textbooksSmartBlog on Education will highlight summer learning and enrichment for educators during June. ASCD Emerging Leader Barry Saide helps kick off coverage of the topic.

Todd Whitaker states, “Professional development begins with induction.” The crux of his statement is that when we hire someone for their first role in education, we should look at their character first, and their characteristics second. We should visualize where the person being hired adds value to our organization, how that person can support the initiatives we currently have in play, or how their skill set fits the direction we have for our organization.

Now, Todd Whitaker is a very smart man. To draw an analogy, if Todd Whitaker is the golf pro, I’m the equivalent of the golf ball whacker guy. But, on this one point, I think I’m right, and you can tweet this: Professional development shouldn’t begin with induction, because if it does, we’ve skipped the first step. (read more…)

Engaging students has a variety of topographical looks but one definition: active minds having to adapt, negotiate, problem solve and produce. Student engagement is essential to deeper more complex learning. As you consider curriculum, look for ways to deliver information without being the primary source of that information. One way to create a fully student-engaged learning environment is to allow students to explore content in four brain-based learning areas:

  1. Imagination: Students explore content by creating digital or non-digital products where the only expectation is that they create some imaginative resource or connection to the content. An example of a product in this area might be exploring geometric solids as both closed and netted figures and creating a digitally annotated representation of them. Apps like 3D Geometry and Skitch, or EduCreations, are excellent for this type of learning.
  2. Curiosity: Students discover and explore a variety of examples of the content and develop “wonder questions” which will guide their research about the content.
  3. (read more…)

textbooksAs a sports fan, I have often thought about how certain built-in realities of the professional game impact the likelihood of a particular player’s potential for success. For example, the height of a basket in basketball places a premium on tall players; even guards and wing men are typically well above six feet tall. Similarly, football offensive linemen who can block well but are nowhere near the standard 300+ lb. weight that has become commonplace in today’s NFL are almost assured that they will not find a job in the premier football league.

This same reality applies to the classroom. Out of necessity, we have created a set of standards and parameters for schooling, and tend to define smartness and intelligence in those narrow terms. We focus on particular academic areas, such as language and mathematics, and account less for students’ abilities and interests in other disciplines. Moreover, we use testing measures that cater to visual, linguistic and logical learners over those who would benefit from a testing environment that allows for oral testing, dialogue, and/or movement, to choose a few. (read more…)

SmartBlog on Education in collaboration with eCampus News will bring you monthly point/counterpoint-style blog posts about top issues in higher education. This month, two experts’ weigh in on containing the costs of a higher-education degree.

Join the conversation on eCampus Symposium.

If you enjoyed this article, join SmartBrief’s email list for more stories about education. We offer newsletters covering Higher Education, College and Career Readiness, Leadership and more. (read more…)

Disruption is probably one of the most overused buzzwords in education, yet few seem to know what it means. In higher education especially, there’s a tendency to take an exciting technological advancement, call it a disruptive innovation, cram it into the classroom experience, and then hope that efficiencies will magically appear. But a disruptive innovation doesn’t necessarily entail a technological breakthrough. In fact, in our most recent work in higher education called Hire Education, Clayton Christensen and I underscore that there is true disruptive potential in online competency-based education (CBE) aligned to workforce needs even though the parts of this whole are not at all new.

We’ve all heard of workforce training, competencies and online learning. They’re not new phenomena, but online competency-based education is revolutionary because it marks the critical convergence of multiple vectors: the right learning model, the right technologies, the right customers, and the right business model. (read more…)