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2020 Vision (revisited)

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2020 VisionSince it’s now 2020, I thought it would be fun to revisit Karl Fisch’s video from 2006, titled 2020 Vision. In that video, Karl imagines he is the commencement speaker for the Arapahoe High School (AHS) Class of 2020, reflecting back on the past 13 years of schooling for that cohort.

In the video, Karl envisioned a number of possibilities:

  • AHS launches a 21st century learning initiative that is focused on preparing learners, workers, and successful contributors to the global community.
  • Google buys Logitech and a whole host of media companies and university lectures. AHS eventually buys a ceiling-mounted ‘GCam’ for every classroom, which captures video, sound (through an area microphone), and screen capture into unified ‘GCasts’ that can be uploaded to the AHS Learning Management System, which also contains RSS feeds, blogs, and Google Docs-like environments for every course.
  • AHS launches its ‘Warrior Portal,’ which eliminates grades and transcripts, allows for more-personalized learning pathways, and creates academic/work portfolios for every student.
  • AHS students each have their own laptop and routinely engage in tele-learning with 10 sister schools all around the world.
  • Google buys Ford, Apple, and AMD, allowing it to make breakthroughs in solar energy, battery technology, and quantum computing. ‘Google Panels’ replace 2/3 of worldwide energy production. ‘GCars’ travel 1,200 miles on a single charge and are essentially free transportation for homes with Google shingles or roof panels. The GCars also are WiFi access points, creating massive nationwide mesh networks. Google makes the first quantum laptops available for an inexpensive subscription to ‘Google Premium,’ which allows free learning (and shopping) for every laptop owner. 
  • AHS and Arapahoe Community College merge to become Arapahoe Community School (ACS), a partnership that results in every student graduating with a minimum of 2 years of college credit.
  • ‘Google U’ launches, incorporating elements of Google Premium, GCasts, university/library materials, Internet resources, and classroom tools, allowing ACS to dump its own courses and create true individualized pathways for students that allow them to both master essential learnings (competency-based education) and engage in passion-based learning projects.
  • By 2020, Google has created an eyeMAGINE computer that projects a 56-inch screen onto users’ retinas, global energy consumption has actually decreased, and ACS has grown to over 20,000 students, all of whom are empowered to “Change the World” (which has been the AHS / ACS motto throughout).

It was fascinating to see some of Karl’s projections from 2006. Today we see a number of dual enrollment programs, for example, and secondary students in P-Tech programs, the Bard Early Colleges, and other initiatives are graduating with college credits. We also have seen some progress related to retinal projection systems, electric cars, solar energy, battery technologies, quantum computing, and other fronts. Many states and school systems are implementing competency-based education (CBE) frameworks and project- / inquiry-based learning initiatives, and 1:1 computing is increasingly prevalent in our elementary and secondary schools.

Today we also see greater skepticism toward Google than many of us had back in 2006. We are not as far along as we could be on the solar energy and electric vehicle fronts, which speaks to both societal inertia and entrenched resistance from companies, politicians, and other major economic actors. AHS is still AHS and, like most other schools, is still trying to figure out its place in a global innovation society. And, as Audrey Watters just reminded us, we have hundreds and maybe thousands of educational initiatives that occupy the graveyard of bad ideas and poor implementation.

What visions for learning from earlier in this century still resonate with you? What progress have we seen (or not)?

Time To Teach reviews each blog post by our contributors but if you feel this is a blog post better suited for another page please let us know. Teachers and Educators are our heroes. We want to thank you for the work you do! Yours In Education! Time To Teach

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Department of Education Earns A+ for Technology Modernization

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WASHINGTON—The U.S. Department of Education, under the leadership of U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, has earned high marks from the House Committee on Oversight and Reform for its work to modernize and secure its information technology systems. In fact, in rankings released last week, the Department earned an A+ on the December 2019 Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) scorecard.

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Do you want to form an alliance with me? (Version 3.0)

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“Do you…want to form an alliance…with me? “

It was January 3, 2010, that I first created a blog post of this title. It was initially inspired by a blog post that I came across on Problogger titled, “Let Me Show You Inside a Secret Blogging Alliance.” Of course, any time I heard the word “alliance,” this moment from The Office immediately came to mind (clearly a blog title too good to ignore). 

I had no idea that those words, penned a decade ago, would absolutely and forever change me and the trajectory of my life. It was in 2010 that I invited educational bloggers to form an alliance with me (no need for secrecy). This Alliance was a group of edubloggers who were committed to working together for the mutual benefit of all members of the Alliance. The goals were pretty humble in hindsight:

  1. To encourage educators in their blogging endeavors, whether they be new, established, or otherwise. 
  2. To create a united network of educators working toward a larger goal of being heard by those not in education. I wanted the general public to know us for the highly qualified professionals that we are. 

That was it. Humble beginnings. The edublogger Alliance irrevocably changed my life in all of the best ways possible. I was introduced to incredible educators and bloggers who challenged my thinking, encouraged me, inspired me, and mentored me. They became friends and the voices I still seek out before any others on all matters of education.

 They say that you become a compilation of the six people you surround yourself with, choose wisely. The stars had to be aligned in 2010 because overnight, 50 of the most exceptional educators surrounded me sharing their voice, their gifts, and their inspiration regularly.

The person I am today is a direct result of these beautiful souls who decided to jump with both feet into a crazy idea thrown out there in blog form. 

Without the 2010 blog alliance, I wouldn’t have started a school (it was their mentoring and inspiration that had me believing impossible things). Without the Alliance, I wouldn’t still be running a school (it was their encouragement that kept me going). Without them, I wouldn’t have conceived of The Learning Genome Project. The conversations, playful curiosity, challenging discussions, and camaraderie have meant so much to me. To my original alliance members: I cannot thank you enough for answering the call and shaping me so profoundly! I’m forever grateful to you!

With the dawn of a new decade, I thought that it might be time to launch a new sort of education alliance — this one with a slight twist. Before we get to that, a little background on where I find myself in 2020 (friends who have been with me the last ten years, please feel free to scroll):

2010 was a big year for me personally and professionally. I started hanging question marks on all those things I had taken for granted in education. I started asking questions and challenging my own thinking. It was also the year that I had to leave the classroom for health reasons. In that year of questioning and reflection, I created The Learning Genome Project. If I couldn’t change education from within the classroom because of my health, perhaps this would be the way! 

The Learning Genome Project was an idea that came to me while talking with some of my edublog alliance members over a Twitter chat. I was listening to Pandora (remember when it felt so magical to have technology create a playlist based on one song and get it right?!), and I was having a real geek-out moment about this phenomenon. I kept thinking if technology can predict something that feels as personal as a song and gets it right, why couldn’t we use technology to create customized learning playlists for kids? Why were we still stuck in a system of the boxed, one-size-fits-all curriculum? I couldn’t let the idea go. I started digging into the back end of Pandora and discovered it was called The Music Genome Project, based on the Human Genome Project (the one that maps DNA). The Music Genome Project took a similar approach to music, mapping it based on 400+ attributes of music and then having music “experts” tag each piece of music with its attributes.

*Cue my light bulb moment!* 

Learning has attributes, what if we could tag curriculum (not the boxed stuff but real learning experiences and resources) with those attributes? If we knew who a student was, we could create customized learning opportunities for every student. I went to work building out a wireframe of this technology, talking with schools and investors about the possibilities. After a few months, I faced down a painful truth: we do not have an education system designed to see students as individuals. No matter how incredible I made this technology unless we change the model of education, it just wouldn’t work. 

I started blogging ideas of what this model could look like on my other blog, Dreams of Education. One day the family of a student who I used to teach called me out of the blue with the words, “I heard you are starting a school!” I had joked often with my edublog alliance friends that we should start a school, with our collective intelligence, it would be incredible! But no, I had zero plans for actually starting a school…because that is terrifying!! Also, who am I to do such a thing?

Famous last words.

In August of 2011, I opened Anastasis Academy with five teachers (one of whom I had met because of the original alliance!) and 54 students.

It became evident pretty quickly that we were on to something with this new model that we were innovating as we went. By year 3 of Anastasis, we had hundreds of educators visiting us each year to see what we were up to. In 2014 we decided that we needed a better way to share and started the 5Sigma Education Conference. Our goal was to share what was happening at Anastasis, to give people a behind the scenes view of our process. More than that, we wanted to expose others to those who have inspired us along the way. To share the people who have been so instrumental in our thinking. 

5Sigma is in its 6th year this year. Which brings me back to an invitation for you: Do you…want to form an alliance…with me (us)?

We want to expand 5Sigma beyond a conference. Into an alliance, a consortium if you will. 

Education conferences are wonderful; they are inspiring; they connect you to a network of learners; they promote change and innovation. 5Sigma has had no shortage of all of these moments. There is only one problem (and it’s glaring): they are fleeting. Those incredible conversations, the idea synergy, the innovation tend to end with the conference. Back in the classroom, the daily demands creep back in, and it all ends up on the back burner of “someday.”

Like you, I want learning to be better. More meaningful. More creative. More intentional. More fun. 5Sigma was born with the desire to bring together educators with world-changing thinkers and innovators (not unlike my original Alliance) and start conversations that would transform the educational landscape. 

The 5Sigma Consortium will be a network of educational change makers. In addition to our February conference, the 5Sigma Consortium will offer access to year-round inspiration, conversations, studio sessions, and the tools that promote change and innovation in real-time. The Consortium will be limited to the first 50 applicants (not because we wouldn’t love for EVERYONE to be involved, but because I have to be realistic about my own bandwidth to take this on!). 

So, what does this Consortium/Alliance look like? We are envisioning three levels of participation options. 

5Sigma Consortium Membership Options

A ticket to the 5Sigma Education Conference- included in every level is one ticket to attend the 5Sigma Education Conference held in February (this year is February 21-22).

Access to the 5Sigma Consortium Facebook Group- Conferences are a great time to meet other world changers and start transformational conversations. We want to keep those important conversations going all year long in this closed Facebook group for those in our Alliance. Each month, we’ll share a new topic to keep the ideas flowing and reflection going all year long. 

25% discount on any Learning Genome Project Products- Although the full technology of the Learning Genome Project got moved to the back burner as I started Anastasis, it lives on in a series of products that are crucial to the Anastasis model. The product line increases every year. 

Learning Genome Genius Hub Sites- Inside access to the ever-growing Learning Genome Genius hub sites where we share the resources we are using for learning at Anastasis, easily searched, and implemented. 

5Sigma Studio Sessions- Quarterly studio sessions where we will gather in-person to learn, discuss, and innovate together throughout the year.

Book of Choice- Choose from our library of books from the authors that keep our curiosity alive! 

So, the next iteration of the Alliance is born. The question stands, do you want to form an alliance with me? This is a first-come, first-serve situation for the first 50. If you are in, raise your hand by filling out this form.

Let’s join together, making our voices louder through a shared vision and mission; let’s make this year a year of radical change for learners everywhere! 

Time To Teach reviews each blog post by our contributors but if you feel this is a blog post better suited for another page please let us know. Teachers and Educators are our heroes. We want to thank you for the work you do! Yours In Education! Time To Teach

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The order of the 4 Shifts Protocol is important

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The following is a new blog post related to education and teaching and relevant to our website visitors. The blog post is not based on the opinions or values of our company but is related to education and teaching, so we wanted to share it with YOU! If you ever have any questions please let us know. Now… on to the post!

Harnessing Technology for Deeper LearningJulie Graber and I often get asked if the order of the 4 Shifts Protocol is important. Our answer? Absolutely.

Note that the protocol begins with Deeper Thinking and Learning (Section A), followed by Authentic Work (Section B). We have found that starting with one or both of those dimensions tends to raise the level of learning for students much more than starting with Student Agency and Personalization (Section C) or Technology Infusion (Section D). Given that Julie and I are strong advocates for student agency, this may seem a little counterintuitive. The reason is because there are numerous ways to give students ‘agency’ or integrate technology that are fairly low-level. Imagine, for instance, adaptive learning software modules or a set of teacher-created classroom centers in which students have some ‘choice’ about content and pathways but the learning is still shallow rather than deep. We also can point to numerous examples of ‘technology for technology’s sake’ in which, again, student learning could be much more robust. Starting with Sections A or B helps us center our instructional work on deeper, meaningful learning.

Note also that the very first questions in Section A pertain to Domain Knowledge and Deeper Learning. Whatever instructional transformations we are working on, we should try as best we can to make sure that we’re meeting content and procedural goals, and that whatever skills and knowledge we’re addressing are focused on big, important concepts, not just trivia. This is particularly true as long as state standards, testing, and accountability mandates dominate our educational landscapes. Deeper learning work should not be contentless. [AND students also deserve some say in what they get to learn…]

In sum, while Julie and I advocate that teachers start with whatever sections and items make sense for them (and focus on just a few), we also recognize that some of the sections and items of the protocol are more transformative than others. We encourage you to lean into Sections A and B!

Time To Teach reviews each blog post by our contributors but if you feel this is a blog post better suited for another page please let us know. Teachers and Educators are our heroes. We want to thank you for the work you do! Yours In Education! Time To Teach

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Sweeping Maryland Education Plan Seeks Equity, Improvement

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At the heart of a sweeping plan to improve education in Maryland with billions in added funding is the goal of addressing inequities in schools that serve high numbers of children in poverty—a problem experts in education say is a fundamental one in the United States.

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A Comparison of 6 Blogging Services for Teachers and Students – Updated

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The following is a new blog post related to education and teaching and relevant to our website visitors. The blog post is not based on the opinions or values of our company but is related to education and teaching, so we wanted to share it with YOU! If you ever have any questions please let us know. Now… on to the post!

About five years ago I assembled a series charts that compared the features of ed tech tools that served similar purposes. Some of the charts I made were about video tools, animation tools, timeline...

Read the whole entry at FreeTech4Teachers.com »

Time To Teach reviews each blog post by our contributors but if you feel this is a blog post better suited for another page please let us know. Teachers and Educators are our heroes. We want to thank you for the work you do! Yours In Education! Time To Teach

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Congratulations, Dr. Sobel!

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SobelI graduated another doctoral advisee this past Saturday. Woo hoo!

A hearty congratulations to Dr. Sobel – and thanks for maybe being my easiest doc student ever! Go forth and (continue to) do amazing things!

Time To Teach reviews each blog post by our contributors but if you feel this is a blog post better suited for another page please let us know. Teachers and Educators are our heroes. We want to thank you for the work you do! Yours In Education! Time To Teach

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My Favorite New & Updated Tools in 2019

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The following is a new blog post related to education and teaching and relevant to our website visitors. The blog post is not based on the opinions or values of our company but is related to education and teaching, so we wanted to share it with YOU! If you ever have any questions please let us know. Now… on to the post!

The end of the year is just five days away so I've put together a short list of my favorite new and updated tools in 2019. You can watch my video overview of these tools, take a look at the slides,...

Read the whole entry at FreeTech4Teachers.com »

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Practical Ed Tech Podcast Episode 25 – The Last Podcast of the Decade!

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The following is a new blog post related to education and teaching and relevant to our website visitors. The blog post is not based on the opinions or values of our company but is related to education and teaching, so we wanted to share it with YOU! If you ever have any questions please let us know. Now… on to the post!

This afternoon I recorded my last podcast of the decade! I resisted the urge to use REM's End of the World as bumper music for the episode. Instead, I just went with the usual bumper music then jumped...

Read the whole entry at FreeTech4Teachers.com »

Time To Teach reviews each blog post by our contributors but if you feel this is a blog post better suited for another page please let us know. Teachers and Educators are our heroes. We want to thank you for the work you do! Yours In Education! Time To Teach

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Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear Faces Suit From Ousted State School Board Members

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For nearly four years as Kentucky attorney general, Andy Beshear filed a series of lawsuits accusing then-Gov. Matt Bevin of abusing his executive powers. Now Beshear is being sued by the people he ousted from the state school board on his first day as governor.

Time To Teach reviews each blog post by our contributors but if you feel this is a blog post better suited for another page please let us know. Teachers and Educators are our heroes. We want to thank you for the work you do! Yours In Education! Time To Teach

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