They are college students making strong statements about how we can each make healthy choices over hurtful choices for Halloween. While keeping race and ethnicity in mind, it is important to talk to students about provocative costumes, and how objectification of women (in particular) is equally problematic.
How does your school go about getting into a mess with costumes?
Salman Khan, of Khan Academy, builds videos which kids can learn from. They're about adding, subtracting, algebra, calculus, history, and more. His first idea was just to post helpful videos for his cousins. Then, thousands of others kids and teachers started using his videos. Realizing the energy behind them he kept developing content, but also wisely started to build an infrastructure that could enhance how students use the videos.
I think his ideas around using game mechanics are incredible. I have been to so many talks about gaming for education where finding the right balance between play and education has been the discussion. Someone on a panel I was at said 70% play, 30% game. That seems like the oddest approach, and I think Khan's merit badges and other structures are a much better look at ed tools might use gaming structures.
Khan Academy is exciting stuff, and some of my teachers have been engaged in producing their own videos. We're going to see there "the flip" might take our students.
I was honored to be invited by Elana W (protecting her digital footprint) to speak at Bloomberg today as part of their Innovative Speaker Series. I entered the beautiful lobby, showed my ID, quickly had a digital photo taken of me and put onto a badge with my name and "Hewitt School" emblazoned on it, and then was told to enter any elevator that lit up green (large lights above the elevator). I then went into the 6th floor where a receptionist quickly instant messaged my contact at Bloomberg (thanks, Jen!) and sent me off to the open coat room, and directed me to the free snacks, food, and drink area (which was buzzing). I took a seat on a modern sofa and looked up into the circular building with huge windows with light pouring in. I watched screens whizzing by with blips of news reports from around the world, and all around were Bloomberg terminals. This seems odd to say, but I felt like I was on a movie set for the future. The understanding and respect for technology was amazing. I was also lucky enough to meet their new social media director who has the daunting charge of overseeing social media for an enormous corporation.
When I walked into the 250 seat auditorium (which was beautiful) I noticed my Prezi slide deck on 3 huge LCD-powered walls. It was pretty amazing to see my name up there. It was also outside the room, and there were cameras at different angles recording the talk. Unfortunately, the recording was for internal use only, or I would have been happy to share it here. I wasn't able to use my laptop (obvious tech hurdles, resolution, etc), so I used the web version of my presentation. Thanks, Prezi!
Representing the school I teach at was a real honor. I am proud to be part of an academic institution that cares about helping students and families make good decisions about how they use technology. As Sir Arthur C. Clarke put it so well, "We need to educate children for their futures, not our past."
During the talk I referenced a few resources that I wanted to make note of here:
This is the second time I have heard JoAnn Deak speak, and she was wonderful again. I work at a girls school so she talked to us specifically about girls brains and how they work. Much of her talk connected to Carol Dweck's work in Mindset but most centered around specific applications to girls.
My high-level takeaways included:
learning works best with 10 minutes struggling/grappling/learning then 2 minutes capturing/processing - "concurrent notetaking impedes depth of learning and long-term thinking"
teachers are neurosculptors working on a plastic brain - we must learn how best to sculpt - this is essential in first 20 years of life
80% of girls have female-differentiated brains and 20% have male-differentiated brains - we must learn teaching techniques that work for both and harm neither
there are real differences between "girl" neurology and "boy" neurology and we need to be able to use these differences skillfully
Here are my notes from the session:
rules for highest learning outcomes:
ask questions when you have them
disagree with her when you do
if you don't believe teacher has expertise and is a good teacher, it will be an obstacle to learning
"You cannot be as updated as I am or you wouldn't have a life"
language-based collection of details does not allow for deep thinking
we're having trouble with salience with students - how do they find what is needed or relevant?
if you don't stretch all parts of the brain in the first 20 years, those parts start to diminish
first 5 years: major neural pathways are developed if they are used
5-15: smaller routes
after 15: specialized routes
if you teach to learning style too much you develop an imbalanced brain
concurrent notetaking while learning impedes depth of learning and long-term learning
notetaking works best in clumps - learning for 10, 2 minutes for capturing/processing
concurrent notetaking does work for: 1) a-ha thinking or 2) writing down a question that is bothering you
5 universities announced last year no concurrent notetaking
many universities require podcasting
for most girls she will learn better if she is looking at the teacher; no correlation for boys
tells parents: don't tell your sons, "look at me!"
after 20 minutes have kids get up, do toe pushups, then 20 arm raises
drinking water during class is essential - 1 hour
SAT's will go away, and letter grades are right behind them
teachers are neurosculptors
crucible events (death of a loved one, divorce of parents, molestation) are burned into the hiccocampus
crucible moments can be burned in, too - an off-hand comment from a teacher, a roll of the eyes by the 'queen bee'
the research does not support hands going up - it interferes with learning - she uses "the magic finger"
ask a question, and ask everyone to think about it for 30 seconds
purpose of asking question is to get brains to think more deeply; it I allow hands to go up, people stop thinking and prepare to listen
after 2 rounds of calling on people, let people raise hands
to reduce anxiety allow students 10 seconds to ask a peer if needed and give people time on the front end to think
to reduce anxiety give all students one pass
we want girls to exercise judgment - even just thinking about whether to use the pass
brain is designed to remember mistakes so that it can learn from it the next time
set up classroom to encourage, celebrate mistakes
attempting, failing is prized - not an incorrect answer
ACC in brain goes off when it hears a wrong answers