What Is Innovation? (And how do we teach it?)

einsteinWhat is innovation? As educators, we know it is a 21st Century Skill that we are tasked to teach students. School vision and mission statements often include the term as the ultimate goal. But without a clear idea of what it means to innovate, how would we ever know what success in student efforts looks like?

In the article, The Innovator’s Mindset: Envisioning the Future, author James Canton describes his thoughts on how to define innovation and what strategies an individual with an innovator’s mindset would embrace. Teaching these strategies may be the way educators could help students build the innovator’s mindset in school.

What are your impressions of the definition of innovation and the identified strategies? Are there any you would remove? What strategies would you add to the ...

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Being Bullied

stop bullyingStudents bullying other students continues to occur throughout the world.  In the article from CNN, Kids get violent: China’s school bullying epidemic, the authors relate the story of Huang Tanghong, a 15 year old student who was bullied for years at his school in China’s Fujian Province.  For Huang and others who are bullied, the feelings of shame, fear, depression and loneliness can be overwhelming.  Whether or not the bullying becomes physical, as it did for Huang, student lives are changed forever.  Unfortunately, for the victims of bullying, the consequences of their trauma persist for decades as detailed in this article from the Los Angeles Times.

If you are a student being bullied, where can you go to get the help you need?  If you are a student, parent, educator or communit...

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Future of Teaching: A Fork in the Road

forkintheroadBy: Allison Zmuda

What is the future of the teaching profession in our brave new world of personalization? Personalized learning can go down one of two paths — one that marginalizes and one that embraces the role and expertise of the teacher.

The first path is an efficiency-based model where teachers increasingly rely on expertly designed lessons, assessments, videos, platforms in service to the broader topic or skill being taught. This first path is an industrialized model on hyper-drive; a customized “one-size-fits-all” model. The assignments are standardized, but the student can choose the pace, order, and format for learning...

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Student POV: Power of Coding


Featured Blogger: Cuda Zmuda

Today all of the buzz is about the latest insta-post, vine, snapchat story, or the newest videogame. Everyone likes these amazing things that we witness. But, not many have actual knowledge on how to develop this creative tech that we have. I don’t know about you but I have always wanted to learn how to code. The best place to learn something new is when you are young. But even though not all of us are at the age where we can learn things easily, the next generation could very much use it. Especially saying that it doesn’t appear that apps and websites are going away anytime soon. Wouldn’t it be so incredibly interesting if we taught our kids how to code when they were in grade school? Well that could change.

Some school districts are starting to add...

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Making the Shift – A First Attempt at Asking Students to Co-Create Their Learning Experience

Design Process LPFeatured Blogger: Craig Gastauer

If there was ever any doubt as to the importance of helping students personalize their learning experience, a recent conversation with a student convinced me of its dire need.

Over the summer, this student interviewed for an internship.  The interviewer asked him to explain how he would organize a project for the company.  Faced with that question, he froze, confused as to where he should begin.  After reflection, he realized that he had never needed to respond to this type of prompt in school as his teachers decided nearly all aspects within nearly every project.  Teachers decided what task to complete, how to complete the task, how to demonstrate an understanding within the task, and on what audience (if any) the task must focus...

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Making Learning Visible: Doodling Helps Memories Stick

like-wish-wonderDoes doodling mean students are not paying attention? Well, it’s time to change your mind.

Instructional coaches Shelley Paul and Jill Gough had heard that doodling while taking notes could help improve attention, memory and learning. They tried doodling while on a 2-day conference. The experience convinced them “that something powerful happens when auditory learning is transposed into images.”

The practice of doodling is backed by neuroscience research. When ideas and concepts are encapsulated in an image, the brain remembers related information associated with that image.

Do you still think doodling is a waste of time? Read more about the practice of doodling here.

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Yes, Your Opinion Can Be Wrong

opinion-thinkstockWe posted an article a while back about the awful science of the comment section and how arguing on the internet could often stir our emotions in unproductive ways.

There’s a common conception that an opinion cannot be wrong. When a person believes his opinion is right without merit, he has a misconception. Sadly, the internet is full of this. In an ideal world, an opinion is actually part of a healthy communication process. When opinions are shared, ideas are exchanged as well. So instead of working hard to get your opinion heard, take some time to get your opinion informed.

Read more about qualifying your opinions from this post from the Houston Press.

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Making the Shift

WonderGuest Post: Craig Gastauer

Throughout my 20+ years of teaching, I have struggled to help ALL students learn deeply. Sure, a large number succeed but I cannot allow myself to be satisfied with that. Some students succeeded because they learned (and learned very well) how to play the game of school. Some succeeded because of hard work. Yet others slipped through the cracks, and, with shame, I must admit that I allowed it. Regardless of the group, I need to do a better job. Learning in my classroom must not happen on accident or happen because students are good at the game. I must help them learn to shift their learning process:

  • From studying content out of context to engaging them in an examination of issues, identifying problems, brainstorming potential solutions, and acting on their thoug...
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A 15-year-old girl might have made HIV tests as easy as pregnancy tests

Nicole TiceaNicole Ticea’s HIV test invention is a long way from widespread use, but it’s a start.

HIV testing is necessary, but it can be embarrassing, it’s hard, and it takes a while for results … and in some places, it’s expensive. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of all Americans age 13 and older who are living with HIV (1,201,100), an estimated 160,300, or 13%, don’t even know they have HIV. It is a youth issue.

HIV testing usually requires expensive lab equipment and time to process the test. But Nicole used a new method called isothermal nucleic acid amplification, which means that tests can be done anywhere — potentially, even in remote locations around the world — and quickly...

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More U.S. Children Are Living In Poverty Than During The Great Recession

poverty_childA startling report on child welfare revealed that more U.S. children are living in poverty than before the Great Recession. According to a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, more than one in five American children, about 22%, were living in poverty in 2013.

The report covers 16 different measures, delving into economic well-being, health care, education and family and community issues. The southern states struggle in the Kids Count rankings for overall child well-being, with issues including economic standing and education.

Find out what drives these increasing poverty rates here.

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