Reflections CEOM RE Conference 2014

Firstly, thanks to all the participants at the iGod workshop last Friday – it was a very meaningful and engaging experience for me, and hopefully for you all too. It’s always encouraging when participants engage and ‘hijack’ the presentation 🙂 To summarize, here is a list of the 8 mind shifts we were attempting last week :

  • Half full or Half Empty – you have a choice to change the options
  • We need to shift our focus from Teaching to Learning (it’s already happening!)
  • Empathy is a powerful universal principle for learning (near future)
  • Discernment is a compulsory principle for learning (near future)
  • We have a responsibility to AWE
  • Genius is seeing the unseen – that’s the realm that future learners need to thrive in
  • God is in the unseen – If we seek we will discover Him
  • Education is not the filling of the pail, but the lighting of a fire – everyone should be on fire for God, especially teachers!

Half Full or Half Empty – Where’s the Jug?

We talked about how people view things and explored the idea that sometimes we need to see beyond what is present to uncover new opportunities. Ken Robinson’s video helps us to understand Divergent Thinking.

Shifting our focus from Teaching to Learning

The shift from teaching to learning is already happening. Concepts of learning such as Blended Learning and Flipped Classroom are clear examples of this thinking in action. Although the current education system had been adequate over the different ages (enlightenment, industrial, information) it is becoming apparent that the explosion of the tech revolution is changing the way we learn (and teach) and rewired the brains of learners such that the education system must change. The good news is that the fundamentals of what drive learning remain the same and that small shifts in thinking is all that is required to leverage on this. One effective way to focus on learners is to understand what multiple intelligences are and how we can spot them in the learners.

Empathy

One of the most important and universal learning principles is Empathy. If we can tap into this talent, we can overcome almost any barrier (language, religion, beliefs, cultural etc) and educate one another. RSA has a wonderful video that teaches us a lot that recent science and research have uncovered about empathy.

Here are a few other resources we can use to start discussion about how we can empathize with the rest of the world :

Discernment

The bible talks about what the eye sees helping us to discern and act. This video says it all.

In the groundbreaking book, The One Minute Manager, there are many principles about management that teachers can learn to apply learning in the classroom. These 3 are priceless – try it and see what you can accomplish!

Resources to help you AWE and inspire young geniuses

And finally, here’s a list of the apps we tried (and some we didn’t get a chance to try out) that’ll bring some awes to your day. Enjoy!

Have a great week ahead! And remember, every bush is burning!

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Being an educator just got a bit more powerful…

Apple updated iTunesU app yesterday, and wow – is it getting even more fun for educators. Included in this latest update is the ability for any educator to create their own courses – right from their iPad!

Here’s what iTunesU version 2.0 can do for you (and your class) :

Introducing the new iTunes U

Let the discussion begin
• The new iTunes U makes it simple for students participating in private courses to pose questions on the course or any post or assignment.
• Other students in the class can jump into the discussion and ask more questions or provide answers.
• Teachers and students can keep up with the conversation when they receive push notifications as the discussion progresses.

Create courses on iPad
• Teachers can now create and update their courses using the iTunes U app on their iPad—getting started is fast, simple, and completely free.
• Provide every student a course outline, write posts, distribute assignments, upload class materials, easily track participating students, and much more.
• Take advantage of the built in camera on iPad to easily capture photos or videos and upload them for course assignments.
• Create materials using Pages, Numbers, and Keynote—or other apps from the App Store—and add them to your course by using “Open in iTunes U” from within each app.
• Teachers affiliated with qualified institutions have the option to publish their courses to the iTunes U Catalogue—making them available to everyone for free.

To learn more about what iTunesU can do for you as an educator and for your ‘learners’, click here. Apple has also provided a very clear set of guidelines to help you get started on iTunesU courses. The beauty of Apple’s approach is that they let you be the educator and focus on teaching and gathering almost any type of content from the web to create your course. With collaborative tools built in, there are very few reasons why any educator would want to use anything else.

If you’re keen to create something a little more elaborate, what about iBooks Author?

With Apple’s suite of iWork apps (Keynote, Pages and Numbers) and iBooks Author all easily integrating into iTunesU course design and creation, you won’t need much time and effort to digitize your existing or even new course content.

The e-Learning race is heating up, recently with Google Classroom launching, and also forays into education scene by Samsung and many others. Educators and learners of all ages are winners here, and not a moment too soon 🙂

For me though, this is what I hope the future of education will look like one day soon. The technology is already here, and so is the vision. All we need is the human spirit and conviction to step up and embrace it to make it real – right here, right now.

 

5 Minds for the Future

Dr Howard Gardner published a very interesting book called 5 Minds for the Future – this is but one of his many ground-breaking books and ideas he published, most notably Multiple Intelligences and one of my personal faves, The Unschooled Mind. 

In this book, he outlined the specific cognitive abilities that would be ‘game-changing’ and ‘compulsory’ to thrive in the leadership of businesses, governments and communities in the near future. They are :

  1. The Disciplinary Mind – mastery of major schools of thought
  2. The Synthesizing Mind – ability to integrate ideas from different disciplines into coherent whole
  3. The Creating Mind – capacity to uncover and clarify new problems, questions and phenomena
  4. The Respectful Mind – awareness of and appreciation for differences among human beings and groups
  5. The Ethical Mind – fulfillment of one’s responsibilities as a worker and citizen

I found the book and ideas presented very convincing. Recent research and conclusions in neuroscience and social behavior are also leading many futurists and educators to believe that there needs to be equal measure of future and past looking and learning to nurture future leaders who are responsible, ethical and accountable. That’s the trick, isn’t it? In a world of disposable income, relationships and ambitions, the one thing that remains at the end is the legacy we leave behind, who gets to deal with it?

If you look at the 5 minds, it is almost a progressive learning (life long, at least) journey. For example, schools teach you to have a Disciplinary Mind. University education is best positioned to provide the Synthesizing Mind, a PHD or Masters would give you the Creating Mind, and work and on-the-job experience would give you the Respectful Mind. Lastly, if we get that far, as you grow older and wiser (hopefully), and kids and grandkids come along, you’ll be tempered to form the Ethical Mind. Pretty much sums it up, eh?

Where does spirituality come in? Where can we introduce spirituality into the equation and not only accelerate the process, but balance it? If you look at the journey, as you progress, spirituality would play a bigger and bigger role, regardless of your spiritual or religious inclination.

Looking at the state of the world today, we would do well to nurture future leaders with the right values to make the world a better place. What can you do to kickstart the revolution?