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Showing posts from March, 2010

Complexity is Everywhere

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I just had an amazing week on the garden island of Kauai, HI.  The weather was great (sunny, hot).  My wife and I went hiking in the Waimea Canyon.  We hiked the Pihea Trail along a rim that gave us spectacular views of the Na Pali coast and down to the Kawaikoi Stream.  It was jungle like and surreal. We kayaked up the Wailua River and then hiked a mile or so to the Secret Falls. I guess they’re not a secret anymore.  Along the way we learned about a tree (some call it the “walker tree”) that literally walks towards water over time.  Look at its roots.

Being coffee lovers, we decided to visit the Kaua’i Coffee Company and learn about how coffee is grown, harvested, and prepared.  Wow, that is a complex process.  From coffee cherries (didn’t know that) to beans in a store is an unbelievably complex process (check out their tour).

My wife loves gardens and flowers so we took in the National Tropical Botanical Garden tour of the Allerton Garden.  Besides coffee, chocolate would be o…

Digital Natives Need Infrastructure

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I visited Riverside Secondary School last week to spend a few hours in their Digital Immersion 9 class.  Students can sign-up online using this web form.  This class consists of about 30 students who spent first semester together as a class learning digital tools, Science, and Math with one teacher.  As of February they are with a new teacher, Elizabeth Bancroft, all morning learning English and Socials.  The expectation is that most learning and teaching will supported by digital tools. 

Ms. Bancroft expressed to me her frustration with how things were working - mainly how the technology "wasn't" working...  I had read positive reviews in the local paper and viewed a positive news video.  Note that you may want to read James McConville’spost about his visit to this class.  I needed to see the class in action for myself.  I had an opportunity to share with the students some of my thoughts about blogging, writing for an audience, etc. and how that’s potentially more moti…

What is the purpose of school?

I am participating in the crowd sourced “10 big questions for education” that Will Richardson has facilitated.  Will put an invitation out to his personal learning network (PLN) for people to contribute what they thought are the top questions for education today.  I think there were dozens of questions posed.  He then asked the crowd to vote on their top questions from the list and from that surfaced the 10 big questions for education and a wiki for people to contribute their ideas to.  The goal is to potentially publish an “e” book representing, hopefully, a broad cross section of people and thinking.

I think I had a weak moment… I volunteered to moderate / edit question #1 “What is the purpose of school?”  This question has been on my mind for some time.  I think the answer has changed and evolved since the invention of school many hundreds of years ago.

Let’s start with a higher education’s (drop-out) student’s (Dan) perspective.
This video as of March 5th 8:44pm has been viewed 96,…

What should secondary schools look like in the future?

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I wrote a post Schools of the Future back in January 2010 where I talked about our District’s Conceptual Design Group’s mission and asked for input on school design.  Today our Design Group met to discuss secondary school and specifically the replacement of Centennial Secondary school (website) established in 1967.   Schools have been designed for many years to support a very teacher centric model of education.  The architect took us through options for locating the school, fields, and parking on the site – lots of pragmatic stuff.  Then we started looking at some innovative designs to influence the future Centennial.

We first looked at the proposed design for the new University Hill Secondary school in the Vancouver School Board on the University of British Columbia campus – the school is being replaced.  Some of the design features we found interesting include:
envisioned as a project based, student centric, collaborative teaching, learner engaging school rather than organized by dep…