Archive for November 2010
OpportunitiesI watched Forrest Gump again. When you look at Forrest's life, he was in the right place all through history. I know it was not real, but this movie brought home to me why it's so obvious what is happening in America. It's a dumbing down of America for a reason: MONEY. Even though Forrest's IQ was low, his mother believed in him; he had opportunities and took them; and he never gave up. No Child Left Behind sounded like a good idea but was never funded completely and then focused on testing and standards. I don't disagree about accountability and determining how students are progressing. BUT... no student is the same. They start out different. The problem with NCLB and standards is that everything is based that all 6 year old children across the country are the same. Textbook companies created the tests that met the standards for Texas, California, and New York. Forget the rest of the country. So a 6 year old in West Virginia was tested on information based on New York standards. Public schools are losing money so administrators are making hard choices to retire high quality teachers early, get rid of bonuses for teachers who work toward a Masters (article), and hire inexperienced teachers from programs like Teach for America (TFA) where they are placed in low income schools after 5 weeks of training. We need teachers. People need jobs. It's just that these inexperienced teachers need help and that TFA prepares them with the attitude that they know more than experienced teachers. What??? How can that be? If all of your new teachers feel this way, then forget change... forget creativity. That is, unless some of these new teachers take the high road and want to learn more and partner with an experienced master teacher or coach. Read Carolyn Foote's post about master teachers. Now we're moving to Common Core Standards that are pieced together skills that inexperienced teachers teach with worksheets because that's all they know. Teachers may only know what they were taught. Reading from the textbook doesn't work for today's students anymore. Testing on these standards does not mean students have real understanding of the concepts and how they relate to the real world. We need experienced teachers, mentors, and coaches to develop engaging innovative learning opportunities for our students. If not, we take away the opportunities for our most vulnerable children in public schools. Maybe we need to rethink the motives to compartmentalize teaching and learning now and why we are going back to this industrial model when we know it doesn't work. Do you really want mediocre citizens that will not be able to compete in a global society? Keep this up and we'll be the developing country led by a few very wealthy people. China, Korea and India will be leading the way unless we stop the direction we're going. I'm looking for schools, teachers, districts who want to offer the opportunities so any child can reach their fullest potential. Are you ready to get creativity, joy, and the focus on learning instead of teaching to the test?
Taking the First StepYou know what to do. You just don't do it. It is so easy to find excuses to not do something that is really important because it is hard to do. It is easy to find excuses why you need to do the little unimportant things and put off the difficult stuff that really matters. So I say "stop making lists, delegate the little stuff, and take the first step to be a success." I read Seth Godin's post Sure but what's the hard part and got me thinking about this and how it home for me. I've heard this from others telling me over and over again that someone else can do this or that for me, but it was easier for me to make excuses or to presume that I was the only one in the whole wide world that could do something. I remember hearing and believing "if you want something done right, do it yourself." The problem with that is that there is only one of you. You cannot do it all. It's that indispensable thing we tend to do to ourselves. Today is the day to let go.
Think as an EntrepreneurBeing an entrepreneur takes a different mindset. Most of us have been taught to take orders, follow the rules, think in the box... When someone breaks out of the box and comes up with what they think is a crazy idea, their colleagues just shake their heads and wait for their friend to come to their senses. That is until the economy changed everything and the consequences for following rules doesn't mean you keep your job anymore. There is no security and the rules have all changed. With good jobs going away, middle class downsizes. Jobs that pay well are going away and are not being replaced by similar jobs. The middle class is shrinking. Corporations are cutting back on their work force and continue to send jobs oversees. Some of the jobs that are being cut are accounting, good-paying union jobs, and technology jobs. When you are out of work and there are no jobs, no unemployment benefits, you take any job -- even a low-paying job. With little money, people are barely making it by, losing their homes, and not spending money. This is the trickle down effect people were talking about. What happens to our communities? to the families? Houses go into foreclosure, people don't spend money so stores go under, people move and take their children out of school. Without enough students, schools close or teachers are laid off. This is that trickle down effect but not the way we were thinking it would go. You can feel sorry for yourself or you can take control of your life. What if you could make another $500+ a month? Could that help you? I just read "Put more Cash in Your Pocket" by Loral Langemeir who I met at the Make Mine a Millionaire $ Business Conference. Loral writes about taking the skills you already have and make a business venture using those skills. This is not the idea of starting a new business around something you have no experience. Did you ever sell lemonade in front your house? It's the same idea. Just make some extra money to pay off some bills or save for something you really want. Loral provides a long list of possible ventures. Here's a few off that list and a few I added:
- Web site design
- Dog Walking
- Music Lessons
- Organizing Closets
- Personal Shopper
- Setting up Home Theaters
Imagine Traveling to MarsYou can do that now. Lucky me! I participated in Dr. David Thornburg's session on Learning from the Holodeck at Fall Cue today. The world's first educational holodeck is at the pre-K to middle school campus of Colégio Atual, a school in Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil. The holodeck is a bare room with custom interactive computer software and hardware. Students create challenging missions that use their skills in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) subjects to complete a journey. Middle School students take a simulated trip to Mars in search of evidence for extraterrestrial life. These students are in their school but instead of being seated in rows in a traditional classroom, they are in a special room, the Educational Holodeck. With the Thornburg Educational Holodeck(tm), large screen displays are used to convincingly create the environment of an interplanetary voyage, where students are allowed to choose their destination for each journey (e.g., Jupiter's moon, Io). The software is an open source program called Celestia. The holodeck is a highly engaging example of an environment that is:
Changing the ParadigmI mentioned Sir Ken Robinson and his talk about "Schools kill Creativity" in my webinar. I just watched this animation where he explains why the current education system is failing our kids. Some questions he brings up:
- why do we need to group students by age anymore?
- why do we need to separate kids into separate subjects?
- why are degrees not a guarantee for jobs?
- why are we not waking up children to what they have inside themselves?
November 2, 2010 Posted by Barbara Bray in 21st Century Skills, Professional Development, Technology
Reflections on Webinar on Joy in LearningOn Saturday, October 30th, I presented a webinar for Classroom 2.0 on Joy in Learning. It was an honor to have three amazing moderators Peggy George, Kim Caise, and Lorna Costatini and use Elluminate for my presentation. I learned alot. I do know that what you see on your screen as moderator may not be the same as the audience. I cached all the websites so they would load easily. However, the Classroom 2.0 server and G.Lam server was slow so some of my screens never showed up. What was great is that I worked with Peggy several days before setting up all the links using a Google planning doc. Putting on a webinar is not just uploading your slides and presenting. It takes time to set up each slide, someone to upload all the links, one or more moderators who are watching and fielding questions from the chat, and a moderator to contact you if something isn't working. I was so impressed with how effective Peggy, Lorna, and Kim were. Great job! Go here to see the full recording from Elluminate: https://sas.elluminate.com/site/external/jwsdetect/playback.jnlp?psid=2010-10-30.0931.M.ACE02B5F35AA7E7975F015AAC6F794.vcr&sid=2008350 Tiny URL for recording: http://tinyurl.com/cr20live-BarbaraBray Recording (chat): http://wiki.classroom20.com/CR20LIVE+OCT302010 Recording (audio): http://www.humyo.com/FQxmsff/CLASSROOM%202.0%20LIVE%20joyinlearning.32K.mp3?a=08nXJgdOgPo Classroom 2.0 LIVE - Joy in Learning from Kim Caise on Vimeo. Recording (video): http://vimeo.com/16377462 Topic: Joy in Learning
Gl.am Links for 10/30/2010: http://gl.am/De2Kp
Problem with the gl.am links - screen capture didn't load but the links work. As of today I see pictures of walnuts for most of my links.
Now that I watch the video after the presentation in Vimeo, I realize that to really see how the webinar worked you need to watch the archived recording in full. The moderators gave me a walk-through all of the tools in Elluminate.
So what I learned is that talking about Joy is fun. I ran out of time and tried to keep track of the action in the chat. What a great group who joined my webinar.
So anyone presenting a webinar needs at least one moderator, needs to practice, and then make sure your session is archived and watch and listen to yourself. This is how you learn and reflect what worked and what you would do different next time. I tend to ramble when I'm excited. Need someone to poke me to get back on track. It's like you need a coach when you present.
I plan to do this webinar again somewhere because I learned so much and love talking about joy in learning.