A few months ago I attended ICLE’s Leadership Academy in Atlanta and heard Dr. Tyrone Howard speak. His talk was a powerful one, addressing the differences between equity and equality, the need to support all students, and a call to action to have difficult conversations, call out bias and microaggressions, and make sure that we see our students, understand and empathize with them, and educate every single one of them. One of the things that stood out the most was the idea of the Pedagogy of Poverty vs Pedagogy of Plenty.
Last August, my Education Elements “familEE” of consultants and district partners supported me on a new journey to the Technology, Innovation, and Education masters program at Harvard University. Through my experience so far, I’d like to share the following lessons and takeaways for K-12 districts.
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Five years ago, our team partnered with the Economist Group to conduct a study where we asked business and industry leaders around the world, what were the most critical skills they wanted their employees to possess. You could say the results were more validating than surprising. The usual suspects were on the list – problem-solving, teamwork, communication, critical thinking, and digital literacy were among the skills mentioned. When I show the results of the study on a slide, I warn my audience that the most fascinating thing about the list is that it’s not fascinating at all. Everyone in the room knows what's on the list. We have been talking about how students need to develop these skills for so long, we actually call them “21st Century Skills," and we talk about them a lot! If you do an exact term search for “21st Century Skills,” you get about 4,170,000 results.
When school leaders want to bring innovative practices to classrooms, what's the greatest challenge that stands in their way? Lack of funding? Inadequate in-house expertise? According to the most recent SpeakUp survey, 46% of administrators point to one key factor above most others: teacher motivation.
In 2012, Google began studying how workers can transform productivity by examining the perfect team. They scrutinized everything from how often they socialize together, to how regularly they communicate, to their personal backgrounds. Like many organizations, Google believed that putting the best people together would create the highest level of productivity. However, no matter what data they collected, they didn’t see any consistent patterns.
Over the past several years, more and more schools across the U.S. have been implementing blended-learning strategies for their students. What is blended learning? It is a formal education program that must have three components: It must be part online, with students having some control over the time, place, path, or pace of their learning; it must occur, in part, in a brick-and-mortar location away from home; and the modalities along a student’s learning path must be connected to provide an integrated learning experience.