What I’m Reading. What are you Reading?

I am interested in the conversation about where education needs to be in 5, 10, and 20 years.

Below are a few of the books I’m accumulating for summer reading.  What else would you recommend?

Daring Greatly — Brene Brown — Definitely check out her TEDx Talk too.  Brown tackles vulnerability and shame. Her work has changed the way I approach leadership  teaching, and my family.  Engaging your family, colleagues, students from alongside and working to see what they see and feel what they feel.

The Secrets of Happy Families — A great book on parenting and being a better parent in our intensely competitive and over scheduled world.

Creating Innovators — Tony Wagner — What we should be doing/thinking about in education to prepare our students for their futures.

If you’d like to discuss what books you are recommending and how you are helping your faculty look towards the future, please let me know.


Future of the Book – eBook, eMedia or ??

Over my almost 15 years as an educator, I’ve always been on a search for the new textbook, or how to consolidate the textbook onto one device.  Right now, there are numerous eReaders out there.  How we use those devices in education is up in the air.  

Last Friday a group of educators assembled to organize resources that would help us all move closer to an truly electronic book model.  The group organized resources around Devices, Pay and Free Content, and Examples of eTexts.  We recorded much of the afternoon via uStream. 

There was a consensus at the end of the day that we direct our futures by building some examples of what we may see in the future, whether web based or specifically for tablets or eReaders. 

Since this is an ongoing project, I moved this wiki to OPuS1 – The Future of the Book and started a Community of Practice around the resources.  OPuS1 is a good container for this type of project.  Let me know if you ‘re interested in being part of this next work we’ll be doing via twitter or a comment on this post. 


Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wynnie/3881994177/

Tech 5 Digital Footprint Lesson

digital-footprintThe goal of this lesson is to give students awareness of what it means to have a digital footprint.

Ask the students, “What  is a digital footprint?” 

Definitions include:

  1. What can be found when you Google yourself.
  2. Data collected by different web sites you visit.
  3. Data recorded by email, social networking, cell phone and video game companies.
  4. Anywhere where you use a username and password.

Digital Footprint on Wikipedia

Pew Internet & American Life Research on Digital Footprints

I then show this video: 


I then ask them to think for a minute about their digital footprint and then lead a short discussion around the following questions:

  • Why would people Google you? 
  • What is your digital reputation?

At this point, I ask them students to take out their footprints (see link above) and list the accounts the have online: websites, social networks,  phones they text with, video games they play online, etc.

Once they have done this for 5 minutes, I have them enter this data into our homework submission site.  This is good data to start conversations about Internet safety in the future. 

How do you teach about Digital Footprints?

Memorizing or Natural Learning

Fred Bartels asked:  I’m really curious about your emphasis on memorization still being important. This came up in our meeting yesterday. When you get a chance could you elaborate on your thinking?

I responded:  There seems to be a statement that futurists make about not having to remember anything because it’s at your fingertips.  Traditionalists tend to say that kinds need to remember everything.

In my experience, to be creative, you need to have content knowledge, but if you’re naturally learning something, memorizing it is not a conscious matter, but one that comes naturally.  For example, when children move to a different country where a different language is spoken, they just pick it up.  This is a natural memorizing, not an unnatural one.

There are basic pieces of information that we should know and by using a more natural form of education, students will learn by doing.  I think that games are a great way to teach things like the multiplication tables.  For example, my kids teachers recommend different card games.  That works well.  Fun = easy memorizing.

I think that there is a balance between the obsessed memorizers and the folks who say we can look everything up…

Does this make sense?

The Bronx Guild: A Big Picture School and Q2L — The Future of Education?

I visited two schools over Spring Break.  One project based school based on the Big Picture model where teams of 15 students and 1 faculty member travel through the four years of high school together interning two days of the week and working on their core curriculum during their days at school.  The other was Quest 2 Learn, a school based around systems design and using games to teach and learn.

In both I saw glimpses of the future, but both made me feel uncomfortable too.  Letting go of teacher as the source of information is scary.  We have been doing this for a long time.

What both schools seemed to get was that it’s about personal relationships with kids and helping them grow up is critical.  Both had positive environments where kids felt supported and could ask questions about the system that they existed.  The kids were involved with making their schools better.  I think that is a key part of this equation.

We have a lot to explore here.

The TEDxNYED Challenge…

I could not have said this better…

This may be idealistic, but if I could talk about what I’d want for a TED Prize, it’d be to spend a year getting a 1,000 conversations going about what we dream education could be all over the country… and to record them all… and catalogue parents and students and teachers best hopes for school, so that we could have an action plan about where we need to go, because I don’t know that we, as a nation, know what we want or how to get there. But I’d love to find out what it might look like, and I’d love to think that the folks at TEDxNYED would have something to add to the discussion. (From the comments on Dan Meyer's TEDxNYED Metadata)

Chris' dream for a TED prize is in my mind, what each and every participant at TEDxNYED should be doing: Going forth and telling the 1000s of stories that will move education forward.  Let's do it.