The first draft of Getting Smart was written three years ago and a lot has changed since then. I reread the book on a plane recently and it holds up reasonably well, but there are things I wanted to provide in an update. Below are the top 10 developments I've seen since writing Getting Smart.
The expectation debate in this country has been focused on common math and English standards but there are other outcomes that can be even more important to life success. A University of Chicago CCSR review and a couple of popular books suggest, "We don't teach the most important skills."
Last year, my Smart Cities: LA post complained about the lack of "innovation and collaboration" in the city, but things are more interesting a year later. The first Startup Weekend EDU in the City of Angels will take place on the weekend of January 24th at UCLA Anderson.
This fall the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation made grants of $1.3 million for short cycle efficacy trials. Three "test bed networks" each received $100,000: New Schools for Chicago, NYC iZone, and the Bay Area Innovation Hub. Five platforms shared the balance: BrightBytes, CFY (PowerMyLearning), eSpark, Motion Math, and Common Sense Media.
I am a big fan of Paul Graham's writing, especially his list of frighteningly ambitious startup ideas - big problems that will take incredible persistence to tackle. With that in mind, here are some experiments I'd like to see someone try in education next year. I think we'd learn a lot about how to make frighteningly better schools.
We've been investigating performance assessment tools so we were interested when we heard that CTB McGraw-Hill had added performance-based items to its widely use Acuity platform. We call CTB President Ellen Haley for the scoop.
It's been a big year for innovations in learning. If 2012 was the year of the MOOC, 2013 was the year blended learning went mainstream--even schools that were just layering tabs on top of an obsolete model called it "blended." The following are 14 developments to watch for in 2014.
Six months ago, New Tech Network made a significant shift in our thinking. For more than a decade, our school coaches had worked to guide adults on campus toward a set of behaviors that were the hallmarks of the New Tech model (i.e. using projects with entry documents and rubrics, assessing students on 21st Century skills like critical thinking and collaboration, or using a digital course agenda).
College and career readiness means a lot more than passing a community college entrance exam (although that is the minimum bar for all kids). It requires a set of deeper learning experiences that result in the knowledge, skills and dispositions young people will need to succeed.
Now that the world's knowledge is widely and freely available, why are we still so largely uneducated? Why are there still big employment skill gaps? Why is civic knowledge so low? Why is the wealth gap widening not shrinking?