Quote: "In the new culture of learning, people learn through their interaction and participation with one another in fluid relationships that are the result of shared interests and opportunity. In this environment, the participants all stand on equal ground- no one is assigned to the traditional role of teacher or student."
Question: I like the idea of learning from the collective, however, what if the collective goes into a false direction? Using the fish example, how will people feed themselves if nobody in the collective can figure out how to fish? Shouldn't there be an expert figure, even within a collective?
Connection: The idea of learning from the collective is what we are doing a lot in our class. Yes, we have expert professors, however we seem to have taken a hold of our own learning. A great example of this is our initiative to do a sdedleadtech practice twitter chat so we could learn from each other.
Epiphany: I have made it no big secret that I am a nerd. I love Star Wars, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and I am THAT GUY discussed in chapter three of our book who knows Harry Potter in and out. When discussing the collective I thought of the Borg from Star Trek the Next Generation. They have one collective mind and make decsions by the whole and for the whole. This led me to think of the Communist Manefesto, by Karl Marx. He discusses taking educational power from the ruling elites and giving it to the collective people. Let me please be plain, I am not saying that this book is an advocation of Communism, but it did make me think of Marx.
Quote: "Is public versus private really the best way to frame this distinction anymore? Perhaps the fact that the boundary between the two is becoming so permeable indicates a need for a new way to think about the differences between them. We suggest a framework that has elements of both but involves interwining and remixing-rather than opposing-domains: the personal combiined with the collective.
Question: When we use the collective to prove an individual accomplishment, such as verifying a Super-Nova, is it an individual event, or does the event become shared as an achievment of the collective?
Connection: This is like the dreded curse of the "group work." I can't tell you how many times I've been told by more experienced teachers that group work is useless because one or two students will "do" the work, while the others in the group "do nothing." Philisophical discussion of how a human can "do nothing" (won't we always be at the very minumum breathing?) aside, I've always wanted to ask, don't those who "do nothing" learn by being a member of the group? However, I never wanted to start that argument (discussion).
Epiphany: It was fascinating to learn that Ryerson University made a distinction between a virtual study group and one that occurs in person. This was in 2008, I wonder how many schools and teachers now (only 7 years later) still think along these lines?
Quote: "Different people, when presented with exactly the same information in exactly the same way, will learn different things."
Question: In our data driven educational realm, is it possible to truly quantify a student's tacit understanding of te course materials? Can we ever move away from the multiple guess bubble exams?
Connection: I am going to cheat and use a second quote for my connection to this chapter. "Students learn best when they are able to follow their passion and operate within the contraints of a bounded environment." This is our 20% project through and through. This is why it is important to bring the 20Time concept to our students. They need to learn what they are passionate about, within the constraints of our individual content and classroom auspices.
Epiphany/Aha: The distinction between tacit and explicit knowledge was interesting. I liked how the example of Harry Potter was revisited to give me a connection to the concept.
Thomas, D., & Brown, J. (2011). A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change. Lexington, Ky.
Ever since I read the book 20Time by Kevin Brookhouser, I wondered how and when to use this in my classroom. As luck would have it, I have been given the opportunity. I am in the process of switching to both a new school and a new school system. I am being given "special education" and "GATE" level classes, both of these students are perfect for a 20Time project.
I have worked with special education students in my school in North Carolina. I really enjoyed them. The sense of accomplishment and feeling of pride they demonstrate when they complete a task is overwhelming, for me. I left that period each and every day feeling good and energized. I think that if I can get them motivated and "into" a passion project that they can use to solve a "wicked hard" problem, they will a) feel great about what they have accomplished, b) learn something and enjoy doing it, which will, c) encourage them to work just a little bit harder in their other classes.
My GATE students are those students who don't necessarily work harder than the other students, but they have a different way of thinking about the world. With their unique perspective on life, a 20Time project is perfect. It will allow them to use their natural curiosity and feeling of empowerment (let's face it, when a middle schooler is labeled as "gifted" they feel pretty darn good about themselves... most of the time) to go the extra mile and create knowledge for themselves.
I will have to answer some questions with my principal first:
1. Since I am a new teacher at the school, am I allowed this much "free reign"?
2. Will the parent community trust me, again, they don't know me yet.
3. Do I have the ability to let the project blow up in my face and completely fail within my new school community?
4. Can I start right away, or does my principal want me to wait for a while?
5. What if my resource teacher doesn't want to go along with the project during the special education classes?
I think that once I have these questions answered, I will have a better sense of the task at hand.
Brookhouser, K. (2015). The 20time project: How educators can launch Google's formula for future-ready innovation. San Bernardino, Calif.: 20time.org.
I have chosen to read A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink. I have wanted to read this book for a while but naver "had the time." More accurately, never had the external motivation. According to the amazon.com blurb: "The future belongs to a different kind of person with a different kind of mind: artists, inventors, storytellers-creative and holistic "right-brain" thinkers whose abilities mark the fault line between who gets ahead and who doesn't." I agree with this, expecially in light of the Google article we read. We need to change our method of thinking, and that will in turn change our instructional pedagogy. I am working hard to modify my instructional practices and classroom to fit into a more collaborative, project (learning by doing) based model, and I hope this book will help me further my goal. A couple of the amazon.com reviews warn that this book is different right from the begining, emulating the different methods we need to adapt in order to foster the right brain thinking. I am excited to see what this book has to offer!
Pink, D. (2006). A whole new mind: Why right-brainers will rule the future. New York: Riverhead Books.
Quote: "The new culture of learning actually comprises two elements. The first is a massive information network that provides almost unlimited access and resources to learn about anything. The second is a bounded and structured environment that allows for unlimited agency to build and experiment with things within those boundaries"
Question: This chapter has examples of students from all ages and walks of life. One thing in common is that they are motivated. I am wondering what we do with the student who is not motivated? How to we shift ownership of learning to a student who, quite honestly, does not care?
Connection: I can easily connect this chapter to my 20Time project. As I posted in my week 1 and 2 blog posts. There was a stark contrast between the two weeks. I was motivated to start googling different painting techniques and to begin to teach myself through youtube and blog forums.
Epiphany/Aha: I didn't quite have an epiphany in this chapter. What I did have was an increased motivation to gamify my classroom next year. I think I am moving inthe right direction, and this chapter validated my thought process.
Quote: "Learning is treated as a series of steps to be mastered, as if students were being taught how to operate a machine of even, in some cases, as if the students themselves were machines being programmed to accomplish tasks. The ultimate endpoint of a mechanistic perspective is efficiency: The goal is to learn as much as you can, as fast as you can."
Question: If you teach in an extremely rigid environment, how would you create an emerging culture, if you almost have a scripted daily practice from the district?
Connection: Earlier in the course a few of us discussed Sir Ken Robinsons Changling Educational Paradigms. This chapter seems to coincide with his thought process about the change needed in education, both where we need to go, as well as a firm grasp on where education has come from.
Epiphany/Aha: Again no real epiphany, but I do want to focus on culture next year. I think in my new school that will be of extreme importance.
Quote: "Instead, information technology has become a participatory medium, giving rise to an environment that is constantly being changed and reshaped by the participation itself."
Question: My question focuses on the quote above. If we are fully participating in the information environment, such as the evening news. Walter Cronkite is no longer the utmost authority and truthful purveyor of information, what can we judge as being "true"? If Mitt Romney can talk about how he and President Obama have different facts and it is ok that they aren't the same, how does this make sense? Isn't a "fact" something that is undisputed true?
Connection: Sticking with the news theme and "true" information, this has a distinct echo to Dr. Michael Wesch's video about the power of mass media conversations. He discussed the evolution of audiences and the mass media, specifically citing the evening news, as a way people can now engage with each other.
Epiphany/Aha: I had my epiphany when I came to see the convergence of various readings and videos we have viewed previously in class, such as the aforementioned Dr. Wesch, and Sir Ken Robinson. I hope as we continue in this program we will see a reaffirmation of the echos of previous classes.
When I first began to read the article by Thom Markham I thought of the backlash from conservative groups over the revamping of the AP United States History. As a history teacher, I welcomed the change. Don't get me wrong, I love my country, but I have always believed that it is important to talk about some of our more, we'll call them, unintelligent moments. The basis of the argument against the "new" APUSH was the fear that if students begin to question and learn about our darker moments as a country, then their patriotism would be diminished. I believe that if you ask any teacher, they would completely disagree with that notion. Students can safely learn about our past, contextualize it, and then see how it has shaped who we are today.
Unfortunately the sentiment of teachers being caught in a wilderness of resignation, cynicism, and learned helplessness is true for many educators. Houston, Texas has a good understanding of this, and they seem to know where teachers are most lost in the wilderness. For the past few years Houston School District has set up recruiting fairs in Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina. NC teachers are among the lowest paid with the worst benefits, and toughest job standards in the US.
Luckily for us, there are paths out of the wilderness. One such path is to "appriciate the power, beauty, and challenge of the present moment. (2015, Markham)" It is impossible to fully prepare for the variables that come in the daily practice of education. However by focusing on the passion that brought us into this profession in the first place, will help us keep our energy up and give our students the 110% they deserve every day. It is no suprise that Koreans call teachers, "Nation Builders." I have always liked that, it reminds me that every day we get to shape the future.
Another remedy that I particularly agree with is to live the collaborative reality. I have taught with teachers who don't share, and I've taught in truly collaborative schools. The day to day workload of the collaborative schools was much more manageable. Plus it was fun for both the teachers and students. If they didn't have me for class, but had Mr. Cunningham, they could still talk about what they were doing in class, and form their own collaborative groups. Working with others is much more fun than working autonomously, I mean, there is a reason we chose to pursue our Masters via a cohort.
Markham, T. (2015, February 11). Redefining Teachers with a 21st Century Education 'Story'. Retrieved June 22, 2015 from http://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2015/02/11/redefining-teachers-with-a-21st-century-education-story/.
... not really, but it is a catchy title to get you to read my blog post. In the article "How to Get a Job at Google" (2014, Friedman) author Thomas Friedman discusses the things that Google looks for when evaluating candidates for employment. He speaks with Lazlo Bock, head of people operations at Google, essentially he is in charge of hiring people. Mr. Bock lists five attributes Google looks for:
1. Cognative Ability (the ability to process information rapidly)
2. Leadership (the ability to step up and lead, and as Winston Churchill said, "what it takes to sit and listen")
3. Humility (The ability to fail, and not let it destroy you)
4. Ownership (Stepping up and taking charge, but also, stepping back if someone else has a better idea)
5. Expertise (this one is not as important as the others, someone with the four above traits can easily learn specific job task expertise after being hired)
As I read the article and pondered the five important attributes I couldn't help but think of Blooms Revised Taxonomy. Blooms has been around for decades, since the 1950s to be a little more specific. During the 1990s a former student of Bloom revisited the taxonomy and it was changed to a verb phrasing schema:
So how did I begin to think of Blooms while reading about Google's hiring practices? Simple. Google is interested in what a person CAN potentially accomplish. Their past actions and accomplishments, while exciting and good for them, is in the past. Our students, and future members of the workforce, need to be able to consistently produce, and learn, at a high level. Last year I had the privlege of attending the CUE conference in Napa. I can't honestly remember the full name of the presenter for one of the sessions, mainly because the original presenter didn't show up and his friend Joe took over the presentation. Besides being one of the best sessions of the conference, he said something similar to what Bock said. Joe said that as teachers it is important to teach our students how to learn, unlearn, and then relearn new information throughout their lives.
It takes cognative ability to create a product. True Leadership and Ownership are necessary to fully Evaluate their end result, and Analyze any mistakes and fix the problems, even if the problem is the direction the leader chose for the group. This is where humility comes in, a leader needs to be able to look at the evidence without any ego involved, then apply the solution to a problem. Expertise is where Blooms comes together into one cohesive package, expertise is the end goal, the learning objectives. When a student successfully completes the task they will have demonstrated a majority of Blooms Revised Taxonomy and the main characteristics Google looks for in potential employees.
(2004). Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is ... Retrieved June 22, 2015, from http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/w/winstonchu161628.html.
Friedman, T (2014, February 22). How to Get a Job at Google. The New York Times. Retrieved From: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/23/opinion/sunday/friedman-how-to-get-a-job-at-google.html?_r=2.
Revised Bloome Taxonomy. 1st ed. Arlington: N.p. Web. 22 June 2015.