The Future of Education - ReRolled Solves Problems

Izo

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If I had another anecdote about lines I'd give it to you.
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Chris

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True story:

When I went to Houston for 2 weeks of training with my defense contract company at KBR's "mall" facility (Greenspoint was it?) there were several hundred Bosnians I think it was going through at the same time. They served some meals there on the site so we'd all have to get in line to get processed through. Curiously enough the only people that seemed to know WTF a line was or how cutting in line was seen as a no-no were the Americans - everyone else shoved, jostled, cut and basically acted as if the first rule of the lunch-line was that there WAS no rules. This went on for a while until fights broke out and then it all had to be broken up and they're yelling at these Bosnians to get into line. Which didn't go all that well because I don't think they knew what the concept was - they'd make a few tiny sidesteps like they were going to try getting into line but the entire time they were watching each other like hawks and as soon as someone else said 'fuck it' and charged ahead, then it all went to shit again.

My company didn't have a large group so we just started getting into line 15m or so early before the Bosnian zerg got there.
I can only imagine the (mostly silent) outrage if they did that in England. The only place we don't have queues is at a bar/pub and while there is a bit of "make yourself look bigger" assertiveness in buisier places, you won't see shoving and most people are fairly gentlemenly about not being served if they know someone else has been there longer.

I guess that there is a reason why they are the asshole of Europe.
 

Superhiro

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I want to join in. I have a BA in History and a MS Education. I teach at a top tier international school, so not a lot of personal experience with US public schools.

Responding to some of the stuff I read earlier in the thread, there is a huge shift away from content knowledge towards skills, especially 21st century skills. The Common Core Standards are one way towards raising the rigor of US public school education and focusing more on skills then specific realms of knowledge. How much this is actually being done in the classroom is a big problem, because there are still a lot of old-school teachers that are set in their ways and are reusing lesson plans from 20 years ago. School districts try to combat this by overreaching and buying "teacher-proof" curriculum programs that are required to be taught, which ties the hands of a lot of young, well-prepared and innovative teachers that could be doing a lot of cool things.
 

Tortfeasor

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My undergraduate degree is in philosophy and I minored in logic and then I went to law school. I personally feel that schools should be focusing more on math, logic, and writing as well as technical and trade skills. Only a little bit of logic is more than enough to see through most of the bullshit you see in the media's demagoguery and fear mongering. Start em young, says I.

An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments
 
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Cad

scientia potentia est
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My undergraduate degree is in philosophy and I minored in logic and then I went to law school. I personally feel that schools should be focusing more on math, logic, and writing as well as technical and trade skills. Only a little bit of logic is more than enough to see through most of the bullshit you see in the media's demagoguery and fear mongering. Start em young, says I.

An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments
All the argument techniques in that book are taught in "how to post on the internet" every young child is given these days
 

Tortfeasor

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Have you met the internet? The politics thread? Regardless of how true and correct their rants are, people are not corrected on the internet; they are validated or just misunderstood. Teach them logic before issuing them an internetting license. Either way, my reasoning behind this had more to do with being assailed by broadcast news, religious leaders, politicians, salesmen, etc.
 
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Tmac

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Saying that "Education is a multi-faceted problem" is an understatement to say the least. You essentially have the perfect world problems and real world factors. The perfect world problems exist regardless of what system you adopt or where you try to implement it. This generally revolves around curriculum design and student retention/involvement and assessment. The real world factors come in the forms of budgetary concerns, home environments, political issues such as federal mandates and employee unions and also the current overall economic health of the populations who are sending their kids to school.

That's a lot of stuff.

So lets just focus on a few of them at first

Classroom Environment and Curriculum
Problems:Current classrooms suck. Everyone is grouped together by age as the determining factor for proficiency level. I think everyone can agree that while age may bring with it life experience, it has nothing to do with actual ability. Why we assume that every 7 year old is identical in their abilities is a mystery. Also, the teaching is done from a teacher to student direction. The students themselves are not seen as the instructional resources they can be, and are instead merely vessels that should be filled with knowledge.

Taking a Look BackTaking a look into the classrooms of extremely rural schools, or classrooms from 3-4 generations ago we see a much more fluid environment. The classrooms were comprised of single rooms that housed all students for a small local region. The ability level of the students were incredibly varied and usually included children from pre-school age all the way up to middle or early high school age. There was typically a single teacher who needed to split their time with each student. So instead of rigid grades, many schools simply focused on proficiency levels as a grouping mechanism. Students were assessed on their current abilities and one might excel in arithmetic but lag behind in reading or writing. Students that were above other students in proficiency were tasked with tutoring the younger or struggling students to help alleviate the burden on the single teacher. This helps two students at once, because not only is a struggling student getting some one on one time, the other student is cementing their mastery of the topic.

SolutionsSo how could we implement such a system today? Well we basically eliminate grades. We have school centers and students would be grouped by proficiency levels, not ages. Progress through a subject would hinge on regular assessments, probably in the form of personal learning projects. Once a student completes a project designed to show mastery of certain skills within a topic, they are given the appropriate Grade/ Rank/ Level associated with that. These projects would be standardized in terms of what skills the student must show proficiency in for each level. The Topics may be flexible and might either come in the form of several pre selected topics for early learners and lower proficiency levels, or as the student becomes more advanced the topics could be self chosen. The teachers primary job would be to asses and assist in the completion of these projects, with the majority of the in class lecturing and instruction being done by other students.

An approximately equal amount of time would be given to several core subjects. Each student would have to show graduation level proficiency in each of these areas. These core subjects are Math, Reading Comprehension, Writing: Creative and Technical/ Correspondence or Business Communication, Science (each major branch should be covered by a unit with the option for the student to go into more advanced studies within a specific field), Personal Finance, Personal health and Fitness, and Civic and Political studies. These are the bare minimum areas of proficiency I think all citizens should have in order to be contributing members to a society.

The Students would also be required to choose several additional subjects to fill in their schedules for the day. Not all additional topics might be available to all students. If an optional class was constantly being chosen by a large portion of the student population the school administration would be encouraged to expand it's availability.

Students would attend regular classes, but they also would be required to assist teaching the material they have shown mastery of in lower level classes or during study times. This would be a requirement for graduation, to either show so many hours of tutoring/ assistant teaching or maybe even just community service type projects put on by the school if not enough students are available to be helped.

A student could burn through material at a rather alarming rate and move right on to very advanced subjects, regardless of age. Or they might struggle in one topic and find they need to devote more time to it. The point is, whether a student takes 7 years to graduate from what we would consider 12th grade or 14 years, by the end, they will both have shown the same level of proficiency.

This all might seem impossible to implement given how children behave these days. I agree, most of these little bastards are too far gone to be thrust into such a system. But if a child is raised in this curriculum from day one, they will come to expect and understand it.

Beyond Public School
A real emphasis needs to be placed on life outside and after school. The whole purpose of school should be to better prepare students for life after school. To this end, a student should be encouraged to begin thinking about what kind of life or profession they would like to move towards from an early age. Finding a topic that interests the child and using that as a common topic for their assessment projects would be a natural way to get the kids to start thinking about what they might be able to do. Also, the school should provide a structure for students to develop community service/ outreach projects, that any students are free to sign up for and get tutoring/outreach credit for.

These projects could be anything from addressing environmental concerns, to social issues, to simple public education style events. How can the students teach the community what they have learned in a way that is also fun and engaging. These group projects would involve large portions of the student body of each school and would be important for several reasons. First it will help the students develop skills that allow them to tackle more complex issues and problems that they will take with them wherever they go. Second It will encourage social awareness in the kids and Third it will also provide valuable socializing time for students of similar age groups that might not have such an opportunity given lack of traditional age based class groupings.

Finally, a realization that college is not for everyone needs to be adopted. College can be an amazing tool, but only if the person attending has a clear purpose for attending. Someone getting lost in the haze of their undergraduate years is a really expensive waste of time and resources. People don't need to go to school to be lecherous, drug addled, drunken bums. They can do that for almost nothing.

There are plenty of rewarding trades and honest jobs that people might actually find very fulfilling and rewarding, provided the stigma surrounding them is lifted. Students nearing the completion of the public school cycle should have as much opportunity as can be afforded to job shadow and intern with companies looking to hire right out of high school. Or they can start incorporating college courses into their studies and start earning credits now, that cost nothing. This already happens to a limited degree, but it should really be the norm.

Honestly, the first two years of almost any undergrad program is filled with shit courses, that seem almost remedial. I honestly believe that most 4 year degrees could become 2 year programs overnight, if High Schools actually required their students to be proficient in the subjects they are being taught and universities didn't pad their programs with a bunch of feel good bullshit classes. The fact that a lot of universities are trying to make their undergraduate programs into 5 year snooze fests is just a disgusting cash grab.

Also... before a student thinks about schools, I think they need to be forced to write a sort of super basic business proposal (with instructions on how to go about it) before they can start seeking out federal loans. They essentially need to asses the market and look at how they are going to survive life after they graduate, given the level of debt they intend on accruing. If they pick a major that takes 5-6 years before they really hit their stride in term of income, they need to explain how they are going to manage that burden. They have loan counseling right now but it's total bullshit. You spend 5 minutes speed reading a webpage about what to do in case you are going to default and then they pile on the money. If the student can't get through writing a simple proposal or showing they have an even basic concept of the responsibility these loans represent, they probably need to rethink what their next step should be.

As a final note... the potential young kids have to become really amazing people is just staggering. There are definitely slow kids and fast kids, but honestly, most children, if exposed at a very very early age to an environment that is conducive to exploring and learning, will absolute amaze people with the talent they can develop. That this most crucial of time periods is almost entirely lost to parental ignorance and social pollution is a true crime. Most prodigies are products of their environment because there were people present who could recognize the genius immediately and didn't let it go to waste. Children can become the force for change that can solve the insurmountable problems we face, but only if we invest heavily in them. Wait too long or half ass it and well... you get what you pay for.
Clap. Clap. Clap, clap, clap clap...
 

Chris

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In the UK it's been inconsistent. Lessons over Zoom, with some students not bothering. Exam results calcuated by teachers then moderated by an algorithm, which caused a shitstorm.

Talking about solving the future of education, I've got an online learning platform in the works which is both for students learning at home and teachers having lesson content for the classroom. Content is generated by an algorithm instead of choosing questions from a library which is the usual method.

Not sure how much I want to go into it here given all the cancelable things I've said here, but if anyone is a math educator give me a PM!
 

Sadre Spinegnawer

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In the UK it's been inconsistent. Lessons over Zoom, with some students not bothering. Exam results calcuated by teachers then moderated by an algorithm, which caused a shitstorm.

Talking about solving the future of education, I've got an online learning platform in the works which is both for students learning at home and teachers having lesson content for the classroom. Content is generated by an algorithm instead of choosing questions from a library which is the usual method.

Not sure how much I want to go into it here given all the cancelable things I've said here, but if anyone is a math educator give me a PM!

So many topics can be developed into a completely automated or "virtual" learning environment -- maybe even make it 3d or isometric -- that will effectively teach those topics. I would hope though, that thorough "check ins" with an actual Ph.D (at the college level) as well as course-long "classmates" would be par for such a course. I think you can't just let this all be on auto-pilot, you need it to have real experts in the fields students can talk to about the automated part. (Change a few terms this is also the pitch that mmo's probably made 20 years ago.)

I am working on these things. Critical Thinking is stone simple to learn, it's like geometry. Axioms, proofs, theorems. The rest is all practice practice practice. Basically critical thinking is like learning basic mental calisthenics. It makes one less retarded. You have my word, my personal iron-clad word.*


*this last sentence is enticing you to commit a fallacy. Do not commit fallacies.
 
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It is so hard for everyone to adjust, but I think that we will shift to something like Zoom in the future. It may become a normal thing and I would not mind if it was like that when I was in school. I hated going to classes, online would be nice. I even failed some exams because my attendance was not good. In the end I dropped out and I finished some IT courses with the help of SPOTOclub.com . Now I have a job that I enjoy and I do not think that my degree would give me a better one.
 
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fanaskin

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It is so hard for everyone to adjust, but I think that we will shift to something like Zoom in the future. It may become a normal thing and I would not mind if it was like that when I was in school. I hated going to classes, online would be nice.

this would further gentrify society, elites would still send their kids to school not just because it has better outcomes but because school is where most people forge lifelong connections.
 

Izo

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In the UK it's been inconsistent. Lessons over Zoom, with some students not bothering. Exam results calcuated by teachers then moderated by an algorithm, which caused a shitstorm.

Talking about solving the future of education, I've got an online learning platform in the works which is both for students learning at home and teachers having lesson content for the classroom. Content is generated by an algorithm instead of choosing questions from a library which is the usual method.

Not sure how much I want to go into it here given all the cancelable things I've said here, but if anyone is a math educator give me a PM!
m134-2-plus-2-equals-5.jpg

Here to help.