News

News

And notes from the field

An argument for testing: Does opting out matter?

As an educational leader, I have been asked why I choose not to opt my son out of high-stakes testing. It’s because I don’t care about the tests nor his scores. In fact, I don’t really care about any of the assessments nor grades he’s given in school, high-stakes or otherwise. I care much more about the skills my son is developing and the knowledge he is constructing; and that learning takes place within every aspect of his life (home, school, play, etc.). It simply cannot be measured through any sort of test.

Our students waste a lot of time in school (and with homework) complying with compulsory tasks that do nothing to develop within them the skills they’ll need as they make their way in this ever-shrinking world – testing included. Opting out of a few high-stakes tests won’t change that.

As educators, we need to be in the business of facilitating students’ construction of knowledge.

This can be done by modeling, guiding, mentoring, and purposively facilitating learning opportunities around critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, perseverance, exploration, reflection, and other soft skills WITHIN and THROUGH disciplinary content (e.g. social studies, science, health, math, language).

Unfortunately, our schools have devolved into places where information memorization is valued over knowledge construction, simply because while students’ retained information can be tested and quantified, their knowledge cannot.

Introducing our new Manifesto 15 t-shirt!

When Manifesto 15 was released, we celebrated with a short run of t-shirts with the slogan “kids are people, too.” We exhausted our supply quickly, and, this week, we received larger supply of new, screen printed t-shirts.

These shirts are gorgeous, printed on 4.2 oz. 100% combed and ringspun cotton. You can get $2 off each shirt ordered between now and March 31, by using the coupon code NEWSHIRT at educationfutures.com/store.

Click here to order your shirts today!

Beyond coercive education

In Episode 9 of the Education Futures Podcast, we spoke with Peter Hartkamp, author of Beyond Coercive Education: A plea for the realisation for the rights of the child in education. Many children and parents experience problems with school and in politics education is an often recurring subject. Hartkamp argues that discussions on how education can be improved have not changed over the last 100 years. They focus on the details of the educational practice and do not result in the necessary and fundamental change. The underlying assumptions of education are almost never discussed.

Hartkamp’s book shows that the essence of the current education system is based on the needs of the society of 200 years ago. It describes a number of myths in education, such as: more education is better, teaching is learning, tests lead to better education, children need guidance, teachers are regarded as a professionals and children do bully. These myths cause great suffering for children and inhibit learning and development. It seems, he argues, the Rights of the Child stop at the front door of the school.

NEW: Once you’ve listened to this episode, why not earn an hour of continuing professional education? After all, you’ve already done half the work. Just go to educationfutures.com/learn, and sign up for the Moodle course that corresponds with this episode. After you post your thoughts in response to the questions we have for you in the “sound off” forum, you can download your certificate of completion.

It’s free, and it’s our gift to you for listening and for supporting us. Simply visit educationfutures.com/learn to earn your free continuing professional education credit.

This is an open conversation, and your participation is invited! Email your stories and responses to us at info@educationfutures.com.

subscribe_on_itunes_badge-large

New episodes are released approximately every two weeks. Here’s how to follow along:

Introducing Education Futures Learns

We are pleased to introduce Education Futures Learns, a free professional development platform for educators, available at educationfutures.com/learns.

Education Futures has a long tradition of collaborating with creatives, thought leaders, innovators, and learning organizations to create new opportunities for human capital development. As a network of subject matter experts, big dreamers, and change agents, we are working to evolve learning.

As our network grows, so does our learning. And, we want to open our network and share what we’ve learned with you. In the Education Futures Learns online, collaborative space, teachers and other education professionals may share their knowledge and approaches related to the expert content we share – as well as affording an opportunity to interact with others in an innovation-focused knowledge community.

Each free professional development course is presented as an opportunity to earn one credit hour, incorporating original content produced by Education Futures. Initial offerings include:

  • Big Data in education
  • Enabling creative schools
  • Pokémon Go and Minecraft in schools?
  • Self-regulation in the classroom
  • Education in Finland
  • Unleashing the instinct to play in learning

Visit educationfutures.com/learns to get started and boost your professional development today!

Note: Continuing education requirements for licensed educators differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Education Futures LLC makes no guarantees as to whether any particular authority may accept continuing education certificates issued through this service. Please consult with your professional development coordinator or licensing authorities to confirm these professional development activities and certificates comply with your local requirements. All courses provided through Education Futures LLC are designed by professionals with PhD-level qualifications.

Big Data in education

In this episode of the Education Futures Podcast, we chatted with Dr. Cristóbal Cobo, director of research at the Ceibal Foundation in Uruguay. He is an expert on Big Data in education, and he shared his thoughts in our exploration of Cathy O’Neil’s provocative book, Weapons of Math Destruction: How big data increases inequality and threatens democracy.

O’Neil exposes the opaque, black box models that shape our future, both as individuals and as a society. These “weapons of math destruction” score teachers and students, sort résumés, grant (or deny) loans, evaluate workers, target voters, set parole, and monitor our health. In an era where we are obsessed with measurement, there are some huge implications for the world of education!

NEW: Once you’ve listened to this episode, why not earn an hour of continuing professional education? After all, you’ve already done half the work. Just go to educationfutures.com/learn, and sign up for the Moodle course that corresponds with this episode. After you post your thoughts in response to the questions we have for you in the “sound off” forum, you can download your certificate of completion.

It’s free, and it’s our gift to you for listening and for supporting us. Simply visit educationfutures.com/learn to earn your free continuing professional education credit.

This is an open conversation, and your participation is invited! Email your stories and responses to us at info@educationfutures.com.

subscribe_on_itunes_badge-large

New episodes are released approximately every two weeks. Here’s how to follow along:

Educational innovation in Puebla

Education Futures and Fundación Ceibal (Uruguay) are pleased to share the outcomes of their 2-month research project for the Secretary of Public Education of the State of Puebla (“SEP-Puebla,” Mexico). Dr. John Moravec served as the primary investigator for the study La innovación educativa en Puebla: Las voces de los actores.

Click this link to read the full report (in Spanish).

Project background and objectives

The SEP-Puebla identified the need to assess the main achievements, challenges and future actions for developing a better future for education in the state of Puebla.  The innovative feature of the study relied in directly involving and listening to local actors (students, teachers and parents), who are affected by educational policies. Moreover, this is related to the increasing use of digital technologies, its associated practices along with the new challenges and opportunities for the teaching and learning processes. In the case of Mexico, it is particularly important to assess the challenges associated with the implementation of the national program for inclusion and digital literacy, the Programa de Inclusión y Alfabetización Digital.

The research was developed in three phases. The first was based in a survey to assess people perceptions about different topics. The data collected informed the development of the second phase of the study, based in the World Café methodology. The use of this open and inclusive methodology fostered a collaborative exchange between participants around four thematic areas: New ways of knowing, learning, teaching and assessing; Teachers in the Digital Age; Social uses of ICT and digital culture; Resources and Platforms. The third phase included the data analysis and final reporting.

Main questions addressed by the research:

  • Which achievements of the current administration of SEP-Puebla you consider more relevant?
  • Looking forward, which are the main challenges faced by education? What kind of innovations are needed in the educational agenda?
  • Which actions and actors should be taken into consideration in the educational agenda strategic planning in Puebla?

The questions above, were jointly developed with SEP-Puebla. Despite the fact that the use of tablets in schools and the implementation of the program @aprende.mx were relevant parts of the study, the research trascends those topics and is focused in capturing the voices of the actors involved.

The research concluded with recommendations that aim to help thinking in innovative strategies for promoting ICT access and use in the state of Puebla. These are structured around three main areas: Flexibility for promoting new teaching and learning mechanisms. Self-efficacy through the promotion of sustainable and decentralized models that stimulate innovative practices, collaborative work and solidarity. Community culture that creates value from the exchange of knowledge among communities.

Click this link to read the full report (in Spanish).

“Sociedad Knowmad” launches

Taking the (r)evolution to Latin America!

On Saturday, the team led by Mundo Knowmad (Daniel Navarrete from Peru, Angel Jurado from Peru, Ismael Burone from Uruguay, and Gustavo Esteban Andrade from Mexico) announced that the book Knowmad Society has been translated into Spanish as Sociedad Knowmad. The full text is available online at: https://educationfutures.com/sociedadknowmad.

From the original English edition editor, John Moravec:

I am very pleased that our book, Knowmad Society, has been translated into Spanish. The team behind the translation has taken our wishes for the book to heart: Do not treat it like a book. Make it your own. Highlight the parts you like, tear out the parts that you don’t. Remix it into your own. With new contributions by the project participants, this book has become more relevant for Latin America than ever.

For some of us, the ideas we share represent a global revolution. For others, this represents a natural evolution to where we can finally work on what we love and know well – as individuals who are valued for our personal knowledge.

The text expands from the original English text by including new chapters by Raquel Roca and Daniel Navarrete, expanding Latin voices of the knowmads movement. Increasingly, people label themselves as knowmads on their CVs, LinkedIn profiles, Facebook, and other media to convey their changing approaches to work. The knowmad movement is not a fad – we are here to stay!

This project presents not just the future of work, but a mode of working and actualizing ourselves today. Whether it is a revolution or evolution, welcome to the Knowmad Society!

Knowmads are nomadic knowledge workers –creative, imaginative, and innovative people who can work with almost anybody, anytime, and anywhere. The jobs associated with 21st century knowledge and innovation workers have become much less specific concerning task and place, but require more value-generative applications of what they know. The office as we know it is gone. Schools and other learning spaces will follow next.

This book explores the future of learning, work and how we relate with each other in a world where we are now asked to design our own futures. Key topics covered include: reframing learning and human development; required skills and competencies; rethinking schooling; flattening organizations; co-creating learning; and new value creation in organizations.

In this expanded volume, eleven authors from three continents, ranging from academics to business leaders, share their visions for the future of learning and work. Educational and organizational implications are uncovered, experiences are shared, and the contributors explore what it’s going to take for individuals, organizations, and nations to succeed in Knowmad Society.

Read Sociedad Knowmad at https://educationfutures.com/sociedadknowmad. The original, English edition is available online at https://educationfutures.com/knowmad.

Unleashing the instinct to play for learning

Free play is our focus for this episode of the Education Futures Podcast. Adults often assume that it is their job to keep children busy all the time, but evidence suggests that children learn best when afforded great amounts of free time and opportunities for free play: activities that are freely chosen and directed by participants for their own sake. This can involve exploring, making new friends, playing games, being bored, and rescuing one’s self from boredom.

We wanted to learn more. And so we interviewed Dr. Peter Gray, author of Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life. In his book, Peter Gray argues it’s time to stop asking what’s wrong with our children, and start asking what’s wrong with the system. Is schooling the most responsible thing we can provide?

NEW: Once you’ve listened to this episode, why not earn an hour of continuing professional education? After all, you’ve already done half the work. Just go to educationfutures.com/learn, and sign up for the Moodle course that corresponds with this episode. After you post your thoughts in response to the questions we have for you in the “sound off” forum, you can download your certificate of completion.

It’s free, and it’s our gift to you for listening and for supporting us. Simply visit educationfutures.com/learn to earn your free continuing professional education credit.

This is an open conversation, and your participation is invited! Email your stories and responses to us at info@educationfutures.com.

subscribe_on_itunes_badge-large

New episodes are released approximately every two weeks. Here’s how to follow along:

2017: Year of the Mule

In previous postings over the New Year, I shared my predictions for the upcoming 365 days. It was always a mix of good ol’ prognostication with sprinkles of hope — and sometimes acknowledges the stagnation we experience with the slow pace of educational change. They always reflected progress: the central idea that we are building better futures. “Progress” in that we learn from our mistakes, try new things, and move forward. “Progress” in improving education for all of us. 2017 is different. This is the Year of the Mule.

By the Mule, I mean Donald Trump. Fans of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series will recognize the Mule as an anomaly – a tyrant, warlord, and manipulator. He is a wildcard, pushing unpredictability onto the fate of humanity.

I have had a hard time accepting the outcomes of the election in the U.S. I believe it can be argued that nothing is more political than education, and so it came as a big shock to me when Trump and a basket of extreme right-wingers were elected into office.

My first reaction was one of denial. Maybe I somehow crossed over in Star Trek’s mirror universe – you know, the one where Spock has an evil goatee. Where everybody is aggressive, mistrustful, and opportunistic. The universe that reflected the worst of what we could become as individuals and as a society1. Surely, I thought, an outcome like this would not be possible in my America.

But, it did, and that really upset me. How could this have happened? Why didn’t young people, who should care about their future, come out to vote? What did I do wrong? I was angry and frustrated, especially at myself for not doing better.

The election results dropped like an anvil. The presidency is being taken over by a narcissist, truly scary people were elected to Congress, and these people will approve Trump’s picks for his cabinet and the Supreme Court. There’s no room to bargain. This power grab will be swift and absolute.

And this makes me sad. It’s not about having ‘my people’ elected to office or having this ‘my way.’ This is about the decades of progress we have accomplished and the fundamental future of our country. I need to face the reality the dream of American Democracy is dead — or at least on hold for a while — in favor of an oligarchy. Donald Trump is appointing the wealthiest cabinet in history: They control more wealth than a third of the country. His nominee for the Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, is a billionaire who is hell-bent on dismantling public schools. She advocates for dismantling public education and supports programs that advocate for child labor as service to God. This is not 21st century education. This is not a reflection that we’ve learned from our past. This is not a reflection that the research we’ve conducted over the years have any value. This is a rollback to the 19th century.

It’s going to be rough for at least the next four years. Especially for those of us that work in or with our public schools. I want to be able to say, “it’s going to be okay.” But, I am having a hard time convincing myself. The territory we are entering is truly unknown — and not in a good way. In the hands of a narcissist, who indignantly chooses to go to war against a Broadway musical and a late night entertainment program instead of working on real issues, I cannot imagine how bad this real-life episode of Celebrity Apprentice will get.

The Year of the Mule will be frightfully unpredictable. With top leadership driven by narcissism, distrust of science, greed, and paranoia, hidden under a veil of nationalism, we can only fear for the worst for public education.

As Sen. Paul Wellstone said, “we all do better when we all do better.”

We will continue to create quality research. We will continue to have bold conversations. We will continue to share what we’ve learned. We will work twice as hard to ensure better education futures for all. We will continue to develop new approaches to research, organizational planning, and building a collective capacity to transform learning. We will advocate for all kids.

The Sun will rise again.

Self-regulation in the classroom

Self-regulation in the classroom is our focus for this episode. That is, we are focusing on how students manage, coordinate, and adapt how they think, feel, and behave to become successful. 

Social and emotional challenges in kids have been receiving a lot of attention lately. Students who struggle with self-management, often do poorly in school. We wanted to learn more about this, and we met up with Dr. Richard Cash, a gifted and talented expert, and author of Self-Regulation in the Classroom: Helping Students Learn How to Learn. He taught us the process of developing self-regulation as easy as ABCAffect (how you feel), Behavior (what you do), and Cognition (how you think). Teaching students to balance these three elements builds motivation, resilience, and college and career readiness.

Listeners who purchase Richard’s book from Free Spirit Publishing can enter the code “DiffGift” to receive 25% off!

NEW: Once you’ve listened to this episode, why not earn an hour of continuing professional education? After all, you’ve already done half the work. Just go to educationfutures.com/learn, and sign up for the Moodle course that corresponds with this episode. After you post your thoughts in response to the questions we have for you in the “sound off” forum, you can download your certificate of completion.

It’s free, and it’s our gift to you for listening and for supporting us. Simply visit educationfutures.com/learn to earn your free continuing professional education credit.

This is an open conversation, and your participation is invited! Email your stories to us at info@educationfutures.com.

subscribe_on_itunes_badge-large

New episodes are released every two weeks. Here’s how to follow along: