Monday, November 30, 2009

CCHS Library - Not your Average Library Experience



CCHS Library Open House Invitation
Thursday, December 3

Please stop by to learn about the incredible Web 2.0 tools available to your student. Demonstrations of NoodleTools for research and note taking, wikis for discussion forums, and a Web 2.0 Smack Down of the many presentation tools that help students publish and connect with the world will be shared. Hands on sessions will give parents a chance to play with some of these terrific platforms.

Formal presentations wil be offered every hour, on the hour starting at 2pm running until 8pm. That means you have 7 chances! Or just stop by for an informal chat to learn about how students are building skills to help them in college and the workplace.

For a taste of what will be covered click the link for a quick Animoto video with some examples of the variety of resources found at the CCHS Library.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Visions for 21st Century Schools

A fascinating presentation designed to promote new thinking around education and planning a school for the next 50 years. The CCHS Facilities Planning Committee and CCHS NEASC Committee attended, along with school administration. What follows are session notes.

The discussion touched on the skills required for work today, new models of education and how the space supports these goals and models. It is easier to make the building flexible than it is to make the institution flexible.

Frank Locker "We are educational planners, working across the USA and in England guiding the creation of innovative schools that improve teaching and empower students. We seek to prepare and position schools for the demands and opportunities of 21st Century learning."

Initial Discussion

Frank Locker met in OMR's office a few weeks ago to talk about education. Focused on weaving a story about changes in education and what we are trying to achieve in the 21st century. The presentation has slides that speak to education, and slides that are school examples - buildings that speak to educational practice and student outcomes. We are now grasping that we have to make learning visible.

We want our buildings to support step-change over time on a thoughtful basis. Empower students and teachers to work in ways that help students learn best. Clear leadership from the top establishes the plan and subsequent work needed to shift the paradigm. We are on the cusp of increased ability to change our model of education.

Delivering on the Promise outlines steps toward making an educational shift to project based learning. Variable is seat time, constant is what you learn. Logical progression from 80's > 90's, even if we have gone to far with NCLB standards. Basic re-thinking of education delivery.

Current model is an institution of inertia and vested interests. This model does not accommodate the world today. Politics, information, economies, critical thinking skills more important than having "knowledge". New skills needs required for 21st century. Traditional testing indicators will say there is no problem, but 21st century indicators might highlight gaps.

Thomas Friedman The New Untouchables - those workers who do corollary work in a changing work. You don't lay these people off. They handle sales, marketing and the skills to build growth, not manufacture widgets. A new paradigm for learning activities requiring active learning, making things through architecture/design/engineering programs. New kind of building. New concept of market and value. Ideas/innovation/design now priorities.

Presentation

Wayland discussed moving beyond the department model toward an inter-disciplinary approach. They launched the building plans along this model even though the faculty is resistant to change. Media Center core of building and "the place to find people". Everything migrating into the media center/"farmers market" of the school. Very different from traditional series of boxes - the usual lay out for high schools.

Hanover - Concept to bring greater alignment/overlap with community. Public coming into the building as partners/tutors/service learning. Introduced Freshmen House system with a choice of learning themes for grades 10, 11, 12. Engineering, environment, humanities are examples of themes. This happens best in a facility that allows learning spaces that correlate to a theme to be near each other. The building becomes a platform to facilitate these communities. Features small learning communities with building wrapped around media center.

Educational Values

Mass Dept of Education - 21st Century Skills in Action (8th item on page, scroll down for pdf download)
Example - Advanced French class - Arlington High School, MA Grade 11
Students assigned to create a restaurant in Paris - design, menu - the whole project, all in French. Greater realms of thinking applied to a concrete project.
Schools have to compete for attention of kids, and most schools tell them to leave web/communication devices at the door. How relevant is our learning?
Our work is to shift delivery and content toward more things that make it interesting, engaging, personalized, tied into the student to have a constructivist learning experience.

Meet student where he/she is, and grow learning from where that student is - very different from empty beaker approach of transferring content from teacher to child.

Different power structure. Learning happens in a relationship manner. It is a social activity.
We are all victims of our schedule, so this needs to be on the table.

20th century = century of the teacher
21st century = century of the learner

Howard Gardener's Multiple Intelligences - 25th anniversary
People tend to teach based on their own intelligences, and they are carrying on in this tradition. How do you reach kids who are high in other intelligences? Differentiated instruction is a way to address this reality. Project learning with a variety of approaches/products can get you there quickly. This is the buzz across the country.

Community

Clayton Christensen, Disrupting Class
Looking at the business/field of education in light of what is coming at us - complete, major shift because of computers and the Internet. He predicts 50% of course content online in 10 years. What does it say about school and the role of teachers? Don't need the boxes or the "sage on the stage". Why come to school? There are still good reasons, but not the old fashioned/traditional reasons.
  • 2014 - 25% of HS courses will be online
  • 2019 - 50% of HS courses will be online
Blended learning - partial Internet, partial face-to-face (this can be virtual) is more effective than teacher working with classroom in a traditional manner. We see blended learning at college level, but it is coming to high schools.

Need to question time, classroom, teachers, forums - the whole shebang.

Recommendations:
  • teacher is coach/facilitator with student worker
  • reorganize traditional dept structure to meet needs of more integrated curriculum
Relationships
  • How many students can principal know by name? 300-600
  • How many teachers can collaboratively make a decision? 25 or so. How big is the conference table? Teaming, group decisions a stronger model than top down decision.
  • How many students can a teacher know well? Depends on educational model.
New Classroom Concepts

No longer self-contained spaces but rather spaces that work in concert with each other. Common spaces with break out areas/flex zones. Make passing areas useful/multi-tasking spaces.

Grade level based Advisory: 9th Transition to HS, skills; 10th Graduation portfolio; 11th Life after HS; 12th Senior Portfolio. What would this mean for spatial relationships?

Looking for a variety of spaces with lots of setting because one size does not fit all. No richness in uniformity. Need a tool box of diverse spaces.

Shift space as well as the nature and organization of school.

Examples of Schools / Flexible Platforms

Glacier HS, Kalispell, MT
Visioning moved away from dept organization. 9th grade transition academy with areas of defined career clusters: business, wellness, arts
Incorporates houses and small learning communities clustered around critical spaces. Empowering teachers to talk to each other and break chain of isolated classroom - foster common planning.

Lakeview HS, Battle Creek MI
School built around library, designed to make connections. A common zone for interdisciplinary connections. Library is food court in 2 story mall with 2 walkways around it - no walls. When bell rings kids flow. Small learning communities, computer hot spots, teacher planning center in courtyard, transparent. School circulates around teacher planning spaces - antithesis of department model. School as access.
Note: Librarian fought this design tooth-and-nail. Later she embraced the design. Check out the photo - beautiful!

Fredrika Bremer Upper Secondary School
Haninge, Sweden
Moved from dept to relationship school: natural sciences; social sciences; arts, health care, media.

HUMEX Oxford Hills Comprehensive HS
South Paris, ME
Relationships: Teacher Planning Centers
Teachers have complete command of whole day alternating with every other day schedule for project work. Students move through space based on their academic needs. Master teachers co-teach with new teachers. All work matched to Maine learning outcomes.
Course running from Sept - June for inter-disciplinary, sequential set of projects. Ex: "How should humans interact with the natural world and each other?" Opportunity to create a civilization opened standards-based learning on all fronts. This model was extremely effective using measures of motivation, creativity, relevance, fun. Students learned about themselves, made connections with teacher, learned more from fellow students, more responsible - social/emotional skills all successful.

Erie HS
Erie, KS
250 students, won the moon buggy contest 2 years in a row. While they were building a new school rented out old the Woolworth's and called it the Project Center. Personalized, project-based learning. School is central and visible to local community.
Library morphs into other areas, and students have their own work stations.

Thomas Jefferson for Science and Technology HS
Arlington, VA
#1 US News & Wold Report for 2 years in a row
Last period of every day is unassigned, a break from schedule for independent work and/or connecting with teachers. This time is considered time-on-learning.

Canby HS - Created an Applied Learning Center
Canby, OR
Program has service learning and integrated multiple discipline learning. Ex. service project to develop new seed strands for local farmers. 21st century skills of testing ability to work with others, speak and present to others.
Instructional Areas: bio-ag; engineering; communications; board room
Teacher offices inter-disciplinary, non-departmental.

Hull Academies Future Learning Center
Hull, England
Addresses changing model - mostly accommodating teachers reluctant for change. Heavy tech integration, flexible space, portable flexible walls and furniture, project rooms, student workstations.

Australian Science & Mathematics School
Adelaide, AU
3 years, ungraded project based learning, year 12 didactic teaching for state tests. Open flex zones interspersed with closed spaces: teacher prep center, conference, room, video project room, tutorial spaces, presentation pace, learning commons. Everything on wheels. Intentional creation of varied spaces.

New Line Academy Oldborough Learning Plaza
Kent, England
Furniture designed for group discussions. Propeller table - relationship building through furniture design.

High Tech High
San Diego, CA
Great outcomes with challenging demographic. Old warehouse building. Lots of student work stations. Learning is visible, glass walls, student projects very diverse.
Digital Arts Alliance (Mobile Learning Institute)

John Grey HS
Cayman Islands
Teacher teams meet student where space is most appropriate. DaVinci Studio dedicated to convergence of art and science.

Minnesota New Country School
Henderson, MN
Personalized, project-based learning. Above average test scores with 40% SpEd population. Standards based grade 8-11, not grouped by grade level. Work project based and student initiated. 21st century model of education. Teacher as guide/facilitator.

Photo Credit:
Flickr Creative Commons

ツ Some look at these pencils and see colors... I look at them and see possibilities

Uploaded on March 25, 2009
by ahannink

Monday, November 9, 2009

5,000 years of religion in 90 seconds

5,000 years of religion in 90 seconds in the History of Religion. The March of Democracy, WWII, Iraq, Terrorism - these are examples of the other very effective interactive maps that capture the sweep of history in an incredibly dynamic way. Thanks to Maps of War atlases will never be the same.





Try 4,000 years of democracy in 90 seconds. "Where has democracy dominated and where has it retreated? This map gives us a visual ballet of democracy's march across history as the most popular form of government. From the first ancient republics to the rise of self-governing nations, see the history of democracy: 4,000 years in 90 seconds...!"

So cool!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

What Google Knows About You

Want to see what Google knows about you? This video (2 minutes 38 seconds) will show you how to check what sort of information is being archived, and the privacy controls you can use.

This isn't totally comprehensive and is certainly not representative of your whole digital footprint, but it gives interesting insight into how information as gathered and tracked. This is a great starting point to discuss privacy and online activity with students. It clearly illustrates that no action goes unarchived on the Web.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Machine is Us/ing Us


In 5 minutes of dance we have an interpretation of the chaos, frustration, anger, alienation, excitement, joy and exhilaration of life in Web 2.0.

Michael Wesch, an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Kansas State University created the original video.




And the original...