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Month May 2013

Friday Link Fest…*

Friday Link Fest...* | rethinked.org

 

READ

TED’s Chris Anderson on How to Give a Killer Presentation ~ via Harvard Business Review, published June 2013.

Why Empathy Is The Force That Moves Business Forward ~ via Forbes, published May 30, 2013.

Class of 2013: Start Designing Your Life ~ Ideo’s Tim Brown’s commencement speech at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Information in 2010. It’s been adapted a bit for length, but his advice to you is the same: start designing your life. via Design Thinking | Thoughts By Tim Brown, published May 21, 2103.

Big Innovations Question the Status Quo. How Do You Ask the Right Questions? ~ via FastCo.Design, published March 17, 2011.

Tina Seelig on The Science of Creativity ~ ‘It’s time to make creative thinking, just like the scientific method, a core part of our education.’ via Fast Company, published April 17, 2013.

35 Scientific Concepts That Will Help You Understand The World ~ via Business Insider, published May 27, 2013.

Transient Advantage ~ via Harvard Business Review, published June 2013.

Seven Paths to a Meaningful Life ~ Adapted from a commencement address Philip G. Zimbardo delivered at the University of Puget Sound earlier this month. via Greater Good Science Center, published May 28, 2013.

Forget Work-Life Balance. The Question is Rest Versus Effort ~ Dan Ariely on why we should rethink…* the calendar. via Big Think, published May 30, 2013.

LOOK

There Are As Many Reasons As The Population Of New York To Use The Dictionary of Numbers ~ The Google Chrome extension Dictionary of Numbers allows users to translate large numbers into human terms. via FastCoCreate, published May 24, 2013.

The Discoveries That Promote Metacognition & Self-Directed Learning ~ via Teach Thought, published May 29, 2013.

Crowdfunded Telescope Lets The Public Explore Space ~ ARKYD is an orbiting space telescope that can be controlled by the public – its primary aim is to make space exploration accessible to anyone who is interested. via PSFK, published May 30, 2013.

‘Warning’ Signs That Encourage You To Do The Opposite ~ The ‘Nature’s Playground’ campaign: To reinvent its reputation, and encourage visitors to enjoy its country houses across east England—national conservation charity National Trust approached UK-based consultancy The Click Design to create physical tongue-in-cheek signage. via Design Taxi, published May 29, 2013.

Lewis and Clark, Meet Foursquare ~ MyReadingMapped makes historic journeys come alive. via Atlantic Cities, published May 29, 2013.

WATCH

Design Thinking & Education: Annette Diefenthaler, IDEO ~ Annette Diefenthaler, a Senior Design Research Specialist & Project Lead at IDEO, discusses creating and launching IDEO’s Design Thinking for Educators Toolkit. via Vialogues, published May 23, 2013.

The Purpose of Philosophy is to Ask the Right Questions ~ Slavoj Žižek on how Philosophy is not here to provide all of the answers. What it can do however, which is more powerful, is ask the right questions. via BigThink, published May 28, 2013.

Take A Secret Look Inside The Cocoon As A Caterpillar Transforms To A Butterfly ~ Using three dimensional X-ray imaging, we can now see the magical process of metamorphosis up close. via FastCoExist, published May 24, 2013.

New playlist: Design giants ~ From graphics to products, check out these 13 TED talks by some of the world’s greatest designers. via TED Blog, published May 28, 2013.

Friday Link Fest…*

photo 5

READ

Gearing Up for a Summer of Making, Connecting and Learning by Doing  ~ Suzie Boss, on project-based learning ideas for summer. via New York Times, published May 15, 2013.

Daniel Dennett’s seven tools for thinking ~Cognitive scientist and philosopher Daniel Dennett is one of America’s foremost thinkers. In this extract from his new book, he reveals some of the lessons life has taught him. via The Guardian, published May 18, 2013

{ Pattern Thinkers } How an Entirely New, Autistic Way of Thinking Powers Silicon Valley ~ Three kinds of minds — visual, verbal, pattern — naturally complement one another. Yet society puts them together without anybody thinking about it. via Wired, published May 23, 2013.

Stanford Builds Strong Innovators with New “Design Thinking” Curriculum ~ via Product Lifecycle Stories, published May 8, 2013

16 Learning Strategies To Promote Grit And Delayed Gratification In Students  ~ In psychology, intelligence is not the primary predictor of success. It is the ability to persevere in hardship, persist and learn after failure, and have a resilient spirit in the face of obstacles. Intelligence is a gift that can be developed and nurtured, but continuing on a difficult path when the gratification is far away? That is an invaluable skill for all of us to learn. via TeachThought, published May 3, 2013

Technology for Learning vs.Technology for Education ~ Learn about Sylvia’s Super Awesome Maker Show and what researchers Rich Halverson and Benjamin Shapiro at the University of Wisconsin-Madison call “technologies for learners” as opposed to “technologies for education.” The latter include student information management systems, adaptive learning software, and computerized assessment tools. Technologies for learners, however, are designed to support the specific needs, goals, and learning styles of curious individuals—like Sylvia. via Remake Learning, published May 15, 2013.

How to Expel Hurtful Stereotypes from Classrooms across the Country ~ The fear of confirming derogatory stereotypes can hinder academic performance. Researchers are scaling up relevant interventions to statewide programs.via Scientific American, published May 22, 2013.

Collaborative Platforms Empower Citizens to Shape Their Communities ~ Design Thinking comes to the neighborhood: Participatory online platforms and visual tools help gauge and meet the actual needs of the population. via PSFK.

Why getting new things makes us feel so good: Novelty and the brain ~how intricately novelty seems to be associated with learning, which means we can use this knowledge to our advantage for learning new things and improving our memory. via Buffer, published May 16, 2013.

LOOK

BMW Guggenheim Lab Maps the Trends Shaping Our Cities ~The BMW Guggenheim Lab, a traveling think tank/community discussion space, released their latest list of urban trends, gleaned from almost six months’ worth of workshops held in Mumbai, Berlin, and New York City. via Wired Design, published May 22, 2013.

Harvard Scientist Creates Incredible Microscopic Crystal Flowers In A Beaker ~ via Beautiful Decay, published May 22, 2013.

See The Works, And Stories, Of Renoir And Van Gogh As Comics ~ The Museum of Art of São Paulo brings the dramatic stories behind famous art works to life. via comics via FastCo.Create, published May 16, 2013.

Ernest Hemingway Creates a Reading List for a Young Writer, 1934  ~ via Open Culture, published May 23, 2013.

Boring Math Equations Turned Into Whimsical Animal Illustrations ~ In her illustrated series ‘Drawing Mathematics’, Zurich-based illustrator Kasia Jackowska turns boring math equations and concepts into adorable, whimsical animal illustrations. via Design Taxi, published May 20, 2013

{ Lucien Hervé: Le Corbusier in India } A Stunning Survey Of Pics By Le Corbusier’s Trusted Photographer ~ via FastCo.Design, published May 16, 2013.

WATCH

Fostering Growth Mindsets ~ Why fostering a growth mindset can give your children the drive to succeed. Part of a discussion series between Christine Carter and Kelly Corrigan. via Greater Good Science Center, published October 2007.

How Coca-Cola Used Vending Machines To Try And Unite The People Of India And Pakistan~ Rethinking…* the vending machine as medium for exchange, expressing empathy & promoting peace: Specially designed Small World Machines placed in both countries in March served as live communications portals. via FastCo.Create, published May 20, 2013.

{ Limor Fried’s Circuit Playground } A Web Series For Kids Aims To Be The “Elmo for Engineering ~ Engineer and Adafruit Industries founder Limor Fried saw an unmet need in the educational-video space. “We looked around and didn’t see an ‘Elmo for engineering’ or a kid’s show that celebrated science and engineering,” she tells Co.Design. “Every kid seems to have a cell phone or a tablet, but they know more about SpongeBob than how a LED works on the device or TV they’re watching, and we wanted to change that.” via FastCo.Design, published May 22, 2013.

Shannon Rankin’s Gorgeous Collages Made Entirely Of Old Maps  ~ “Maps are subjective. Every map is an interpretation. We bring our own personal meaning when we view them. They can reference the physical and psychological simultaneously. They elicit our memories and become a metaphor of life and personal cosmologies.” via FastCo.Design, published May 20, 2013.

Why Our Brains Get Addicted to the Internet (and How to Avoid It) ~  via Lifehacker, published May 10, 2013.

Teaching Youngsters About Medical Science With A Game–And Killer Muenster ~ Genentech teams with Ideo to create Ralph’s Killer Muenster, which makes science weird & fun enough for kids to care. via FastCo.Create, published May 21, 2013.

Tune in to CUNY TV this Saturday/Sunday to Watch Dominic Randolph & Dave Levin Discuss Teaching Character…*

Tune in to CUNY TV Saturday, May 25 at 8:00 pm or Sunday, May 26 at 10:00 am to watch a new installment of EdCast: Can “Character” Be Taught? This segment will feature two of the three co-founders of the brand new non-profit, the Character Lab, which seeks to unlock student achievement by bridging the worlds of psychological research and K-12 practice to change how research is done and how character is taught. Dave Levin, co-founder of KIPP, and our very own Dominic Randolph will be discussing what it takes to succeed in school and in life. Angela Duckworth is the third co-founder of the Character Lab.

This segment will include:

What does it mean to succeed in school and in life? Linda Hirsch interviews Dave Levin, Founder KIPP Charter School Network and Dominic Randolph, Headmaster Riverdale Country School about their Teaching Character initiative and its new approaches to building, teaching and assessing character beyond the usual definitions of what it means to succeed. Additional interviews with teachers at Riverdale Country School.

To tie you over until Saturday, here is a small excerpt from a discussion on teaching character that Dominic and Dave had with John Merrow and Paul Tough as part of the JCC’s Learning Matters series this past December

John Merrow, Paul Tough, Dave Levin and Dominic Randolph on the importance of failure in schools | Learning Matters, published December 20, 2012.

{ Studio Schools } “They want to do things, they want to get their hands dirty, they want education to be for real.”

“We called it a studio school to go back to the original idea of a studio in the Renaissance where work and learning are integrated. You work by learning, and you learn by working.”

CREATE Framework | via http://www.studioschoolstrust.org/

The CREATE framework is grounded in a wide range of skills typologies and has been developed specifically for Studio Schools in order to equip young people with the key employability skills that they need to flourish in life.

 

In this short TED talk from July 2011, Geoff Mulgan introduces The Studio School, “a new concept in education, which seeks to address the growing gap between the skills and knowledge that young people require to succeed, and those that the current education system provides.” The Studio Schools are based on a “simple idea about turning education on its head and putting the things which were marginal, things like working in teams, doing practical projects, and putting them right at the heart of learning, rather than on the edges.”

“We think we’re onto something. It’s not perfect yet, but we think this is one idea which can transform the lives of thousands, possibly millions, of teenagers who are really bored by schooling. It doesn’t animate them. […] They want to do things, they want to get their hands dirty, they want education to be for real.” 

Studio Schools, which operate in the UK exclusively, are based on seven key features:

  1. Academic Excellence ~ Like traditional schools, Studio Schools teach the National Curriculum and offer key academic and vocational qualifications. On leaving their Studio School, students will have the full range of progression routes available to them. They will have gained the qualifications, knowledge and skills to choose the option which is suitable to them: entering the jobs market from an advantageous position; starting an apprenticeship; or going on to further or higher education.
  2. Employability and Enterprise Skills ~ Key employability and life skills underpin all the activities at a Studio School through the unique CREATE skills framework. CREATE is comprised of a wide range of skills and stands for Communication, Relating to people, Enterprise, Applied skills, Thinking skills and Emotional intelligence. Four years in the making, CREATE is grounded in a wide range of skills typologies and has been developed specifically for Studio Schools in order to equip young people with the key skills that they need to flourish.
  3. Personalized Curriculum ~ all students are assigned a ‘personal coach’ who meets with them one-to-one every fortnight to develop their own personalized learning plan. This allows students to tailor their curriculum to their individual needs and aspirations, and track their progress towards their CREATE skills and qualifications. Personalization of the curriculum is further supported through a small school environment in which every young person is able to access the tailored support that they need.
  4. Practical Learning ~ Enquiry-based learning (EBL) lies at the heart of the Studio Schools’ curriculum model. In Studio Schools, students learn the National Curriculum principally through Enterprise Projects in their school, local businesses and surrounding community. To root students’ learning in the real world most projects involve external commissions. So whether it is a health report for their local hospital or a business brief for a local employer, students’ learning is authentic and actively involves them in local community life.
  5. Real Work ~ students spend a significant portion of their weekly time on real work placements. Students work as employees in local businesses and, crucially, students over sixteen earn a wage. Students in Year 10 and 11 participate in four hours work experience each week, and students in Year 12 and 13 spend two days per week in work. There is considerable evidence that this direct, ‘hands on’ experience better prepares young people for life and work.
  6. Small Schools ~ As small schools of around 300 students, Studio Schools offer a supportive, personalized learning environment in which strong pastoral care runs throughout the school’s activities. This helps to ensure that no young person gets lost within the institution and that young people are able to build strong relationships with their peers and coaches. Crucially, coaches know students well, making them better able to tailor the curriculum to their individual needs and aspirations.
  7. Students of All Abilities

 …*

Speaking of studio schools, I had an interesting conversation yesterday with a deep critical thinker turned designer who shared some fascinating insight about her transition from ‘traditional’ classrooms to a studio-based learning environment. She noted that studio-based schools promote an enhanced sense of transparency and openness that is markedly absent from desks and rows types of schools. In the studio, everything one works on is out in the open, visible to all other pupils. Being a learner in this type of environment, requires one to adjust to a certain level of comfort with ‘failing’ publicly–when one’s process is laid bare for all to see, the inherent stumbles and mistakes of learning and growing can and will be witnessed by others. This typically is not the case in traditional classrooms, as pupils’ processes and mistakes are shielded and contained by their individual desks and notebooks. What really interested me, was this designer’s observation that whereas while she was in traditional types of schools the emphasis was on seeming as intelligent as possible, once she entered studio-based education, her focus shifted to learning how to embrace this transparency which was inherent to her new learning environment. This observation made me wonder about the link between learning environments and Carol Dweck‘s research on growth mindset. Can growth mindset be nurtured and communicated through spatial arrangements? Are pupils in studio-based learning environments more likely to adhere to a growth mindset than those whose process and learning practices are shielded by the boundaries of their desks and the neat rows in which these desks are arranged? I’d love to know what you think…*

Geoff Mulgan: A short intro to the Studio School | via TED.Com, published September 2011.

 

Friday Link Fest…*

Friday Link Fest...* | rethinked.org

READ

Embodied Cognition and Design: A New Approach and Vocabulary ~ via Big Think, published May 10, 2013.

The pioneering thinking of Chris Argyris ~ Roger Martin on why businesses and business schools can accomplish a great deal if they seek actionable knowledge, help smart people to overcome their natural learning challenges, and challenge the premises of problems, rather than the effectiveness of solutions. via Financial Times, published May 12, 2013.

Turning Wicked Problems Into Wicked Opportunities ~ We need to foster an entire generation that has a positive relationship with our world of volatile change if we want to intentionally seize the unlimited opportunities that are just waiting to emerge from the fertile environment of increasing complexity.  via FastCoExist, published May 15, 2013.

How Can They Charge That? (And Other Questions) ~ Prof finds that requiring students to ask everyday questions is an effective way to teach economics concepts ~ via New York Times, published May 11, 2013.

Creating Modern-Day Movements: Filmmakers And Social Entrepreneurs Share What It Takes To Spread An Idea ~ via Forbes, published May 13, 2013.

What The WSJ’s Portrait Artist Can Teach You About Innovation ~ Kevin Sprouls’ hedcut engages the imagination by limiting information. via FastCoDesign, published May 13, 2013.

How Gratitude Can Help You Through Hard Times ~ Reframing disaster. via Greater Good Science Center, published May 13, 2013.

Nine Key Characteristics of Knowmads In Society 3.0 ~ via Education Futures, published January 12, 2012

Bill Gates, designer? Yes. Public Interest Design honors 100 global thinkers who are designing social good ~ Good design has the power to improve lives. Yesterday, Public Interest Design — a group dedicated to design for social good — released the Global Public Interest Design 100, a list of 100 “designers” (including some people you really might not expect) who are designing for the good of all. 100 architects, designers, policymakers, visualizers, funders and educators who — even if they have no design training — are changing the world with great design thinking. via TED, published May 15, 2013.

LOOK

A Grown-Up Library, With A Built-In Slide For Kids ~ Panorama House by Moon Hoon: autonomous fun zone & a grown-up library with a built-In slide for kids. via FastCoDesign, published May 10, 2013.

The Handwritten Outlines Of Famous Literary Works By Their Authors ~ via Design Taxi, published May 15, 2013.

40 Inspiring Workspaces Of The Famously Creative ~ via Buzzfeed, published April 15, 2013.

10 Brilliant Examples Of Sketch Notes: Notetaking For The 21st Century ~ don’t just capture ideas, tell a story. via Teach Thought, published May 8, 2013.

WATCH

The Art of Data Visualization: How to Tell Complex Stories Through Smart Design ~ via Open Culture, published May 15, 2013.

A House Powered By Exercise Will Keep You In Shape While You Keep The Lights On ~ The JF-Kit House by the Spanish design firm Elii is an experiment in “domestic fitness,” rendering “the image of a possible future where citizens produce part of their domestic energy requirements with their own physical activities.” via FastCoExist, published May 13, 2013.

Roger Martin on leveraging design in business ~ At Design Indaba Conference 2007, Roger Martin discusses the difference between a design view of business and a business view of design. via Design Indaba, published May 14, 2013.

Student Schools Teacher: Make Learning Exciting! ~ via Big Think, published May 11, 2013

Five-Minute Film Festival: Ten Videos on Kindness, Empathy, and Connection ~ via Edutopia, published May 10, 2013.

Connected Learning: A Learning Approach Designed for Our Times  ~ The 4th R: Relevance ~ “It’s important for me, and for my future, to take charge of my learning” – Charles Raben, a 14-year-old aspiring photographer from a public school in New York City, Quest to Learn, that is using connected learning principles. via Huff Post Impact, published May 14, 2013.

Library Redesign and Project Based Learning

It is April 30th and the second day of the Riverdale Lower School 5th Grade library redesign project. At the end of day one, students reflected on the day of design thinking and commented they found the process incredibly liberating. “It is so wonderful not to feel judged!” one student remarked. Students relished in generating out-of-the-box wild ideas within the design thinking framework where accountability for one’s ideas is of high value.

“The why question is essential,” one student said referring to IDEO’s ‘how might we question’ that is an early step of design thinking. Design thinking is a process that has its roots in the design and engineering world. IDEO, a for profit design firm, is most famous for using the method to develop human centered design solutions to problems, or challenges, such as the Keep the Change program for Bank of America or solutions for Acumen Clean Water Fund. The process’s great strength is that it systematically spurs the generation of creative ideas which are then rapidly developed into prototypes, or temporary models, that can be refined, discarded, and reimagined into a final product or solution. The rapid prototyping has built in feedback from colleagues, users and experts before going through all the energy and time of creating a final, perfect product. The brainstorming part of the process is called ideation. The different phases are:

Source: https://dschool.stanford.edu/groups/k12/wiki/17cff/

“ UNDERSTAND Understanding is the first phase of the design thinking process. During this phase, students immerse themselves in learning. They talk to experts and conduct research. The goal is to develop background knowledge through these experiences. They use their developing understandings as a springboard as they begin to address design challenges.

OBSERVE Students become keen people watchers in the observation phase of the design thinking process. They watch how people behave and interact and they observe physical spaces and places. They talk to people about what they are doing, ask questions and reflect on what they see. The understanding and observation phases of design thinking help students develop a sense of empathy.

DEFINE In this phase of design thinking, students the focus is on becoming aware of peoples’ needs and developing insights. The phrase “How might we….” is often used to define a point of view, which is a statement of the: user + need + insight This statement ends with a suggestion about how to make changes that will have an impact on peoples’ experiences.

IDEATE Ideating is a critical component of design thinking. Students are challenged to brainstorm a myriad of ideas and to suspend judgment. No idea is to far-fetched and no one’s ideas are rejected. Ideating is all about creativity and fun. In the ideation phase, quantity is encouraged. Students may be asked to generate a hundred ideas in a single session. They become silly, savvy, risk takers, wishful thinkers and dreamers of the impossible…and the possible.

PROTOTYPE Prototyping is a rough and rapid portion of the design process. A prototype can be a sketch, model, or a cardboard box. It is a way to convey an idea quickly. Students learn that it is better to fail early and often as they create prototypes.

TEST Testing is part of an iterative process that provides students with feedback. The purpose of testing is to learn what works and what doesn’t, and then iterate. This means going back to your prototype and modifying it based on feedback. Testing ensures that students learn what works and what doesn’t work for their users.”

Jenna Marks, rethinkED team member, interviewed Duane Bray from IDEO (interview forthcoming). In her discussion he highlighted the flexibility of the design thinking process. Bray said, “There is overlap and sometimes these phases are not sequential.” He does highlights the first phase of research as being essential. The first phase is the understanding or discovery phase as outlined in the diagram above.

In February, IDEO and Riverdale, with the support of Teachers College and KIPP partnered up to host an all day IDEO workshop with over 300 faculty participants from around the world. During this workshop faculty focused are redesigning different parts of schools, such as spaces and curriculum.

Now, the 5th grade students have risen to a design thinking challenge during the a one week project based learning week the Riverdale lower school is piloting to allow teachers to create experiential based learning lessons unfettered by the normal schedule. Students kicked off the week by running through a mini design challenge of redesigning their morning breakfast to become familiar with the design process. By the beginning of day two, the students had already created different areas of change to consider in the library, such as furniture, lighting, space/ appearances, technology/ tools. Then the students were broken up by their interests into different groups to discuss specifically “how might we’s” for each of the given topics. The debates were lively and the students were aided by design thinking experts to help guide their thinking.

Leading up to the week students had done their own spatial discovery to prep themselves for the week. The students went out in search of environments that are analogous to libraries such as parks, playgrounds, coffee shops, libraries, museums, hospitals and the Apple store. They took notes and pictures of the space, environment, lighting, noise, traffic level, people. In those different spaces, the students were prompted to ask: How do people use the space? Who uses this space? What is the noise level? What is the lighting like? The students were also encouraged to look back to their memory and think about how they have used their spaces.

As part of the first day, the students interviewed different library users, i.e. their peers in other grades, to understand the ways people use library spaces. A theme running through the week was think of more and more ways to design and think differently. The student relished in their failure, seeing it as a badge of risk taking and resilience. The rethinkED team was thrilled to be a part of the planning and organization of the week and to join on the library visit trip. We are all excited to see what the 5th graders have designed!

Rethinking…* the High School Drop Out Rate by Paying Attention to Students’ Own Expectations for Their Learning

Is there always pressure to perform or do I have opportunities to explore and make mistakes and learn from them without being branded as a failure? Do I have opportunities to tinker and make guesses?

*

When high-school senior Gianna discovered that one student drops out of high school every 12 second, she decided to investigate and find ways to help the educational system rethink…* and change this distressing statistic. She came across the ‘big four’ reasons usually given for the high school drop out rate: academic failure, life events, behavioral issues and disinterest. But underneath these big four, she realized that schools, generally, try to fit all students into the same mold: either you fit in or you drop out. And that’s a problem, for obvious reasons: we are all wildly different in our personalities, interests, and learning styles. In this short video produced by Leaving to Learn, Gianna, calls for educators to pay increased attention to ten essential expectations that students have for their own learning, and which are usually ignored or undervalued in schools. I particularly loved the format in which she presents these ten learning imperatives–as questions. Students don’t want to be talked down to, they want to engage in dialogue.

  1. RELATIONSHIPS ~ Do my teachers know about me and my interests and talents? Do they help me to form relationships with adults and peers who might serve as models, mentors and coaches?
  2. RELEVANCE ~ Is it just a series of hoops to jump or is the work relevant to my interests? Do my teachers help me to understand how my learning contributes to my community and to the world?
  3. TIME ~ Am I expected to learn at a constant pace decided by the teacher or can I learn at my own pace? Is there time for my learning to be deep as well as broad?
  4. TIMING ~ Do all students have to learn things in the same sequence or can I learn things in the order that fits my learning style or interest?
  5. PLAY ~ Is there always pressure to perform or do I have opportunities to explore and make mistakes and learn from them without being branded as a failure? Do I have opportunities to tinker and make guesses?
  6. PRACTICE ~ Do we learn something and then immediately move on to the next skill or can we engage in deep and sustained practice of those skills we need to learn?
  7. CHOICE ~ Am I just following the same path as every student or do I have real choices about what, when and how I will learn and demonstrate my abilities?
  8. AUTHENTICITY ~ Is my work just a series of dittoes or is the learning and work I do regarded as significant outside of school by experts, family and employers? Does the community recognize the value of my work?
  9. CHALLENGE ~ Is it just about completing assignments or do I feel appropriately challenged? Am I addressing high and meaningful standards of excellence?
  10. APPLICATION ~ Is my learning all theoretical or do I have opportunities to apply what I’m learning in real world settings?

“I’d like to propose that schools evaluate themselves not just by students’ test scores but also by students’ judgments about how well the schools deliver on these imperatives.”

10 Expectations ~ via Leaving to Learn, published May 9, 2013.

 

Also check out this four minute animation to learn more about Leaving to Learn and Gianna’s research into the high school drop out rate:

Leaving To Learn ~ via Leaving to Learn, published March 9, 2013

Sir Ken Robinson on the 3 Principles By Which Human Life Flourishes & What That Means For Education…*

“There are three principles on which human life flourishes and they are contradicted by the culture of education under which most teachers have to labor and most students have to endure.”

In this insightful and brilliantly delivered talk, which first aired on the TED TV special on education, produced with PBS, Sir Ken Robinson highlights three principles by which human life flourishes and the implications that these principles have for learning and teaching practices. Robinson notes some of the various ways in which America’s education culture contradicts these critical principles and then goes on to offer some suggestions on how to better align our educational system and culture to these inherent principles of human flourishing.

The three principles that Robinson identifies are:

1. Human beings are naturally different and diverse ~ “Kids prosper best with a broad curriculum that celebrates their various talents, not just a small range of them.”

2. Curiosity is the engine of achievement ~ “If you can light the spark of curiosity in a child, they will learn without any further assistance, very often. Children are natural learners.”

3. Human life is inherently creative ~  “It’s why we all have different résumés. We create our lives, and we can recreate them as we go through them. It’s the common currency of being a human being. It’s why human culture is so interesting and diverse and dynamic.”

Drawing from the practices of high-performing educational systems across the world, Robinson highlights three trends of real-life applications of these principles to actual teaching and learning practices which lead to greater engagement and more effective learning:

1.  They individualize teaching and learning. They recognize that it’s students who are learning and the system has to engage them, their curiosity, their individuality, and their creativity. That’s how you get them to learn.

2. They attribute a very high status to the teaching profession. They recognize that you can’t improve education if you don’t pick great people to teach and if you don’t keep giving them constant support and professional development. Investing in professional development is not a cost. It’s an investment.

3. They devolve responsibility to the school level for getting the job done. You see, there’s a big difference here between going into a mode of command and control in education. [Learning] happens in classrooms and schools, and the people who do it are the teachers and the students, and if you remove their discretion, it stops working. You have to put it back to the people.

 

highlights }

 

The drop out crisis is just the tip of an iceberg, what it doesn’t count are all the kids who are in school but being disengaged from it–who don’t enjoy it, who don’t get any real benefit from it.

Education, under No Child Left Behind, is based on not diversity but conformity. What schools are encouraged to do is find out what kids can do across a very narrow spectrum of achievement. One of the effects of No Child Left Behind, has been to narrow the focus on to the so-called STEM disciplines. They’re very important; I’m not here to argue against Science and Math. On the contrary, they’re necessary but they’re not sufficient. A real education has to give equal weight to the Arts, the Humanities, to Physical Education.

By the way, the Arts aren’t just important because they improve Math scores, they’re important because they speak to parts of children’s being which are otherwise untouched.

There is no system in the world or any school in the country that is better than its teachers. Teachers are the lifeblood of the success of schools. But teaching is a creative profession. Teaching, properly conceived, is not a delivery system. You know, you’re not there just to pass on received information. Great teachers do that, but what great teachers also do is mentor, stimulate, provoke, engage. You see, in the end, education is about learning. If there’s no learning going on, there’s no education going on. And people can spend an awful lot of time discussing education without ever discussing learning. The whole point of education is to get people to learn.

You can say, “There’s Deborah, she’s in room 34, she’s teaching.” But if nobody’s learning anything, she may be engaged in the task of teaching but not actually fulfilling it.

The role of a teacher is to facilitate learning. That’s it. And part of the problem is, I think, that the dominant culture of education has come to focus on not teaching and learning, but testing. Now, testing is important. Standardized tests have a place. But they should not be the dominant culture of education. They should be diagnostic. They should help.

So in place of curiosity, what we have is a culture of compliance. Our children and teachers are encouraged to follow routine algorithms rather than to excite that power of imagination and curiosity.

We all create our own lives through this restless process of imagining alternatives and possibilities, and what one of the roles of education is to awaken and develop these powers of creativity. Instead, what we have is a culture of standardization.

The point is that education is not a mechanical system. It’s a human system. It’s about people, people who either do want to learn or don’t want to learn. Every student who drops out of school has a reason for it which is rooted in their own biography. They may find it boring. They may find it irrelevant. They may find that it’s at odds with the life they’re living outside of school. There are trends, but the stories are always unique.

Right beneath the surface are these seeds of possibility waiting for the right conditions to come about, and with organic systems, if the conditions are right, life is inevitable. It happens all the time. You take an area, a school, a district, you change the conditions, give people a different sense of possibility, a different set of expectations, a broader range of opportunities, you cherish and value the relationships between teachers and learners, you offer people the discretion to be creative and to innovate in what they do, and schools that were once bereft spring to life.

The real role of leadership in education — and I think it’s true at the national level, the state level, at the school level — is not and should not be command and control. The real role of leadership is climate control, creating a climate of possibility. And if you do that, people will rise to it and achieve things that you completely did not anticipate and couldn’t have expected.

 

Enjoy & rethink…

Ken Robinson: How to escape education’s death valley via TED.com, published May 2013.

Friday Link Fest…*

Friday Link Fest...* | rethinked.org

 

READ

The Importance of Quick & Dirty ~ Jason Fried, co-founder and president of 37signals, on why ‘The ability to run with scissors is a blessing, not a curse.’ via Inc.com, published April 30, 2013.

5 Ways To Innovate By Cross-Pollinating Ideas ~ via FastCo.Design, published May 10, 2013.

Many Parents Push Academics Over Play Which May Harm Kids’ Health  ~ On the critical importance of play…* in life and learning. via Inhabitots, published January 1, 2012.

Want Kids to Become Scientists? Don’t Arrest Them For Experimenting ~ #ScienceIsNotACrime . via GOOD, published May 3, 2013.

Profiling Serial Creators ~  Scott Barry Kaufman on why it’s essential that we continually question and attempt to improve the methods by which we identify, mentor, and cultivate those who are ready and capable of becoming our next generation of innovators. Tragically, we are failing these students, often unknowingly letting them fall between the cracks in an education system that rewards characteristics that dampen creativity, such as conformity, standardization, and efficiency. via The Creativity Post, published May 8, 2013.

Well Designed Schools Improve Learning by 25 Percent Says New Study ~ via Dezeen, published January 2, 2013.

John Dewey’s Vision of Learning as Freedom ~ “The inclination to learn from life itself and to make the conditions of life such that all will learn in the process of living is the finest product of schooling.” via the New York Times, published September 5, 2012

5 Innovation Lessons You Can Learn On The Dance Floor ~ “Through movement we can inspire creativity, deep listening, & cross-generational learning” via Fast Company, published May 3, 2013.

LOOK

Things Come (Very, Very) Apart ~ Toronto-based commercial photographer Todd McLellan disassembled 50 design classics for his book: Things Come Apart: A Teardown Manual for Modern Living. McLellan’s photographs seek to challenge our disposable culture by making transparent all the things that we regularly throw away. “I hope people think a little bit more about the things they use. Not that people should have feelings for objects, but instead think about ‘reuse and recycle,’ not just ‘use and discard.’ ” via NPR, published May 1, 2013.

10 Playgrounds That Would Put Your Childhood Hangout to Shame ~ From a colorful crocheted alligator, to a surreal, warping jungle gym, to a playground made out of recycled iron drums, here are 10 truly innovative and unusual playgrounds. via Atlantic Cities, published May 7, 2013.

Explaining Complicated Philosophies With Gorgeously Simple Postcards ~ Philographics by Genís Carreras:  Making it easier for us to talk philosophy by removing words & replacing them with pictures ~ via WIRED Design, published May 6, 2013.

Tour Google Moon and Google Mars with Bill Nye the Science Guy ~ via Lost At E Minor, published May 9, 2013.

 

WATCH

The History of Typography Told in Five Animated Minutes ~ via Open Culture, published May 6, 2013.

The Best of Humanity Caught on Russian Dash Cams ~ via Colossal, published May 3, 2013.

Can A New Symbol Make You Better At Math? ~ Math popularizer Rob Eastaway’s ‘Zequals’ sign is a reaction against the learned helplessness that most of us have accepted in our relationship with numbers. via FastCo.Design, published May 6, 2013.

Graffiti Artist Uses Rotten Fruit and Vegetables As Paint ~ Tropical Hungry by Narcelio Grud. Grud scavenged for produce in the streets and created sustainable, organic murals with it. ~ via PSFK, published May 8, 2013.

High schoolers design robotic locker for disabled classmate ~ via GOOD, published May 9, 2013.

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