Friday, April 22, 2016

Creative Educator Readings - Pasi Salberg / LEGO learning/ MLEs and ILEs / and 'Rich Topics'

By Allan Alach

I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at

What Is Your Creative Approach?
John Spencer:
A young Einstein
“The truth is that there is no single creative type.” There are many creative types” who offer unique gifts that can transform learning and spark innovation. The more we recognize the diversity of the creative mindset, the better we become at integrating creativity into the culture and curriculum of the classroom. In the process, we not only thrive in our creative identity but we honor the creativity in our students.”

Art and the Mind’s Eye: How Drawing Trains You to See the World More Clearly and to Live with a Deeper Sense of Presence
Some Ruskin to challenge your thinking.
“Drawing, indeed, transforms the secret passageway between the eye and the heart into a two-way
.When you look and /draw you really see and ask questions
— while we are wired to miss the vast majority of what goes on around us, learning to draw rewires us to see the world differently, to love it more intimately by attending to and coming to cherish its previously invisible details.”

Former schoolteacher wins LEGO® Prize 2016
“Former schoolteacher and current scholar and author, Finnish Pasi Sahlberg, wins the LEGO Prize 2016 for his work to improve the quality of children’s education worldwide. Hanne
Rasmussen, CEO of the LEGO Foundation, presented the prize at the annual LEGO Idea Conference. The prize is accompanied by a cash award of USD 100,000 to support further development of quality in children’s learning.”

Children should learn mainly through play until age of eight, says Lego
“A lack of understanding of the value of play is prompting parents and schools alike to reduce it
as a priority, says Hanne Rasmussen, head of the Lego Foundation. If parents and governments push children towards numeracy and literacy earlier and earlier, it means they miss out on the early play-based learning that helps to develop creativity, problem-solving and empathy, she says.”

Why Teachers Are Sometimes Leery Of The Next Big Thing
We’re simultaneously tired of change, and evaporating as an industry without it. But that fatigue is important to honor. That so many teachers are tired of hearing it all isn’t simply proof they need to find new jobs. If a teacher doesn’t buy in,” automatically labeling them a non-team player is a problem. After all, the best teachers often don’t do what they’re told anyway.”

The Best Teachers Don’t Do What They’re Told
“I do realize that, on paper, there’s no reason a teacher can’t do what they’re told and be amazing, but think for a moment about the best teachers you know. Do they do what they’re told, or do they simply do what needs to be done and navigate any fallout better than everyone else? So how can you get there?”

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

What are Innovative Learning Environments (ILEs) or Modern Learning Environments (MLEs) really about?
Bruce’s very thoughtful article about this current trend:
Don’t get me wrong. I believed the open plan schools of the 70s had, and that their recent iteration MLEs, have great potential to develop ‘new minds for a new millennium’ enabling students, as the New Zealand Curriculum says, able to ‘seek, use and create their own knowledge’. But, I also believe, that lessons learnt about the success and failure of the 70s open plan buildings are worth considering; to quote Edmund Burke ‘Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it’.”

How can the learning sciences inform the design of 21st century
learning environments?
At last something sensible about Modern Learning Environments: After watching a number of short video clips about Modern Learning Environments or Innovative Learning Environments and being less than impressed – all those colourful spaces with trendy furniture and beanbags and little in depth learning to be seen – it was great to come across a publication that, if implemented, would add a qualitative dimension to such environments with its emphasis on problem based teaching.
“Over recent years, learning has moved increasingly centre stage and for a range of powerful
Time to see beyond the open spaces?
reasons. A primary driver has been the scale of change in our world the rapid advances in ICT, the shift to economies based on knowledge, and the emphasis on the skills required to thrive in them. Schools and education systems around the world are having to reconsider their design and approach to teaching and learning. What should schooling, teaching and, most especially, learning look like in this rapidly changing world?

Attention, Students: Put Your Laptops Away
“As laptops become smaller and more ubiquitous, and with the advent of tablets, the idea of taking notes by hand just seems old-fashioned to many students today. Typing your notes is faster — which comes in handy when there's a lot of information to take down. But it turns out there are still advantages to doing things the old-fashioned way.

10 Valuable Digital Age Skills to Take Beyond School
“In the past, we’ve talked about the critical 21st-century skills students need and why. But what about other digital age skills? What about other useful and practical abilities to have? These are things that can help build success and enable lifelong learning. They’re skills students can protect and preserve their identities with. We’re talking about things that can help them help others as well.

Under the blanket of digital age skills there are many useful pursuits. A student’s toolbox will be constantly evolving throughout their life. The need for newer and newer skills will always be the norm. In the meantime, consider this list a useful starting point.”

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Range of integrated studies
Rich Topics - an integrated curriculum
“A number of schools are ‘experimenting’ with providing the curriculum to their students by means of a series of ‘rich topics’. This is in response to what they have found is an impossible ask, to cover all the ‘overcrowded’ curriculum requirements that have developed as a result of the imposition of too many standardized curriculums. This seems a reasonable if not a very original idea; having been developed by creative primary teachers in the sixties and seventies.”

Wonderful book
Natural born learners.
“The book ‘Scientist in the Crib’  comes with high praise from educationalist. Jerome Bruner who writes, ‘this book is a gem, a really beautiful combination of scholarship and good sense’.This exciting book discusses important discoveries about how much babies and young children know and learn. It argues that evolution designed both adults and children to naturally teach and learn off each other, and that the drive to learn is our most important instinct. Very young children, as well as some adults, use much of the same methods scientists use to learn so much about the world.

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