What an absolute inspiration to hear Logan LaPlante discuss his out of the box education with the world. Logan's goal in life is to be happy and healthy. He explains to the world that he does not want to live in such a way that society tells him to. "Go to school, go to college, get a job, get married, and then you will be happy" just doesn't work for him. Logan feels that schools are failing kids like him and I would suppose also those students that don't know that they have a right to be like him. Logan lays out what everyone needs to make them happy and healthy and this is what he revolves his nontraditional educational "mind set" around. Logan calls this mindset "hackschooling". He explains that there is a better way of educating youth, a way to hack education to make it more meaningful and rewarding. I am almost completely on board with Logan on this one. I can see where education is missing that happy and healthy educational purpose. It doesn't hurt that I am watching an amazingly intelligent and confident 13 year old tell me that there is a better way to educate students. While I would love for my children to be in his hackschooling of Logan's I can't help thinking about his parents. They have to be well educated in order to have such faith as to pull Logan out of the school system. I think about how much effort his parents must put into his education. The classes and opportunities that have taught him so much must have cost an exorbitant amount of money and so so so much more time to plan and get him there. Something that might be slipping through here is that parents are out there working, parents are out there making a living, they are out there doing exactly what Logan is advocating against. One of the things that is so great about the public school system is that it gives adults the opportunity to go to work while the kiddos are in school. It sounds horrible, but that's the way it is. And what about getting the necessary GED or Bachelor's degree to do the things that he might want to do for a career. Until the pendulum swings the other way in America, we work and we make a living and those things usually start with the educational system. But until this revolution, I have been inspired by Logan to take some of his philosophy of teaching kids to be happy and healthy and incorporate it into my classroom. I will pledge to have my students explore an education plan of their own in my classroom. My job as an educator is to teach students how to be lifetime learners and now I will add to that teaching students how to be happy for their lifetime.
This video by Dr. White is about being either a resident or a visitor on the internet. Before this video I had only heard the terms "native or immigrant" to describe ones capabilities on the web. I think I like this new way of thinking better as it makes more sense than simply the younger generation just understand technology and older individuals don't. I have a lot of people in my immediate circle that wouldn't fit into those stereotypes. On Dr. White's continuum of resident/visitor, I would put myself somewhere in the middle. After all, this IS me blogging right now. I also have a website, both professional and for my classroom. I think EDSS 350 is forcing the issue of residency a little more than I would have done by myself, but I now have a twitter handle, linked-in profile, and Google+ circles to push me in the resident direction on the continuum. I definitely see the importance of having a separation between the personal and professional online residency activities. I make sure to keep online activities private, I am very aware of what I put online and that I am now considered a role model to more than just my three children.
After reading the extended essay "Why School" by Will Richardson, I can't help but feel a little bit deflated about common core and the projection of our education system. I can't help but feel like I am about to get thrown into the mouth of a huge, desperate ,money hungry, test obsessed, self-riotous monster that is America's education system. On the bright side, I do agree with Richardson's overall tenet that is a little more off the topic of common core. Richardson writes about school in this day in age needing to be less about what is testable (read: fund-able) and more about what the student needs to learn to be successful in today's technology based world.Schools today are the same as they were 50+ years ago. Schools were used to ready children to enter the factory jobs that were waiting for them. With today's world revolving more around technology and entrepreneurship, why would our schools still be set up in the same manner as before the invention of the personal computer? We live in a time where kids don't have to ask their teacher how to do something, they ask Google. The internet enables the student to learn from the bank of the world's knowledge rather the one individual at the front of the room. At first glance it might seem like Richardson is saying teachers and schools are unnecessary, but he clarifies that he is calling for a dramatic chance in the way teachers teach and not the eradication of them. In this extended essay Richardson claims that although most teenagers are capable of finding what they need on internet because we think of them as tech native, doesn't mean that they know how to decipher between good and bad resources. It would be the teachers job to help the students to learn the techniques of proper research and many other skills related to this "new" form of information gathering. I agree with this idea. My philosophy of teaching in general goes along with what Richardson is saying because I believe in teaching to the whole child. I believe in teaching the student the big ideas that will help them to make better, more informed choices in their lives. I don't give much value to what a student can regurgitate onto a test. That is why I thought I liked the Common Core, I thought it was all about analyzing information, critical thought and applying what you learned. Richardson makes his stance clear on the Common Core calling it a road to "vilify teachers" and "narrow". I do like what Richardson is saying about the overall goal of schooling being changed, but it is hard having these thoughts that how I learned in high school is no longer a valid way to teach. I sort of feel like David and Goliath at this point. It is comforting however that there are smart people like Will Richardson leading the way for this much needed reform in education.
Richardson talks about two ways in which we can reform the system to better suit the learning needs of the students today. The first is to teach what we teach, but with the use of technology. The second would be to change what we teach so that students have a better chance at excelling in the "real-world". Richardson goes on to describe what learning would look like if we went with the first option, with students learning from home online and no real educator merely uploading the lesson and running troubleshoot. I prefer the later choice where we are teaching students life lesson along side what subjects we are passionate about as teachers. We should definitely change what we teach to better suit what it means to be successful in today's world, but moreover we need to revamp this whole idea of high stakes testing. I get anxiety just thinking about how we even start that process, but I feel better that there are people like Richardson that are at least beginning the conversation.
Richardson speaks about 6 different unlearning/relearning ideas that teachers need to start thinking about in order to contribute to this reform of education. I think the easiest one to commit to is the sharing of my best practices. I have felt myself become prideful and almost Gollum-like when I come up with a good lesson. With all the time, sweat and tears that goes into building meaningful,engaging lessons from scratch it was hard for me, at first, to want to share "my precious" creations. I have decided that I will commit to this idea of sharing and gathering others' great works as well. Each and every kid deserves the best we teachers can give them. Looking at the bigger picture, we teachers are creating a better future each and every day in our classrooms. Why not share our best works to reach even more budding adults that will in turn better the world's society. Not to many people get a chance to shape the future like that.