Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Edina Engaged and Inspired Learning Summit

January 26th, Educators in Edina met for an "Engaged and Inspired Student Summit" with the purpose of:

  1. To create the ‘Edina definition’ for ‘21st Century Skills’ AND
  2. Ask staff to identify where such skills are currently in place within our students’ learning experiences AND
  3. Share a common understanding for use in communication and curriculum/instructional design AND
  4. Consider what technology has to do with it

Dr. Dressen started off our discussion today, asking us to cross out 21st Century skills on our packet and replace it with 22nd. Students in our classroom will be living in the 22nd century, and our discussion today needs to reflect that.

He noted that learning is no longer linear, and we need to embrace that fact.

Dr. Jenni Norlin-Weaver then led us in a discussion, where each of us had a piece of art, and we were asked to identify how it might be used in the classroom.

We then viewed the following RSA Animate video, on Sir Ken Robinson's ideas.


Dr. Bruce Locklear, Edina High School Principal, then shared some of Tony Wagner's work.

Looking outside the windshield. Sometimes you feel like the bug. "Everyone" is an expert on education, because we all went to school. Sometimes we feel like we're hanging on for dear life. Everything is changing, and we are on a fixed income. Change is sometimes "taboo." Instead, we talk about "reform" or "best practice."

Last Friday, while working with the teachers at EHS on equity, five students of color came to speak to the group. 5 years ago, they would not have been at EHS, they would have been in an alternative program. The essence of what Sir Ken is saying, is that we need to personalize learning for each student. For 85%, they know how to "play the game" of school. What about the other 15%? By personalizing learning, and making all students feel a part of the community, we will reach that group. When you hear about 5 students who have had success, it gives you the energy to get up off the windshield and try again!

He then lead us through some of Tony Wagner's work.
We have an 19th Century Curriculum
20th Century Buildings and Organizations
21st Century Students

Dagget-"The world our kids are going to live in is changing four times faster than our schools."

In the last 50 years, our economy has transformed, and routine cognitive and routine manual labor has decreased, whereas non-routine interactive, non-routine analytic has skyrocketed.

What are the 21st Century Skills? Expert Thinking, Complex Communication are the new skills students need. How have are classrooms changed to address these skills?

Examples

  • Elementary classrooms-Instead of the teacher standing in front of the room, "talk with your elbow partner"
  • Edina Apps-Students can collaborate on documents
  • More group work-How do we evaluate that work? How do we prepare them for that?
  • Highlands elementary uses a lot of Johnson and Johnson's collaborative learning strategies
  • Band and Athletic teams support these skills
  • Need to differentiate and look at collaboration at different developmental levels.

State Standards lack attention in several key areas:

  • HS English Standards and courses emphasize literature (Though the refresh and core standards are changing.)
  • Reading material students will encounter in college or on the job is informational.
  • Ability to work in teams is not in the curriculum.

Creative work is the key in developed countries.

Top 5 new hire skills

  • Communication
  • Honesty
  • Teamwork skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Strong work ethic

How do we align learning to purpose and relevance.

Wagner believes we are doing students a great injustice by putting them in AP courses to take information in, spit it out and fill in a bubble.

Locklear finished with a look at some questions brought up by Bernie Trilling in his TIES Keynote.

Here are the slides from this morning:

Further resources for the day can be found on the Edina Engaged and Inspired Students Website.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Teaching and Technology Cohort Takes Off

This fall, 29 teachers from Edina embarked on a Teaching and Technology Certificate program through Hamline University.
Funded through a grant from the Edina Education Fund, the teachers started the program in a course called, Creating Community for All Learners. Through the course, they worked to form their own community, gained understanding of the importance of sharing, and how technology can be used to connect and collaborate. We created a hashtag on Twitter (#edinatt), and invited participants to share with one another.



The course was delivered in a "blended" format of face to face and online, and the participants described their learning experience as:


One of the activities involved creating their own metaphor for educational technology. The examples cohort members came up with ranged from a steamroller, an 8th grade boy and running a marathon to a rainbow, rain on a farmers field and a tapestry!

A definite highlight was the final face to face session, where groups created a community building activity and "taught" it to the rest of the class. The groups created lesson plans for these activities that can be found here. Some of the activities involve Webcams, and Technology tools such as:
The final assignment involved a plan for how they would create community in their classroom. They can be found in the portfolios on our public Website.
After a break, the cohort will pick up again January 25th with a class on Integrating Technology. This experience is providing staff with a 21st Century learning experience that will provide them with skills to enhance their instruction with technology.