Monday, September 02, 2013

To the "barricades"

Here is a cross post from 6AM thoughts. I discovered a new type of "school" that is spreading across the Netherlands. It includes so many ideas that I have thought about and tried actually in a face to face world. Rather than try to write about them I thought that I would just embed a video that describes the school so well. Let me know what you think.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Teaching Students in Digital Reality

"Students still need guidance, so that part of the job is still very much relevant. Students also need knowledge to be explained, and shown how it all fits together. In other words, teachers and schools are still required"

The above statement serves as the standard apology for the school paradigm. It is almost mandatory to be included in some form in any article or video that calls for a new way of learning or you will be branded a radical with nothing to say. It is what prevents and real change from taking place. The classroom of school where things are explained and fit together in the patterns of prevailing world view needs to give way to a conversation where information is fit together in a collective analysis. School was not friendly to Einstein, to Bill Gates, to Steve Jobs, to Ken Robinson. The essential power that human beings now have to access the sum total of human knowledge from their hand (smart phone) make school, as it is presently professionally organized, not only irrelevant, but a hindrance to human creativity.

"Information is now available to anyone who is connected, and is available practically whenever they want." is a brilliant insight that does not need to be apologized for. We no longer need a professional teacher class teaching a fixed body of knowledge. We need to share the code of the alphabet and other literacies with learners and join them in the social construction of reality through past experiences, present data input, and future rearranging of the elements of reality. We do not need to learn to think outside of the box, we need to throw the box away.

Longest Railroad Video on You Tube!!!

Everyone who knows me, knows that I love trains and the blues. Well I found a video that claims to be the longest train video (real life) currently on You Tube. It is almost 2 hours long:). I was in heaven. I have embedded it into this post. Enjoy any or all of it.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

A video statement of philosophy

I have created a video about my philosophy of education. I hope that you enjoy.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

For, in truth, custom is a violent and treacherous schoolmistress. She, by little and little, slily and unperceived, slips in the foot of her authority, but having by this gentle and humble beginning, with the benefit of time, fixed and established it, she then unmasks a furious and tyrannic countenance, against which we have no more the courage or the power so much as to lift up our eyes. We see her, at every turn, forcing and violating the rules of nature: "Usus efficacissimus rerum omnium magister." -Montaigne
A friend of mine invited me to a book discussion on some essays of Michael Montaigne. The above quotation came from an essay entitled "Of Custom, and that We should Not Easily Change a Law Received". He goes on to say "if we consider what we have ordinary experience of, how much custom stupefies our senses." We sell ourselves to the habit of custom so that we can expand the quantity of existence without any thought to the tyranny that we accept so that we lose all of the creativity and originality of our humanity. And then something happens that liberates us from the prison of age and expectations. We do not know how to cope with the backlash that awaits us because the weight of society beats us down, makes us conform.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy new Year 2013

Happy New Year to everyone out in the blogosphere!!! The spirit of liberation is blowing through the School For Tomorrow. The first of the fixed periods has disappeared in the morning sessions as the floaters (math and science) no longer have assigned times and lengths of presentation. We are moving forward!!! It began with breakout TDP and is now gaining momentum.

I want to attempt a definition of a Trans-Disciplinary Program. Bruder describes it "The transdisciplinary approach is a framework for allowing members of an educational team to contribute knowledge and skills, collaborate with other members, and collectively determine the services that most would benefit a child." He goes on to say "A transdisciplinary approach requires the team members to share roles and systematically cross discipline boundaries. The primary purpose of this approach is to pool and integrate the expertise of team members so that more efficient and comprehensive assessment and intervention services may be provided. (Bruder, M.B. (1994). p71).

In German speaking countries, a trans-disciplinary approach looks to the " integration of diverse forms of research, and includes specific methods for relating scientific knowledge in problem-solving" ( Mittelstrass, 2003). Jean Piaget introduced the idea of trans-disciplinarity as the unity of knowledge beyond the disciplines. The International Center for Trans-disciplinary Research (CIRET) established the idea that trans-disciplinary approaches transfer the methods of the disciplines to each other to examine a problem and is radically different from interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches. Basarab Nicolescu, a Romanian philosopher, describes three methodological postulates that are necessary to operate from a trans-disciplinary perspective. First is the idea that reality exists on many different levels and must be approached from as many of them as possible. Second, the logic of the middle of reality, where things tend to go, must be recognized and finally, third, the immeasurable complexity of reality. The purpose of trans-disciplinary study is to understand the present world in terms of its social reality. The space between the levels of reality and the disciplines is full of information which we can make sense of only through a trans-disciplinary approach.

Collaboration is also an essential characteristic of a trans-disciplinary approach. Everyone involved in the learning must be a part of the definition of the learning objectives. It is through this collaboration that everyone involved in a trans-disciplinary approach "becomes uniquely capable of engaging with different ways of knowing the world, generating new knowledge, and helping stakeholders understand and incorporate the results or lessons learned by the research" (Wickson, & Carew, . Russell, A.W., 2006).

So a trans-disciplinary approach starts from a simple premise. There are many ways of knowing the world. A TDP group must then look at the world using many different methodologies or ways of knowing. The ways of the poet are as valid as the ways of the research physicist or the historian. They examine reality from a distinct perspective. All members of the group learn and use the different methodologies to examine what "they want to know". The purpose of the rest of the group is to help a learner do that. Sort of how your guild helps you on a WOW quest.

Whatever we do in our TDP sections, we must all be involved, as both teachers and learners. We all want to know stuff and we all have experience in ways of learning, of coming to know. We have to learn what others know as learners and we have to teach what we know to those who want to learn it.