisciplinary studies.

We resolved to use these principles to reimagine school design. Perhaps the most important decision we made before we began was to stop thinking like a school. While this may sound counterintuitive, intentionally moving away from the model of “school” forced us to view our students’ learning environment with new eyes.

Gone were the inevitable stories about things that worked (or didn’t work) for us when we were in school or that latest top 10 list of educational trends from a Buzzfeed article. Instead, we immersed ourselves in conversations about the impact that design could have on our students’ learning. Our savvy board of trustees hired a design team whose vision transcended the traditional thinking and norms about the way schools should look and feel. A few of our board members, the director of admissions, and the head of school worked in close partnership with the team.

Focusing on Place-Based Pedagogy

From the beginning, we committed to a pedagogy that emphasized place. This focus provided us with the template to consider the relationship between our school’s design and our mission and values. The design of our physical space derived from this relationship. For our Montessori-based school, this meant all spaces would prioritize beauty, openness, and fluidity.

We considered place in two concrete ways:

1. We would leverage the surrounding community’s assets. For example, we decided local arts organizations would deliver the arts curriculum. We would use the local YMCA for indoor athletic activities and P.E. classes.
2. We set out to create a radically open learning environment with few walls and lots of open spaces, mirroring our interdisciplinary philosophy.

Ensuring That Design Is Practical and Fits the School’s Culture

We needed to accept some limitations in design. As the school representatives, we ensured the design team heard our voices on items we didn’t think would work practically or wouldn’t fit into the culture we sought to build. When the team proposed having no assigned offices in the building for the sake of co-working and collaboration, we pushed back with direct feedback because certain school roles would require private spaces.

Today, our space consists of an open floor plan with no true hallways — largely a result of our design team’s concepts. (Check out a virtual walkthrough of Beacon Academy’s space.)

Implementing a Design Thinking Process

What we found to be most important in the various design phases was our collective willingness to embrace the design thinking process. For the process to yield the greatest results, we needed to have faith in its transformative power. Mind you, this was not blind faith. Indeed, we had conducted research and studied key data about the efficacy of design thinking. But moving from the theoretical to the actual, and knowing that we would be pushing the familiar boundaries, was, at times, a terrifying prospect. Starting a school from scratch puts everyone in an uncomfortable position because everything is untested.

Ultimately, we trusted in a few key ideas as we designed our school. We drew on brain science to introduce a late start time (academic classes never start before 9 a.m.) and long class periods (usually 80 minutes). In addition, we held to the Montessori philosophy and to our belief that adolescence is a time of transformation to realize potential, not a time of turmoil to control.
Sharing Positive Outcomes of Intentional Design and Design Thinking

Since Beacon Academy opened a year and a half ago, the school has been a successful endeavor. We implement design thinking daily to authentically relate to students. They have a primary role in problem solving, whether it’s coming up with better ways to keep the school clean, disseminate important class assignments, or organize spaces for optimal learning.

This fall, we will move into a brand-new space, where we’ve applied the same Montessori principles and design thinking process. We offered a Beacon 2.0 class during our spring interim term to fully engage students in the school design, and we now can use real data to make the next space even more conducive for learning and community building.

We see additional tangible results from our intentional design. Applications to Beacon Academy have increased by 20 percent for each of the last two years. The attrition rate is 2 percent while the annual fund has had 100 percent parent participation in the same time period. Our commitment to mission-centered design has been a major factor in the school’s strong beginning.

Designing in a School Setting: Five Principles to Follow

While learning about one school’s journey is always interesting, it is perhaps more helpful to consider how best to apply a process to your own environment. To close, I recommend following these principles.

1. Invest real time and dollars in the process.

One of the biggest pitfalls in under-budgeting is that you only scratch the surface of what is possible in your school. For example, if you plan an event to engage the community in announcing your ideas, plan for it to be easy to attend and fun to participate in so you can hear from a diversity of voices. Also, be clear about the items you value (e.g., furniture, finishes, technology, natural light, etc.), and spend your money on them. Avoid trying to cover everything in a mediocre way, and focus on what your school values most.

2. Be open to being wrong.

Unless you can see into the future, you are going to make some incorrect assumptions about what your community values, what you think is going to work, and, most important, what students want. These are not failures unless you are unwilling to adjust and evolve with the process. Identify the non-negotiables of mission and culture at the beginning, but let the process take its course.

3. Engage with people outside the world of education.

In the same way that we want our students to think in an interdisciplinary fashion, we must break out of the echo chamber that can exist in the independent school community. Remember, we are independent schools. So think independently. Check out how other industries are designing their workspaces. Seek out entrepreneurs who work with a sense of urgency and outside the confines of the educational calendar and culture. No matter your location, you’ll find lots of smart and interesting people in your community. Engage them.

4. Leverage your best assets: the students.

Talk to your students about what they want, but provide a structure to these conversations. Students are a wellspring of ideas, but they aren’t always realistic (e.g., let’s put in a fire pole or an escalator). When working with students, set clear parameters and have a purpose to the conversation so you can uncover their most effective and creative ideas.

5. Have a sense of humor.

You are not designing a spaceship to escape from a nuclear apocalypse. You are creating a space for learning and community building. Be playful. Sometimes exploring seemingly crazy ideas can lead to really amazing solutions. Remember, you are designing a home away from home for an intergenerational, transient group of individuals. Things are going to evolve as soon as the space is complete.

So have some fun with the process. Ultimately, anything you do in this spirit will have a powerful impact on your school."
place-baced  place  pedagogy  lcproject  openstudioproject  schools  beaconacademy  montessori  jeffbell  schooldesign  designthinking  interdisciplinary  collaboration  howweteach  howwelearn  teaching  learning  sfsh 
april 2016 by robertogreco
What Does (and Doesn’t) Progressive Education Plus Technology Look Like? Thoughts on AltSchool
"What Does (and Doesn’t) Progressive Education Plus Technology Look Like? Thoughts on AltSchool
By Audrey Watters

What does it look like when a Silicon Valley engineer decides to reinvent primary school education? Former Google exec Max Ventilla has just raised $33 million to build AltSchool, which he says will be an updated version of Montessori, but a version that relies more heavily on technology R&D. The funding — and the philosophy — prompted EML editor Audrey Watters to ask what does progressive education plus Silicon Valley engineering look like? Does it look like progressive education at all?

In his keynote at the 2012 OpenEd conference, Gardner Campbell, an Associate Professor of English at Virginia Tech, talked about the “Ecologies of Yearning.” (Seriously: watch the video. [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIzA4ItynYw ]) Campbell offered a powerful and poetic vision about the future of open learning, but noted too that there are competing visions for that future, particularly from the business and technology sectors. There are competing definitions of “open” as well, and pointing to the way in which “open” is used (and arguably misused) by education technology companies, Campbell’s keynote had a refrain, borrowed from “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”: “That is not it at all. That is not what I meant, at all.”

“That is not it at all.” I’ve thought of that line again recently when reading about a new school that recently opened in San Francisco. AltSchool, according to headlines in the technology press, seeks to “reinvent” [http://techcrunch.com/2014/05/01/meet-altschool-the-startup-that-is-going-to-reinvent-primary-education/ ] and “reimagine“ [http://techcrunch.com/2014/03/18/former-googlers-altschool-raises-33m-from-founders-fund-and-a16z-to-reimagine-primary-education/ ] primary education. “Silicon Valley startup model meets progressive education,” KQED Mindshift describes the startup. [http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2014/04/the-one-room-schoolhouse-goes-high-tech/ ]

Progressive education plus progressive technology — that is, technology in the service of inquiry, computing in the hands of the learner, the Web and the world readily available to the student, and the reformulation of school that could come as a result — is something we want to explore here at Educating Modern Learners. But looking at AltSchool, all I hear is T.S. Eliot: ”That is not it at all. That is not what I meant, at all.”

Silicon Valley Startup Model Meets Progressive Education

AltSchool [https://www.altschool.com/ ] was founded in 2013 by Max Ventilla, a former Google executive (his Q&A company Aardvark was acquired by Google in 2010, but he’d worked at the tech giant previously too). When he departed Google last year, Techcrunch speculated [http://techcrunch.com/2013/04/03/max-ventilla-leaves-google/ ] that his next project would be education-related, based on a tweet from his wife — a photograph of a pile of education-related books. Embracing the Silicon Valley mantra of “fail fast and pivot,” Ventilla has taken that reading list and jumped headfirst into education, hiring engineers and teachers (as well as Richard Ludlow, the founder of the education video site Academic Earth) and starting a new, for-profit school. (The startup has started the process of becoming a “B corp,” [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benefit_corporation ] meaning that profit isn’t its only goal).

It hasn’t officially opened its doors yet, but AltSchool is running a pilot program now with 20 students from age 5 to 12. Tuition currently runs $19,100 per year, but might be lower as the school plans to expand into multiple locations in the fall.

The students at AltSchool are not separated by grade; they’re in one large room that has various activity centers and space for solitary and group work. Mindshift writer Katrina Schwartz, who visited the school, writes [http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2014/04/the-one-room-schoolhouse-goes-high-tech/ ] that “There are times in the day when students are working on independent projects and skills tailored to their skill level, interests, and needs. ‘We expose them to a lot of different things and then sit back and observe, listen to what they say, watch what really excites them, and then build on that and ask questions that go deeper,’ [teacher Carolyn] Wilson said.”

“Personalization” and Playlists

There are elements of AltSchool that draw on progressive education, to be sure, and the startup says that it’s focused on helping students “drive their own education through their real-world motivations and interests.”

But the startup draws on a mishmash of educational theories and technologies, many of which undercut the claims of AltSchool being “progressive.” Although it touts the “personalization” of the program, it’s worth questioning here (as is often the case when that buzzword is used in education circles) what that actually means.

Ventilla describes [http://blog.altschool.com/bespoke-education ] the school’s “Personalized Learning Plan” as something “developed collaboratively with insights from teachers, family, and students. It prioritizes a set of learning objectives and milestones that are informed by a standards-based curriculum. It also includes goals for academic, social, and emotional development. The PLP maps from AltSchool’s global notion of what children should learn and how students generally learn best, as represented by their Learner Profile.”

And again, from the Mindshift description of the school:
Another borrowed idea applied to AltSchool is the School of One model in New York. Students at AltSchool work from an individual playlist the teacher puts together that’s keyed to his or her interests. The teacher can keep track of student progress on a dashboard, ensure the tasks have been completed, and adjust activities depending on how students are progressing. For example, recently, AltSchool teacher Carolyn Wilson assigned a video about California’s delta to one student, paired with questions about how water moves through the system.
“He moved it to the ‘done’ column, but it wasn’t done, so I told him he was turning me into a screaming monster,” Wilson said. When she checked his work and saw he hadn’t finished, Wilson tagged that assignment with a screaming monster icon and a note to the student telling him to go back and answer the questions and complete a reflection.

As a video filmed during a visit to the school by Techcrunch’s Leena Rao [http://techcrunch.com/2014/05/01/meet-altschool-the-startup-that-is-going-to-reinvent-primary-education/ ] also highlights, the talk about “personalization” is translated into a “choice” about which assignments to do next, a “choice” of whether to watch a video or complete a digital worksheet.

Although students have access to tablets, their usage of technology hardly seems transformational. The tools are used to deliver content and quizzes and to track students. Indeed, that seems to be the major point of using technology: for data collection and analysis to be used by adults (parents, teachers, school engineers). The tracking doesn’t just happen through the tablets either; the schoolroom is equipped with video cameras [http://techcrunch.com/2014/03/18/former-googlers-altschool-raises-33m-from-founders-fund-and-a16z-to-reimagine-primary-education/ ]
so that teachers can just press a button to document a moment. Ventilla says that teachers, parents and students who have been able to actually watch a breakthrough moment or a moment of breakdown have been able to help their children learn better. AltSchool has built audio hardware to better record in noisy settings, and video is uploaded to an online CMS that both parents and teachers can access.

Can we reconcile education as surveillance and education as a practice of freedom? I’m not so sure.

A New Model? An Old Model?

AltSchool recently raised [http://techcrunch.com/2014/03/18/former-googlers-altschool-raises-33m-from-founders-fund-and-a16z-to-reimagine-primary-education/ ] $33 million from Founders Fund, Andreessen Horowitz, First Round Capital, Harrison Metal, John Doerr, Jonathan Sackler, Learn Capital, and Omidyar Network. (It had previously raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding. [http://www.crunchbase.com/organization/altschool ]) As San Francisco Chronicle writer Jill Tucker remarked [http://www.sfgate.com/education/article/AltSchool-gets-33-million-in-venture-capital-5327204.php ] about the $33 million, “In the public school world, that much money would be enough to support a small school district for a year or pay the annual salaries of more than 400 experienced teachers. Ventilla plans to mostly spend it on engineers. The AltSchool computer whizzes will design software and applications that make payroll, hiring, admissions, facilities services, purchasing and other services — typically done by a school district’s central office staff — electronically seamless, Ventilla said.”

“We’re not trying to make existing schools work better. We are trying to actually advance a new model of a school.” – Max Ventilla
“We’re not trying to make existing schools work better,” Ventilla has said in several interviews. [http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2014/04/the-one-room-schoolhouse-goes-high-tech/ ] “We are trying to actually advance a new model of a school.”

AltSchool raises so many questions about what progressive education plus technology should or could look like; it certainly shows what I’d argue is the sort of superficial approach to “fixing education” that’s all too common from Silicon Valley technologists. Read a book or two; then start an education company. How hard can it be?

One of the things that I find particularly fascinating (and frightening) about this approach is how little it knows about the history of … [more]
audreywatters  2014  progressive  education  progressiveeducation  altschool  johndewey  gardnercampbell  freedom  surveillance  coercion  control  maxventilla  pedagogy  technology  google  montessori  learning  leadership  californianideology  comments  jalfredprufrock  tseliot 
may 2014 by robertogreco
La Educación Prohibida | Un proyecto audiovisual para transformar la educación…
"La Educación Prohibida es una película documental que se propone cuestionar las lógicas de la escolarización moderna y la forma de entender la educación, visibilizando experiencias educativas diferentes, no convencionales que plantean la necesidad de un nuevo paradigma educativo.

La Educación Prohibida es un proyecto realizado por jóvenes que partieron desde la visión del quienes aprenden y se embarcaron en una investigación que cubre 8 países realizando entrevistas a más de 90 educadores de propuestas educativas alternativas. La película fue financiada colectivamente gracias a cientos de coproductores y tiene licencias libres que permiten y alientan su copia y reproducción.

La Educación Prohibida se propone alimentar y disparar un debate reflexión social acerca de las bases que sostienen la escuela, promoviendo el desarrollo de una educación integral centrada en el amor, el respeto, la libertad y el aprendizaje."

[Direct link to video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1Y9OqSJKCc ]
tolstoy  democratic  democraticschools  freeschools  escuelaactiva  sudburyschools  sudbury  2012  asneill  summerhill  españa  perú  español  prussia  schooliness  montessori  waldorf  rudolfsteiner  johntaylorgatto  williamkilpatrick  rosaagazzi  agazzisisters  johannheinrichpestalozzi  olvidedecroly  célestinfreinet  olgacossettini  emmipikler  reggioemilia  mariamontessori  ivanillich  paulofreire  schooling  history  schools  parenting  learning  education  progressive  deschooling  unschooling  colombia  ecuador  uruguay  argentina  chile  laeducaciónprohibida  spain 
august 2012 by robertogreco
This Ain’t Montessori’: (Mis-)Appropriating Pre-K Education at DML 2012
"Taking Antero’s lead, I’d like to use this space to problematize not just JSB’s presentation of the role of Montessori in universally “cultivating the entrepreneurial learner,” but also to specifically call attention to the absence of early childhood educators and scholars in the DML space, and why it should matter to all of us.

JSB argued that through the lens of Montessori’s philosophy, today’s digital technologies hold unparalleled possibilities as “curiosity amplifiers.” Montessori teaching values tacit learning, or the development of key practices, habits, and “know-how” that can only be learned through personal experimentation. However true, Montessori is NOT the only model of early childhood education that values embodied play and learning. While the guys at Google might have grown up and thrived going to schools inspired by the pre-WWII teachings of Maria Montessori, how about inviting to the metaphorical sandbox another Italian pioneer of early childhood education…"

[via: http://www.theamericancrawl.com/?p=1004 ]
curiosity  idealization  mariamontessori  dml2012  learning  education  earlychildhood  ece  reggioemilia  montessori  2012  merylalper  anterogarcia 
july 2012 by robertogreco
The American Crawl : Lunchtime Intellectuals and Backseat Driving in Education
"All too often, we tend to try to simplify the really (really) complex challenges that teachers are in. At the DML conference last week, I took issue with John Seely Brown’s keynote talk that tended to idealize the Montessori school system. Meryl Alper helps complicate this as well as point to an early-education blind spot in the DML community. This stuff is much more complicated than can be covered in an 18 minute ohhs-and-ahhs-filled video. This stuff is about our future and it’s about the youth in our schools and it–thus–deserves for us to try untangling it as a complicated mess.

It’s not that TED-Ed is a bad idea. I’m more concerned with the continued trend of non-educators being able to get high profile coverage for creating faux quick-fix solutions (or worse: another community to work on solutions) for deep-rooted inequity that’s been decades in the works."
2012  complexity  inequity  silverbullets  quick-fixes  non-educators  idealization  messiness  montessori  johnseelybrown  learning  education  ted  anterogarcia 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Sir Ken Robinson: Alternative Education is Good Education | MindShift
"In 2006, Sir Ken Robinson presented a TED talk about the importance of nurturing creativity in education. That video has been viewed more than eight million times.

Just a few weeks ago, Robinson presented a video TEDx talk in London, addressing how population growth and technology are fueling huge changes in education, and the imperative to make all schools progressive. He argues that the principles of what’s considered “alternative” education are those that should be applied to mainstream education.

It’s hard to argue with these ideas."
johndewey  piaget  montessori  deschooling  unschooling  schools  technology  change  learning  schooling  progressive  alternativeeducation  lcproject  tcsnmy  toshare  education  2011  2012  kenrobinson  jeanpiaget 
january 2012 by robertogreco
The Montessori Mafia - Ideas Market - WSJ
"Montessori educational approach might be surest route to joining creative elite…overrepresented by school’s alumni…Google’s founders Page & Brin, Amazon’s Bezos, videogame pioneer Will Wright, & Wikipedia founder Wales, not to mention Julia Child & Sean Combs…

Mr. Page said, “& I think it was part of that training of not following rules & orders, & being self-motivated, questioning what’s going on in the world, doing things a little bit differently.”…

Will Wright…heaps similar praise. “Montessori taught me the joy of discovery. It’s all about learning on your terms, rather than a teacher explaining stuff to youi…”

We can change the way we’ve been trained to think…begins in small, achievable ways, w/ increased experimentation & inquisitiveness. Those who work w/ Bezos, for example, find his ability to ask “why not?” or “what if?” as much as “why?” to be one of his most advantageous qualities. Questions are the new answers."
education  montessori  toshare  unschooling  deschooling  learning  tcsnmy  willwright  jeffbezos  sergeybrin  larrypage  jimmywales  juliachild  seancombs  mariamontessori  creativity  inquisitiveness  inquiry  problemsolving  mindset  rules  rulebreaking  why  whynot  questions  questioning  cv  teaching  children  montessorimafia  invention  entrepreneurship  2011  self-motivation  self-directedlearning  testing  standardizedtesting  standardization  amazon  google  wikipedia 
july 2011 by robertogreco
How Google Dominates Us by James Gleick | The New York Review of Books
Just ne paragraph from an interesting read, especially for those who don't know much about Google, how it works, and its history:

"The Google founders, Larry and Sergey, did everything their own way. Even in the unbuttoned culture of Silicon Valley they stood out from the start as originals, “Montessori kids” (per Levy), unconcerned with standards and proprieties, favoring big red gym balls over office chairs, deprecating organization charts and formal titles, showing up for business meetings in roller-blade gear. It is clear from all these books that they believed their own hype; they believed with moral fervor in the primacy and power of information. (Sergey and Larry did not invent the company’s famous motto—”Don’t be evil”—but they embraced it, and now they may as well own it.)"
technology  internet  books  psychology  google  evil  education  montessori  standards  proprieties  organizationcharts  hierarchy  business  unschooling  deschooling  2011  jamesgleick 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Matching learning to the real world: Forget the box! | Education Futures
"I met up with Ali Hos­saini in Am­s­ter­dam and No­ord­wijk ear­lier this month. In this short in­ter­view we made, Ali states that “to think out of the box, you have to start out of the box, and we’re not let­ting peo­ple leave it right now in the cur­rent ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions.” He ad­vo­cates for ap­proaches to learn­ing that are col­lab­o­ra­tive and re­flec­tive of real world prob­lem solv­ing that al­low peo­ple to be­come ex­perts on the fly (and not just in busi­ness, but also in art, acad­e­mia, etc.). The de­vel­op­ment of cre­ative think­ing, he ar­gues, is one thing that West­ern ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions could de­velop as their com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage."
alihossaini  johnmoravec  thinking  criticalthinking  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  learninglab  problemsolving  montessori  tcsnmy  projectbasedlearning  studioclassroom  2011  self-management  self-discipline  learning  unschooling  deschooling  maturity  toshare  openstudioproject  lcproject  art  pbl 
july 2011 by robertogreco
The Virtues Of Play | Wired Science | Wired.com
"Nietzsche said it best: “The struggle of maturity is to recover the seriousness of the child at play.” While parents might be tempted to enroll their kids in preschools that seem the most “academic,” that’s probably a mistake. There is nothing frivolous about play."
education  play  children  psychology  games  reggioemilia  montessori  kindergarten  preschool  unschooling  deschooling  jonahlehrer  nietzsche  learning  academics  reading  math  tcsnmy  schools  damagedbyschools  cognition  parenting 
march 2011 by robertogreco
Thoughts on Google’s 20% time « Scott Berkun
Google’s 20% time is more of an attitude and culture than a rule…It’s worth noting that people at Google work very hard on their 80% time. It’s not as if every Friday is 20% day and work shuts down on all existing projects so people can do their 20% things…The 20% time concept isn’t new. 3M developed a 15% time rule in the 1950s with the same exact intentions and basic philosophy. Masking tape and Post-it notes are two notable products that were concieved and developed by individual engineers working without formal budgets, plans or management support…the Google founders mention at their talk at TED that Montessori school philosophy influenced their ideas on 20% time…Google’s culture has a resistance, or even distrust, of hierarchy – they often use voting, peer review, and debate to make decisions or decide which new projects and features to add."
google  innovation  management  productivity  culture  google20%  tcsnmy  openstudio  lcproject  freedom  autonomy  authority  montessori  3m  work  philosophy  creativity  unschooling  unstructuredtime  via:rushtheiceberg 
january 2011 by robertogreco
The Baan Dek Montessori - Welcome to Montessori in Sioux Falls, South Dakota
"The Baan Dek Montessori was established by Bobby and June George and is located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The school aims to offer an authentic Montessori education based on the principles of Maria Montessori. The Baan Dek Montessori is a fully recognized Associated Montessori International school in the State of South Dakota. We are also accredited by the state of South Dakota to teach Kindergarten.The Baan Dek History.

The original Casa dei Bambini, or Children's House, opened January 6, 1907. In keeping to tradition, The Baan Dek Montessori is named after this school. 'Baan Dek' is Thai for 'Children's House'. The Baan Dek Montessori opened September 5, 2007, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and soon there after become the first accredited Association Montessori International in the history of the state."
southdakota  siouxfalls  montessori  startups  schools  education  learning  tcsnmy  lcproject 
december 2010 by robertogreco
Montessori Activities for iPad and iPhone - Montessorium
"With Montessorium, the tested philosophy of Montessori meets the challenges of the contemporary world in developmentally appropriate learning activities and timeless interactions, which reinforce the very ways in which we learn.

A new type of classroom, a continuum of proven and tested Montessori principles and materials, in the hands of children. Whose hands do you want your future in?

Tap into Montessorium."
ipad  education  applications  ios  iphone  children  montessori  learning  teaching  edtech 
december 2010 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: Designed to Fail - Education in America: Part Two
"It was one thing for Henry Barnard to design an education system which would divide American children up in the most effective way for capitalist industrialism. It was one thing to import a system from authoritarian Prussia designed to foster compliant nationalism and train imperial soldiers [1]. But we would not be living with that system today if not for a system of religious and national mythology embracing that system and making it seem the inevitable result of a progressive, God-inspired nation."

"The power of this civil religion is that, in education as in economics, it converts arguments for change from political disagreement into heresy."

"for it is Cubberley's "victory" over Montessori and Dewey which permanized the system, which created the canonical text under which almost all of our school's operate."
irasocol  education  us  history  publicschools  schools  schooling  calvinism  ellwoodcubberley  harlondalton  johntaylorgatto  americanmyths  montessori  johndewey  danielboone  policy  classideas  deschooling  unschooling  religion  assimilation  meltingpot  michellerhee  henrybarnard  colonialism  lcproject 
september 2010 by robertogreco
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."
education  play  reform  montessori  parenting  learning  pedagogy  curriculum  literacy  tcsnmy  deschooling  unschooling 
february 2010 by robertogreco
The Berkeley School | A preschool through 8th grade independent school
"Welcome to The Berkely School: Progressive, demanding & engaging education at the edge of change. A preschool through 8th grade independent school located near the UC Berkeley campus, we're here to prepare your child for the problem-solving demands of the future." [Great way to put it: "Progressive, demanding & engaging education at the edge of change."]

[via: http://www.alfiekohn.org/phpnews_1-3-0/news.php?action=mainnews&id=5 ]
theberkeleyschool  schools  progressive  montessori  tcsnmy  berkeley  tbs 
january 2010 by robertogreco
The Garden School» A Montessori Toddler Community in Portland, Oregon
"The Garden School opened in September 2008 in Northeast Portland, Oregon. Nestled inside a home, the school provides a warm, welcoming setting for children. Our intention is to create a natural and peaceful environment that allows the toddler to follow his inherent wisdom with gentle guidance. ... Beautiful outdoor areas - including a space for gardening and plenty of room for exploration - encourage children to interact with nature. In addition, the children participate in the preparation of an organic, communal meal each day."
schools  gardens  urbangardening  urbanfarming  montessori  portland  oregon  preschool  daycare  tcsnmy  csl 
september 2009 by robertogreco
In Full Flow | Blending work and life – stories of a wired tribe [Education videos]
"During the Reboot conference I collected some stories on education, and since the way we’re taught in school has so much influence on our lives after school, aka work-life, I thought I’d share these stories right here as a side topic of In Full Flow." [from the intro: http://infullflow.net/2009/07/introducing-the-real-stories-on-education/ ] See Euan Semple and Andy Boyd to start.
education  unschooling  deschooling  schooling  schools  learning  opinion  comments  euansemple  stoweboyd  andyboyd  elminewijnia  work  life  homeschool  alternative  montessori  leebryant  flemmingfunch  jonathanmarks  peterrukavina  henrietteweber  lcproject  tcsnmy  interviews 
august 2009 by robertogreco
How Montessori Schools Evaluate Students - Classroom 2.0
"I wrote this post because I think it's important for people to know that ditching traditional student evaluation isn't just idealist dreaming - it already exists and is very successful in developing effective learners and mature people."
montessori  grading  alternative  evaluation  assessment  tcsnmy  learning  schools 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Let The Students Teach
"Russell Ackoff, who I took a class from at Wharton 20+ years ago, says in his book, Turning Learning RIght Side Up, that he has learned more from teaching than anything else. Of course that makes sense. I learn way more blogging, giving talks, and teaching than I do listening to others. When you are required to explain something to others, you have to figure it out yourself first. I love the idea of turning students into teachers and I would do that going all the way down to elementary school. But in high school and college, it ought to be a primary way we educate students. I am going to dig deeper into the unschooling movement and look at other models, like the Montessori schools, to figure out who is doing this well and why. ... But if we are going to fund people who are hacking education, I think its best to figure out what is working and what is not. Then we know what to hack and why."
fredwilson  education  tcsnmy  unschooling  deschooling  change  reform  gamechanging  schools  teaching  learning  connectivism  collaboration  future  training  lcproject  montessori  sudburyschools  hackingeducation 
april 2009 by robertogreco
Kid O
"dedicated to enriching the play and learning experiences of preschool children at home. We provide families with the products, tools, and experiences they need to support their children's journey toward becoming life-long learners and confident, independ
nyc  objects  children  play  learning  education  gifts  shopping  toys  retail  development  creativity  montessori  design  baby 
january 2008 by robertogreco
Wonderland: SXSW: Will Wright Keynote
"I studied Montessori’s philosophy and methods. She basically wanted kids to explore the world themselves using toys and objects, learning the meaning of things... and I want to build a game where a player is going to come across the Copernican Principl
games  play  videogames  spore  willwright  software  children  education  montessori  learning 
march 2007 by robertogreco

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