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How Slavery Inspired Modern Business Management | Boston Review
"The most striking parallel between slavery and scientific management can be found in the “task idea,” which Taylor described as “the most prominent single element in modern scientific management.” The task system is closely identified with Henry Laurence Gantt, who is well known today for the Gantt chart, a scheduling tool, which still bears his name. During the heyday of scientific management, Gantt developed a “task and bonus system,” which paired a flat task and a time wage with bonuses for overwork. Workers would be paid a base wage plus an additional piece rate for production above a certain minimum. By combining an achievable (rather than a maximal) task with bonuses, workers would enjoy the security of a minimum payment but also be encouraged to strive beyond it."



"Writing in 1918, historian Ulrich Bonnell Phillips acknowledged the parallels between scientific management and slavery. As Daniel Joseph Singal notes, when Phillips described the sophistication of southern management strategies, he liked to reference a series of articles in the Southern Planter by H. W. Vick, whose “analysis of stance and movement” resembled some of the most advanced industrial studies of his own time. Perhaps Phillips’s own rosy views of slavery enabled him to see these connections. One of the most influential historians of slavery, his work was infused with racial bias. He famously characterized slavery as a kind of “school” for the enslaved, and his descriptions of the interactions between planters and their slaves bear striking similarities to the ways Taylor described the ideal interactions between managers and workers. In 1911, during the many months of congressional hearings on scientific management, Taylor attempted to distance his system from that of slavery by describing it as a school for workers who did not know how to work: this “is not nigger driving; this is kindness; this is teaching; this is doing what I would like mighty well to have done to me if I were a boy trying to learn how to do something. This is not a case of cracking a whip over a man and saying, ‘Damn you, get there.’”

Half a century after Phillips, Keith Aufhauser again described the extent to which the theory and practice of the slaveholders conformed to Taylor’s system of scientific management. During a decade of heated debate over the nature of southern slavery, Aufhauser argued that there were deep parallels not just between planters’ tools and those advocated by scientific managers, but also about the power relations they reflected. He wrote, “As far as discipline at the workplace goes, . . . the master-slave relationship is quite similar to the capitalist-wage-laborer relationship in scientifically managed enterprises.” Two decades after Aufhauser, historian Mark Smith would again describe aspects of plantation management that looked strikingly like scientific management. Smith focused on the role of time discipline on the plantation, pointing to the widespread use of clocks to assess how much labor the enslaved could perform.

Despite this research and more, the parallels between present-day business management practices and slavery have been persistently neglected in mainstream discussions about the history of U.S. enterprise. So much so that in 2003 management professor Bill Cooke argued that the failure of management scholars to account for this history amounted to “denial.” Cooke wrote that information about slaveholding business practices was widely available in published sources and thus had been willfully overlooked.

In some cases, the evidence for slavery can be literally read between the lines. Take the example of Gantt, whose task and bonus system so closely paralleled the one used by some slaveholders. Gantt is still sometimes profiled in modern management textbooks and web guides. In a phrase copied between them so frequently that it is hard to be sure of its original author, Gantt is said to have been born to a family of prosperous farmers in Maryland, but that “his early years were marked by some deprivation as the Civil War brought about changes to the family fortunes.” Those “changes,” so easily elided, were wrought by the more than sixty enslaved people who escaped from the plantation and took their freedom. The legacy of slavery is simultaneously acknowledged and erased.

To move beyond denial requires not only an acknowledgment that slaveholders practiced a kind of scientific management but also a broader rethinking of deep-seated assumptions about the relationship between capitalism and control. Though there are many exceptions, histories of business practices—at least those that reach a general audience—tend to be both individual and social success stories. They tell stories that are win-win, with businesspeople earning profits and customers, laborers, and communities benefiting along the way. This can, of course, be true. The shift from seeing trade as zero-sum to positive-sum was one of the most important transitions underpinning the rise of capitalism. But capitalism does not make this win-win inevitable.

Growing the pie brings no guarantee about how it will be divided. The sharing of rewards depends on how the rules are written or, differently put, on how markets are regulated. Slavery shows how one particular set of rules enabled precise management but paired its efficiencies with horrifying costs. Slavery also illustrates how certain kinds of market expansion—allowing lives to be bonded in labor and sold—can produce radical inequality. Economic growth can accompany the expansion of freedom and opportunity. But, as in the case of slavery, the expansion of market freedoms for a few can depend on the limitation of all kinds of freedoms for others. Growth can accompany choice, but it can also build on violence and injustice.

Certain kinds of management flourish when managers enjoy a very high level of control over their workers. The rise of scientific management in the late nineteenth century should be seen both as a moment of innovation and as the reemergence of old technologies of control. With the closing of the frontier, workers had fewer opportunities to leave the factory to return to the land. With immigration and rising inequality, manufacturers enjoyed access to a plentiful labor supply. The age of trust and monopoly limited outside options, and collusion meant that even when workers could legally go elsewhere, the circumstances were not necessarily better. Only in circumstances such as these did it make sense for managers such as Taylor to attempt to calculate “what fraction of a horse power a man power is,” with the expectation that this maximum rate of work could be acquired for an hourly wage, or perhaps a wage and a “bonus.”

Modern narratives of capitalist development often emphasize the positive-sum outcomes of many individual choices. They suggest that free, even selfish, decisions go hand in hand with growth and innovation. They often assume that vast wealth accumulated by a few accompanies improved circumstances for many. The history of slavery’s capitalism warns against all these expectations. My new book, Accounting for Slavery, as well as work by historians such as Daina Ramey Berry and Calvin Schermerhorn, shows that slavery in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was highly adaptable to the pursuit of profit. Free markets for slaveholders flourished, and their control over men, women, and children expedited production, both by pushing up the pace of labor and by transporting it to new, more fertile soils. Slaveholders’ manipulation of human capital compounded it into massive fortunes—both through financial maneuvering and through human reproduction.

When Harvard Business Review marked its ninetieth anniversary in 2012, Taylor made it into all three featured essays, offering an inspirational point of reference for the ability of managers to transform the broader economy. The business history of plantation slavery offers a very different point of reference—a cautionary tale that warns us what profit-seeking can look like when everything, including lives, is up for sale. The heritage of U.S. business includes both stories of innovation and those of extreme violence. Often the two are deeply intertwined. This was true in specific ways for scientific management, and it was undeniable for plantation slavery. Reckoning with these uncomfortable histories can help us to see the deep connections between capitalism and control and, perhaps, even to find a more humane way forward."
taylorism  management  slavery  unschooling  deschooling  schooliness  schooling  2018  caitlinrosenthal  economics  injustice  socialjustice  scientificmanagement  henrylaurencegantt  scheduling  motivation  keithaufhauser  ulrichbonnellphillips  danieljosephsingal  control  hierarchy  tasks  capitalism  dainarameyberry  calvinschermerhorn  markets  growth  frederickwinslowtaylor 
september 2018 by robertogreco
Will · We’re Trying To Do “The Wrong Thing Right” in...
[Also here: https://medium.com/@willrich45/we-re-trying-to-do-the-wrong-thing-right-in-schools-210ce8f85d35#.g134rm67t ]

"Whenever I think about the way most schools are structured today, I always come back to the same question: Do we do the things we do because they’re better for kids or because they are easier for us? For instance: separating kids by age in school. Is that something we do because kids learn better that way? Or do we do it because it’s just an easier way organizing our work? I think all of us know the answer to that. And there are quite a few other comparisons like those that are worth thinking about:

• Do kids learn better when we separate out the content into different subjects, or is it just easier for us?
• Do kids learn better when we have every one of them pretty much go through the same curriculum in the same way, or is it just easier for us?
• Do kids learn better when we have them turn off all of their technology in school, or is it just easier for us?
• Do kids learn better when we we assess them all the same way, or is it just easier for us?
• Do kids learn better when we decide what they should learn and how they should learn it, or is it just easier for us?
• Do kids learn better in 50 or 90 minute blocks, or is it just easier for us?

To be sure, these are not new questions, nor are they unique to my thinking. Many of us in the edu online community have been writing about these things for years. As with much of the “we need to change schools” conversation, it’s another part of the repeatedly articulated argument that appeals to common sense but hasn’t much moved the needle when it comes do doing things any differently in schools.

So why bring it up yet again? Well, for me at least, two words: Russell Ackoff.

A couple of weeks ago, thanks to some serendipitous surfing online, I came across this 10-minute snip of an interview with Ackoff, a pioneer in the field of systems thinking who was a professor at the Wharton School prior to his death in 2009. I was staggered a bit after watching it because he was able to articulate something I have been feeling for a while now but had been unable to find the words for:
“Peter Drucker said ‘There’s a difference between doing things right and doing the right thing.’ Doing the right thing is wisdom, and effectiveness. Doing things right is efficiency. The curious thing is the righter you do the wrong thing the wronger you become. If you’re doing the wrong thing and you make a mistake and correct it you become wronger. So it’s better to do the right thing wrong than the wrong thing right. Almost every major social problem that confronts us today is a consequence of trying to do the wrong things righter.”

Here’s the video. [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzS5V5-0VsA ]

I’ve been thinking about Ackoff pretty much consistently since I watched it, and the application of that lens to our current practice in schools is profound. Can there be a more apt example of trying to “do the wrong thing right” than in schools? Look again at that list above. Are we in search of efficiency, or effectiveness?

I think the answer is obvious. If you watch the clip, you’ll hear Ackoff dive into the education issue head on. He says, and I agree, that the system is not about learning (effectiveness). It’s about teaching (efficiency). And believe me, I understand why we have that focus. Given our devotion to an overstuffed curriculum, standardized tests, “college and career readiness” and more, about the only way we can see our students navigating the school experience is to “teach” it, to organize it, pace it, and assess it in some way that allows us to confer the adjective “educated” to each student. This despite the obvious truth that the vast majority of what we “learn” in school is quickly forgotten, and the truest “education” for our life’s work comes on the job, not in school.

Sadly, “doing the right thing” for our kids in schools is difficult. In education, our structures, our histories, our nostalgia for trying to do the “wrong thing right” runs deep. Regardless of how we got here (and the story is complex [http://hackeducation.com/2015/04/25/factory-model ],) we are profoundly wedded to what now constitutes this “education system” that dominates our learning world. The roles and expectations of students and teachers and administrators and parents are so clearly reinforced by our own experience, our cultural representations, and by those who have millions of dollars invested in the status quo that any serious suggestion that we might be doing the “wrong thing” is simply layered over by a new initiative, a new technology, a new curriculum, or a new success story to avoid having to grapple with the more fundamental question.

But that will not work for much longer. The contexts for learning and education have changed. As Ackoff says in his book Turning Learning Right Side Up [http://www.amazon.com/Turning-Learning-Right-Side-Education/dp/0132887630/ ]:
There is no way that the vast majority of teachers, whatever their training, can ever hope to match in their classrooms what students can receive at will from sources of their own choosing (14).

Unfortunately, the vast majority of schools I’ve visited continue to try to do the “wrong thing right.” While few teachers or administrators really believe that learning happens best when kids are grouped by age, or when they are all forced to learn the same things on the same day in the same way, or when we chop up what we’ve chosen for the content into 50-minute periods and different subjects, we do that stuff anyway. And, if you look at the recent Gallup survey of engagement [http://www.gallup.com/services/189926/student-poll-2015-results.aspx ] of almost 1 million students across the US, trying to do the “wrong thing right” is having devastating consequences. Of high school juniors, just 32% say they are “involved and enthusiastic” in school, 17% say they have fun at school, 17% say they “get to do what they do best,” and 16% say they “will invent something that changes the world.”

Read those numbers again, and ask yourself can we possibly be doing the right thing? Can we possibly label our current practices as “effective?”

As with most addictions, the first step to changing this is to admit we have a problem. The signs that we are reaching “peak education” in the traditional system are becoming more and more apparent by the day. (More about that in a later post.) And while I’m not naive enough to suggest that policy makers and vendors and many educators are at all ready to begin the process of moving away from a focus on efficiency toward a focus on effectiveness, that shouldn’t stop individual teachers or school systems from starting down that path.

Doing the right thing in schools starts with one fairly straightforward question: What do you believe about how kids learn most powerfully and deeply in their lives? Once you’ve answered that as an individual and as a school community, the question that follows is does your practice in classrooms with kids honor those beliefs? In other words, if you believe that kids learn best when they have authentic reasons for learning, when their work lives in the world in some real way, when they are pursuing answers to questions that they themselves find interesting, when they’re not constrained by a schedule or a curriculum, when they are having fun, and when they can learn with other students and teachers, then are you giving priority to those conditions in the classroom? Are you acting on your beliefs?

I’m working with districts where this is the root question, and where the answer is the fundamental driver for every decision made within the system. It’s a recognition that the roles and responsibilities of the system have irrevocably changed due to the shifts in the world we’ve seen over the last two decades. And it’s also a recognition that we have to approach our work with children from an entirely different angle than what we are accustomed to. But make no mistake, it’s a long, difficult process of change to endure.

This is not the first time in our history that we’ve faced such a seismic shift in our needs regarding schools and education. As Ackoff writes:
Here, a culture declaring itself to be the protector of individual liberty, and affording seemingly boundless opportunities for the expression of personal freedom, the challenge of creating a large, docile population that would accept the dominance of the factory system in their lives was enormous. In the first decades of the nineteenth century, it became clear that the only way to succeed with industrializing (and hence modernizing) this country was to find a way to break the inherently free human spirit during childhood (Kindle 177.)

As we are confronted with “modernizing” this country once again, it’s a focus on that “inherently free human spirit during childhood” that is once again at the core of our work. But instead of finding ways to break that spirit in children, this time around we must “do the right thing” and allow it to flourish in profound and beautiful ways for learning."
2016  willrichardson  russellackoff  peterdrucker  unschooling  deschooling  learning  education  schools  schooldesign  lcproject  openstudioproject  howwelearn  teaching  efficience  data  childhood  children  school  agesegregation  disciplines  interdisciplinary  efficiency  edtech  politics  policy  schedules  scheduling  assessment  curriculum  sfsh 
march 2016 by robertogreco
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:

***

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.

***

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.

***

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
Test Scores Drop as the School Day Drags on - Pacific Standard
"You've probably noticed that it's harder to think clearly after a long day of reading, writing, and arithmetic—in short, after a long day of thinking. For the most part, that's not a particularly big deal, but a study out today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests it might matter to schools and their students. As it turns out, each hour that passes before starting a test drags scores down by a little bit, meaning students who take a test late in the day will perform noticeably worse.

A core assumption underlying academic achievement testing is that the tests measure, at least roughly, how much students have learned. Of course, that assumption isn't really true; for one thing, there are persistent racial biases in academic testing. But, economists Hans Henrik Sievertsen, Francesca Gino, and Marco Piovesan wondered, could there be even more fundamental cognitive biases? Like, say, how tired students are when they take a test?

Educators should consider cognitive fatigue when planning the overall length of school days.

To answer that question, the trio analyzed scores from every student who took the Danish National Tests between the 2009–10 and the 2012–13 school years. That includes 10 tests in all—reading in grades two, four, six, and eight; math in grades three and six; and geography, physics, chemistry, and biology tests in grades seven and eight. In total, there were 2,034,564 test scores representing 570,376 students in 2,105 schools. Tests were given in three parts, presented to each student in random order, and lasted throughout the day, with breaks around 10 a.m. and noon.

Percentile rankings, which show where students rank on a 100-point scale, declined by about two-tenths of a point per hour on average, though how much scores dropped—and whether they dropped at all—changed throughout the day. Students who took a test at 9 a.m., for example, ranked 1.35 points lower than those who were tested on the same material at 8 a.m. Ranks increased 0.37 points after a 10 a.m. break, but dropped again by 0.58 points for tests taken at 11 a.m.

To put those results into context, the team also estimated the effects of parental income and other demographic measures. On average, taking a test one hour later in the day was about the same as parents making $1,000 (in American dollars) less, parents being educated one month less, or kids having about 10 fewer days of schooling—not large effects by any means, but important ones nonetheless.

Those results don't mean schools should necessarily test students earlier in the day, Sievertsen, Gino, and Piovesan write. Instead, educators should consider cognitive fatigue when planning breaks and the overall length of school days, including test days, and whether it's feasible for schools to adjust scores to account for the time of day the tests were taken."
education  fatigue  cognition  2016  performance  schoolday  scheduling  economics  hanshenriksievertsen  francescagino  marcopiovesan 
february 2016 by robertogreco
Making SRCCON Good for Humans | Knight-Mozilla OpenNews
"In our first year of planning SRCCON, we knew we wanted attendees be able to focus completely on the conference experience itself: sessions, activities, and other official stuff, but also the conversations in hallways and corners that are usually a highlight of gatherings of enthusiastic colleagues. To make that possible, we tried to arrange the SRCCON schedule, space, and life-support systems to be as accommodating and helpful as possible. And to be clear, that’s not the same thing as being fancy. We ran the conference on a nonprofit budget, and nothing we did was geared toward luxury—instead, we tried to just handle the basics thoughtfully so that attendees could relax and enjoy the work and socializing.

To assemble our wish-list of humane elements, we began by collecting our own experiences as frequent conference-goers and event organizers—and as people with widely differing family situations, metabolic needs, and feelings about coffee. And then we started working through the next order of human needs: the ones that none of us had, but that we might expect to encounter in a group the size of SRCCON, and that we’d heard people wish for at other events. Our list will certainly continue to evolve, but here’s our progress report from last year, and the things we’re keeping a close eye on for SRCCON 2015.

ATTENTION & RHYTHMS

For most people, a successful conference experience is only fractionally about the content of the sessions themselves. “Hallway conversations” are some of our favorite parts of any conference, so we built generous breaks in between sessions, as well as a long morning breakfast with enough real food that people could come straight to the venue in the morning and not starve. We also created a DIY coffee-hacking station in the center of our conference space—in part to ensure access to delicious hot drinks, but also to give attendees a semi-structured way to hang out and do something low-pressure together during breaks, or instead of attending a session during a given schedule block.

Our evening block on the first night of the conference was also about keeping attendees together, but breaking up the kinds of attention they were using. Instead of more sessions about coding and data in newsrooms, people ran cooking skillshares, played tabletop games, did lightning talks, and worked on projects together. And because we expected that folks would keep socializing well into the night, we started sessions at 11am on the second morning out of respect for early-morning zombie feels.

Lastly, we kept organizational affiliation off of the attendee nametags to help people connect in an individual, collegial ways and reduce conversational barriers and assumptions based on affiliation. (No one ever intends to do that kind of social shortcutting, but once sleepy conference-brain kicks in, it’s as hard to ignore as an airport TV, so we did what we could to help nix it.)

NOTES FOR NEXT TIME
Our session length options needed a little tuning, so we’re experimenting with a greater variety of length and format possibilities this year. And on the subtler side, we’ll be paying more attention this year to the culture markers we explicitly endorse as part of the evening events. Plenty of people enjoyed extra-nerdy references in our evening setup, but we also heard from some who found those elements alienating, so we’re thinking through ways of offering nerd-culture options without making people uncomfortable.

EATING & DRINKING

We planned the catered meals at SRCCON to be plentiful, varied, reasonably healthy, and friendly to many dietary preferences and restrictions. We also kept snack stations full of fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts and other protein snacks, and a few sweet things to keep everyone’s energy steady through the day. Our coffee-hacking station complemented catered coffee, tea, and sodas, and we had plenty of water at all times—which is the kind of thing I wish I didn’t need to list, but isn’t always the case at conferences.

On the allergy and dietary preferences tip, we made sure there were hot meals (and even morning doughnuts) that worked for people with gluten intolerances and common food allergies, as well as solid vegetarian and vegan options. SRCCON took place during Ramadan, so we also offered delayed meal options for anyone observing a fast.

When we offered alcohol, we also offered non-alcoholic drinks, and we served food at the same time to make it less likely for anyone to accidentally drink more than they’d intended. After dinner was cleared, we brought in ice cream and held activities throughout the space so that there were plenty of things to do that weren’t drinking-centric.

Finally, the director of events at the Chemical Heritage Foundation was able to connect us with a local shelter organization to make sure untouched food—a liability in any catering scenario—would go to good use and not be wasted.

NOTES FOR NEXT TIME
This year, we plan to include a more serious tea-making operation as well as the coffee-hacking equipment, and to get a little more hardline about labeling on the catered food, some of which had allergen labels and some of which didn’t, just for added peace of mind.

OTHER THINGS ABOUT ACCOMMODATING EMBODIED HUMANS

In addition to holding SRCCON in a wheelchair-accessible space, we brought in a live transcription team from White Coat Captioning (about which much more later this week) to livestream captions of three concurrent sessions throughout the event. For parents, we offered a free subscription to SitterCity, a childcare matchmaking service, and a clean, secure space for pumping and nursing. And, of course, we offered a clear code of conduct underpinned by action and safety plans.

NOTES FOR NEXT TIME
This year, we are taking a big step forward on childcare and offering licensed on-site care to all SRCCON attendees in a friendly space at the conference hotel next door, for free. We’ll also post meeting information for local AA chapters and other peer support groups so that it’s easy to find, and we’re absolutely taking the Ada Initiative’s suggestion to use color-coded lanyards to visually mark photo policy preferences.

ONWARD/UPWARD

Our goal was to be good enough at meeting basic human needs that people could focus on what they came to SRCCON for: learning together, hanging out with peers and colleagues, and having fun. In our first year of running the conference, we did pretty well, though we came out with a laundry list of things to do better this year.

Notably, none of the specific tasks we took on were particularly challenging, and many weren’t even expensive—they just involved taking the needs of a larger group into consideration when we made initial plans, rather than at the very end of the process (or not at all). For the pieces that did involve greater expense, we found that sponsors were very willing to help us come up with the money to help make SRCCON more accessible and more humane. Maybe most importantly, we learned that taking time up front to be thoughtful about human needs paid tremendous dividends at the event itself in the form of happy, rested, relaxed colleagues.

As always, we thrive on feedback and questions, so please send us a note if you have either one."
2015  erinkissane  srccon  events  conferences  eventplanning  inclusion  inclusivity  childcare  scheduling  food  sensitivity  conferenceplanning  inlcusivity 
april 2015 by robertogreco
What Determines Whether a School Has Mean Girls? -- Science of Us
"The hierarchical high school of John Hughes’s movies and Mean Girls is ubiquitous in pop culture, but it is not universal in real life. A new study finds that some schools — based on their size, organizational structure, and academic climate — are more likely to foster cliques than others.

Cliques form because people are often attracted to people of the same race, class, gender, and age as themselves — this is not a novel idea, and in sociology, this concept is called homophily (“love of the same”). But Daniel McFarland, an education professor at Stanford and the lead author of the study, discovered that this tendency to segregate is much more prevalent in large schools and schools that provide students with more academic freedom. A news release about the study explains: “Schools that offer students more choice — more elective courses, more ways to complete requirements, a bigger range of potential friends, more freedom to select seats in a classroom — are more likely to be rank-ordered, cliquish, and segregated.

McFarland, whose study will be published in December in American Sociological Review, said in a phone interview that in college, when he and his peers would reflect on high school, some recalled segregated, hierarchical social scenes, while others remembered much more egalitarian environments. “Everyone had a different version of what adolescent society was like,” he said, and so he and his co-authors were interested in comparing different high schools, to see how students’ networks were shaped by the organization of their school.

The researchers used two data sets for the study: one to examine friendships on the classroom level, and the other to explore schoolwide relationships. The classroom-level data set compared two extremely different schools. One was a traditional, tracked, Midwestern high school made up of mostly white students. The other was a magnet school in a “distressed” neighborhood of a large city that was diverse along racial and economic lines, but “homogenous in achievement.”

For the schoolwide study, an existing data set was used that, among many other survey questions, asked thousands of adolescents at 144 different schools about their friendships. The reason for two data sets, McFarland explained, was to determine if the students formed similar networks in their classes as they did throughout the entire school. “A friend in class seems to be a fairweather friend, a weaker tie,” he said.

McFarland and his team found that in contrast with the larger, more flexible schools, schools with a more rigid academic atmosphere usually fostered friendships based on intellectual interests and common activities. (This was true both on the classroom level and on a schoolwide level.) Throughout the study, large schools are often equated with less rigid schools, because most of these more stringent institutions were private schools, and thus were smaller.

Because smaller schools inherently offered a smaller pool of potential friends, they also limited friendships based on “external” criteria (race, gender, status, etc. ... ). To some degree, this is intuitive: There are fewer friends to choose from, so excluding people becomes riskier.

The takeaway, McFarland said, is that “the way we organize schools will have repercussions” for students’ interpersonal relationships. Teachers and administrators may think they cannot influence their students’ social fabric, but they can. Schools can “indirectly direct” the way that social networks form, by providing more or fewer choices for students. This influence can be used to promote student friendships across intellectual or academic commonalities, rather than external traits. McFarland thinks this knowledge can be used for the better: By designing schools that encourage students to associate based on common interests, we can avoid “creating boundaries that correspond with inequities that already exist in society.”

McFarland cautioned against concluding from this study that a small, rigid school is best for all students. Throughout this research, he grew concerned that “the prescription seemed to be layering all sorts of forced activities so we prevent all of these castes. I don’t think that’s necessarily what we want.” He even declined to say definitively that cliques are harmful to students’ development. (There are plenty of “folk theories” about this, he said, but not enough actual empirical evidence.)

McFarland believes that educators can still learn a great deal from these findings about organizing schools and curricula, even if more research still needs to be done. He said that teachers and administrators must now aim to find a curriculum “that encourages students to associate based on intellectual interests that span gender, race, and class.” Because, McFarland said, “Most reasonable people know that that isn’t a good basis for forming a relationship.””
2014  cliques  homophily  schools  segregation  ranking  electives  davidmcfarland  meangirls  behavior  scheduling 
november 2014 by robertogreco
How Different Cultures Understand Time - Business Insider
"Both the linear-active northerner and the multi-active Latin think that they manage time in the best way possible. In some Eastern cultures, however, the adaptation of humans to time is seen as a viable alternative. In these cultures, time is viewed neither as linear nor event–relationship related, but as cyclic. Each day the sun rises and sets, the seasons follow one another, the heavenly bodies revolve around us, people grow old and die, but their children reconstitute the process. We know this cycle has gone on for 100,000 years and more. Cyclical time is not a scarce commodity. There seems always to be an unlimited supply of it just around the next bend. As they say in the East, when God made time, He made plenty of it.

It’s not surprising, then, that business decisions are arrived at in a different way from in the West. Westerners often expect an Asian to make a quick decision or to treat a current deal on its present merits, irrespective of what has happened in the past. Asians cannot do this. The past formulates the contextual back- ground to the present decision, about which in any case, as Asians, they must think long term—their hands are tied in many ways. Americans see time passing without decisions being made or actions performed as having been “wasted.” Asians do not see time as racing away unutilized in a linear future, but coming around again in a circle, where the same opportunities, risks and dangers will re- present themselves when people are so many days, weeks or months wiser. As proof of the veracity of the cyclical nature of time, how often do we (in the West) say, “If I had known then what I know now, I would never have done what I did?”

Figure 4.6 compares the speed of Western action chains with Asian reflection. The American, German and Swiss go home satisfied that all tasks have been completed. The French or Italian might leave some “mopping up” for the following day. John Paul Fieg, author of A Common Core: Thais and Americans, describing the Thai attitude toward time, saw it as a pool one could gradually walk around. This metaphor applies to most Asians, who, instead of tackling problems immediately in sequential fashion, circle around them for a few days or weeks before committing themselves. After a suitable period of reflection, tasks A, D and F may indeed seem worthy of pursuing (refer to Figure 4.6). Tasks B, C and E may be quietly dropped. Contemplation of the whole scene has indicated, however, that task G, perhaps not even envisaged at all earlier on, might be the most significant of all.

In a Buddhist culture (e.g., Thailand, Tibet), not only time but also life itself goes around in a circle. Whatever we plan, however we organize our particular world, generation follows generation; governments and rulers will succeed each other; crops will be harvested; monsoons, earthquakes and other catastrophes will recur; taxes will be paid; the sun and moon will rise and set; stocks and shares will rise and fall. Even the Americans will not change such events, certainly not by rushing things."



"Cultures observing both linear and cyclic concepts of time see the past as something we have put behind us and the future as something that lies before us. In Madagascar, the opposite is the case (see Figure 4.7). The Malagasy imagine the future as flowing into the back of their heads, or passing them from behind, then becoming the past as it stretches out in front of them. The past is in front of their eyes because it is visible, known and influential. They can look at it, enjoy it, learn from it, even “play” with it. The Malagasy people spend an inordinate amount of time consulting their ancestors, exhuming their bones, even partying with them.

By contrast, the Malagasy consider the future unknowable. It is behind their head where they do not have eyes. Their plans for this unknown area will be far from meticulous, for what can they be based on? Buses in Madagascar leave, not according to a predetermined timetable, but when the bus is full. The situation triggers the event. Not only does this make economic sense, but it is also the time that most passengers have chosen to leave. Consequently, in Madagascar stocks are not replenished until shelves are empty, filling stations order gas only when they run dry, and hordes of would-be passengers at the airport find that, in spite of their tickets, in reality everybody is wait-listed. The actual assignation of seats takes place between the opening of the check-in desk and the (eventual) departure of the plane."
time  communication  perception  culture  2014  richardlewis  via:blubirding  past  present  future  planning  priorities  madagascar  us  uk  asia  japan  china  thailand  italy  spain  españa  switzerland  northamerica  cycles  howwethink  scheduling  schedules 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Dear America: If you love kids, let your schools show your affection. - Taught by Finland
"I told them about how Finnish first and second graders have about four hours of school every day, which is more like a half-day back in the United States. Not only that, but kids in Finland have a 15-minute break built into every hour of instruction (more on that later); this means that a 4-hour school day involves just three hours of classroom time for first and second graders! This is incredible news to American parents and teachers, but it’s even more amazing to Italians. I spoke with one parent who told me that her daughter, a student at a public elementary school in Bologna, does 8-hour school days (8:00 am to 4:00 pm) with barely any time for recess. Oh. My. And I used to think that a typical schedule at an American elementary school was too much for kids!

The Finnish approach of providing less academic instruction to young kids is sensible. As students in Finland grow older, they generally spend more hours at school. For example, my sixth graders are in school about six hours every day compared with the four they used to have as first and second graders. 7- and 8-year-olds thrive on shorter school days because they need lots of time for free play. Sixth graders, not as much.

When you are in school for eight hours (or even six), there is little time and energy to play afterwards. School this long can easily kill creativity, not necessarily by what happens during lessons, but by the space it takes up in the lives of young children. Research has shown that kids only start to enter a deeper level of play—where creativity and problem-solving skills develop—after 30 minutes of uninterrupted free time. If you’re a young American and Italian student, these long stretches of free play are non-existent in schools, so the only hope is that you’d have time after the school day. But that’s unlikely to happen when you’re flat-out exhausted, your homework is burning a hole in your backpack and your bedtime is just a couple of hours from when you return home.

Finns—who are typically reserved—may not be pinching and coddling babies on the street, but they’re making sure that their children are getting what they need at school. Sometimes this looks like keeping the school day short for young kids. Of course, my argument hinges on the assumption that 7- and 8-year-old Finns are spending their after school hours engaged in free play, not structured tasks like private tutoring and organized sports (as is common practice in the United States).

In January of this year, I wanted to see how most of the first and second graders at my school were using their free time after school. I wanted to be sure that I wasn’t just thinking wishfully that Finnish kids were playing deeply after their last class. I wasn’t disappointed. For three hours, I attended their iltapäivä kerho (“afternoon club”)—a subsidized public program that enrolls 70% of the first and second graders at my school—that was exclusively play-oriented. The adult supervisors told me that they don’t even encourage the kids to complete their meager amounts of homework before they head home at 4:00 pm because they believe young children just need time to play with their friends. And that’s exactly what I saw these 7- and 8-year-olds doing: playing dress-up, building with legos and drawing.

As I mentioned earlier, Finnish kids are entitled to take a 15-minute break for every 45 minutes of instruction. Finland takes this so seriously that it’s even guaranteed by law. While I was visiting Rome, I was told that typically Italian high school students get just 10-minutes of break every day (and they’re expected to eat during this time)! On top of this, they will spend most of the school day in just one classroom; teachers come to them. Meanwhile, kids in Finland—young and old—receive 15-minute unstructured breaks throughout the school day and they have the opportunity to slip outside for fresh air during these times, even when it’s freezing.

Obviously, these 15-minute breaks are not long enough to provide young students with time for deep play, but they’re just long enough to refocus children. So, first and second graders in Finland are putting in three hours of high-quality classroom work every morning—because they’re paced by frequent breaks—and in the afternoon, they’re playing deeply throughout the entire afternoon. That’s a pretty sweet deal for kids.

But the case of Italy still befuddles me. They clearly love children but their schools—with their long and nearly recess-less school days—do not show evidence of their affection. I feel the same way about many American public elementary schools. We say we love children (and I know, deep down, we do) and yet, we send our kids to kindergarten at the age of five and they receive full-day academic instruction. We give young children just 20-minutes or so of recess for an entire school day. We throw dozens of standardized tests at our kids, starting in third grade or even younger, narrowing their curriculum and stressing them out, along with their teachers. We require young American kids to attend school each day for nearly twice as long as young Finnish children, leaving them with little time and energy for play after school.

By providing things like frequent breaks, shorter school days and less standardized tests, Finnish schools are not doing anything particularly innovative. This tiny Nordic country is simply making sensible decisions that support the wellbeing of all children. And when you stop to think about it, this is exactly what all school systems should be doing."
finland  education  schedules  scheduling  classtime  recess  2014  timwalker  lcproject  openstudioproject  play  freeplay  unschooling  deschooling  policy  us  italy  schools  teaching  learning  howwelearn  unstructuredtime  openstudio 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Break Down the Walls, Blow Up the Schedule - Learning Deeply - Education Week
"At High Tech High we aspire to create deeper learning experiences of lasting value for our students, ones where students have the opportunity to contribute in meaningful and authentic ways to problems facing their local and global communities. Walking the halls of our schools, you might see students designing children's toys for an orphanage in Mexico, filming a documentary on gun violence, or interviewing Vietnam vets to capture and portray their stories for a public event. When we are at our best, students are engaged in work that matters, both to them and the world beyond school, and have multiple opportunities to critique and revise their work so that the final products are beautifully crafted and worth sharing.

Like any organization, we have much room for improvement. Still, visitors from all over the world, struck by our diverse students' engagement and ownership of the learning, want to know how we've done "it," and how they might do the same. As a founding director of one of our high schools, I like to focus on two pieces of advice: break down the walls, and blow up the schedule.

Break Down the Walls

When I first started teaching math and physics at High Tech High, I was inspired to hone my craft because I saw students in my colleagues' classrooms building underwater submarines and creating video games that modeled the laws of motion. Faculty met for an hour before school every day to tune project ideas, examine student work and share dilemmas in our practice. We were all trying to figure out what it meant to be project-based teachers and knew that we worked in an environment where it was safe to take risks and learn from our mistakes. I would have never grown in my teaching nor would we have evolved as a school focused on deeper learning, if we were all trying to figure it out alone in our classrooms.

We also knew that for learning to be authentic, we needed to break down the four walls of our classrooms and connect students to the adult world of work. When my students invented and marketed new electronic products, my teaching partner and I had engineers visit our classroom and critique their work along the way. Later, students presented their final business plans to a panel of venture capitalists from the community. These authentic audiences from beyond the walls fostered students' engagement and drive to create beautiful work.

Blow Up the Schedule

Ted Sizer believed you could learn a lot about the values of a school by the way resources and time were allocated. In this vein, we knew from the beginning that the HTH schedule needed to reflect two of our core values: progressive pedagogy and social class integration.

While bringing professionals into the classroom was important, we also knew that we needed to push our students out. Our entire course schedule was designed in the 11th and 12th grades to create opportunities for our students to go out on internship or take college courses. Over time we learned that giving students substantial time to fully immerse themselves in the world of work--learning through apprenticeship alongside a trusted mentor--was, in short, transformative. In particular, internships and college classes brought first generation students from disadvantaged backgrounds closer to a world that opened up possibilities for their future. After working at a local lab on underwater robots, students had not only a better understanding of the interesting career opportunities available when you have a degree in computer science, but how intellectually rewarding it feels to tackle challenging problems alongside inspired colleagues.

We also wanted to avoid the obvious pitfalls of traditional schedules: students shuffling between eight teachers throughout the day at the ring of a bell while teachers tried to build relationships and personalize learning for 200+ students and prep for three or more classes. Instead, small teams of two to three teachers shared the same students, taught more than one subject for longer blocks of time and backwards designed projects together blurring the notion of traditional "disciplines." When one of our students struggled because her father was in jail or his parents were going through a divorce, it was nearly impossible for the small team of teachers in our small school not to notice and intervene.

Finally, we were well aware that the form of the schedule had the power to undo the very purpose of the school--social class integration. Our blind zip-code lottery was designed to integrate students across socioeconomic backgrounds and we knew that offering various tracks, including honors and AP courses, would perpetuate predictable patterns and outcomes for our low-income and first generation students. Each design decision in a school comes with compromises, and we embraced the challenge of differentiating instruction in heterogeneous classrooms over the pernicious effect of in-school segregation. While some parents fear that their child will be less competitive than their neighbor's child taking six AP courses, we have found the opposite to be true. Students have the opportunity to explore fewer topics in depth, develop critical and creative thinking skills, and engage in authentic work, all of which historically has served them well in college admissions and beyond.

Break down the walls and blow up the schedule. Then build your program according to your values--and be ready to change the structure to suit your needs."
cityasclassroom  explodingschool  schools  education  hightechhigh  hightechschools  2014  kellywilson  projectbasedlearning  schedules  scheduling  learning  teaching  howweteach  tcsnmy  purpose  engagement  internships  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  transdisciplinary  class  integration  depth  unschooling  deschooling  context  progressive  pedagogy  critique  criticism  tedsizer  pbl 
may 2014 by robertogreco
Pathways For Interdisciplinarity | Thomas Steele-Maley
[See also: http://coopecology.com/Coop_Ecology/ILC_Design.html ]

"his is one small example of a significant trend in education. Interdisciplinary innovation is a prescient topic with frontiers for independent schools and education in general. Incredible interdisciplinary projects are emerging across education that are well planed and executed departures from the traditional siloed education. How we develop pathways from these projects toward future school design is very important. The intuitive work of Bo Adams amazing work on Pedagogical Master Planning and Bannan-Ritland, B. (2003 diagram)3 in design based research are a clear lens on this point. Educators need to ask critical,reflective questions. How do your schools develop theory for new projects, research and create design prototypes, test designs, iterate and implement/mutate your schedules, departments? More simply (and possibly most importantly) what is your mindset for a cycle of transformation?

Becoming a practitioner researcher in schools starts with a mindset which was the focus of this weeks workshop at PDS. As a group we developed and refined theory, reviewed programs (prototypes) in participant schools (and the consequences of those programs) and ideated on the future. Participants explored their discipline/s and examples of projects that crossed discipline boundaries. These projects ranged from maker-spaces to projects and the diversity of experience in the room was vast. We also discussed the issues of content, standards, schedule, parents and paradigms…. “the softballs” of education that keep getting replayed (or thrown around is it may be). We also heard of bold moves to re-imagine schedules, realign priorities in schools…. and we heard questions of the heart.

Over and over again, workshop participants fell quite after hearing each other discuss what student self determination looks like in learning. Teachers and administrators spoke of working hard to bypass the “softballs” that seem like mountains to high to summit at times. As educators we know what is possible with our care, passion, intelligence, hope and love for young people. We want our social constructs….democracy et al. to survive and have caretakers, we want the realities of interconnectedness and interdependence in the world to find a fertile nexus in our school communities. There was agreement that we needed to consider change in may parts of our school structures.

I will argue, and did in my session that the process of schools moving from theory and initial design work to prototyping and new educational design and testing will be a significant linchpin to transformational change. It takes a school communities of mavericks and managers imagining how events could be otherwise and then engaging in the significant and difficult work of co-constructing a community of learning with all of the stakeholders in your community to provide a relevant education in this century.4 The futures workshop process is one of many ways to provide a intentional landscape to start or move forward this process."
thomassteele-maley  interdisciplinary  interdisciplinarity  crossdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  steam  stem  transdisciplinary  2014  teaching  learning  education  schools  scheduling  riverpointacademy  soundings  democracy  thebridgeyear  pedagogy 
april 2014 by robertogreco
No Courses, No Classrooms, No Grades — Just Learning | MindShift
"NuVu is the brainchild of Saeed Arida, a former PhD student from MIT who believes that young people should be taught to solve real-world problems, like using new materials to design higher-quality prosthetics.

“Studios are not subjects in the traditional sense, as they involve finding a solution for a very real human problem,” said Arida. “What students do here is a very different kind of educational experience.”

Here’s How NuVu describes the program:
NuVu is a full-time magnet innovation center for middle and high school students. NuVu’s pedagogy is based on the architectural Studio model and geared around multi-disciplinary, collaborative projects. We basically teach students how to navigate the messiness of the creative process, from inception to completion.

No Courses: Instead, we have studios. Around 12 kids work closely with their 2 coaches on solving big (and small) open-ended problems.

No Subjects: Instead, everything is fused together. Students find themselves moving between a studio that requires them to design a telepresence robot to another that requires them to re-imagine Boston with a cable car system.

No Classrooms: Instead, we have an open space that changes all the time to adapt to the needs of every studio.

No One-Hour Schedule: Instead, students spend two weeks from 9-3 solving one problem.

No Grades: Instead, we have portfolios that document students’ design decisions and show their final products.

But can anyone visualize this happening in today’s public schools? Project-based learning programs like NuVu are not particularly common throughout the U.S., with notable exceptions like High Tech High and New Tech Network. Most K-12 classrooms in America are fairly new to project-based learning, or don’t offer it at all. Typically speaking, only the most elite schools in the wealthiest neighborhoods can afford to experiment with PBL.

NuVu got its start by partnering with Beaver County Day School in Brookline, Mass., an elite independent school attended by the sons and daughters of Harvard and MIT graduates, which is positioning itself as digitally-savvy and progressive institution. Notably, it was the first U.S. school to make it a requirement for students to take computer programming lessons.

NuVu’s program doesn’t come cheap. It costs $8,000 per student per trimester. The company offers scholarships, and to Arida’s credit, he’s looking for ways to involve students from public schools in the area by forging partnerships with neighboring public schools to make NuVu available as an elective.

But for most entrepreneurs, selling schools (particularly budget-strapped public schools) on incorporating PBL programs into their core curriculum is an ongoing challenge.

“We haven’t seen many of these project-based learning programs scale rapidly,” said Michael Staton, an investor at education-focused venture firm Learn Capital. “Partnering with schools is fine if you can figure out how to do that efficiently,” Staton added. “But most entrepreneurs have no idea.”

The crux of the problem, according to Staton, is that most schools are sticking to core subjects and the bell system, which doesn’t leave much time for exploratory projects. Outside of school, most students can only access project-based programs online and in their own time. The best known services are DIY.org, an instructional guide for budding makers, and the various project-based learn-to-code courses from Code.org, General Assembly, and Khan Academy. But most high schoolers would tell you that they’re already overwhelmed with juggling college admissions, after-school, clubs, volunteering and homework. Good luck adding another project to their plate."

The Tide Is Turning

To make PBL more mainstream, the change may need to come from within. There’s a movement afoot to make project-based learning an integral part of every child’s education. Organizations like P21 (Partnership for 21st Century Skills) and Buck Institute are helping to bridge the gap between entrepreneurs, businesses, teachers and state superintendents. P21 partners with representatives in 18 states, including Arizona, California, and Massachusetts, and provides teachers with tools and resources for project-based learning. In addition, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation habitually provides funding to PBL schools, particularly those that foster digital skills. These organizations’ aim is bring PBL programs into classrooms, rather than expecting students to participate in their free time.

Schools don’t need to follow NuVu’s model to the tee. In fact, this approach may seem radical, as students do not receive grades or formal examinations and the learning doesn’t happen in physical classrooms. But teachers can take inspiration from NuVu and the various interactive online courses. For instance, Muscatine High School in Iowa has found success with its G2 Global Generation Exponential Learning initiative. High schoolers learn math and engineering in classrooms and by making water purification systems, or building statistical models for new bus routes. Younger students at middle school research trash statistics, and participate in oral history projects.
Arida hopes that NuVu’s program will pave the way for ed-tech entrepreneurs to launch similar ventures in other states.

“We’re presenting a different way to think about education, he said. “Students are empowered to be creative, and actually execute on their ideas. Isn’t that the lesson we should be teaching our kids?”"
nuvu  nuvustudio  openstudiproject  lcproject  saeedarida  grades  grading  projectbasedlearning  schedules  scheduling  studioclassrooms  interdisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  transdisciplinary  design  designthinking  2014  learning  education  unschooling  deschooling  schools  pbl 
april 2014 by robertogreco
When Should Schools Start in the morning? | A Blog Around The Clock, Scientific American Blog Network
"Forward-looking school systems in reality-based communities around the country have, over the last several years, implemented a policy that is based on science – sending elementary school kids to school first in the morning, middle-schoolers next, and high-schoolers last. This is based on the effects of puberty on the performance of the human circadian clock."

"What especially drives me crazy is that so many teachers, people who work with adolescents every day, succumb to this indulgence in personal power over the children. It is easier to get into a self-righteous ‘high’ than to study the science and do something about the problem. It is easier to blame the kids than to admit personal impotence and try to do something about it by studying the issue."
tcsnmy  parenting  borazivkovic  circadianrhythms  scheduling  schedules  health  education  schools  teaching  power  adolescents  teens  sleep 
june 2012 by robertogreco
Scheduled sending and email reminders | Boomerang for Gmail
"Schedule an email to be sent later. Easy email reminders.
Boomerang for Gmail is a Firefox / Chrome plugin that lets you take control of when you send and receive email messages."
scheduling  productivity  firefox  chrome  plugins  email  gmail  extensions 
may 2012 by robertogreco
A History Of Violence Edge Master Class 2011 | Conversation | Edge
"There are studies showing that violence is more common when people are confined to one pecking order, and all of their social worth depends on where they are in that hierarchy, whereas if they belong to multiple overlapping groups, they can always seek affirmations of worth elsewhere. For example, if I do something stupid when I’m driving, and someone gives me the finger and calls me an asshole, it’s not the end of the world: I think to myself, I’m a tenured professor at Harvard. On the other hand, if status among men in the street was my only source of worth in life, I might have road rage and pull out a gun. Modernity comprises a lot of things, and it’s hard to tease them apart. But I suspect that when you’re not confined to a village or a clan, and you can seek your fortunes in a wide world, that is a pacifying force for exactly that reason."
history  violence  psychology  stevenpinker  hierarchy  humanities  philosophy  society  brain  mind  murder  crime  war  genocide  democracy  hatecrimes  race  class  time  scheduling  mentors  mentoring  doing  teamwork 
october 2011 by robertogreco
prepone - Wiktionary
"1. (India) To reschedule to a time earlier than the current scheduled time."

[Also listed here (worth mining): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_English ]

[Related, also interesting: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindi_English and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hinglish ]
prepone  words  india  english  indianenglish  language  definitions  time  meetings  scheduling  adelanto 
august 2011 by robertogreco
What is Your Kryptonite? - Tech4Teachers
"Every superhero has a weakness. For Superman, it’s Kryptonite…As a teacher & tech leader, what is your Kryptonite? Perhaps it’s one of these…

1. Internet Filters…

2. Consistency & Fairness – Ever been told that your class can’t do something unless all the other classes decide to do it too? How often do we sacrifice creativity & innovation for the sake of consistency?

Superheros are sometimes required to go solo, moving forward where others fear to tread. Lead by example…

3. The “Almighty” Inflexible Schedule – Does your education dictate your schedule, or does your schedule dictate the education?…

4. Lack of Administrative Support – Do you live in constant fear of trying something new or innovative with your students because you know that if it doesn’t work or if someone complains that you’ll be left “hanging out to dry” by your principal or administrator?

Superheros must sometimes work outside the law to do what is right.

5. Fear of Failure…"
education  inmyexperience  teaching  tcsnmy  schools  learning  technology  failure  fear  administration  management  schedules  scheduling  inflexibility  filters  consistency  fairness  beenthere  via:rushtheiceberg 
july 2011 by robertogreco
YouTube - TEDxEastsidePrep - Shawn Cornally - The Future of Education Without Coercion
[These are killing learning in schools]

No product = Failure [Product is emphasized over process]

What if they don't do anything? [Worry that they won't learn anything if given control of their learning]

3.9 ≠ 4.0 [Loss of motivation, feeling beyond recovery, no meaning]
education  learning  schools  tcsnmy  success  failure  science  teaching  process  productoverprocess  processoverproduct  time  scheduling  schedules  classschedules  2011  shawncornally  inquiry  inquiry-basedlearning  questioning  student-led  student-initiated  openstudio  unschooling  coercion  deschooling  motivation  intrinsicmotivation  extrinsicmotivation  overjustification  schooliness  schooling  creativity  absurdity  wonder  colleges  universities  admissions  gameofschool  playingschool  alfiekohn 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Lessons Learned in Stockholm: Thoughts from Head of School — THINK Global School
"Humans balk at a completely unstructured day…we can build a good compromise between unstructured classes & traditional timetable. Ideally, we will be able to sit down w/ students at weekly Sunday meetings & map out week ahead.

…schools will do better managing tech if admin sets clear objectives for tech program but then creates conditions for healthy, intelligent experimenting by faculty & students…internal crowd-sourcing is fastest way to develop set of best practices to fit school’s mission…iPhone = single most important tool we’ve used this term…

Less is more. We overbooked museum tours, lectures & adventures at start of term. Better–much better–to go to same gallery 3 times & work closely w/ docent than go to 3 different exhibits. Better–much better–to study 3 paintings closely than whole galleries worth superficially. In future, we want to collaborate w/ museums, galleries, universities, exhibitions & so on that are willing to develop deep & tightly focused projects."
iphone  ipad  teaching  learning  technology  simplicity  slow  slowness  lessismore  tgs  thinkglobalschool  bradovenell-carter  lcproject  blockschedules  scheduling  tcsnmy  schools  travel  structure  textbooks  textbookfree  meaning  focus  depthoverbreadth  cv 
december 2010 by robertogreco
Getting Creative Things Done: How To Fit Hard Thinking Into a Busy Schedule :: Tips :: The 99 Percent
"At first glance, the GCTD system seems obvious. “Block out time on my calendar for big projects,” you might think. “I've tried that.”

Creative work, however, is a subtle affair. If your mind is not in the exact right state, it’s difficult to produce high-quality results. Because of this, details matter. This is what’s important about GCTD, not the general idea of blocking out time, but the carefully-calibrated details that accompany it: the blocks are treated like real appointments and are dedicated to only one (or, at most, two) projects in a week; absolutely zero interruptions are allowed during the blocks; and the focus is on process, not goals.

These little things add up to a system that consistently produces the types of ambitious results that, as Graham puts it, are “at the limits of your capacity.” The type of results that can make you a star."
creativity  time  scheduling  gtd  gctd  arts  business  advice  work  focus  goals 
december 2010 by robertogreco
State of the Internet Operating System Part Two: Handicapping the Internet Platform Wars - O'Reilly Radar
"This post provides a conceptual framework for thinking about the strategic and tactical landscape ahead. Once you understand that we're building an Internet Operating System, that some players have most of the pieces assembled, while others are just getting started, that some have a plausible shot at a "go it alone" strategy while others are going to have to partner, you can begin to see the possibilities for future alliances, mergers and acquisitions, and the technologies that each player has to acquire in order to strengthen their hand.

I'll hope in future to provide a more thorough drill-down into the strengths and weaknesses of each player. But for now, here's a summary chart that highlights some of the key components, and where I believe each of the major players is strongest.

[chart here]

The most significant takeaway is that the column marked "other" represents the richest set of capabilities. And that gives me hope."
amazon  facebook  google  twitter  apple  microsoft  yahoo  future  cloudcomputing  cloud  timoreilly  web  payment  infrastructure  mediaaccess  media  monetization  location  maps  mapping  claendars  scheduling  communication  chat  email  voice  video  speechrecognition  imagerecognition  mobile  iphone  nexusone  internet  browsers  safari  chrome  books  music  itunes  photography  content  advertising  ads  storage  computing  computation  hosting  browser 
may 2010 by robertogreco
School in NYC's Brooklyn finds success with restructured scheduling - Related Stories - ASCD SmartBrief
"A Brooklyn school is finding success with an alternative-scheduling model that has educators teaching just three classes each day, leaving two hours a day for collaborating with colleagues while maintaining class sizes that are regularly as small as 14 students. The restructured schedule does not cost more than a traditional schedule and allows for more instructional time for students and more professional development for teachers -- all without adding workdays to the 180 set in New York City teachers' contracts."
teaching  schools  professionaldevelopment  learning  policy  scheduling  preparation  tcsnmy 
march 2010 by robertogreco
The Tinker's Mind: Education, Attention, and Maker Time
"led me to think of what Matt Dugener...and the culture we have in this state towards entrepreneurs and enterprising individuals. The whole thing is worth your time, but I want to focus on the idea that, in Michigan, we train our children to be excellent employees, but poor entrepreneurs...we're conditioning our children to what Paul Graham calls the Manager's Schedule: days divided into blocks of a single hour...not only robs them of the time to settle into and play with important ideas, but it conditions them for employment in vertically-integrated, highly structured organizations--exactly the kinds of organizations that are going to have the hardest time surviving in the 20th century...We're beginning to shift from a society that values time-management skills to one that values attention-management skills. At the same time, we're training our children to neglect deeply engaging their attention with a single subject, and instead, teaching them simply how to juggle their time."
tcsnmy  lcproject  education  learning  future  timemanagement  blockschedules  scheduling  schools  schooling  managersschedule  entrepreneurship  play  freetime  unstructuredtime  unschooling  deschooling  criticalthinking 
november 2009 by robertogreco
Education Sector: Research and Reports: Teachers at Work
"Instead of isolating teachers, Generation Schools model organizes them into grade- & subject-based teams, designed to blend different types of expertise & levels of experience...daily schedule & calendar are designed w/ time for regular & ongoing teacher collaboration & planning, giving teachers "time to learn from each other & from their work," Brown says. In mornings, all teachers teach 90-min academic classes that average 14 students; afternoons are divided into shorter, larger elective courses & 2 hours of daily planning. Twice a year, grade-based teaching teams get a 4-week break—3 weeks to rest & 1 week to meet, plan & observe colleagues...breaks are staggered throughout year, & while 1 group of teachers is on break, another team of their colleagues steps in to teach their students "intensive" monthlong literacy courses focused on career & college planning...result is school year that is extended to 200 days for students w/out having to extend work time (& pay) for teachers."

[via: http://www.joannejacobs.com/2009/10/good-school-design-good-teachers/ ]
schools  schooldesign  scheduling  schoolyear  generationschools  teaching  schoolcalendar  calendars  learning  tcsnmy  collaboration 
october 2009 by robertogreco
Official Google Docs Blog: Day in the Life of a Docs Student
"The Google Docs team is getting ready for back to school. We've been doing our homework this summer to make your school year go a little smoother. Today we're launching a handful of features that will benefit both students and teachers. Speaking from experience, as students ourselves, we know that these features will come in handy on any given day. Check out the schedule below to see how."
spanish  googledocs  tcsnmy  cloudcomputing  education  learning  technology  teaching  google  edtech  writing  footnotes  googleapps  examples  students  scheduling  googlesites 
september 2009 by robertogreco
Maker's Schedule, Manager's Schedule
"When you're operating on the maker's schedule, meetings are a disaster. A single meeting can blow a whole afternoon, by breaking it into two pieces each too small to do anything hard in. Plus you have to remember to go to the meeting. That's no problem for someone on the manager's schedule. There's always something coming on the next hour; the only question is what. But when someone on the maker's schedule has a meeting, they have to think about it."
scheduling  management  administration  leadership  creativity  organization  meetings  paulgraham  timemanagement  business  culture  software  productivity  programming  collaboration  work  development  time  schedules  makertime  makerstime  makersschedule 
july 2009 by robertogreco
O’DonnellWeb - Got flow?
"Flow, as defined by Dale McGowan, is when we’re completely in the moment, so intensely focused on the activity at hand that we lose track of time. It’s one of the most deeply satisfying and meaningful states we can enter. The point of his blog post is that we parents need to help our kids find their flow. Beyond finding that moment though, we have to let them be when they are in it. This is infinitely easier if your kids aren’t stuck in a soul crushing school all day. Our kids have time to find their flow, and then ride the wave as long as they can. The school bell doesn’t break them out of it. Unnaturally early bedtimes due to 7 AM bus rides to school don’t limit their time and energy. Peer and parent pressure to conform don’t limit our kid’s options. In fact, beyond all the usual reasons for home education, flow may be the best reason of all. Finding flow experiences, and having time to stay with them, probably does more for happiness than just about anything else."

[references: http://parentingbeyondbelief.com/blog/?p=2449 ]
homeschool  unschooling  parenting  dalemcgowan  mihalycsikszentmihalyi  flow  spirituality  attention  pace  focus  schools  schooling  learning  scheduling  experience  now  slow  well-being  happiness 
june 2009 by robertogreco
Making time: What research says about re-organizing school schedules - Center for Public Education
"* A brief history of the school calendar
o How long is the current school year?
o How long is the current school day?
* Breaking from tradition
o Year-round schools
o Block vs. period scheduling
o Four-day school week
o Accommodating teenagers’ sleep cycle
o Full-day kindergarten
* Finding more time
o Support for struggling students
o Teacher planning and professional development
* Implementation
o Cost
o Child care
* Things to consider"
education  learning  schools  publicschools  research  blockschedules  yearround  schoolday  schoolyear  calendar  scheduling  tcsnmy  schedules  yearlongschool  time 
june 2009 by robertogreco
How Freedom Can Depress Students: More from Happiness Studies | Beyond School
"1. Students given some control over the content and demonstration of their learning are happier. 2. The basic structure of schools - prescribed course selection, prescribed schedules and durations, prescribed timetables for learning and moving on - are innately “depressing” for students. 3. If not the norm in schools, student experience of autonomous learning under one teacher may do more harm than good."
clayburell  danielgilbert  psychology  control  learning  deschooling  schooling  education  depression  happiness  freedom  research  autonomy  scheduling  self-directed 
august 2008 by robertogreco
Overcoming Bias: Planning Fallacy
"planning fallacy is that people think they can plan...fairly reliable way to fix planning fallacy...Just ask how long similar projects have taken in the past, without considering any of the special properties of this project...ask an experienced outsider how long similar projects have taken.You'll get back an answer that sounds hideously long, and clearly reflects no understanding of the special reasons why this particular task will take less time. This answer is true. Deal with it."
estimation  time  planning  scheduling  projectmanagement  management  psychology  learning  gtd  fallacy  estimates  via:preoccupations 
august 2008 by robertogreco
Remember The Milk: Online to do list and task management
"We created Remember The Milk so that you no longer have to write your to-do lists on sticky notes, whiteboards, random scraps of paper, or the back of your hand. Remember The Milk makes managing tasks an enjoyable experience."
gmail  googleapps  iphone  aggregator  todo  organization  gtd  workflow  productivity  web2.0  calendar  applications  twitter  webapps  sms  software  planning  management  scheduling  schedule  extension  email  addons  ios 
february 2008 by robertogreco
Doodle
"Doodle is a Web-based service for finding suitable dates for group events (e.g., an appointment, a conference call, a family reunion, etc.). Doodle is particularly useful to people who do not use a common calendar or groupware system."
via:javierarbona  applications  freeware  generator  projectmanagement  scheduling  management  meetings  community  coordination  collaboration  calendar  webapps  services  planning  productivity  groups  free  time 
february 2008 by robertogreco
Sandy — your personal email assistant
"Life moves too fast for your calendar. Hi! I’m Sandy, your new assistant. I'll remember the details so you can focus on what's important."
email  productivity  gtd  web2.0  free  scheduling  schedule  webapps  personal  information  management  calendar 
november 2007 by robertogreco
Meeting up made easier | Tech news blog - CNET News.com
"This morning at DemoFall, we jump right in with applications to schedule and conduct meetings."
meetings  software  communication  tools  onlinetoolkit  scheduling  applications 
september 2007 by robertogreco
Joi Ito's Web: Going UTC
"I'm going to try it again. I'm setting the clock on my computer to UTC and would like people to tell use UTC with me when appropriate. For instance, when scheduling telephone calls."
history  ideas  time  internet  web  swatch  technology  alwayson  syncronicity  communication  planning  scheduling  globalization  timezones  travel  UTC 
may 2007 by robertogreco
Swatch Internet Time - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Swatch Internet Time is a concept introduced in 1998 and marketed by the Swatch corporation as an alternative, decimal measure of time. One of the goals was to simplify the way people in different time zones communicate about time, mostly by eliminating
history  ideas  time  internet  web  swatch  technology  alwayson  syncronicity  timezones  communication  planning  scheduling  globalization  UTC 
may 2007 by robertogreco

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