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K-4 Technology Facilitator from Northfield, New Jersey

Thanks Samer! Built it

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Thanks Samer! Built it essentially by myself in 70 days in the summer of 2012. Good times...

Community Manager at Edutopia

Kevin, wow, that's an amazing

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Kevin, wow, that's an amazing transformation of the space!

K-4 Technology Facilitator from Northfield, New Jersey

Rethinking learning spaces is

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Rethinking learning spaces is a great one. I recently had the opportunity to design a classroom space from scratch. I inherited a gigantic space that had been used by a "regular" 4th grade classroom. I re-imagined it into a collaborative space for my K-4 Computer/STEMLAB and it's been working very, very well.

Before:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kjarrett/7266752082/in/set-72157629887956422

After:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kjarrett/8161395695/in/set-72157629887956422

and

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kjarrett/8124461279/in/set-72157629887956422

The kids love the flexible seating, I love having two distinct instructional areas, we have plenty of room to move around, explore and play. It's made a huge difference in my program. Before, I was in a traditional computer lab with 30 PCs and no windows. What a transformation!

-kj-

Director, Antioch Center for School Renewal

I particularly appreciate

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I particularly appreciate your recognition of the role of play in the work of learning. Since we know that, neurologically, people can't learn when they're afraid, it would stand to reason that being fully engaged and free to explore (to play) would lead to better levels of learning.

All that being said, I'd love

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All that being said, I'd love to hear your ideas for globalization, progressive curriculum design, and innovative learning forms and models that work where everything else has failed. You can email me at terryheick at gmail dot com.

Thanks again for the communication. If everyone had conversations like these, the need for these kinds of conversations would be, well, different.

Thanks again for the

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Thanks again for the comment.

Something to keep in mind is that these recommendations are not for general ed reform, nor are they meant to describe entirely new learning forms. Equally, they aren't intended as a framework, or as a delineated learning model to guide new directions or visions for learning.

Rather, these ideas are intended to speak to what a global curriculum does and does not mean. And their primary thesis--that a "global" curriculum can only occur through local action--is intentionally fundamental, though I appreciate your position that "none of these ideas work." I'd respond that these ideas--including PBL--are as effective as the art and thought that goes into their application.

Teacher in England

The current American reform

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The current American reform movement is a reaction to almost a century of the kind of ideas you are recommending.

You need to address the history that you are so keen to repeat. Saying "we have new technology now" is not enough, because we have always had new technology of one sort or another. It doesn't mean that change was always justified. Thomas Edison predicted in 1913 that textbooks would die out within ten years because of the invention of moving pictures. It never happened because being new is not enough, it has to actually be better for teaching and learning and it rarely is.

As for new ideas, they actually have to be new. PBL, far from being new, is about 100 years old. The only reason to pretend it is new is so that people don't find out that it doesn't really work terribly well.

Andrew--Thanks for the

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Andrew--Thanks for the feedback. These three ideas function within a larger context--10 ideas total that help support the thesis that "globalization" is the natural macro consequence of meaningful micro placement. My main interest is to caution against rushing into over-reaching, and creating a curriculum that is imbalanced (i.e., one that is "global" just for the sake of being global).

It is inspired by the writing of Wendell Berry, an American writer who, among other values, encourages the honoring of scale, intellectual intimacy, and community. These ideas are relevant no matter what century you're in. The role of play is now more than ever accessible through the social media you mention, as are re-considered learning spaces. I can't comment on formal education in the UK, but I can say that in many districts here state-side, there is tremendous (and singular) push for proficiency based on standards--and of course these very strict, outcomes-based learning formats often necessitate for institutionally-centered learning experiences, rather than learner-centered experiences.

So then, it is insightful of you to recognize that these ideas may seem "reheated." Marrying prioritized, classic approaches to modern innovation was indeed the big idea here. I don't hold out much hope that we're going to discover some amazing innovation that is going to completely reshape all planned learning. What I do believe, however, is that as we are exposed to new ideas--tech, social media, PBL, etc.--previous traditions that may have seemingly lacked efficacy can be re-fashioned in new light, to new success.

Teacher in England

Sorry, but all 3 of your

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Sorry, but all 3 of your suggestions were fashionable in the US in the 1920s, and in England in the 1960s.

If you are going to reheat old (and in my opinion failed) ideas from the tradition of progressive education surely it's absurd to call them "21st century" just because you mention social media when you explain them?

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