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Friday, July 21, 2017

Where are you headed in these complex times?

Friedman's book, Thank You for Being Late, demonstrates that the world is changing at a rapid clip, and my reaction to that is how can we forward these changes in humane, peaceful and Earth-friendly ways.

First, we have to be mindful of our own roles in this change however small. It's all of our small actions that add up to good effort, and we all know that bringing humanity, peace and an Earth-friendly response to our small actions is often the most challenging work we do.

Next, we have to work in collaboration with others to make meaningful, positive development in our spheres of work and influence. How can we positively work with others to affect our communities and organizations? For me this means finding ways to work with other educators to develop and improve the work we do. It's important to discern who has what skills, interests and passions as we work together. Often our best work is compromised because we assign wrong roles to people. At other times the obstacles are lack of good process, efficiency rather than efficacy, and no clear vision or mission. Whatever the case may be, it's important to note your role on the teams you work with and collaborate to do the good work possible.

Then, it's integral that we speak up about what matters. Many make fun of my @realdonaldtrump tweets, yet I often see the words I tweet, repeated. If we sit back and don't speak up, we'll certainly never be heard. If we respectfully speak up with good questions, insights and ideas, guess what, those questions might be answered, insights shared and ideas developed. I often respond to insights, questions and ideas on Twitter by embedding that good think into my daily work and effort to teach children well. I love the global cross-section of wonderful thinkers and doers represented on Twitter and other social media and find that those streams of thought deepen and develop what I can do in my own spheres. So don't be shy about speaking up--it's likely there are those ready to listen and embrace who you are and the experiences/think you have to offer.

These are complex times, but that doesn't mean we should simply sit back and let it happen. Instead we have to up our game in this modern age and look for ways to be active citizens both at home and in our greater circles. That matters.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Friedman's Book, Thank You for Being Late, Inspires Change and Development in Schools

Friedman's book, Thank You for Being Late, similar to Darling-Hammond & Others' book, Empowered Educators, inspire school change and development. As I review my notes, I advocate for the following changes.
  • Match school learning with real-world experiences, service and internships
  • Make sure that every student has one or more teachers that take a real interest in their aspirations and mentor them with significant time and attention
  • Emphasize skill building in relation to empathy, cooperation, flexibility, 
  • Explicitly acknowledge, illustrate and engage students in the changes in world w/regard to globalization and technological advancements
  • Ensure that high school students start high school by learning about and joining essential networks such as Linkedin, Twitter, FB. Teach the networks, share network experiences. In the early grades model use of these networks and use as a class with teacher guidance to assist learning.
  • Allow students to create and utilize algorithms from early on in meaningful ways. Demonstrate how intelligent algorithms are at play with regard to all they do today. Start with demonstrating the algorithms that impact their Google searches.
  • Expose students to graphs, algorithms and metrics regularly. Analyze the metrics and allow these metrics to impact learning choices and activity.
  • Identify helpful online/offline intelligent assistants and provide students opportunities to engage with those to further their learning and deepen valuable experience. Having high school students explore sites like LaunchCode and LearnUp will help them to gain valuable work skills and knowledge.
  • Ask students what "intelligent assistants" they use to forward their learning and living. Keep a list and grow that list as the year goes on. Let students demonstrate how they use the intelligent systems they use to one another. Khan Academy is one example of an intelligent assistant students may use to learn content, do well with SATs, study coding and more.
  • From early on teach students about learning paths and learning flows. Help students to create their own learning paths or expeditions by identifying and accessing impactful experiences, experts, smart tools/programs, teamwork, multimedia resources and more.
  • Work with colleagues to forward meaningful, interdisciplinary projects and problem solving. 
  • Build partnerships with change agents and helpful organizations including businesses, nonprofits, universities, hospitals and more outside of school to develop student/teacher learning, experience and capacity.
  • Work with colleagues to foster networks and systems to continually improve and innovate to serve students well.
  • Look at current positions and directions and update as needed. For example make sure to include a focus on computer gaming for learning and problem solving in your ed system.
  • Introduce and involve students in crowdsourcing and open source efforts and resources online and off. 
  • Blend learning and take advantage of online resources, courses and networks that respond readily to technology leaps.
  • Help students to acknowledge that they are, in effect, their own "start-up" and that their efforts to develops skill and passion as well as market their abilities will be critical to their future success. Help students to do this by creating reflective ePortfolios that work to identify mission/vision, valuable experiences/accomplishments, identifying data such as address, phone number, image and more.
  • At start of school year, ask students what they believe they'll need to succeed in class and in today's world. Have a meaningful discussion about that, list skills, attitudes and abilities, and then focus on how they can individually and collectively growth those capabilities.
  • Have students think about, read about and even converse with counterparts across the world. Together think about how those students will access today's amazing tools and technology to impact the world.
  • Consider the intelligent assistants that aid your organization and how teachers and administrators in your system utilize and share that assistance to develop capacity.
  • Figure out how to maximize the "collective genius" of your organization by creating dynamic networks of share, growth and support.
  • Re-look at the way you develop skill and talent in your organization and think about how you might inspire greater effort and growth in this regard.
  • Transparently and inclusively create, share and direct organizational growth and development. Use timelines of near and far changes to come. Invite employees to create and join in this effort and provide avenues for this involvement. 
  • Update blended online/offline curriculum efforts with greater attention to tech integration, coding, environmental studies, meaningful interdisciplinary study that boosts literacy, numeracy, creativity, communication, collaboration, perseverance, self motivation and critical thinking skills. 
  • Reimagine the working relationship of students/teachers, teachers/administration to build modern teaching/learning organizations. 
  • Invest in student success and teacher efficacy (human capital) as cornerstones of all efforts done in teaching/learning organizations. Potentially extend the organization to all community members in light of today's requirement that all people are motivate, lifelong learners.
  • Take advantage of the awesome technological tools that exist to teach well. 
  • Discuss the "motivational divide" with students--ask, "Why are some students self motivated and others not? What does self motivation look like? How can you grow greater self motivation and why does that matter?
  • Pose Sims quote to students and discuss, Today, ". .you have to know more, you have to update what you know more often, and you have to do more creative things with it."
  • Tell students that they will probably be "inventing" their future jobs. Ask what that will look like and why they think that is true. Have them create a future job for themselves given their interests, present and future skills, and the needs that exist today and will exist in the future.
  • Discuss with students the fact that physical technology (the change in things we can touch and see) have changed faster than social technology (policies, laws, networks). Discuss why that's problematic and invent new social technology related to jobs, government, policies and more to help our communities keep up with and maximize acceleration.
  • Make sure that sustainability is a thread from K-12. Discuss how we can change our behaviors and attitudes to positively affect the planet. Study climate change, and look together for solutions. Support solutions through service work, presentations and outreach. 
  • Work with your education organizations to look for optimal ways to integrate public-private partnerships for the benefit of all.
  • Work with students and colleagues to identify optimal human-machine integration when it comes to learning and living. 
  • Discuss the positive role that education and freedom play with regard to protecting our planet? Look at education and population statistics to identify trends and create/activate solutions. Identify people and populations that receive less support and freedom, and determine how you might foster change in these areas.

Friedman's Book Inspires Action to Protect Earth

As I continue to read Friedman's book, Thank You for Being Late, I am struck by the call to action to protect planet Earth. He succinctly demonstrates our collective responsibility to act now to save our planet for generations to come. If we care about our children, we will do what's right by changing the way we live and advocating for change throughout the world.

How can we make this message and call to responsibility visible in our schools?

First, we have to re-look at curriculum and begin teaching students early rather than later about the impact of their daily habits and efforts with regard to their responsibility to planet Earth. Students need to recognize the direct correlation of their efforts with regard to environmental protection. How can we do this?

Environmental Education
I work with educators and community members who commit substantial time to this endeavor by fostering school recycling, less to no use of plastics, school yard gardens and composting, rain collection, water conservation and environmental education. We can do a better job with this by matching our curriculum standards to conservation and environmental education that is memorable and impactful for children. We need to help students, from an early age, become well educated, responsible, positive stewards of the environment.

Global Education and Service Learning
We also have to consider our global education and service learning efforts. Students need to understand that what they do in their neighborhoods and homes affects the whole world and that through service work, good decisions and education, they can have a positive impact on the world. One area that we can focus on is working to advocate for good education for all the world's people with education for girls and women as a priority since the education of women has been tied to positive development.

Reproductive Education
Further, in our families and communities, we can help to educate young people early about reproductive opportunity and rights. To understand early both the responsibility and opportunity of what it means to parent children in ways that matter is to foster greater potential and promise for generations to come.

As school communities we can continually model conservation efforts with regard to the products we purchase, the way we recycle, protection of our natural lands and more. I really need to commit to this effort more and will look for ways to better integrate this into our teaching/learning efforts and experiences throughout the year.