How was the universe created? How did things get to be the way they are? What does it mean to be human? “Big” questions such as these have been pondered since the dawn of mankind, and are being asked today by people all over the world, and across all disciplines. The answers are complex, as complex as the universe itself. Yet, according to historian and professor David Christian, knowing the answers to these questions is paramount to understanding the challenges and the opportunities that face humankind.
That’s where the Big History Project comes in. A free online and in-class social studies course designed for high-school students, The Big History Project “weaves evidence and insights from many scientific and historical disciplines across 13.7 billion years into a single, cohesive story.” Or, as Christian says, it’s a “modern scientific origin story.”
Christian and his team at the Big History Project – which includes Bill Gates — believe that, “By sharing ‘the big picture’ and challenging students to explore the relationship between key events over time, big history ultimately helps young people develop key critical thinking skills and the ability to better synthesize and apply complex information.”
“This is my favorite course of all time,” says Gates, who took the course himself. In fact, after taking the course, Gates regretted that he hadn’t had the chance to take a course like this when he was young. “I would have known a lot more and would have been able to connect knowledge in ways that I just wasn’t able to do,” he says.
The project not only aims to tell the history of our world – from the Big Bang on to today – but at the heart of it is helping students develop “vital skills, knowledge, and a deep, enduring passion for learning.”
Take a look, and if you are a high school teacher or school leader, register to teach Big History at your school.
With half of teachers eligible to retire over the next decade, there is an urgent need and unprecedented opportunity to drive the transformation of K-12 education by recruiting our nation’s brightest students to the profession. The nation is at a critical juncture, facing the opportunity to recruit top talent into the teaching profession.
In order to recruit the next generation of teachers by redefining teaching as a top career choice for our nation’s most talented students, TEACH and the Ad Council are launching a powerful new campaign that disrupts current perceptions of teaching and showcases the evolution and elevated stature of the teaching career.
Here is a great TEDx video by Gabe Zichermann. Zimmermann is an entrepreneur, author, highly rated public speaker and gamification thought leader. He provides great insight about the transformation in the gaming industry and how video games can be beneficial for some students. Let me know your thoughts @AnthonySalcito.
Last year I was honored to have the privilege to sit down and have a Skype conversation with Sugata Mitra about the projects that have inspired his innovative work. Since then, Mitra has continued to push the boundaries of education and what is means to be an effective teacher.
In this video, I was inspired by Mitra’s views on “self organized learning” and what students can learn with or without teachers. Not only do they learn, but they do an incredibly good job at it.
Hope you enjoy.
Blended learning is becoming increasingly popular as a learning concept. Blended Learning Implementation infographic below which explores blended learning as a phase change with a goal of accelerating learning toward college and career readiness
What do you think? Are you implementing blended learning in your workplace or place of study? Let me know @AnthonySalcito
Eighteen months ago, Microsoft became a proud founding member of the TEACH coalition. For those who don’t know, TEACH is a campaign designed to recruit the best and brightest students in the United States into the profession of teaching. Microsoft undertook this campaign as a signal of its commitment to education, because a healthy education system that is on the cutting edge of technology requires a teaching workforce that is up to the task.
With teachers being the greatest in-school factor for student success, there is an urgent need to ensure that we are attracting the best and brightest to the profession. The need is both moral and economic. At Microsoft, we talk a lot about empowerment – we aim to empower individuals to be the best they can. In school that empowerment is heavily influenced by the teacher. We owe it to our students to raise prestige of this profession and recruit our most talented students into teaching.
Here is a quick glimpse of what is to come with the TEACH campaign. Let me know what you think @AnthonySalcito
One of the best things about my job is the fact that I get to travel the world and meet with inspiring educators who are doing incredible things throughout the globe. Just recently I was fortunate enough to travel to the Asia Pacific region, where I spoke with the BBC Business Report’s Ali Moore to discuss technology and education.
As I shared with the BBC, I am seeing more and more educators today concerned with acquiring technology, likely because of the shift to digital books and the transition to 1:1 learning. While 1:1 learning can be a great thing for both students and teachers, many times I see educators focusing too much on the one device, and not enough on the one child.
Of course, devices are important. We wouldn’t focus on them at Microsoft if we didn’t believe they played a critical role in innovative education today. However, it’s our opinion – which may differ from some of our competitors – that it’s not simply about any particular device. What matters right now are the programs, curricula and tools to help students prepare themselves for the future. We need to think about teachers and their students first, then technology.
This is why I am so proud of the work we are doing to support hardworking teachers and schools throughout the world. Our Expert Educators and Mentor Schools play a very important role in transforming education by sharing with and mentoring their peers in the use of technology to improve learning and student outcomes. And I’m proud of our projects like the global YouthSpark initiative that includes Imagine Cup, DigiGirlz, DreamSpark and more – all designed to ensure that today’s students are equipped to become tomorrow’s leaders.
Quality education must be a right for every student on the planet. We need to focus squarely on a holistic transformation of learning through continued support where it matters most: teachers, administrators and students.
I hope you enjoy this interview. Let me know what you think @anthonysalcito.
At a time when women make up half the U.S. workforce and form the majority on many college campuses, only 12 percent of computer science degrees are awarded to women. That’s an alarming number, especially when you consider the projected gap between available computer science jobs in 2020 – 1.4 million, and the number of computer science graduates available to fill them – just 400,000.
Here at Daily Edventures, we’ve talked to a number of amazing young women about their roles in Girls Who Code, innovators like Nikila Kakarla and Nikita Rau. Yet there are few role models for these girls – women working in computer science today. So how do we get more girls engaged in computer science, which happens to be the highest-earning college degree?
That’s the premise behind this thoughtful post on Women in Computer Science. It not only presents the challenge (and explains how it came to be), it offers a number of actionable solutions, from engaging girls before social pressures become a potent distraction to changing the way we approach the subject entirely. In addition to Girls Who Code, the post mentions DigiGirlz, Girl Develop It and Codagogy, all organizations with a mission to ensure that today’s girls become powerful voices among the next generation of developers.
Of course, we want all students – regardless of gender — to view computer science as an attractive career. To that end, we want to remind you that the “Hour of Code” campaign will introduce more than 10 million students to coding during Computer Science Education Week, December 9-15, 2013.
One of the Microsoft Innovative Schools World Tour participants, Seattle’s St. Thomas School, will be involving the whole school (preschool – 8th grade), which is one great way to ensure that every student can benefit from this all-out effort to get kids excited about coding. If you haven’t already signed up to participate in Hour of Code, it’s not too late. Just click here to learn more. And be sure to let us know how it goes @AnthonySalcito!
By cultivating strong school leadership, committing to ongoing professional development, and exploring innovative models like its technology-infused Future Schools, Singapore has become one of the top-scoring countries on the PISA tests. Let me know your thoughts @AnthonySalcito
Teaching about finance begins in kindergarten at this public K-8 school on the South Side of Chicago, with the goal of helping students develop the critical decision-making skills that will guide them later in life.
In this video of Ariel Community Academy, a public K-8 school on the South Side of Chicago. They have been having remarkable success thanks to a number of effective strategies, particularly their financial literacy program. Among their alumni, 97 percent have graduated from high school and 65 percent are now in college.