Installment eight of a weekly post, Quotes of the Week.  (For more about QoTW, click here.) Sorry to have missed last week: in the past ten days I have been in San Francisco/Oakland, Washington DC, and Chicago.

I asked Eric Juli to define success for this year.  “We need to stop doing and start learning”.  His teachers don’t know what that looks like, so he will need to find professional growth opportunities to show them.  His students don’t know what that looks like.  School has always been a place where you do worksheets and there is a cultural accommodation between teachers and students that sets a low bar and everyone gets by.  He has a few teachers who know how to teach, and a few who are eager to learn.  He needs to fill his ranks with these folks and that is going to take some time.  Nothing is going to stand in his way.

Innovation on the Front Lines: Design Lab School Must Reframe the Meaning of School, Grant Lichtman

nb: If you aren’t already, you ought to be following Grant’s #edjourney here:

Our culture is information-rich (Shirky), connected (Siemens), participatory (Jenkins), creative (Florida). Given the affordances of technology, we live in a time that is significantly and qualitatively different than when many teachers went to school.

  • Does the physical setting of your classroom reflect a participatory, creative, connected, information-rich culture?  Is your classroom flexible and creative allowing changes to reflect the different learning tasks rather than having desks and seats set up in rows facing the teacher  
  • Is your classroom an open portal  – open to people, visitors, social networks?  Are your classroom walls permeable allowing persons of interest to enter; allowing students to visit persons of interest?

14 Tweets or small “t” truths about Educational Reform, Jackie Gerstein

Today on social media I saw someone write gritty, gross details of her cat’s stomach ailment and another person described the moves that she learned in her yoga pole dancing class (with names too adult to share here.)

I’m trying to understand why either of them would think those two things would enlighten or improve the lives of other people.

These ill advised shares mar the timelines of otherwise interesting professionals.

Think Before You Tweet, Vicki Davis

We have Wikipedia because the Internet and the Web have made it easy and cheap to share information, and because they allowed people to experiment with new models of collaboration while minimizing the risks of failure.

To be a peer progressive, then, is to live with the conviction that Wikipedia is just the beginning, that we can learn from its success to build new systems that solve problems in education, governance, health, local communities, and countless other regions of human experience.  

That is why we are optimistic: because we know it can be done.  We know a whole world of pressing social problems can be improved by peer networks, digital or analog, local or global, animated by those core values of participation, equality and diversity.That is a future worth looking forward to.  Now is the time to invent it. 

Future Perfect, Steven Johnson

As schools explore sustaining (tier 1 and tier 2) and disruptive (tier 3) innovations, one strong way to transform schools into more life-like analogues is to reconsider the traditional departmental structure. Typically, schools sub-divide into departments called “Math,” “Science,” “History,” “English,” etc. Curriculum tends to be categorized by these departments and divisions – by subject-area or topic. Often times, silos develop…sometimes intentionally, but more understandably in unintentional ways.

But what if we re-imagined curriculum to be more about the issues and challenges that we face? What if we had departments like…

  • the Department of Energy
  • the Department of Justice and Equity

Making Reality a School, Bo Adams

The more people use the internet, the more friends they have, the more they see their friends, and the more socially diverse their networks.

People’s lives offline and online are now integrated– it no longer makes sense to make a distinction.

Networked, The New Social Operating System, Barry Wellman and Lee Rainie

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that in 2020, the United States will have about 9.2 million jobs in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. According to data compiled by the National Science Board, the advisory group of the National Science Foundation, college degrees in these fields have not kept pace with college enrollment. And women and minorities remain significantly underrepresented in these fields. Digital fabrication offers a new response to this need, starting at the beginning of the pipeline. Children can come into any of the fab labs and apply the tools to their interests.  The Fab Academy seeks to balance the decentralized enthusiasm of the do-it-yourself maker movement and the mentorship that comes from doing it together.

After all, the real strength of a fab lab is not technical; it is social. The innovative people that drive a knowledge economy share a common trait: by definition, they are not good at following rules. To be able to invent, people need to question assumptions. They need to study and work in environments where it is safe to do that.

Digital fabrication consists of much more than 3-D printing. It is an evolving suite of capabilities to turn data into things and things into data. Many years of research remain to complete this vision, but the revolution is already well under way. The collective challenge is to answer the central question it poses: How will we live, learn, work, and play when anyone can make anything, anywhere?

How to Make Almost Anything: The Digital Fabrication Revolution, Neal Gershenfeld

Some argue that blogging is passé, but nothing could be further from the truth….

3. Sharing is caring
I am a whole-hearted advocate of the philosophy that knowledge is to be shared. Blogging can be a great platform for sharing what you’ve learned and know with others who may be interested in what you have to say and learn from you so they can improve their lives.

Five Reasons You Should Consider Blogging, Bostjan Spetic

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