The Learning Contract

Design Futures Archaeology

Learning contracts and the time and place of planning

I have been following the DLMOOC and in one of the sessions on assessments had me asking the question if anybody had used learning contracts in their project based learning PBL work. It seems that the panelists had not had that much involvement. But learning contracts seemed to form a key part of my student centered learning at the School for Independent Study in the 1980s/90s. While most panelists this week seemed to be saying that appraisals assessments were chiefly post-hoc– i.e. at the end when the project was finished and offered as feedback, instead of a feed-forward a prioriplan of what the student/s were going to discover, why and what they would need, and how they could be assessed [by what?]. Daniel did mention about changing the course of projects in the process of their implementation which made me think…

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Postman’s – 5 things to know about technological change and e-learning

The Weblog of (a) David Jones

In doing a quick search for references to help out in the last post, I came across this page, which appears to be a transcript of a speech given by Neil Postman title “Five Things We Need to Know About Technological Change”. According to this post (that page has gone away, so a new link to a PDF transcript)it “was delivered by Postman in 1998 to a gathering of theologians and religious leaders in Denver, Colorado.”

Given my current and recent fascination with “Past Experience and e-learning, I particularly like these couple of quotes from Postman’s address.

Experiencing technological change as sleep-walkers

In the past, we experienced technological change in the manner of sleep-walkers. Our unspoken slogan has been “technology über alles,” and we have been willing to shape our lives to fit the requirements of technology, not the requirements of culture. This is a form of stupidity…

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SAMR as a Framework for Moving Towards Education 3.0

User Generated Education

Evolution, in its broadest sense, serves as a force to help humans move towards a better way of living given the current times or Zeitgeist.  It follows, then, that the education field should evolve as new opportunities and forces emerge and present themselves. But in general, this is not the case.  From the Time Magazine article, How to Bring Our Schools Out of the 20th Century

There’s a dark little joke exchanged by educators with a dissident streak: Rip Van Winkle awakens in the 21st century after a hundred-year snooze and is, of course, utterly bewildered by what he sees. Men and women dash about, talking to small metal devices pinned to their ears. Young people sit at home on sofas, moving miniature athletes around on electronic screens. Older folk defy death and disability with metronomes in their chests and with hips made of metal and plastic. Airports, hospitals…

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The Other 21st Century Skills: Why Teach Them

How can we make this more than a phrase?

User Generated Education

Many have attempted to identify the skills important for a learner today in this era of the 21st century (I know it is an overused phrase).  I have an affinity towards the skills identified by Tony Wagner:

  • Critical thinking and problem-solving
  • Collaboration across networks and leading by influence
  • Agility and adaptability
  • Initiative and entrepreneurship
  • Effective oral and written communication
  • Accessing and analyzing information
  • Curiosity and imagination

This presentation sparked my thinking about what other skills and attributes would serve the learners (of all ages) in this era of learning.  Some other ones that I believe important based on what I hear at conferences, read via blogs and other social networks include:

  • Grit
  • Resilience
  • Hope and Optimism
  • Vision
  • Self-Regulation
  • Empathy and Global Stewardship


Why Teach 21st Century Skills

According to a recent (2013) Gallup Poll, Americans Say U.S. Schools Should Teach “Soft” Skills


Americans’ views on what schools should be…

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An Educator Responsibility: Setting Up Conditions for Learners to Have Glorious, Aha Moments

yes this is what we are thinking about in a MOOC we are doing on ‘deeper learning’

User Generated Education

Since I have very strong convictions about what constitutes a “good” education, I am often asked how I got to this place of thinking.  I begin my story by relating to my summer camp experiences as powerful learning and my school ones as being a big, long blur.  The power of hands-on, experiential, and authentic learning was reinforced during my senior year of my undergraduate studies.  I took an outdoor education course.  As a requirement for the course, we were asked to be counselors at an outdoor education center, where students from local public schools spend five days at the residential center.  My co-counselor, Eric, and I were given a 6th grade group.

It was an amazing, life changing experience for me; and hopefully for the kids in our group.  All of the learning activities we did had experiential components.  We learned biology by walking through a stream and collecting…

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Weekend Fun: The Inshriach Bothy, an artist studio in the Scottish Highlands

Small House Bliss

The Inshriach Bothy by The Bothy Project

The Bothy Project is an artist-driven initiative to develop small studio spaces for artist residencies in unique locations across Scotland. Some of the studios will make use of space in existing structures while others will be new builds. The Inshriach Bothy was the first of these live/work studios. It sits surrounded by birch trees and heather in a small hollow in the Cairngorms National Park. It was built in 2011 through the efforts of artist Bobby Niven, architectural designer Iain MacLeod and a team of volunteer builders, supported by grants from the Royal Scottish Academy.

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Why you SHOULD use Design thinking approaches in education!

Emer Beamer

After reading a number of articles today criticizing Design Thinking, even one specifically against it’s use in education I feel called to respond. My professional experiences using Design thinking have revealed a great potential for education, both for teachers in their own practice and for students (young and older). For the new ‘Nederlandse School‘ (I’m in the design team), the curriculum concept is ‘Ontwerpend leren’ and partly informed by design thinking.  Similarly the methods of  Unexpect ‘Creative Thinking for Social Good’ have overlap with design thinking. Both projects in the education domain.

What is Design Thinking anyway?
In short, design thinking is about applying the typical design cycle to new domains. The design cycle, moves, generally speaking, from (user centered) research to creative thinking to prototyping to testing and implementing or indeed going back to the beginning of the design cycle to start again. Very important here to note is that…

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Education in ASEAN 4

Some parents complain about the high fees the new boutique schools charge. But consider this graphic to understand that when a school offers a high student to teacher ratio (we have 1 teacher or assistant to 5 students) they must charge more. Of many factors leading to world world class education, chief amongst them is the ‘quality time’ they can afford to spend with the children. The most expensive school in the world – Institut Le Rosey, Rolle, Switzerland – charges fees of $99,566 per year to provide this ratio.

Education in ASEAN 2

Education remains marred by disparities between and within countries. Even between neighbouring countries, the difference in government expenditure can be huge, and access to education for rural children, migrants and ethnic minorities is a major issue in most nations.