Third Millennium Values

March 18, 2016 § Leave a comment

I deeply appreciate and respect the new focus and push for 21st-century learning outcomes.  I just don’t think they go far enough.

Here are the four core character traits that I believe are foundational to creating those outcomes, as well as healthier individuals, communities, and society.

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Ten Universally Useful Skills

August 5, 2015 § Leave a comment

In no particular order

  1. Financial Management
  2. Public Performance
  3. Writing
  4. Design
  5. Programming
  6. Sales
  7. Fitness Training
  8. Research
  9. Listening
  10. Self-Awareness

Did I miss anything?

Triversity: How Preschool + Entrepreneurship Will Disrupt University

September 22, 2013 § Leave a comment

So far, 2013 is largely living up to the hype as a “tipping point” for education reform.  Conversations around disruption, blending, and mastery are becoming mainstream. At long last, it seems like every aspect of the educational is being reexamined and redesigned by someone. There is more opportunities for funding and innovation than ever before. Not all these experiments will work, but we as a society are arguably questioning and learning more about education in the last couple years than we have in the past century. Yet there is one aspect of the educational experience where even the most adventurous reformers (with a few exceptions) tread cautiously:  the assumption that attending college is a (if not the) primary goal of K-12 education.

A few forward-thinking schools may dare to list “college and career readiness” as if the two were equally valuable.  However, the brutal reality of modern education is that virtually every aspect of elementary and secondary education is optimized to help colleges decide which students to admit.  This is best seen in the “transcript” — a list of standardized courses and grades that end up defining both the identity and activity of students. Even the vast majority of charters and homeschools design themselves around that same artifact, with only token efforts to prepare students for success in the real world.

You may consider this a radical and unwarranted claim.  To back it up, let me present an alternate model of what school could (and should) look like if we removed that distortion.  I call it the Triversity.  It draws inspiration from the two areas of learning where almost nobody worries about college: preschool and entrepreneurship.  Here’s what it looks like. « Read the rest of this entry »

What in God’s Name is Happening to School?

August 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

A primer on the ongoing transformation of education, for my cousin-in-law who runs a seminary startup.

  1. Use video to “flip the classroom” so teachers are more “guide on the side” than “sage on the stage.”
  2. Shift the goal from passive content acquisition to constructive skill masteryKhan Academy Vision – YouTube
  3. Personalize education for different learning styles and goals: Mass Customized Learning
  4. Team students together as teachers and builders:  Challenge Based Learning – Home Page
  5. Prepare students to create jobs rather than find them: The Lean LaunchPad – Teaching Entrepreneurship as a Management Science « Steve Blank
  6. Develop a coherent theology of work and life: Strive For Work-Life Integration, Not Balance | Fast Company
  7. Nurture an organic learning network, not an institution: Stoos Learning Change » Think Productivity!
  8. Create a viral business model enabling lower cost yet higher quality: The Makers Triversity: A Father’s Education Dream « iHack, therefore iBlog

Did I miss anything important?

Appendix: Related tweets

  • What if seminarians were graduated solely based on the theology that the non-Christians they knew inferred from their behavior?
  • The skill theologians ought to be mastering is how to discern & articulate the purpose & activity of God in new contexts.
  • Seminary should train Christians to follow the process of Aquinas, Athanasius, Augustine, Luther & Calvin — not their results!
  • Christendom is dying for theological entrepreneurs who will convene new resources to fulfill God’s vision in new contexts.

How to Professionalize Teaching

June 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

Everyone knows that great teachers are the key to a great education. But how do we get more of them?

One popular request is to treat teachers as professionals, a “certified expert who is afforded prestige and autonomy in return for performing at a high level” rather than “interchangeable cogs in an educational factory line out of the last century.” Advocates of this approach typically focus on:

  1. Greater respect
  2. Higher pay
  3. Tougher certification
  4. Clearer accountability

While those are noble goals, there seems to be very little discussion about the structural changes necessary to achieve those results. Nobody even seems to realize that those four are signs of professionalization rather than the cause:

  • Pay and respect are outcomes of professionalization
  • Certification and accountability are consequences of professionalization.

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The Makers Triversity: A Father’s Education Dream

April 11, 2012 § 6 Comments

The following is a work of fiction, perhaps even of fantasy. I am no educator, and know nothing of the economics or mechanics of running such a school.  Yet I dream that my son’s future will look more like this than what passes for education today.

[May 16, 2017 Update: Maker’s Triversity missed the 2014 deadline I had hoped for back in 2011.  But it is more plausible now than it was then, with the rise of micro-schools such as the franchise-able Acton Academy.  Who knows?  Maybe something will happen in time for the 2018-19 school year…]

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