Mark Milliron speaking this morning, on ten emerging insights: on education, innovation, technology, and tomorrow.
The Big Ten: Democratic Change, the Swirl, the Blender, Upward mobility, get serious about play, from social to learning nets, the classroom lives, action with analytics, personal connections, and Sanity in Change!
Milliron opens with a nod to a recent book by George Friedman: The Next 100 years. Conventional Analysis suffers from a profound failure of imagination, and Common Sense will be Wrong!
Swirl: Milliron argues that swirling and blending are best metaphors for schooling today, a world of life-long learning and mixing their instructional strategies and media widely. The swirl also represents the confluence of three generations in the same schools, the same environments: Baby Boomers, Generation X, NetGen. Nice discussion of Netgen spending much more time online than older generations, but the time comes from TV watching, not from any other source, and they are ten times more interactive as they engage online when compared to watching television. Nice shout-out for 2 great youtube videos, vision of students today and Information Revolution.
Fascinating demonstration of a new search engine, Wolframalpha.com. Very powerful search, with all the answers immediately provided. This kind of search pushes us to reframe education, to push it hard from information learning and memorization to open internet search and source verification and knowledge-making.
The Blender is On: It is wrong to ask which is better, traditional classroom or on-line learning! It is a false dichotomy; fast increasingly we are seeing a blend of both happening everywhere in colleges and universities, and it is coming to K-12 too! Two states are now requiring students for high school graduation to have taken successfully an on-line courses, and more are coming.
Big push for SASinSchool.com and its programs for webquests, all free, and great tools. Kids are going to be looking stuff up on-line no matter what we assign or ask them to do, so ask them to do stuff on-line in a webquest mode wherein students need to assess sources, evaluate, synthesize in effective ways.
After an exercise in which people exchange their phones/smartphones with neighbors, Mark makes the point that it feels uncomfortable to be without your device. Kids feel the same way, stripped and disempowered, when we deprive them of their digital tools. We need to rethink this, we need to find ways to incorporate digital tools into the daily life of classrooms, and how we can leverage mobile devices.
Kids asked to post something to a blog will spend ten times more effort, more time, in revising that piece of writing than they do or would do for writing only intended for teachers. We need to bring blogging and digital tools into learning!
Another great shout-out here, this time for Prensky’s Don’t Bother Me Mom– I’m Learning. A great book, and really important: Milliron makes the point that gaming is 84% rated for all or most users (it is only rarely inappropriate), and is built on mastery learning concepts, in which kids have to master a concept to move on. Gaming is engaging, it is challenging, it evokes great effort, it is social, it is collaborative. Parents are reporting to Mark the way their families are coming closer together when parents begin gaming with kids, and realize the value.
Encouragement here for the value of the work of Chris Dede, and his excellent research on the gains made by gaming in education. (See my blog post on Chris Dede here) Another: James Paul Gee’s excellent What Game Have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy.
Kids will tell you: the worst thing you can say about homework is that it is too hard; the worst thing you can say about gaming is that it is too easy. We need to redefine “rigor:” it is not about the work being hard, it is about it demanding full engagement.
Learning resources are online and free– and more powerful. Milliron promotes a source called www. oercommons.org . We need to have curricular resource committees, which will replace textbook committees and will look on what curricular tools we need to build, what to buy, and what to share.
“I don’t think the classroom is going away, in any way, shape or form– it is just going to change, dramatically. ”
Take Action with Analytics: Milliron recommends Competing on Analytics, and that we need to think about how to use them in our schools. In using data better, we need to move away from a culture of blame, that when bad data emerges, we need to not get down and critical, and instead to move to appreciate that this bad data is empowering us to improve and solve– but it requires a culture shift.
Milliron ends with a plea that personal connections still count, that we still need to grow as persons and socially, and then makes the point that this is a time of dramatic change, and it is only insane to keep doing the same things if we realize we need to change.