reflection on Malcolm Gladwell’s NECC keynote

Reflection on Malcolm Gladwell keynote at NECC 2009

one of the key ideas that Gladwell explored in his keynote was the significant evidence that both supports the idea of perseverance over talent and its implications for education. There is a very nice summary of his keynote here:

at one point, he talks about the success of KIPP schools ( and their formula for success being more contact time, therefore more “time in the trenches”. If you look at the MET school, their idea of rigour comes not from curriculum that is hammered into kids, but from rich authentic projects that develop rigour.

In particular, Dennis Littky quotes Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi … rigour is “the opportunity for young people to experience intense concentration in any activity that requires skill and discipline, regardless of content”

the key idea here, is that two very different schools accomplish the same goal by lengthy hands-on hard cognitive work on the part of learners. In one school that is driven by the teachers, and the other is driven by the direction of a student who is passionate about a topic they have chosen. For our HAIS/HCF schools of the future initiative, we have left the approach that each school takes to themselves. Transformation for each institution will be different, and the good news is that Gladwell’s tenet would seem to imply (and I agree) that the paths that each school takes can be different as long as rigour is a significant part of student work on a day-to-day basis.
He said himself during his keynote that it is probably not so much what schools do as it is how they do it.

interesting stuff…

NECC 2009 Day 2 Sunday June 28

These are my notes form the sessions I attended today:

    Charting a Course For the future of education

Sunday Morning 830 am – 1130 am

Doug Levin – national boards of (NASB) and Dave Moore from knowledgeworks and the foundation

came from cable in the classroom – planning for strategy for futures of ed

created a roadmap – 2020 map for future of education

This is a really deep website has lots of resources that support their future trends and give him some votes of data and examples as well as interesting scenarios and pieces to reflect on

we started with a question to group – what will school be like in 2020?
we talked about a range of issues/thoughts

what will drive change?

they have developed six forces that they have identified as shapers of the future of education.
In order: altered bodies,, platforms for resilience, a new civil discourse, the maker economy, pattern recognition

the bottom line is that each of these developments will affect in some way how schools can or must change.

marks thoughts – which of will succeed in leading our schools to change in ways that will help children into their future?

gotta think about clay’s book about disruptive innovation – how will this affect school’s development? All of these forces have disruptive majors in them — some positive, some negative

#1 altered bodies

thought of the day – if you could take a drug that would improve your intellectual performance without side effect would you?

this brings up an issue I think about – dichotomy – there will be 2 societies – those that have gets…will some technologies level the playing field or increase the divide? clearly given our past history, many of the technologies and forces we are talking about will act as dividers, not unifier’s. This is a shame, but reality.

do we teach kids ways of focusing – things like mediattion/focus strategies?
We know there is lots of research (stress/cortisol levels for instance) and yet we do very little in a formal way to help students understand how to create the best conditions psychologically and physically for learning — this is a shame.

interesting observation (me) – he mentioned harvard study about coping mechanism – mark’s thought – prayer is one example of this – the power of church may be drawing on this …
community of schools (think MET) – if stronger connections, better dealing with stress
As we move from elementary to middle to high school, we typically move further and further away from community, and this seems a shame as that sense of community that supports the stress on them During the day students deal with.

#2 amplified orgs
clay shirky – ted lecture – groabnies example
he used a TED video about Josh Grobin and how a community formed both around supporting his career, and a nonprofit to raise money for needy causes. Technology was an enabler that allowed these groups to form.

in our sotf – how to take our amplified organization and make it do more…
is rapid beta testing in ed going to be possible

one of the big ideas – if we can change the isolation of teaching through these amplified networks – then education might be transformed – internet access is pretty ubiquitous, so the ability for teachers to connect pretty much anywhere has become a nonissue

we really need to redefine rigor – need to memorize littky’s definition of this…all of us need to take on the domains we can change and take ownership of them…

littky – “ Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi – rigour is “the opportunity for young people to experience intense concentration in any activity that requires skill and discipline, regardless of content

#3 platforms for resilience
showed a video of Jamais Cascio talking about autoimmune responses in education

we had a bit of a discussion here about schools reaction to banning devices to limit what students can do. The subject came up about the analogy of schools being devoid of tools that students feel comfortable with and therefore becoming less relevant.
discussion around internet access and the reaction little relevance to a world where kids will have their own always on access in the next few years

need to blog on: if most students soon will have data access through their own devices and schools can’t filter, how will schools react
research – grunwald and associates – gap between admin and student perception of tech use and appropriate use. Whereas administrators look at worst-case scenario, the self reporting by teenagers indicated much lower levels of inappropriate technology use than adults assume.

#4 new civil discourse
example of melboune wiki – the city of Melbourne has created a wiki for city planning that allows all members of its community, even from outside their community, to help in urban planning.
and curriwiki – what happens when a community can build knowledge
involvement of parents in school another example — we have a true opportunity here to use technology to create transparency that hasn’t existed in schools before.

#5 Maker economy
see notes – instructables, etc
He gave examples here — plenty on their website — of services and trends that indicate moving away from mass merchandising, and tailoring to individual design, localize products, and green technologies

#6 pattern recognition
how to sift, filter
this is reminiscent of shirky’s filter failure comment on web20 conference

how to make meaning of data
is web 3.0 going to help? mark’s a comment here — the promise and potential of Web 3.0 (symantic) is one of the future trends of the think is a powerfully understood well enough yet. As meta-data and personal information merge in the cloud, the common experience of the web will be a personalized pattern experience that will take into account our preferences, tendencies, and needs. This won’t address all the problems with making meaning, but it should help.

the future is

Arthur Levin oped in edweek feb 20 2009 – the change of schools and learning… Although Arthur has been a fairly conservative voice in education, Dave’s point was that this piece even from a conservative voice indicated both the recognition and need for schools to do more than they are old mission of preparing standardized assembly line workers.

    SIGTC – The 21St Tech Leader

Sunday afternoon 1-4pm
(mark left at 3 pm)
background context – ms tech person, moved to writing book for tc fr dissertation

goal – past work
goal – he is an incrementalist

video of doug skinner – day in the life of a tech coordinator (for google teacher academy)

21st tech coordinator – leader in the middle

refers to David Morusund – his 87 book on tech go To coord is the first

dm: need for long term commitment… tough to look at volatile tech
curriculum analysis
transitional period – think long haul (reminiscent of Jukes Digital Diet)

research – even though we look typically at yr1&2 , the substantive work happens into yr 3&4 and beyond…
interesting point here — one of the things in our schools of the future grant was a recognition that the transformation process for schools is a multiyear effort to need support from more than just the first year or two and he agrees with this.

things mark needs to work into his sphere of influence: phones, data, security..others?

slide of Edward De Bono – hats worn by execs

frazier – same idea 0- hats worn by tech coord

teaching & learning
desktop support
administrative computing
network issues
budgeting and planning

new themes for 21st century tech leaders
digital citizenship

the data crunch is a reality – how do you manage the amount we deal with

his question – either you need to be a transformational leader (take the early adopters and move on) or a progress leader – incremental change…

here’s a big question (my dissertation)_ what style of leadership will schools use and what success?
give the early adopters resources and go, or support incremental change as an institution… I believe most of us support both of these groups — I suspect how we decide where we put our energies is our higher yield activity. Here’s the big question — if we use the Moretti rule we know that 20% of our effort would give us 80% of our yield – which group is our high-heeled group?

two questions
what is the most pressing issue for us?

what advice to a friend about to become a tech coord?

topics that came up – cell phones, funding and control, data management (forced externally) – getting things to talk to each other (ex email – the way people share information)
amplifying of issues over the internet (cyber bullying, posting inappropriate)
not always control over own money, access to real time data that teacher can use,
gap between admin lack of tech use and need for better understanding, filtering issues…infrastructure and budget during crunch times

digital media – old school texts trying to bring new media

organizational structure and impact on edtech and security concerns (filter, etc)

what does success really mean? target/scapegoat of decisions.

interesting issue

pre-conference walking tour

So today, after getting situated in the hotel it was about 2:30 PM and I decided to take a walk through the city post to get situated, find the convention center, get lunch and see a few sites. Inspired by the splendid table on NPR, I looked up Jane and Michael Stern’s food finds and chose Ben’s chili bowl which is about half a mile from Howard University. From there I walked through sites like the White House, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Smithsonian air and space Museum, the Capitol building and then walked back. I knew it’d been a long hike, and Google mapped it. To my surprise the distance with even greater than expected — 8.7 miles:

View Larger Map

The Met Part 2

this is the second part of my visit to the Metropolitan school in Providence Rhode Island.
The earlier notes are published in the blog under part one…

lunch with some of the teachers
a tour by Alicia
some sitdown time with some of the students
in participation in a student exhibition as part of their judging panel
— I’ll try to get this post tomorrow

Nancy brought me to one of the building lunchroom’s — I should explain that there are four main buildings on campus and Senate each of the four corners of the property beaches labeled liberty, justice, unity when I can’t remember the fourth of a speech building holds something on the order of eight advisories — two for each grade level.
So I have lunch in one of these buildings with some teachers. we talked about the challenge of the environment — some of the teachers were advisers, a few were LTIs which I think students with learning something integrators — in a sense they’re specialists that help shepherd the process and actress resources for students and advisers. one of the teachers I spoke to, Dennis, was very willing to share the challenge is that his experience has — he had been a traditional teacher in Florida — green biology was his degree work, and he had been teaching Marine science, biology, and environmental science in Florida.
He came up to Rhode Island he was looking for a new environment to teach — and so had to transition to this new paradigm. We talked a bit about the challenge and he was very positive about the adjustment and in going from teaching a single subject, to being a generalist in his advisory role. (This was his second year at the school). The agreed with many of the things that Nancy had told me about the need for organization, the chaos of day-to-day learning (it’s messy), and the truly wonderful pleasure of seeing every student in your advisory being engaged in real work.
If I remember more, I’ll add here about my lunch conversations… I didn’t take notes here because I was eating and talking at the same time
after lunch, I joined the tour with a group of about 15 students from Keene State College in New Hampshire — liberal arts majors they look so young, they look like the students!
The tour was led by a senior — Alicia and we looked at the different buildings and campus including the media Center and the wellness Center. she was another example of a great, highly engaged students. Her brother goes to a more traditional school and I asked her about how that difference plays out and she admitted theft there are days of very different.
One of the interesting parts of the tour, was the media Center which is pretty much managed by a single individual — Brian Mills — he is a daunting task of managing performance space, and their media Center which includes a studio, editing equipment, audio equipment, etc. He clearly has a lot of work — even though he doesn’t have an advisory he works long days and nights to maintain all the resources needed (will see an example of that at the two o’clock exhibition that we attended)

after the tour we were able to sit down with two students — hope and allysa so that we could ask them about their experiences at school. Hope was a senior who had spent the last three years at the New England aquarium working as a exhibit guide, a behind the scenes exhibit curator, and in the medical area working with animals. Her goal was veterinary science. I think she also may have been interested in marine biology as a secondary topic.
Alyssa was new to the school (three months) — she had spent the last couple of years volunteering at a therapeutic writing center — this was before she came to the school. The reason her parents applied her, was the opportunity for her to more fully be involved in the writing Center is a part of her curriculum — and it was clear she was highly motivated by her commitment and her love of working at the center. She admitted that they had become so dependent on her during her internship at if she wanted to switch to a different internship he would probably affect their program adversely. If one of the questions we asked him the students was anything that they would like to see that the program doesn’t have, and a couple of students venture that they’d like a little more rigor in their mathematics and science. I remember in talking to Dennis about Clay Christensen and it struck me that the possibility of using well-designed online learning modules might well fill in some of this gap that falls outside of their internship and advisory experiences in school
what was striking about all the students that we spoke to was their sense of commitment, ownership,

I next attended an exhibition of work from an 11th grade student (Angie). there were about 20 people in the room that she presented her work to and she had about 1 1/2 hours to do this. The group included students, other teachers, her parents, and some members from the community including her mentor. Essentially, at the end of each stage of learning, the students present an exhibition — this was her third quarter exhibition of learning. And this was the highlight of her work
so the highlights of exhibitions — how did the student meet the goals in their learning plan?
How could a student go deeper?
We were give in a form to comment on the quality of the presentation on evidence of learning
there were five A’s that we were asked to comment on:
active learning
academic rigor
adult relationships

for her learning plan, she started by talking about her 75 page autobiography that is due for all students when they graduate. At this point, she has 30 pages completed to date (keep in mind this is due for her in a year and a half.)
She she did a facing history Project and she talked about how she had worked at speaking at a conference regional CES (? This is what my notes say the conference was called) with her mentor, who is a college professor.
In working with her mentor, she worked with teacher development programs, and looked at how she created a product for looking at under served children in the community
for quantitative reasoning she did comparisons of To student teacher is then look numerically at why one was a better candidate than another
for reading she gave examples of some of the books she had read the power of ideas, one person at a time learning goals,

There was a lot of conversation about how they prepare students for college. In particular, they made a point of talking about how they worked on creating a great profile that was more in lines that colleges want to see. Essentially they wanted to get this right.

Back to Angie -in her mentorship she worked with the principal read the evaluations, talk to students, use the observation tools for teacher professional growth. She looked at their reflections, their notes, is very powerful — she was able to see how people write in improving what they do.
Her goal is to do more administrative professional development for teachers after college.
Then, she showed us her project-the video archive of exhibition work from the MET
the purpose was to help newer teachers see what a good quality project looks like. Also, it’s possible to use in class with incoming students and with professional development to help both students and teachers develop a more refined sense of what an exhibition should look like. (Mark’s note to himself — got to read Alfie Cohen’s work on homework)
for her video project need to see the artifacts in the documents to understand what’s happening.
to accomplish this project, she taught herself Final Cut Pro in the use of all the equipment (cameras, microphones, audio interface, etc.) — impressive! She also had to spend many hours entity, as she did to camera shots to show both with the student is doing and a larger view of how the audience plays a role in the exhibition.
All in all a wonderful example of powerful and directed exhibition of quality work that wrapped around self designed and implemented projects that are real and effective.

I have also posted some pdf of school documents here:

MET Visit Part 1

Summary of my visit to the MET school in Providence Rhode Island
April 6, 2009

I started my day meeting with Dennis Littky. You can find lots of good information about him here:

For professional development, they do a variety of activities. They have an April conference which lasts three days and has educators from around the United States. They are willing to send people to us to share their knowledge – and Dennis requires that students travel as well, as they have important information that must be art of the sharing
They will also set up special experiences on site: for example they have special program they have set up for Dutch principals — they send 50 for a week to try and implement new changes their country
he also has a whole new plan with his “big picture company” too not just deploy out their expertise to K-12 schools across the country, but he believes he needs to also change colleges and therefore it is planning on opening a new college based on this model called Outward Bound.
He made a point of saying that although high Tech high does wonderful things, their audience is very different. He is proud that 70% of his population are free school lunch, normally 88% of the students drop out in traditional schools, but he has almost 100% graduation rate as well is than 86% college graduation rate. By contrast, he explained that at Rhode Island College (RIC), only 8% of African-American students that enter as freshmen graduate — and this is the students they selected! Another example: only 9% of all community college students in Rhode Island graduate.
He was curious about my area of interest with educational technology and we talked a bit about the role of using technology including things like social tools to support learning. He commented that one of his goals is to hire a person, perhaps out of MIT, who would help teachers and students look at technology as emergent tools.

He also talked a bit about conversations with clay Christensen, in particular his disagreement with him about “disrupting class”. Dennis does not believe that online learning will be as disruptive force in education as clay does.

one of the people I need to get in touch with his Jill Olson — both Dennis and Nancy mentioned her as a point of contact for their big picture schools Project.

So what is the model that Dennis has implemented here at the MET?
Essentially, students spend two days a week in the community working with a mentor doing real work that they have chosen. The school has hundreds of mentor programs that students can choose from, so whether they’re interested in education, law, engineering, science, whatever they can find a project to work within.
(of course, it’s interesting that this comes up in time for me when I’m very interested in apprenticeship learning as a powerful vehicle — for both students and teachers. The notion that Dennis has that we first started with students interest get them working and excited about something that may choose — ownership! — then when they are working with a their advisors, they are much more open and motivated to succeed)
the other three days, they spend on campus in groups of 15 called advisories. One adult advisor starts with the students at ninth-grade meets with them over the course of their four years at the school. The adviser with the support of other specials and volunteers helps develop and shape the learning experience for students so that they work on the five core learning objectives and are part of the math student experience:
— empirical reasoning ( thinking like a scientist)
— analytical reasoning (thinking like a mathematician)
— oral communication (effective writing and oral communication)
–social reasoning? (Thinking like a historian/anthropologist/sociologist)
— personal qualities (habits of mind and personal character)
Dennis was frank, funny, quick minded, confident and most importantly dead on about both the problems in education and his approach to redesigning schools.

After leaving, I met with Nancy his co-director of the school and we spoke for an hour about my questions.
she explained that new teachers and new students have a two-week summer orientation schedule when they go over from the ground up for philosophy and structure of an education at the school. I was very interested in how they do professional development and she explains that there are variety of meetings that happen weekly and monthly for the different parts of the school — advisers, specials, support staff, etc. Advisers meet weekly to go over best practice they also have weekly staff meetings to business of the school. They have regular grade level meetings monthly. They also have monthly staff development where they look at the schools learning plan and continue to work with it. They also have a topic of professional interest — for instance this month was intervention — and meets on this topic as well. For instance they would look at student data and look through different lenses and it to see how to improve their understanding of what students are producing and how best to judge it.

Two weeks before school starts all staff meet for professional development to reconnect, and get ready for the new school year.
The importance of mentoring new advisors is critical. that trend of advisers go out with anonymous advisors to look at depth how they work with mentors in the community
Nancy also talked about how they support veteran teachers and they work on a variety of models for this including shadowing other veterans, visiting other schools, and going up to businesses to reinvigorate their thinking about how mentors work in the community. Nancy mentioned that she will be going to the match school in Boston to look at how they do math tutoring which they find to be an innovative program. So all of their staff consider (sharpening the song) a critical part of their job.
Example, she has four rookies this year at ninth-grade — so they receive specialized training in the summer to help them get ready. Even for the veteran and advisers that are going back to ninth-grade, they take time to reflect on what works and what needs to improve etc.
For Nancy I talked about bringing new teachers on board the question came up about where their experience for teachers in traditional schools was a strength or hindrance and she did mention that they look for the ability for individuals to unlearn what they know so that they can succeed at the school. She did mention that some of their best people have come from nontraditional jobs, but because of the state requirement for certification for teachers, more and more of their hiring teachers and less likely to hire professionals from other fields because of the certification problem. One thing she did mention, was they look for generalists — she mentioned that elementary teachers are generalists by nature and therefore already understand this. They do consider putting different content matter experts in buildings for example, math, science and language arts and his cohort advisors.
I asked about retention of teachers — she said that that has not been a problem, as much as the percolation up of advisers into more administrative roles. For instance there are 12 12th grade advisers in this year, next year two are going into new roles at the school and two were going outside of the school to other jobs (some in the partner schools).
She also talked about how after one or two cycles of advising, some advisers begin to experiment with different models within their organization — a specific example was a teacher who is interested in combining ninth and 11th grade students together (something like 7/9 graders and 8/11 graders) to see how the multiage nature of this would drive student work.
I asked a question about evaluating advisor performance, and she mentioned criteria like maintaining relationships with mentors in their organizations, observation of the way they work their advisories, the important skill of organization and coach-ability. She spent some time talking about how important both organization and multitasking is for advisers. She also talked about the importance of helping people understand the importance of organizations, their commitment to this program, and how to make sure they feel attended to through this process.
Dennis and Nancy are moving forward with expanding this model, both throughout the state of Rhode Island, and nationwide. They formed a group called “the big picture schools” — right now 65 schools are involved. She mentioned Jill Olson is someone who could get names of other contacts within the schools, as they try and refer request for visits to these outside schools that may be closer to the original request these.
Although not all the schools adopt all of the practice of the original MET school, the basic criteria are there — still out two days a week to work in the community, still believing that you plan learning “one student at a time”
advisers are expected to go out at least once a month to make sure that the student work at a mentor site is progressing well.
They have a position — internship coordinator — who mentors the internship, planned celebrations, sends cards, gift certificates
there is also a partnership person who reaches out to organizations to develop mentors — there is also a database person that tracks mentors and make sure that they stay in the flow
mentors find the experience powerful for their organizations, and the vast majority come back for more students after one set of graduate

that’s all for this post — it’s still more to come:
lunch with some of the teachers
a tour by Alicia
some sitdown time with some of the students
in participation in a student exhibition as part of their judging panel
— I’ll try to get this post tomorrow

Microsoft Future School Summit 2008 Dec 2 Day 1

Notes and Thoughts from Day 1 Microsoft Future School Summit 2008 Dec 1.

First of all – all of the slides mentioned below are located on the conference website:

there is also my bookmarks on the sotf delicious site:

Keynote 1 Michael Horn
Innosight Institute
Original quest for Clay – Why do successful organizations fail? Although good management (ie from Harvard Business school) gets company to top, still fail. Theory of disruptive innovation
understand theory

chart – performance vs time – one line = performance that customers can utilize or absorb
steeper line pace of technologic progress
other try and take advantage, most technologies, the incumbents nearly always win

a disruptive innovation – comes in under the performance but addresses non-consumers needs – they use this technology – redefine the measure of performance – the non-consumers move to this place – price drops, technology performs, and eventually takes over the consumers in the other plane.

example of Digital Equip Corp – should we make better products for our best customers or make these new pcs? – most companies choose to refine their customer base and improve incrementally their product line – not jump into new – this leads eventually to failure
examples – ford v toyota, dept stores v walmart, dec v dell, delta v southwest, jp morgan, v fidelity, xerox v canon, state u v cc, cullinet v oracle, at&t v cingular, dillon,reed v Merril lynch, sony discman v ipod (see ppt slides!)

tomorrow’s new disruptors – online classes, kia, etc (rates)

another example – RCA spent billion $ trying to make the transistor fit its table top model – couldn’t get it to work for their needs – sony comes out and does it with a disruptive devices – transistor radio

“Existing business can only deploy tech in ways that sustain and add cost to the current model. Disruption best competes against non-consumption at the outset.”

another idea in development – The right product architecture depends upon the basis of competition – example – windows code or ibm mainframes – problem customization is expensive
competing tech – modular design – trade off in performance but greater flexible
example – dell computers

6 insights:
Conflicting mandates in the way we teach vs. the way we learn
Computers have failed to make a difference because we have crammed them into conventional classrooms
They must initially be deployed against non-consumption
Individualized, computer-based instruction requires a disruptive distribution model
Separation is critical. Chartered schools should be seen as heavyweight teams, not disruptive competitors
We have imposed disruption on our schools three times in recent history by moving the goalposts – the metrics of improvement.
Education research has not shown the way forward

CAST – universal design in learning – from

conflicting mandates – the way we must teach (pace/style/content/sequence) vs the way students learn

4 interdependencies:
temporal (sequence)
lateral (fl – verbs here first)
physical (project based not possible in most class)
hierarchical (mandates of what teachers must do)

customization – costs 2-3x to teach special ed due to IEP

computers could be this solution – why have they not made a difference?
horn’s argument – computers have been crammed into the curriculum and the corners of the room as add-ons to the traditional model

if computers instead were used as a disruptive innovation, could effect change – starting to happen

examples of non-consumption for education where computers could move to change education as a disruptive influence

credit recovery
drop outs
AP Courses
schedule conflicts
home schoolers/home bound
small rural schools
the parts of the curriculum that are being dropped due to budget or NCLB needs

these provide the entry point for this disruptive technology

(mark’s thoughts Horn thinks that online classes are not as powerful as f2f, the research says not correct – even he needs to think about why students might choose the model)

MPI – if we offered these kinds of opportunities, would kids take less f2f and take more online? Would that allow more time for authentic, student centered projects?

he shows online learning as an s-curve phenomena – 45k in 2000, 1M in 2007

projections – by 2019 50% of courses online!

how does this affect MPI – why would people choose us over this option? What will be our value added features that will make spending $16,500 worth it – arts program? sports? Technology and media use?

where is the market?
developing countries – 73 million children world wide do not do primary school
200M + no secondary
budgetary pressures
barriers – long dist, softy, infrastructure

he sees this as an opportunity for making a difference in education
100% of singapore HS offer course online
K12 – in dubai
rubicon – out of jordan
EU – curriculum stanards
mexico has digitized its entire curriculum
mobile solutions
inacol (north american collation of r online learning

question – different ways that children learn (mode, pace, learning style)

Keynote 2: patty murray – wash state senator – skills needed (talking with engineering firm)- engineers that are skilled communicators – communication

the important question for MPI – how will this change in education affect us – what do we bring to the ‘value added’ nature of the educational experience? A good half of what we do could be pushed online (math ed, science topics, history, some language arts, world language)

Breakout 1: Critical conversation with michael horn
question: forget online – still reinforces modular learning – integration
new structures – allow teachers to escape from subject matter, skills competencies – he mentions High Tech High, MEt schools – redefined schooling – what is the backbone of the curriculum
HTH – how to scale it? the innovation disruption – maybe they will model (mark wonders who their non-consumption audience is – home schoolers?)
if we judge innovation by the old metrics (seat time, school year, etc) we will fail – need new metrics – mastery – (FVHS, K12) – you don’t get funding unless success.

Horn defers (?) to Tony’s book – question about age and time- issues
Philadelphia school of the future(rosalind)? – need a construct students work towards mastery and competencies – and needs to be transparent – has to include a whole learning community k-16 so what we do informs all to understand how kids progress…pedagogical avenues – create a menu that both students and educators and students can map out multiple paths (there is no more seat time in PA- we threw that out year ago)
andy ross – fvs – 110,000 students this year – their competition is trad schools – they must but they lose money enrollment f2f down…so schools fight for their funding

horn – need to create new space (real or virtual?) to do new things
refers to “big picture schools” – to help kids get into college (mark is not sure what he meant here)

diana oshiro – need drove movement in online education – if you are a disruptor, you can get caught up and miss the s curve – strategies – to transfer ownership to students – example of kid who hacked into AP course – system wanted to punish kid for doing outside the rules learning

chancy – cto in texas – q: disruptive innovation coming whether we like it or not – he sees the needs to change advocating – finds himself – trying to put infrastructure in place – more policy than equip – admins have fear
horn – there is a sense of inevitability – if this doesn’t happen in our public space, it will happen – policy – school within a school that ducks outside the regs, if we were designing from scratch

fvs – growing 40% a year – success is the back channel selling point
horn – north carolina – doing infrastructure – trying to set up backbone architecture

director Montery mexico – process of innovation we are being succeed in – teachers and parents aren’t ready but the kid are – is there a difference in the curve to have innovation really set in…what new ways to handle the process
horn – tough question – in the s curve you don’t know what it will be – don’t make the “big bet” – apple – newton an example – make sure you take smalls steps and learn along the way – what works –

mark – change model –
from the top – admin –
user network (parent teacher student) – ‘snap together’ a module for the kid – $64000 question in education – how to get critical mass of design – linux was a core group of designers
a few people developed the core
he thinks tutoring will maybe develop the model to adapt this for ground up change

jim harview – national superintendents round table- the blame game – we may be making a mistake in designing the disruptive innovation – he thinks that the best approach is a ground up conversation – policy from top down is trying to recreate 1950s school
he thinks higher ed is part of the problem they want to recreate professors for their own institutions (unintentionally?)
people think they want a new school – until they see it, then they tend to pull it back to what it they think it should be (not necess what it needs to be)
horn – charters – not disruptive but more sustaining innovation – he thinks charters are a very rich place – seeing charters as an r&d lab
philadelphia – the mandates (NCLB, for ex) stave innovation, we should be teaching students how to learn – silos of learning need to go

mike duvee – teacher philly – students don’t always do what is best of themselves – he feels that students need direction – they are dependent at some level on leadership (he is in a minority in the room in this feeling)

horn – knits together a school – not everyone can homeschool – so what do schools do

Breakout 2: conversation with anthony salcito and bean

question: let’s put lots and lots of computers in school? what about those that cannot?

martin – students need to see relevance of what they are learning – not brick and mortar, click and mortar
tech provides cost effective distribution
digital study hall in india

peter from netherlands – it sounds good, but what about all the leadership that won’t believe? How do we show that tech is improving – why should we reform education? wast is the evidence?
anthony – what needs to be done – real work to change structures, content, it isn’t about equip – how do we keep the longer term change going? – he thinks we need to create a common language that sustains an effort across the school – when some schools do this, they don’t develop a common language so groups don’t keep initiative going
bruce the vocab we use to language – ex transformation or personalization (he thinks it isn’t just testing individuals more) – needs to have sophistication – need to be able to describe what we talking about
he is intrigued by the lack of progress in ed from tech – need to understand it and do a better job

interesting to me that MicroSoft is talking about visualization and social networking – these are tools that developed outside of MS that they want to own

martin – he is shocked by change – school of the future in the uk – how will you measure success – what are the leading indicators – sell your leading indicators to the policy makers – need a plan – what gets measure get managed what gets managed gets funded

his topics that schools should measure – absenteeism, interactions – avg hours in extracurricular, teacher retention, application for new teachers,

social networking – what he thinks (martin) – don’t underestimate how these can improve the conversation about a child

bean thinks that by brining social networking into ed (instead of outside) it will be powerful…
european partner – she can cite examples of model schools – but broader acceptance is a problem – teachers are not ready
anthony – more important to build the competencies teachers need – not computer skills, but pedagogical discussions – how do we change this? HOW DO WE elevate teachers skill set?
bruce – there is a myth that teachers don’t want to do this (Mark thinks it is a more cultural phenomena than this – we are changing their roles so it is trickier than that)
one of the speakers talked about how teachers seem to be fine at home but they can’t figure out how to use it in a learning environment…
martin – moving teachers is motivation – what is in it for them? (good questions)
question: leading and lagging measuring success – indicators – although we cannot avoid the question that how kids score will be critical to this
which indicators are low hanging fruit, and which are lagging that we can show as data comes in later
anthony – need to look at how to help students – need to look at outcomes – out of school (college?) what do you want to do? how do we help kids get there?
talked about school of philly – required to apply to college – third is one of the expectations change
egypt – not engaged in learning discussions – more about funding – does MS have frameworks?
anthony – what we do as a company is a refection on what your needs are –
need a process approach for change and sustaining – needs to be inclusive –

anthony mentioned a framework that dede has developed – I need to find this
question: the change jobs question – if a kid focusses on a specific challenge – anthony says that kids will have developed competencies that are transferable to move this forward
new resource – careerforward (out of MVHS)

Keynote 3: Transformation through innovative school design Randy Fielding –

talking about 20 modalities of learning ideas like learning by building, teacher led lecture,
part 2 – 4 primary designs for transformation – in our future school, let’s think about how the spaces need to reflect some/all of these ideas
campfire – place for stories, pull together – facilitator led
watering hole – in/out space a place for conversation peer – peer
cave space – Small group interaction, project/product work – private reflective space
real life – spaces outside that allow learning (watase courtyard?)

part 3 – intro to comprehensive frame of design patterns

why haven’t we build on the design of the watase courtyard and R Kev – in the Kawaiaho crtyd

how do you ensure school design fits within its style
they have designed a instrument- efei educational facility effectiveness instrument

Keynote 4: imagine cup
go to websites to find – interesting project!

The Digital Diet and Teacher Technology Use

Here’s another one of those “Shift Happens” videos that can be found on the web. What I liked about this one was the focus on what should/can a 21st Century Teacher be looking at to expand their use of tools to support a more engaging classroom. This summer at Ian Juke’s workshop at NECC he made the case that no matter where a teacher is on the spectrum of technology understanding and use, all of us need to develop a habit of what he called the “Digital Diet”. Essentially part of our behavior as teachers should be to spend time ‘playing’ with new tools to gauge their effectiveness in education and become more familiar with the milieu of our own students.

He lists general categories on his site, but hasn’t developed it further yet:
Searching Tools
Audio and Video Podcasting Tools
Blogging Tools
Drawing, Charting & Mapping Tools
Photo Sharing Tools
Web Page Design Tools
Presentation Tools
RSS Tools
Social Bookmarking Tools
Social Networking Tools
Video and Video Sharing Tools
Wiki Tools
Word Processing & Productivity Tools

Here is the video

Shirky on Information Overload and Filter Failure

I just watched and was thinking on Shirky’s video I have embedded below (and in the video section) in which he identifies the new problem isn’t information overload, it is filter failure. 23 minutes long around these basic ideas:

Start – a historical perspective on the beginnings of info overload witht he Gutenberg press and the filter systems that kept it uder conrtol
5:30 – new problems with internet – to much info coming to you – filters are a problem example of spam
8:29 – another problem – information going out example of your personal life in cyberspace
17:00 a real indicator – case of student on academic charges for creating a facebook study group – where is the filter?
20:00 where do we go from here? New issues in addressing filtering. He gave a beautiful Itzhak Rabin quote “If you have a problem for a long time, may it is not a problem, maybe it is a fact.”
His culminating argument – if we can move from thinking of the problem as not being too much information, but needing filter redesign, we might move to a better place.

Critical Thinking, Problem Solving and Real Assessment

In Tony Wagner’s book “The Global Achievement Gap” he talks about the problems with standardized tests (SAT, AP, etc) and the fact that they don’t measure the critical skills that colleges and workplace are asking for. He then gives an example of an instrument that has been developed for colleges (initially) and secondary schools to measure critical thinking, problem solving and written communication. The college version is called the CLA (College Learning Assessment) and the secondary version is called the CRWA (College Work Readiness Assessment). They are designed to be given to entering freshman and graduating seniors to identify what progress students have made – it is not for assessing students, but effectiveness of programatic efforts to build better problem solving skills. There is more information on their website:

The instrument is a ninety minute open ended problem where students have to understand and attack a problem given multiple resources and possibly divergent outcomes. This was the first I have heard of this and am intrigued by the notion of utilizing this to assess student thinking.

It seems somewhat like the ETS iSkills test we piloted this test on our campus 2 years ago and were impressed by the design and the unique challenges it presented students.
A few issues we saw in the iSkills test and I think would be similar in CWRA are that there is not extrinsic motivation for students to give it their best attempt, as the results are not used for any college or work related goal.
Also, I wonder if this is measuring all we need it – for instance it doesn’t look at all the dimensions folks like Pink and Wagner champion – group work, empathy, symphony, global awareness, etc.

The use of technology here to assess student development in critical thinking is a powerful opportunity for schools to see what is happening in these 21st Century skills.
One provocative idea is to have staff take the instrument as well – as much to consider what a problem solving assessment is like for their own assessment, as well as to understand the test from a student perspective.

Real thinking assessment is rare in education. Still one of the finest curricula and assessments I have ever used in 25 years of teaching was the IPS curriculum The final assessment at the end of understanding properties of matter a was a ‘sludge test’. Student pairs were given a mixture of solids and liquids and given a week to separate and determine the constituent parts of the mixture. Each mixture was unique, so even if groups talked about strategies, each team’s approach and identification was unique. It was clear to me 20 years ago that this was doing REAL science and made scientists of my students. The students were excited, challenged and REALLY engaged.