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robertogreco : via:willrichardson   17

Janwaar Castle Our Principles - Janwaar Castle
"Janwaar Castle is a sandbox project for which the principles are clearly defined (without being taught or said) and inside this sandbox everything is possible. It is up to the children what we take forward. The options are manifold. Our principles are simple:

Systems over objects
We believe in networks and we think in networks. Janwaar Castle is a network based model. Therefore we put systems over objects and constantly ask ourselves how do we responsibly participate in the village and the area around us.

Emergence over authorities
We don’t tell the children what to do. We let them do, observe and then guide them in the things they’ve chosen to do. It’s not on us to decide what will be done or what is right or wrong. And they don’t need to ask for permission. They can simply go ahead and do.

Pull over push
Janwaar Castle pulls from the network as it needs it rather than keep everything in stock. We are agile. Resources one considers as assets actually become liabilities when one wants to be agile.

Resilience over strength
It is not the fittest or strongest who keeps Janwaar Castle running, it’s the one who is ready to go the long distance if needed and to achieve balance within the Janwaar Castle ecosystem.

Disobedience over compliance
This is a tough one for India. You don’t win Nobel prizes for doing what you’re told. We need to create environments that are resilient to the automatization of the world, and that require disobedience and encourage to ask questions. A lot of civics is about disobedience.

Compasses over maps
At Janwaar Castle it’s much more important to navigate and find your own way in life than following a pre-defined path or a standardized curriculum.

Learning over education
Education is something what you do to others. Learning is what you do to yourself. And this is what Janwaar Castle is all about.

Practice over theory
We do. We build stuff. We fail. We do it again differently. We might fail again. Then we do it again. And we learn by doing so. We succeed. This way the kids for instance have learnt to fix their skateboards, to use their tablets and to skateboard. Without instruction. What they’ve learnt will stay with them.

We over me
Janwaar Castle is community oriented, it doesn’t focus on the individual. This is a natural outcome of the network and the system thinking we’ve embraced."

[See also:
"Why A German Woman Built A Skatepark In Rural Madhya Pradesh"
http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2016/08/23/why-a-german-woman-built-a-skatepark-for-rural-children-in-madhy/

"The first hurdle was bringing the children from the Adivasi and Yadav communities together.

"In the village we have Adivasis and Yadavs -- they are strictly separated in their houses. First the Yadav kids came to the skatepark, they were 'pushing out' the Adivasis," she said.

The Adivasi and the Yadav children wouldn't skate together. They had different timings.

But, slowly, things changed. "Now the skatepark has a mix of Adivasi and Yadav, boys and girls, and all age groups," she said.

Recalling an incident, she said, "A key moment in this was in one of our morning sessions. There was a little Adivasi girl standing in the middle of our circle. She was dirty like hell, no one wanted to give her the hand and include her in the circle. So, I did. A few seconds later a Yadav boy took the other hand and she was included."" ]
janwaarcastle  education  learning  resilience  systemsthinking  systems  emergence  emergentcurrciulum  sfsh  disobedience  compliance  democracy  practice  theory  praxis  skateboarding  skating  skateparks  lcproject  openstudioproject  children  empowerment  standardization  curriculum  via:willrichardson  standards  community  individualism  networks  india  madhyapradesh  inclusion  inclusivity  skateboards 
september 2016 by robertogreco
The Failure of Failure
"Alas, the fundamental difference between approaching success and avoiding failure will be missed by anyone who tends to focus only on behaviors — what can be observed and measured — rather than on how an individual interprets what happened. The good news is that not every goof in setting up a math problem will register in the child’s mind as a spirit-crushing Failure.

The bad news is that coming up short may indeed be experienced by children as debilitating, particularly under certain circumstances. As Deborah Stipek of Stanford University explains, that experience may change kids’ understanding of why they succeed or fail. Unlike “children who have a history of good performance,” those who have learned to see themselves as failures are “more likely to attribute success [when it does happen] to external causes, and failure to a lack of ability.” A kid who doesn’t do well assumes that if he does succeed, he must have just gotten lucky — or that the task was easy. And he assumes that if he fails again, which he regards as more likely, it’s because he doesn’t have what it takes.

This quickly becomes a vicious circle because attributing results to causes outside of one’s control makes people feel even more helpless, even less likely to do well in the future. The more they fail, the more they construct an image of themselves that leads to still more failure. That’s particularly true when students are deliberately given overly difficult tasks in the name of “rigor.” Or when the failure occurs in the context of intense pressure to succeed — or, worse, to defeat other students who are also trying to succeed. (If little evidence demonstrates the value of failing, no evidence has ever found any value in losing — or in pitting children against one another in general.)

Under certain circumstances, yes, it’s possible for a child to pick herself up and try again, just as we might hope. But it’s simply not the most likely outcome. The experience of having failed is a uniquely poor bet for anyone who wants to maximize the probability of future success. Moreover, it’s not just achievement that suffers. Kids who fail also tend to (1) lose interest in whatever they’re doing (say, learning), and (2) prefer easier tasks. It’s hard for someone to stay excited about something she has reason to think she can’t do well, and it’s even harder for her to welcome a more difficult version of whatever she was doing. In fact, failure often leads kids to engage in what psychologists call “self-handicapping”: They deliberately make less of an effort in order to create an excuse for not succeeding. They’re able to tell themselves that if they had tried, they might have done much better.

Even someone who really does buckle down and try harder when he fails may be doing so out of an anxious, compulsive pressure to feel better about himself rather than because he takes pleasure from what he’s doing. (This is only one of many possible concerns about the idea of “grit” that has taken the field of education by storm.) To that extent, anyone concerned about children’s mental health, not just how well they do in school, has even more reason to be skeptical about the tendency to romanticize failure.

All these findings are sobering — or at least they should be. But as with many similar claims about what’s good for children, I’ve noticed that assertions about the value of failure aren’t always based on its actual effects. People who believe it’s good for children to fail tend not to back down when presented with contrary evidence. Instead, they insist that “kids these days” are overprotected and have things too easy. Thus, what was originally offered as an empirical claim (about the allegedly positive impact of failure) is revealed to be a matter of ideology: Children ought to have to struggle, regardless of its effects.

One last point: What’s so powerful about making structural changes — adopting the kind of curriculum and pedagogy described in that Singapore study, for example — is that they really can help students to be more successful (and excited) learners. But to reframe the issue as “productive failure” may distract us from the need for such changes and lead us instead to accept the misleading idea that what kids mostly need is more opportunities to fail. This is closely related to the “fix the kid, not the schools” narrative lurking in the grit fad that I mentioned a moment ago — and also in the closely related enthusiasm for promoting a “growth mindset.”

Maybe someone just figured that the language of productive failure is a clever way to sell valuable progressive practices to a wider audience, rather like rebranding them as “21st-century skills” or “brain-based education.” But that just raises the question: How in the world did this come to be a selling point? Why have so many people accepted the idea that kids need to fail more?"
alfiekohn  education  struggle  failure  progressiveeducation  progressive  2016  psychology  children  curriculum  teaching  learning  howweteach  howwelearn  via:willrichardson  grit  misreadingings  sfsh 
june 2016 by robertogreco
Refugee Data Tells Visual Stories of a Changing World - Scientific American Blog Network
"Two interactive infographics help users visualize today's global refugee crisis and compare it with similar crises in the past "



""While this visualization limits its scope to Europe, the Middle East, and northern Africa, and only covers 2012-2015, these decisions allow for a remarkable level of granularity in the stories it tells. To leave all filters off and watch the continuous, daily flow of asylum-seekers is mesmeric, if rather overwhelming. But hover over Syria, and the formerly chaotic data becomes powerfully transparent. Moreover, as the slider inches toward September and October of 2015, the dense stream of white pixels becomes not only illuminating, but somehow, oddly moving.

As the current refugee crisis continues to transform lives and challenges more nations to respond—ideally with compassion—this map is bound to shift in new ways every day. I trust that, at the very least, someone will be there to visualize it.
datascience  data  refugees  datavisualization  via:willrichardson  2016  maps  mapping 
january 2016 by robertogreco
The Superintendent Who Turned Around A School District By Tackling Poverty : NPR
"We often hear about school districts that struggle with high poverty, low test scores and budget problems. But one district has faced all of these and achieved remarkable results.

In just over three years, Superintendent Tiffany Anderson, who oversees the Jennings School District in Jennings, a small city just outside St. Louis, has led a dramatic turnaround in one of the worst-performing systems in Missouri.

Anderson has embraced a holistic approach to solving the problems of low-performing students by focusing on poverty above all else, and using the tools of the school district to alleviate the barriers poverty creates.

"We serve the whole child," Anderson tells NPR's Michel Martin. "The leverage point for me is the school system."

The school district of 3,000 students has taken unprecedented steps, like opening a food pantry to give away food, a shelter for homeless students and a health clinic.

"My purpose is to remove the challenges that poverty creates," she says. "You cannot expect children to learn at a high level if they come in hungry and tired."

That unconventional approach has had big results. When Anderson took over in 2012, the school district was close to losing accreditation. Jennings had a score of 57 percent on state educational standards. A district loses accreditation if that score goes below 50 percent.

Two years later, that score was up to 78 percent, and in the past year rose again to 81 percent, Anderson says. She points to a 92 percent four-year graduation rate, and a 100 percent college and career-placement rate.

Anderson is quick to give credit to the entire community for the improvement. "No one person can do this," she says. "The staff, the teachers, the board ... have worked together collectively to demonstrate that our kids can exceed at very high levels."

Anderson talks of "removing barriers" like the barrier of hunger. The district has a food pantry that gives out 8,000 pounds of food each month. Between 200 and 400 families are getting food from the schools, she says.

And health care: "If a child breaks an arm, come to school, we have a pediatrician there," Anderson says. Students who would otherwise have had to travel long distances to see a doctor can now stay in school.

Through a partnership with Washington University in St. Louis, a clinic opened in Jennings Senior High School this year. In addition to medical care, the clinic offers "mental health counseling, case management and wellness education," according to the university.

The newest effort is Hope House, which opened in November. The school office building was vacant, and "I don't think schools should sit vacant," Anderson says, so they refurbished the house. The foster home now houses at least eight children, with foster parents from the community, according to the school district. One house resident, formerly homeless 17-year-old Gwen McDile, told The Washington Post that since she's moved in, "I've eaten more in the last two weeks than I've eaten in the last two years."

There's more: washers and dryers in schools, free to use in exchange for one hour of volunteering; free groceries at parent-teacher organization meetings; parenting classes.

In addition to her efforts to remove barriers to students and families, Anderson wants teachers to think differently about how they approach problems in the classroom.

Anderson says training in dismantling racism is one of the first trainings for teachers in districts where she has worked. There's also equity training. She recently placed many teachers in poverty for a week in a simulation. And all staff in the school district will soon have training to deal with trauma and how to defuse tense situations.

Part of the funding for these efforts comes from donations from Jennings residents and many local businesses. But for programs like these to continue, "we're going to have to have buy-in from a lot of people, inside and outside of Jennings," Anderson says.

The district still has a lot to improve upon. As the Post noted, "just 36 percent of the graduates in 2015 scored high enough on the ACT, SAT or similar tests to meet Missouri's definition of 'college and career ready.' "

But Anderson largely ruminates on the positive, of what can be done, rather than the roadblocks along the way.

In 2016, she's weighing the possibility of adding dental care to the services in schools, while continuing to grow and improve existing programs and academic performance.

"In Jennings we changed how we served people. We see ourselves in their shoes. What happens to them matters because what happens to them affects me," Anderson says. "That's a whole different way of thinking, and inspires people to do more.""
schools  publicschools  2016  education  policy  poverty  missouri  tiffanyanderson  community  jenningsschooldistrict  via:willrichardson  health  healthcare  food  wellness  well-being 
january 2016 by robertogreco
Education Outrage: Reading is no way to learn
"This is a column that attacks reading. No one attacks reading. Let’s just assume I am crazy and push on.

Reading is a pretty recent idea in human history. It hasn’t worked out. It has given us some pretty good things, like literature, for example, or the possibility of communicating with my audience right now. But these things will be going away soon, and good riddance.

For years, I was an advisor to the Chairman of The Board of Encyclopedia Britannica. My job was to eat dinner with him every few months. At each dinner he asked me if there would still be books in five years. I said that there would be except there wouldn’t be his book. “Encyclopedias will disappear” I asserted.

I was thinking about this on a business call the other day. The man I was speaking with was concerned with how training was done at his very large engineering firm. He was rightly worried about “death by Power Point.” He used as an example of what he wanted to build people who learn to change a tire by changing one and then went on to describe quite accurately how we learn in such situations (by practice was the point, something you can’t do in Power Point.) But, he started his explanation by saying the first step in tire changing would be to get out the instruction manual on how to change a tire and read it.

I said that I had never actually read an instruction manual and that they haven’t actually been around for very long in human history. When a young boy wanted to learn to hunt lions he didn’t read the instruction manual, nor did he take a class. Throughout human history we have learned by watching someone older than ourselves, trying to copy that person, trying to be part of the team, and then trying things for yourself, and asking for help when we have failed. It is not that complicated. This is what learning has always looked like. And then, someone invented instruction manuals and we all forgot what we knew about learning. We replaced human mentors by Power Point lectures and asking by reading.

Great. And we wonder why we have trouble teaching people to do complex skills. There is nothing difficult about it. When you need to try to accomplish something that you want to accomplish, you need to have someone who knows how to do those things watch over you and you need to have someone whose work you can observe and copy. You need to be able to try and fail and you need to be able to practice. Reading doesn’t come up.

When I say things like this it makes people nuts. The other day I had a conversation with a woman in which I asserted that no learning takes place without conversation. She objected and said that she could look up something in Wikipedia any time she wanted and learn something that way.

No I said. You can’t. She was flabbergasted.

First, let’s ask why Wikipedia exists. In part, it exists because Encyclopedia Britannica couldn’t keep up. But also, it exists because we live a in a world where we don’t know whom to ask. I get asked nearly every day what certain words mean or what certain ideas are about. I am asked because the people I am interacting with know I might know and know that I am always happy to teach. But mostly I am asked because people know that I give quick short answers to their questions. When you have someone to ask, you ask. Reading is the alternative when there is no one to ask.

Let’s assume you always had available at your disposal a panel of experts who could be asked any questions you needed to ask. Would you ever read? (That panel is coming soon.) This morning I had a medical question. There was no one to ask. So I started to read. But this is rarely anyone’s first alternative.

The second problem with the “I can always look it up” model is simply this: You won’t remember what you read. Now we have had a lot of practice at attempting to remember what we read. That practice is called school. We read. We study. We memorize. We take tests. And we are somehow all convinced that we have remembered what we read.

Every year I would ask my students on the first day of class at Yale and Northwestern if they could pass the tests they took last year, right now. No one ever thought they could. They studied. They listened. They memorized. And then they forgot. We don’t learn by reading nor do we learn by listening.

We do learn by talking. Assuming we are talking with someone who is more or less our equal and has ideas not identical to ours, we learn by challenging them and ourselves to think hard. We mull ideas. We try out ideas. Even after a good conversation, it is hard to remember what we were talking about. If we do remember it, it means we were changed by that conversation in some way. Something we believed we now have a different perspective on. And we have enabled practice. Practicing talking is like practicing any physical skill. You won’t learn to hit a baseball unless you repeatedly hit one over years of practice. The same true of ideas or facts. Students can temporarily memorize facts but if they don't use them again they will forget them. We need to practice what we know until we are barely aware that we know it, until what we know becomes instinct. We don’t know how we talk for example, but we can talk, because we learned how to talk and practice it every day.

Our world has gotten obsessed with reading. Every entrance exam is at least half about reading. People one up each other by citing what books they have read. If you haven’t read one they think is important they can look down on you. (But, it is actually unlikely they remember much from the actual book. They might remember what they were thinking or talking about after reading the book.) This is the modern era. Things have been like this since the invention of texts. Lecturing followed the invention of texts (so the text could be read to you). But this is all going away soon. Socrates noted this in discussing the invention of reading and writing:

“For this invention will produce forgetfulness in the minds of those who learn to use it, because they will not practice their memory. Their trust in writing, produced by external characters which are no part of themselves, will discourage the use of their own memory within them. You have invented an elixir not of memory, but of reminding; and you offer your pupils the appearance of wisdom, not true wisdom, for they will read many things without instruction and will therefore seem to know many things, when they are for the most part ignorant and hard to get along with, since they are not wise, but only appear wise.” (Phaedrus 274c-275b)

Reading is going away. Books are going away. There are already better ways of disseminating knowledge. But the schools are difficult to change. Training is difficult to change. People who use the internet can’t imagine a life without the tools that are on there now. But there are new tools coming.

The main advantage of reading is that we can skip around. We skim rather than read. It is hard to skim when someone is talking. And then one day, maybe it won’t be."
via:willrichardson  reading  rogerschank  talking  mentoring  mentors  communication  howwelearn  learning  schools  education  thinking  2015  howweread 
july 2015 by robertogreco
How My Son Learned to Read When We Stopped Trying to Teach Him — The Synapse — Medium
"We were homeschooling, and our son was six years old. He had a good vocabulary and comprehension of ideas beyond many kids his age. We knew reading would open up the world to him, we knew he’d like it, and we knew he was very capable of doing it. But he didn’t.

We tried flashcards. We tried read-alongs. We tried playing hardball and we tried being fun and exciting. We tried restricting activities until he’d done his reading lessons, and we tried giving rewards. All these efforts had two things in common: they didn’t help him read one bit, and they made our relationship with him worse. Being a parent and being a child cease to be fun when you’re at odds all the time.

So, at an age when we were starting to worry about his lagging behind, we simply stopped trying. We quit the whole effort. He was nearly seven when we gave it up in favor of more peace and harmony in the house.

Daily life was a little easier, yet we still had this nagging worry about him. What will happen if he’s behind where he’s supposed to be for his age? Still, everything about our efforts to make him read felt wrong, so we simply ignored the fears.

I was reading a lot of great books on how kids learn and I knew intellectually that kids need no instruction to learn to read. They will learn when they find it valuable and if they are in an environment where it’s possible — one with books and other readers. Still the head and the heart are very different things. I knew kids were better at self-teaching than being taught, but I had to watch my own son, sharp as he was, remain completely outside the wonderful world of the written word.

Then it happened, just like so many of the books said it would. You believe it in stories, but it’s still a surprise when it happens in real life. One night I overheard my son reading aloud to himself in his bed. And the first thing he read wasn’t Dick and Jane, but Calvin & Hobbes. Not light fare for a brand new reader.

Let me back up a bit. We would often read to him for a few minutes before bed, and lately he had been in love with some old Calvin & Hobbes comics I had from my adolescence. We’d read him a few pages and say goodnight. One night it was later than usual and he asked me if I’d read. I was a bit grumpy and tired, and I said no, I was going to bed. He protested a bit but could see I wasn’t up for it so he let it go, seeming defeated. Ten minutes later I heard him reading.

He later told me that he wasn’t actually reading it that night, nor the first several nights after when he spoke the words (and often laughed) aloud. He had heard us read it so many times he had the words memorized. He was looking at the pictures and reciting the words like lines to a familiar song. I didn’t know this until long after he could clearly read without first memorizing, but it really doesn’t matter. In fact, it’s probably better that my wife and I assumed he was reading it when we first heard him, or we might have been tempted to intervene and try to cajole him into reading it without the cheat of memory and illustrations. I know too well the kind of unhappy outcome that would have created.

For a year or more we fought with a kid who clearly had all the tools to read, and we got nowhere. He wasn’t faking his inability — he really couldn’t read. Reading was always an activity that interrupted his day and was associated with expectant and often visibly (despite attempts to hide it) stressed parents. It was a concept as useless as it was foreign. But once he had a strong desire — to enjoy his favorite comic strip — and his inability to read was the barrier, he overcame it in no time and never even celebrated or announced it to us. It was utilitarian, not some lofty thing to perform for a gold star or a pat on the back. His ability and interest in reading, then writing and spelling, only intensified as he found it indispensable for playing games like Minecraft and Scribblenauts.

We’ve since made a full transition from the imposed curriculum of homeschooling to the kid-created structure of unschooling. Looking back, I’m a little ashamed of the silly way we approached things before, but at the time it was so hard to let go with all that crippling fear. There are so many “shoulds” pumped into parents’ brains from the moment they conceive. There are percentiles and averages and tests and rankings galore. But these are useful only to the statisticians, and none of them have your child’s interest or happiness in mind. Aggregates aren’t individuals. Living your life, or attempting to shape your child’s life, to conform to the average of some population is not a recipe for success. At best it will produce blandness, at worst a broken spirit.

You can read any number of thinkers like John Holt, John Taylor Gatto, or Peter Gray on why our son’s experience is not exceptional, but normal. You can look at studies that show kids who learn to read at age four and kids who learn at age nine have the same reading comprehension by age 11. You can get story after story from places like the Sudbury Valley school about kids who taught themselves to read in a few short weeks once they got the interest, and even one girl who didn’t become interested until age 13 and then went on to win a literary prize. But it’s all theory and myth until you experience it with your own child.

Read the books. Look into the unschooling movement and literature. But above all, take a step back from your own kids and realize that they are only young once and for such a short time. Do you really want your memories with them to consist of fights and forced lessons? Enjoy them. Let them go their own way and navigate the world. There are few things more exciting than when they come to you to ask for your help or insight because they really want it, or when they never do because they figure it out on their own and gain a confidence that cannot be won any other way.

The world we live in does not lack for natural incentives to learn to read. The rewards are massive, as are the costs of illiteracy. We don’t need to artificially incentivize reading the way a poor farmer might have a few hundred years ago. When we do we do more harm than good, if not to our children’s ability to read then at least to our enjoyment of our time with them. They figured out how to speak — the most difficult, nuanced, and complex skill a human can master — without any formal instruction. They can learn to read too."
reading  learning  howwelearn  homeschool  unschooling  deschooling  children  teaching  howweteach  isaacmorehouse  cv  purpose  edg  srg  glvo  education  via:willrichardson 
july 2015 by robertogreco
What I learned by asking 100 school kids about the future of work
"In May this year I gave a different style of presentation at an Ignite event in San Francisco to the ones I normally do. As an analyst and someone who gets excited by telling stories about the possibilities of technology I do a fair bit of research and digging around, but I needed something different. Simply regurgitating the same facts and numbers over and over in meme fashion that we read every week wasn’t enough.

So I went back to school. Literally.

I approached the head teacher of a local primary school and asked her help, I needed to find out from the kids what they expect their future to look like when they enter the business world. She graciously agreed and roped in the other teachers to coordinate. Bear in mind we’re talking a vast age range here, from 5 to 11-year-olds, girls and boys. I really didn’t have any expectations, save for feedback like ‘flying cars’, ‘moon based offices’, like a cross between the Jetsons and Star Trek.

What I got back was so grounded and well thought out its made me challenge just how we seem to approach our own thinking about the future.

I, robot
Kids love robots but there wasn’t a hint of Optimus Prime anywhere. They wanted helpers in the office, assistants to help them achieve their work in a more productive way. They expect things like virtual assistants that we are learning to live with in Cortana and Google to be completely woven into the fabric of business, ambiently aware of our needs and not explicitly called into action. They understood that robots have a purpose and they should be part of the process, not extraneous to it.

What, no PC and Pa$$w0rd5?
There was no mention of the humble PC. In fact, if it has a surface, kids expect to be able to interact with it, be it a table, wall, window. Everything was game. Virtual reality and holography were key to how kids today expect to conduct business tomorrow. Not only that, the notion of passworded security didn’t even feature. Everything was passively tied to a user’s biometrics, whether fingerprint, facial or voice recognition, security and privacy was again an ambient process that wasn’t explicitly invoked.

Children value the idea of privacy long before they understand the full implications of it.

I don’t want e-mail
What child does? These were no exception. They valued multi-video collaboration and mobile working above traditional methods we use today. Kids collaborate using Google Hangouts and Skype to complete their homework assignments — at the age of 11. Yet in an office environment we still find it rare to conduct business this way. Kids won’t when they enter the business world, they expect it as a minimum.

Change the emotion of work
Perhaps the best conclusion from the entries was that children expect work to have an emotional connection, not be a hard, grey environment they spend the vast majority of their lives in. The whole office is expected to be crowdshaped according to the moods from the workers, in real-time. Colours, visuals, smells, sounds.

It’s not a bad idea, and beat the ubiquitous bean bag and pinball machine afterthought some companies subscribe to.

Another brick in the wall?
This became the title of the presentation, which you can find on my Slideshare account and also can view the Ignite talk from the MemSQL HQ. After reading 100+ golden nuggets of inspiration four things became clear:

1. We are ignoring a key generation in understanding what they want us to build for the future, and not everything they suggest is far-fetched. Millennials are the wrong people we should be talking to if we want to stay ahead of the game.

2. We are guilty of not taking the business and IT world into the classroom earlier. We surround ourselves in stats and scores to affirm our position around STEM education, genders in classrooms, and wait for the policymakers to change things. We should be the ones to change things.

3. We need more -eers. There has been an overt focus on developers. Indeed most curriculums are looking into computer science and programming to be part of the education system because of the shortfall in skills predicted. But we need to think broader than this. We need more engineers, imagineers, creationeers. People who can create, build and program. If we truly are entering an age where 50 billion devices will connect and talk across the Internet then who is going to build and maintain them all? A developer can’t, but an engineer can.

4. It was the girls who gave the most detailed feedback in the entries I received. Stop creating pie charts about girls leaving STEM subjects and just talk to them.

Kids want to learn about business, IT, and STEM subjects faster than we are prepared to keep up with because we’re so preoccupied about creating a future we want to see, but will never inhabit by the time it’s built.

So, my advice. This year go back to school. Search out the golden nuggets that are hidden in the classrooms across your countries. Talk to the real generation we should be building a future for.

You might learn something."
2015  theopriestley  children  wrok  future  via:willrichardson  education  email  robots  automation  work  labor  fulfillment  collaboration  videoconferencing  computing  technology 
july 2015 by robertogreco
What's the Meaning of Life If Society Doesn't Need You Any Longer? - Singularity HUB
"If you have a job, odds are society benefits from your work, and theoretically, the compensation you receive is how the marketplace values your contribution. All other things being equal, the better you are at your job, the better the compensation. But the vast majority of people in the world aren't the best at what they do (think about the math for a moment). Truth is, most of us aren't rockstar anythings...we're just doing the best we can, but hey, we're still contributing as evidenced by a paycheck.

At the same time, most people aren't really satisfied with their jobs — possibly because a lot of positions aren't necessary. Most would rather do some other kind of work that more closely aligns with their passions or hobbies. But people need a certain amount of money to live, so they take work that meets their and their family's needs. It's a tradeoff, but most feel it's more ethical to sacrifice your interests for stable pay.

That's the world of today, but in the future, could both of these notions get upended?

Possibly. Some will soon find that the contributions they make to society are no longer valued compared to what artificial intelligence and robotics can achieve. Instead of just some humans being better at your job than you, low-cost technologies will be. As machines take over this work, would we really want to fight for these jobs? After all, if the contributions we're making to society aren't really what we care about anyway, why fight for jobs we can't stand, especially if a universal basic income was instated?

At a recent Executive Program hosted by Singularity University, four faculty members —Paul Saffo, Jeremy Howard, Neil Jacobstein, and Kathryn Myronuk — explored these topics during the Future of Work panel. The issue at hand: What are people going to do in the face of these disruptive changes?

Neil Jacobstein, co-chair of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, offers one possible route forward: "You have to spend some time educating people about how they can do self-development, how they can move up Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs — that's part of what education should be about."

Approached from another angle, Kathryn Myronuk, who focuses on Synthesis and Convergence, suggested the parts of society that are soon to be automated will become part of the 'background infrastructure', like roads, electricity, and Internet access, that enables our lives."

[See also:

“Meaningful Lives Without Jobs?”
https://vimeo.com/130262595

“The End of Meaningless Jobs Is a Win For Us All”
http://singularityhub.com/2015/04/01/the-end-of-meaningless-jobs-is-a-win-for-us-all/ ]
via:willrichardson  2015  universalbasicincome  economics  meaning  purpose  work  labor  future  davidhill  kathrynmyronuk  paulsaffo  jeremyhoward  neiljacobstein  society  ubi 
july 2015 by robertogreco
John Dewey My Pedagogic Creed
" I believe that the only true education comes through the stimulation of the child's powers by the demands of the social situations in which he finds himself. Through these demands he is stimulated to act as a member of a unity, to emerge from his original narrowness of action and feeling and to conceive of himself from the standpoint of the welfare of the group to which he belongs. Through the responses which others make to his own activities he comes to know what these mean in social terms. The value which they have is reflected back into them. For instance, through the response which is made to the child's instinctive babblings the child comes to know what those babblings mean; they are transformed into articulate language and thus the child is introduced into the consolidated wealth of ideas and emotions which are now summed up in language."
johndewey  via:willrichardson  education  philosophy  pedagogy  schools  socialprogress  society 
june 2015 by robertogreco
Continuations : Why Are We Here?
"We spend a lot of time in tech inventing and building new things. Some people are perfectly happy doing so without needing a deeper reason — some simply want success, others wealth, and many are excited about the potential to make the world a better place. Still I am struck by an undercurrent of dissatisfaction even among people who have accomplished a lot. I attribute that to the lack of a deeper purpose. Few people in tech seem to accept an easy religious answer to the question of why we are here. I have struggled with that myself but feel comfortable with what I believe now.

If you have followed my blog for a while you know that I have written about personal change in the past. Part of that exploration for me has been reading key works in Hinduism and Buddhism. One of the foundational precepts of Buddhism is that everything is ephemeral. Human pain comes from our failure to accept this impermanence. We become attached to people or things and when they inevitably disappear we suffer. I have found this to be a profound insight with powerful consequences for everyday life. Letting go of attachments is the way to overcome most if not all of our fears of the future and regrets of the past.

Yet I also believe that there is an important exception: human knowledge. I have previously argued that knowledge is the information that we as humans choose to replicate over time. It thus includes historical accounts, scientific knowledge and cultural artifacts (including literature, music, art, etc). Knowledge is unique to humans at least here on our planet. Other species don’t have externalized information that outlives them individually (I say externalized to contrast knowledge with DNA).

Human knowledge in principle has the potential to be eternal. It could exist as long as the universe does (and as far as I know we aren’t sure yet whether that will come to an end). Knowledge could even outlive humanity and still be maintained and developed further by some artificial or alien intelligence that succeeds us. Although I would prefer for the contributors to include future generations of humans.

For me the very existence and possibility of human knowledge provides the answer to the question of why we are here and what we should try to accomplish in life. We should endeavor to contribute to knowledge. Given my definition this can mean a great many things, including teaching and making music and taking care of others. Anything that either adds to or reproduces knowledge is, so far, a uniquely human activity and why we are here (“adding” includes questioning or even invalidating existing knowledge).

Once our basic needs are taken care of I believe we should devote much of our time to knowledge. We can still do things like create new products or start new companies (or invest in them). But we shouldn’t be mindless consumers of stuff or information. And we should focus on products or services that either contribute directly to knowledge or help others do so including by helping take care of basic needs (food, shelter, clothing, health, transportation, connectivity). This is also why I support the idea of a universal basic income.

Now at first blush the focus on knowledge sounds value free. What if you are inventing the nuclear bomb or worse? I have written about how values are important to guide what systems we build. I am convinced that many (and maybe all) of the values I believe in can be derived from the foundational value of knowledge, including, for example, conservation of the environment. I will write more on that in future posts.

This view of the meaning of life is what works for me personally and I am sharing it because it might work for others also. In doing so I am being consistent with the very belief I am describing. If these ideas have merit they will get replicated by others and carried forward over time and have a chance to become part of knowledge itself.

It is also likely that others have thought of this approach to the meaning of life before me. Knowledge is far vaster than what any one person can possibly know. And so as always when writing, I look forward to comments that point me to related work and people."
albertwenger  religion  purpose  meaning  via:willrichardson  2015  knowledge  buddhism  hinduism  humans  humanity  universalbasicincome  values  legacy  meaningoflife  satisfaction  ephemeral  ephemerality  attachment  everyday  suffering  presence  ubi 
june 2015 by robertogreco
Continuous learning : it’s a mindset not a technology or product | Learning in the Modern Workplace
"In this fast-moving world, we constantly need to learn new stuff. In the workplace, this is particularly important, as I showed in an earlier blog post, where Jacob Morgan talks of the future employee moving from “knowledge worker” (knowing stuff) to “learning worker” (learning new stuff).

So how can organisations support continuous learning at work?

1. It doesn’t mean creating more training or e-learning and force-feeding it to people. It means encouraging and supporting individuals to continuously learn for themselves.

2. It doesn’t mean trying to manage everyone’s learning for them – and trying to track it all in a LMS, It means everyone taking responsibility for their own learning, and managers measuring success in terms of job and team performance.

Of course, many individuals are already doing this – as a natural part of who they are – and that is what is giving them a personal competitive edge at work (as well as in life). They are always aware of what they learning, they seek out new opportunities to do so, and they share their thoughts (often in their blogs).

Although many organizations are implementing social technologies to support sharing at work, it takes more than technology to underpin continuous learning

Continuous learning is a mindset not a product or technology.

It means ..

• working with managers to help them build a learning mindset in their teams, and to provide the time and space to do so – and to measure success by changes in job and team performance.

• working with individuals to encourage and support independent (self-organised, self-managed) learning, e.g. showing them how

-- to extract the “learning” from their daily work

-- to discover the wide range of learning opportunities on offer – not just internally but also on the Web through professional networking, “learning the new”– through both people and content, formal and informal; and

-- to share the good stuff with their colleagues

• working with teams to support valued (rather than indiscriminate) sharing of learning and experiences

Whereas there is still a need for a L&D department to provide training (and manage that it has been done), continuous learning is not the sole responsibility of the L&D department – everyone has a part to play."
learning  lms  janehart  2015  via:willrichardson  self-organization  technology  mindset  management  leadership  administration 
june 2015 by robertogreco
The Right to Control One's Learning - The Natural Child Project
"Young people should have the right to control and direct their own learning; that is, to decide what they want to learn, and when, where, how, how much, how fast, and with what help they want to learn it. To be still more specific, I want them to have the right to decide if, when, how much, and by whom they want to be taught and the right to decide whether they want to learn in a school and if so which one and for how much of the time.

No human right, except the right to life itself, is more fundamental than this. A person's freedom of learning is part of his freedom of thought, even more basic than his freedom of speech. If we take from someone his right to decide what he will be curious about, we destroy his freedom of thought. We say, in effect, you must think not about what interests and concerns you, but about what interests and concerns us.

We might call this the right of curiosity, the right to ask whatever questions are most important to us. As adults, we assume that we have the right to decide what does or does not interest us, what we will look into and what we will leave alone. We take this right for granted, cannot imagine that it might be taken away from us. Indeed, as far as I know, it has never been written into any body of law. Even the writers of our Constitution did not mention it. They thought it was enough to guarantee citizens the freedom of speech and the freedom to spread their ideas as widely as they wished and could. It did not occur to them that even the most tyrannical government would try to control people's minds, what they thought and knew. That idea was to come later, under the benevolent guise of compulsory universal education.

This right of each of us to control our own learning is now in danger. When we put into our laws the highly authoritarian notion that someone should and could decide what all young people were to learn and, beyond that, could do whatever might seem necessary (which now includes dosing them with drugs) to compel them to learn it, we took a long step down a very steep and dangerous path. The requirement that a child go to school, for about six hours a day, 180 days a year, for about ten years, whether or not he learns anything there, whether or not he already knows it or could learn it faster or better somewhere else, is such a gross violation of civil liberties that few adults would stand for it. But the child who resists is treated as a criminal.

The right I ask for the young is a right that I want to preserve for the rest of us, the right to decide what goes into our minds. This is much more than the right to decide whether or when or how much to go to school or what school you want to go to. That right is important, but it is only part of a much larger and more fundamental right, which I might call the right to learn, as opposed to being educated, i.e. made to learn what someone else thinks would be good for you. It is not just compulsory schooling but compulsory education that I oppose and want to do away with.

That children might have the control of their own learning, including the right to decide if, when, how much, and where they wanted to go to school, frightens and angers many people. They ask me, "Are you saying that if the parents wanted the child to go to school, and the child didn't want to go, that he wouldn't have to go? Are you saying that if the parents wanted the child to go to one school, and the child wanted to go to another, that the child would have the right to decide?" Yes, that is what I say. Some people ask, "If school wasn't compulsory, wouldn't many parents take their children out of school to exploit their labor in one way or another?" Such questions are often both snobbish and hypocritical. The questioner assumes and implies (though rarely says) that these bad parents are people poorer and less schooled than he. Also, though he appears to be defending the right of children to go to school, what he really is defending is the right of the state to compel them to go whether they want to or not. What he wants, in short, is that children should be in school, not that they should have any choice about going.

But saying that children should have the right to choose to go or not to go to school does not mean that the ideas and wishes of the parents would have no weight. Unless he is estranged from his parents and rebelling against them, a child cares very much about what they think and want. Most of the time, he doesn't want to anger or worry or disappoint them. Right now, in families where the parents feel that they have some choice about their children's schooling, there is much bargaining about schools. Such parents, when their children are little, often ask them whether they want to go to nursery school or kindergarten. Or they may take them to school for a while to try it out. Or, if they have a choice of schools, they may take them to several to see which they think they will like the best. Later, they care whether the child likes his school. If he does not, they try to do something about it, get him out of it, find a school he will like.

I know some parents who for years had a running bargain with their children, "If on a given day you just can't stand the thought of school, you don't feel well, you are afraid of something that may happen, you have something of your own that you very much want to do - well, you can stay home." Needless to say, the schools, with their supporting experts, fight it with all their might - Don't Give in to Your Child, Make Him Go to School, He's Got to Learn. Some parents, when their own plans make it possible for them to take an interesting trip, take their children with them. They don't ask the school's permission, they just go. If the child doesn't want to make the trip and would rather stay in school, they work out a way for him to do that. Some parents, when their child is frightened, unhappy, and suffering in school, as many children are, just take him out. Hal Bennett, in his excellent book No More Public School, talks about ways to do this.

To say that children should have the right to control and direct their own learning, to go to school or not as they choose, does not mean that the law would forbid the parents to express an opinion or wish or strong desire on the matter. It only means that if their natural authority is not strong enough the parents can't call in the cops to make the child do what they are not able to persuade him to do. And the law may say that there is a limit to the amount of pressure or coercion the parents can apply to the child to deny him a choice that he has a legal right to make.

When I urge that children should control their learning there is one argument that people bring up so often that I feel I must anticipate and meet it here. It says that schools are a place where children can for a while be protected against the bad influences of the world outside, particularly from its greed, dishonesty, and commercialism. It says that in school children may have a glimpse of a higher way of life, of people acting from other and better motives than greed and fear. People say, "We know that society is bad enough as it is and that children will be exposed to it and corrupted by it soon enough. But if we let children go out into the larger world as soon as they wanted, they would be tempted and corrupted just that much sooner."

They seem to believe that schools are better, more honorable places than the world outside - what a friend of mine at Harvard once called "museums of virtue." Or that people in school, both children and adults, act from higher and better motives than people outside. In this they are mistaken. There are, of course, some good schools. But on the whole, far from being the opposite of, or an antidote to, the world outside, with all its envy, fear, greed, and obsessive competitiveness, the schools are very much like it. If anything, they are worse, a terrible, abstract, simplified caricature of it. In the world outside the school, some work, at least, is done honestly and well, for its own sake, not just to get ahead of others; people are not everywhere and always being set in competition against each other; people are not (or not yet) in every minute of their lives subject to the arbitrary, irrevocable orders and judgment of others. But in most schools, a student is every minute doing what others tell him, subject to their judgment, in situations in which he can only win at the expense of other students.

This is a harsh judgment. Let me say again, as I have before, that schools are worse than most of the people in them and that many of these people do many harmful things they would rather not do, and a great many other harmful things that they do not even see as harmful. The whole of school is much worse than the sum of its parts. There are very few people in the U.S. today (or perhaps anywhere, any time) in any occupation, who could be trusted with the kind of power that schools give most teachers over their students. Schools seem to me among the most anti-democratic, most authoritarian, most destructive, and most dangerous institutions of modern society. No other institution does more harm or more lasting harm to more people or destroys so much of their curiosity, independence, trust, dignity, and sense of identity and worth. Even quite kindly schools are inhibited and corrupted by the knowledge of children and teachers alike that they are performing for the judgment and approval of others - the children for the teachers; the teachers for the parents, supervisors, school board, or the state. No one is ever free from feeling that he is being judged all the time, or soon may be. Even after the best class experiences teachers must ask themselves, "Were we right to do that? Can we prove we were right? Will it get us in trouble?"

What corrupts the school, and makes it so much worse than most of the people in it, or than they would like it to be, is its power - just as their powerlessness corrupts the students. The school is corrupted by the… [more]
1974  johnholt  education  children  schools  schooling  society  control  power  unschooling  deschooling  anxiety  competition  hierarchy  ranking  democracy  authoritatianism  parenting  via:willrichardson 
march 2015 by robertogreco
This Will Revolutionize Education - YouTube
"Many technologies have promised to revolutionize education, but so far none has. With that in mind, what could revolutionize education?

These ideas have been percolating since I wrote my PhD in physics education: http://www.physics.usyd.edu.au/super/theses/PhD(Muller).pdf

I have also discussed this topic with CGP Grey, whose view of the future of education differs significantly from mine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vsCAM17O-M

I think it is instructive that each new technology has appeared to be so transformative. You can imagine, for example, that motion pictures must have seemed like a revolutionary learning technology. After all they did revolutionize entertainment, yet failed to make significant inroads into the classroom. TV and video seem like a cheaper, scaled back film, but they too failed to live up to expectations. Now there is a glut of information and video on the internet so should we expect it to revolutionize education?

My view is that it won't, for two reasons: 1. Technology is not inherently superior, animations over static graphics, videoed presentations over live lectures etc. and 2. Learning is inherently a social activity, motivated and encouraged by interactions with others.

Filmed and edited by Pierce Cook

Supported by Screen Australia's Skip Ahead program."
edtech  teaching  learning  howwelearn  howweteach  education  2014  piercecook  relationships  veritasium  technology  via:willrichardson  social  interaction  conversation  brain  thinking  communication 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Rox and Roll: Parents: let Harvard go
"I want to tell every parent reading this post that you need to assume, right now, that your child is not getting into Harvard no matter what he or she does. (And no, he's not getting into Stanford either, or Yale, or Dartmouth, or MIT. Probably not UC Berkeley either. No, I'm not kidding.) Your kid isn't getting into the college you think he is.

What? So-and-so's child is at Princeton right now? and got what on his SATs? and did those activities? Hmmm. Interesting. Sure, you can prove me wrong with some examples. And I can prove myself right with a hundred more. Stanford's rate of admission was below 5% last year. Do the math.

In the spirit of "I want to do something," I offer below some Q & A that I hope y'all read and take to heart. These are real questions asked by real parents of real kids I know within the past year. I didn't answer these questions at the time exactly like I did below, but I answer them here and now based on a combination of my expertise in admissions (noting that nothing I say here should be construed as official advice or information given on behalf of any school) as well as my experience as a community leader and parent.

And be forewarned: I'm going to be a bit of a wise-ass, 'cause we all need to calm down like Martha says, which also means "lighten up" in my book.

But also, I promise a reward at the end: questions that I wish people would ask me instead. And I think -- I hope -- it's some valuable stuff."



"Post-publication note: This posts seems to have reached a lot of people who have a lot of strong reactions to it. I think the comment that reached me most on another person's Facebook page is one from a parent who thinks I am encouraging mediocrity. The snarky part of me wants to tell the dude he's right, that I tell my kids "aim low." But the truth is, this post is far from encouraging mediocrity or "settling" for anything less than a child can feel good about achieving. As a Palo Alto parent, I am tired of our culture of 'achievement' as defined by grades, scores, college admissions, and the like. And I am unapologetic about that. I have worked with our community's teens as a coach, as a youth minister, as a mentor, and as a parent, and I encourage every kid to be their best self. That means being proud of their work, whether in the classroom, on the playing field, and/or in the world. Do I think they need to engage in competition for one of those 15 slots at Stanford (there is no fixed number, and I wouldn't know it if there were) by trying to outwit, outplay, and outlast (to borrow "Survivor" lingo)? Nope. And beyond that, there are going to be times when our kids just don't want to work hard because they're kids and continue to push boundaries. They're going to blow off studying for a test. They're going to fail something. Good. That's right -- I said good. Their mistakes teach them that actions have consequences and that their effort ties to their outcomes. We can't give them that with carrots or with sticks. They'll figure it out. They want to do well -- as they define it. (They know what's up with college admissions without us even getting involved, parents.) And the more they figure out for themselves, with no message from us other than "we take you as you are and want you to be healthy and fulfilled," the healthier our kids are going to be. I want nothing but the best for our village's kids -- for any kids-- and I stuck my neck out there with the post because I refuse to define the "best" as it has been anymore. The best for our kids is no more of them self-harming in any way, and I feel like we can alleviate some of that by changing our tone."
colleges  universityis  admissions  parenting  2014  via:willrichardson  stress  pressure  anxiety  aps  ivyleague  motivation  harvard  collegeadmissions  testing  standardizedtesting  success  achievement  mediocrity  grades  grading  standards  sleep  teens  adolescence  highschool  schools  education  competition  learning  howwelearn  howweteach  apclasses 
november 2014 by robertogreco
The Future of Learning Environments: An Issue That Concerns the Students - Core77
"I have thought long and hard about what is needed as to create the ultimate learning environment, and come to the conclusion that it doesn't exist. The only thing we can do is to create as much of an advantageous basis for space to develop as possible. We can do this by developing a space that works in collaboration with the educators, by hiring teachers who burn for what they do, and to create spaces where students and teachers work together as a team to create a good atmosphere where learning is something that students genuinely want to do.

The school, in terms of both architecture and pedagogy, must take in consideration that people are different and they have different needs to feel good and comfortable, and ultimately fulfil their potential. Only after you have specified the needs and wishes of various individuals can you design a space that even comes close to what can be called "the ultimate learning environment," and this takes time, close collaboration between the various users and partners and the architects and engineers.

One of the things that I personally find to be important throughout the process is to design a solution that not only supports current pedagogy, but also challenges teachers and students to develop it further, and hopefully meets their future needs proactively. This is difficult, of course, since we can't possibly know what the future will bring, but what we can do is study and develop spaces that work in the present so we can stop designing and developing spaces that don't.

So let's collaborate and co-create more, let's take one another seriously when doing so, and let's develop ways of working where we truly understand what the other one is saying, and not just brush opinions under the rug because they aren't expressed in a language we can understand."
schooldesign  moadickmark  lcproject  openstudioproject  education  schools  flexibility  architecture  design  collaboration  cocreation  2014  via:willrichardson 
february 2014 by robertogreco
In English - Kunskapsskolan
"Personalised education - towards clear learning goals

Kunskapsskolan will provide the best schools in Sweden where every student, through personalised learning and clear goals, will stretch their boundaries and learn more than they thought possible.

In Kunskapsskolan, you as a pupil will be placed in the centre. Personalised education means that the school and the teachers start from and adapt themselves to your goals, your ambitions and your potentials - not the opposite.

The main task of the school is to impart knowledge. In addition to this, it is the aim of Kunskapsskolan to provide each pupil with additional skills - methods of acquiring and using a variety of knowledge, as well as personal development - to be able to meet a future world of vast flows of information and a rapid rate of change. The fundamental principle behind our method of learning is the conviction that all pupils are different and that they learn in different ways and at different rates…"
education  sweden  learning  schools  lcproject  tcsnmy  teaching  kunskapsskolan  via:willrichardson 
april 2011 by robertogreco

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