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There’s an emotional side of edtech—and it’s affecting school innovation

E-School News – Alan November

“At one of my recent workshops, I was approached by a teacher who had never redesigned her lessons to take advantage of edtech’s potential to transform learning. She was still stuck in the $1,000 pencil phase of using new tools to do traditional work. When I showed examples of how teachers around the country were challenging students to design and find solutions to their own problems, she immediately saw the benefit of shifting her thinking. The good news was that she was reconsidering her beliefs and was now convinced that she had been underestimating her students. The bad news is, she was afraid of appearing vulnerable in front of her students if something went wrong.”(more)

The Right Classroom Design Fosters Innovation [#Infographic]

Education Tech Magazine – Staff Writer

“When it comes to 21st century learning, the traditional classroom is adapting along with the students. Students at Yorkville Community School District 115 in suburban Chicago are able to work pretty much anywhere in their school, including the hallways and staircases, EdTech reports. These creative spaces make it easy for students to connect, collaborate and think outside the box. While not every school can remodel its entire learning space, one small tool that can innovate the classroom is the standing desk.”(more)

Get rid of the education bureaucracy and kids’ hearts will sing

News Herald – Juliann Talkington


It’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields the results that make our hearts sing. – Steve Jobs, founder of Apple

Steve Jobs made highly technical machines user-friendly and beautiful by blending mathematics, science, and art. More importantly, he started a wave of innovation that made products that were once only accessible to scientists and engineers readily available to the general public.

During this period of innovation, the education sector was stuck in a time warp. Most primary and secondary students today are educated in about the same way that they were in the 1980s.

Counselors continue to place students into STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), humanities, and trade tracks rather than encourage a broad education. Teaching credentials are still more important than an amazing understanding of the subject and schools are still accredited by personnel from other schools rather than by the market. Also, the majority of U.S. students attend schools run by the government.

Regulations and peer review accreditations may have been necessary in the middle of the 20th Century. However, the same regulations and accrediting bodies that protected our kids then are forcing schools to operate in ways that are inconsistent with 21st Century realities. In short, this means kids are wasting years of their lives on things that no longer matter.

For education to keep pace with the times, there must be a complete paradigm shift. Instead of regulating and delaying change, we need to encourage the education sector to innovate.

To make sure new ideas make it into the education system we need to encourage more private schooling options. Then we need to urge these schools to try radical concepts and provide concrete information on what students are learning. Finally, we need to make sure all students have access to these innovative schools.

The easiest way to make all this happen is to issue education vouchers that can be used at any school and require schools to publish third party test results each year.

With this type of competition, all schools should become better. When the schools become better, our kids will be better prepared. When our kids are better prepared, the country will be more vibrant. When the country is more vibrant, the economy will be better. When the economy is stronger, everyone will be better off.

It is time to get rid of the bureaucracy and allow our schools to innovate so our kids’ hearts can sing.


How To Raise Brilliant Children, According To Science

NPR Ed – Anya Kamenetz

“”Why are traffic lights red, yellow and green?” When a child asks you a question like this, you have a few options. You can shut her down with a “Just because.” You can explain: “Red is for stop and green is for go.” Or, you can turn the question back to her and help her figure out the answer with plenty of encouragement. No parent, teacher or caregiver has the time or patience to respond perfectly to all of the many, many, many opportunities like these that come along. But a new book, Becoming Brilliant: What Science Tells Us About Raising Successful Children, is designed to get us thinking about the magnitude of these moments. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, the book’s co-author, compares the challenge to climate change. “What we do with little kids today will matter in 20 years,” she says. “If you don’t get it right, you will have an unlivable environment. That’s the crisis I see.””(more)

Next in STEM Innovation and Education: Taking Cues from Nature

Utah Business – Lisa Christensen

“Sandy—What do a shark, an ant, a gecko and a firefly have in common? They all have unique traits that scientists and engineers are taking inspiration from to develop the technologies of the future. “Innovation inspired by nature can improve existing [inventions], but it can also inspire new ones,” said Sam Stier, founding director of the Center for Learning with Nature. Speaking as the keynote address at the STEM Best Practices Conference Tuesday to a crowd of educators, administrators and business leaders, Stier said in addition to inspiring people working in STEM fields, nature can stoke the imaginations of budding scientists, engineers, architects and computer programmers in the classroom.”(more)

What is the National Week of Making and how is the country celebrating it?

Deseret News – Megan McNulty

“You may not know it, but we are nearing the end of National Week of Making, designated by the White House as a time to celebrate innovations in science, technology, engineering, art, math and individuals who contributed to the Maker Movement. According to U.S. News, the term “making” refers to creative elements such as metalworking, woodworking, drawing and digital fabrication. “Making” can play a vital role in ensuring a relevant and engaging learning experience for children as well as challenging them to solve real-world problems…President Barack Obama kicked off the week, from June 17-23, with the National Maker Faire at the White House this past weekend…”We celebrate the tinkerers and dreamers whose talent and drive have brought new ideas to life, and we recommit to cultivating the next generation of problem solvers,” U.S. News reported Obama saying this week.”(more)