It’s been a month since we wrapped up the 11th annual Constructing Modern Knowledge. I hope to offer other posts about the experience, but this is one short thought. Often people say things like “Oh, you just put out a lot of fun stuff and play. That’s not the way school really works. How does that help a teacher when they get back to the real world?”
At CMK, we try to offer a view of what education looks like with as few compromises as possible. The goal is that an attendee sees that a successful learning experience is possible, and even wildly successful, without many of the things we assume are “normal” at school.
The hope is that when that educator goes back to their school they are more aware of the compromises, and then can choose them with more intentionality. Every human endeavor has some element of compromise, and school is no different. But it’s easy to overlook that structures like grades, age segregation, textbooks, quizzes, separated subjects, the bus & bell schedule, etc. are choices, not handed down on stone tablets.
So if the experience of CMK helps a teacher go back and think about choices in curriculum, courses, or their own practice, that’s the point.
STEAM to the Future: 50 Years in 50 Minutes
Tuesday, June 26, 10:15–11:15 am
Location: Available in May
Let’s time travel 50 years forward to see what science, technology, engineering and math will be like, and the prominent role that the arts, design and creativity will play. This session will provide entertaining and thought-provoking insight into the challenges of adapting today’s classroom and curriculum for the future.
STEAM: The TEA Stands for CrEATivity
Tuesday, June 26, 11:45 am–12:45 pm
Location: Available in May
Creativity is not just being artistic or having new ideas. As many schools are working to incorporate STEM and STEAM into the classroom, design and creativity are the keys to real and relevant experiences in the classroom.
I spent some time working through the first bunch of “coding” tutorials in Swift Playground from Apple. It’s slow, wordy, and arbitrary about how it introduces concepts. Just one example – the tutorial lets you turn left, but not right, because it wants you to make a “right turn” function out of three left turns. That’s weird and bossy. It’s immediately annoying that it takes 3 times as long to turn right as to turn left. What if I didn’t want to do it that way? Do they think I can’t handle a right? Oh, they just want to force me to realize that you can group multiple commands. And if I don’t get it, they over-explain it with lots of words. LOTS. OF. WORDS. Thanks Swift – coding is all about doing what you are told instead of figuring things out with flexible tools!
There are a lot of quirks in how you add and edit the commands–clunky is a kind description.
It reminded me of Lightbot, a cute puzzle app. Except Lightbot is more fun and is at least 10 years old. They couldn’t do better than that? LightBot says it’s “a puzzle game based on coding” and “teaches you programming logic.” At least they are honest!
We don’t pretend that solving crossword puzzles teaches writing. (Well hopefully not.) The same applies to coding.
The way to learn to code is by coding, not doing logic puzzles.
I keynoted the TECH 2017 UNESCO Conference in Visakhapatnam, India in December 2017. At this interesting conference, they had 15 minute keynotes, then a response panel and audience questions for maximum interactivity. They asked me to be as provocative as possible.
If you liked that – watch the whole thing (about an hour)! Panelists: Mila Thomas Fuller President, Board of Directors, ISTE; Olivier Hamant Research Director, Lyon; Gautam Khetrapal Founder, LifePlugin.com and Head of Product Marketing, Mindvalley
The inaugural Seymour Papert Memorial Lecture will be held at CrossRoads, Infosys Foundation USA’s annual conference in the SF Bay Area in May 2018. Here a link to the open nomination form for potential keynote speakers: https://infyfoundation.typeform.com/to/mdHbBb.
Seymour Papert’s theories and work profoundly impacted how the world sees learning. The Seymour Papert Memorial Lecture celebrates his vision and seeks to bring his deep underlying ideas to new audiences and new applications in education.
The lecture committee is looking to select a deeply relevant speaker who can offer a compelling point of view on the tenets of Constructionism, contextualize these by example where possible, and leave the audience both informed and inspired to apply these lessons to their own work.
The selected speaker will be invited to deliver a keynote at CrossRoads 2018, the annual conference of Infosys Foundation USA. The conference will be held in the San Francisco Bay Area from May 21-24, 2018. The speaker’s travel and accommodation will be covered by the conference. You may nominate as many speakers as you wish and you are welcome to nominate yourself.
Nominations close at 5PM PST on Monday, November 20, 2017.
Note: I’m on the committee for this keynote search, so will be a part of the process of reviewing the nominations received.
Thursday 24th August, 2016 Reinventing Maths with Gary Stager This workshop moves beyond the goal of making math instruction engaging for children by providing educators with authentic mathematical thinking experiences.