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robertogreco : willrichardson   57

We’re Having the Wrong Conversation About the Future Of Schools
"Despite the rhetoric, modern movements to reform schools have had a devastating effect on education"



"As a full-time teacher, I don’t have a lot of time to look up from the dailiness of the job to consider something as nebulous as the “future” of education. When I do, I feel a vague unease that too many non-teachers seem to have a lot of time to do this kind of thinking.

One thing in my favor is that education reform seems to take the same basic forms, year after year. There’s the standards and accountability movement and the ongoing attempts to give it “teeth.” Then there are the tech giants peddling autonomy and self-direction in lieu of soul-crushing activities like reading The Outsiders and using protractors. And though the latter reformers are often critics of the former, the two have a lot in common.

Both represent billion-dollar industries. Both frequently co-opt a rhetoric of liberation, autonomy, and empowerment. Both can barely disguise a deep disdain for teachers and schools, especially of the “sage on the stage” variety. And both are almost exclusively headed up by white men.

These are the kind of people setting a bold agenda for the future of education.

Admittedly, us unruly American educators would have a hard time coming up with anything coherent enough to compete with the brave visions set forth by the leaders of these two industries. The very fact that such an all-encompassing solution is needed testifies to their dominance in framing the narrative around American schools. Mired in the day-to-day challenges and complexities of actually caring for and educating children, many teachers exhibit a complete failure of imagination when it comes to sweeping monolithic initiatives with pithy acronyms, eye-catching logos, and font pairings that are straight fire.

But we do need to change. Beyond the usual Alice Cooper-type critiques, we teachers have been especially complicit in the widespread marginalizing, neuroticizing, and criminalizing of our most vulnerable students. Yes, we need to stop boring future white rockstars and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. This is already well known. But, more importantly, we also need to stop harming children of color with our whitewashed curriculum, inequitable funding systems, and disparate use of punitive disciplinary measures.

Can today’s reformers help us make progress toward these goals? Or do they exacerbate, perpetuate, and contribute to the very problems we face?

Trying to pin deception, manipulation, and violence on this rag-tag bunch leaves me feeling petty and mean-spirited. After all, they’re often so upbeat and sincere, their rhetoric so humanistic and progressive. Ted Dintersmith, former venture capitalist and billionaire author of the book What School Could Be, recently teamed up with Prince Ea, who has made not one but two viral videos echoing the same message: schools must change. And on the standards and accountability side, David Coleman, “architect” of the Common Core and now CEO of the College Board, has boldly laid out a “beautiful vision” for American schools. In a field plagued by widespread mediocrity and entrenched inequities, shouldn’t we applaud any moves toward a more inspiring, inclusive future?

The problem is that, despite all the rhetoric and good intentions, both these movements have had a devastating effect on education, all while continually escaping blame for their outsized impact. Any negative outcomes are used to justify further expansion and dominance. Poor test scores and persistent achievement gaps aren’t seen as issues with the tests, but as misalignment and implicit bias on the part of teachers. Student attention deficit and boredom aren’t seen as a function of technology addiction, but rather an occasion to blast schools for their inability to fully capitalize on the promise of the digital age.

Not surprisingly, this seeming unassailable innocence reveals close links to the logics of white supremacy culture, especially the values of individualism, objectivity, and so-called meritocracy. They additionally amplify neoliberal beliefs in the absolute goods of privacy and consumer choice, thus shifting the blame away from dominant elites under the guise of “empowerment.” To borrow the central metaphor from Todd Rose’s The End of Average, they ultimately seek to style us as fighter pilots in the “cockpits of our economy,” where we must summon limitless initiative, grit, and resourcefulness just to survive.

Ultimately, their ideas are rooted in America’s original “solutions” to the problems of pluralism, wherein subtle self-effacement and silencing became stratagems for consolidating power. All of this is part of a long tradition in the United States, one that dates back to colonial times, guiding both the “Strange Compromise” of 1789 and the founding of the Common School. Although these roots may be less obvious in our day, they are arguably more powerful and moneyed than ever before."



"Ultimately, the several silences of education reform have proven a powerful gambit for privatization and profit. These industries implicitly offer themselves as neutral alternatives to our fraught political climate, much as Horace Mann’s enjoinder to “read without comment” secularized schools in a sectarian age. They also shift the onus of agency and ownership from themselves onto the student, who assumes full responsibility for finding and following their own educational path.

Whereas Mann, perhaps unconsciously, hoped to indoctrinate students into his supposedly doctrineless Unitarianism, these reformers peddle the so-called empty doctrines of individualism, personalization, objectivity, entrepreneurialism, and meritocracy—all while exacerbating inequities and deprofessionalizing teachers.

Resisting these trends starts by seeing them as two sides of the same coin. Anything that counsels and valorizes silence—before the text, the test, or even the individual student—may partake in this phenomenon. The primary effect is always to atomize: content into itemized bits, classrooms into individualized projects and timelines, and each of us into solitary individuals pursuing personalized pathways.

Among the many omissions implicit in this vision is the notion that each student has equal access to a pathway of choice. Once that false premise is established, you are truly on your own. Pull yourself up by the bootstraps, find your own personal road less traveled, dive headfirst into the entrepreneurial shark tank. Unfortunately, far too many smaller-scale reform movements espouse a similar ethos, often flooding Twitter with a toxic positivity that ignores intransigent inequities and injustices."



"None of this is intended to romanticize the educational mainstays of the past: lectures, textbooks, worksheets. But we should note how these more modern trends themselves often devolve into regressive, behaviorist, sit-and-get pedagogy.

Confronted by daunting challenges like widespread budget shortfalls, inequitable funding, increasing school segregation, whitewashed curriculum, and racial injustice, it’s no wonder we would reach for solutions that appear easy, inexpensive, and ideologically empty. At a time when we most need to engage in serious deliberations about the purposes and future of schools, we instead equivocate and efface ourselves before tests and technology, leaving students to suffer or succeed within their own educational echo chamber.

As appealing as these options may seem, they are not without content or consequences. Ironically, today’s progressive educators find themselves in the strange position of having to fight reform, resisting those who would render everything—including their own intentions and impact—invisible."
arthurchiaravalli  education  edreform  reform  history  invisibility  progressive  siliconvalley  infividualism  horacemann  2018  collegeboard  individualism  personalization  commonschool  us  inequality  justice  socialjustice  injustice  race  racism  whitesupremacy  reading  hilarymoss  thomasjefferson  commoncore  davidcoleman  politics  policy  closereading  howweread  ela  johnstuartmill  louiserosenblatt  sat  standardizedtesting  standardization  tedtalks  teddintersmith  democracy  kenrobinson  willrichardson  entrepreneurship  toddrose  mikecrowley  summitschools  religion  secularism  silence  privatization  objectivity  meritocracy  capitalism  teaching  howweteach  schools  publicschools  learning  children  ideology  behaviorism  edtech  technology  society  neoliberalism 
december 2018 by robertogreco
More Seymours than Women: Imaginaries of Tomorrow - Long View on Education
"In Will Richardson and Bruce Dixon’s 10 Principles for Schools of Modern Learning, they present their imaginary about tomorrow: “Experts who study the world of work are growing more and more concerned that current systems of education are increasingly irrelevant when it comes to the preparation of students for what is a fast-changing and uncertain future of employment. … Regardless what the future holds, there is little doubt success in the future will first and foremost depend on one’s ability to learn, not on one’s accumulation of knowledge.”

Elsewhere, Richardson writes that “The most successful workers in the future will be those who are used to thinking and acting entrepreneurially. Princeton University professor Anne-Marie Slaughter suggests that a winning strategy for the future of work is to be able to ‘design your own profession and convince employers that you are exactly what they need.’ Or, as The New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman’s recent column declared, ‘Need a job? Invent it.'”

So, in their imaginary, success is tied to ability to learn, entrepreneurship, flexibility, and self-sufficiency. As I write in a recent review, this idea of education is premised on leaving people behind. The Disappointed Idealist makes a strong case that education as social mobility is based theories of the undeserving poor. Writing about their own children, they note:
“Yet their likely outcomes, their aspirations, and even the place they live – a seaside English town – are routinely condemned as failures by the dominant educational discourse. Unless they get results they can’t get, aspire to jobs they don’t want, and move to a place they do not wish to live in, then they have failed the social mobility test. They are undeserving. And the conditions which our society reserves for those who cannot or will not ‘escape’ from the reality of their lives are grim, and getting grimmer: zero-hours contracts, below-poverty pay, insecure housing, a punitive benefits system, and the gradual withdrawal of all manner of support from education, health and social services.”

So, we face a futurist deficit that we must address, not by keeping the same questions and filling out the ranks with ‘diverse’ people, but by asking better questions. In an article called Where are the Black Futurists?(2000), the author (listed as ‘Black Issues’) reflects on an all white male C-SPAN futurist panel:
“there are too many people talking about the future without considering the future of African Americans and other people of color.

By not considering us, is the majority implicitly suggesting that we don’t matter? Do they think that as America ages, we will continue to play the traditional service and support roles for their communities? When I hear estimates from the U.S. Department of Labor that we’ll need nearly a million home health aides in the next decade, and I know that most home health aides now are Black and Brown women, I conclude that unless the wage structure changes, the future implications for those women and their families are frightening.

But the futurists mainly seem to be predicting what an aging society will need without predicting who will provide it.”

I write from a privileged position, working in a well-resourced and professionally supportive international school. My students have sources of privilege and power in their lives, and I’m pretty confident that many will be able to fit into the standard futurist imaginaries because of a good education and how privilege has shaped their life chances. It’s especially because of my context that I resist the imaginaries that will leave many behind. Schools need to change and be better to serve youth, and not just serve them up to grim futurist imaginaries."
benjamindoxtdator  diversity  gender  education  thoughtleaders  willrichardson  brucedixon  privilege  power  economics  futurism  futurists  future  edtech  labor  society  inequality  capitalism  2017  californianideology 
october 2017 by robertogreco
Are we robbing students of tomorrow? - Long View on Education
[Cf. "The High School of the Future (in 1917)" on David Snedden
https://daily.jstor.org/the-high-school-of-the-future-in-1917/ ]

"Is our present educational system ripe to be disrupted by Deweyan thought from a century ago? Are we robbing students of tomorrow?

While it might seem like John Dewey is back in fashion, and on the side of those who argue that schools need to be ‘future proofed’ to keep pace with the changing economy, Dewey never actually said the above. As Tryggvi Thayer points out, “it doesn’t sound like something that Dewey would say in his writings; neither the sentiment nor diction.”

As an example of the ‘future proofing’ trend, Charles Kivunja presses Dewey into a narrative about how America’s “obsolete” schools need to do a better job of “training the work force”, making the argument that the current agenda is “really not new.” Thus, Bill Gates and Thomas Friedman are just the Dewey’s of today, worried that we are robbing children (and the American GDP) of tomorrow. In reaction to the restrictive nature of standardized testing, project-based learning and student-centered approaches have emerged as the favored pedagogy to help prepare students for the workplace of tomorrow.

Ironically, Dewey criticized both the main future proofer of his day, David Snedden, and the leading proponent of the ‘child-centered’ project-method, James Heard Kilpatrick. Rather than a resurgence of people reading Dewey, we are witnessing the rise of Sneddedism and Kilpatrickianism passed off as the thoughts of everyone’s progressive hero."

David Snedden – Future Proofing and Social Efficiency

I imagine that a Dewey redivivus would be sadden but not surprised to see that Snedden’s ‘social efficiency’ won out over the brand of progressive thought that Dewey argued for. Snedden was a member of what David Tyack and Larry Cuban (1997, p.17) have termed the ‘administrative progressives:
These white men – few women and almost no people of color were admitted to the inner circle of movers and shakers – carved out lifelong careers in education as city superintendents, education professors, state or federal officers, leaders in professional organizations such as the National Education Association (NEA), and foundation officials. They shared a common faith in “educational science” and in lifting education “above politics” so that experts could make the crucial decisions.

The administrative progressives didn’t lack any vision:
They thought that schooling should be both more differentiated and more standardized: differentiated in curriculum to fit the backgrounds and future destinies of students; and standardized with respect to buildings and equipment, professional qualifications of staff, administrative procedures, social and health services and regulations, and other educational practices.

“The terms have changed over the years, but not the impulse to emulate business and impress business elites,” (112), and so the current future proofing agenda is really just Snedden’s ‘social efficiency’ wrapped in the buzzwords of the so-called Knowledge Economy. For Will Richardson, PBW justifies PBL: “If you want a justification for Problem/Project Based Learning, there probably isn’t any better than this: increasingly our students are going to be doing problem/project based work in their professional lives.”

Dewey opposed the administrative progressives’ attempt to construe education so narrowly as training. David F. Labaree recounts the history in How Dewey Lost, which is well worth the read. In The New Republic (1915, republished in Curriculum Inquiry in 1977), Dewey put his criticism this way:
“Apart from light on such specific questions, I am regretfully forced to the conclusion that the difference between us is not so much narrowly educational as it is profoundly political and social. The kind of vocational education in which I am interested is not one which will ‘adapt’ workers to the existing industrial regime; I am not sufficiently in love with the regime for that. It seems to me that the business of all who would not be educational time-servers is to resist every move in this direction, and to strive for a kind of vocational education which will first alter the existing industrial regime, and ultimately transform it.” (38-9)

Labaree pulls many lessons from his study of history. Snedden emerged at the right time to argue that schools needed to be reformed to keep up with the changing economy. Among the other points Labaree makes, I find these three particularly compelling and relevant:
The ideas sounded authoritative and gave the impression that they were building into arguments, but they were largely a collection of numbered lists and bullet points. He was a man who would have warmly embraced PowerPoint. In his work, portentousness abounded; it was all about riding the wave of the future and avoiding the undertow of the past.

However, Snedden’s ideas lacked substance:
He was a self-styled scientist who never did anything that remotely resembled scientific study, an educational sociologist who drew on the cliches of the field – social Darwinism and social control – without ever making an original contribution. In his written work, he never used data, and he never cited sources, which made sense, since he rarely drew on sources anyway. His books and journal articles took the form of proclamations, scientific pronouncements without the science; they all read like speeches, and that was likely the source of most of them.

And lacked subtlety:
But one of the lessons of social change in general and educational reform in particular is that every doctrine needs its doctrinaire. Nuance is dysfunctional for the cause of educational reform, especially early in the process, when the main task is to clear the field of the accumulated institutional underbrush and make the case for a radical new order. Every reformer needs to slash and burn the remnants of the old way of doing things, portraying the past as all weeds and decay, and clearing space tor the new institutions to take root. This is something that a literal minded, hyperkinetic, and monomaniacal figure like Snedden could do superbly. As Diane Ravitch {2000) noted, “Snedden’s caricature of the traditional school became a staple of progressive attacks tor years to come: it was ‘repressive,’ ‘monarchical,’ ‘barren and repellent,’ founded entirely on classics and completely out of touch with American democracy” (p. 82).

I’ll let you do your own compare and contrast with current educational thought leaders.

William Heard Kilpatrick – The Child-Centered Project-Method

"David Snedden’s social efficiency agenda does not entail any particular pedagogy. Maybe schools need to have rigorous standards and teachers need to impose upon students a disposition to defer to authority to prepare them for factory and corporate jobs.

We are witnessing a swing away from this pedagogy, and a return to child-centered classrooms (which constructivists have argued for since the 1980s). William Heard Kilpatrick’s ‘project method’, popular during the progressive era, is now re-born as Project-Based Learning, which casts teachers as ‘facilitators’ (again, much like constructivism). Gert Biesta has noted that ‘teaching’ and ‘education’ have virtually disappeared from our discourse that now raises ‘learning’ and ‘student-centered’ approaches above all else. The learnification of educational discourse makes it increasingly difficult to raise questions about the purpose of education, which has largely been settled in favor of preparing students for work.

Our present obsession with being ‘student-centered’ owes its heritage not to John Dewey, but to William Heard Kilpatrick, the popularizer of ‘the project method’ Michael Knoll writes:
In his concept, there was no proper place for traditional educational features such as teacher, curriculum, and instruction. Project learning, Kilpatrick wrote, was always individual and situative, and could neither be planned nor fixed. “If the purpose dies and the teacher still requires the completion of what was begun, then it becomes a task” – merely wearisome and laborious (Kilpatrick 1925, 348). “Freedom for practice” and “practice with satisfaction” were the slogans with which he effectively staged his “revolt” against drill, discpline, and compulsion (ibd., 348, 311, 56ff.).

Kilpatrick’s emphasis on the interests of the students can easily slide into an embrace of one side of the curriculum / student dichotomy. After all, we don’t need kids completing more meaningless tasks, but embracing their passions. Will Richardson argues we should “let kids bring their kale to school,” in reference to his daughter’s passion, “and make that the focus of developing them as learners.” (15:00)

Dewey abhorred the dichotomies that plague contemporary educational discourse. In The Child and the Curriculum (Chicago, 1902), Dewey writes:
“Just as, upon the whole, it was the weakness of the ‘old education’ that it made invidious comparisons between the immaturity of the child and the maturity of the adult, regarding the former as something to be got away from as soon as possible and as much as possible; so it is the danger of the ‘new education’ that it regard the child’s present powers and interests as something finally significant in themselves.”

It’s not that we should not nurture the interests of children, but to elevate the child and their present interests over the knowledge that adults have accumulated makes little sense. In his Experience and Education, Dewey argued for experiences as a “moving force”, and teachers are a wealth of such experience which they ought to use to structure… [more]
benjamindoxtdator  johndewey  davidsnedden  williamheardkilpatrick  2017  education  sfsh  economics  work  labor  purpose  progressive  efficiency  democracy  projectbasedlearning  michaelknoll  pedagogy  learning  howwelearn  policy  constructivism  gertbiesta  student-centered  schools  davidlabaree  history  willrichardson  davidtyack  larrycuban  billgates  thomasfriedman  tryggvithayer  society  capitalism 
february 2017 by robertogreco
How Can Schools Prioritize For The Best Ways Kids Learn? | MindShift | KQED News
"Educators know the world has changed and are increasingly acknowledging that it’s time to be asking different questions about what it means to improve education. Richardson travels around the world for his work and can point to examples of schools and districts that are asking themselves difficult questions to propel change. The successful ones are letting the answer to the question, “How do kids learn best?” drive everything they do in schools.



Schools need to have a clear vision, rooted in today’s context and a set of practices that reflect those two things. When he consults with schools, Richardson said he most commonly sees a lack of vision based in how students learn. In his many talks he shares a list of things educators know intuitively about how kids learn best alongside a list of things schools do because it’s easier for adults. He says if educators want to shift education to the modern context, they need to prioritize things that help students learn best.

“It’s about doing work that matters,” Richardson said. “It’s about connections. It’s about play. It’s about cultures where kids and teachers are learners.” When schools have a set of beliefs about learning and enact those beliefs through practice, but don’t anchor what they are doing in today’s context, they may be doing something progressive, but also a little irrelevant. Beliefs and contexts without practice leads to ineffective teaching. The sweet spot for a very different type of education system lies in the Venn diagram of all three: beliefs, context and practice.

[diagram]

“Kids deserve consistency that is grounded in a belief system,” Richardson said. He has talked with students who hate that they have to adapt to completely different expectations, structures, and rules in every class. When a school isn’t unified around a vision the experience for students can be very disorienting.

To begin moving towards what Richardson calls a “modern education” system, he says educators need to learn, educate, articulate, and then do it.

LEARN

It’s no longer enough for teachers to get a credential and then sit back and teach the same content year after year. Richardson says to be part of modern learning, teachers need to actively educate themselves about the context students live in and how they can improve as educators.

“There’s never been a more amazing time to be a learner,” Richardson said. “How are we in education not running towards that in our own personal lives and embracing that?”

It’s not just about connecting on Twitter with other educators or asking for professional development about technology. If teachers are waiting for a planned PD about something they are probably already stuck. “You have to have the disposition of an eight-year old to find your own learning,” Richardson said.

EDUCATE

“You probably aren’t going to be able to do this by yourself, so go out and build capacity,” Richardson said. Parents, community members, students and school board members can be allies for making the shift. Richardson points to CCSD59 as an example of a district that reaches out to all parent populations, communicates about vision and practice through a blog and educates with its Facebook page. “They are constantly putting practice in front of people to build their capacity to engage,” Richardson said.

ARTICULATE

Articulating a mission statement about where students should be when they graduate and actualizing it with a vision that lays out how to get there, is a key step in slowly making the shift Richardson describes. It can be difficult to interrogate longstanding policies and choices, but if districts, schools and individual educators can’t reflect on what’s working and what isn’t, articulate a change, and begin doing it, the education system as a whole will become irrelevant.

DO IT

“This is really hard, but I think it’s worth it,” Richardson said. Teachers can start by picking one area of the curriculum and letting students own it. Then advocate for that practice, and connect with other educators who are doing it. There comes a point when talking about the need to change is no longer enough; educators who resonate with Richardson’s message, have to jump in and try it."

[See also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxyKNMrhEvY ]
katrinaschartz  willrichardson  sfsh  2016  schools  education  learning  howwelearn  howweteach  teaching  tcsnmy  lcproject  openstudioproject  purpose  pammoran  britishcolumbia  schooldesign  technology 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Assorted Stuff : Wasted Spaces
"When I go to ISTE, I’m mostly looking for interesting and new-to-me ideas for using technology to enhance learning. For adults as well as kids. While you can do much of that inquiry online, there is something about being immersed live in the community that cannot be duplicated digitally.

At the same time I also make it a point to attend sessions by a small group of the same presenters, even if I pretty much know what they’re going to say. Because I also know they are people who will inspire me and jumpstart my thinking in unique ways. One of those people is Will Richardson.

During his ISTE talk, Will compared the very trendy concept of makers spaces with computer labs, saying that schools need a maker culture, not spaces. It was almost a throwaway line, a relatively small point in his talk but also one that got stuck in my warped little mind.

Wiil’s view of maker spaces as the new computer lab* perfectly encapsulates the uneasy, slightly negative feelings I’ve had towards the maker space concept, as the chatter and activity around it has has grown over the past four or five years.

It’s not that I disapprove of the idea of kids as makers. I love it. That’s exactly what school should be. But that’s not how the concept is applied in most schools.

As happened with computing devices, someone’s idea of a “maker space” is set up in a corner of the library, stored in a vacant room, or assembled in a cart rolled between classrooms. With students performing pre-planned activities for a fixed period of time, before returning to their “real” work.

In most schools I’ve observed, maker space is a pull out program for students that we know will pass the spring tests. A reward for completing that real work. An option for kids before or after school, or during lunch. An elective for students with space in their schedule.

Maker space is usually whatever the local advocate says it is. I’m interested in robots, so we buy robot kits. The dollar store had a sale on Popsicle sticks, so we construct towers. The principal bought a 3D printer, so we better use it. (Until the filament runs out and we can’t afford to buy more.)

I’ve seen all of this in schools and more.

A school with a maker culture, however, is one in which students are encouraged to explore all aspects of “maker” that interest them. Music, writing, science, video, coding, drawing, cooking, and many, many more topics that may not even occur to adults who think of “school” in very traditional ways. Auto shop, wood shop, metal shop were maker spaces when I was a kid, all of which have largely been removed from schools in this area.

Once upon a time, all of this was part of a liberal education. Providing kids the opportunity to explore a wide variety of subjects during their K12 years. Making them aware of their options. Preparing them for life, not just for college. I know, it’s an ideal view of school. One that in the real world America of my youth was never perfectly implemented.

That’s exactly what a school built around a maker culture would be. Rather than being a reconfigured computer lab.

*******

*An anachronism that should disappear but only seems to be reconfigured every few years with new devices."
makerspaces  computerlabs  making  makers  schools  education  lcproject  openstudioproject  sfsh  timstahmer  culture  makerculture  cooking  science  woodshop  metalshop  autoshop  drawing  coding  music  writing  teaching  howweteach  classrooms  schooldesign  materials  iste  willrichardson  2016  vi:audreywatters 
july 2016 by robertogreco
9 Elephants in the (Class)Room That Should “Unsettle” Us - Will Richardson
1. We know that most of our students will forget most of the content that they “learn” in school.



2. We know that most of our students are bored and disengaged in school.



3. We know that deep, lasting learning requires conditions that schools and classrooms simply were not built for.



4. We know that we’re not assessing many of the things that really matter for future success.



5. We know that grades, not learning, are the outcomes that students and parents are most interested in.



6. We know that curriculum is just a guess. The way we talk about “The Curriculum” you would think that it was something delivered on a gold platter from on high. In reality, it was pretty much written by 10 middle-aged white guys (and their primarily white, middle-aged friends) in 1894 called “The Committee of Ten.” They were from some of the most prestigious schools and universities at the time, and they fashioned the structure of much of what we still teach in schools today. But we know that much of what every student in 1894 was supposed to learn isn’t really what every student in 2015 needs to learn. Yet we seem loathe to mess with the recipe. And as Seymour Papert so famously asks, now that we have access to pretty much all there is to know, “what one-billionth of one percent” are we going to choose to teach in school?

7. We know that separating learning into discrete subjects and time blocks is not the best way to prepare kids for the real world.



8. We know (I think) that the system of education as currently constructed is not adequately preparing kids for what follows if and when they graduate.



9. And finally, we know that learning that sticks is usually learned informally, that explicit knowledge accounts for very little of our success in most professions."
willrichardson  2015  education  schools  curriculum  engagement  2016  memory  content  boredom  schooling  schooliness  deschooling  unschooling  mitchresnick  seymourpapert  emilymitchum  grades  grading  parenting  lcproject  openstudioproject  committeeoften  matthewlieberman  franksmith  learning  forgetting  howwelearn  howweteach  teaching  pedagogy  hardfun  sfsh 
april 2016 by robertogreco
The Overselling of Ed Tech - Alfie Kohn
We can’t answer the question “Is tech useful in schools?” until we’ve grappled with a deeper question: “What kinds of learning should be taking place in those schools?”



"Lucid critiques of ed tech — and of technology more generally — have been offered by educators and other social scientists for some time now. See, for example, the work of Larry Cuban, Sherry Turkle, Gary Stager, and Will Richardson. (Really. See their work. It’s worth reading.) But their arguments, like the available data that fail to show much benefit, don’t seem to be slowing the feeding frenzy. Ed tech is increasingly making its way even into classrooms for young children. And the federal government is pushing this stuff unreservedly: Check out the U.S. Office of Education Technology’s 2016 plan recommending greater use of “embedded” assessment, which “includes ongoing gathering and sharing of data,” plus, in a development that seems inevitable in retrospect, a tech-based program to foster a “growth mindset” in children. There’s much more in that plan, too – virtually all of it, as blogger Emily Talmage points out, uncannily aligned with the wish list of the Digital Learning Council, a group consisting largely of conservative advocacy groups and foundations, and corporations with a financial interest in promoting ed tech.

There’s a jump-on-the-bandwagon feel to how districts are pouring money into computers and software programs – money that’s badly needed for, say, hiring teachers. But even if ed tech were adopted as thoughtfully as its proponents claim, we’re still left with deep reasons to be concerned about the outmoded model of teaching that it helps to preserve — or at least fails to help us move beyond. To be committed to meaningful learning requires us to view testimonials for technology with a terabyte’s worth of skepticism."
edtech  alfiekohn  2016  technology  education  learning  schools  teaching  garystager  willrichardson  larrycuban  sherryturkle  emilytalmage  via:lukeneff 
april 2016 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
Will · A School for Modern Living
"
“A laboratory for the working out of an elementary and secondary curriculum which shall eliminate obsolete material and endeavor to work up in usable form material adapted to the needs of modern living.”

That was the board of Abraham Flexner’s Lincoln School In New York in 1916, as quoted in Lawrence Cremin’s most excellent book The Transformation of the School. As one who has promoted the use of “modern” learning and schooling, I love the word choice. And I love the sentiment, especially the stuff about obsolete material.

A couple of weeks ago, a bit of a Twitter debate erupted when I linked to this piece about Roger Schank where he says:
“In fact, we should not be teaching kids anything. Nobody remembers what they were told. Parents don’t ‘teach’; they discuss things with their children.” He says we should get over the idea that schools are supposed to teach. The basic idea should be to make children think clearly and any good teacher can do that.

To me, that’s much of what “modern living” requires at any time, but especially now. Thinking clearly. Solving problems that matter. Being curious. Making stuff. Co-operating and working with others. It does not require “learning” obsolete material that will be forgotten as soon as the test is over, which accounts for the vast majority of what we teach kids in schools.

So when Flexner set out to create a school for modern living, what did he do? He:
“built a curriculum around “units of work”that would reorganize traditional subject matter into forms taking fuller account of the development of children and the changing needs of adult life.”

So, first and second graders built a play city as they studied community life. Third graders studied boats. Fourth grade worked on foods while fifth graders took on land transportation. Sixth graders studied books through the ages. In high school, seventh graders took on “man and his environment,” while the eighth grade studied “living in a power age.” Then it was “ancient and modern cultures” and finally, “living in contemporary America.” In other words, no disciplines per say. Projects. Problems.

If you want a sense of what was learned in these “units of work,” see this enlargement of the photo below outlining the 4th grade boats work.

[image]

And this:
“Each of the units was broadly enough conceived so that different children could concentrate on different aspects depending on their own interests and the teacher’s sense of their pedagogical needs; each of the units called for widely diverse student activities; and each of the units sought to deal in depth with some crucial aspect of contemporary civilization.”

So don’t miss it: Not every child learned the same thing. And the outcome was that Lincoln students scored as well or above their peers on comparison tests and did better than their peers in college.
“At public school they jam facts into you,” one student insisted. “Here you really learn something.”

It wasn’t perfect, of course. But the Lincoln school makes a powerful point, I think. We’re not limited to the traditional structures if we believe other architectures of learning might work more effectively for kids."
education  schools  willrichardson  unschooling  deschooling  rogerschank  abrahamflexner  lincolnschool  1916  lcproject  openstudioproject  tcsnmy  learning  howwelearn  howweteach  making  cv 
december 2015 by robertogreco
Will · Simple, Complicated, Complex
"The whole video [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROkbPHyb1D0 ] is worth a watch, but I love this quote from a recent presentation by Dave Cormier:
As we’ve gotten more abundant access to knowledge, we’ve reduced the complexity of the teaching. And, it’s been a trade off, because in one sense, more and more people have had access, but what we’ve given them access to has been less and less complex.

Dave makes some interesting distinctions between simple tasks (those with one answer,) complicated tasks (sometimes with more than one answer), and complex tasks (those with multiple, unknown answers.) He uses the examples of figuring out the capital of a country (simple), building a plane (complicated), and addressing climate change (complex.) He argues, compellingly, that the current structures of schools are well suited for the first (and maybe the second) but not the third at all. As he says, the primary reason is our need to assess, and the result is that we teach kids that “learning is something that gets done” as opposed to being a lifelong quest.

Bottom line: our kids need to be able to deal with complexity. In order to do that, our offerings in schools must be more complex, must be more focused on building “citizens who can look for answers…not the answer.” This is the great potential, Dave suggests, of the access we have, when we’re not just looking stuff up on Google but when were engaged with others in pursuing interesting questions that matter and that are complex.
When the community becomes the curriculum, the what and the why of learning comes together… The curriculum is not content, the curriculum of learning is actually other people.

Lots to think about here…"
davecormier  complexity  schools  education  willrichardson  2015  teaching  howweteach  tcsnmy  openstudioproject  lcproject  community  unschooling  deschooling 
december 2015 by robertogreco
I keep coming back to this, and I question everything. | The Reason I Do This
"Audrey Watters @audreywatters: “I think this is one of our major challenges, right? Because it shouldn't be "is this part of the curriculum"...”
4:55 PM - 8 Oct 2015

Will Richardson @willrich45: “The "curriculum" should be discovered (not delivered) based on events and questions that are relevant to "our world." @audreywatters”
4:58 PM - 8 Oct 2015

"This morning my class and I began our day on the carpet, chatting about issues currently presenting themselves in the Canadian election campaign. This was a continuation of yesterday’s conversation and debate, as the kids wanted it to continue. Over the two days we covered the niqab fiasco, marijuana legalization, and the role of Canada’s military. We’re not done, either, as the students have requested that we keep this going. They have a vote coming up, as part of the Student Vote initiative, and they are taking these issues to heart as they try to make a decision on who they want to vote for. They have so many questions, even though they don’t get to vote for “real,” and it’s hard for me to keep up.

I left school feeling sad today, though, because when moments like these happen in my classroom I am reminded of how little autonomy students really have over their own learning. And I start thinking — for the millionth time, I’m sure — about what I wish school actually was: a place where students could come and learn about whatever they want.

Will Richardson says it perfectly in the tweet above. I’ve seen him speak, and I’ve been in email contact with him, and he’s dead serious about this. He — and many others out there, myself included — argues that by definition a curriculum is outdated, due to the fact that it’s being written by adults whose grade school or high school days are long behind them. Sir Ken Robinson adds to that argument that the jobs today’s students will have when they are adults likely haven’t been conceived of yet. And this begs the question: Are we truly preparing them well for the world they will inherit? By basically telling them what they need to learn? It’s an old question, but I keep coming back to it. I can’t help it.

For now, though, I need a work around, and for that I have my friend and colleague Stacey to thank. I’m going to have my students start a passion project, which means that essentially they can learn about whatever they want. The only catch is (because I have to address curriculum) that it must relate to government in Canada in some fashion. Stacey’s students have already begun this venture, and she’s been thrilled with the results so far, especially in the realm of engagement.

Is this enough? No. Richardson would say that I’m still putting limitations on my students, and I agree with him completely. I will never think it fair that, in the information age, kids should be told what to learn about. Fortunately, this mandated government unit relates directly to the current events in their world at the moment, so in that respect it meets Richardson’s criteria. But there’s so much else that doesn’t.

I think I will always keep coming back to this question, because it is at the heart of any change — either big or small — that we teachers make in our classrooms. We’re all teaching because we want what’s best for kids. But what’s best for them now isn’t necessarily what was best for them 10 years ago. Or five. Or even last year. The world is changing quickly. My students tell me that, through their words and actions, almost every day. And they expect me to keep up. They expect us all to."
tomfuke  2015  autonomy  education  teaching  emergentcurriculum  curriculum  relevance  kenrobinson  willrichardson  audreywatters  learning  howwelearn  howweteach  canada 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Will · The Lazy Language of Learning
"Those of you who have been around these parts before know that one of my biggest frustrations is the imprecise ways that we talk about learning, as if everyone defines it the exact way and it therefore requires no context or is without nuance. On almost every occasion that I find myself talking to teachers or leaders about their work, I find myself asking clarifying questions, sometimes to the great frustration of the people I’m with. I do it not to be a foil but to be clear: “What do you believe about learning?” I just think that’s crucial.

I’ve reference Seymour Sarason’s age old question (and book) “And what do YOU mean by learning?” more times than I can count. And most recently, I’ve been bringing Frank Smith’s “classic” vs. “official” theories of learning into my work even more. (Short version: “classic” is what we all know about learning, “official” is the school sanctioned version that looks little like what we know. Here’s a graphic. Read his book, too.) Both require us to say what we believe about what learning is, what makes it happen, and how we foster it in the classroom. Too often, that fundamental piece is missing from the process and the conversation. Or, we’re not sure whether it’s there or not.

I think Gary Stager gets it right:
In the absence of a clear and publicly articulated vision for a school or district and a misguided quest for the holy grail of balance, the weeds will always kill the flowers. If you are a school leader with a coherent vision for educational progress, you must articulate your vision clearly and publicly so people will follow. Why make others guess what you want and stand for?

Case in point, Future Ready Schools. Now first, let me be clear, I have no opinion on the work that FRS is doing. And the reason I have no opinion is that despite spending a good deal of time on their site, and despite engaging in a protracted Twitter Q&A yesterday with some of the folks who are involved in leading the effort, I still have no idea what they mean by “learning.” They use the word often, but they are not clear as to what their version of learning is. And there are many versions to be parsed.

Briefly, here’s what I wonder as I read the site:

1. What are “digital learning opportunities” exactly in the following sentence, and what are the measures of success:
“Future Ready is a free, bold new effort to maximize digital learning opportunities and help school districts move quickly toward preparing students for success in college, a career, and citizenship.”

2. What are the “personalized learning experiences” that participating schools are supposed to lead?

3. How does FRS define an “engaged” student?

4. What are the “student learning outcomes” that FRS wants to help schools measure?

5. What are the “issues that drive student learning?”

6. The site says “Technology now enables personalized digital learning for every student in the nation.” What do they mean by “personalized digital learning?”

7. Etc.

To be fair, FRS does attempt a definition of “student learning,” but they break the cardinal rule that you shouldn’t define the word with the word itself:
Digital learning is defined as “the strengthening, broadening, and/or deepening of students’ learning through the effective use of technology.” Digital learning can serve as a vehicle to individualize and personalize learning, ensuring that all students reach their full potential to succeed in college and a career.

The elements that comprise this Gear include:
Personalized Learning
Student-Centered Learning
Authentic, Deeper Learning
21st Century Skills
College and Career Readiness
Digital Citizenship
Technology Skills
Anywhere, Anytime Learning

I struggle with so much of that because they leave the fundamental questions unanswered. Are students learning our stuff (curriculum) or their stuff (interests)? Are we more concerned with them becoming learners or learned? Are teachers organizing the school experience or are students building it? Do the technologies we give to kids transfer agency and increase freedom on the part of the student learner or do they just transfer our curriculum in digital form? And, importantly, what does success look like, and how is it measured?

These are harder questions. These are not about doing things “better” but about looking at schools and classrooms and teachers fundamentally differently. And these are important to ask and answer before we embark on any initiative that purports to “improve student learning.”"
2015  willrichardson  education  learning  futurereadyschools  futureready  buzzwords  hype  seymoursarason  garystager  vision  schools  progressive  technology  emptiness  edtech  why  thewhy  franksmith  purpose  process  conversation 
june 2015 by robertogreco
“Loving Learning” in Progressive Schools
"Pre-planned “playlists” for learning, cameras recording every move, data driving every decision…little of what AltSchool touts is aligned with progressivism in it’s truest sense, a sense that is captured well in a recent book titled, Loving Learning: How Progressive Education Can Save America’s Schools by Tom Little, the former principal of the Park School in Oakland. Even so, as Little points out, “progressivism” has an image problem when it comes to public perception.
Unfortunately, however, the word “progressive” remains tangled up in the public’s perception with leftist politics, while progressive schools continue to be caricaturized as permissive, “loosey-goosey,” “touchy-feely,” and even “crunchy granola,” to the point that many of the minority of Americans who have heard of Progressive Education consider it passé, at best (Kindle 241).

But as it turns out, the effects of a progressive education may be just what we need given the realities of the connected world.
Abundant research shows that three core classroom strategies invented by progressive educators—namely, letting students pursue their own interests (now commonly referred to as “inquiry-based” education); using a multidisciplinary approach to teaching skills and content; and organizing material into student projects (“project-based learning”)—are extraordinarily effective ways to develop the skills we most need in the new global economy (Kindle 249).

Little identifies six core strategies to progressive schooling that have been passed down from John Dewey, Francis Parker, and other “pioneers” who framed the conversation in the early part of the 20th Century.
1. Attention to children’s emotions as well as their intellects
2. Reliance on students’ interests to guide their learning
3. Curtailment or outright bans on testing, grading, and ranking
4. Involvement of students in real-world endeavors, ranging from going on field trips to managing a farm
5. The study of topics in an integrated way, from a variety of different disciplines
6. Support for children to develop a sense of social justice and become active participants in America’s democracy (Kindle 571).

These would seem to be common sense approaches to learning and education, but they are rarely the focus of venture capitalists and businessmen promoting a new version of schooling. Problematically, however, relatively few in education have enough history or experience with the true progressive approach to manage a persuasive defense. And, as Little suggests, that’s exactly what we need to do, sooner rather than later.
We need to stop tolerating misinformed critics misdefining what we do, and instead, speak out about the benefits we see in our classrooms every day—benefits that should rightly be the legacy of millions of American children. Until we do, Progressive Education will continue to be the buried treasure of American education: the all but exclusive privilege of a tiny minority of our nation’s most wealthy and influential families (Kindle 255).

Before we engage in relevant conversations about classroom learning, we need to have at least a bit of the historic context and vision of progressive schools in our vocabulary. “Loving Learning” is a great place to start to acquire that."
willrichardson  2015  altschool  tomlittle  progressive  education  progressiveschools  learning  teaching  howweteach  howwelearn  audreywatters  progressiveeducation  johndewey  francisparker 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Real Education Podcast’s stream on SoundCloud - Hear the world’s sounds
"What does it mean to get a “real education”—one that prepares you for the most important parts of life, instead of just academic achievement? In this podcast, Blake Boles interviews the founders of innovative camps, schools, learning centers, and other educational alternatives, as well as authors, parents, and young adults. Topics include self-directed learning, leadership, 21st-century skills, entrepreneurship, college, unschooling, school reform, motivation, and parenting.

For more episodes, to become a patron of the show, or to leave a comment, visit: www.blakeboles.com/podcast "

["Carsie Blanton, a singer-songwriter, blogger, and lifelong unschooler (carsieblanton.com), talks with host Blake Boles about making a living as a musician, the virtues and drawbacks of college, and lessons that unschooling taught her about building a career."
https://soundcloud.com/blakebo/carsie-blanton-on-unschooling

"Kenneth Danford, executive director and co-founder of North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens (northstarteens.org), talks with host Blake Boles about supporting teenagers who don’t like school, what “self-directed learning” means, the value of dropping out of junior high, nature versus nurture, parenting, and the challenge of funding a small alternative education organization."
https://soundcloud.com/blakebo/kenneth-danford-on-thriving-without-school

"Will Richardson, author of “Why School?” (willrichardson.com), talks with host Blake Boles about information abundance, Minecraft, helping young people harness technology intelligently, why students should be allowed to use cell phones during tests, and how teachers and schools can adapt to the Internet era."
https://soundcloud.com/blakebo/will-richardson-on-learning-in-the-internet-era ]
blakeboles  unschooling  podcasts  interviews  deschooling  education  carsieblanton  kennethdanford  northstar  lcproject  openstudioproject  parenting  schools  schooling  learning  howwelearn  alternative  willrichardson  edg  srg  glvo  self-directedlearning  self-directed  realeducation 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Will · Can We Talk About Change Without Hurting Feelings?
“Last night, George Couros Tweeted this:
“I think when we say things like ‘school is broken’ it really demeans the hard work of so many educators who make school awesome everyday.”

As I would have expected, it was retweeted and favorited widely. The sentiment is, of course, that the failures of schools, perceived or real, shouldn’t be ascribed to the teachers who work with our kids every day. As George suggests, there are a great number of caring, smart, hard working adults in schools around the world who are trying to make school “the best seven-hours of a kids day” as my friend Gary Stager puts it.

What I can’t read in that Tweet is to what extent George feels schools are in fact “broken,” if he feels that way at all. And if they are failing in some aspects, is it possible to say that without “demeaning” the people that work in them?

As someone who finds the experience of traditional schooling to be increasingly out of step with the real world, and as someone who has come to believe that schools actually are “broken” in many ways, how do I write and speak about those viewpoints without being heard or read as hurtful or demeaning to educators in schools? Is that possible?

And if schools are in fact “broken” in either large or small ways, are we to hold all teachers blameless for that? Really?"
willrichardson  2015  georgecouros  sensitivity  education  schools  teachers  constructivecriticism  systemsthinking  policy  unschooling  deschooling 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Will · Still Here...Sort Of
"No, I haven’t abandoned this space. I’ve actually been writing my brain off in other places…offline as in two books on the horizon, one of them part of a most interesting series that I’m putting together with Solution Tree…and online at EML where I find myself (joyfully) spending a lot more of my time these days. Couple that with an intense season of boys and girls varsity basketball and travel and some other life stuff and it’s no wonder I haven’t spent much time here.

Fact is, I’m spending less and less time in these social spaces it seems. I’m thinking that may not be the case in a couple of months when my plate clears a bit, but I do want to note how different this feels…not checking Twitter a dozen times a day…not feeling compelled to reflect on the blog…basically turning off my Facebook account (not that I ever used that much anyway)…diving into Feedly only a couple of times a week…spending time reading more actual books than blogs (and thinking…a lot). I’m almost feeling like a connected disconnected person, not a lurker, per se, but someone with a bit different perspective than I had two or three years ago.

Maybe it’s because my worldview on the idea of school and classrooms continues to evolve. Maybe it’s because that changed worldview makes it more difficult for me to find relevance in the current streams and communities I’m a part of. Maybe it’s because my bar for change has been increasingly notched higher, and that using technology and social media in schools isn’t the main focus of that conversation any longer.

What’s amazes me is how long it’s taken me to get here, a place where a lot of other people have been for decades (if not centuries.) I’ve spend a lot of my life as an educator truly ignorant about education and learning. Ironic, isn’t it, that my “education” failed me. My “education” around education never even remotely presented the worldview that I’ve come to know now. Maybe that was an act of self-preservation…

Anyway.

I still have a long way to go. "
willrichardson  deschooling  unschooling  education  socialmedia  change  routines  2015  teaching  learning  howwelearn  paradigmshifts  worldviews  self-preservation 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Will · The Corruption of Learning
"Frank Smith in The Book of Learning and Forgetting:
The widespread propagation of the “official theory of learning” [that learning is hard work] is not so much a conspiracy as a massive manifestation of self-interest by special-interest groups outside schools. The belief has been fostered by academic psychology, uncritically adopted in education, and vigorously promoted by people who would like to control what students and teachers do in schools—often to make a profit in the bargain. The idea has been around long enough—just more than 100 years—to have become widely accepted as common sense, natural, the way things have to be. And the official theory is wrong. It creates frustration and wasted effort in our personal lives and futility and discrimination in schools. It is a crippling belief that fosters some of the worst social attitudes that afflict our society.

I’ve spent a lot of time lately reflecting on my own learning, thinking about what I’ve learned, what I’ve forgotten, and why. It’s reflecting that I wish I had been doing 30 years ago when I first came to teaching, and on one level I’m ashamed that it’s taken me so long to understand the natural dissonance between traditional schooling and learning. It’s not that I didn’t know it in my gut…I am, after all, a product of school…it’s that I let the narrative of school learning dominate my own experience and practice. And in my last few workshops as I’ve prodded people about their own experiences as learners, I’ve come to realize that most others in education feel the same disconnect but feel powerless to act to change it in their classrooms.

All of which resonates with a great Seymour Papert quote from The Children’s Machine:
“When it comes to thinking about learning, nearly all of us have a School side of the brain, which thinks that school is the only natural way to learn, and a personal side that knows perfectly well that it’s not.”

The unfortunate reality is that natural learning, what Smith calls the “classic theory of learning” that suggests, rightly, that “we learn effortlessly, every waking moment of our lives” has been rendered irrelevant by the dominant narrative that learning is onerous and requires sustained, conscious effort. (It certainly does if you don’t care about what you are being asked to learn.) And it is about control, as I recently was reminded by an experience with my own kids. Without going into detail, one of my darlings made a poor yet basically harmless decision which met with harsh consequences from the school. But, as is often the case, my child learned more from the actions of the punisher than she did from the punishment. Effortlessly, I might add.

The biggest challenge facing schools is that the modern world amplifies our ability to learn in the classic sense, and increasingly renders the official, school based theory of learning pointless and oppressive. While our kids’ love of learning can flourish outside of school, it’s extinguished inside of school as we take away agency, passion, connection, audience, authenticity, and more.

How long can that stand?"
willrichardson  1998  2015  franksmith  learning  schools  education  seymourpapert  howelearn  howweteach  academicpsychology  psychology  schooliness  deschooling  unschooling 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Will Richardson Ignite Presentation ISTE 2013 [Vimeo]
[Notes from: http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.com/2012/07/19-bold-not-old-ideas-for-change.html ]

"1. Give open network tests. Forget open book / phone tests.
Let’s have open network assessments where students can use the tools they own and love for learning. School should not be a place where we force kids to unplug and disconnect from the world.

2. Stop wasting money on textbooks.
Make your own texts with things like wikis.

3. Google yourself
If we’re not empowering ourselves and our students to be Google well, we’re not doing a good job.

4. Flip the power structure from adults to learners
Empower students with the tools and resources they need to go where they want to go and explore and develop their interests and passions.

5. Don’t do work for the classroom
Support learners in doing work that is worthy of, can exist in, and can change the world.

6. Stop telling kids to do their own work
That’s not reality any longer. Support them in collaborating, interacting, and cooperating with others.

7. Learn first. Teach second.
We must come into our classrooms knowing that we are learners first. If we think we are teachers first, we are not giving our students the powerful learning models they’ll need to be successful.

8. No more how-to workshops
Educators should know how to find out how to on their own. When we come together it should be to talk about how we are doing.

9. Share everything
The best work of you and your students should be shared online. This will help us all get better.

10. Ask questions you don’t know the answer to
The learning of high stakes tests with predetermined answers is not as powerful as the learning that comes from finding our own new and unique answers.

11. Believe that you want to be found by strangers on the internet
If you think kids aren’t going to interact with strangers on the internet, you’re wrong. Let’s embrace that and support kids in being smart when doing so and learning a lot about the minds they are meeting.

12. Rethink the role of the teacher
We should not be doing the same work that 20th century teachers did. Consider how technology can and should change our roles.

13. Toss the resume
No one cares about your resume anymore. The internet is the new resume. What will people find when they look at who you are online? That is what you should be focusing on.

14. Go beyond Google to learn
Build your personal learning network and learn with and from the people you know via places like Twitter and Facebook.

15. Go free and open source
We have a budget crises, yet schools are wasting millions on things that are offered for free.

16. Create an UnCommon Core
Don’t ask how you will meet the common core, empower kids to think about how they will change the world.

17. Stop delivering the curriculum
This is no longer necessary. Information can be accessed without a teacher. Move beyond delivery to discovery.

18. Be subversive
When Lisa (was he talking about me?) is told to do a standardized test, stand up and say NO! We have to be disruptive and push back.

19, Stand up and scream
Tell everyone that education is not about publishers and politicians but rather it’s about what students and parents want and how teachers can best give that to them."
willrichardson  2013  education  unlearning  opensource  free  curriculum  howweteach  howwelearn  learning  teaching  schools  networks  systemsthinking  disruption  testing  openbooktests  opennetworktests  resumes  textbooks  power  hierarchies  hierarchy  horizontality  web  internet  access  information  collaboration  cheating  google  twitter  lifelonglearning  question  askingquestion  questionasking  subversion  empowerment  askingquestions 
june 2014 by robertogreco
Beginner's Mind for Rethinking Schools (with tweets) · willrich45 · Storify
"A brief yet thought-provoking exchange on Twitter about starting from a place of "emptiness" when it comes to thinking about what schools might become."

[See also: http://smartblogs.com/education/2013/05/13/a-beginners-mind-for-thinking-about-schools/ ]
beginner'smind  comments  willrichardson  josieholford  storify  grantlichtman  billivey  schools  education  schooldesign  2013 
may 2013 by robertogreco
Will · Educon 2.5-ish Random-ish Reflections
"But the one thing we kind of danced around that I wish we’d had more time for was the “ok, so what do we do about it.” Two snippets spoke to that. First, at one point we began talking about the inroads that companies had made into education via the Apple Distinguished Educator or Google Certified Teacher brands, and whether or not there was a downside to helping to market companies that at the end of the day may not have the best intentions or visions for the type of progressive reforms that many of us are calling for."

WILL ASKS:

"We don’t need textbooks anymore. We can make our own with our kids. But textbook companies need us to need textbooks. Other companies need us to need LMSs even though we don’t really need them. Etc. What, at the end of the day, are the products that really serve the vision of teaching and learning that we’re now talking about?"

MY COMMENT:

"I. Self-organized learning

This is something I've been thinking about lately. If we are not given true control (when, how, what, etc.) of our own education then we can always blame others for our education. We become victims. This is the problem with compulsory schooling and predetermined curriculum.

On the other hand, if we are given complete control of our education then we can only blame ourselves for its shortcomings. We are allowed self-determination. That is empowering.

II. The tools at our disposal

"What, at the end of the day, are the products that really serve the vision of teaching and learning that we’re now talking about?"

Same as they've always been (though not really products): the people and places in our communities. That includes libraries and museums, of course.

And from recent years: broadband connections (connecting to people, ideas and resources from around the world) and maker spaces (in many ways, those are not really new)."
willrichardson  educon  educon2.5  2013  self-organizedlearning  education  learning  tools  empowerment  blame  victimization  teaching  schools  schooling  textbooks  lms  audreywatters  comments 
march 2013 by robertogreco
Will · Our Numbers Obsession Will Kill Us
"You may think the Common Core is more about critical thinking and skills than about content, a move in the right direction, but it doesn’t matter. The assessments will HAVE TO BE about the quantifiable, since we’ve done such a good job at raising the stakes around how the results will be used.

We’re borked.

"According to the late Gerald Bracey, who conducted extensive research and authored numerous books about the misuse of data on education among policymakers, politicians, and the media, a measure of some of the most valuable achievements that test results cannot capture include: creativity, critical thinking, resilience, motivation, persistence, curiosity, endurance, reliability, enthusiasm, self-discipline, leadership, resourcefulness, and a sense of wonder."

The immeasurable."
numbers  softskills  jamespaulgee  geraldbracey  standards  standardizedtesting  standardization  education  learning  immeasurables  measurement  assessment  commoncore  2012  willrichardson  shrequest1 
september 2012 by robertogreco
A Late Night Chat on Assessment · willrich45 · Storify
"Proving that you can have an interesting, meaningful, civil chat on Twitter about an important topic. Next time, I hope these guys have it while I'm awake."
interruption  instruction  conversation  constuctivism  lcproject  tcsnmy  lisanielsen  heidiechternacht  standardizedtesting  schools  teaching  learning  reflection  roblyons  derekbraman  joebower  garystager  johnspencer  maryannreilly  reggioemilia  deschooling  2012  unschooling  education  willrichardson  storify  assessment 
april 2012 by robertogreco
Will · Getting Bold With Parents
“Teachers need to know that you or parents aren’t going to come after them with pick axes if scores go down."

"Parents are the most important constituency to engage in conversations around the shifts we are experiencing. We have to be willing to provoke and engage in those conversations on an ongoing basis."

"We have to trust that creating inquiry based, technology rich, connected spaces for learning will help students accomplish traditional outcomes (such as passing the test) as well."

"We have to admit that we don’t have all the answers, but that we need parents to be a part of the solution. “Parents can get comfortable with the idea that we’re figuring this out together.”"

"Teachers can feel very empowered when they know parents have their backs."

"We can’t wait for policy or politics to change. We have to be the impetus for change."
change  partnerships  learning  parenteducation  parenting  parents  comments  2012  problemsolving  boldschools  schools  tcsnmy  administration  leadership  teaching  schools  education  willrichardson 
april 2012 by robertogreco
Will · How Can You Not Be Angry?
"But here’s the thing: If you’re a public school educator in the U.S. right now, how can you not be angry? How can you not be doing something, even if it is just a profanity laced Tweet? The profession is being trampled. Politicians and businessmen with no background in education are driving reform. And our students are stuck in a system that still thinks it’s the 19th Century. By any standard, including the tests, our kids are not being well served, especially those who live in poverty. As a community, we’re in a fight, whether we like it or not, yet we seem more inclined to figure out Google+ than to make our voices heard to the policy makers who seem to have no desire to figure out what’s best for our children and care more about their re-election campaigns. <br />
<br />
I mean really…what’s it going to take?"
willrichardson  activism  apathy  politics  education  reform  policy  language  profanity  comments  teachers  teaching  anger  2011  edreform 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Dream School | Powerful Learning Practice
"I know part of the answer to re-envisioning education comes in the learning communities we are creating – deep, sustained, communities that have hard, messy conversations and become safe places where we ask controversial questions that push for positive change. But part of the problem is getting participants to buy in and make time and truly commit to spending time in community, building trust and learning together. It takes time and energy and folks have to understand it is developmental. The shift will come if they will invest themselves, the very best part of themselves."

"When we let learning rule the school structure, teachers will have to evolve into much more than the delivery vehicle – the person who simply deconstructs knowledge into small, bite sized pieces that can be memorized and regurgitated on tests. Rather, teachers will become connected coaches who understand how to use appreciative inquiry to help students construct and validate their own learning."
schools  projectdreamschool  sherylnussbaum-beach  willrichardson  education  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  learning  connectedlearning  connectedlearners  networkedlearning  networks  inquiry  inquiry-basedlearning  student-centered  studentdirected  self-directed  openstudio  learner-centered  learner-ledcommunities  theindependentproject  teaching  pedagogy  modeling  via:steelemaley  schoolstart-ups  change  future  schooldesign  tcsnmy  community 
april 2011 by robertogreco
TEDXNYED Puffery
"Why aren’t we hearing the Stagers and the Richardson’s and the Crosby’s and the rest of these thinkers giving us concrete and useable ideas of HOW to make the change?

That is a TEDX that I would sit through."
actionnotwords  specifics  reform  change  education  garystager  willrichardson  schools  teaching  learning  tedxnyed  2011  puffery  practice  tcsnmy  weneedmoreexamples  stoptalkingstartdoing 
march 2011 by robertogreco
Three Trends That Will Shape the Future of Curriculum | MindShift
1. Digital Delivery [explained]

2. Interest-driven: Though students typically have to wait until their third year of college to choose what they learn, the idea of K-12 education being tailored to students’ own interests is becoming more commonplace. Whether it’s through Japanese manga art, Lady Gaga, or the sport of curling, the idea is to grab students where their interests lie and build the curriculum around it.

The idea of learner-centered education might not be new — research from the 1990s shows that students’ interests is directly correlated to their achievement. But a growing movement is being propelled by the explosive growth in individualized learning technology that could feed it and we’re starting to see the outlines of how it could seep into the world of formal education…

3. Skills 2.0 [explained]"

[Related: http://mindshift.kqed.org/2011/02/three-trends-that-define-the-future-of-teaching-and-learning/ ]
education  curriculum  trends  technology  future  tcsnmy  lcproject  learner-centered  student-centered  teaching  schools  learning  criticalthinking  communication  innovation  collaboration  willrichardson  customization  democracy  digital  skills  content  projectbasedlearning  culture  pbl 
february 2011 by robertogreco
The Control Shift: A Grassroots Education Revolution Takes Shape | MindShift
“I think parents understand that schools need to do something different – but the ‘different’ doesn’t equate to anything really different at the end of the day because they want their kids to pass tests, get to college, do all the things that we define as traditionally successful. Parents say, ‘There are places that are experimenting on that stuff, but don’t experiment on my kid. I want those grades, I want those scores.’” [Welcome to my world.]

“…Traditional approaches to learning are no longer capable of coping w/ a constantly changing world. They have yet to find a balance btwn the structure that educational institutions provide & the freedom afforded by the new media’s almost unlimited resources, w/out losing a sense of purpose & direction. The challenge is to find a way to marry structure & freedom to create something altogether new.”
teaching  change  reform  edtech  willrichardson  douglasthomas  johnseelybrown  tcsnmy  toshare  purpose  education  learning  unschooling  deschooling  parents  cv  schools  policy  meaning  freedom  openstudio  lcproject  newmedia 
february 2011 by robertogreco
Weblogg-ed » Finns Looking Forward
"At any rate, from Robert Greco’s most excellent Delicious feed I snagged this link to “Oivallus-A Project on Future Education.” Here we have some Finns, already basking in all of their educational excellence glory, trying to figure out what teaching and learning are going to look like in a “networked economy.” (What a concept.) Not that there is anything earth shattering here, but the idea that Finnish Industries, the European Union, and The Finnish National Board of Education are seeking to “explore and outline progressive operating and learning environments” shows they’re not just resting on their laurels. And the outlines they’re sketching also show that they’re not just thinking about doing what they currently do better. They get that things are changing."

"Why aren’t more of us here in the States not seeing these trends and their impact on education more clearly?…Somehow, we have to get this party started…more on that in a couple of days."
finland  change  gamechanging  oivallus  willrichardson  ego  cv  del.icio.us  education  policy  future  lcproject  networkedeconomy  networkculture  networkedlearning  learning  progress 
january 2011 by robertogreco
Weblogg-ed » You Know This is True
"I know lots of parents who aren’t all that thrilled w/ the system but who are assuaged by idea that schools their kids are in will at least push them along to success on traditional path. Opting for something else is just too hard, & to be honest, too “untested.”…

But this all takes on more relevance in the context of the “What to do About Schools?” conversations that we’ve been enduring the past couple of months. The “problems” we face w/ schools are right now are less about schools themselves & more about lack of vision & fear of change. Put simply, age-grouped, subject-delineated, 8am-2pm, September-June, one-size-fits-all system that we have makes process of education easy. The realities of personal, self-directed, real problem-solving learning in a connected world are anything but.

Still, the hardest reality right now is that there is no groundswell to do school differently, not just “better.” Seems it’s easy to see a path to “better.” “Different” is just too scary."
willrichardson  schools  education  unschooling  deschooling  homeschool  tcsnmy  change  gamechanging  fear  vision  topost  toshare  schooling  schooliness  stagnation  racetonowhere  parenting  lcproject 
october 2010 by robertogreco
Weblogg-ed » Unlearning Teaching
"I think that’s one of the hardest shifts in thinking for teachers to make, the idea that they are no longer central to student learning simply because they are in the room. When learning value can be found in a billion different places, the teacher has to see herself as one of many nodes of learning, and she has to be willing to help students find, vet, and interact with those other nodes in ways that place value at the center of the interaction, meaning both ways. It’s not just enough to add those who bring value; we must create value in our networks as well."
willrichardson  change  education  learning  pedagogy  teaching  technology  unlearning  usefulignorance  ignorance  unschooling  deschooling  tcsnmy  lcproject  toshare  topost 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Weblogg-ed » ISTE 2010: Easy…Not Free
"[H]ere’s what struck me most during my...wanderings around exhibit floor: Education. Is. Easy. Did you know this? Almost every toolsy vendor that I saw was pushing the “we can make it easy on you” button, as if students will simply be mesmerized...if only we had the tools. When I was talking to Sylvia Martinez...she said it felt like one of those Geico commercials…”So easy, even a teacher could do it.”...
education  willrichardson  iste2010  learning  teaching  hardwork  conferences  shwag  difficulty  educon  waste 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Weblogg-ed » Nervous Writing / Well-Trained Teachers
"Last week when I told this story, a tech director raised her hand and said “You know, I think it’s interesting that your son is nervous about sharing his writing. Does he ever get nervous about his writing for school?” I thought for a second and said “Um, no…you know you’re right. He hardly thinks twice about that stuff.” She said “I’m guessing he’d be more motivated to work on his Percy Jackson story to make it good than he is his homework.” And ever since I’ve been wondering why we can’t instill a healthy nervousness every now and then into our writing process, now that we have these ready made audiences (or at least easily found audiences). All it would take is a willingness on our parts to let kids write about the things they truly love from time to time and connect that to an audience larger than the classroom. Shouldn’t be too hard these days…"
fanfiction  education  willrichardson  writing  apprehension  children  audience  importance  authenticity  tcsnmy  unschooling  deschooling  learning  anonymity  sharing  criticism  constructivecriticism  discussion  schools  teaching 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Weblogg-ed » Yeah, You’ve Got Problems. So Solve Them.
"We say we want our kids to be problem solvers, but all too often, when faced w/ challenges of a changing educational landscape, we don’t offer solutions. Instead, we offer excuses as to why we shouldn’t solve the problem, why it’s better to just keep on keepin’ on. & solving these problems is getting easier & easier, actually, as more & more schools have already done the heavy lifting to find & implement solutions. It’s not like anyone needs to reinvent the wheel any more. & it’s also not like you need a solution overnight, either. Frame the problem, create a timeline & a process, & have at it. If you had say, 2 years, is there really NO way to solve that access problem?"
management  willrichardson  education  innovation  technology  teaching  problemsolving  modeling  actingversuswhining  policy  leadership  planning  excuses 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Weblogg-ed » New Assessments for New Learning [The first quote, the list, is a summary of Douglas Reeves. Comments are good too. I like what Gary Stager has to say.]
"*Learn (What did you know? What are you able to do?)

*Understand (What is the evidence that you can apply learning in one domain to another?)

*Share (How did you use what you have learned to help a person, the class, the community or the planet?)

*Explore (What did you learn beyond the limits of the lesson? What mistakes did you make, and how did you learn from them?)

*Create (What new ideas, knowledge, or understanding can you offer?)"
assessment  willrichardson  teaching  learning  education  standards  reflection  douglasreeves  reform  unschooling  deschooling  conditioning  unlearning  experience  tcsnmy  lcproject  understanding  garystager 
june 2010 by robertogreco
Weblogg-ed » An Open Mind (In Higher Ed at Least)
"Right now, that is “radical” thinking, but it’s provocative nonetheless. That “signals” piece is exactly where a lot of my own thinking and reading has been centered of late. And while this is about higher ed, a shift like that obviously has big implications for K-12. Not only is it about how we prepare our kids to learn more effectively in informal environments around the things they are passionate about, but also how we help them begin to build those portfolios of work that have real world applications, that can be used to highlight their learning and their ability to learn throughout their lives. I mean how, right now, are schools helping students be self-directed participants in their own learning who are able to share openly the learning they do and connect with others to pursue that learning even further?" Response here: http://robertogreco.tumblr.com/post/542311919/why-the-obsession-with-credentials
comments  willrichardson  education  informallearning  accreditation  pln  schools  teaching  tcsnmy  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  portfolios  evidenceoflearning 
april 2010 by robertogreco
Weblogg-ed » Opportunity, Not Threat
"Most parents think their kids schools are doing just fine based on the assessment systems we currently have in place...see the traditional track from HS to college as success...are ok with “online courses” & can use them to check the technology box since they don’t radically disrupt the status quo...have no clue as to what that change they might be sensing really looks like. They don’t, as Jim Groom writes, see education as “the biggest sham going.”...
willrichardson  unschooling  deschooling  change  parenting  tcsnmy  learning  schools  technology  networking  lcproject  reform  gamechanging 
april 2010 by robertogreco
Weblogg-ed » The PD Problem
"reading Linda Darling-Hammond’s new book The Flat World and Education, & while I’m finding it rich with detail about everything that’s troubling about the US education system (& the potential fixes), I’m also struck by the fact that there is very little here in terms of a meaningful discussion around what role technology plays in educating for a “flat world.” Kind of ironic.
professionaldevelopment  willrichardson  teaching  us  policy  technology  time  education  tcsnmy 
march 2010 by robertogreco
Weblogg-ed » What’s the Problem that Schools Solve?
"Came across this quote from Clay Shirky in a Tweet by Jay Rosen: “Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution.” What are the problems that schools still solve that they are engaged in preserving? What are the new problems that schools don’t solve that they don’t want to deal with? Just wondering."
clayshirky  jayrosen  willrichardson  education  problemsolving  purpose  unschooling  deschooling  tcsnmy  lcproject  self-preservation 
march 2010 by robertogreco
Weblogg-ed » Reality Check
"When the administrator got the phone call from the parent who wanted to set up the meeting, she asked for some sense of what the problem was. The reply? “Our students don’t need to be a part of a classroom experiment with all this technology stuff. They need to have a real teacher with real textbooks and real tests.”"
technology  education  cv  learning  schools  parentdemands  policy  tradition  textbooks  edtech  beenthere  tcsnmy  willrichardson 
march 2010 by robertogreco
Weblogg-ed » The New National Ed Tech Plan…Pinch Me
"I’m trying not to get overly optimistic here, but suffice to say, if the rhetoric is any indication of the direction, we may have actually turned a corner.
schools  schooling  willrichardson  edtech  gamechanging  reform  change  optimism  tcsnmy  education  rttt  policy  technology  cloud  broadband  learning  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  networkedlearning  collaboration  personallearning 
march 2010 by robertogreco
Weblogg-ed » EduCon 2.2
"Stop complaining. Be the change. Love your students and do well by them. If that includes technology, so be it...What I’m finding more & more as I visit schools that are getting more serious about “change” is that they have someone at the top who is willing to focus on the learning and not on the other crap. And you can pick these people out in a heartbeat; they are leaders AND learners, and they’re not ashamed to share the driving questions they have about their schools with those around them. They have a passion not for making AYP or top schools lists as much as they do supporting their teachers to be learners, allowing them to look at their own teaching as a deep learning experience and share that learning with others. I see those types of leaders very rarely. ... Educon = conversations, not presentations. I don’t go to sessions to learn as much as I do to think, to contribute, because that’s where the best learning takes place."
willrichardson  educon  educon2.2  learning  leadership  administration  change  management  culture  schools  teaching  tcsnmy 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Weblogg-ed » No More High School–Play Along
Will Richardson needs to get out a little more: "So this might totally fall flat on its face, but I’m wondering how all you out there who are deeply invested in social learning spaces might respond to this unlikely but hopefully compelling scenario:

Imagine for a moment that high schools as educational places vanish from the earth. How would you go about educating the 14-18 year olds in your lives? What resources, programs, strategies, assessments would you use? Or what would we need to create in order for them to become “educated” in the current sense? What would that world look like?

Could it even be done?"
willrichardson  education  schools  schooling  parenting  mentoring  mentorship  teaching  unschooling  deschooling  lcproject  tcsnmy  2010  apprenticeships  explodingschool 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Weblogg-ed » “Tinkering Toward Utopia”
""Schlechty refers to past efforts at reform as "tinkering toward utopia" and says that if we continue to introduce change at the edges, we'll continue to spin our wheels. He says that schools are made up primarily of two types of systems, operating systems and social systems, and makes the point that up to now, most efforts to improve schools have centered on changing the former, not the latter.""
change  reform  schools  education  society  learning  willrichardson  leadership  innovation  technology  transformation  disruption  utopia  resilience  unschooling  deschooling  tcsnmy  lcproject 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Weblogg-ed » The Future of My Kids’ Work
"Which would seem to me to suggest that we need to create a more flexible, more freelance, more collaborative learning experience for my kids, right? If as the article states fully 40% of the US workforce is predicted to be independent contractors by 2019, shouldn’t we be rethinking what it means to prepare them for that?
tcsnmy  schools  learning  education  workforce  future  willrichardson  children  millennials  generations  freelance  collaboration  projectbasedlearning  flexibility  change  reform  genx  geny  generationy  generationx  boomers  pbl  babyboomers 
june 2009 by robertogreco
Weblogg-ed » Kids Owning the Learning
"It’s hard to capture everything that’s cool about the Wooranna Park Primary School in a blog post, but let me boil it down to this: the kids are driving the learning, from the design of the school and the curriculum to the decision making around school policy and more. It’s one of those inquiry-based learning environments where the moment you step into it you just feel something different. Different spaces. Different colors. Different conversations. Different stuff up on the walls."
education  learning  bestpractice  willrichardson  tcsnmy  schooldesign  curriculum  inquiry  inquiry-basedlearning  lcproject 
march 2009 by robertogreco
Weblogg-ed » The “Added Value of Networking”
"Look, I know it’s starting to sound like a broken blog-ord around here, but this really is the only way to put it: The world is changing because of social web technologies. Our kids are using them. No one is teaching them how to use them to their full learning potential, and ultimately, as teachers and learners, that’s our responsibility. To do that, we need to be able to learn in these contexts for ourselves."
willrichardson  socialnetworking  socialsoftware  facebook  teaching  writing  literacy  networks  ict  schools  curriculum  modeling 
march 2009 by robertogreco
Weblogg-ed » It’s Riskier Not to Change–”Tribes”
"I know we talk about this ad nauseum, the fears that educators have and what to do about them. And I know the answers aren’t easy. The problem is when the music industry gets paralyzed it loses profits. When the education system goes that route, we lose kids."
willrichardson  education  schools  learning  change  sethgodin  clayshirky  tcsnmy  lcproject  future  leadership  management  fear  stasis  shift  gamechanging  risk  risktaking  children  music  recordingindustry  research  learning2.0  unschooling  deschooling  cv 
january 2009 by robertogreco
Weblogg-ed » Web 2.0 Not for Everyone (?)
"I know for a fact that one very well known educational consultant who speaks about these shifts doesn’t have much of a 2.0 footprint because he/she simply abhors writing, and I’m sure there are millions of folks for whom blogging or wiki-ing or all these other tools will be a struggle." = My big problem with technology as the new one size fits all solution.
comments  willrichardson  pedagogy  cv  writing  online  howardgardner  learning  multipleintelligences  socialmedia  curriculum  technology  web  blogging  wikis  schools  teaching  parenting  kenrobinson 
january 2009 by robertogreco
Powerful Learning Practice, LLC
"PLP is a professional development model that immerses educators into environments and practices that allow them to learn and own the literacies of 21st Century learning and teaching."
willrichardson  education  professionaldevelopment  edtech  onlinelearning  collaboration  pedagogy  technology  reform  change  training  teaching  practice  online  learning 
january 2009 by robertogreco
Weblogg-ed » “Oh, and You Have a Degree, Too?”
"Maybe I’m dreaming. Or maybe it’s because the last seven years have turned me into an “alternate route” learner and passion-based professional, and intellectually I’ve just loved this SO much more than when I went to college (though college did have its moments…just not usually in the classroom.) Either way, it just feels like there’s going to be some shift happening here in the next few years as well, and I, at least, have to start thinking about it sooner rather than later."
colleges  universities  deschooling  education  learning  degrees  credentials  employment  careers  teaching  willrichardson  alternative  lcproject  economics  tuition 
december 2008 by robertogreco
World Without Walls: Learning Well with Others | Edutopia
"I believe that is what educators must do now. We must engage with these new technologies and their potential to expand our own understanding and methods in this vastly different landscape. We must know for ourselves how to create, grow, and navigate these collaborative spaces in safe, effective, and ethical ways. And we must be able to model those shifts for our students and counsel them effectively when they run across problems with these tools.
willrichardson  tcsnmy  e-learning  education  learning  connectivism  edutopia  netgen  collaboration  technology  schools  curriculum  lcproject  arts 
december 2008 by robertogreco
Weblogg-ed » Writing to Connect
"We go where we want, identify our own teachers, find what we need, share as much as we can, engage in dialogue, direct our own learning as it meets our needs and desires. That does not feel like what’s happening to my own children or most others in the “system.”"
willrichardson  learning  networking  online  internet  ples  writing  blogging  blogs  schools  teaching  lcproject  deschooling  unschooling  web  collaboration 
november 2008 by robertogreco
Weblogg-ed » Clay Shirky Interview
IMO, second video holds more interesting questions & answers including remarks about homeschooling movement (with a few factual errors) & mobile phones...also wish "non-educators" like Shirky offered opinions about schooling more freely
change  schools  technology  clayshirky  willrichardson  homeschool  unschooling  deschooling  reform  schooldesign  classideas  lcproject  schooling 
july 2008 by robertogreco
URGENT: 21st Century Skills for Educators (and Others) First ~ Stephen's Web ~ by Stephen Downes
""how can we talk seriously about 21st Century skills for kids if we're not talking 21st CS for educators first?"...exactly why I have been much more interested in teaching people about personal learning and how to be a good learner"
stephendownes  willrichardson  technology  schools  internet  ict  learning  personallearning  online  socialnetworks  skills  leadership  change  reform  teaching 
march 2008 by robertogreco
Weblogg-ed » Some New Year’s Dreaming
"different model...built on really small groups of students that meet in physical space studying & learning about topics they are passionate about & who are also connected to other small groups of students with like minded passions from anywhere in world"
learning  education  schools  reform  change  alternative  networks  networking  lcproject  deschooling  unschooling  politics  willrichardson  clayburell 
december 2007 by robertogreco

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