Finding Value in What I am Learning……

November 11, 2011 by bgaskins · No Comments · 21st Century, reflecting, school reform

Today my reading journey too me here and here and here and here and here and here. I am not sure I am making a point, but rawness of the writing below is helping me clarify what I value in education and what I am learning.

Here I wrote “Old school is so intimidated about the huge change that is lurking around the corner. We have educated generations of people with a vision for public education based on their experiences inside the classroom for 12 plus years of their life. Public education as we know is spiraling in a direction that a tipping point of change is in the air. If we don’t embrace change, the crash is going to be eventful at the local level. We will wake up day and not understand what has hit us.”

Four years ago Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen predicted that online education would take off slowly and then hit everyone by surprise.

Then Khan Academy, founded by Salman Khan in 2006., Khan’s business model is simple, yet impactful. It flips education on its head.  Rather than filling the day with lectures and requiring students to complete exercises after school, Khan focuses on classroom exercises throughout the day and allows students to download more lectures after school. The idea of a flipped classroom was born.

Then this article Khan Academy Snags $5 Million To Blow Up Education.  This is frightening.

Then there are a plethora of change that surround and engulf us – we expect school to stay constant, to remain immune to world forces, to be almost outside of time.

Mind Shifts reinforces that idea the one that teaches learns the most. The teacher is the classroom is the most learned one in the class.  The mind shift has to focus on what the learner does with the literacy skills in the practice of learning.

In a recent blog post Will Richardson writes about Redefining Our Value. Will states  “the biggest challenge we face as educators is redefining our value as schools and classrooms and teachers, not just to the taxpaying public but to ourselves as well.”

Will makes mention of Pearson and their answer to the disruption of education.

“One of the largest textbook publishers in the world is making its digital course offerings more data-driven and individualized. Pearson announced Tuesday an extensive partnership with Knewton, a startup that specializes in adaptive learning technology. Students in these courses use the computer during class time to work through material at their own speed. Through diagnostics taken along the way, the program creates a “personalized learning path” that targets exactly what lessons they need to work on and then delivers the appropriate material. Points, badges and other game mechanics theoretically keep students chugging through courses with more motivation. In the meantime, teachers learn which students are struggling with exactly which concepts.

“It frees me up from having to address one lecture to 60 or 70 students at once,” says Scott Surgent, associate director of mathematics at Arizona State University, in a Knewton promotional video about the courses. “I can roam around the Knewton laboratory and help the students as needed.””

from Pearson and Knewton Team Up to Make Learning Personal

And we are in danger of more start up educational platforms like Pearson in digital spaces.  Education policy makers can find ways to hire fewer teachers and help with budget issues.

What is that we really value in education?  Will our classrooms be reduced to filling in the blanks (Will Richardson) when the computer software can’t help? And the teachers are there to fill in the blanks.  Would this be what we really value?

Another point, we continue talk about data driven decision making.  Have we gone overboard with data driven decision-making? Are we able to catch the needs of all students by just relying on the data? I am all for data driven decision-making.  We must rely on other filters when the data does not tell us the whole story.

“As Clayton Christensen and Michael Horn argued in Disrupting Class, insufficient money, the teachers’ unions, and large classroom size, all relevant issues, are not the root cause of our schools’ troubles. The real problem lies in the effects standardized education has had on a student’s internal and external motivation. As the authors point out, “When education is well aligned with one’s stronger intelligences, aptitudes, or styles, understanding can come more easily and with greater enthusiasm.””

from How Online Innovators Are Disrupting Education

 Closing Thoughts of Such Ramblings.

“In the end, I guess, I believe in the quality, competence and creativity of her teachers. And perhaps that’s a type of faith worth having, one that in public education is being permanently (and sometimes understandably) eroded. Linda Rief, one of the Oyster River teachers, told Mr. Winerip that she feared “public schools where teachers are trusted to make learning fun are on the way out.”

“Ms. Rief understands that packaged curriculums and standardized assessments offer schools an economy of scale that she and her kind cannot compete with,” Mr. Winerip writes.

from What We Learn (or Don’t) From Test Scores

And that says it all!

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