This Week's Preview

Week of November 19

As we begin the week that leads up to American Thanksgiving, I would first like to express my sincere thanks to you, our Daily Edventures community. With you, our everyday heroes, who continue to inspire and lead us as we rethink education today, your stories, ideas and wiliness to participate are truly what this project is all about – creating community and sharing what works so we can all benefit and in the end, help our students succeed in the ever-changing world of 21st century learning.

One running theme on our blog is the importance of project-based and service-based learning. I read an article in the Huffington Post, by Thomas Fischer, a professor and dean of the college of design at the University of Minnesota.  Fischer proposes that for the millennials he teaches today, the traditional “academic exercise” simply doesn’t work. Students in higher education today need something more. “I think ‘actual exercises’ — as opposed to the academic ones — exist everywhere and that even the most recondite disciplines in the most remote locations have found ways of applying knowledge to real-world problems,” states Fischer. “And why wouldn’t we want to connect the education of students with the needs of communities? Students appear to remember knowledge best when they have to apply it and universities seem to demonstrate their value best when they make a tangible difference in the communities in which they stand and the constituencies upon whom they depend.”

It’s these kinds of first-hand experiences and successes in classrooms – whether in a pre-K or in university classroom – that make our community of educators so important. Educators we’ll feature this week like, AnnMarie Thomas, who leads an interesting and unique movement called the Maker Education Initiative. And Ron Reed, who produces the newest part of the SXSW event – SXSWedu. Or Taryn Benarroch, who leads the Microsoft Innovative Educators Program (she plays an important role in the PiL Network and Global Forum).

Of course, in just a little more than one week, the Partners in Learning Global Forum in Prague will celebrate educators that help students improve their learning outcomes through innovative teaching. Today, I’m going to share a sneak-peek at one of our PiL team projects: from Team USA, Cheryl Arnett and Melany Neton’s project, Lets Go to Disneyland, improved the critical thinking, collaboration and math skills of their first and second graders while they planned a virtual trip to Disneyland by using SkyDrive, OneNote and the Kinect game Disneyland Adventures. Take a look at their fun video and get ready to be inspired!

Have a great week!

-Anthony Salcito

@anthonysalcito

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