A New Day for Learning: How to Cultivate Full-Time Learners -- Keep the discussion going!

Thank you to all who joined us during our lively webinar about full-time-learning opportunities from our A New Day for Learning initiative. We hope you walked away from it with ideas and inspiration to bring the very best to your classroom, your school district, or your community.

As is often the case, the number of questions from our community far exceeded our allotted time. We've put together the following resources to help you get the most out of our Edutopia webinars:

  • View the archive: You can now view the complete archive of the webinar. You can also download it to your mobile device through iTunes U.

  • Join the discussion: If you had a question we didn't get to during the webinar, ask the experts and your fellow Edutopia readers at large. Milton Chen and other Edutopia staff will check back often, too, so please continue the lively discussion below.
  • Let us know how we did: We want our members to get as much value as possible from our resources at Edutopia, so please share your feedback from the webinar by emailing membership@edutopia.org.

About the Panelists

Milton Chen

Milton Chen

Milton Chen, PhD, has been a leading figure in educational media for more than 20 years. He joined The George Lucas Educational Foundation as executive director in 1998, bringing new leadership to its mission of gathering and disseminating the most innovative models of K-12 teaching and learning in the digital age.


Hillary Salmons

Hillary Salmons

As executive director of the Providence After School Alliance, Hillary Salmons manages oversight of PASA and its three strategies. She also has primary responsibility for community engagement and fundraising efforts. Salmons joined the Education Partnership in July 2003 and subsequently launched the Rhode Island Scholars initiative in four school districts throughout the state.


Karen Dvornich

Karen Dvornich

Dvornich is cofounder and national director of the NatureMapping program and outreach coordinator for the University of Washington's Washington Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. In 2005, she began working with organizations involved in informal science education to create a network of NatureMapping centers throughout the United States that educate and support schools and communities in conservation planning and field-research projects while providing credible data to the NatureMapping database.


This article originally published on 1/22/2009

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Comments (18)

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Lisa Falk (not verified)

non-credit enrichment course

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Business enterprise? Have them start their own business! Make it worth their while. Their business can be for their personal gain or to donate funds to a worthy project at school or in the community. Make it real and with real meaning for them--ie: be able to answer the so, what, why should I care question--and then they will become more interested. The interest will build once the naysayers see the results of those involved.

Lisa Falk (not verified)

student video production

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The other thing to keep in mind is that the students should brainstorm topics that are of interest to them. The teacher facilitates the discussions, but all ideas are okay to start with. Once students are working on something with personal meaning to them, they are more apt to stick to it. You may offer a theme or subject area, such as a community problem that perhaps needs a solution.

For example, some teens in Taos, NM, decided they wanted to investigate tagging. They interviewed taggers, those tagged, law enforcement officers, those in jail and put together a video that was then shown at the school and the students held a discussion about tagging. Another group focused on their desire for a skateboard park. They presented their information and ideas at a community meeting. In Lousiville, KY, students visited an historic cementary where the gravestones were being destroyed by acid rain. The students studied what caused acid rain and what could be done to stabilize the stones. They documented the grave stones with black and white photographs so there would be a record and produced an exhibit. This could have easily been a video project and an website, but the project was done pre-internet! Many other place-based investigations have happened around the country (see the Montana Heritage Project and the Library of Congress American Memory web pages). The key is bouncing of the kids' interests, community needs, and involving community "experts" with the kids. Authentic learning works.

As Yolanda mentioned, for students at that age to really get going on their projects it also takes a bit closer facilitation or guiding/gaining of the necessary skills. Often there are one or two students who are the tech experts and they can take on a leadership role. Establishing teams where different members can contribute to the project according to their skills and interests also helps. Giving them access to real people (not other students or teachers but community folks) to interview also helps.

Hillary Salmons (not verified)

PASA Webinar Answers: Change Models

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Q. Do they have any advice for successful systemic change when resistance to great community-driven ideas and actions comes from a somewhat calcified and/or change-resistant, "top-down" district administration model?

A. Initially, PASA started with the community providers and got them on board through an extensive planning process. Schools were always involved/invited, but we didn’t focus on school integration right away—getting a model together first was key. After our model was in place, the schools started with small steps: providing space; then aligning scheduling; then contributing teachers; then contributing bussing. Our current relationship with the schools surrounds aligning in-school and out-of-school programming and forming partnerships around content. All of this took over four years to realize; it has been a slow and steady process. Additionally, support from the city leadership (i.e., the Mayor) has been absolutely critical.

Hillary Salmons (not verified)

PASA Webinar Answers: AfterZone

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Q. Are all "teachers" in the AfterZone program paid the same amount for their time?

A. No. The school teachers that are involved are all paid a flat, school-negotiated rate; but, only a handful of the instructors are school-day teachers. The other instructors range from $10-$50/hour depending on skill level, expertise, experience working with youth, and other funding sources.

Hillary Salmons (not verified)

PASA Webinar Answers: Asset Mapping

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Q. Can you speak a bit about the "asset mapping" exercise you mentioned in the beginning of your presentation? What is involved in the mapping process (stakeholders, technology, etc) and what kind of radius did you use (around schools, city limits, or other)?

A. In 2004, we hired the Market Street Research firm to conduct phone interviews and focus groups with 200 middle school youth and 200 parents to ask about their satisfaction with existing programming and their desires for future programs. (The methods and results can be found at: http://www.mypasa.org/failid/Market_Street_Research_Findings.ppt)

We also canvassed existing after-school providers (recreation centers, community centers, community schools, individual program providers) to get a sense of what existed in terms of programming for middle school youth. We focused on middle school, but did not limit it to any particular parts of the city, instead considering the entire city. Additionally, we looked at free or low-cost programming, as opposed to expensive fee for service programs (e.g., music, dance, and theater programs operated by conservatories).

HIllary Salmons (not verified)

Answers to some Webinar Questions

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Q. What kind of support or resistance was there from school administration (individual schools) regarding support for the program?

A. As with any new strategy, there was the very understandable resistance from teachers and school administration that this was just another passing initiative. School faculty are often reluctant to buy into anything until they know it will stick—they are faced with so many “quick fixes” and reforms. Now that we have been successful, and are currently serving 1/3 of the middle school population, the schools are feeling more confident that we have a lasting system. There has also been a long relationship building process. School day educators don’t necessarily see the value of after school and we have struggled with the perception that after school is babysitting—a great way to get kids off the street, but not of any value to educators that are trying to move test scores and “real” achievement gains. While this perception still exists, an increasing numbers of teachers and administrators are observing our programs, getting involved and starting to see the value of partnering to collectively reach our shared goal of improved student success.

Director of Social Media Strategy and Marketing @Edutopia, edcamp organizer

Please post your unanswered questions here

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Staff comment:

Hello,

As a reminder, please use this comments area to post any unanswered questions you may have from our webinar. I know there were quite a few because I was fielding them all :)

We'll also use this space to post any additional resources the presenters mentioned.

Thanks for being a part of our webinar,
Elana Leoni
Online Membership Coordinator, Edutopia

Valerie Whitworth (not verified)

community projects with nature and art

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In the rush to improve schools, we many tines seem to truncate the subjects that then are the least interesting to students. Unless someone is a very talented presenter, it can be difficult to motivate in the areas of reading and math. I have found the most learning excitement comes from hands on.As a reading teacher my most successful year with struggling underachievers was the year I was assigned to teach science as well as reading and writing. The most effort was put because the students saw a need to perform to describe the tasks and expereiments and the work was fun.Drawing the science made it come alive too and offered a way into the words that came later to describe the experience. The program didi not continue although the highest scores in readinfg and math happened in that group that year. Teh administration could not see the cause and effect.

The question is how to convince administration and community members. What studies do we have to show that reading, wiriting and math improve with excellent science and art programs? Are there studies and statistics that could convince entrenched school boards to examine the wisdom of keeping art and science, not just for diversity, but for teaching the core?

Gabriel (not verified)

A Seocnd before the reboot

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My friends,

For sure, I am the last one worth to write about how to educate young people. This task is very high for my stand. But if you have the merit and the chance to take a look in an innocent deep view inside their eyes of the kids in a classroom you first met, you may recognize their first need; to trust you. And this is not given by hand to your permission, but it is in their heart kid’s decision.

Don’t ever think that there is no wisdom underneath their innocent. Take always in consideration how you will present yourself first, before your teaching Ego. Because kids at first place, wants to know for you, first above all, so to be judge if you are worth to trust you. This process has nothing to do with your knowledge skills. You see in how fast and easy way kids do make their homework for you before you did the same for them?

Almost in a second.

If you lost their “second” there will be no easy second chance from them, even if your intentions and practices are among the finest ones.

Hmm…..And now.. We are double responsible for this, especially to these years that young people feel the anxiety of their parents “specialization” aftermath in economy, see the silent tears of the nature almost gone dry in a way, and the most worst of all, are still with us tasting our sayings that sometimes can be covered by a ringing bell.. For another class session.

Forgive me for this tone of this note, I am optimist in life by all means, fully respecting every single effort, especially the Lucas Foundation, but I wanted for the case to contribute in a way to your discussion mostly to warn you about the reboot is coming from the generation ahead of us, we need to apologize to our children for this mess, before it is too late, maybe by this way we have the chance for another second…maybe…

To all Americans I love most.

Gabriel

Yolanda Escandon (not verified)

Computers PK-8

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Hi Nancy - I have done some video production with students in grades 5-8. I do find that in order to produce a good project, students do require precise instruction and direction - especially in the pre-production phase. KQED in San Francisco is an excellent resource. Their website www.kqed.org has a complete manual for educators on their Digital Storytelling Initiative which has great tips. Without the brainstorming, pre-writing, storyboarding, it is hard to keep the students focused on the purpose of their project.
Good luck!

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