June Meeting – Threats and Opportunities in K – 12 Education

The June meeting elicited some very interesting conversation about education.  As someone pointed out, it seems that a lot of thinking about the future revolves around the subject of education.

Here are the resources used to provide background:

All the videos are from TED.com – recommended by Chuck Crawford who kicked the discussion off.

• Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity. Creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson challenges the way we’re educating our children. He champions a radical rethink of our school systems, to cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence.
• Conrad Wolfram: Teaching kids real math with computers  From rockets to stock markets, many of humanity’s most thrilling creations are powered by math. So why do kids lose interest in it? Conrad Wolfram says the part of math we teach — calculation by hand — isn’t just tedious, it’s mostly irrelevant to real mathematics and the real world. He presents his radical idea: teaching kids math through computer programming. Conrad Wolfram runs the worldwide arm of Wolfram Research, the mathematical lab behind the cutting-edge knowledge engine Wolfram Alpha.
• Liz Coleman’s call to reinvent liberal arts education Bennington president Liz Coleman delivers a call-to-arms for radical reform in higher education. Bucking the trend to push students toward increasingly narrow areas of study, she proposes a truly cross-disciplinary education — one that dynamically combines all areas of study to address the great problems of our day.
Liz Coleman radically remade Bennington College in the mid-1990s, in pursuit of a new vision: higher education as a performing art.
• Sugata Mitra: The child-driven education Education scientist Sugata Mitra tackles one of the greatest problems of education — the best teachers and schools don’t exist where they’re needed most. In a series of real-life experiments from New Delhi to South Africa to Italy, he gave kids self-supervised access to the web and saw results that could revolutionize how we think about teaching. Sugata Mitra’s “Hole in the Wall” experiments have shown that, in the absence of supervision or formal teaching, children can teach themselves and each other, if they’re motivated by curiosity and peer interest.
• And here is a relevant post from Bob Letcher: “Education is THE economic issue of our time”
• And a further exploration of the idea from Steve Millett – “Thoughts on Innovations in Public Education in Ohio Entering the 21st Century” written for the Ohio State Board of Education, 2008.
Check out next month’s meeting on July 19th.  Topic is ” Why Nations Fail.”
— Rich Bowers
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