Disrupting Class Primer

I have been having lots of conversations at school (the one where I work) about  Disrupting Class.  People keep saying, "I have to read the book." 

Obviously, reading the book is the best way to get this, but if you don’t have time to read the book right now and want a primer, here’s some audio/video/text to get you  up to speed:

Start here:

And if you’re still interested (this is what’s on my bookshelf at least):

There are tons of other good resources out there.  I’ve been watching Google Blog Search for Disrupting Class as well. 

arvind, Vinnie and I will also be interviewing Michael Horn and Curtis Johnson on 11/24 at noon EST and 12/4 at 2:15 EST respectively at EdTechTalk

What recommendations do you have? 


If You Started a School, What Would the Theme Be?

As I’ve been exploring the theme of Disruptive Innovation and its implications new-school for schools in the next 10-15 years, I have imagined that there will be opportunities for new schools to replace some of the schools that have not changed.  Over the weekend, I was thinking about what the theme of a school that I would like to work at would be.  I found this exercise surprisingly difficult so, in order to generate some brainstorming energy, I asked my twitter network.  Here are the replies:

  • gardenglen @alexragone My theme for a school “Digital environment promoting student inquiry and collaboration.”
  • ernestkoe @alexragone what a great question…the love of learning, as cheesy as that sounds
  • andrewjkatz @alexragone flexibility.
  • momcginn The theme would be Belonging.
  • agrill @alexragone collaborative spaces, good citizens and inquiry.
  • pgow @alexragone (1) Think it should be sustainability, although the word is getting a bit shop-worn. Maybe “dignity, equity, and continuity.”
  • pgow @alexragone (2) Lots of place-based teaching: thematic, interdisciplinary, skill-focused units; civic and social engagement as  possible.

As I was thinking about this topic, I thought about science, innovation, and invention.  I was not happy with any of those.  This is a difficult task, especially when thinking about changing a system that has been around for so long.  I  found myself thinking about the skills that students should have upon graduation, but those skills could fit into many of these themes.

So I ask you, if you could create a school, what would it’s theme be?

Phtoto from: http://flickr.com/photos/mirkogarufi/297698145/

Differentiated Instruction

In Educational Leadership this month, Carol Ann Tomlinson writes about  Differentiated Instruction as a way of giving students ownership of learning. She states:

Differentiation enables teachers to go beyond the question, How can I make sure a student masters a body of information? asking instead, How can I help create a real learner?

There are four elements of DI: trust; fit;voice; and awareness.  Here’s a description of developing awareness:

“Monica Harrold, a 1st grade teacher frequently led her students to analyze a piece of work they were about to begin with a partner or small group.  After she described the task, she’d say, “Now tell me what skills are necessary to do this work really well.” Gradually , her young students became proficient at naming the skills the assignment called for.  Next, she’d ask them to think about which of the necessary skills they had and which ones they’d need to be sure someone else in the group had.  In my observations of Monica’s classroom, it was common to hear a student say, “I can draw and I can write, but I’m not very good at finding information so I’ll need to work with someone else who can do that.”  At age 6, these students were already becoming metacognitively aware.  They were learning to position themselves as successful learners by controlling their working conditions.

In order to empower our students, we must engage them in these metacognitive tasks early and frequently.  As I start to collect the tools of the school of the future, DI is a critical part of that toolbox.

Image from Wes Fryer

So Much To Write About… 21st Century School Leaderhip

Boy has it been an intense few weeks. I have so much to write about and will soon. In the mean time, I have a thought.

Last week I had a conversation with a colleague about his head of school. My colleague said the following in reference to technology, education and our changing landscape, “Yeah, my head is young and great, but he doesn’t even get it.”

So Saturday morning, I got up and thought, what about a leadership academy for school heads, principles, and any other school leader that would help them see this new world, these new literacies, and the new frontier that we must adjust our educational system to work with, instead of against.

I Googled for sites that would cover 21st Century School Leadership issues and found some, but most of the links went back to Chris Lehmann at Science Leadership Academy.

Warlick, Richardson, Lehmann and others write about School 2.0, but to get there, I believe we need to have leaders who “get it.” So how do we get our leaders to “get it?” We train them, right? (I know it’s not quite that simple, but…)

Maybe this is the type of project that EducationBridges.org will help fund. What do you think, Dave? Or some national organization or international organization.

What do you think? Do you know of any leadership academy that does this type of work?

John Seely Brown Interview by Steve Hargadon

If you haven’t checked out the School 2.0 interview series that Steve Hargadon had been doing, you’re missing out.

This interview with John Seely Brown challenges my thoughts about education and gave me wonderful ideas on how to begin to explain the shift to my colleagues. This one is getting burnt to CDs and handed to my Administrators. It is inspirational and wonderfully reflective.

Thanks, Steve, for your great work on these interviews!