Action Plan for Transforming Education

Get all the stakeholders to the table

Get everyone involved and invested in education …. for decision-driven examination of the … issues …

Put children first

The single focus of stakeholders at the table must be meeting the needs of our children.

Redefine teaching

Don’t even bother to come to the table unless you are willing to rethink everything you’ve ever learned about being a teaching professional…

Adopt a campus model

Plan to move to an open campus model where students bring their own technology to schools …

Individualize learning

It is all about student learning. Not achievement scores. Not closing statistical gaps. Not putting technology in their hands in the name of some digital utopia. Learning here and now, accepting for the first time in western education that every student deserves a personal learning plan with the resources provided to ensure success. It’s time to put aside the standardized classroom model and put in place individualized learning for every student. We know enough about individual cognition and learning styles to tailor learning for each child, and the tools are available to make it happen.

24/7

… we must redefine learning time so that it recognizes learning taking place seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. 

K-20 Competency-based Learning Continuum with no age/grade benchmarks

The ultimate goal is to provide learning experiences for students that span their formative years and provide a strong bridge into adult learning and productivity … Project-based learning and problem-solving experiences embedded in every student’s learning plan … a system of education that allows all children to be successful; no one settling for meeting minimum standards or being held back from reaching their full potential.

via edge.ascd.org (post by Walter McKenzie)

An interesting plan for transforming education, some good ideas, many should be kept in mind by all educators on a daily basis – not just to enact transfromational change. The key points, in my mind are: to put children first, that it is all about student learning and we need to rethink what is meant by ‘teaching’ – or at least live up to what has been talked about for years. Read the complete post, good food & reminders for thought. Can you implement some of these to make change in your own practice?

Important Questions?

Whatever your guesses are for next year or for 2020, the questions that need answers are not about the rapid expiration dates of the next newest device –including the “revolutionary” iPad–nor to what degree technology will be ubiquitous in home and school nor even how new technologies will be used by the next generation of teachers and students. No, those are not the questions that need to be asked.

Instead, fundamental questions have to deal with matters of educational philosophy–what knowledge is most worth? Why? What are the best ways of teaching and learning? These questions, in turn depend on broader moral and political questions about what is the “good” life and how does one live a useful and worthy life. When these questions are asked and answered then, and only then, can new technologies play their role in schools and classrooms.

excerpted from Larry Cuban’s Dec 30, 2010 post: Revisiting Technology Predictions for 2020

My emphasis!

Digital Citizenship: Rights and Responsibilities

Although not all American adults feel this way, the United States seems to have more respect for the rights of parents, schools and authorities than it does for the rights of children. And this includes control over what children can see and where they can express themselves by limiting access to certain websites including (in the case of schools) social networking sites. And while I fully understand the inclination to protect children from inappropriate content and disclosing too much personal information, adults need to find ways to be protective without being controlling. That’s a tough balance but one worth thinking about as we struggle for ways to parent and educate in the digital age while respecting the rights of young people.

So, as we go forward to discuss digital citenship, let’s remember that citizenship is a two-way street. Citizens do have responsibilities but they also have rights.

from a post by Larry Magid in the Huffington Post on Nov. 7, 2010, titled: Digital Citizenship Includes Rights as Well as Responsibilities.

my emphasis

What is the True Value of “My PLN”?

Updated PLN Wordlephoto © 2008 Sue Waters | more info (via: Wylio)

 

Creation, collaboration, and sharing are the true value points of a PLN. It’s not what it does for me, but rather what I am now able to do with and for others.

Being connected, without creating and contributing, is a self-focused, self-centered state … there is never a good time to be a lurker. Lurking=taking. The concept of legitimate peripheral participation sounds very nice, but is actually negative. Even when we are newcomers in a network or community, we should be creating and sharing our growing understanding…

… But you don’t need to run an open course with large numbers of participants to make an impact. An open course for five people is just fine. It’s the act of giving, not the subsequent impact, that is most significant.

A few excerpts from George Siemen’s blog post of Dec 1, 2010.

…and from Rodd Lucier (the Clever Sheep):

To that end, what are you doing to create the next EDUCON,  MOOC, or TEDx? Are you modeling risk and reaching beyond your comfort zone? How are you contributing to the evolution of our professional learning playbook

These are strong statements against ‘lurking’. I agree with the sentiment that a person should get involved, share & create. I do think, however, that there is place for the lurker, for example, when someone is just starting out, I think a period of looking, exploring, learning the ropes so to speak, is acceptable. Yet this cannot and should not go on forever. Siemens states, in the quote above, that the value of a PLN is the participation, the sharing with others. As educators, we aso have the responsibility to model appropriate use of the medium, as Lucier points out in the second quote. In my own case, I have found value not only in learning from others, but in joining conversations, sharing and, yes, I can actually help others too! One of the responsibilities of an educator, as I see it, is to share: knowledge, ideas, questions … if you are embarking on building a Personal Learning Network, then, sure, experiment, look around, explore – but also push yourself to take part and contribute!

Do you watch from the sidelines or do you participate?

(I originally started this post on December 1 – I participate, but it sometimes takes awhile!) 

 

Wikipedia & Schools & Digital Literacy

Wikipedia deserves the same place in most modern assignments that Britannica did in most of ours. It was a starting point and a collection of additional references for our research. It gave us the general background we needed to dig further. Wikipedia does the same, with remarkable reliability given the success of the crowdsourcing model. Wikipedia, however, makes most of those primary sources and deeper research possibilities available within just a few clicks. We don’t need to teach our kids not to use Wikipedia. We need to teach them to make those extra few clicks and decide for themselves if the Wikipedia entry has merit. It’s a skill that is broadly applicable in an age of information overload and Google’s billions of search results.

Above from the blog post “Teachers: Please stop prohibiting the use of Wikipedia” on ZDNet.

hands wikipedia aussiegallphoto © 2009 Johann Dréo | more info (via: Wylio)

What is your opinion of Wikipedia?It being the encyclopedia many educators say not to use, yet it is often the first place we go for information. As stated, is it just the modern version of Britannica or World Book? Using Wikipedia can be an excellent starting point to teach about evaluating content and developing critical thinking. It is also an excellent example of the power of crowdsourcing. Does Wikipedia have a place in your classroom?

Change!

If we know that there is a better way of doing something, and we have to change our past practice to make it better, is it that people do not like change or the work that change encompasses?

from the blog of George Couros

Endless conversation about change is the barrier. Actually committing to doing something and then acting is what is required.

response to George’s post by D. Jakes (link above)

Those of us working in education today know what has to be done in order to reshape the teaching and learning cultures found within our schools that have failed to adapt to an evolving world.  We need to lead the change movement through action instead of engaging in what seems to be never-ending talk about the “why” and “how” associated with the process.

The comments above about change in education say a lot. I agree that the old adage “talk is cheap” is true. Many people talk about change in schools, but then carry on doing the same old thing. Educators at all levels are busy people and sometimes it is easier to fall into traditional ways of teaching, however, if we want change to occur, we must act. The conversation is important too, however, as the three people above state, we need to back up the talk with action. As Ghandi famously stated: “Be the change that you want to see in the world” and “Action expresses priorities.” What action are you going to take to make positive change in education?
(quotes from:http://www.brainyquote.com/)

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poster: http://www.flickr.com/photos/datruss/5216340720/