The Future of Education - ReRolled Solves Problems

Adebisi

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I wanted to use this thread to discuss how education can be changed in the public school system. Think aboot dis:

How do you learn now compared to when you were in the public education system?
Should there be more "gaming" approaches to curriculum?
Is the way we assess our young students outdated?
Is the whole "sit in chair and listen to teacher" the wrong approach?

Personally speaking, I feel like I've learned more in the past 10 years than I did in grade school and college. When something interests me, I'm in Wikipedia reading articles. I'm on Youtube watching videos. I'm posting on forums and asking questions.

I can't remember if I always had this thirst for knowledge, or if technology has just empowered me so I can find the answers on my own. How do I get my kids to do the same?
 

TrollfaceDeux

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home school.

i feel the same way. i would like to take back my high school years/college and spend it more wisely (i.e. less studying and more activities and practical knowledge). i just got out of my first degree and going for a completely different field (electrical engineering. i wanna be cable man).
 
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Nester

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Starting this fall, in order to graduate, every student at Olds College in Olds, Alta., will have to complete an iPad game in which they open a virtual lemonade stand and gradually build it into a business empire.

Video games, once considered entertainment, are increasingly becoming part of required coursework at all levels of education, complementing traditional learning tools such as problem sets and books.

At Olds College, the Farmville-esque game Lemonade Stand is a central part of the new mandatory Discover Entrepreneurship course.

"What we've done is take the things that make computer games so addictive and apply them to education," said Toby Williams, the college?s director of entrepreneurship and international development.

The college wanted to ensure all of its students were trained in entrepreneurial skills. Williams and her colleagues thought a game might be able to offer the hands-on approach that the college emphasizes.

"It's not a real-life situation, but it's close to that."

The college partnered with two Calgary-based businesses: The GoForth Institute, an online small business training company, which provided the course content; and game developer Robots and Pencils, which built the app.

"This is the first time that something like this has been tried in North America, as far as we know," said Williams of the project, which cost more than $2 million to develop.

Complete article
http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/vi...ools-1.1321035
 

OneofOne

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I think the amount of time I spent memorizing dates of battles, names of military and political figures, and reading dumb ass stories from dead writers was a waste of time. More time should have been spent learning to 1) balance a checkbook, 2) fill out fed/state tax forms, 3) learn the different kinds of banking interest and how they work, and many other things I can't think of now. Not that I needed those myself, but damn 90%+ of people seem to. Also, I give big props to the teacher that made us learn to identify every country in the world on the map, and name their capitals. I'll never worry about being embarrassed by Jay Leno!
 

Weaponsfree_sl

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I teach an English class at a high school and let me tell you--getting kids to read a "dumbass story" from a "dead writer" is a big deal. Not because it's important to know about literature, but because learning to analyze and critically think is instrumental to obtaining success, by almost any measure. None of the teachers there care if you can identify every single character's age. It's about answering questions about the story--extrapolating, discovering motivations. You know, life skills. So that you can actually hold a conversation about something.
 
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TrollfaceDeux

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i had a great analyzing skills and pretty much aced every goddamn english exam/test and let me tell you that that skill ain't worth shit without a proper implementation. Might as well as combine english and history and call it "Liberal Art Class Year 1" if that was the case.
 

Weaponsfree_sl

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i had a great analyzing skills and pretty much aced every goddamn english exam/test and let me tell you that that skill ain't worth shit without a proper implementation. Might as well as combine english and history if that was the case.
You had "a great analyzing skills?" Okay. You aced every english test with that? Neat.

Putting aside how goddamn stupid you sound, the implementation is that, when learning it, you find yourself incorporating that beyond the literature. You find yourself asking "why?" about what you buy, what you do, what you think. Not everyone came out as smart as you, Trollface. Some people have to be taught to reach your high level of critical thinking implementation.
 

Nester

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I can not see fact memorization as being part of a progressive curriculum going forward. Every fact can be known in an instant if you know how to ask the right question.
 

TrollfaceDeux

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You had "a great analyzing skills?" Okay. You aced every english test with that? Neat.

Putting aside how goddamn stupid you sound, the implementation is that, when learning it, you find yourself incorporating that beyond the literature. You find yourself asking "why?" about what you buy, what you do, what you think. Not everyone came out as smart as you, Trollface. Some people have to be taught to reach your high level of critical thinking implementation.
come to my house and teach me life skills with your English degree.
 

Adebisi

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I think we do need to teach kids how to find information on their own and how to be proactive in their learninz. (can you really teach someone to be proactive???)

I mentioned this in another thread. I do a lot of employee training for various companies. Sometimes these companies need their new employees to be trained on dozens of products in a very short amount of time. I don't try to make the employee memorize all the products and specs (which is actually what a lot of companies try to do). Instead the training focuses on common scenarios and employees are taught how to use their tools to find the answer themselves. Keep in mind that this only works well if the company has a half decent knowledge system (like a corporate wiki of sorts). When these companies don't have a decent knowledge system, I get to help them build one
wink.png
 

Erronius

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Critical thinking skills need more focus. Also I think that a lot of these kids are ignorant of what opportunities are out there and many just give up in advance because they mistakenly think that they don't have ANY realistic options after High School besides working at McDonalds. They seem to be very ill prepared for what comes after high school and no one seems to really be preparing them for the next step.

http://www.pltw.org/

Have that in every school in the country. I did the program for four years. It's amazing.
We've had some of that at my community college but I'm not sure what the status of it is atm. AFAIK there was a collaboration between our school and another regional school to provide some PLTW services to local kids but my impression is that it is in limbo. I'd be curious though in what you found to be so amazing about it (no troll). Was it just inspiring to you or was the program unique in some way that you walked away from it much better prepared than you would have otherwise?

There are a lot of various programs though (I can't keep track of the acronyms, it's literally as bad as the military), and one of our 'retired' instructors is giving some 100 level classes to some high school kids. And this guy really knows his stuff in regards to what's taught in the department. I remember hearing him mention that the kids from some of the "bad" schools seem to be more interested in potential opportunities than the some of the kids from better schools who just seem to float from class to class with no enthusiasm. I can't remember which program that is operating under but I could find out when I go back next week. My impression is that the kids he is teaching seem to be more interested in the classes than some of the classmates I had when I took equivalent courses - people would skip weeks at a time and then show up for the final thinking that they could fake it.
 

Weaponsfree_sl

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come to my house and teach me life skills with your English degree.
I don't have an English degree, but I can tell you that thinking you just burst onto your public school scene with perfect analytical skills is fucking stupid. You were taught those. Maybe by a parent, maybe earlier in school, but not everyone had that benefit. I'd say about 10-15% of kids breeze through the class. A solid 50% are at the bare minimum ofcritical thinking. I'm not talking about knowing the entireMidsummer Night's Dream, I'm saying if you ask them "why" about anything, they have difficulty answering. A few trimesters later, they often can answer, and answer it well, because they have a deeper understanding of things.

There are so, so, so many problems with the public school system. I could write paragraph after paragraph about it. Poor teaching, poor learning, disjointed families, difficulty measuring success...that list is far from inclusive. But getting kids to sit down and think about a book, and actually seeing them get better at it and understand the meaning behind things, and hearing how they can apply it to movies, problems, and even in their social life is awesome. Teaching critical thinking via English is not something that is part of the problem. Being hamstrung by the administration or the teacher's union is a problem. Being told by the school board what you can and can't say is sometimes a problem. Not having the freedom to try something unorthodox is often a problem. But English, watching that light click on while readingTo Kill a Mockingbird? Yeah, I don't have a problem with that.
 

McCheese

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A big problem is that a lot of teachers--both in the grade/high school level and at college--simply suck. They're lazy and/or incompetent. It's way easier to prepare and deliver a traditional lecture-style class than it is to create a lesson plan that involves exploration of the material by the students, numerous kinds of interactions, interesting games to manipulate the content, and creative ways of measuring success.
 

TrollfaceDeux

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I don't have an English degree, but I can tell you that thinking you just burst onto your public school scene with perfect analytical skills is fucking stupid. You were taught those. Maybe by a parent, maybe earlier in school, but not everyone had that benefit. I'd say about 10-15% of kids breeze through the class. A solid 50% are at the bare minimum ofcritical thinking. I'm not talking about knowing the entireMidsummer Night's Dream, I'm saying if you ask them "why" about anything, they have difficulty answering. A few trimesters later, they often can answer, and answer it well, becausethey have a deeper understanding of things.
.......and it's fucking useless. Let's forget your class. I come from a strong History-oriented background. English is just one of many, many many fucking Liberal art classes that teaches this so-called "analytical" skills. I would rather havedeeper understandingof fucking War of 1812 than this shit.

EDIT: Let me just clarify my earlier point since you and I got off a wrong foot. I have never argued that I am born with such skills. I've been a lousy student for the most part and only got myself out of the apathetic self in senior years. In fact, you could say I learned this "analytical" skills through the bible. True story. (since bible is all about interpretation)

Question here is not the skill itself. It is the implementation and its utility. As it stands, English side of this "teaching" is less important compared to, say, problem solving quizzes in math class. Have you watched the Wire? This black kid had a problem with solving a simple mathematical problem. His brother or some shit comes over and shows him example that would "invoke" his critical thinking skills (i.e. drug, meth, money) and encourage him that way.

Like Erronius said, it needs focus. English isn't that big of a deal when it comes to teaching our kids "critical" skills compared to other field of studies. One thing I noticed in high school is that people usually do good in English class compared to other studies.

One thing I really struggled with was not critical thinking skills, but technical skills. There was English class, and then there was Creative Writing Class (Technical). I excelled in the exam, but holy shit, assignments were fucking brutal...By the end of it, although I did not do good in that course, it was a great experience and it was indefinitely more rewarding than, say, English 12.
 

Weaponsfree_sl

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Math is more important than English? Some of these kids come in Sophomore year and they can't fucking communicate through written words. They can sometimes barely do it talking when it isn't in twitter format. Being able to communicate is anessentialskill to pair with critical thinking. "What do I want to say, and how do I want to say it, and why am I saying it?" is crucial. That's atleastas important as math.

And let me be clear, I'm not saying English is the only thing that teaches critical thinking, nor does it reach every child the best way. But it's essential if we want kids to be able to communicate. Sure, my parents taught me and I probably didn't need those high school classes because I am from a middle class family that emphasizes intelligence. Most of these kids are not and this is their exposure to the world of how to communicate, and how to knowwhatto communicate by analyzing and using critical thinking.
 

Tuco

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You had "a great analyzing skills?" Okay. You aced every english test with that? Neat.

Putting aside how goddamn stupid you sound, the implementation is that, when learning it, you find yourself incorporating that beyond the literature. You find yourself asking "why?" about what you buy, what you do, what you think. Not everyone came out as smart as you, Trollface. Some people have to be taught to reach your high level of critical thinking implementation.
I agree that there are many graduates of our school system that would be helped by a better understanding of both the English language and an ability to understand major works in English. However the analytical skills required for English classes and other art mediums is pretty low. You force someone to create a testable and working product that requires analytical skills to complete and they'll learn more about how to ask questions than blowing smoke about the motivation and depth of characters.

As for the OP, I don't have a strong opinion. It's a huge problem because the kids most disadvantaged are the ones who need public education the most. Most (not all) people on this forum probably had an advantage in school in that we're all nerds. I've always been fond of the idea of training the highly scoring kids to go to higher education and attempting to train the lower scoring kids trade skills to be able to get a decent job out of high school.
 

TrollfaceDeux

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Most of these kids are not and this is their exposure to the world of how to communicate, and how to knowwhatto communicate by analyzing and using critical thinking.
That's their parent's job as well.

You are right. If they would speak like inner city thugs,they will never find a jobor a good job. Probability of it is extremely low. These kids are fucking idiots. That's not the fault of you or them. It's their parents.

EDIT: If this was about analytical skills, we would disagree. If it was about English itself and its application, we agree. That was my point from the start.
 

McCheese

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I agree that there are many graduates of our school system that would be helped by a better understanding of both the English language and an ability to understand major works in English. However the analytical skills required for English classes and other art mediums is pretty low. You force someone to create a testable and working product that requires analytical skills to complete and they'll learn more about how to ask questions than blowing smoke about the motivation and depth of characters.

As for the OP, I don't have a strong opinion. It's a huge problem because the kids most disadvantaged are the ones who need public education the most. Most (not all) people on this forum probably had an advantage in school in that we're all nerds. I've always been fond of the idea of training the highly scoring kids to go to higher education and attempting to train the lower scoring kids trade skills to be able to get a decent job out of high school.
These are some wonderful blanket statements you make. How, exactly, are the analytical skills required for English classes and other art mediums "pretty low" compared to creating a testable and working product, whatever that means. I'd argue that you shouldn't compare them because both situations will help you develop different metacognitive skills. It's very possible to be extremely good at analyzing a work of literature but terrible at any sort of business or technical project, and vice versa. If they used the same set of metacognitive skills and style of analytical thinking then any engineer would be able to pick up War and Peace and analyze the fuck out of it, which we all know is not the case at all.

As to your second point about training lower scoring kids for trades, how exactly do you measure each child's scoring? Standardized tests are notoriously shitty measurements for overall intelligence and aptitude. What subjects do the tests measure? What cultural knowledge to they assume each student has? Who develops the tests and how are students prepared for them (if at all)? How do you handle children of immigrants who might have trouble with English but otherwise be extremely bright? I think when you said "higher scoring" what you actually mean is "highly motivated", in which case I might begin to agree with you. Then again, is it always the child's fault that he or she lacks motivation? What if the child is stuck with a shitty teacher who doesn't give a shit? Obviously motivation for the entire group of students will be low compared with those with a teacher who spends hours developing interesting, active lessons to engage the students.

Blanket statements like the ones you made are the reason education in the USA is in such a fucked up state. Politicians and "concerned parents" say shit like that and it turns into policy, without taking into account a lot of the necessary details.
 

Noodleface

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I have two separate ideas. I think middle school should be spent evaluating strengths, weaknesses, and interests of the students. When they approach high school they should be put on tracks according to these things. People good at math/science should go towards that path, english/history on another, art, etc.

Blacks should be put into a separate school where all they tell them everyday is how to wear a condom, not to eat at mcdonalds, and how owning a home is more impressive than a '94 civic with 18 inch rims on it.

One thing I always hated about public schooling was no one is held accountable for anything. They preach about how if you do poorly you won't graduate, but I knew people that failed like every class they took and still graduated much like someone with straight A's did, the real world (and college) isn't like this.