In an earlier post, I presented an overview of the literature on critical literacy and how it informs my perspectives on my work, research, and thinking. This was motivated by discussions in which colleagues and students indicate that they know/understand critical literacy, and then go on to equate it with critical evaluation. I think the two are linked, but to me critical literacy is much broader, and (IMHO) much more important.
The cynic in me sees the headline and wants to respond “All students’ reactions to their teachers.”
There is some interesting history and background to come back and read some references here.
What School Could Be offers an inspiring vision of what our teachers and students can accomplish if trusted with the challenge of developing the skills and ways of thinking needed to thrive in a world of dizzying technological change.
Innovation expert Ted Dintersmith took an unprecedented trip across America, visiting all fifty states in a single school year. He originally set out to raise awareness about the urgent need to reimagine education to prepare students for a world marked by innovation--but America's teachers one-upped him. All across the country, he met teachers in ordinary settings doing extraordinary things, creating innovative classrooms where children learn deeply and joyously as they gain purpose, agency, essential skillsets and mindsets, and real knowledge. Together, these new ways of teaching and learning offer a vision of what school could be―and a model for transforming schools throughout the United States and beyond. Better yet, teachers and parents don't have to wait for the revolution to come from above. They can readily implement small changes that can make a big difference.
America's clock is ticking. Our archaic model of education trains our kids for a world that no longer exists, and accelerating advances in technology are eliminating millions of jobs. But the trailblazing of many American educators gives us reasons for hope.
Capturing bold ideas from teachers and classrooms across America, What School Could Be provides a realistic and profoundly optimistic roadmap for creating cultures of innovation and real learning in all our schools.
From two leading experts in education and entrepreneurship, an urgent call for the radical re-imagining of American education so that we better equip students for the realities of the twenty-first century economy.
Today more than ever, we prize academic achievement, pressuring our children to get into the “right” colleges, have the highest GPAs, and pursue advanced degrees. But while students may graduate with credentials, by and large they lack the competencies needed to be thoughtful, engaged citizens and to get good jobs in our rapidly evolving economy. Our school system was engineered a century ago to produce a work force for a world that no longer exists. Alarmingly, our methods of schooling crush the creativity and initiative young people need to thrive in the twenty-first century.
In Most Likely to Succeed, bestselling author and education expert Tony Wagner and venture capitalist Ted Dintersmith call for a complete overhaul of the function and focus of American schools, sharing insights and stories from the front lines, including profiles of successful students, teachers, parents, and business leaders.
Most Likely to Succeed presents a new vision of American education, one that puts wonder, creativity, and initiative at the very heart of the learning process and prepares students for today’s economy. This book offers parents and educators a crucial guide to getting the best for their children and a roadmap for policymakers and opinion leaders.
Ted Dintersmith is a successful venture capitalist and father of two who has spent years devoting most of his time, energy and millions of dollars of his personal fortune to learning about — and advocating for — public education and how it can be made better for all children.
Dintersmith has taken a dramatically different path from other wealthy Americans who have become involved in education issues, departing from the approach of people such as Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who was a prime mover behind the Common Core State Standards and initiatives to assess teachers by student standardized test scores.
Dintersmith traveled to every state to visit schools and see what works and what doesn’t — and his prescription for the future of American education has very little to do with what Gates and others with that same data-driven mind-set have advocated.
He thinks the U.S. education system needs to be reimagined into cross-disciplinary programs that allow kids the freedom to develop core competencies through project-based learning.
How can choice and competition improve schools? From a capitalistic perspective one needs to be much more mobile or have a tremendous number of nearby schools for this to happen. Much like the lack of true competition in local hospitals, most American families don’t have any real choice in schools as their local school may be the only option. To have the greatest opportunity, one must be willing to move significant distances, and this causes issues with job availability for the parents as well as other potential social issues.
When it’s the case that there is some amount of local selection, it’s typically not much and then the disparity of people attending one school over another typically leads to much larger disparities in socio-economic attendance and thus leading to the worsening of the have and the have-nots.
Even schools in large cities like the Los Angeles area hare limited in capacity and often rely on either lottery systems or hefty tuition to cut down on demand. In the latter case, again, the haves and have-nots become a bigger problem than a solution.
I’ll have to circle back around on these to add some statistics and expand the ideas…
“Giving students their own digital domain is a radical act. It gives them the ability to work on the Web and with the Web.”
Not sure how this surfaced into my feeds again today, but interesting to see it pop up. I’m also noticing that Audrey smartly posted a copy to her own site after it appeared in Bright.
In this article, she touches on some reasons why it’s important for students to have their own domain, but many of these ideas and arguments also work well for almost anyone. It’s interesting to see how similar the philosophy she describes here dovetails with that of the IndieWeb.
I wonder what a statistical analysis would do to improve peoples’ lives if registrars attempted to put the mass of classes in the middle of the day? Would educational outcomes improve along with peoples’ psyches? Many schedulers are trying to maximize based on the scarcity of classroom resources. What if they maximized on mental health and classroom performance? Is classroom scheduling potentially a valuable public health tool?
Brown v Board of Education might be the most well-known Supreme Court decision, a major victory in the fight for civil rights. But in Topeka, the city where the case began, the ruling has left a bittersweet legacy. RH hears from the Browns, the family behind the story.
This is a stunning episode with several ideas and thought’s I’d not previously heard or considered. I feel guilty that I’ve been ignorant to some forces in society like these, but I suspect far too many others are as well. Veritas vos liberabit.
The brilliant idea here is that even the romantic view of Brown v. Board of Education many have isn’t really the victory it might have been. Because the continued racism and segregation of the teachers, things may have become even worse! The Supreme Court should and could have done better and the world would have healed a bit quicker.
Sadly we’ve still got similar problems today and they stretch across many other professions including law enforcement. I wonder what we can do to dramatically improve the teacher diversity problem?
Those who appreciated this episode are likely to appreciate this recent episode of The Daily’s podcast: Racism’s Punishing Reachwhich has several examples that underline the importance of teachers and provides some studies that just weren’t available at the time of Brown v. Board.
I hope to circle back and create a playlist of some of the more interesting things I’ve heard in the last year on the history of race and racism in the United States. This would certainly fit into that list.
In the early ’90s, Hank Rowan gave $100 million to a university in New Jersey, an act of extraordinary generosity that helped launch the greatest explosion in educational philanthropy since the days of Andrew Carnegie and the Rockefellers. But Rowan gave his money to Glassboro State University, a tiny, almost bankrupt school in South Jersey, while almost all of the philanthropists who followed his lead made their donations to elite schools such as Harvard and Yale. Why did no one follow Rowan’s example?
“My Little Hundred Million” is the third part of Revisionist History’s educational miniseries. It looks at the hidden ideologies behind giving and how a strange set of ideas has hijacked educational philanthropy.
The key idea laid out stunningly here is strong links versus weak links.
I’m generally flabbergasted by the general idea proposed here and will have to do some more research in the near future to play around further with the ideas presented. Fortunately, in addition to the education specific idea presented, Gladwell also comes up with an additional few examples in sports by using the differences between soccer and basketball to show the subtle differences.
If he and his lab aren’t aware of the general concept, I would recommend this particular podcast and the concept of strong and weak links to César Hidalgo (t) who might actually have some troves of economics data to use to play around with some general modeling to expand upon these ideas. I’ve been generally enamored of Hidalgo’s general thesis about the overall value of links as expressed in Why Information Grows: The Evolution of Order, from Atoms to Economies1. I often think of it with relation to political economies and how the current administration seems to be (often quietly) destroying large amounts of value by breaking down a variety of economic, social, and political links within the United States as well as between our country and others.
I wonder if the additional ideas about the differences between strong and weak links might further improve these broader ideas. The general ideas behind statistical mechanics and statistics make me think that Gladwell, like Hidalgo, is certainly onto a strong idea which can be continued to be refined to improve billions of lives. I’ll have to start some literature searches now…
Hidalgo C. Why Information Grows: The Evolution of Order, from Atoms to Economies. New York: Basic Books; 2015.
Bowdoin College in Maine and Vassar College in upstate New York are roughly the same size. They compete for the same students. Both have long traditions of academic excellence. But one of those schools is trying hard to close the gap between rich and poor in American society—and paying a high price for its effort. The other is making that problem worse—and reaping rewards as a result.
“Food Fight,” the second of the three-part Revisionist History miniseries on opening up college to poor kids, focuses on a seemingly unlikely target: how the food each school serves in its cafeteria can improve or distort the educational system.
It would be nice to figure out a way to nudge some capitalistic tendencies into this system to help fix it–but what?
Carlos is a brilliant student from South Los Angeles. He attends an exclusive private school on an academic scholarship. He is the kind of person the American meritocracy is supposed to reward. But in the hidden details of his life lies a cautionary tale about how hard it is to rise from the bottom to the top—and why the American school system, despite its best efforts, continues to leave an extraordinary amount of talent on the table.
Eric Eisner and students from his YES Program featured above. Photo credit: David Lauridsen and Los Angeles Magazine
“Carlos Doesn’t Remember” is the first in a three-part Revisionist History miniseries taking a critical look at the idea of capitalization—the measure of how well America is making use of its human potential.
Certainly a stunning episode! Some of this is just painful to hear though.
We should easily be able to make things simpler, fairer, and more resilient for a lot of the poor we’re overlooking in society. As a larger group competing against other countries, we’re heavily undervaluing a major portion of our populace, and we’re going to need them just to keep pace. America can’t be the “greatest” country without them.
There are many ways to begin a discussion of “Open Pedagogy.” Although providing a framing definition might be the obvious place to start, we want to resist that for just a moment to ask a set of related questions: What are your hopes for education, particularly for higher education? What vision do you work toward when you design your daily professional practices in and out of the classroom? How do you see the roles of the learner and the teacher? What challenges do your students face in their learning environments, and how does your pedagogy address them?
“Open Pedagogy,” as we engage with it, is a site of praxis, a place where theories about learning, teaching, technology, and social justice enter into a conversation with each other and inform the development of educational practices and structures. This site is dynamic, contested, constantly under revision, and resists static definitional claims. But it is not a site vacant of meaning or political conviction. In this brief introduction, we offer a pathway for engaging with the current conversations around Open Pedagogy, some ideas about its philosophical foundation, investments, and its utility, and some concrete ways that students and teachers—all of us learners—can “open” education. We hope that this chapter will inspire those of us in education to focus our critical and aspirational lenses on larger questions about the ideology embedded within our educational systems and the ways in which pedagogy impacts these systems. At the same time we hope to provide some tools and techniques to those who want to build a more empowering, collaborative, and just architecture for learning.
University of Michigan students Griffin St. Onge and Lauren Schandevel have published an online guide that anybody can edit called "Being Not Rich at UM." It's a Google Doc about navigating the costs of college that has grown to more than 80 pages.
The two juniors were inspired to create the guidebook after their student government published its own guide about "cost-effective" living at the university, which St. Onge, a first generation college student, found out-of-touch. Its suggestions included skipping weekly manicures and opting to do your own laundry instead of using a service.
"I didn't really realize the culture of Michigan before coming here," she says. "I had been warned about it a little bit, but I had never met the kind of wealth that some of the students have here by the time I came to university."
Schandevel and St. Onge decided to take matters into their own hands.
This is the first kind of financial aid that schools should be providing… It’s not that difficult and is a simple resource to open source and advertise widely. For first generation and low income students I imagine that it’s the type of resource that they should put into acceptance packages to improve their yields. In fact, honestly, it’s the type of resource that students of all income levels should be given to help make them better and more rounded students and people.
I’m test-driving H5P – an open HTML5 content creator that promises many things! And for the most part, it delivers. I tried out a few of the 20 plus content types that they have available here. I’ll continue to add to this as time goes on. Since it’s currently October, there is a pumpkin-spice flavoured theme to these examples (love it or hate it!).
Some interesting edtech tools here. They remind me somewhat of the type of formats and layouts made possible by the Post Kinds Plugin for WordPress, but geared toward academia. I could see things like these being useful little blocks within the upcoming Gutenberg interface.
I’m Doug Belshaw, Open Educational Thinkerer. I help people become more productive in their use of technology.
Recently, I’ve joined Moodle to lead an innovation project currently entitled Project MoodleNet. From January 2018 this takes up four days, or 30 hours, of my working week.
I’m also a consultant through Dynamic Skillset, where I help people and organisations become more productive in their use of technology, and I co-founded a co-operative known as We Are Open which exists to spread the culture, processes, and benefits of working openly.
In previous guises I’ve worked for Mozilla and Jisc, and before that was a teacher and senior leader in schools.
I write here mainly about education, technology and productivity. Other places I write include discours.es (commentary), literaci.es (new literacies-related), and ambiguiti.es (more philosophical).
I’m following him via his own website, since he’s “off Twitter” and primarily publishing in his own space:
Just a quick note to say that my tweets during #OER18 don’t mean I’m “back on Twitter” (although thanks for the DMs!)
Also, as usual, I’ll be deleting my tweets next week so if there’s any photos I’ve taken during the conference you like, download them! (CC0)
Here’s a list of things that are discouraged that I encourage all PhDs to do:
– Take leave whenever you want
– Leave the office when you want
– Ask to be paid for labour
– Highlight and refuse unpaid labour
– Refuse respectability politics
– Refuse to act grateful when exploited