From problem solvers to problem finders

In the classrooms in which I work, students explore the twenty or so themes upon which our planet really depends, immerse themselves in the ideas and information their teachers, peers and whole communities can impart, find the problems they feel are worth solving, theorise which ones will work and then try them out in a prototype. Continue reading

Peter Benson on Sparks: How youth thrive

Every teenager has a spark — something inside that is good, beautiful, and useful to the world. Sparks illuminate a young person’s life and give it meaning and purpose…

Just ask a teen: “Tell me what it is about you that gives you joy and energy? What’s going on in those moments when life feels the richest and the fullest, with purpose and hope. What is your spark? I’m dying to know.”

Peter L. Benson (1946-2011) was one of the world’s leading authorities on positive human development. Dr. Benson was the author or editor of more than a dozen books on child and adolescent development and social change, including, most recently, Sparks: How Parents Can Help Ignite the Hidden Strengths of Teenagers…

Ken Robinson on passionate learning

Sir Ken Robinson
Sir Ken Robinson by Sebastiaan ter Burg

early career focused on bringing more arts education into British schools and from there he became an internationally known authority on the value and power of creativity. He’s advised governments around the world on arts education and innovation…

Robinson challenged the audience to create schools that are more personal and give students rein to explore topics that match their aptitude and passions. Too many people don’t like their jobs, and it shouldn’t be that way, Robinson said. “If you’re doing something you love, an hour feels like five minutes,” he said.

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Anna Popova on networked knowledge

Creativity is combinatorial, that nothing is entirely original, that everything builds on what came before, and that we create by taking existing pieces of inspiration, knowledge, skill and insight that we gather over the course of our lives and recombining them into incredible new creations…

In order for us to truly create and contribute to the world, we have to be able to connect countless dots, to cross-pollinate ideas from a wealth of disciplines, to combine and recombine these pieces and build new castles…

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Steven Rosenbaum on curation, community and the future of news

Filtering for curation…Today, the idea of journalist as curator is front and center, as the tools to make and tell stories are now in the hands of anyone with a cell phone, laptop or desktop computer.

The old barriers to entry—the cost of a printing press or a broadcast tower—have evaporated. Of course, this change doesn’t come without a price….

People are clearly overwhelmed by the growing volume and weight of digital content and messaging that they feel compelled to process…. Continue reading

Fourth graders play the World Peace Game

John Hunter
John Hunter

John Hunter puts all the problems of the world on a 4’x5′ plywood board — and lets his 4th-graders solve them. At TED2011, he explains how his World Peace Game engages schoolkids, and why the complex lessons it teaches — spontaneous, and always surprising — go further than classroom lectures can.

Musician, teacher, filmmaker and game designer, John Hunter has dedicated his life to helping children realize their full potential. His own life story is one of a never-ending quest for harmony. As a student, he studied comparative religions and philosophy while traveling through Japan, China and India. In India, inspired by Ghandi’s philosophy, he began to think about the role of the schoolteacher in creating a more peaceful world. Continue reading

Maria Popova: content curation is a new kind of authorship

New tools in general, and Twitter in particular, greatly challenge the binary dichotomy of attention as something that is either given or taken away, distracted. Instead, these tools allow us to direct attention to destinations where it can be sustained with more concentration and immersion.

They offer a wayfinding system that is, on the whole, the polar opposite of traditional media’s: While “old media” fought against the scarcity of information, new media are fighting the overabundance of information….

people to discover the most relevant, interesting, and impactful information, in any medium, and then relate it to other information in a networked ecosystem of meaning that helps us better understand the world and each other…. Continue reading

10 years of laptops in Maine schools

[In 2001] Maine legislators approved — after months of doubt and debate — Gov. Angus King’s proposal to give every seventh-grader in Maine a laptop….

Maine laptop program
Ten years later, each seventh- and eighth-grader in Maine public schools and every grades 7-12 teacher has a laptop paid for by state taxpayers, at an annual cost of $11 million. And, through the Maine Department of Education, 60 percent of Maine high-schoolers have laptops, paid for by local property taxpayers. That’s a total of 72,000 laptops, according to the DOE…. Continue reading

Robert Krulwich on the future of journalism

Robert Krulwich

It is, I know, hard to find a job.

I’m guessing you look at the world of newspapers and magazines and broadcasters and webcasters and Huffposts and Daily Beasts and sometimes the whole bunch of ‘em feel like the City of Troy – you know, this high walled, Fortress of Journalism, occupied by people who somehow got in before you did and now they’re looking down at you … little you, a newbie standing alone on the beach and you’re looking up, thinking: “Hey! How’d you get in there?… and they’re not telling …

If you want to make a life in this business, if you want to begin, and survive and flourish, how do you do it? How do you start? Well I think there’s a way…. Continue reading