After Hurricane Katrina destroyed this HBCU school’s property and resources, Southern University at New Orleans chose Microsoft to help reconstruct their IT solutions from the ground up.
A small town in the United States experiments with self-directed learning at its public high school. A group of students gets to create their own school-within-a-school and they learn only what they want to learn. Does it work? Let me know what you think on Twitter @AnthonySalcito
Teachers are increasingly turning to project-based learning to engage students and to bring together all the important 21st century skills they’ll need in higher education and post-school life. At their best, these projects not only teach real-life skills, they also teach collaboration and maybe even connect students to peers in other schools. So when the UK’s Broadclyst Community Primary School (a Microsoft Mentor School) brought its idea for a Global Enterprise Challenge to the Global Forum’s Innovative Schools Pitch Competition, we jumped at the opportunity to share the idea with schools around the world.
Broadclyst has been running this project for several years, recently extending it to a partner school in the Netherlands. But the school’s vision, driven by Jonathan Bishop (interviewed here after the competition), demanded a bigger stage. They won the pitch competition by offering a way to promote social interaction within teams and across countries – all using Microsoft’s anywhere, anytime tools.
Here’s the idea: 1000 students across 20 schools in 20 countries will connect to run 10 international companies, each with 10 regional offices and teams — all using Office 365. The teams will develop, produce and market 10 products, and then pitch those products, competing with each other to become the most successful global company. The winning student team will be flown to Microsoft headquarters in Seattle, where I’ll present them with their award and they’ll get a chance to see a real global enterprise in action.
Teachers and school leaders: please consider taking advantage of this unique opportunity to expand your students’ skills, experiences and horizons on a global scale. Registration for the Global Enterprise Challenge starts NOW, and runs through this September, with the Challenge running from October 2014 through February 2015. Student teams ages 10-11 (exceptions for ages nine and 12 can be requested) are eligible and will receive all the information and tools they need to complete the challenge successfully.
It’s always a thrill to see great ideas come to fruition, especially when they have the potential to connect students to skills that will help them throughout their lives. We’ll be sharing updates along the way and, of course, highlighting the winners at the conclusion of the challenge. If you decide to accept the challenge (and we hope you do!), let us know how it’s going and we may even tell your story here at Daily Edventures.
“People are coming into the workplace with technical skills, but they lack so many of the fundamental human relational skills that are required now because the nature of problems in the workplace are so complex…” – David Conley, USA
It’s no secret that there’s a growing disconnect between what employers need from students coming out of universities, and the ability of the new graduates to fill those needs. Career readiness in today’s world is about so much more than just having technical skills – it’s the “soft” skills like communication, problem solving and collaboration that are in high demand in today’s workforce. And it’s no different for students transitioning from high school to college: they simply are not prepared for the reality they are graduating into.
As the author of College Knowledge and College and Career Ready, David Conley knows a thing or two about what it takes to be college and career-ready. When I spoke with him recently, he shared his perspective on what needs to change in our education system to graduate “ready” students.“We have focused in the past on making students eligible for college, without thinking much about whether they’re really going to be ready to succeed when they get there,” says David Conley, a national leader in defining and promoting college and career readiness, CEO of the Educational Policy Improvement Center (EPIC) and a University of Oregon professor.
Conley and his team at EPIC created a model that defines what they call the “four keys to college and career readiness”: think (key cognitive strategies), know (key content knowledge), act (key learning skills and techniques) and go (key transition knowledge and skills).
“Our message is that all students really – the vast, vast majority of students – can make a successful transition and can go on to college,” says Conley, “…but only if we think about readiness more broadly, and if we think about college not as a four-year degree, but we think about it as a wide range of options.”
In today’s Daily Edventure, Conley and I talk about everything from Common Core and how it fits into college readiness, to how educators can clarify what success looks like. We also explore why developing – and measuring (in a low-stakes way) – social skills is essential to helping our students become ready and relevant learners in both school and the workforce. Enjoy!
“It bothers me that we bring math from the real world into the classroom by way of textbooks on paper, where the problems…look lifeless on the page.” – Dan Meyer, USA
We all know that STEM subjects are essential in the 21st century workplace. We also know that these subjects – particularly math – are often overlooked or even avoided by students. Let’s face it: math class doesn’t have the greatest reputation. But Dan Meyer is on a mission to change that.
By reimagining the way we think about and practice teaching math, Meyer is making math the engaging subject it should be – and his work is getting noticed. From his very popular TED Talk, Math class needs a makeover, to national awards received for integrating multimedia with mathematics and media appearances, Meyer is having an impact. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to talk to him recently.
Meyer was a math teacher for six years, so he’s experienced first-hand the challenges of getting kids excited about what has typically been a dry subject. He’s a firm believer in teachers practicing – and being enthusiasts for – their subjects, and he’s now doing just that by pursuing his PhD in math education at Stanford University. He’s also sharing his perspective as a consultant to educational publishers.
“It bothers me that we bring math from the real world into the classroom by way of textbooks on paper, where the problems…look lifeless on the page,” Meyer says. “So a lot of my work is in how to make math – as it’s done in the world – more meaningful to kids.”
This quest for relevance plagues many a math teacher, and Meyer believes that kids don’t ask, “When will I ever use this?” because they actually want to know the answer. Rather, Meyer says, they’re expressing dissatisfaction with the way the material is being presented. And, as he notes, “Kids are not so easily fooled into enjoying algebra.”
From his work as a curriculum consultant, Meyer is convinced that this is an exciting time for education – if a bit of a “wild west” for innovation. “As we go to 1:1, curriculum has stayed the same,” he notes, referring to the limited ways technology has been used in many classes (PDFs vs. paper). “I’m excited about the different ways we can make our curriculum, our textbooks, mimic what kids love about the social web…it’s connections, it’s bringing people together…within a mathematical text book. The sky’s the limit.”
After talking to Meyer, and the many other creative math teachers around the world who are working to revolutionize math instruction, I’m excited, too. Enjoy today’s Daily Edventure with Dan Meyer, one of Tech & Learning’s 30 Leaders of the Future.
“We always look at the educational outcomes we want, then we back-track to the device, and ask what device and software combination will allow us to do that.” – Peter West, Australia
On my recent visit to Brisbane, Australia for an amazing Edutech Conference, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Peter West, an education technology specialist who is helping to transform learning at his school. Just as important, he’s helping others think differently about making the digital shift at their schools.
West recently launched “Bring Your Own Laptop” (BYOL) at Saint Stephen’s College, a co-ed, P-12 school on Australia’s Gold Coast. What’s different about this program is that it was introduced only after extensive preparation – years of research and experimentation. And unlike many classroom technology implementations, BYOL started not with the purchase of devices, but with careful and thoughtful planning.
West and his peers spent two years building content for the school’s learning management system. They rebuilt the school’s network to support an influx of new devices. And they experimented with a number of different devices from different suppliers – both tablets and laptops – to better understand how students would use the tools and how the tools would influence outcomes. “We always look at the educational outcomes we want,” West says, “then we back-track to the device, and ask what device and software combination will allow us to do that.”
Ultimately, the school determined that laptops were the best solution – providing the right set of tools and form factor for their students’ needs. “We want to go well beyond the Web 2.0 stuff and cruising the Internet and e-mail,” West told me. “We want to go to the whole learning and technology experience.”
With the Microsoft Student Advantage program, West and his team were able to provide students with Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus at no additional cost, since staff and faculty were already Office users. Standardizing on what West calls a “best-of-breed” solution worked particularly well for the school, as they have minimal technical support resources.
West generously shares what he’s learned at national and international conferences, and regularly publishes articles – often touting the benefits of integrated online learning environments that allow a large range of systems to integrate transparently. But what makes him an extraordinary educator, in my view, is his holistic and well thought-out approach to applying technology in the classroom. West has demonstrated that starting with the desired learning outcomes – rather than the device – helps to ensure a successful implementation and more engaged teachers and students.
Enjoy today’s Daily Edventure with Peter West.
A while back, I had the privilege to sit down and talk with Bob Chung, Class Policy’s creator and CEO of AssistX Education. Now I am excited to share this video of how Louis, a teacher at James Madison Middle School, gets his classroom focused with ClassPolicy, and improves testing productivity with TestPolicy.
The concept of a Flipped Classroom has been discussed quite a bit here at Daily Edventures. At its core, the Flipped Classroom is about changing the dynamics of the classroom. The lecture becomes homework, and time in class is spent problem solving – or, as some call it, practicing.
Leon County Schools in Tallahassee, FL launched the initial phase of their 1:1 digital initiative during the 2013-2014 school year. Watch this video to learn about the district’s objectives for the initiative, hear initial student reactions and learn why the decision was made to standardize on the Microsoft Windows 8 platform and Office 365.
In a small town, about 12 miles east of Austin, Texas, Manor New Technology High School is a devoted to teaching every subject to every student through project-based learning. Go inside Manor New Technology High School, where an unwavering commitment to an effective schoolwide PBL model keeps both students and teachers motivated and achieving their best.
This infographic accurately depicts the pressing need to make sure all primary aged children are able to attend school. Not only do children need to attend school, we need to improve the quality of learning. Too many students finish school without basic literacy and numeracy skills. We need more well-trained educators, improved traditional and digital learning materials, and an increase in early-childhood education programs to prepare children for primary schools.