Holt Think: Ed, Creativity, Tech, Administration

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Posts tagged with "edtech"

Apr 7

From the series I do called “10 in 10” here are 10 things an reader can do.

As educators, we need to identify the jobs that are on the “nearly extinct list” and steer kids away from them. —Holt

As educators, we need to identify the jobs that are on the “nearly extinct list” and steer kids away from them. —Holt

(Source: recitethis.com)

Prakash Nair Responds to Peter C. Lippman Interview

After reading the interviews with Peter C. Lippman, famed architect and futurist Prakash Nair wrote me this email:

Great interview with Peter Lippman.

I know him from way back in New York City. A point of clarification. I never said that corridors, etc. are wasted because they are not used for academic purposes. What I said is that these spaces are wasted because they are ancillary to the learning that goes on in school — and by that I mean, ANY type of learning — particularly social and emotional learning. By utilizing hallways along with the adjoining classrooms, many more modes of learning are at the disposal of the teacher than before. These may include things like independent study, team collaboration, research, or just hanging out during breaks in a social way. I have attached two pictures of the Hillel School in Tampa — before and after pictures of the same hallway. So what I’m saying is let’s put these spaces to better use rather than the single-purpose use to store lockers or serve as a circulation spine.

On another matter, I agree with Peter’s four types of architects but he he missed the most important type — the “Radical Architect” or, better still, the “Change Agent” who comes to the table without worrying too much about the “architect” label at all. If the problem with schools is that it has become a bunch of disconnected silos, then going in as the architect will simply trap you in the “facilities” silo. Since school construction expenditures often represent the largest chunk of discretionary money a district will have to spend, it is an excellent opportunity for people to re-imagine the whole education system rather than look at at as a collection of parts. In the latter scenario, the best we can get is incremental change.

For holistic, truly meaningful and sustainable change, the school facility must be seen as an integral piece of a larger puzzle called education. Only by thinking differently about curriculum, pedagogy, scheduling (extremely important), professional development, leadership, technology integration, global connections and full stakeholder participation can we actually effectuate real change. What I’m saying is, who better to bring all these diverse interests together than the architect/planner. After all, the spaces we design are a means to an end — but what is that end? If we simply ask the educators and even listen very well, we’ll hear things like “can you make my classroom bigger — or L-shaped (Peter Lippman did some research on this) — and more storage. Few educators will say, “hey, let’s scrap the whole thing and start afresh because the basic model is broken!” but, in fact, that is often what is needed.

You probably know about Anne Frank Inspire Academy in San Antonio whose construction was just completed but this is the first of what we hope will be at least 100 schools that completely break the mold in favor of a new paradigm of education. I wrote a new chapter for our book about this school (attached) and you can also watch the video here:

Another video that explains what I’m taking about describes the PK Yonge Developmental Research School at the University of Florida that we designed. Sure the teachers are talking about space but note it is the new teaching and learning model enabled by the design they are most excited about:

This school was following a very traditional curriculum and pedagogical model when I first met them. What they ended up getting proves that the new building served as the catalyst to change everything — and that the change was owned by the educators. However we, as the architects, made it possible for them to be brave. In the end, this kind of change is very personal and emotional — and it’s all about people. Unless we capture their imaginations and get them to believe that their school (not school building) can be better, much better, we will continue to tinker on the margins as architects or, worse, we will design great “looking” schools in which the old model of education continues to flourish. So the bottom line is that I’d like to go far beyond Peter’s “Responsive Architect” and I believe that, for the most part, we have existed quite successfully beyond the limits imposed by our “architecture” hat.

Feb 4
If you assign a project and get back 30 of the exact same thing, that is not a project. It is a recipe. —Lehman

If you assign a project and get back 30 of the exact same thing, that is not a project. It is a recipe. —Lehman

(Source: recitethis.com)

Interview with Tom Vander Ark: Author of “Getting Smart”

Tom is author of Getting Smart: How Digital Learning is Changing the World and CEO of Getting Smart, a learning advocacy firm. Tom is also a partner in Learn Capital, an education venture firm. Previously he served as President of the X PRIZE Foundation and was the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Tom served as a public school superintendent in Washington State and has extensive private sector experience. Tom is chair of Charter Board Partners, Treasurer for the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL), and serves on several other boards.

He graciously agreed to answer a few questions about his book.

Thank you for taking time to talk about your book “Getting Smart.”

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I had careers in energy, retail, and consulting before becoming a school administrator—it was a nontraditional path, but every step helped prepare me for the complex task of system leadership. Investing $4 billion for a family philanthropy was an unusual opportunity and a lesson in the power of new school development and the challenges of school improvement. The experience also pointed to the need for more investment in innovation. As a result, I helped launch the first dedicated education venture fund and now spend my time advising and advocating for innovations in learning.

Can you give us a 10,000 ft view of “Getting Smart?”

Getting Smart makes the case that the shift to online and blended learning has three primary benefits: Customization: more learning per hour by providing each student with a playlist of experiences at the right level and in the best modality; Motivation: more learning hours per day and year as a result of more engaging content that boosts persistence; and Equalization: take home technology for every student that connects every family to the world of learning opportunities.

Here’s a short summary of the book.

You certainly make the case for a blended approach to learning in your book. How can teachers that were for many of them, trained in the 70’s and 80s make that adjustment to the blended model?

Two of the most important trends of the last three years have been the viral teacher adoption of digital resources and mobile apps and the explosion of online professional learning communities—both including many veteran teachers.

Personalized and blended learning is for teachers as well as students. Tools like Bloomboard (see feature) support individual development plans for teachers and connect them to digital resources.

How can school districts with lots of money invested in brick and mortar buildings be convinced to move to more online learning?

Most districts have or are planning online learning programs—it’s district programs that continue to propel the rapid growth of full and part time online learning (see A District Guide to Online Learning).

Some people long for the “good old days” of education, less technology, more teacher interaction with students, less testing. What do you say to them?

Two thirds of American students—particularly low income and minority students—were not being well served by the old system. We need to invent new options that better serve all students, but particularly those not well served by traditional schools.

The old system was not great for teachers either—terrible pay and working conditions characterized most early teaching jobs. New school models suggest we can improve conditions and careers for teachers.

What do you hope to accomplish by writing this? What problem do you see that needs to be solved?

A few weeks ago, I noted that “About 40 months ago Nicholas Carr was suggesting that the Internet was making us stupid—which I thought was stupid. So I wrote Getting Smart: How Personal Digital Learning Will Make Us Smart. In the first chapter I summarized my optimism:

I, for one, am very optimistic. Education has a profound role to play in how this country thinks about the future and the level of preparation its young people have for shaping it. We can innovate; I see it happening every week… If you extend a few trends and connect a few dots, you can imagine a system of public education with dramatically better results for the kids that need them most.

Tell me what learning will look like 20 years from now.

I don’t know what learning will look like in 20 years, but I just updated 1, 5 and 10 year Getting Smart Predictions.

Where did you get your inspiration from to write this?

My inspiration comes from the folks creating great schools and improving struggling schools—those are the stories we write about every day on Getting Smart. We’re also inspired by EdTech entrepreneurs building great learning tools.

This book was released in 2011. With several years to reflect, would you have stated anything differently than you did?

A couple recent blogs reviewed and commented on each chapter.

How can readers get more information?

I write daily blogs on GettingSmart.com and am working on a book that expands on the Smart Cities series.

You can get a copy of Tom’s book at:

Getting Smart iTunes Bookstore

Getting Smart Amazon.com

Jan 5
Who breaks devices?
Interesting info graphic

Who breaks devices?
Interesting info graphic

Dec 9

Top 100 Tech Tools for Education: 2013

Let the end of year lists begin!

We spend the first 10 years of our children’s lives frightening them about “stranger danger” and the perils of going outside where all kinds our imaginary horrors exist.
Then when they are teens, we can’t figure out why they want to spend all their time inside connecting online, not wanting to leave the house. The need for community is strong, and children will connect no matter where they are.

- Tim Holt

Not Quite Ready: Educade | Find, create and share lesson plans and teaching tools to empower your classroom

This looks like it COULD be a nice aggregator site for vetted web and app tools. However, after doing a cursory search, it appears that it is not ready for prime time just yet. Doing a search for “Water Cycle” yields a link to a frog dissection and a link to real estate simulator. WTF? So caveat emptor right now. Let’s revisit it in a few months. —TBH Educade revolutionizes the way students learn by integrating fun and interactive learning methods with cutting-edge 21st century tools, such as apps, games and maker kits. The site celebrates teachers’ expertise and first-hand knowledge of students, and equips them with the tools and community support to maximize their impact on student learning.

Aug 2

180 Questions for your campus back-to-school meetings

When I wrote this book last year, I designed with only Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) in mind. I thought it would make a conversation starter when the meetings became “sit around and stare at each other.” Since that time, others have come to me with ideas to use the book for besides PLC meetings.

For instance, almost all of these could be used as prompts for education bloggers that have writers block. In a recent conversation with a campus administrator, she told me that she was planning on using some of the questions in the book as a conversation starters for her back to school staff meetings.

It is great to see people using “180 Questions” for more than it was designed for! I really appreciate readers taking the time to share with me how they are using the series of questions to get meaningful dialogue going in their education environment, whatever the environment is.

Thanks again for supporting the book!

If you haven’t purchased it yet, it is priced at only 99 cents through the rest of the summer. So even if you hate it, you don’t lose a lot. If you love it, then that was 99 cents well spent!

Click on the title to get the book.

For every educator that is part of a Professional Learning Community, there comes a time when the conversation about ‘learning about learning” slows down or even stops. This book is designed to get the conversation going again by providing daily “conversation starters” for PLCs no matter the grade level, the subject area, or the type of school. Tim Holt has created a daily reflection for each day of a typical school year that challenges educators to start really thinking about teaching and learning on their campuses. 

Some of the 180 Questions seem easy, some are more provocative, and some are humorous. All however, are designed to get the conversation in PLCs back to the subject of education. Each question is followed up something that allows the reader to delve more deeply into the topic, be it a web link, an essay, a video, or even a quiz. 

Teachers and administrators alike will benefit from asking themselves and their PLCs these 180 Questions. 

Students Using iPad iBooks Textbooks Score Nearly 10% Better on Test than Peers

“Education technology does not operate in a vacuum, and the research findings reinforce that with a supportive school culture and strategic implementation, technology can have a significant impact on student achievement… We’re encouraged by the results of the study and the potential of mobile learning to accelerate student achievement and deepen understanding in difficult to teach subjects like algebra.”


Image: http://tinyurl.com/7ckylav