Tag Archives: Learning

The Beautiful Struggle

I’ve yet to meet a grown-up who, at some point, hasn’t felt a bit like a hamster in the wheel – spinning mindlessly towards some opaque goal, and for some abstract, poorly understood reason.

Life can feel that way sometimes.

So you can imagine my surprise when, while visiting a small public high school in the Excelsior neighborhood of San Francisco, I encountered a group of boys working on an indeterminate project out of plywood and a handsaw.

“What are you guys doing?” I asked.

“We’re building a human-sized hamster wheel,” they replied.

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Categories: Assessment, Democracy, Equity, Leadership, Learning, Teacher Quality, Voice

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For America’s Schools, Is This the Beginning of the End of Average?

One year, early in my teaching career, I got reprimanded for giving too many “A’s.”

“You can’t give everyone the same grade,” I was instructed. “Give a few A’s and F’s, and a lot of B’s and C’s. Otherwise, everyone will know that your class is either too easy or too hard.”

This was unremarkable advice; indeed, it was as close to the educational Gospel as you could find. It was human nature in action.

And, according to a new book, it was completely wrong.

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Categories: Equity, Leadership, Learning

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This is the end of education (& the future of learning)

Or, more specifically, this is a video about a conversation of those issues. It features yours truly, but also Jaime Casap, the head of education at Google, and a number of other great educators in both K-12 and higher ed. Check it out, and see what it ignites in your own thinking . . .

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Categories: Democracy, Design & Space, Leadership, Learning, Organizational Change

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This is what Kindergarten looks like in its ideal form

Imagine what a place like this is capable of unleashing in the mind of a child.

Imagine what places like this are capable of unleashing in the mind of every adult.

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Categories: Design & Space

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Are We Finally Ending the Battle of the Edu-Tribes?

Anyone who has spent time during the last decade or so working for the betterment of American public education will tell you the same thing:

It’s ugly out there, and you’re going to need to pick a side.

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Categories: Learning

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This is what learning to think creatively requires

Imagine what would happen if we put this simple insight into broader practice?

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Categories: Learning

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To Reimagine Education, We Must Make Ourselves the Target

It may seem crazy to seed an idea that is intended to put you out of business – yet that’s exactly what Dayton Department Stores did back in 1960 with Target. And, the more I think about it, that’s exactly what every school in America should be doing right now.

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Categories: Learning

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Ghosts in the (Testing) Machine

What makes a mind come alive? And how will you know when it’s happened?

Two new films – one about the death of the factory school, the other about the dawn of artificial intelligence – attempt to answer this question from radically different vantage points. Taken together, they provide both a cautionary tale and a reason to be hopeful about the not-too-distant future. And fittingly, what both films suggest is that when it comes to measuring the spark of sentience, the tests we use matter greatly.

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Categories: Assessment, Learning

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How can we ensure better teacher quality?

I’m a big fan of the New York Times’ Room for Debate series, in which a central question is asked of five different folks.

Today, the question was about how to ensure and improve teacher quality. And although they didn’t ask me, here’s how I would have answered the question:

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Categories: Teacher Quality

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In Trying to Reduce Class Sizes, Are We Trying to Solve the Wrong Problem?

Are smaller class sizes the key to breathing new life into today’s public schools, or a misguided effort to solve the problems of a dying era?

I am surprised to say I have come to believe it’s the latter.

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Categories: Teacher Quality

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