Tag classrooms

{ A Knowmad’s Perspective } A Nuanced Take On The Classroom Versus Online Education Debate, From An 11th Grader…*

“In recent months, online education has been a hot topic full of impassioned arguments. On one side, some have said things like, “the ivory towers of academia have been shattered to their foundation.” On the other side, people have said that online learning will promise to “make intellectual life more sterile and abstract than it already is.” After a year of learning online, I don’t agree with either of those extremes. Here’s what I think: classroom education shouldn’t be fully replaced by online courses, but it can draw on what works well online. Huge online courses have many virtues but need to do better at fostering the sort of side by side back and forth collaboration that we all need to learn.”

In the short video below, eleventh-grader, Sophia Pink, shares some of the insights she gathered while spending tenth grade learning from home, using a mix of online learning courses and independent projects.

While Sophia is far from being the only student who has decided to take her learning into her own hands–it seems there’s a new TEDx talk about a kid somewhere attempting to rethink….* his or her education in my YouTube stream every day–I find her ability to reflect upon and deepen her understanding of her own learning truly remarkable. While I applaud the sense of agency and motivation that many of these other young independent learners possess, I have been a bit put off by how narrowly a lot of them seem to define their options and opportunities for learning. It seems many of them have unfortunately taken the national conversation at face value: schools are good or bad and just attempted to confirm that bias, aping and repeating what the ‘adults’ are saying. Sophia didn’t set out to confirm a bias, she set out to rethink…* the terms of the conversation altogether–the mark of a true rethinker…* Sophia’s year off {on} was not about trying to prove that the classroom is obsolete or that online learning courses are ushering in the end of rigorous learning and academics, it was about experimenting with different learning strategies and figuring out how they could be integrated into a new more fluid, fulfilling and productive whole.

For more of Sophia’s insights on learning during her sabbatical, be sure to check out her article in the Washington Post: Why I Spent 10th Grade Online.

 

learn & rethink…*

Friday Link Fest…*

Friday Link Fest...* | rethinked.org | photograph by Elsa Fridman

“Everything is sculpture. Any material, any idea without hindrance born into space, I consider sculpture.” -Isamu Noguchi

READ

It’s Summertime: Let’s Play! ~ The benefits of play are great — more far-reaching than just helping kids blow off steam or get a little physical exercise. In addition to helping kids learn to self-regulate, studies show that child-led, unstructured play (with or without adults) promotes intellectual, physical, social, and emotional well-being. Unstructured play helps children learn how to work in groups, to share, to negotiate, to resolve conflicts, to regulate their emotions and behavior, and to speak-up for themselves. via Greater Good Science Center, published July 15, 2013.

“We Have a Responsibility to Awe” ~ Jason Silva’s new passion project – “Shots of Awe.”  A TestTube series about what it means to be ALIVE – these 2-minute videos are like little jolts of caffeine right to the frontal lobe. via The Wonderist, published May 30, 2013.

Facilitating Group Problem Solving in High Schools ~ If you’re a designer interested in teaching in the high school classroom, or you’re just thinking about bringing student-led problem solving into your classroom or community group, try the following best practices we discovered during our pilot of frog’s Collective Action Toolkit (CAT) in high schools, in partnership with Savannah College of Art and Design’s (SCAD) Design for Sustainability program, Design Ethos, Gatorball Academy, and teachers and classes at Beach, Groves, and Savannah High Schools. via Design Mind, published July 18, 2013.

Turning waste into building blocks of the future city ~ Modern cities create vast quantities of waste. But rather than causing a crisis, could these overflowing landfills help create urban landscapes of the future? In the third of Building Tomorrow’s expert viewpoints, urban designer Mitchell Joachim looks at ways our trash can be turned into treasure. via BBC Future, published May 28, 2013.

How To Schedule Your Day For Peak Performance ~ Are you a certified organizational ninja? It’s okay, nobody is–so steal this idea from career kickstarter Amber Rae, who shares her “Work, Play, Fit, Push” framework for getting things done while staying inspired.  via FastCompany, published April 17, 2013.

Roger Martin on Designing in Hostile Territory ~ You don’t need anyone’s permission to think like a designer. But there are five things you need to do if you want to be effective in a “design-unfriendly organization.” via Business Week, published November 16, 2013.

Unlock Your Creative Genius: 4 Steps To Being Provocative With A Purpose ~ In his book, Unthink: Rediscover Your Creative Genius, Erik Wahl says that “purposeful provocation” should be a part of our personal and professional lives, every single day. Here are the four steps he suggests we need to take to inject a healthy disorder to remain progressive: via FastCompany, published July 17, 2013.

5 Scientific Ways to Build Habits That Stick ~ In our day-to-day lives, habits can often be tough to build, as there are plenty of distractions that can lead us off the “straight and narrow” and right back to our old ways. To alleviate some of those troubles we can examine some academic research on motivation, discipline, and habit building, and break down their findings into actionable steps that any aspiring habit-builder can put into place. via 99u, published July 17, 2013.

LOOK

To Encourage Sharing And Reading, Creative Places Free Books On Subways ~ In her project ‘Books on the Underground’,  London-based creative Hollie Belton, leaves books at subway stations and on trains on the London Underground network—where they are to be taken, read, shared and enjoyed. via Design Taxi, published July 18, 2013.

Technology Is a Tool, Not a Learning Outcome ~hand-drawn image by author Bill Ferriter on the role that technology should play in teaching and learning spaces. via MindShift, published July 12, 2013.

LIFE at Lascaux: Early Color Photos From Another World ~ via TIME, published January 23, 2012.

The faces of education: stunning photos from the classrooms around the world Julian Germain started his “Classroom Portraits” series in 2004 in North East England, and since then he’s been everywhere from the Middle East, to Africa, to North and South America capturing the spirit, students, and visual culture of school rooms around the world.~ via GOOD, published July 17, 2013.

16 Real Modern Technologies Predicted by Inspector Gadget ~ Vanity Fair sifted through Inspector Gadget’s 86 episodes to see what this crystal ball of technology foretold. The results are a surprising collection of then fantastical products and concepts that we couldn’t imagine living without today. But perhaps the most forward-thinking model might be the show’s core relationship: a computer-obsessed child doing her best to explain technology to her forever clueless parental figure.via Vanity Fair, published July 11, 2013.

Villagers ‘Grow’ Bridges Using Vines And Roots To Cross Rivers ~ In the state of Meghalaya, India, villagers have been directing tree roots and vines to ‘build’ bridges for 500 years. By using hollowed out tree trunks, they guide these plants to the other side of the river and allow them to take root. In a region which receives much rain, it is counter-intuitive to make a bridge out of wood planks as the wood will rot. The natural solution was to use the surrounding plants as they would strengthen over time. via Design Taxi, published July 16, 2013.

WATCH

Sir Ken Robinson on How to Find your Element ~ Finding one’s passion and true purpose in life is essential to human flourishing. via RSA, published July 5, 2013.

What Happens When You Let Artists Play With San Francisco’s Trash ~ Trash can be beautiful. Just take a look at Recology San Francisco’s Artist in Residence Program, which lets professional and student artists run wild with the waste management company’s garbage. via FastCo.Exist, published July 19, 2013.

Martí Guixé: Food as an object of mass production ~ From a hands-free lollipop to a cake that displays its ingredients in pie-chart form, Martí Guixé’s work challenges perceptions of reality. The Catalonian designer works with food as an object of mass production, often creating interactive experiences. Working across food, platform and system design, Guixé’s work is often playful – like the parties he had to get partygoers to help him decorate retail interiors! via Design Indaba, published March 29, 2013.

The 7 Essential Life Skills ~ Ellen Galinsky on the 7 essential skills–focus & self-control; perspective taking; communicating; making connections; critical thinking; taking on challenges; self-directed, engaged learning–humans need to keep learning and growing throughout the lifespan. via BigThink, published July 18, 2013.

5 Great under 6 minutes TED Talks for Teachers ~ via Education Technology & Mobile Learning, published July 16, 2013.

Rethinking…* the Value of Play & Its Potential to Transform Education

“To be at play is an experience–you feel ideas of freedom, of being able to be creative, to make choices, to try out things, to experiment, to explore. I actually think it’s a state of being that, when you’re at play, you’re in a very different state of mind. You have a kind of openness about ideas. Definitely, when you’re at play with other people, there is an openness to what does it mean to be with these people in this space. You’re communicating with them, you’re trying to understand, “well, how can I relate to them?” “How can we do something together?” You’re always kind of pushing and pushing and exploring and feeling. Rather than a really close rule-bounded space, where you’re nervous about suggesting something or trying something or taking the next step. So that openness of that space feels incredibly important to people that are collaborating and are trying to engage in ‘what-if’ questions around what they might do together, what solutions might be to things, how they feel about each other. It’s a very very human experience.” – Katie Salen

Enjoy this fantastic video on the crucial importance of play to the human experience, produced by Nic Askew and commissioned by The Digital Media and Learning Research Hub. The film centers on game designer, professor and executive director of the non-profit Institute of PlayKatie Salen. Salen highlights play as one of the fundamental human experiences and frame of mind for experiencing the world. Based on Salen’s discussion of play, the film poses several poignant questions to help us rethink…* the value we give to play in our lives and our educational system.

  • Might we have underestimated the value of ‘play’?
  • How would your life look if seen through a playful state of mind?
  • Might confidence sit at the heart of an extraordinary education?
  • Might a playful frame of mind stand to transform the experience of education?
  • Might a playful state of mind enable the strength of our true human spirit?

Play & rethink…*

Connected Learning: Playing, Creating, Making from DML Research Hub on Vimeo.

{ 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 {November 2-9, 2012}

ARTICLES

What Does It Mean to Be Simple? ~ All designers say simplicity is important, but what does it really mean to make something simple? Most of the time we think it means less, that by removing stuff we achieve simplicity. We think by keeping content above the fold we’re helping people focus, or by using bullets instead of paragraphs more people will read it, or by cutting text in half it becomes more clear. But simple doesn’t mean “less”. A better definition would be “just enough”. via 52 Weeks UX, published December 22, 2011.

How to recognize Design Thinkers ~ Since Roger Martin and others hijacked the term ‘designthinking’, there is an ongoing dispute. Two thought worlds exist and possibly these can be united by laying bare the essential characteristics of a ‘design thinker’. via Team Cognition, published October 30, 2012.

Given Tablets but No Teachers, Ethiopian Children Teach Themselves ~ via MIT Tech Review, published October 29, 2012.

Pinterest’s Founding Designer Shares His Dead-Simple Design Philosophy ~ Sahil Lavingia on why design shouldn’t be designated a specific function or industry. The discipline is just as fundamental as technology and profit are to a business that it doesn’t need to be isolated to a single role. It should be considered part of every role. via FastCo.Design, published March 7, 2012.

Design Firms Go Beyond Gadgets As Portfolios Expand~ On the rise and ubiquity of design thinking: Bay Area design firms behind iconic technology products like the mouse and the Macintosh computer are broadening their portfolios. Health-care companies, nonprofits and industrial giants are among those tapping these and other designers to conceive not just gadgets but new software, business strategies and even school systems. The expansion has happened gradually but is accelerating as firms seek to connect with design-savvy customers. via The Wall Street Journal, published October 31, 2012.

The High Line Effect: Top 10 Urban Transformation Projects ~ When it comes to urban transformation, size does not matter, per se. The subtleties of thoughtful urban projects shine through at every level, and sometime outperform their more ostentatious contemporaries. The Architizer Plus: Urban Transformation Award will reward the best architectural project that spurs new occupation and lively places. via Good, published October 31, 2012.

Design Thinking Starts At The Top ~ Even though design thinking requires participation from many different sectors of a business, there is no question that this is an initiative that has to be led and implemented from the very top by a management committed to the process. Unless there is a strong figure there to properly determine what shape design thinking will ultimate take, there will be no firm direction and there will be no significant follow-through. via Fast Company, published November 2, 2012.

Learning to Bounce Back ~ via The New York Times, published November 2, 2012.

Van Bo Le-Mentzel: Rethinking Everything ~ “It was like my reset button had been pressed,” Le-Mentzel said of his childhood. “Other kids had parents who were doctors, teachers, grocers or lawyers to follow, and I was starting at zero. No one told me what to be – and that turned out to be an advantage. via Smart Planet, published November 1, 2012.

 

TALKS & VIDEOS

Watch A Great Short Film On The Future Of Technology And Education ~ We’re still teaching our kids using a 20th-century paradigm, but many visionaries–like the ones in this video–have plans to take our advances in computing and technology and use them to explode the idea of what education can be. via FastCo.Exist, published October 22, 2012.

 

Open Source Architecture Manifesto Movie ~ Istanbul Design Biennial 2012: this movie shows how a custom printer continually updates a copy of the Open Source Architecture Manifesto Wikipedia entry, written on a wall in the entrance to the Adhocracy exhibition at the Istanbul Design Biennial. via Dezeen, published November 7, 2012.

 

A 3-D Printed House That Grows Like Human Bone ~ London design studio Softkill paints a far-out picture of what 3-D printed architecture could eventually look like. At last week’s 3D Printshow, the team of Architectural Association grads presented a concept called ProtoHouse, which imagines a radical new mode of construction based on the strengths of 3-D printing. Their design is in stark contrast to other 3-D printed home schemes, which are either markedly utilitarian or oddly traditional. via FastCo.Design, published November 2, 2012.

(Softkill Algorithm from Sophia Tang on Vimeo.)

 

Design the New Business ~ Design and business can no longer be thought of as distinct activities with individual goals. Design the New Business is a film dedicated to investigating how designers and businesspeople are working together in new ways to solve the wicked problems facing business today. The short documentary examines how they are joining forces by bringing together an international collection of design service providers, education experts and businesses that have incorporated design as a part of their core approach. Design the New Business features inspiring case studies and insightful discussions, helping to illustrate the state of the relationship and how it needs to continue evolving to meet tomorrow’s challenges.via  dthenewb on Vimeo, published November 2011.

(Design the New Business – English subtitles from dthenewb on Vimeo.)

 

Rethinked’s…* Dominic Randolph on Design Thinking for Educators: Short Documentary on His Collaboration with Ideo ~ Dominic Randolphrethinker…* extraordinaire and Head of Riverdale Country School, won a grant in 2012 from the E. Ford Foundation to teach Design Thinking to Educators and to spread its adaption and implementation across the country. This seven-minute film documents Dominic’s collaboration with legendary design firm, Ideo. via Rethinked, published November 8, 2012. (Video Design Thinking for Educators – Dominic Randolph from paul dewey onVimeo, published November 6, 2012.)

 

Urbanus: Argitecture / Archiculture – Future Cities, Beijing ~ Wang Hui of Urbanus presents his recent works which are dealing with the development of the urban landscape in China. Understanding that eliminating farmland in favor of high rise structures is not a sustainable model, Hui presents a new system which brings together the two worlds instead of isolating them. By taking the words ‘architecture’ and ‘agriculture’ and hybridizing them to spell the terms ‘agritecture’ and ‘archiculture’ new meanings are created and from that dynamic proposals can be established.via Design Boom, published November 7, 2012.

 

IMAGES

Invisible Street Art by Cayetano Ferrer ~ Los Angeles-based video, photography and sculptural/installation artist Cayetano Ferrer has re-interpreted the discipline of graffiti through his artistic interrogation of urban objects. Through his projects ‘City of Chicago‘ and ‘Western Imports‘ he camouflages street signs and ordinary cardboard boxes to mimic the surrounding scenery – rendering them ‘invisible street art’. Ferrer creates the work by pasting high-quality photographs reflecting the relevant environment printed onto stickers and fixing them to various urban debris around the city. By photographing these pieces in situ, the resulting images articulate an illusion of transparency, prompting the viewer to look twice. via Design Boom, published November 2, 2012.

Flying Houses, Spotted In Paris ~ Paris-based art director-turn-photographer Laurent Chéhère has created a series of whimsical photographs featuring buildings that appear to be flying. via Design Taxi, published October 30, 2012.

Brilliant 3D pencil drawings by Nagai Hideyuki ~ Who knew that pencil art could be so multi-dimensional and layered? These incredible illustrations by young Japanese artist Nagai Hideyuki are created using the projection technique, Anamorphosis, which gives the images a three-dimensional appearance when viewed from certain angles. via Lost At E Minor, published July 19, 2012.

How Children Learn: Portraits of Classrooms Around the World ~ A revealing lens on a system-phenomenon both global in reach and strikingly local in degree of diversity. via Brainpickings, published August 20, 2012.

Disruptive wonder from French artist Rero ~The artist simply known as “Rero” works exceedingly simply – but all the better to get his point across. Recently, he has been making challenging through contradiction, posting fliers with phrases like “I hate graffiti” and “I don’t really like people who stick bills on walls,” as well as questioning our perception of public art. via Beautiful Decay, published August 10, 2010.

Rain-Activated Street Art ~ Poland-born, US-based mixed media artist Adam Niklewicz has created a stunning water mural on a red brick wall of a historical building in Hartford, Connecticut. Only appearing when rain falls on it or if water is sprayed on it, this public art project features an image of Charles DeWolf Brownell’s “The Charter Oak”, a reference to American freedom and independence.via Design Taxi, published November 5, 2012.

Our Differences Unite Us ~Just last week, 10-year-old Sophia Bailey-Klugh wrote and illustrated an endearing letter to U. S. President Barack Obama and, as the daughter of a gay couple, thanked him for supporting same-sex marriage. She then asked for advice on how to respond to those who saw such a thing as “gross and weird.” Her letter, and the reply she soon received, can be seen here. via Letters of Note, published November 6, 2012.

RESOURCES

Top 7 Websites for Creating the Future City ~ seven websites that harness the power, wisdom and knowledge of the crowds to cultivate smarter future cities. via Goodnet, published September 26, 2012.

The History of Western Architecture in 39 Free Video Lectures ~  The History of Architecture, a free course that recently debuted on iTunes. Taught by Jacqueline Gargus at Ohio State, the course features 39 video lectures that collectively offer a classic survey of Western architecture. via Open Culture, published November 8, 2012.

Ways to help affected communities after Hurricane Sandy ~ via Architizer, published November 2, 2012.

16 Free Lectures by “The Great Courses” (in a Sea of Free Courses) ~ You have got to hand it to The Great Courses (previously called The Teaching Company). Based in Chantilly, VA, the company has traveled across America, recording professors lecturing on great topics. They have roughly 390 courses in their catalog, market them aggressively with millions of print materials and emails, and generate $110 million in annual sales (as of 2010).And it just so happens that we’ve dug up 16 free lectures sponsored by the company. (Most are individual lectures taken from longer courses available for purchase online.) via Open Culture, published November 2, 2012.

Take First-Class Philosophy Lectures Anywhere with Free Oxford Podcasts ~ Conveniently podcast lecture courses from the University of Oxford. via open Culture, published November 6, 2012.

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