Apologies, been off-line too long.  Andrew Sullivan writes that blogs are like sharks, they have to keep moving or they die.  I’ve been traveling extensively the last two weeks– Tucson, Boston, Seattle– and so let the project slide.  I am expecting to return to school visiting very soon.  But here are a few quickhits: 

1. Had a great conversation with a friend, former school head, and search consultant Bob Fricker over the weekend.  He spoke of his belief that schools in this new era will have to be not just good, but truly transformational, but then pointed out that we don’t know what “truly transformational schooling” really looks like yet.  I think we are moving toward what that means: truly transformational education is the value-add that is measured by the CWRA, it is preparing and empowering our high school students to tackle real-world complicated problems, apply critical thinking, address and solve for genuinely difficult quandries, innovating new solutions, and communicating clearly what the solutions are to be.     

2.  I recently enjoyed the opportunity to assist with editing an article being prepared by the Buck Institute, addressing research evidence for the effectiveness of problem-based learning.   The article is still in pre-publication– I will link it here as soon as it is published–  but I am going to share a quote cited in that article from a previously published work.  The quote is from Johannes Strobel: “the better an instrument was able to evaluate students’ skills, the larger the ascertained effects of Problem-based learning.” (Strobel, by the way, is a professor of engineering education, and has a blog of his own).  Regular readers know that I am becoming very enamored of the whole concept of learning that begins with problems, and I believe fervently that students will be more motivated and have stronger sense of direction when the learn to problem-solve, and I am glad the evidence is coming forward to support it. 
3. Interesting article in EdWeek, on the role of Disruptive Innovation in education over the next decade.  The author of the book suggests that by 2019, half of all schooling will be in on-line courses, and educators have to prepare for these changes.   I have the book ordered, and intend to write more about it in the weeks to come. 
4.  Reuters has an article on-line about a new book’s  assessment of the impact of the internet on the brain and brain development.     The book is iBrain: Surviving the Technological Alteration of the Modern Mind, by a UCLA neurologist.  Takeaway from the article: Technological exposure is making minds more adept at filtering information and making snap decisions, but we have to worry too about its possibly negative impact on interpersonal skills. 

Small, however, argues that the people who will come out on top in the next generation will be those with a mixture of technological and social skills.

“We’re seeing an evolutionary change. The people in the next generation who are really going to have the edge are the ones who master the technological skills and also face-to-face skills,” Small told Reuters in a telephone interview.

“They will know when the best response to an email or Instant Message is to talk rather than sit and continue to email.”

5. Little boomlet going on at youtube on the topic of 21st century learning.  You can start here and then keep going through a series of responses and treatments.   One possible use– open faculty meetings with them, and discuss.     (And I will use this note to direct you also to “A View of Students Today,” which Pat Bassett first turned me on to and which I continue to adore. )
6.   Following up on point three above, we are going to see on-line learning continue to grow, and we who run and teach in “conventional schools” (which will need to become anything but) will have to be dialed in and responsive to this rise.    Someone directed me to visit www.k12.com, and it is pretty impressive.   Bror Saxberg is Chief Learning Officer for k12.com, and runs a blog himself which has good value– and a good way to keep an eye on the rise of virtual learning.