Friday link round-up

Published by Lori Pickert on June 21, 2013 at 06:53 AM

So we enrolled the PBH Master Class this week and we ran out of spots in a day and a half — amazing. If you want to get an early shot at enrolling in the next class (date as yet unknown), you can put your name on a list here. No commitment, of course — you’ll just get first shot at signing up. This list will be closed on July 8. Thank you to everyone who enrolled and who spread the word!

I hope you guys have been keeping up with PBH Kids — the latest two projects are both LEGO-related and both awesome! If you or your kids want to share a kid-directed project (including work in progress), let me know!

My favorite link this week is from Sugata Mitra:

If examinations challenge learners to solve problems the way they are solved in real life today, the educational system will change for ever. It is a small policy change that is required. Allow the use of the internet and collaboration during an examination.

If we did that to exams, the curriculum would have to be different. We would not need to emphasise facts or figures or dates. The curriculum would have to become questions that have strange and interesting answers. “Where did language come from?,” “Why were the pyramids built?,” “Is life on Earth sustainable?,” “What is the purpose of theatre?” Questions that engage learners in a world of unknowns. Questions that will occupy their minds through their waking hours and sometimes their dreams.

Teaching in an environment where the internet and discussion are allowed in exams would be different. The ability to find things out quickly and accurately would become the predominant skill. The ability to discriminate between alternatives, then put facts together to solve problems would be critical. That’s a skill that future employers would admire immensely.

In this kind of self-organised learning, we don’t need the same teachers all the time. Any teacher can cause any kind of learning to emerge. …

We don’t need to improve schools. We need to reinvent them for our times, our requirements and our future. We don’t need efficient clerks to fuel an administrative machine that is no longer needed. Machines will do that for us. We need people who can think divergently, across outdated “disciplines,” connecting ideas across the entire mass of humanity. We need people who can think like children. — Advent of Google Means We Must Rethink Our Approach to Education

Another favorite Mitra quote:

We need a curriculum of big questions, examinations where children can talk, share and use the Inernet, and new, peer assessment systems. We need children from a range of economic and geographic backgrounds and an army of visionary educators. We need a pedagogy free from fear and focused on the magic of children‘s innate quest for information and understanding. — We Need Schools, Not Factories

So, Mitra says that employers would admire immensely these different skills children could learn if we moved past a testing-based form of education and into what I would call a research- and building-based form. What does Google really want?

“[S]ome of the biggest stalwarts of the hiring and recruiting world — the interview, GPA, and test scores — aren’t nearly as important as people think. 

Google doesn’t even ask for GPA or test scores from candidates anymore, unless someone’s a year or two out of school, because they don’t correlate at all with success at the company. …

Academic environments are artificial environments. People who succeed there are sort of finely trained, they’re conditioned to succeed in that environment,’ [Google VP Bock] says.

While in school, people are trained to give specific answers, ‘it’s much more interesting to solve problems where there isn’t an obvious answer,’ Bock says. ‘You want people who like figuring out stuff where there is no obvious answer.’”

Test scores don’t correlate with success — at least at Google.

I posted a few links this week about success — and how maybe we need to redefine that for ourselves.

“‘The way we define success isn’t working. … More, bigger, better — we can’t do that anymore.’ …

‘Right now, America’s workplace culture is practically fueled by stress, sleep deprivation and burnout.” …

The answer? To create a movement that embraces the idea that physical and spiritual wellness — from meditation to exercise to good nutrition — are integral to, not separate from, a successful life.” — A Call for a Movement to Redefine the Successful Life

And another quote from that article:

The idea that people are eager to find — or define — success outside the normal parameters is backed up by a study done for American Express.

The top ways people define a successful life, according to the study: Being in good health, finding time for the important things in life, having a good marriage/relationship and knowing how to spend money well. …

According to the Monitor report, many fewer people see owning an expensive car as a sign of success, while being satisfied and in control of your life have grown over the years. — ibid.

This article had some suggestions for redefining success:

“Most people who want a lot out of life are their own worst enemy. They take themselves too seriously. Judge themselves too harshly. Expect too much out of themselves and others. If you can learn to let go of all your expectations, quit trying so hard to get somewhere, you'll learn that just being you, present in this moment, is all that matters.” — Six Unique Ways to Be Successful and Happy

Sound good? Debbie Millman reminds us that our future is in our own hands: 

“Every once in awhile when we least expect it, we encounter someone more courageous, someone who chose to strive for that which (to us) seemed unrealistically unattainable, even elusive. And we marvel. We swoon. We gape. Often we are in awe. I think we look at these people as lucky when in fact, luck has nothing to do with it. It is really all about the strength of their imagination; it is about how they constructed the possibilities for their life. In short, unlike me, they didn’t determine what was impossible before it was even possible. …

If you imagine less, less will be what you undoubtedly deserve. Do what you love and don’t stop until you get what you love. Work as hard as you can, imagine immensities, don’t compromise, and don’t waste time. Start now. Not 20 years from now, not two weeks from now. Now.” — Fail Safe: Debbie Millman’s Advice on Courage and the Creative Life

What does it take to redefine success for yourself? It’s hard to swim against the current. It helps to have a community of like-minded people who are also trying to wrest control of their own lives and their own destinies. If you need a community like that, think about joining the PBH forum.

In PBH-related news, check out Dawn’s beautiful post about building the community she needed:

“The room held a calm energy. Plenty of people talking, but no raised voices. Plenty of moving around, but no running, either with or without scissors. In between directing one child to cut paper in thirds, lengthwise, hand-over-hand guiding another’s fingers in separating the delicate, gentle tissue layers to form the petals, and commenting on how a color choice resulted in a lovely representation of a real flower, I sensed the flow happening around me. Adults and children, solitary or in small groups, knitting, crocheting, beading. Sewing, stitching, tying, trying. Siblings assisting each other, showing their work to each other. Quiet concentration, satisfaction with effort and result.” — Show me what you’re working with @ Happyer at Home

If you are interested in building a community, check out these free guides:

The Introvert’s Guide to Building Community

How to Start a Project Group

Hope everyone has a great week — I’ll have a new PBH for Grown-ups post on Monday!

I love how through this group I can see myself making progress as I work through each of my concerns and challenges. So glad it exists!!!! — PBH forum member

[Lori] also has a great forum, not a boring old “look how wonderful we are” forum, but a really inspiring one full of practical ideas for implementing project-based learning. — Kate @ An Everyday Story


Comment by amanda on June 21, 2013 at 01:19 PM

love, love, love the quotes. such food for thought. i started to copy and paste the first one into an email for the husband and as i read on realized i just needed to send him the link to the post so he could read the entire thing himself :)

Comment by Lori Pickert on June 21, 2013 at 01:28 PM

thank you! :)

Comment by Bill Ferguson on June 22, 2013 at 02:50 PM

SOLE is an amazing way for anyone to learn. Research and share. I love it.

Comment by Stacey on June 22, 2013 at 04:52 PM

It makes me happy to read about all this stuff going on, right now I am so involved in big outside things that I don't get much time to do anything else but it is a good reminder to see other people doing it.

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