My grandfather Jacques-Yves Cousteau was once quoted as saying, "Before we talk about the environment, we must talk about education." It's one of my favorite quotes of his because at its root is his belief in the power of youth to change the world. It's not only a belief I share, but one that I'm confident is our best opportunity to tackle some of biggest challenges facing our planet and the world community.
During the past three years, over 250 Edcamp events have popped up worldwide. Teachers from every corner of the globe have been organizing open opportunities for educators to collaborate and solve problems.
In spite of this growth and energy, there are still many educators who are either uninformed or skeptical of the Edcamp model for teacher professional development. Given the plethora of "silver bullets" and magical cures in education, some skepticism is healthy. It ensures that we refine and revise our beliefs through meaningful investigation.
I founded Karen Peterson and Dancers (KPD) in Miami in 1990. We are recognized as the leading mixed-ability dance company in the U.S. Southeast. As a not-for-profit dance organization, KPD commissions and produces the work of dance artists with and without disabilities -- presenting excellence in dance through our quality-based programs, community performances and educational workshops.
I'm not an alarmist, but we truly are in an environmental crisis, headlined by, but not limited to, global warming. Given the importance of the challenge, I'd like to see a National Environmental Education Year -- setting aside a week seems like a drop in the bucket. But since we have this week, National Environmental Education Week, let’s make the most of it.
Recently I witnessed two expert panels discussing critical issues for our educational system -- on the same day. The first one was on implementing the Common Core for English-language learners; the second was on how games offer an exciting new frontier for student learning and engagement. In the morning, I listened in to an Alliance for Excellent Education panel including Stanford professor Kenji Hakuta and Carrie Heath Phillips, director of Common Core implementation at the Council of Chief State School Officers. That evening, I went to Stanford to hear a panel on Education’s Digital Future that included professors James Paul Gee of Arizona State and Constance Steinkuehler of the University of Wisconsin - Madison.
Last week, the annual Silfen Forum was held at the University of Pennsylvania. The theme, Open Learning and the Future of Higher Education, brought together educators from around the country, including the panelists Amy Gutmann, Martha Kanter, Thomas Friedman, Daphne Koller and William Kirwan. A common thread during the one-hour conversation was on how the world has gone from connected to hyper-connected over the last seven years. The rise of MOOCs (Massive Online Open Classrooms) has forced us to re-evaluate what traditional college and university teaching and learning look like. A full sharing of tweets from and about the forum can be found on Storify.
For more than 1,300 youth gathered at Washington University in St. Louis last weekend for the Clinton Global Initiative University (#CGIU), the focus was squarely on the future. Delegates from around the globe arrived with commitments to tackle projects with world-changing potential, from ending human trafficking to increasing the number of girls pursuing engineering. (Read more about the event at www.cgiu.org.)
A few days ago a student approached me and said he needed to talk about something, and he wanted to meet the next day at recess. I appreciated the way he reached out to me and I looked forward to the opportunity to meet with him. He came into my office with a sheepish look on his face, spoke in a quiet voice and said that he had done something he was not feeling good about. I asked him what it was, and he informed me that he had violated the technology policy by downloading some games onto his school-issued iPad, bypassing restrictions and settings.
Robert J. Marzano doesn't take teaching, leading or anything else lightly. That's why next week, when he releases his umpteenth1 education book, he will officially change his name to The Amazing Robert J. Marzano, or T.A.R.J.M. (pronounced "Tar-Zhay-Em") for short.
As schools around the world focus on how best to prepare students for success in the 21st century, there’s been much debate about what approach works best. Educational experts -- from classroom teachers to university professors, from parents to politicians -- have weighed in on what schools should look like and how they should run. Opinions about how to "reform" schools or introduce new innovations dominate the literature. Yet one perspective, perhaps the most critical, has been missing from much of the conversation -- the student.