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Introducing the #EFReads monthly book discussion

Are you in joining a fun virtual book club, focused on cutting-edge education topics?

Join us for a monthly discussion on some of the most provocative books in education at 10am (U.S. Central/5pm European Central) on the first Saturday of each month. We will use the hashtag: #EFReads social media platforms. And, we’ll broadcast each chat on Facebook on the Education Futures page: facebook.com/EducationFutures

Upcoming discussions

Need more incentive? We are giving away copies of these books! Visit the above links to learn how you can enter to win a random drawing to have a copy of an upcoming book sent to you in time for the discussion!

More information is posted on the #EFReads website: https://www2.educationfutures.com/reads

Are you new to Twitter, Twitter chats, or using hashtags? No problem! Kelly Killorn-Moravec has created a tutorial video:

View on YouTube

See you at the #EFReads book club, starting this Saturday! You can contact us on Twitter: @edfutures

An Invisible Learning travelogue

The world is indeed flattening, and we are very happy. Since March, Cristóbal and I have presented Invisible Learning in a dozen countries, and at more than 35 events for debate and discussion. The outcomes from the project exceed our expectations — and, more importantly, open the debate to a wider and global level. Some examples that inspire us:

…and more

In less than three months since we opened the book for free access online, we’ve had about 9,500 downloads that we know of — and many, many more that we do not know of. Others are sharing the book alike, including Google Books and OpenLibra. And, it is already attracting great citations. As we embraced a unique approach to blending traditional and “new” publishing, we look forward to seeing how others will respond to our distribution approach.

We look forward to many more conversations in 2012, and we want to thank everybody that helped make Invisible Learning a success. We especially extend our thanks to Hugo Pardo, the XXI Transmedia team, the University of Barcelona, and the University of Andalucia for providing the support to make this project possible.

And, a short video about what’s coming next:

Review: 21st Century Skills (by Bernie Trilling and Charles Fadel)

Book: 21st Century Skills: Learning for life in our times
Author: Bernie Trilling and Charles Fadel
Publisher: Jossey-Bass (2009)

Some ten years into the 21st century, I find it amazing that we are still having conversations on what skills are necessary to succeed in this new century. We’ve explored some ideas of what skills are relevant before (see this, this, this, and this, for example), and there appears to be a general consensus that there are needs for skills development in creativity, innovation, smart use of ICTs, and social leadership. This is exactly in line with what Bernie Trilling and Charles Fadel, co-board members on the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, identify (lifted from the book jacket):

  • Learning and Innovation Skills: Creativity and Innovation, Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, and Communication and Collaboration
  • Digital Literacy Skills: Information Literacy, Media Literacy, and ICT Literacy
  • Career and Life Skills: Flexibility and Adaptability, initiative and Self-Direction, Social and Cross-Cultural Skills, Productivity and Accountability, Leadership and Responsibility

What makes this book valuable to practitioners, however, is that instead of building up chapters of reasoning for why we need to adopt the P21 skill set in education, they focus more on what each of these skills mean. Moreover, they tie in examples of the skills in practice with an included DVD, containing real-life classroom examples.

While the book excels at understanding each of the P21 skills and their implications, it falls short on how to build these skills in broader contexts – i.e., as a replacement set for NCLB standards. For this, the text could have benefited with an invitation –and mechanism– for its readers to join the conversation on adopting and embracing new skills for the 21st century. Instead, leading the conversation seems left to us: Where shall we begin?


Note: The publisher provided a copy of the book for review. Please read our review policy for more details on how we review products and services.

We're always busy, but doing nothing

blackberry

Here’s another look at accelerating change. On Friday, the New York Times published an excellent review of Dalton Conley’s book, Elsewhere U.S.A.:

“A new breed of American has arrived on the scene,” Conley, a professor at New York University, declares in “Elsewhere, U.S.A.,” his compact guidebook to our nervous new world. Instead of individuals searching for authenticity, we are “intraviduals” defined by shifting personas and really cool electronics, which help us manage “the myriad data streams, impulses, desires and even consciousnesses that we experience in our heads as we navigate multiple worlds.” The denizens of our “Elsewhere Society,” Conley argues, “are only convinced they’re in the right place, doing the right thing, at the right time, when they’re on their way to the next destination. Constant motion is a balm to a culture in which the very notion of authenticity . . . has been shattered into a thousand e-mails.”

Conley looks at the social transformations that were created by technological change between the mid 20th century through today. Organization and individualism have given way to intravidualism, “an ethic of fragmented selves replacing the modern ethic of individualism.” Work, play, and everything in between are blurring into non-discrete moments of incoherentness. We’re going somewhere, but we do not know where. Then again, no matter where we go, there we are.

This has serious consequences for human capital development. Perhaps to better succeed in what appears to be a directionless society of busybodies, we need to create a New Individualism, and re-orient education for developing strategic leadership at the individual level? …for learning how to cope with increased chaos and ambiguity? …for knowing how to be more selective in how new technologies are used before the technologies use us?

Clayton Christensen on innovation in education

Yesterday, HBS Working Knowledge posted an interview with Clayton Christensen, a professor at Harvard Business School and author or coauthor of five books, including The Innovator’s Dilemma and The Innovator’s Solution. The interview focused on his latest book (co-authored with Michael B. Horn and Curtis W. Johnson), Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns, which focuses on which ideas around innovation can spur much-needed improvements in public education.

HBS Working Knowledge, notes three key ideas from the book:

  • “As an industry, education has certain elements that have made the market difficult to penetrate and lasting reform hard to come by.”
  • “As a general rule, the most promising areas for innovation are pockets or areas that appear unattractive or inconsequential to industry incumbents and where there are people who would like to do something but cannot access the available offering.”
  • “To improve education as an industry, businesspeople might consider investing in technological platforms that will allow for robust educational user networks to emerge.”

More in the interview…

Getting smart about books

As a follow-up to last week’s posts by Ai Takeuchi with Japanese perspectives on global education, I wanted to comment on Steve Jobs’ claim that nobody reads books anymore –and counter his claim by pointing out that books are alive and well in Japan because the Japanese are embracing the distribution possibilities provided by new media and new technologies.

Mike Elgan beat me to the punch, though, and posted this article at Computer World. An excerpt:

Half of Japan’s top 10 best-selling books last year — half! — started out as cell phone-based books, according to the New York Times.

The books-on-phones genre started when a home-page-making Web site company realized that people in Japan were writing serialized novels on their blogs, and figured out how to autocreate cell phone-based novels from the blog entries.

The popularity of these blog novels on cell phones sparked huge interest among readers in writing such novels. Last month, the site passed the 1 million novel mark.

Some of these amateur writers become so famous on the cell phone medium that the big publishing houses seek them out and offer lucrative deals for print versions. The No. 5 best-selling print book in Japan last year, according to the Times, was written first on a cell phone by a girl during her senior year in high school.

In this brave new world of literature where anybody can become a best-selling author using mobile technologies, we need to rethink what a “book” really is. Instead of blocking mobile technologies in schools, what if schools allowed them so that kids could produce their own books?

Video Games in the Classroom (part two)

To do is to be

To be is to do

So Do We?

It is just good teaching

Games taught me that modeling environments and taking on the roles are powerful ways to teach and learn.

Piaget talked about roles as assimilation. You try on the role and see what part of the character is you.

Gibson talked about environment and context, with affordances and constraints. What the world gives you for advice, warning, limitation, and opportunity.

These ideas are present in embodiment and how we might contextualize our curriculum as an activity system.

One of the big lessons from games is design. Good learning is by design. A teacher, like a game designer creates the environment where we learn.

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Top ten list #10: Resources for education futurists

ten-days-sm.pngWe wrap up our ten days of top ten lists with ten resources that can help you start to think as an education futurist. This list is far from complete — feel free to post your own in the comments!

  1. Wikipedia
  2. Wired
  3. The New York Times
  4. The Wall Street Journal
  5. Kurzweil, R. (2005). The Singularity is near: When humans transcend biology. New York: Viking.
  6. Pink, D. H. (2005). A whole new mind: Moving from the information age to the conceptual age. New York: Riverhead.
  7. Gardner, H. (2006). Five minds for the future. Boston, Mass.: Harvard Business School Press.
  8. Kelley, T. (2006). The ten faces of innovation: IDEO’s strategies for beating the devil’s advocate & driving creativity throughout your organization. London: Profile.
  9. Owen, H. (2001). Just how good could you be? grow your personal capital: what you know, who you know, how to use it. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Pub.
  10. Harkins, A., & Kubik, G. (2006). StoryTech: A personalized guidebook to the 21st Century. Minneapolis: The StoryTech Group.

Kurzweil: The singularity is near

Here is a book to watch out for: The singularity is near by Ray Kurzweil, to be released in September, 2005.

The following information is cut-and-pasted from Amazon.com‘s description of the volume:

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult (September 22, 2005)
  • ISBN: 0670033847

Book Description

The great inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil is one of the best-known and controversial advocates for the role of machines in the future of humanity. In his latest, thrilling foray into the future, he envisions an event—the “singularity”—in which technological change becomes so rapid and so profound that our bodies and brains will merge with our machines.

The Singularity is near portrays what life will be like after this event—a human-machine civilization where our experiences shift from real reality to virtual reality and where our intelligence becomes nonbiological and trillions of times more powerful than unaided human intelligence. In practical terms, this means that human aging and pollution will be reversed, world hunger will be solved, and our bodies and environment transformed by nanotechnology to overcome the limitations of biology, including death.

We will be able to create virtually any physical product just from information, resulting in radical wealth creation. In addition to outlining these fantastic changes, Kurzweil also considers their social and philosophical ramifications. With its radical but optimistic view of the course of human development, The singularity is near is certain to be one of the most widely discussed and provocative books of 2005.

Order from Amazon.com