PaCT with the Devil

This post was originally written as a comment on this post by Tara, but my iPad wouldn’t play nicely with Blogger. Read Tara’s post first or the following won’t make sense… (probably won’t anyway).

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Unfortunately this is another educational solution built on the shifting sands that are National Standards. There are many that have accepted these insidious “measures” of student progress as a fait accompli, but they have no place in a modern education system or rich curriculum designed to work with diverse and disparate learner needs. I know I risk overusing a previously espoused analogy, but we are the camp guards here. We’re the ones helping to deliver this solution and we’re the only ones who can stand up and say enough is enough. Without us it is doomed to collapse. If we continue to stand silently by and claim no responsibility for the destructive effects these policies will have on a generation of learners then we have only ourselves to blame. Every tool that is developed to assist in the production of little cube shaped learners is just a shift up in efficiency, another widget mould that demeans our students and belittles our profession. We have to turn away from these tools, destabilize the tick boxes and league tables of below/meeting/above and revive the broader aims of The New Zealand Curriculum.

So… where do we start?

Tears

One of my Yr 5 students spent time today out of the class planting native trees for Arbor Day. He returned around lunch time, but I didn’t really really get a chance to talk to him about it this afternoon.
So I saw that he’d just tweeted a “Hey”.

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Four little words… “I’ll make a doc”. It’s been a long week and I know I’m tired, but that’s not why I welled up with tears.

Powerful stuff this motivated, independent learning thing.

[update] He shared the doc with me via Twitter DM because he wasn’t sure how to spell someone’s name. I wasn’t sure either so I texted a colleague. He waited… until I forwarded the texted answer. Sorted.

This kid is 9. Tweets and follows me with parental permission. Love it. :-)

GMail iOS 5

Today Google updated their iOS 5 GMail app. After a disastrous app launch last month, Google have added a feature that extends GMail in a new and exciting way. They’ve added a feature called Scribbles that allows you to create and share doodles, drawings, hand drawn maps etc. directly from the GMail app. A small range of brushes, sizes and colours are available and the scribble automagically attaches as a png to your email.

Keep ’em coming Google :-)

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Speaking of QR Codes…

It seems my time is spent on Twitter these days, but here’s a new post for my edublogs blog. I saw a link from Mashable on Twitter today and it gave me an idea for a class project.  Here’s a quick video I made to explain.

Of course it needn’t be the student’s own face that the talking mouth is added to.  It could be a character from a book, an historical character or anyone/anything else that suits.  I didn’t use a QR code on my image, but if you use a QR Code generator and upload videos to YouTube you can use the same QR enabled device for many different objects.

The original Mashable post is here.

And this is me… (click the image to embiggen)

QR Me

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Education Reset

reset

Just a note before you start reading.  I originally wrote this full of expletives.  To get the real feel of what I mean you can substitute the “f***ed-bomb” wherever I’ve used “messed”.

We need a reset button.  A reset button for education.  We need to try turning it off and on again.  Somewhere along the way we messed up.  I mean the collective we of course, the multi-generational we that has systematically messed up education and reduced it to a numbers game; a  keno with a few winners and many more losers.

A reboot wouldn’t be enough though would it?  We’d still have the same guts in the machine.  The same ghosts of mass education’s factory fodder origins.  The same targeted curriculum areas, same bias, same old same old.  Same shit, different day. And still messed up.

I’ve lost count of the number of curriculum review meetings I’ve been to.  You know the ones.  Where we sit around with pens and paper, cutting and pasting learning outcomes, achievement objectives, rubrics and processes until they look different, but say the same.  Maybe we’ll plug in an ICT component, you know, so it’s integrated.  A semantic shuffle and same old messed up same old.

So a reset for education isn’t enough.  We need something bigger, more drastic.  It’s messed up and we keep trying to  fix it by narrowing focus, shaving corners, bolting on new subjects and reordering others.

Sir Ken Robinson and others talk about a learning revolution, but what does that mean?

Given a clean slate how would you set about creating a new education system?  Would it be location based?  What role would institutions play, if any?  What would you include, how would it be weighted, what would its purpose be?  There are plenty of posts and ideas about personalized learning, creativity based learning, pull vs push and lifelong learning, but what would any of these look like?

Or am I wrong?  Is education not as “messed” up as I think?

Web 3.0

The Internet is evolving… here’s the next iteration.

This One’s For You II

Watch the video….