8. And What of the Future?

And what does this mean in terms of our learning about technology and the many ways that it can be used, in and out of the classroom? Are we as teachers become more digitally literate? Are our students learning digital skills other than listening to music on their smartphones and navigating Facebook?

Are we helping them? Or are they helping us?

Teacher Sonja Delafosse gives us a glimpse into the near future… For teachers willing to experiment and take risks, the future looks exciting!

 

 

Digital literacy, critical thinking, and divergent thinking are key skills for survival in the 21st century for the young and old alike. People have been talking about this for half of a century, and now is the time to assess our skill levels and identify what we need to learn. Even infants are getting into the game! And, if they can do it, you can as well.

 

Sometimes the Road’s Not Very Clear

Sometimes the road's not very clear. And too many directions to anywhere and everywhere can be confusing.  No matter how you phrase it! Source: Linda Starr at Education World. Click or tap.

Sometimes the road’s not very clear. And too many directions to anywhere and everywhere can be confusing.  No matter how you phrase it! Source: Linda Starr at Education World. Click or tap.

 

Yet we press on… The world’s changing quickly; for some teachers, a bit too quickly. The options open to teachers these days are numerous; so numerous that they can be confusing just in terms of numbers if nothing else. So, where to start?

 

First, consider these human factors when encouraging teacher technology use:

• Provide strong incentives

• Give lots of support

• Make it easy, or at least not punishing

• Use a little encouragement

• Recognize that a little encouragement may not be enough

• Address the lack of resources

• A good start pays off

• Sometimes a good start may not be enough

A dozen teachers contributed to this list, and additional details and advice can be found in this excellent original Education World article.

 

Is it just the world of instructional technology that is changing? Or are there larger forces at play? And, if the adoption of technology is increasing as it appears to be doing so, what are the drivers making this happen? Sir Kenneth Robinson offers some perspectives.

 

“We created our lives, and we can recreate them…

Sir Kenneth Robinson, Author, Speaker

 

Some things that we did as kids in school way back when just wouldn’t work these days; probably won’t in the future, either.

 

Sir Kenneth discusses the paradigm shifts occurring right under our feet. Featured by RSA ANIMATE.

 

Bottom Line: The world is changing, and we’re just coming to realize this.  Knowing what to do as adults in our culture isn’t always clear.  Can we blame students for being a bit overwhelmed?  We hear the term “paradigm shift” quite often, but living through one can be somewhat “disruptive.”

Share!

Copy the link from your Browser URL and email it to a colleague who may be interested!

URL Browser

URL Browser

Extra Credit!

Check out some of the magazines associated with this blog entry’s content!

Digital and Media Literacy. Click or tap.

Digital and Media Literacy. Click or tap.

 

Critical Thinking. Tap or click.

Critical Thinking. Tap or click.

 

Creativity. Tap or click.

Creativity. Tap or click.

 

7. What DO Teachers and Instructors Do?

Having taught kids for eight years and then teachers-to-be for another 14, I have a pretty good idea about what teachers do, how they do it, and when they do it…  But what about the rest of The World?  What do They think about the day-to-day efforts of teachers?

Parents see their kids get on the school bus or drop them off at the Dorm in late August. Then they see them return later in the afternoon or school year.  Commuters see the school buses stopping to pick up kids, in the dark during winter, and drop them off in the dark the same day. You can spot the students returning from college as they drive down the highway.

So we thought we’d check with authoritative sources…

We asked YouTube and found that it’s almost impossible to answer the question.

I searched for “What do teachers do?” Over a million videos popped up, but few if any had anything to do with what teachers actually do in the classroom.

Lots of videos mentioned how much teachers make, what they do after they leave the classroom, what they do on vacation, what students do after the teacher leaves the classroom momentarily, what good teachers do to become better teachers, what Bill Gates thinks teachers should be doing, what teachers think they should be doing, what teachers do after the students are gone for the day, annoying things that teachers do, where teachers are going in their jobs, how professional development can get teachers there, what teachers say, what teachers want, what teachers think about the Common Core, what teachers really do on inservice days, what teachers do on snow days, why so many teachers leave the profession within the first five years – but little in terms of what teachers just “do.”

 

Teachers! Tap or click!

Teachers! Tap or click!

 

And therein lies the rub. If we wanted to find a simple recruitment video to show to high schoolers y9u’d be hard-pressed to do so, even with as many resources that YouTube and the Internet can provide. Consider that there are some six million teachers (according to the 2000 census; though this number varies depending on the source), and that each of these individuals does something slightly different from their colleagues, and that many of these teachers are associated with different school populations–Preschool, K-12, Special Education, Technical Training, Higher Education–it’s easy to see why there was no simple answer to this question.

Probably more than any other profession, teachers do many different things in their own unique ways, they do it with many types of learners, and they do it in a wide variety on instructional environments. Yes, the world is changing rapidly, but where’s it heading?

In case you were wondering. we did find a video! It doesn’t go into nuts and bolts, but you may find it inspiring.

 

 

So true!  Source: Harish Bhagavathula. Creator at eLearning Chatter, Freelance Instructional Designer, and e-learning blogger. Tap or click.

So true!  Source: Harish Bhagavathula. Creator at eLearning Chatter, Freelance Instructional Designer, and e-learning blogger. Tap or click.

 

A Day in the Life of a Teacher. And then, two years later, we found this inspiring site!  Source: itslearningUSA. Tap or click.

A Day in the Life of a Teacher. And then, two years later, we found this inspiring site!  Source: itslearningUSA. Tap or click.

 

And that’s why I am writing this blog!

 

Bottom Line: Being a teacher can be tough.  Long hours, lot’s of planning, data collection, parent meetings, after-school assignments that may be fun and informative, but not a lot to do instructionally.  When you finally get to the weekend, you have a ToDo list that will clear you straight through until  Monday

Share!

Copy the link from your Browser URL and email it to a colleague who may be interested!

URL Browser

URL Browser

Extra Credit!

Check out some of the magazines associated with this blog entry’s content!

Teacher Professional Development. Click or tap.

Teacher Professional Development. Click or tap.

 


    No posts found.

 

6. Filling a Need

Any teacher who has ever embraced technology will tell you that the process can often be a two-edged sword. Learning it can take some time, but the benefits can often far outweigh the effort expended.

In a world of ever-increasing demands upon teachers, the role of technology has been very ambiguous over the last couple of decades. For some, “technology” has been dumped in their classroom with no manual for instruction. For others, the opportunity exists but no resources are available, and if they are, they’re often not what the teacher needs or wants.

Faced with an exploding array of expectations and acronyms concerning the on-the-horizon technologies, many teachers just tune out.

 

Technology can be an asset to any classroom as long as it’s introduced well and used correctly. Using technology just for the sake of using technology doesn’t make sense. That’s like driving your Maserati down to the corner store to pick up a gallon of milk. You can do the same thing with your Volkswagon.  If it doesn’t enhance your instruction, don’t use it. Click or tap.

Technology can be an asset to any classroom as long as it’s introduced well and used correctly. Using technology just for the sake of using technology doesn’t make sense. That’s like driving your Maserati down to the corner store to pick up a gallon of milk. You can do the same thing with your Volkswagon.  If it doesn’t enhance your instruction, don’t use it. Click or tap.

 

Rely on What You Know 

For many teachers, however, there have been only a few constants–the use of the Internet and presenting information using PowerPoint. If you’re one of these teachers, this blog is for you. Since its focus is the systematic development and presentation of information, we’ll walk you through the steps of presenting that information to your students in ways that don’t make use of bullets.

 

Trust in what you know. But consider new methods for engaging students. And, know what potential impediments you might encounter. Source: District Administration.  Click or tap.

Trust in what you know. But consider new methods for engaging students. And, know what potential impediments you might encounter. Source: District Administration.  Click or tap.

 

In fact, we’re going to avoid the use of bullets as much as possible throughout this blog by showing you various alternative ways of presenting the information that reduces cognitive load, provides the information in more manageable chunks, presents the info in alternative ways such as video and audio and graphics. And, maybe some text, but not too much.

 

What's in your toolbox? You can't build a tree house with only one tool. Tap or click.

What’s in your toolbox? You can’t build a tree house with only one tool. Tap or click.

 

 

Experiment with New Tools

We’ll also present to you a new set of tools that have been created over the last half decade that have won awards for their ease of use, the rapidity with which they can produce interesting instruction, and the ways in which you’ll be able to poll or quiz students. And most importantly, how the information can be made available to your students on a 24/7 basis. There’s a trade-off with this opportunity, however. For decades, teachers have learned well how to be consumers of what’s available – everything from spirit master copies to photocopied handouts, to videos on the web.

 

What’s In Your Instructional Future?

What we’re calling for in this text is that you take the next step in teacher and instructional evolution: start producing materials that are geared directly to what you are teaching in your course or class, instead of finding a PowerPoint that “almost” addresses what you are teaching. Instead of simply being a consumer of available information and resources, become a developer and contributor!

Anyone who’s had to distill their material into a PowerPoint slide knows what we are talking about. This material is directly related to what you are teaching, so there’s a one-to-one match between the objective of your instruction and the material that your students see. And, if you’re not fainthearted, you probably present the information as a presentation in class. Kudos to you!

Does it take more time? Yes, but what you produce can be used again and again, for months or even years–as long as the information is still relevant and periodically updates. When it’s not, get rid of it and swap in newer, more relevant material. In the short term, it will take extra time; in the long run, though, it will save you lots of time!

 

Own the future! It will be what you make of it now. Source: EmergingEdTech. Tap or click.

Own the future! It will be what you make of it now. Source: EmergingEdTech. Tap or click.

 

 

What You’ll Need

This doesn’t mean that you need expensive production sets, large cameras, and professional talent. You’re talented enough, you know the material, chances are you already own a computer and have PowerPoint. What you will also need, though, is a good microphone. Not the wimpy one that you picked up at the local WalBox, but a pricier one that you’ll find at vendors such as M-Audio and online retailers. Since audio is a vital component of what we’ll be doing, you want to assure that you get the best quality you can afford–usually around $40.00 to $120.00 dollars US. Save your receipt; you can deduct the cost from your taxes.

Not Just Another Pretty Voice. But, as we’ll see, information provided in PowerPoint isn’t always audio; in fact, it’s usually sparse, often text, and all-too-often in bullet form.

 

Death by PowerPoint. Lousy way to go... Source: http://imagegenerator.net. Go ahead, click and have fun. Select “Newscaster” in the left-hand menu. Tap or click.

Death by PowerPoint. Lousy way to go… Source: http://imagegenerator.net. Go ahead, click and have fun. Select “Newscaster” in the left-hand menu. Tap or click.

 

Bullets are seductive; you can hammer out a thought, hit return, hammer out the next one, hit return, on and on until you’ve drained your brain. At that point, you’re done. Not.

Though tongue in cheek, there’s a reason for the phrase “Death by PowerPoint”– and usually it has everything to do with bullets. Getting your thoughts down is an important first step–and for many, doing it this way is more than appropriate. But assuming that your well-prepared PowerPoint at this bullet-ridden stage is complete and ready for action is just plain cruel to your targetted audience.

 

Get a good microphone. About $40.00 to $120.00 should do it.  This is one of the best! I got it in Amazon's summer sale for $82.00... Click or tap and save to your wish list! Click or tap...

Get a good microphone. About $40.00 to $120.00 should do it.  This is one of the best! I got it in Amazon’s summer sale for $82.00… Click or tap and save to your wish list! Click or tap…

 

To learn about one group’s successful foray away from bullets and towards a more graphic approach to presenting info, click or tap Learn More, and review the examples below that are profiled on NPR.org.

 

Schools blend computers with classroom learning: PT1. Source: Larry Abramson, NPR.org June 23, 2011. Click or tap.

Schools blend computers with classroom learning: PT1. Source: Larry Abramson, NPR.org June 23, 2011. Click or tap.

 

Math Videos Go From YouTube Hit To Classroom Tool: Part 2. Source: Larry Abramson, NPR.org. June 23, 2011. Tap or click.

Math Videos Go From YouTube Hit To Classroom Tool: Part 2. Source: Larry Abramson, NPR.org. June 23, 2011. Tap or click.

 

An Example

As Julie Young, the president and chief executive officer of the 97,000-student Florida Virtual School, recently interviewed for an Education Week article about schools that use tools to customize instruction for students:

 

“A host of new devices and programs, such as 1-to-1 laptop initiatives, online courses, digital lessons, interactive tools, and smart assessments, have shown learning can take place at all hours of the day or night and at different levels-or even subjects-within the same classroom. The new technology takes the old model of personalization and makes it more scalable, Young suggests. But that doesn’t mean students should be totally in charge of their own learning.”

Julie Young, Florida Virtual School

 

Julie launched the first statewide, internet-based public high school in the U.S. Since then, FLVS has become the nation’s largest and most influential virtual education program for students K-12, reaching students all over Florida, the U.S., and the world. The recipient of numerous awards, FLVS provides a student-centered educational experience that leverages technology to transform education worldwide, one student at a time.

 

Julie Young presents at TED in 2011. “This does not mean a teacherless environment,” Julie says. “On the contrary, it means you need an even more talented teacher who can think creatively and guide students.” Tap or click,

Julie Young presents at TED in 2011. “This does not mean a teacherless environment,” Julie says. “On the contrary, it means you need an even more talented teacher who can think creatively and guide students.” Tap or click.

 

Bottom Line: Don’t make PowerPoint bullets a way of life… Consider getting and playing with a microphone;  put your best radio voice on. And, consider the role of and extent of your possible use of technology in your classroom.

Share!

Copy the link from your Browser URL and email it to a colleague who may be interested!

URL Browser

URL Browser

Extra Credit!

Check out some of the magazines associated with this blog entry’s content!

Audio, Music, & Narration. Click or tap.

Audio, Music, & Narration. Click or tap.

 


    No posts found.

5. The Demise of the Lecture?

The Demise of the Lecture?

Stanford University’s president recently predicted the death of the lecture.

But it’s not really about what I think. The students are rewriting the rules for us. That large lecture hall with nice banked seating and 300 people sitting with their attention focused on somebody standing in the front of the classroom is a model that lasted for many years, but the students have made it clear that that’s not a model they find particularly attractive anymore.

Instead, this generation is completely comfortable watching a video online; for them, it’s not markedly different than having a person up at the front of the classroom. They are happy using technology. They know how to hit the pause button; they know how to speed it up a little bit, to watch it 20 percent faster and make the process more efficient.

John Hennessy

 

John Hennessy of Stanford comments on the large lecture amphitheater. Image source: Gabriela Hasbun. Article source: Tekla S. Perry

John Hennessy of Stanford comments on the large lecture amphitheater. Image source: Gabriela Hasbun. Article source: Tekla S. Perry

 

 

Let’s see what others have to say…

 

The Yin/Yang of the Lecture: Yin

 

The last major technology innovation that truly disrupted the higher education model was the lecture, and that happened in medieval times. Innovation in higher education moves slowly.”

Daniel Pianko, University Ventures

 

 (O)ver the past three decades, though the technology has gotten more powerful and sophisticated, very little has changed, particularly in higher education. In fact, the structure and methodologies at most of today’s universities still follow a model established nearly a thousand years ago… with the founding of the University of Bologna, the world’s oldest university. As one observer noted, “Other than adding books, electricity, and women, [higher education] is still primarily an older person ‘lecturing’ to a set of younger ones…”

Technology Transforming Education:
4 Real-World Models of Success, December 2012

 

Who's Yin? What's Yang? Click or tap.

Who’s Yin? What’s Yang? Click or tap.

 

 The High Middle Ages, or the period roughly between the 11th and 14th centuries, was one of growth and development for the continent of Europe. More and more people left rural areas to settle in the city. Education became more widely available. Before long so many students flocked into monastic schools that monasteries had to devote some of their personnel entirely toward teaching one subject. One instructor, furthermore, couldn’t hope to reach every student in a class of 50 on an intimate level. Accordingly, they adopted a new approach: professors stood in front of an assembly of students and read from their notes. Before the advent of the printing press, lecturers might have referred to an institution’s single copy of a text from which to teach. While the method wasn’t as precise as manuscript reproduction, it was a pretty good alternative. (Article source)

Henry Kronk January 13, 2018

 

The Yin/Yang of the Lecture: Yang

 

A thousand years is a long time. Granted, change comes slowly to education, but the last forty years have seemed glacial to many. However, in a 2012 US Senate briefing on education and technology, a group of education experts noted that…

 

“…we are finally at a time where many factors are converging to overcome historic barriers: increasingly ubiquitous broadband, cheaper devices, digital content, cloud computing, big data, and generally higher levels of comfort with technology among the general population.”

Technology Transforming Education:
4 Real-World Models of Success, December 2012

 

Are we looking at the end of the large lecture hall, especially in tertiary institutions? Probably not. First, from an institutional perspective, having such lectures is most cost effective. When an IHE can mount a class of 450 students at one time in one place to teach courses such as Introduction to Psychology, the single session is equivalent to teaching twenty classes with 22.5 students in each. Fiscal resources saved by being “efficient” can then be used for other purposes.

Whether this is actually “good” or not is open to question: ask any of the 450 students in that course if they’re pleased and satisfied with the model.  Probably not. Ask the departmental Chair, and he or she may have no choice, given their budgets.  But it’s a “win” for the President of the institution.

Where would you rather teach? In a large lecture room? Or a small classroom? Different learning environments require varied instructional strategies. Click the following images for perspectives on large and small class sizes.

 

By Stephanie Long. Click or tap.

By Stephanie Long. Click or tap.

 

By Kelli Marshall, Instructor at DePaul University. Click or tap...

By Kelli Marshall, Instructor at DePaul University. Click or tap…

 

Hear a discussion between the then-governor of Massachusetts and UMASS students about the rising cost of tuition and fees. Source: Kirk Carapezza, WGBH.org. Click or tap.

Hear a discussion between the then-governor of Massachusetts and UMASS students about the rising cost of tuition and fees. Source: Kirk Carapezza, WGBH.org. Click or tap.

 

Who’s Kirk Carapezza?

Kirk is a reporter for the NPR member station in Boston, WGBH, where he covers higher education, connecting the dots between post-secondary education and the economy, national security, jobs and global competitiveness.

Kirk has been a reporter with Wisconsin Public Radio in Madison, Wis.; a writer and producer at WBUR in Boston; a teacher and coach at Nativity Preparatory School in New Bedford, Mass.; a Fenway Park tour guide; and a tourist abroad.

Kirk received his B.A. from the College of the Holy Cross and earned his M.S. from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. When he’s not reporting or editing stories on campus, you can find him posting K’s on the Wall at Fenway. You can follow Kirk on Twitter  @KirkCarapezza.

 

Administrating a college or university is somewhat akin to running a small town, perhaps even a small city. There’re always other needs to be underwritten. Instruction is just one of the priorities, unfortunately. When we think of lectures, especially those offered in large lecture halls, we most often consider the way the material is portrayed, the media transmitted, and features of the lecture hall like its acoustics and the comfort of the chairs.

We rarely consider the fact that the audience has a built-in variability in terms of how each individual best learns. Annie Murphy Paul spoke to this factor at some length in her recent article in the monthly Brilliant Report series. Does the college lecture discriminate? Is it biased against undergraduates who are not white, male and affluent?

The notion may seem absurd on its face. The lecture is an old and well-established tradition in education. To most of us, it simply is the way college courses are taught. Even online courses are largely conventional lectures uploaded to the web.

Yet a growing body of evidence suggests that the lecture is not generic or neutral, but a specific cultural form that favors some people while discriminating against others, including women, minorities and low-income and first-generation college students.

In her article, Annie cites a number of recent studies that indicate that the “sea of faces” known as the audience respond differentially to various instructional strategies, and that background and past experience can play a powerful role in terms of how well and how effective lectures are for different sub-groups of the audience. Clearly, for some students, the lecture has already demised.

 

Annie Murphy Paul’s article on “Who does best in lecture courses?” Source: The Brilliant Report distributed by MailChimp.com. Click or tap.

Annie Murphy Paul’s article on “Who does best in lecture courses?” Source: The Brilliant Report distributed by MailChimp.com. Click or tap.

 

Did you know that sharks existed while dinosaurs roamed the Earth? The dinosaurs are gone but the sharks remain. How is that so? Grit? Tenacity? Neville draws parallels between this evolutionary model and the endurance of lectures and textbooks. Source: Neville Morley (@NevilleMorley). Click or tap.

Did you know that sharks existed while dinosaurs roamed the Earth? The dinosaurs are gone but the sharks remain. How is that so? Grit? Tenacity? Neville draws parallels between this evolutionary model and the endurance of lectures and textbooks. Source: Neville Morley (@NevilleMorley). Click or tap.

 

 

Ryan Craig and Allison Williams forecast the future unbundling of colleges and universities, and discuss current issues that are pushing IHEs in that direction. Source: EduCause Review. Click or tap.

Ryan Craig and Allison Williams forecast the future unbundling of colleges and universities, and discuss current issues that are pushing IHEs in that direction. Source: EduCause Review. Click or tap.

 

In other industries, unbundling has driven fundamental change. Over the past decade, sales of recorded music are down 50 percent and continue to fall each year. Digital technology has forced a revolution in a business model that, in the past, relied on bundling the music that consumers wanted (singles) with the music that they didn’t want (the rest of the album). Now, in a music industry unbundled by technology, consumers purchase only the products they want. In the television industry, viewers now watch individual shows, thanks to DVRs and Netflix, rather than channels or networks. Many viewers are no longer even aware of which networks air their favorite shows. Once viewers are given a mechanism for paying only for the shows they watch rather than the thousands they don’t, cable and satellite TV bills will collapse.

Where does this leave the higher education bundle? At present, degrees remain the currency of the labor market. But as currency, they’re about as portable as the giant stone coins used on the island of Yap. What if technology could produce a finer currency that would be accepted by consumers and employers alike?

Ryan Craig and Allison Williams

 

And speaking of budgets, it’s not uncommon for even public schools to shutter their doors due to financial issues.  I remember that last February, the city of Everett, adjacent to Boston, laid off 110 teachers just after Valentines Day! Everett just happened to be my first teaching post.

 

EVERETT (CBS) – The city of Everett has told 110 public school employees they will be laid off next week because of an $8 million budget deficit. Of the 110, 58 are teachers, most of them at the high school.  Their last day will be Friday, February 16. Everett Superintendent Frederick Foresteire told WBZ-TV the layoffs are coming in the middle of the school year because they would have serious financial issues at the end of the year if the school system continued to provide services at the current rate. The administration plans to ask the city for more money to help close the budget gap. Click or tap.

EVERETT (CBS) – The city of Everett has told 110 public school employees they will be laid off next week because of an $8 million budget deficit. Of the 110, 58 are teachers, most of them at the high school.  Their last day will be Friday, February 16. Everett Superintendent Frederick Foresteire told WBZ-TV the layoffs are coming in the middle of the school year because they would have serious financial issues at the end of the year if the school system continued to provide services at the current rate. The administration plans to ask the city for more money to help close the budget gap. Click or tap.

 

Global Study: U.S. Educators Spend More Hours Teaching But Wide Pay Gap Remains. By Tim Walker. Tap or click.

Global Study: U.S. Educators Spend More Hours Teaching But Wide Pay Gap Remains. By Tim Walker. Tap or click.

 

 

It could be worse, though, and often is, particularly for rural districts,  Lean budgets, withering numbers of school-age children and other demographics combine forces so that…

Schools closed. Forever. Source: NY Times.com. Click or tap.

 

Bottom Line: Instruction is not always the sole priority of a lot of educational institutions. And, aside for faculty salaries, instruction is not funded to the magnitude of other priorities — say, sports. With any luck, most — but not all – schools make it to the end of the school year…

 

Share!

 

Copy the link from your Browser URL and email it to a colleague who may be interested!

URL Browser

URL Browser

Extra Credit!

 

Check out some of the magazines associated with this blog entry’s content!

 

Educational Evolution. Click or tap.

Educational Evolution. Click or tap.

 


    No posts found.

4. Teaching and Technology Today

We are experiencing a world of rapid and transformative change in the ways in which we teach and learn. Good teachers are good learners, and good learners — of any age or experience — can be good teachers. Additionally, the use of the wide range of presentation and communications technologies that we have today have blurred the lines between the roles of “teacher” and student'” and will continue to do so in the near– and possibly the far — future.

Consider this blog to be a guide to that transformation: improving instruction via the use of digitally-based presentation and multimedia technologies.

First, some astute thoughts that are aligned with the philosophy of this blog.

 

“Technology drives change. Change requires that we are flexible, and adapt as we go, which promotes more change. Individuals who do not adapt and change should never be our educators. The constant in education should be the learning and not the status quo. If society is moving to change at a rapid pace, then we need to develop in our children the skills and abilities to change as well, and that requires the same abilities in the educators who are charged with teaching our children.”

—Tom Whitby, My Island View

 

“If you’re going to get lectured at, you might as well be at home in bunny slippers.”

– Scott Freeman, University of Washington

 

A Glance at the Past; A Look to the Future

 

What’s in store for us in the near future? You might ask how we as a nation are doing in terms of education, digital and regular literacy, and the preparation of our students for the future. Strip away the political rhetoric and the United States isn’t doing as stellar as we like to think we are in comparison with dozens of other countries.

Now is the time to consider using every tool available to us. Tools that would:

 

  • allow us to reach more students
  • allow for a more individualized education
  • allow immediate feedback on student performance
  • let students  learn more via engaging presentations, projects, and procedures
  • aid students in learning concepts in new and novel ways
  • let us creatively produce engaging projects and products

 

Welcome to the digital world…

Knowing what we need is one thing. Knowing what to do in order to achieve it is another.

 

“We are so quick to characterize education as How much do you know?” when a lot of frontier efforts in education are emphasizing “How much can you figure out?”

Neil deGrasse Tyson, Director of the Hayden Planetarium

 

 

Neil deGrasse Tyson and Michio Kaku grade American schools, and it’s not pretty.

 

One of the key questions of this decade and the next– especially in the shadow of the global financial crisis and a lengthy recession–is what do our young people need to know in the future? What skill sets will they need in a professional or work world that will be constantly evolving and shifting? What knowledge will they need to fall back on in order to adopt and adapt to a shifting future?

This is a tough nut to crack…  Ultimately, what do we teach to young people today to make them profession- and job-ready, when we don’t even know what these jobs will be — as they don’t yet exist?!

And if you’re training or teaching adults, many of the same questions can and should be posed. With declining blue-collar jobs, the encroachment of on-the-job automation, and shifts in the white collar and professional workforce, these questions are going to become even more important to ask.

 

Whether these jobs themselves come to pass, or not, is less important than the discussion they elicit about the skills and development we are investing in today.  At the most basic level questions need to be asked of primary and secondary education, but we need to rethink our approach to corporate training and development too. These will, in turn, have a reciprocal impact on tertiary education and the career choices it prepares graduates for.

Schools need to shift from teaching children “information” to teaching them how to use the things that already provide that information with a higher degree of relevance and accuracy. In a world where a child is currently only expected to meet the minimum standard of information regurgitation to pass a subject they will be the peasant class of worker in a world serviced by super-computer powered Artificial Intelligence enhanced by Machine Learning algorithms that go far beyond anything a school teacher can impart.

620x413_Future-jobs1400081635School children need to learn how to use the work product generated by these advances in technology, but in a way that positions them for succeeding advances too.

This means teaching HOW to think, not just WHAT to think.

Encouraging QUESTIONS not teaching ANSWERS.

Developing the ability to METAMORPHOSE from a worm to a moth, not just EVOLVE into a better worm.

Source: Raymond de Villiers

 

 

 Us? Just average? Source: BigThink. Click or tap.

Us? Just average? Source: BigThink. Click or tap.

 

Perhaps someday we’ll do as well academically as we do in sports! After all, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

 

The Olympics are held every four years and test the skills, training and dedication of athletes from all over the world. The winners return home not only with gold medals, but the pride of representing the best of their nations on the international stage. With such high stakes, it’s no wonder that the Olympics are a global media spectacle, with billions of dollars and countless hours invested the world round in the hopes of success.

We here at Certification Map hoped to borrow some of this sheen and direct the spotlight to another realm of international competition: education. It’s in schools that each nation also invests its wealth, time, energy and, most importantly, its youth. So how do the winningest Olympic nations fare when it comes graduation rates, class sizes and teacher salaries? Do the countries with the greatest athletes also produce the smartest students? Whose schools will ultimately bring home the gold?

 Brian Childs

 

If the US were as good academically as we are when it comes to sports, how do you think we’d place in the Education Olympics? Source: CertificationMap.com.  Click or tap.

If the US were as good academically as we are when it comes to sports, how do you think we’d place in the Education Olympics? Source: CertificationMap.com.  Click or tap.

 

A good place to start is to ask tough questions and make even tougher comparisons in terms of what our educational systems are doing for and to our students. This is what the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) has done. During 2013 and each year thereafter, this group has surveyed 166,000 adults in 22 countries. They asked questions about literacy, numeracy, problem-solving, collaboration, managing time, and other skills thought to be key for surviving beyond 2014. They also examined the…

 

“…social and economic context, the supply of key information processing skills, who has these skills at what level, the supply of and demand for these skills in the labor market, the acquisition and maintenance of skills over a lifetime, and how proficiency in these skills translates into better economic and social outcomes.”

 

PISA–Measuring student success around the world. Source: OECD.

 

 

 

Key findings from the surveys of adult and youth skills.
Find out what a tertiary graduate is!
This slide deck presents the most recent findings.
Courtesy of and © OECD. Click or tap.

 

What about the Adults?

 

And what about adults who are older than 25 but not old enough to retire?  Are they involved in training on or off the job?  We always hear about adult learners, but to what extent are “older” people still involved in learning experiences of some sort? OECD’s 2016 survey data pegs that percentage at 46%. So, even if you’re not teaching K-12 or college, there’s still a lot of work to do!

 

Click or tap. Then roll over or tap on the icons in the original chart to see how our country stack's up to the rest of the world.

Click or tap. Then roll over or tap on the icons in the original chart to see how our country stack’s up to the rest of the world.

 

Where Are We Headed?

 

In a recent Hechinger Report newsletter (2/7/18), Tara García Mathewson gives us some ideas in her article  “Following the lessons of learning science in schools isn’t convenient.”  Source: The Hechinger Report.

Following the lessons of learning science in schools isn’t convenient

 

So it appears that the United States is due for a change in the way we view education and training, especially for younger people.

 

 

Do you remember what grade you were in when you were introduced to synonyms, antonyms, and homonyms? Do you remember what synonyms, antonyms, and homonyms are? How about number theory and systems? Fractions and decimals? Transformations and symmetry?  Tessellations, congruent shapes, and symmetrical figures?

Assumedly we were all exposed to these concepts, and probably memorized a lot of aspects related to them as well.  But, if we memorized them then, why can’t we remember them now?  For that matter, are any of these important in your life right now?  Do you use any of them on a day to day basis?

By the way, if you said anything other than “third grade,” you would have been wrong.

Let’s jump a couple of grades, say, to fifth grade!  Take this test and see how you do…

 

 

In a later post, we’ll return to the formal and informal ways in which we learn, and the system’s that have been put into place to assure that this happens.  Or not.

 

Bottom Line: Instruction and learning are inextricably bound; the quality of the former will affect the latter. But that leads to questions such as why rote memorization in our schools and training sites is so important.  Does doing so on a repetitive basis yield a learner who is agile in thought, or can see the “bigger picture?” Can he or she problem-solve themselves out of problematic situations?  Be more creative?  And, are these “upper level” skills even addressed in instruction commonly found in the schools?

 

Share!

 

Copy the link from your Browser URL and email it to a colleague who may be interested!

URL Browser

URL Browser

Extra Credit!

 

Check out some of the magazines associated with this blog entry’s content!

 

Today's Students

Today’s Students

 

 

    No posts found.