Monday, February 6, 2012

Things That Have Me Thinking This Week - February 6, 2012

This week's posts that have me thinking is going to be dedicated to some blog posts from Educon, the conference that I attended at Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia last weekend. While the sessions ended over a week ago, the discussions that were started continue to make me reconsider so many of the things I think about when it comes to school and learning. If you are a Twitter user, I encourage you to check out the hashtag #Educon.  If not, check out this great wiki that Shelley Krause created which is a compilation of many of the blog posts written during and about Educon.

Here are a few that really continue to resonate with me:

A Couple of Bold Ideas at Educon - Will Richardson

This recap from a few of the sessions that Will attended highlight a couple of schools that fit Will's "Bold School" criteria  which is summed up as follows:
"schools that really are trying to move toward a technology-rich, student-centered, inquiry-based learning practice that effectively prepares kids for the required skills and dispositions and realities of the world today and yet also prepares them to pass the test and satisfy the current expectations of parents and policy makers."
One school worth checking out NYC iSchool where the students follow and inquiry-driven curriculum in the school and do their preparation for the state standardized test at home, at their own pace, on-line. 

What if Schools Created a Culture of "Do" Instead of a Culture of "Know" - by Bill Ferriter

This post by Bill Ferriter describes a session from Educon on Design Thinking which was led by David Jakes. I was fortunate enough to work with Bill, Kristen Swanson, and Larry Fliegelman during the session and Bill blogged about our collaborative discussion.  The point of the session was that we needed to get away from school reform discussion that get stopped in their tracks by someone with a "yeah but."  Instead we focused on "What ifs" and did not get bogged down with potential roadblocks.
As Bill concludes in his post, it imperative that all of us in education continue to find ways to make learning more meaningful for students:
"The key that EVERYONE needs to move forward.  Find a step you can take tomorrow.  Find a step that you take a week from now.  A month from now.  A year from now."

This post from Maureen Devlin, a teacher from Wayland, outlined the Guiding Principles of Educon and made connections to her classroom. The Guiding Principles of Educon would certainly be a great model to follow for all of our classroms:

  • 1)Our schools must be inquiry-driven, thoughtful and empowering for all members
  • 2)Our schools must be about co-creating - together with our students - the 21st Century Citizen
  • 3)Technology must serve pedagogy, not the other way around
  • 4)Technology must enable students to research, create, communicate and collaborate
  • 5)Learning can - and must - be networked

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