Fixed vs. Growth Mindsets In Children [VIDEO 0:56]

Consider this animated example of fixed versus growth mindset in a math classroom, created by GoStrengths. How can you nurture student willingness to take chances and learn from the outcomes in your classroom?

Vander Ark: The End of the Big Test


Reposted from Getting Smart:

To get at the heart of value creation, Clayton Christensen taught us to think about the job to be done. Assessment plays four important roles in school systems:

  • Inform learning: continuous data feed that informs students, teachers, and parents about the learning process.
  • Manage matriculation: certify that students have learned enough to move on and ultimately graduate.
  • Evaluate educators: data to inform the practice and development of educators.
  • Check quality: dashboard of information about school quality particularly what students know and can do and how fast they are progressing.

Initiated in the dark ages of data poverty, state tests were asked to do all these jobs. As political stakes grew, psychometricians and lawyers pushed for validity and reliability and the tests got longer in an attempt to fulfill all four roles.

With so much protest, it may go without saying but the problem with week long summative tests is that they take too much time to administer; they don’t provide rapid and useful feedback for learning and progress management (jobs 1&2); and test preparation rather than preparation for college, careers, and citizenship has become the mission of school. And, with no student benefit many young people don’t try very hard and increasingly opt out. But it is no longer necessary or wise to ask one test to do so many jobs when better, faster, cheaper data is available from other sources.

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Ed Tech Funding Soars, but is it Working in the Classroom?


Reposted from Fortune:

In 2014, venture funding for education technology reached $1.87 billion dollars. It’s expected to hit $2 billion this year. That’s a big jump from $385 million in 2009, according to CB Insights, the first year the venture capital research firm started tracking education funding.

“The education space is attractive because it’s a big and important part of the economy,” said Rob Hutter, managing partner of Learn Capital an education based venture capital firm. “The edtech companies that get funding can be important 50 years down the line, and not just in a few years.”

And it’s a good business to be in, said Bob Sun, founder of online math site, First in Math. “There’s a high profit margin with no warehouses and not much cost except for research and development,” explained Sun, who also said his firm has grown 20% in the past six years and hasn’t needed outside funding. But while many sing the praises of education technology in the classroom, some question if it’s having the desired effect.

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Sackstein: Learning…Not Productivity


Reposted from Starr Sackstein’s Blog:

This past week I’ve been conferring with students about their learning, asking them to assess themselves and equate their level of learning (approaching, proficient or mastery) to a traditional grade (I still have to provide those for the system I teach within).

One sad, but consistent thing I can notice, is that the first default for student is to talk about the amount of work they have completed or haven’t completed and/or when they were able to get the work in. What this tells me is that students have been conditioned to think that grades are about compliance and productivity more than they are about learning.

It is our job to start shifting the focus back to what matters, what students are learning and how they know they are learning it.

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Learning Needs a Context

Reposted from User Generated Education:

How often have students (ourselves included) been asked to memorize mass amounts of facts – historical dates, vocabulary words, science facts, get tested on them, just to forget almost all those memorized facts a week or two later? Why do educators insist on continuing this archaic and ineffective instructional practice? Memorizing facts often means a waste of students’ time and energy. In some cases, too many cases, learners lose their passion and excitement for a subject or topic that, if taught in another way, may have not been the case.

Authentic learning can be the driving force for increasing context and relevancy. Jan Herrington describes authentic learning along two axes – the authenticity of the task is on one axis (from authentic to decontextualised), and the setting is on the other (the classroom/university to the real setting). The goal of educators should be to increase authenticity which leads to more contextual learning (and vice versa).

The visual image I use to describe context is all of these unconnected facts floating around in the learner’s brain. Since they have nothing to connect to, they end up flying away. This is especially true for abstract concepts. The following are some suggestions for establishing context…

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What Do 7 Billion People Do? [INFOGRAPHIC]


There is a finite number of people in the world – about 7 billion. No business or government can have more customers than the world population. So what do world’s people do every day?


These images are a snapshot of the world today. It will not stay this way. So if you are learning something, getting a degree, building a startup, or getting a job, a  good question to ask is: Am I learning and building for tomorrow’s world or for today’s?

View original post here.

Sackstein: What if Education Honored Students’ Individuality…


Reposted from Education Week:

What if there was a way to bring individualized learning back to every student, putting them in charge of what and how they learn and redefining the idea of “teacher”?

In today’s educational climate, teachers are forced into rigorous testing schedules and then by their very nature, rigorous prepping schedules that shoves content and real pedagogy to the side most unceremoniously. Generally, educational reform moves slower than a turtle, but this testing epidemic actually sped through like the hare with little regard for loss in its wake.

For real education to make a resurgence and for more of the master teachers to come into the light, educational leaders, students, and parents need to take back the learning. No test can show what any one individual is capable of, nothing that comprehensive or meaningful exists. Whether on paper or now online, test questions whittle down the very uniqueness of learning to 4 or 5 “right” or “wrong” answers and nowhere in life is that applicable.

So what would individualized learning look like? Imagine this…

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Learning: The Factory Model versus the Flow


Reposted from Creative by Nature:

The flow experience is intrinsically rewarding, sometimes transcendent. There’s a sense of timelessness and deep connectedness with the activity and context, as our full attention is given to the task at hand. Motivational researcher Carol Dweck talks about such experiences as evidence of a “growth mindset,” a positive attitude toward learning that leads to even more practice time, and greater skill development.

Unfortunately, most schools were not created to promote flow experiences, growth orientations or mastery learning. Our modern school systems were designed at the request of wealthy industrialists in the early part of the 20th century, using what is called the “factory model” of education. The purpose was to create good workers, teach children how to work hard, follow instructions and obey authority. Factory-style schools were modeled on industrial production systems and set up as “selection” and sorting systems for children. Teachers would provide information and then assess everyone at the same time in order to locate those children who demonstrated the highest levels of ability on written tests- not to provide meaningful experiences and skill development for all students.

In such environments many students will naturally feel discouraged, especially those who receive low test scores. They often feel anxiety, lose confidence and interest. Once they “turn off” and no longer pay attention they experience boredom. After that, they will try to avoid that subject area rather than spend any extra time with it. The factory model was designed to sort children into social classes, to create “winners” and “losers.” Those who continuously failed would eventually “drop out” or leave school without coming even close to developing their full potential.

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The Myth of the Minecraft Curriculum


Reposted from the Atlantic:

Everyone loves to talk about how Minecraft, the popular computer game where players build structures out of blocks, is educational. Indeed, the hype isn’t limited to people who make Pinterest boards, use Minecraft in the classroom, or writers who argue that the game teaches spatial reasoning,  reading, computer programming and/or system administration. The parents I run into on a regular basis have also jumped on the bandwagon.

But the problem isn’t that children would miss out on such learning without Minecraft; kids can glean those skills simply by having interests. The real problem is that parents think every activity needs to be educational to have value.

The child psychologist Jean Piaget famously argued in 1936 that spontaneous, imaginative play leads to cognitive development. Kids, the theory goes, need to spend time playing super heroes, cooking pretend meals in pretend kitchens, or just inventing whatever comes to mind. I would add that, in addition to time and imagination, kids also need parents who don’t feel guilty about letting them play with wherever that combination of elements may take them simply because it might not look educational.

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Generation Z: Growing and Learning with Mobile [INFOGRAPHIC]

GenerationZMobile technology is huge – smartphones, tablets, laptops, Chromebooks – and provides some great learning opportunities. itslearning has gathered statistics from sources like the “Harvard Gazette,” Ambient Insight, and PBS regarding the effect of mobile devices on the education of Generation Z, revealing that incorporating middle school students’ mobile habits into classroom instruction can have a profoundly positive influence on their learning. Among the findings are, the small screens of mobile phones allow dyslexic students to read faster without sacrificing comprehension, standardized test scores are higher in courses where students use mobile devices than in offline classrooms, and that of the middle school students using mobile devices, 78 percent use the devices for checking grades, 69 percent use them for taking notes and 64 percent for writing papers.

View the original post here.