Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

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Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Educators everywhere!

Whereas, Memorial Day is a time to reflect and recommit to our common purpose; and

Whereas, an opportunity to define the future is within our grasp; and

Whereas, our current ways and means are not getting it done;

Be it resolved that this Memorial Day weekend we adopt a new professionalism as educators. It is the next step in transforming education.

To do so, we must:

  • Redefine “educator”
    Give up how we were trained and how we have allowed ourselves to be defined. Extract ourselves from this uncomfortable pigeonhole and align our efforts with the new age in which we live.  Yes we can keep those attributes which continue to serve children well. But everything else must go.
  • End the inertia
    Be the change, push the envelope, lead the transformation. No longer allow ourselves to be seen as impediments to progress. No longer allow outside interests to spin their version of our reality. Put ourselves in motion and stay in motion, serving as agents of change and advocates for the future.
  • Present our best professional selves
    Walk with a tall stature of lofty ideals. Proactively smile, engage, and seize opportunities. Stand elbow-to-elbow with decision makers and stakeholders. Model openness, transparency, and flexibility in our thinking, offering clear questions and straightforward answers. And keep the focus on children.
  • Divest ourselves from any influences that compromise our integrity
    Give up the entanglements preventing us from freely embracing education transformation. Be purely motivated to lead education without self-interest or influence from outside the profession, especially commercial interests offering enticements to increase their access to education dollars.
  • Exchange perceived security for professional growth
    Let go of the Industrial Age notion that stability is security. We can no longer be perceived as stewards of the status quo. Dare to look outside ourselves and discover the greater rewards of contributing to the education transformation already happening…. it is moving forward with or without us.
  • Model the values, skills and attitudes of the Information Age
    Talk the talk. Walk the walk. Build learning and leading communities. Demonstrate trust, risk-taking, experimentation, and innovation. Become proficient with a variety of digital tools that promote learning and productivity. Network with colleagues worldwide. In short, live the life our students live.
  • Define and inform the issues
    Fill the leadership vacuum. Be intelligent, strategic and well-spoken. Take back the issues surrounding education and own them. Insist on being at the table for substantive discussion. Push back on any agenda that runs counter to what we know is best for children. And do it with energy and passion.
  • See and believe in infinite possibilities
    It’s time to stand back and appreciate the big picture. We are in the human potential business, and human potential is an unlimited resource. Remember why we chose education as a profession and reclaim our ideals. Stop fighting for our slice of the pie and see the potential for a world full of pastry chefs.
  • Craft a dynamic, generative vision
    Delineate the issues, identify the solutions and take action. Make certain this new vision has the capacity to embrace all children as successful, contributing learners. Be sure it is inclusive of all stakeholders and their input. Wherever you see limits being put in place, break them down and be a champion for expanding the conversation.
  • Proactively build alliances
    Be seen as a connector in an age of connections. Partner with stakeholders at all levels, especially those who most challenge our thinking. Make alliances that serve the best interests of children and learning and the future. Be known as an uncompromising proponent of the promise and power of education transformed.
  • Build a new public education
    Achieve our ultimate goal of transforming education, coupling the long-standing ideals of a free public education with the opportunities of a global information economy. We may not know exactly what it will look like, or all the details of how it will work, but it is time to make it a reality.

Let the word go forth from this place (my blog!) and time (Memorial Day!) that there is important work left to be done…that we as educators resolve to claim for ourselves a new professionalism!

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Using Gamification to Engage Your Audience [INFOGRAPHIC]

gamificationDid you know that 70% of Forbes’ Global 2000 have plans to use Gamification? Gamification has quickly become a super trend in marketing, customer engagement and employee retention. Demand Metric has created this new infographic to share what gamification is, how it works, facts, stats, benefits, and how to get started. View the original posting here.

Creating a New Future

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Reposted from Byron’s Babbles:

As an “Energetic Change Agent,” I was really into the week 19 lesson in Maciariello’s (2014) A Year with Peter Drucker: 52 Weeks of Coaching for Leadership and Effectiveness. If you have not begun the journey of reading this book, let me recommend it again. This week’s lesson dealt with identifying emerging trends and how that is different from trying to forecast the future. Identifying trends concentrates on directions and patterns. We must, as leaders, discern patterns from emerging trends, and separate fads from real changes (Maciariello, 2014).

Leaders who are effective at facilitating change capitalize on emerging trends and use them to create a new future for their organizations, thus providing a competitive advantage in times of rapid change, This is proactive, not reactive! Again, as was stated in the Drucker quote, this is an exercise in “seeing the future that has already happened.” To create the future any other way is reacting rather than acting, which is what one does if one grows quickly. We need to make sure to study the trends and look for the ‘certainties’ of the future. One place to look for this is in the demographics.

One important part of change that I believe was left out of this lesson, and may be discussed in future weeks, is how some organizations ability to create the new future will be impaired by legislation and other government misunderstanding or slowness to adjust. An example is my own: education. As I look back to this year’s legislative session here in Indiana there was a lot of work around education. It is interesting to me that our House of Representatives is very pro “school choice” and innovative practices such as online education, but our Senate is not. Some of our legislation passed is helpful toward the ‘new future,’ but part of it still does not necessarily hinder practices for facilitating futuristic change, but certainly does not serve as a catalyst either.

Read More…

University as a Learning Design Challenge

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Reposted from Innovision:

One of the things I’ve enjoyed in getting to know the community at the University of Texas Austin, is the energy that exists among fellow faculty to rethink the undergraduate experience. The Campus Conversation, an activity started by President Bill Powers in 2014, with three primary goals in mind:

  • How do we implement changes to curriculum and degree programs?
  • How do we evolve pedagogy for 21st century learners?
  • How do we create more opportunities for interdisciplinary and experiential learning for our undergraduates?

Meanwhile, MIT has been considering how the undergraduate experience needs to evolve through an Institute-wide Task Force, the product of which was the report  The Future of MIT Education: Reinventing MIT Education together. In it was a recommendation about greater modularity, as well. One of its attributes, in addition to allowing students greater influence on their own learning pathway, is the creation of structural ‘holes’ in the curriculum – making time and places for experiential learning.

Is there a pattern emerging?

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A Blueprint for the Future of Relevant Schools

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Reposted from Ditch That Textbook:

George Philhower is betting on it being a more relevant way to do schooling, and many of his students and teachers are agreeing with him. He is the assistant superintendent of Western Wayne Schools, a school corporation in eastern Indiana. Just over 1,000 students were enrolled K-12 in Western Wayne’s three schools in the 2013-2014 school year.

George has been frustrated with the traditional school paradigm that so many schools across the United States and the world are sticking with. Graduation rates in his corporation are around 80 percent, but he sees potential for more. “We feel like, in order to reach the point where we’re at a 95 to 100 percent graduation rate, we really need to change the rules that we’re playing by,” he said. “We’re questioning what we do in the traditional setting and looking at putting things in place where we put students in the center.”

The model they’re patterning their work from is a school in Salt Lake City, Utah, called Innovations High School, which considers itself a “personalized learning school. Philhower and several of his teachers have visited the school, and Philhower has been working one-on-one with principal Kenneth Grover. Western Wayne Schools is basing its innovative model of school on three key components…

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Microsoft’s “Classroom of the Future”

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Reposted from the eBuyer Blog:

The last 20 years have arguably seen the biggest advances in education when it comes to technology in the classroom, with the introduction of computing and personal devices. As personal devices such as computers, laptops and tablets became cheaper, kids naturally became more familiar with the technology often surpassing the knowledge of their teachers or the curriculum.

Last week I was invited down to Microsoft’s “Classroom of the Future”, a concept space in central London where a team of technology and education experts display how modern tech and traditional teaching methods can be blended to create the most effective teaching environment. The modern open layout of the classroom is designed to replicate how any school could set out and embrace new styles of learning, with only minimal space and a range of funding.

So I suppose you’re asking what makes the classroom of the future so modern? Well it’s not quite as Jetsons-esque as one may predict, kids aren’t learning in self-contained education pods by robot lecturers….yet. The classroom of the future is driven by variation in learning. It’s not about simply copying text from a board anymore. Modern education, as the teachers out there will know, is about inclusivity, collaboration and getting kids actively involved.

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Sing Out!

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We Americans love our freedoms, and we’ve thrived for four centuries singing our own original make-no-excuses, know-no-limits song. From east coast colonies to westward expansion…liberating Europe to landing on the moon…we’ve sung with the pride of taking center stage. And in the process, we’ve developed our own theme, our own style, our own voice. It has served us well. But the world has changed…so quickly we may not yet appreciate how much. And as world leaders, we can’t simply sing our own song anymore. The entire world is connected and creating an entirely new kind of music. Everything people, companies and nations do contributes to the score. We have a responsibility to contribute to humankind…to what is in the best interests of people everywhere…a soaring score that celebrates not just U.S.-centricity, but us-centricity…all of us on this earth.

A good example of why we need this shift is the recent controversy over an American-made farce in which two bungling characters are asked by the American government to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. With tensions escalating over the impending opening of the film in theaters, Sony chose not to release it…but the tensions continue. Yes Americans are free to make and view whatever films they wish. Yes, it is illegal to hack into a network and then steal and publicize the information accessed. But these facts miss the true origin of the problem: making a film, no matter how tongue-in-cheek, that targets a real head of state for murder is a provocative act in a world where actions, reactions and ramifications occur in real time. We need to acknowledge the difference between a film built around fictitious characters and a film targeting the intended demise of a named world leader. Today, citizens of the earth all share one stage and we must sing a new song…a song that resonates with hearts and voices worldwide.

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A characteristically American refrain might be, “We’re a free and open society, and we won’t be pushed around,” decrying the acts of cyber-terrorism…demanding that the criminals be held accountable. This is an authentically American response to adversity. But making claims that “North Korea now runs Sony” or “Now countries all over the world are going to dictate what Americans say and do” are disingenuous and self-serving coming from members of the very industry that created this crisis in the first place. Clueless arrogance creates aural dissonance; where is the harmony?

Recognizing the world has changed and that we all need to get along together, show each other respect, and help each other contribute to an emerging global society, we need to be more mindful and responsible in singing our song. It’s not reasonable or acceptable to make a film about assassinating a current leader of any nation. It incites anger and retaliation, regardless of that leader’s standing on the world stage. And refusing to accept our responsibility for this in the name of free speech and free enterprise rings hollow. We can help set the tone and tempo for an anthem welcoming in a new global age, but we need to be willing to change our tune, to do so.

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Remaining true to our own American song is to turn a deaf ear to the rest of the world. We need to recognize and respond to new music we hear in the air, and make it part of who we are…not just as U.S. citizens, but as citizens of the world. We’re actually well-positioned to do this. China, India and Brazil are all singing and seeking their parts. So is Russia, though it too struggles to hear beyond its own musical tradition. Leading from strength, thinking and acting more globally and inclusively, Americans can help compose a new theme of a caring, connected, collaborative global society…and in doing so, create a place for our children, their voices resonating with the voices of children all over the world.

No one can make us change our world view. We need to choose to no longer be exclusively U.S.-centric, but us-centric…because “us” is no longer three-million people inhabiting the United States, but seven-billion people inhabiting the entire planet…we are all in this together. And in choosing a more global view, we can’t rely on media, political and business interests to call the tune. We have witnessed first-hand the mess that can create. No, the only way we’re going to build a caring, collaborative global society is through education…teachers, students and families working together…our voices heard above all the of the bygone ballads and competing interests…belting out a new song loud and strong…together, all over our world.

Sing Out!
by David Downes and Brendan Graham

Sing a new song to the world
Let your voice be heard
Go and bring the word
This whole world was meant to be
For you as well as me
For humanity

We all travel the same road
Carry the same load
Reap what we have sowed
You are hoping just like me
To live with dignity
Hoping to be free

Sing out, sing out, sing to the world
Sing out, you will be heard
Sing the message and the word
Sing a new song to the world
Sing out, sing to the world

If your God’s the same as mine
Has been for all time
Why are we so blind?
What we’re doing in his name
Well, its a crying shame
We all cry the same

Sing out, sing out, sing to the world
Sing out, you will be heard
Sing the message and the word
Sing a new song to the world
Sing out, sing to the world

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