Debunking the Genius Myth Picture a “genius” — you’ll probably conjure an image of an Einstein-like character, an older man in a rumpled suit, disorganized and distracted even as he, almost accidentally, stumbles upon his next “big idea.” In truth, the acclaimed scientist actually said, “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” But the narrative around Einstein and a lot of accomplished geniuses — think Ben Franklin, the key and the bolt of lightning — tends to focus more on mind-blowing talent and less on the hard work behind the rise to success.
Teacher as Facilitator Teacher As Facilitator Theresa London Cooper Teachers, especially new teachers, so desperately want their students to learn that they often end up doing most of the work. The truth is we must see ourselves as facilitators of learning who possess knowledge, not as the keepers of knowledge. We must provide students with opportunities to be in charge of their learning, discover new ideas, gain insight, and make connections. How do we accomplish this task? During my time as a classroom teacher, I found the following tips helpful. Collared or Untied: Reflections on Work in American Culture 1.Fred Armisen opened the first season of the TV show Portlandia singing “The Dream of the 90s is Alive in Portland,” a dream of pierced, tattooed folks hanging out, hot girls wearing glasses and putting images of birds on everything, and grown-ups making a living making coffee. He asks Carrie Brownstein if she remembers the ’90s, when people were unambitious and “they had no occupations whatsoever.” “I thought that died out a long time ago,” she says, wonderingly, before she leaves L.A. to join Armisen’s ragged troupe of relaxed and minimally-employed folks dedicated to the art of skateboarding. The context missing from this hilarious send-up is that Portland experienced a decade-long recession in the early years of the 2000s, and didn’t bounce back from it until the last couple of years. The ’90s, like the ’80s before them, were a decade of company mergers and the birth of bigger, leaner, and meaner mega-corporations. 2.
Sir Ken Robinson: Transform Education? Yes, We Must As the new members of 111th Congress wander through the building looking for their desks and lockers, it may feel for some of them like the first day at school. They should hold on to that feeling. One of the biggest challenges they face is sorting out American education. Given the recession, the dire situation in the Middle East and the general state of the planet, education is probably not at the top of their to-do list. Rita F. Pierson: WATCH: How A Teacher Encouraged Her Students With An 'F' TED and The Huffington Post are excited to bring you TEDWeekends, a curated weekend program that introduces a powerful "idea worth spreading" every Friday, anchored in an exceptional TEDTalk. This week's TEDTalk is accompanied by an original blog post from the featured speaker, along with new op-eds, thoughts and responses from the HuffPost community. Watch the talk above, read the blog post and tell us your thoughts below.
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THE FINANCIAL PHILOSOPHER: Foundations vs 'Castles in the Air' "I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings. In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them." ~ Henry David Thoreau, Walden
‘Jackson Pollock’ models for leadership The programme at ‘Developing Leaders for Tomorrow‘ last week encouraged us to question models of school leadership, and several keynotes highlighted the diverse and increasingly complex hierarchies that are emerging in schools. However, some schools are deciding that hierarchies for development are not the answer, and recognising the power of ‘ground up’ leadership of learning. In his keynote, Andrew Jones shared an interesting analogy for thinking about leadership models. Such models are often depicted in the form of neat coloured boxes in a hierarchy or workflow- and we saw several such diagrams during the day depicting complex, but highly organised visions for collaboration right up to local authority and national level. The problem, as Andrew put it, is that whilst much time, effort and money is spent on defining these organised models, the reality of practice on the ground usually ends up looking more like a Jackson Pollock image.
What we can learn from Finland’s successful school reform Finland came from behind to become the world leader in student achievement. Their strategy is the opposite of what we’re doing in America. Illustration by M. Glenwood One wonders what we might accomplish as a nation if we could finally set aside what appears to be our de facto commitment to inequality, so profoundly at odds with our rhetoric of equity, and put the millions of dollars spent continually arguing and litigating into building a high-quality education system for all children. To imagine how that might be done, one can look at nations that started with very little and purposefully built highly productive and equitable systems, sometimes almost from scratch, in the space of only two to three decades.
The 100 Best (And Free) Online Learning Tools We’re always excited to find the next best thing. But how does one actually find this supposed next best thing? Let Edudemic do the work for you! For example, ever wanted to spend zero dollars but have some of the most bleeding edge technologies at your disposal? Why Everybody Who Doesn’t Hate Bitcoin Loves It: Full Transcript This is a transcript of the Freakonomics Radio podcast “Why Everybody Who Doesn’t Hate Bitcoin Loves It.” [MUSIC: Greg Ruby Quartet, “Swing for Dudley” (from Look Both Ways)] Stephen J. Is There a Future in Solar Boats? One of the highlights of this year's World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi was a tour of Planet Solar's incredible solar powered yacht — the Turanor. The largest solar powered boat ever to set sail, the Turanor is on the final leg of a round-the-world tour, the first time anyone has managed to sail around the world powered entirely by solar energy. The massive 8.5 ton boat comfortably carries a crew of a half dozen or so with plenty of room to host a dockside party for 100. It cruises comfortably at 5 knots but is capable of double that speed on particularly good days as it cuts through the waves with its knife-like design. Most impressive — the boat can can store as much as 3 days worth of sailing power in a huge rack of lithium ion batteries — thus allowing it to sail in the dark of night without a hitch.
What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland's School Success - Anu Partanen The Scandinavian country is an education superpower because it values equality more than excellence. Sergey Ivanov/Flickr Everyone agrees the United States needs to improve its education system dramatically, but how? One of the hottest trends in education reform lately is looking at the stunning success of the West's reigning education superpower, Finland. Trouble is, when it comes to the lessons that Finnish schools have to offer, most of the discussion seems to be missing the point. Cathy N. Davidson Says it is Time to Relearn Learning We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.