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Top 10 Posts of 2012: Deep, Meaningful and Creative Learning

Top 10 Posts of 2012: Deep, Meaningful and Creative Learning
Flickr: CriCristina It may come as no surprise that the ideas that are top-of-mind for educators, parents, and policymakers are the very topics conveyed in the most popular MindShift posts this year. Giving kids the tools to create, teachers the freedom to innovate, making students’ work relevant in the real world, giving them access to valuable technology. These are the aspirations that have resonated most with MindShift readers this year. Being able to use the Internet and operate computers is one thing, but it may be just as valuable to teach students how to code. So much about how and where kids learn has changed over the years, but the physical structure of schools has not. The conversation in education has shifted towards outcomes and training kids for jobs of the future, and in many ways the traditional classroom has become obsolete. Can creativity be taught? At its core, the issues associated with mobile learning get to the very fundamentals of what happens in class everyday.

How Einstein Got So Smart – 10 Learning Hacks How would you feel if many people thought you were the smartest person in history? How might your life be different if you actually were that intelligent? Although we often think of Albert Einstein as one of the smartest people ever, we don’t investigate what it was that made him so. Einstein…the Failure? Before you get the list of Einstein’s learning habits, consider some interesting facts about his early life. These things represent just a taste of the irony about his early life. 10 Things Einstein Did to Get So Smart From what I can find, no one has compiled details about how Einstein actually studied. 1- He daydreamed and contemplatedWho has the right to say what is absentmindedness and what is pure genius? 8- He Relied on Faith to LearnEinstein’s faith was that by inquiry and discipline you could learn things about invisible objects or phenomena. Get this high resolution graphic (pdf) on Einstein’s Learning Hacks – for free! Sources (contains some commissioned affiliate links):

Seeing Students As Co-Collaborators The traditional model of education is hierarchal, with organizations and administrators of learning on top and students and their families receiving the learning somewhere below. While this made sense in the past when public education–inclusive systems of public education at that—were still finding their way, there is little excuse for such a workflow as we approach 2013. Embedded in this simple pattern are troubling implications that sabotage learning processes from the beginning. In informal and as they occur learning circumstances, the concept of power and currency is highly dynamic, constantly shifting based on context. If you are researching for the best fix for a leaking roof or an injured lower back, you might seek experts, or demonstrated expertise. In these situations, you are constantly evaluating information and re-contextualizing it—understanding what you hear or read, and seeing how it makes sense to the specifics of your situation. But what would be the benefits if it did?

Why I Let My Students Cheat On Their Exam by Peter Nonacs| On test day for my Behavioral Ecology class at UCLA, I walked into the classroom bearing an impossibly difficult exam. Rather than being neatly arranged in alternate rows with pen or pencil in hand, my students sat in one tight group, with notes and books and laptops open and available. They were poised to share each other’s thoughts and to copy the best answers. As I distributed the tests, the students began to talk and write. All of this would normally be called cheating. Who in their right mind would condone and encourage cheating among UCLA juniors and seniors? Animals and their behavior have been my passions since my Kentucky boyhood, and I strive to nurture this love for nature in my students. Nevertheless, I’m a realist. Much of evolution and natural selection can be summarized in three short words: “Life is games.” So last quarter I had an intriguing thought while preparing my Game Theory lectures. Gasps filled the room. “None,” I replied.

Students as Teachers – Designers of Weekly Activities Start this month by discussing with students your Do Now questions and make explicit your daily goals. Shift the responsibility to your students while supporting them as they create the check-in activity. Goals Start class with an engaging activity.Empower students to design, evaluate and reflect about a student check-in activity.Foster a more collaborative student centered classroom. Activity Plan: Students as Designers Organize your class into pairs, then assign each group a week and topic during the fall term. What are Do Nows? Since your last class there have been numerous opportunities for students to improve their understanding or make false connections and lose track of where you left off. So how do you gauge what your students understand at minute zero of class? As students trickle into class have them log into your Socrative room and engage in an entrance activity of two to three questions. Examples Do Now activities:

Critical Thinking in Everyday Life: 9 Strategies Most of us are not what we could be. We are less. We have great capacity. But most of it is dormant; most is undeveloped. Improvement in thinking is like improvement in basketball, in ballet, or in playing the saxophone. It is unlikely to take place in the absence of a conscious commitment to learn. Development in thinking requires a gradual process requiring plateaus of learning and just plain hard work. How, then, can we develop as critical thinkers? First, we must understand that there are stages required for development as a critical thinker: We develop through these stages if we: In this article, we will explain 9 strategies that any motivated person can use to develop as a thinker. There is nothing magical about our ideas. First Strategy: Use “Wasted” Time. The key is that the time is “gone” even though, if we had thought about it and considered our options, we would never have deliberately spent our time in the way we did. When did I do my worst thinking today? Go to top

Study Shows How Classroom Design Affects Student Learning As debate over education reform sizzles, and as teachers valiantly continue trying to do more with less, a new study suggests that it might be worth diverting at least a little attention from what’s going on in classrooms to how those spaces are being designed. The paper, published in the journal Building and the Environment, found that classroom design could be attributed to a 25% impact, positive or negative, on a student’s progress over the course of an academic year. The difference between the best- and worst-designed classrooms covered in the study? A full year’s worth of academic progress. The study was conducted over the 2011–12 academic year, with 751 students in 34 classrooms, spread across seven primary schools in the seaside town of Blackpool, England. So what did they find? Read more here. [Hat tip: Wired] [Image: Brain and Board via Shutterstock] Institute of Design at Stanford 30 Habits Of Highly Effective Teachers Editor’s Note: We often look at the qualities and characteristics of good teaching and learning, including the recent following pieces: How A Good Teacher Becomes Great What You Owe Your Students Ten Secrets To Surviving As A Teacher The Characteristics Of A Highly Effective Learning Environment How To Be A Mediocre Teacher So it made sense to take a look at the characteristics of a successful educator, which Julie DuNeen does below. 25 Things Successful Teachers Do Differently by Julie DuNeen If you ask a student what makes him or her successful in school, you probably won’t hear about some fantastic new book or video lecture series. What students take away from a successful education usually centers on a personal connection with a teacher who instilled passion and inspiration for their subject. Are teachers reaching their students? 1. How do you know if you are driving the right way when you are traveling somewhere new? 2. We can’t all be blessed with “epic” workdays all the time. 3. 4. 5.

Nabokov on Inspiration and the Six Short Stories Everyone Should Read by Maria Popova “A prefatory glow, not unlike some benign variety of the aura before an epileptic attack, is something the artist learns to perceive very early in life.” “Show up, show up, show up,” Isabel Allende advised, “and after a while the muse shows up, too.” That’s precisely what Vladimir Nabokov addresses in an essay titled “Inspiration,” a fine addition to famous writers’ collected wisdom on writing, originally published in the Saturday Review on November 20, 1972, and found in Strong Opinions (public library) — the same fantastic volume that gave us the author’s rare BBC interview on literature and life. He begins with several dictionary definitions of the elusive grab-bag term: Writing three decades after Rosamund Harding’s Anatomy of Inspiration and just eight years after Arthur Koetler’s cult-classic The Creative Act, Nabokov addresses the dismissive attitude many “serious” writers take toward the notion of inspiration — an attitude that E. Thanks, Natascha Donating = Loving

7 Essential Principles of Innovative Learning Big Ideas Culture Teaching Strategies Flirck:WoodleyWonderworks Every educator wants to create an environment that will foster students’ love of learning. Researchers at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) launched the Innovative Learning Environments project to turn an academic lens on the project of identifying concrete traits that mark innovative learning environments. Their book, The Nature of Learning: Using Research to Inspire Practice and the accompanying practitioner’s guide, lay out the key principles for designing learning environments that will help students build skills useful in a world where jobs are increasingly information and knowledge-based. “Adaptive expertise tries to push beyond the idea of mastery,” said Jennifer Groff, an educational engineer and co-founder of the Center for Curriculum Redesign. [RELATED READING: How Can Teachers Prepare Kids for a Connected World] Educators can also test ideas with students before implementing them.

Home | The Creativity Post How-to Remain Relevant in Higher Ed with ‘Active Learning’ Active learning…. the topic frequently polarizes faculty. Active learning has attracted strong advocates … looking for alternatives to traditional teaching methods, while skeptical faculty regard active learning as another in a long line of educational fads.” (Prince, 2004) Is active learning a fad? Flipping the classroom, peer teaching and collaborative learning are active learning methods that appear to be ‘in’ right now. What is Active Learning? Yet the lecture method is proving to be problematic in today’s digital culture. When using active learning students are engaged in more activities than just listening. The words, ‘involved’ and ‘problem solving’ are worthy of emphasis; active learning is not busy work, but is purposeful instruction that guides students towards learning outcomes. These findings are consistent with Harvard’s Professor Eric Mazur, a pioneer of active learning who developed a method called Peer Instruction. IndividualCollaborationCooperative Resources: Like this:

The 10 habits of highly creative people, applied to creative companies « Marketing Babylon The book Creativity : Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention (previously titled: Creativity: The Work and Lives of 91 Eminent People) contains an exploration of the common personality traits of creative people. The traits are articulated as a series of ten paradoxes. Before listing them, he writes: Of all human activities, creativity comes closest to providing the fulfillment we all hope to get in our lives. Call it full-blast living. You’ve got to love the man, I’m sure he’d be against speculative work and 6-way creative pitches. The list itself is delightful on its own, and will feel intuitively familiar to anyone who has an appreciation for creativity and creative people. So here are Csikszentmihalyi’s Ten paradoxical traits of the creative personality, translated to the the traits of creative companies. 1. Creative companies balance a great capacity for doing and action with time for focus, reflection and a healthy work-life balance. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

20 Tips To Promote A Self-Directed Classroom Culture 20 Tips To Promote A Self-Directed Classroom Culture It’s an age-old saying, “Give a man a fish, and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and feed him for a lifetime.” What separates good teachers from the excellent ones? The excellent ones are handing out fishing poles; creating a culture in the classroom of independence and self-reliance. So how do you cultivate a culture of “I can…” in your classroom? 1. The more I study education and psychology, the more convinced I become that failure is one of the most important tools for learning. Failure can be the doorway to great accidental inventions. 2. Curiosity is what propels a young child to venture away from the safety of his/her mother to explore the environment. 3. Students who have a platform and a voice feel more empowered than those that don’t. 4. Terry Heick writes about the Gradual Release of Responsibility Model. 5. 6. Do you remember the last time you touched a hot oven? 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20.