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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Friedman's Book, Thank You for Being Late, Inspires Change and Development in Schools

Friedman's book, Thank You for Being Late, similar to Darling-Hammond & Others' book, Empowered Educators, inspire school change and development. As I review my notes, I advocate for the following changes.
  • Match school learning with real-world experiences, service and internships
  • Make sure that every student has one or more teachers that take a real interest in their aspirations and mentor them with significant time and attention
  • Emphasize skill building in relation to empathy, cooperation, flexibility, 
  • Explicitly acknowledge, illustrate and engage students in the changes in world w/regard to globalization and technological advancements
  • Ensure that high school students start high school by learning about and joining essential networks such as Linkedin, Twitter, FB. Teach the networks, share network experiences. In the early grades model use of these networks and use as a class with teacher guidance to assist learning.
  • Allow students to create and utilize algorithms from early on in meaningful ways. Demonstrate how intelligent algorithms are at play with regard to all they do today. Start with demonstrating the algorithms that impact their Google searches.
  • Expose students to graphs, algorithms and metrics regularly. Analyze the metrics and allow these metrics to impact learning choices and activity.
  • Identify helpful online/offline intelligent assistants and provide students opportunities to engage with those to further their learning and deepen valuable experience. Having high school students explore sites like LaunchCode and LearnUp will help them to gain valuable work skills and knowledge.
  • Ask students what "intelligent assistants" they use to forward their learning and living. Keep a list and grow that list as the year goes on. Let students demonstrate how they use the intelligent systems they use to one another. Khan Academy is one example of an intelligent assistant students may use to learn content, do well with SATs, study coding and more.
  • From early on teach students about learning paths and learning flows. Help students to create their own learning paths or expeditions by identifying and accessing impactful experiences, experts, smart tools/programs, teamwork, multimedia resources and more.
  • Work with colleagues to forward meaningful, interdisciplinary projects and problem solving. 
  • Build partnerships with change agents and helpful organizations including businesses, nonprofits, universities, hospitals and more outside of school to develop student/teacher learning, experience and capacity.
  • Work with colleagues to foster networks and systems to continually improve and innovate to serve students well.
  • Look at current positions and directions and update as needed. For example make sure to include a focus on computer gaming for learning and problem solving in your ed system.
  • Introduce and involve students in crowdsourcing and open source efforts and resources online and off. 
  • Blend learning and take advantage of online resources, courses and networks that respond readily to technology leaps.
  • Help students to acknowledge that they are, in effect, their own "start-up" and that their efforts to develops skill and passion as well as market their abilities will be critical to their future success. Help students to do this by creating reflective ePortfolios that work to identify mission/vision, valuable experiences/accomplishments, identifying data such as address, phone number, image and more.
  • At start of school year, ask students what they believe they'll need to succeed in class and in today's world. Have a meaningful discussion about that, list skills, attitudes and abilities, and then focus on how they can individually and collectively growth those capabilities.
  • Have students think about, read about and even converse with counterparts across the world. Together think about how those students will access today's amazing tools and technology to impact the world.
  • Consider the intelligent assistants that aid your organization and how teachers and administrators in your system utilize and share that assistance to develop capacity.
  • Figure out how to maximize the "collective genius" of your organization by creating dynamic networks of share, growth and support.
  • Re-look at the way you develop skill and talent in your organization and think about how you might inspire greater effort and growth in this regard.
  • Transparently and inclusively create, share and direct organizational growth and development. Use timelines of near and far changes to come. Invite employees to create and join in this effort and provide avenues for this involvement. 
  • Update blended online/offline curriculum efforts with greater attention to tech integration, coding, environmental studies, meaningful interdisciplinary study that boosts literacy, numeracy, creativity, communication, collaboration, perseverance, self motivation and critical thinking skills. 
  • Reimagine the working relationship of students/teachers, teachers/administration to build modern teaching/learning organizations. 
  • Invest in student success and teacher efficacy (human capital) as cornerstones of all efforts done in teaching/learning organizations. Potentially extend the organization to all community members in light of today's requirement that all people are motivate, lifelong learners.
  • Take advantage of the awesome technological tools that exist to teach well. 
  • Discuss the "motivational divide" with students--ask, "Why are some students self motivated and others not? What does self motivation look like? How can you grow greater self motivation and why does that matter?
  • Pose Sims quote to students and discuss, Today, ". .you have to know more, you have to update what you know more often, and you have to do more creative things with it."
  • Tell students that they will probably be "inventing" their future jobs. Ask what that will look like and why they think that is true. Have them create a future job for themselves given their interests, present and future skills, and the needs that exist today and will exist in the future.
  • Discuss with students the fact that physical technology (the change in things we can touch and see) have changed faster than social technology (policies, laws, networks). Discuss why that's problematic and invent new social technology related to jobs, government, policies and more to help our communities keep up with and maximize acceleration.
  • Make sure that sustainability is a thread from K-12. Discuss how we can change our behaviors and attitudes to positively affect the planet. Study climate change, and look together for solutions. Support solutions through service work, presentations and outreach. 
  • Work with your education organizations to look for optimal ways to integrate public-private partnerships for the benefit of all.
  • Work with students and colleagues to identify optimal human-machine integration when it comes to learning and living. 
  • Discuss the positive role that education and freedom play with regard to protecting our planet? Look at education and population statistics to identify trends and create/activate solutions. Identify people and populations that receive less support and freedom, and determine how you might foster change in these areas.

Friedman's Book Inspires Action to Protect Earth

As I continue to read Friedman's book, Thank You for Being Late, I am struck by the call to action to protect planet Earth. He succinctly demonstrates our collective responsibility to act now to save our planet for generations to come. If we care about our children, we will do what's right by changing the way we live and advocating for change throughout the world.

How can we make this message and call to responsibility visible in our schools?

First, we have to re-look at curriculum and begin teaching students early rather than later about the impact of their daily habits and efforts with regard to their responsibility to planet Earth. Students need to recognize the direct correlation of their efforts with regard to environmental protection. How can we do this?

Environmental Education
I work with educators and community members who commit substantial time to this endeavor by fostering school recycling, less to no use of plastics, school yard gardens and composting, rain collection, water conservation and environmental education. We can do a better job with this by matching our curriculum standards to conservation and environmental education that is memorable and impactful for children. We need to help students, from an early age, become well educated, responsible, positive stewards of the environment.

Global Education and Service Learning
We also have to consider our global education and service learning efforts. Students need to understand that what they do in their neighborhoods and homes affects the whole world and that through service work, good decisions and education, they can have a positive impact on the world. One area that we can focus on is working to advocate for good education for all the world's people with education for girls and women as a priority since the education of women has been tied to positive development.

Reproductive Education
Further, in our families and communities, we can help to educate young people early about reproductive opportunity and rights. To understand early both the responsibility and opportunity of what it means to parent children in ways that matter is to foster greater potential and promise for generations to come.

As school communities we can continually model conservation efforts with regard to the products we purchase, the way we recycle, protection of our natural lands and more. I really need to commit to this effort more and will look for ways to better integrate this into our teaching/learning efforts and experiences throughout the year.

Take the Long View: What Matters?

As I spoke to a colleague the other day, I was amazed at the dedication, diplomacy and care she brings to the profession. I've watched this colleague over the years make one good decision after another in an effort to serve children well and be an active, positive member of the teaching profession. She's an inspiration and a teacher's teacher.

Her example lends wisdom to our paths as educators and begs the following questions:
  • Who are you in the profession? What are your gifts to contribute and how will you use those gifts with good collegiality to uplift your own practice and the collective practice of the team(s) your work with?
  • How do you purposefully develop, contribute to and work to create positive teams in your midst?
Then, as I thought more, I recognized the countless acts of good collegiality I witness regularly on the many teams that I work with. In many ways these acts don't stand alone, but instead, work in tandem with collective efforts to make teaching and learning teams strong. These actions include the following:
  • Taking the time to recognize and show interest in individual's feelings, needs and contribution. The best team members send a note, lend a hand or find other ways to empathize, encourage and support one another.
  • Regular, positive and helpful communication. Good team members keep you abreast of their efforts and teamwork with regular, informative, positive, streamlined updates. This regularity also helps you to join and contribute to the work that's being done.
  • Honest, helpful feedback and questioning is another way that colleagues help to forward collective efforts. This kind of feedback and questioning can help us help each other to focus our individual and collective work in ways that matter.
  • Lead time and good scheduling affords us to be part of a team, contribute and gain support.
  • Shared research and learning supports our need to be well-informed. No educator has the time to read all books, attend all conferences or study every issue related to their work and field, but if we differentiate our efforts in this regard, we can all contribute to giving everyone a strong, holistic knowledge foundation.
Organizations need to look carefully and work inclusively to create dynamic systems of teamwork and share. Individuals and teams also have to maximize the potential those systems bring by contributing the best attributes of teamwork and collaboration--the kind of attributes my inspiring colleague and others bring to our field of education every day.