Portland Principal Promotes Collaborative Culture

Mike McCarthy is principal at King Middle School in Portland, Maine

McCarthy transformed a culture of divisiveness and violence by committing to cooperation and innovation.

McCarthy: “The genius of this school is not in a program, it’s not in the laptops, it’s in the learning. It’s in teachers designing learning that they know will work for kids … and they have the space and the time and the autonomy to do it.”

The Koh Panyee Football Club: A True Story

In 1986, in a floating village in the middle of the sea that has not an inch of soil, the kids loved to watch football but had nowhere to play or practice. But they didn’t let that stop them.

This film is based on a true story about a little island in the south of Thailand called “Koh Panyee.”

This video launched a campaign for Thailand’s TMB Bank, hoping to inspire people to start small, think differently, and create positive change. The video is based on a true story. Full credits are here.

Thank you for sharing this, Charlotte Agell!

Sustaining democracy in the digital age

From the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities:

America needs “informed communities,” places where the information ecology meets people’s personal and civic information needs.

This means people have the news and information they need to take advantage of life’s opportunities for themselves and their families. They need information to participate fully in our system of self-government, to stand up and be heard.

Continue reading “Sustaining democracy in the digital age”

TED: How Eric Whitacre conducted his virtual choir of 2,000 voices

With an emergent technology, something happens that you’d never imagined. Here, YouTube and Hulu, via WordPress, Facebook, and Twitter — and built upon the Internet — bring something new and wonderful to life.

With all of the horrible things we’ve learned through the Internet about suffering in our world lately, this is a video about the simple, powerful joy of people around the world singing together. Continue reading “TED: How Eric Whitacre conducted his virtual choir of 2,000 voices”

The rise of K-12 blended learning

From Michael Horn, Innosight Institute:

Online learning is sweeping across America. In the year 2000, roughly 45,000 K–12 students took an online course. In 2009, more than 3 million K–12 students did. What was originally a distance- learning phenomenon no longer is. Most of the growth is occurring in blended-learning environments, in which students learn online in an adult-supervised environment at least part of the time. Continue reading “The rise of K-12 blended learning”

Adam Hartung: Why Steve Jobs couldn’t find a job today

From Adam Hartung:

Rather than search out growth, most businesses are still trying to simply do what their business has done for decades – and marveling at the lack of improved results…

But now we’re in the information economy… Today, value goes to those who know how to create, store, manipulate and use information.  And success in this economy has a lot more to do with innovation, and the creation of entirely new products, industries and very different kinds of jobs…

Unfortunately, however, we keep hiring for the last economy… While 1,500 CEOs say that creativity is the single most important quality for success today – and studies bear out the greater success of creative, innovative leaders – the study found that when it came to hiring and promoting practices businesses consistently marked down the creative managers and bypassed them, selecting less creative types!..

Until we start hiring promoting innovators we won’t have any innovation.  We must understand that America’s successful history doesn’t guarantee it’s successful future.  Competing on bits, rather than brawn or natural resources, requires creativity to recognize opportunities, develop them and implement new solutions rapidly.  It requires adaptability to deal with new technologies, new business models and new competitors.  It requires an understanding of innovation and how to learn while doing.

Zoe Weil: The world becomes what we teach

From Zoe Weil:

At the end of this school year approximately three million students will graduate from U.S. high schools. They will not be ready for what awaits them. These are the students who have passed their No Child Left Behind tests year after year. They are verbally, mathematically, and technologically literate. They have been successful at meeting the requirements of our educational system. Yet, for the most part, even our highest performing graduates are unprepared for the important roles they must play in today’s world…

We must embrace a new and bigger purpose for education: to provide students with what they need to be solutionaries for a better world through whatever careers they choose…

Rather than offer unconnected academic disciplines, imagine if each year of high school covered a single overarching issue, such as Sustenance, Energy, Production, or Protection. Teachers with expertise in different subjects could provide students with the skills to conduct research into current systems and articulate new viewpoints, understand and use scientific and mathematical equations and methods to solve systemic problems, and draw upon history, politics, economics, psychology, sociology, and geography to analyze, assess, propose and create new or improved systems. And the arts, relegated to the chopping block because of budget cuts, could find new life as vehicles for expression of visionary ideas…

If solutionary education became commonplace, students everywhere might revamp their school buildings for renewable energy sources. Or transform their food service systems and cafeterias so that they received healthy, sustainably and humanely produced lunches. Think what the students would learn about chemistry, ecology, biology, physics, business, farming, architecture, and construction from just these two projects alone. Imagine how fully the teachers could contribute their knowledge and passion for the subjects they know best. There are already teachers who do such projects with their students within the constraints of the current public school system, but they face perpetual hurdles. When we hear about them, we laud them in the news. But their work shouldn’t be newsworthy; it should be the norm.

Disruptive innovation in higher education

From Clayton M. Christensen, Michael B. Horn, Louis Caldera, and Louis Soares:

Disruptive innovation is the process by which a sector that has previously served only a limited few, because its products and services were complicated, expensive, and inaccessible, is transformed into one whose products and services are simple, affordable, and convenient and serves many no matter their wealth or expertise…

Changing circumstances mandate that we shift the focus of higher education policy away from how to enable more students to afford higher education to how we can make a quality postsecondary education affordable…

The challenge before the country also mandates a new definition of quality from the perspective of students — so that the education is valuable to them and that through it they improve their lives and thus improve the country’s fortunes, too…

Degrees are a proxy for skill attainment, but they are far from a perfect one, as seen in the amount of retraining that employers do as well as the current unemployment figures. Real outcomes and real mastery—as often shown in work portfolios for example—are more important…

It is critical to promote new, autonomous business models that have the freedom to re-imagine higher education. Policymakers should not frame the disruptive players as threats, and instead see them as opportunities to bring affordable education to more people.

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