Larry Rosenstock, founder and CEO of High Tech High, shared his story during the opening keynote of ULearn 2016. From carpentry to law, success doesn’t come in straight lines. When Larry set out to write a book, instead he built a bungalow. Larry took us on a rich journey, remembering the past, in order for us to change the future. And Larry is certainly changing the future, with the creation of High Tech High, an equity project, guided by four connected design principles, equity, personalisation, authentic work, collaborative design. High Tech High Learning comprises of thirteen charter schools (ECE-secondary), Recognising the value of having students from different backgrounds working together, High Tech High has grown from a national to an international mosaic of learners and teachers.
We need to start with reimagining, we must begin and end with the learners, with a large dose of craziness. Rather than segregating subjects, the students themselves drive their learning, finding authentic contexts, within their community. For example, when the students realised that rattlesnakes and mice were not going to help our learning they needed to find a way of eradicating these naturally. Hence, the ‘Owl’ project was conceived. Who says algebra is boring, when it can be ‘Calculicious’.
If we consider what students should know and do in the 21st century, we may include collaboration of multiple perspectives, curiosity, and persistence to name a few. With project-based learning, there are endless opportunities to create something authentic and new. At High Tech High, they are interested in how students react, apply and create, integrating the world, beyond prescribed subjects - collectively learning. Along the way, they are developing authentic 21st century skills and knowledge such as self assessing, critical thinking and creativity. Larry questions how can teachers model 21st Century curriculum in 19th century work environments?
In the words of Paulo Freire, Knowledge emerges only through invention, through the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the world, with the world as with each other. In other words, as educators we must pursue the relentless creation of invention and reinvention.
Larry is confident we can DO this, in fact, if we value our future, we must. With the integration of mind, heart and hand, the integration of our school and community, we conclude with a peal from Larry’s Grandmother, there are two types of people - those that THINK there are two types of people, and those that don’t.
Blog post by Greg Carroll, CORE Education
Bio: John is the 54th employee of Apple. Then he rebuilt Sante Fe Christian School and worked for a genome company. He returned to Apple in 2002. He now heads the Apple Education Division.
Rewiring Education - Every Child can Succeed (also the title of his book about to be published).
John began by posing the question, what I have learned in the last 30 years about schools? The key message is that we need to rewire education! John went on to share his personal journey. He memorised his way through high school and through his first three years of College. He found it really easy to remember all the facts that the assessments required to achieve well. His first real challenge in schooling came at College with the spinning top problem where he had to describe the motion of a spinning top in free space. Because there was no exact solution to the problem he was unsure how to solve it. It was not a problem that could be solved simply through memorising or having crammed for the test. He realised memorising was not going to be the way to success any more!
As an outcome of this he did a programming course and this provided him with scaffolding for thinking about his thinking. This was the first time that simply memorising would not ensure high achievement. This led to later completing a Computer Science degree, and it was while completing this that he met Steve Jobs. Coding changed his life. Technology is an amplifier for the intellect …. just like a bicycle is for human locomotion. It enables us to go faster and further. Technology is a mental bicycle.
As an outcome of his professional journey John has learned some key things about leadership and change.
Effective leadership starts with WHY. This is the vision. Visions are inspirational whereas missions are statements that are more practical and focus on goals and the measurable outcomes of the vision. Lots of companies and people focus on the What we are going to do. There are obvious similarities in this message to the one Simon Senek has popularised through his TED Talk and website.
Technology is only technology to those who came before it .... nice quote. For those whom the technology has always been there - it simply IS. There is nothing interesting or challenging or new about it.
John left Apple in 1984 and joined Sante Fe Christian School. He took this as an opportunity to implement the Apple vision model into the education sector. He worked to help get everyone on board with the Vision and implement it. He asks, can you articulate the why? .... or are you simply focussing on the what. Technology is a ‘what’ and is only a successful support for education if it there is a clear ‘why’.
John returned to Apple in 2002. Some observations made were:
The important thing is not the device, it is the ecosystem around the device. It needs to be:
This is an update to the ICOT model. The mission for Apple is to create personalised learning environments to achieve the vision of finding and developing everyone's unique genius. The Vision works just as well outside as inside the classroom walls.
If all teachers are doing is distributing readily available content then we are irrelevant - now there’s a provocation! Traditional classrooms are premised on the relationship between the student and the teacher. Modern classrooms should include linkages and symbiotic relationships between the teachers, students and the community. This gives real purpose to programmes and ensures genuine context is central. John believes we need to be using technology to enable students to see where their strengths and needs are, and how they can address their needs.
Content - Community - Context
Apple created a framework called Challenge Based Learning to implement all three.
Feel - imagine - do - share is a simple way to summarise this model. Students are going to be paid to solve the previously unsolved problems. This is where the future sits, not in simply sharing what you know (or what others know).
John invited us to watch Todd Rose's myth of the average TED Talk. John talked about his book and the premise Todd has that no one is average and catering for an ‘average’ student in fact misses everyone. The challenge in classrooms is to pick the challenge that is in the ‘Flow’ zone for students. Where the challenge and engagement are optimal. The fundamental challenge is to meet the individual needs of the individual, and not teach to the average. This is no longer acceptable!
The ConnectEd Programme uses Apple products and uses a framework for leadership model to change the culture of the schools to make a real difference for ALL students. There are a number of premises:
1. Free - the Apple suite of tools like Garageband, iBooks etc.
2. “Everyone should have an opportunity to make something that will change the world”
3. Code. Coding is the common language - Swift is Apples answer to this.
John believes that coding is the future. He believes that it will be completely integrated into the classroom of the future as a key and fundamental skill. The organisations below are all built on a foundation of coding (for example):
Some questions posed:
An inspirational keynote that challenged us to think about a number of things:
Note: No video or graphic recording is available for John Couch's keynote presentation.
Blog post by Rebbecca Sweeney, CORE Education
Michael Fullan needs no introduction to many of us in education, but some of our newer delegates at uLearn who have just entered the teaching profession might not know him so well. Fullan is professor emeritus at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education and has been around for many years in the school improvement and reform space. He has many, many publications to his name. Over the years, among other things, he has acted as a conduit between the people who work on the ground in education and those who work in policy and politics. He often refers to Principals and leaders in the system as “the middle” and has worked tirelessly to help the middle to understand “the top” or the policymakers - and vice versa.
In his keynote, Fullan outlined his more recent work that emerged from his 2011 research dissemination on the “Wrong Drivers” for whole system reform and from his two more recent books, Stratosphere (Fullan) and Coherence (Fullan and Quinn). Fullan explained that he and his colleagues have worked from the bottom up over many years so that everything they write and design, is based not just on theory and research but also on their experiences.
Fullan’s keynote began with explaining three innate human behaviours have driven his focus on new pedagogies for deeper learning.
He explain that humans are innately wired to connect, create and to help humanity:
From his years of research and experience, New Pedagogies for Deep Learning has emerged. This framework is designed to liberate and cultivate the three innate human qualities above. It takes the best from school improvement and reform about whole system change strategies and puts these together with the power of technology and futures thinking in education.
Fullan explained that the best from school improvement and reform encourages the “middle” to take a lead in transformation in education. He explained that we must work not for accountability but to get results and this comes, in part from:
The role of leadership in this is described by Fullan as Breakthrough Leadership:
When considering the power of technology and the future of education, social media is ubiquitous and therefore weakens hierarchies. It opens up lateral solutions. Fullan argues that concentrated connection is the new power and that new power is held by our young people.
Fullan outlined that the education professional development system is broken: He argued that instead we should be focused on professional learning whereby:
To enact effective professional learning at a cluster level (Fullan talks about District Wide Learning) there are eight lessons that we can learn from. These are summarised in the following big ideas:
So how do those of us in “the middle” lead system wide change and transformation? Fullan outlines that leadership from the middle looks like:
Fullan went on to explain leadership from the top - what should our policymakers be focused on? They are notoriously ineffective at implementation and this is a worldwide pattern, so they should focus on the following to help build an effective system:
There are many more points to be made from Fullan’s keynote and many things to dissect in this post. Some key questions for educational leaders “on the ground” might be:
How will you take the agency that you have in order to truly lead from the middle?
What will you need to change in your own practice and leadership approach to enable agency for learners and teachers and true partnership with them and with policymakers?
How do you ensure that you’re not obsessing with targets and assessment in order to make room for the things that really matter in educational transformation?
Blog post by Tessa Gray, CORE Education
Karen set the scene by acknowledging the power of collegial sharing and networking online and off, at uLearn16. She then challenged us to think so what now? What will we do when we go back to school? Some initial ideas tying together understandings about professional learning in 2016 and beyond included:
Networked learning where anyone can connect and share ideas with each other, whether your face to face or online is a powerful catalyst for change. The challenge is to understand the value - from the way we are connecting and how we are connecting, so that we’re not just receiving messages in a filter or an echo chamber. We might better strive for more complex conversations that have realized value - added value to the experiences and outcomes for our students. We might then talk to our students to see if this has created value for them.
Karen also invited us to consider to hold the line, and take the time to consider what our community and students need most and then consider the approach that would best meet those needs.
Key concepts for consideration:
Because teachers are wanting to effect change and do the best for their students, teachers may also be quick to respond to problems and have an urgency to solve those problems by finding quick solutions. Karen urged us to spend our time on things that are most urgent, otherwise precious time and attention can get diluted in current trends. Our role is to understand what is most valuable for our students and address those needs, so Karen invited us to plan carefully before we introduce anything, hold our ideas lightly and pause before we leap into the next cycle of change.
Global competency for an inclusive world 2030 has signaled the very competencies we find in NZC, TMOA and Te Whāriki. Karen reminded us that if we're looking for the guidance for changes to make for/with our students, then our own curriculum documents are pretty good. Karen went on to address the three key concepts.
1. Find the urgency
Every school has a vision for learning and every single part of our school systems is designed to lead to an outcome that reflects that vision for our learners. Any new changes or strategies should be designed to change the desired outcome for learners. For some, change has been ad-hoc and not systematic, and in some cases, we’ve designed learning for our students that has created barriers and excluded groups of students.
2. See the story behind the data
Karen encouraged us to looking at the data and see what this is saying, but more importantly go looking behind the data and look to our young people and ask them for their stories. When we do genuinely ask for feedback (in ways ways that work for them and keep them safe), plan what we’re going to do that is going to help not hinder. In doing so, we need to consider the viewpoint of all learners.
3. Be able to embrace discomfort
As teachers we need to be ready to embrace discomfort, and acknowledge that our colleagues see different things in data and students stories. We need to seek diversity, but do this systematically. We should find out who sees things differently from the way we do, and learn from them - to challenge our biases, so we can look fairly and objectively at student learning and not end up in an echo chamber. Karen challenged us to deliberately design ways to hear diverse views, to help people check the assumptions that are driving their actions and to apply John Cussack’s rule to keep the fear off the set.
Karen summarized by sharing a quote by Paulo Freire, Education doesn’t change the world. Education changes people. People change the world and people who can change the world were sitting in the auditorium.
Also see notes from shared Google doc @ http://bit.ly/uLearn16