Design thinking is a problem-solving method that grew out of the fields of urban planning, design and architecture and is now all the rage in Silicon Valley. Entrepreneurship programs and startup accelerators like Citrix in Raleigh, NC; Amplify in Los Angeles; and Matter and Y Combinator in San Francisco are building their curricula around the people-focused, prototype-driven approach that’s at the heart of design thinking.
Telling students they need to take advantage of the feedback they get isn’t just good advice — it’s established science. In the last few decades, researchers have discovered a lot about how people become experts. The main idea, made popular by everyone from author Malcolm Gladwell to rapper Macklemore, is the 10,000-hour rule. Ten thousand is the number of hours it takes to become an expert in almost any field. While it’s wonderful that people are starting to understand how work leads to expertise, the most important part of that research is not how much practice someone needs to perform, but what kind of practice. This latter category is called deliberate practice and involves isolating what’s not working and mastering the difficult area before moving on.
With early childhood education taking a more prominent role on national and state policy agendas in recent years, it’s not surprising that enrollment in early childhood education and care ECE programs is increasing. According to Child Trends, 61 percent of children participated in some type of center-based care before entering kindergarten as of 2012—up six percentage points since 2007. But despite these promising developments, Child Trends also found that children from lower-income families remain less likely to enroll in those programs than their wealthier peers.
That’s a problem for low-income children, given that the impact of high-quality early learning experiences is often greatest on children living in poverty. While overall participation in ECE programs is up, federal programs that specifically target low-income families, like the Child Care and Development Block Grant CCDBG and Head Start, have long waiting lists. Due in large part to the Great Recession, about one in five American children now lives in poverty—and enrollment in these programs has not kept pace with these recent increases. In fact, Child Trends reports, the share of 3- to 5-year-olds living in poverty and enrolled in Head Start has actually declined between 2007 and 2011, from 42 to 33 percent.
A new Gallup poll released this morning brought good news for early education advocates: Seventy percent of Americans say they support using federal dollars to increase funding to provide universal, high-quality pre-K. That’s a startling number, given the fight early education programs have seen even to maintain funding from year to year in the face of federal belt-tightening and the sequester. But the survey could offer hope to supporters of early education programs–and to candidates in the field ahead of November’s midterm elections.
American teachers work hard. Like, really hard.This year’s education report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development outlines the state of education in the world’s most developed countries. It finds that American elementary school teachers spend more hours actually teaching students than peers in any other surveyed country.The graph below details how much time elementary school teachers spend in front of the classroom:
Yet those who study reading seem to understand that comprehending in the new medium may require some new training and practice to receive the full benefits. In a recent New Yorker article, Being a Better Online Reader, Maryanne Wolf, author of a history of reading called Proust and the Squid, said she’s developing digital apps to help train students to deep read digitally. She cites a new study that showed fifth-graders became better digital readers after learning how to use the digital annotation feature.“The same plasticity that allows us to form a reading circuit to begin with, and short-circuit the development of deep reading if we allow it, allows us to learn how to duplicate deep reading in a new environment,” Wolf said in the article.
Formative assessments are a part of the learning process while summative assessments are an end to the learning process.So, if we are formatively assessing students frequently throughout the learning process and constantly getting temperature checks on where they are in the learning process, we will eventually have students all over the place in terms of their learning. We know students don’t learn at the same rate and pace and we know students need frequent and timely feedback to assist them in the learning process.We also know that if we are formatively assessing then we will always know where students are in terms of their learning.
Let’s take it as given: there are games we won’t play just like there are books we won’t read. There are games we won’t teach, just like there are books we won’t teach. There are games we don’t like, just like there are books we don’t like.Although books have been out longer than video games, games have been out longer than books. Regardless, we won’t often teach with games – let alone video games – in our classrooms.Sometimes, our biases get in the way. We don’t all value video games the way we value textbooks or novels or copies or articles for a variety of reasons. However, great games exist – games that can teach as much as any traditional text. We should unpack our feelings about video games and work towards a better understanding of the genre, its tropes, and how they can be taught not only to deliver content, but also – appropriately – to help kids identify and critically respond to the media and world around them.
Like most buzzwords in education, “authenticity” isn’t a new idea.For decades, teachers have sought to make student learning “authentic” by looking to the “real world”–the challenges, technology, and communities that students care about and connect with daily. You’ve probably been encouraged in the past to design work that “leaves the classroom.” Reach beyond the school walls. The question is, how?We’re going to take a closer look at progressive approaches to teacher planning whenever Terry Heick can be convinced to finish that series. And the one on “A Classroom of Affirmation,” and…. For now, we’ve got the above #pbl cheat sheet that can be used as a kind of macro overview when designing projects.The function of this image is to act as a kind of brainstorm–to help you get your own creative juices going to decide what’s most important when designing an authentic project-based learning unit–audiences, technology, habits, purposes, and so on.
Fewer and fewer employment opportunities exist in America for both routine cognitive work and manual labor, and the gap is widening over the decades. Unless they’re location-dependent, manual labor jobs often are outsourced to cheaper locations overseas. Unless they’re location-dependent, routine cognitive jobs are increasingly being replaced both by cheaper workers overseas and by software algorithms.
What kind of schoolwork do most American students do most of the time? Routine cognitive work. What kind of work is emphasized in nearly all of our national and state assessment schemes? Routine cognitive work. For what kind of work do traditionalist parents and politicians continue to advocate? Routine cognitive work.