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robertogreco : sprout   4

“But the overall inertia and immune system of “education” is very strong, and if we were to disappear tomorrow, I’m not sure anything would be different than it would have been 100 years from now.” – Alec Resnick, USA | Daily Edventures
"Can you tell us about a favorite teacher, or someone who made a difference in your education?

My English teacher, Mrs. Long, in high school, had the wisdom to lean into all my obsessions and interests, regardless of the curriculum, treating me like a peer. She loaded me up with books outside of the class, indulged my passion for words despite the way they made my papers unreadable, and more than anything, left me with a sense of learning being a lifelong, intellectual project in which I could participate. This all sounds trite—the stuff of commencement speeches—but I cannot overstate how formative the relationship was, far and above the curricula or books she shared."

"How have you applied technology in innovative ways to support your work?

I’ll quote Papert: “In many schools today, the phrase ‘computer-aided instruction’ means making the computer teach the child. One might say the computer is being used to program the child. In my vision, the child programs the computer and, in doing so, both acquires a sense of mastery over a piece of the most modern and powerful technology and establishes an intimate contact with some of the deepest ideas from science, from mathematics, and from the art of intellectual model building.” At their best, our programs do this.

In your opinion, how has the use of apps, cellphones, and mobile devices changed education? And your work?
Education? They’re distracting people from structural issues with the design of school and curricula by introducing an unfortunate technocentrism. Our work? They’ve enabled a totally novel class of computationally driven, hands-on experiences and experimentation focused on modeling and representation.

In your view, what is the most exciting innovation happening in education today?

The expansion of “education” to include many efforts, stakeholders, and approaches that exist outside of “school”—not just in the sense of “afterschool” or “informal learning,” but in an institutional sense.

Is there a 21st century skill (critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, or creativity and innovation) that you are most passionate about? Why?

All the skills I’m passionate about were valuable in all the other centuries, too.

If you could give one educational tool to every child in the world, what would it be? Why?

Initially I considered snarkier answers like, “An adult who cares and intervenes in their lives regularly to expose them to a world full of interesting phenomenon.” But more to your point: A [laptop or tablet][DT1] , preloaded with Scratch, LOGO, XCode, and a carefully curated set of textbooks and videos like Turtle Geometry (and maybe a collection of texts intended to radicalize a bit, like Lies My Teacher Told Me or John Holt’s How Children Fail). Why? Because I think that powerful tools without an agenda that enable authentically interesting work are more valuable than most realize. To quote Ivan Illich,
"People need not only to obtain things, they need above all the freedom to make things among which they can live, to give shape to them according to their own tastes, and to put them to use in caring for and about others. Prisoners in rich countries often have access to more things and services than members of their families, but they have no say in how things are to be made and cannot decide what to do with them.”

What is your region doing well currently to support education?

My favorite initiative of late is Massachussetts’ Innovation School legislation; its focus on aggressively seeding and supporting sandboxes where fundamentally new models can be designed is awfully exciting.

What is the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome to ensure students are receiving a quality education?

Resisting the variety of organizational and cultural forces which push you to do things to students, or maybe for them, but very rarely with them. This can look like anything from putting “the curriculum” ahead of real depth, uncomfortable conversations with parents about the [ir]relevance of the quadratic equation, liability policies which prohibit physical contact with students, etc.

How can teachers or school leaders facing similar challenges implement what you’ve learned through your work?

Guard and expand your autonomy jealously and aggressively. Advocate for policies which encourage planting many seeds and trying out many approaches to see what works, rather than attempting to plan for or optimize The One Way. Leverage parents’ actual interests and concerns, rather than trying to satisfy bureaucratic incentives. Start a school. Start a not-school. Take a Hippocratic Oath. Read Mindstorms and take it seriously.

How have you incorporated mobile devices/apps into your classroom and have you seen any improvements?

Our programs’ focus on computation, modeling, and representation means apps (and programming tools, broadly) figure prominently into participants’ experiences. The capacity for these tools to offer hands-on, constructionist approaches to traditionally academic subjects is incredible; however, overall I’d have to say that the technocentrism/technoutopianism in the ed tech community really narrows the conversation to the extent that it limits discussions of technology to, “How can technology help us do what we’ve always done, better?” instead of, “What are the new activities and approaches technology enables?” "
alecresnick  via:ablerism  2014  sprout&co  somerville  massachusetts  schools  education  informallearning  making  science  learning  howwelearn  constructivism  michaelnagle  shaunalynnduffy  somervillesteamacademy  seymourpapert  mindstorms  ivanillich  teaching  howweteach  pedagogy  technology  johnholt  scratch  logo  xcode  turtlegeometry  relationships  freedom  autonomy  agency  unschooling  deschooling  steam  inquiry  sprout 
november 2014 by robertogreco
sprout & co :: Rendering Learners Legible
"Educators talk a lot about ‘personalization.’ Is the animating purpose of “personalization” in to render students legible? If it is, could Sal Khan take the Hippocratic oath?"
alecresnick  education  legibility  jamescscott  2013  salkhan  ethics  unschooling  deschooling  personalization  individualization  sprout&co  data  inbloom  schools  facebook  google  khanacademy  netflix  sprout  salmankhan 
june 2014 by robertogreco
RADical Design for LEARNING -- Survey Seminar and Practical Action Laboratory
"Wtf is going on? Why are people limping out of 20 years of schooling without directed motivation, a solid internal compass, or a commitment to passionately pursuing their interests? Let's examine why in a cozy, edgy, authentic seminar where we balance theory with real-world action (praxis). We'll study the radical learning greats such as Illich, Papert, and Llewelyn, with focused readings and videos followed by discussion. Whenever possible we'll try to have the authors or their direct students available for Q&A&Q. And through hands-on labs and projects we'll design and enact experience-based transformations, like improvised music, consciousness altering strategies, electronics workshops etc. We can't wait to see you realize your wonderful ideas!"
unschooling  deschooling  education  syllabus  jaysilver  ericrosenbaum  mit  learning  mitmedialab  medialab  lifelongkindergarten  amosblanton  lego  seymourpapert  ivanillich  gracellewelyn  bilalghalib  jefflieberman  making  hackerspaces  lcproject  makerspaces  openstudioproject  grading  rubrics  assessment  diy  notbacktoschoolcamp  johnholt  piaget  mitchresnick  leahbuechley  eleanorduckworth  nuvu  nuvustudio  holeinthewall  sugatamitra  sprout  elsistema  theblueschool  computerclubhouse  drishya  bakhtiarmikhak  sudburyschools  sudburyvalleyschool  samcassat  seanstevens  frostburn  quaker  criticalmass  burningman  paulofreire  quakers  sprout&co  jeanpiaget  syllabi 
june 2013 by robertogreco
sprout & co.
"sprout is a community education and research organization devoted to creating and supporting the community-driven learning, teaching, and investigation of science. We're united by a passion to reclaim science as a richly personal and creative craft. Through our PROGRAMS & STUDIOS, we're working to make our vision real in Somerville.

You might say we're working to create a community college that lives up to its name—not a college in a community or a school in a building, but a community of people who work together as colleagues to explore questions they care about."

[From the Studios page]

"Our studios are a bit unusual. Here you can find out WHERE they are, how you can use them as a COWORKING space, a community VENUE, a WORKSHOP AND LABSPACE for independent investigation, or WHATEVER ELSE you have in mind. And if you're interested, you can read about WHY we run our studios the way we do."
deschooling  unschooling  schooldesign  venues  workshops  labspace  coworking  glvo  shaunalynnduffy  alecresnick  michaelnagle  lcproject  openstudioproject  mit  massachusetts  somerville  learning  community  diy  sprout  makerspaces  hackerspaces  education  science  design  boston  sprout&co 
september 2012 by robertogreco

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