News

News

And notes from the field

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.

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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-efficiency 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.

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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.

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

Bob Dylan and the genius of context

When I woke up this morning, I was delighted to learn Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.” For those of us in Minnesota, still mourning the loss of Prince, this was a welcomed surprise that feels healing, both culturally and spiritually.

I’ve been watching the University of Minnesota’s twitter feed closely. Dylan went to the University of Minnesota when his career was forming, and the University always lets us know immediately anytime anybody connected with the institution wins a Nobel Prize. If they had their way, they’d have us believe that the sun would not rise without them!

But not this time. It took them until just before 11am to make the announcement. And, it was distant, if not cautious:

Why such an innocuous statement this time? Well, history records that Dylan dropped out after just a few semesters; he was successful without the University.

Don’t get me wrong: I love the University of Minnesota – or, the “U” as we affectionately call it. I got my Ph.D. there, and started off my academic career at the Twin Cities campus. But I think there is a crucial lesson to be learned:

Genius is not created by the institution; genius is fostered by the context in which the institution interfaces with the community.

Dylan’s career started not at the University, but across the street in the Dinkytown district of Minneapolis. Dinkytown was eclectic: a zone for free thought, open expression, independent businesses, and a food and bar scene that catered to students, faculty, and staff. The University attracted people in, but it was the music scene of the adjoining neighborhood that helped to propel him and get a start in his career.

After a year at the “U,” he moved to Greenwich Village in New York, and the rest is history.

And the University remains. It’s churned out a few Nobel laureates along the way, but I fear that we will see fewer creatives, like Dylan, emerge. The reason is simple: the context is being destroyed.

The University of Minnesota, like nearly every other institution, has learned that higher education is a big business. This extends not just to research and teaching, but also to the University’s presence in the community. It comes as no surprise that the “U” has been a major player in the redevelopment of Dinkytown. Small, older buildings that once housed its creative scene are being replaced with monotonous, monolithic apartment buildings, chain stores, and generic fast food options. Freewheeling politics, art, and other cultural expressions are being replaced by unimaginative configurations of concrete, steel, and glass.

The context for fostering genius is vanishing. I’m sure many more Nobel laureates connected with our beloved “U” will be announced in the coming years, but there will be no other Bob Dylan emerging from the University without an interface for creativity.

Education in Finland – Part I

The Finnish approach to education is our focus for this two-part series. Finland has received a lot of attention lately for its top performance in comparative, international assessments of its students and schools.

In this episode, we interview Dr. Pasi Sahlberg, a world-renowned expert on the country’s approach to education. He has worked as schoolteacher, teacher educator, researcher and policy advisor in Finland and has examined education systems around the world. His expertise includes school improvement, international education issues, classroom teaching and learning, and school leadership. He is the author of the best-selling book, Finnish Lessons 2.0: What can the world learn from educational change in Finland, and numerous professional articles and book chapters.

We ask, what works in the Finnish approach to schooling that we can learn from? What misconceptions are out there? And, to take what we’ve learned from Finland a reality elsewhere, would it take a revolution? Or is there another way?

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.

We would love to have your voice in these conversations! To encourage participation, we are offering a special promotion within the next few podcast episodes. Listen for the details, and email your response to program hosts John and Kelly Moravec at info@educationfutures.com for your chance to win something extraordinary!

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

Do Pokémon Go and Minecraft belong in schools? – Education Futures Podcast

It’s “back to school” season in the United States and Europe, and the social media universe is ablaze with ideas on how to harness Minecraft and the Pokémon Go craze in the classroom. But, do these tools really belong in schools? We debate some of the pros and cons, and invited 7th grader Hillel Killorn and MineGage founder Garrett Zimmer to weigh in.

And, make sure to read John Moravec’s provocative post on Pokémon Go and Minecraft in the classroom!

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.

We would love to have your voice in these conversations! To encourage participation, we are offering a special promotion within the next few podcast episodes. Listen for the details, and email your response to John and Kelly at info@educationfutures.com for your chance to win something extraordinary!

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