Role of the Community College and Nature of it’s Students

Perhaps it is most appropriate to comment on the nature of the community college student before discussing the role of the community college. My comments are based purely on observation and not on any scientific research. I would also suggest some may not necessarily be valid when comparing residence and non-residence campuses. Continue reading

ACTE 2011

The 2011 ACTE national conference is winding down. It seems everyone is talking Web 2.0 and 21st Century skills. There appear to be a few disconnects in my opinion.
1. We want our students to collaborate via web tools but restrict access to the Web.
2. Web policy is often dictated by limited web users.
3. Teachers often are trying to apply hi-tech tools to 19th Century pedagogy.
4. Teachers find it difficult to embrace tools they neither use nor understand.

We have a long way to go but at least we are talking. To be fair there are many who are doing admirable things. The challenge is to move things out of episodic isolation, systemically to scale.

Global Achievement Gap-Call to Action

Minister of Education for the Kingdom of Bahrain, HE Dr. Majid bin Ali Al Nuaimi outlines what must change. Continue reading

Global Achievement Gap-Seismic Shift

The current educational buzz surrounds the success in Finland. Jaana Palojarvi, Director for International Relations of the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture credits a “culture of trust in education professionals” as being a key component. Continue reading

Global Achievement Gap-Attitudes and Myths

In order to even begin the discussion a few “educational myths” need to be exposed. Continue reading

Global Achievement Gap-Understanding the Situation

Amidst the scathing indictments of our current educational system there is much that is positive. Changes are being made at local levels. In fact as Charles Leadbeater,

Roundtables and discussion groups exchange and explore perspectives

Roundtables and discussion groups exchange and explore perspectives

consultant for innovation in education in the United Kingdom suggests, “Education + Skill training + technology = Hope.”

Educators must however realize that: “Most innovation comes from collaboration. Most effective learning occurs as a result of collaboration. Our current system of education can’t deliver the necessary outcomes with the current teachers and techniques that are in place.”

Systemic transformation will only occur when new attitudes and delivery techniques are universally used to address the needs of the workplace and the motivations of what is now being described as the “Net Generation.”

The current generation of learners is very different from their teachers. They are accustomed to instant gratification. The “always on” connection has resulted in a physical re-wiring of their brains.

They use the web for extending friendships, interest driven learning, self-directed inquiry and view the Internet as a tool for self-expression.

They are constantly connected, creating and multitasking in a multimedia world everywhere except school. Young people aged 8-18 spend 7 hrs and 38 minutes a day using electronic devices. If you factor in multitasking that time increases to 13 hours.

They have less fear than their predecessors. They have less respect for authority and want coaching or mentoring not lecturing. They want and need to “make a difference.”

In order to truly transform education, educators must reframe everything to address the needs of the world and its learners.

Global Achievement Gap-Assessment

Schools at all levels around the world fail to prepare students for the workplace.

This was the clear message from business, government and education leaders of 50 nations participating in the Bahrain 2010 Global Education Conference. The global achievement gap between what industry expects and what education delivers is not caused by a lack of content but of context and practical application.

The basic problem stems from the fact that educational institutions mistakenly interpret rigor as adding more difficult coursework not demanding mastery of existing content at all levels. They are also mired in an archaic assembly line system that fails to deal with the requirements of a knowledge-based economy that is agile, pull oriented, media rich and increasingly accessible.

The result is both business and students are unhappy. Fewer jobs require a 4-year degree but more technical skill. Mobility has increased and students at all levels feel increasingly unprepared to meet the challenges of a 21st century workplace. Continue reading