Monday, October 19, 2009

Day One, Part 2, Inspiring Ed

The second speaker was Mark Milliron. (www.catalyticconversations.blogspot.com and on twitter as well.)

His speech was jam-packed with info, book recommendations, humour and insight.
Here's my scrambled, organic notes:

  • We don't have a clue what's coming. Book by George Friedman "The Next Hundred Years". Conventional analysis shows a profound failure of imagination and common sense will be wrong.
  • We will need deeply strategic thinking to address challenges ahead (Thomas Friedman, "Hot, Flat and Crowded")
  • Learning is not a linear pipeline, but a swirl that people will enter and re-enter many times in their lives. Some districts have developed integrated K-20 education policy that shows a high level of coordination between schools, colleges, and universities. Kids graduate gr. 12 with many credits for post-secondary.
  • We have a lot to learn from gaming- kids will work very hard to get to the next level. If we incorporated this into learning- how would they soar? One school is doing this- with a game to test all the curricular outcomes. Kids need to master the level to move on, when they complete the game, they've covered all the course material. Results: better achievement, more intrinsic motivation and they finish the work in half the time!
  • Using technology (holographs, simulated worlds, etc.) to expand the possibilities for engaged teaching.
  • Deep data model (analytics) can show trends, give triggers and tailor-make learning. (i.e. warnings when an at-risk kid is about to drop out, based on data of actions or inactions.)
  • Four ingredients for transcendent learning: critical learning, creative learning, social learning, courageous learning.
  • Critical learning is based on scientific theory, active reflection, introspection, using solid metrics to pursue new methods.
  • Creative learning creates divergent thinkers. (See: "Outliers" by Malcom Gladwell or "The flight of the Creative Class" by Richard Florida).
  • Social learning is learning how to get alone (most important skill for retaining a job!). See: "Social Intelligence", "The Hard Truth about Soft Skills" or "Crazy Busy".
  • Courageous learning involves the ability to let go, unlearn, relearn... to have rookie courage. See: "The Art of Changing the Brain", "Five Minds of the Future", "Life Entrepreneurs."
  • Mark posed a tough question to all of us in the education field- are we willing to be critical, creative, social and courageous in the face of change?

What struck me in Mark's speech (besides the fact that I have a lot of books to read!) is that this all feels strangely familiar. For me, it's linked to the drama classes, the general arts background, the collective theatre/Fringe experience, the constant need to re-invent myself over the past twenty years as a freelance artist. I've probably had more jobs than most people my age; I've been the "rookie" so many times, it actually seems odd to me to consider that, if I'm elected again, I will be in the same job for 6 years. My previous record is 2.5 years. It turns out, I'm the new normal.

HA. Now, that's amusing!

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