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- A reflection on the Learning Manifesto.
There's no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how best to learn. I resonated with the idea that the best learning happens when we're challenged just beyond our current level of understanding. Learning should be a lifelong pursuit. We should never stop chasing the curiousity to learn new things and finding new ways to expand our horizons. I think it's important to have a growth mindset and always be open to new ideas and ways of thinking. To me, learning is about more than just acquiring knowledge – it's about developing skills and understanding concepts so that we can apply them in real-world situations. It's also about building relationships with others who can help us grow and learn from their own experiences. Seeking to build new unimaginable things and to stumble of that next aha moment. Developing a personal manifesto for learning was a great way to keep myself accountable for my own development goals. It also serve as a reminder of why I'm pursuing my graduate progam and relentlously taking on new projects that spark my interest. In short, the learning manifesto helps me stay focused on my long-term goals while keeping the process fun, interesting,and engaging!
- Practice Makes Perfect: My reflection on the Growth Mindset
They say, "practice makes perfect?" Trust me, there's a lot of truth to that statement. But what if we changed our mindset around practice? What if instead of aiming for perfection, we aimed for growth? This is the core idea behind the Growth Mindset that I learn in the first course of my graduate program. Now that I am 4 courses into my graduate studies, my understanding remains the same although I find myself thinking with this mindset more often through the various aspects of my life. In order to have an impact on the Growth Mindset of others, it is important to consider a few other key factors. First, it is essential to be clear about what you want to achieve. Second, you need to be able to articulate your goals and plans in a way that inspires others. Finally, you must be willing to put in the hard work required to make your vision a reality. The Growth Mindset is all about embracing mistakes and failures as opportunities to learn and grow. It's about acknowledging and understanding why intelligence isn't fixed. Intelligence can be developed over time with effort and persistence. So why does this matter? Why bother changing our mindset from one focused on perfection to one focused on growth? Because research has shown us that individuals who have a Growth Mindset tend to achieve more than those with a Fixed Mindset (Dweck, 2016). They're more resilient in the face of setbacks because they don't see failure as indicative of their worth or ability level. Instead, they view it as an opportunity. If you're looking to achieve more in your life, consider adopting a Growth Mindset. I would be the first to tell anyone to embrace mistakes as learning opportunities. Be persistent in the face of setbacks. Take on new challenges with excitement instead of fear. And remember, intelligence isn't fixed - it can be developed over time through hard work and dedication! References Dweck, C.S. (2016). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York: Penguin Random House LLC. Dweck, C. (2017). Decades of Scientific Research that Started a Growth Mindset Revolution. The Growth Mindset – What is Growth Mindset – Mindset Works. https://www.mindsetworks.com/Science/Default. Dweck, C. (2020, April 2). Carol Dweck Revisits the 'Growth Mindset'. Education Week. https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2015/09/23/carol-dweck-revisits-the-growth-mindset.html.
- Dependent or not to be dependent? That is the question!
There are two types of learners: dependent learners and independent learners. Each type of learner has a set of pros and cons. Dependent learners rely on others to provide them with information and guidance, while independent learners are those who take charge of their learning. Dependent learners are often more successful in school because they have someone to help them stay organized and on track. A guide that helps them along their path. However, their reliance on others can potentially make them less self-sufficient. On the other hand, independent learners are often more motivated and self-directed, but they can also be less successful in school because they lack dependent learners' structure. So, which is better? Well, it depends on the individual learner. Some students do better with the support of a teacher or parent, while others thrive when given the freedom to learn independently. A dependent learner is often characterized as passive, shy, or timid. They may struggle to assert themselves or take the initiative, preferring to let others take the lead. While this dependence can be seen as a weakness, it can also be viewed as a strength. Dependent learners are often very good at following instructions and working within a team. They excel at taking directions and carrying out tasks that have been assigned to them. This makes them highly valuable employees and team members. But, there are a few potential cons to being a dependent learner: They may become overly reliant on others for help and guidance. This can make it challenging to take the initiative or be proactive in your learning, and you may feel frustrated if you don't have someone to turn to. They may struggle when it comes time to take exams or complete assignments if they're not used to working independently. Being a dependent learner can also mean that you're not as exposed to different viewpoints and perspectives, limiting your ability to think critically about the material you're learning. An independent learner is someone who takes control of their own learning and isn't afraid to seek new opportunities to grow and develop. One of the essential qualities of an independent learner is their willingness to take initiative. They don't wait for someone else to tell them what they need to do or learn; instead, they proactively seek new challenges and opportunities. This can involve taking on new projects or doing additional research on their own time. In addition to taking the initiative, independent learners are also highly resourceful. They know how to find the necessary information and resources to learn something new. Though there are many advantages to being an independent learner, there are also some disadvantages. One con is that it can be challenging to stay motivated. When you're solely responsible for your learning, keeping yourself on track and focused can be tough. Additionally, independent learners can sometimes feel isolated since they're not working with a teacher or other students. This can make it harder to get feedback and support. Finally, independent learners need to be very organized and disciplined to succeed. They need to be able to set goals and create a plan for themselves to make progress. Both learning styles have their advantages and disadvantages. There is no one answer to which learning style is because it depends on the individual and their type of learner. Dependent learners often do better in traditional school settings with a teacher to help them along the way. Independent learners often do better in online or self-paced learning environments where they can set their own pace and go at their speed. In conclusion, if we want our students to be successful students, it is crucial to help them understand their learning style. Some students are independent while others are dependent. There is no right or wrong answer, but understanding which type of learner you are can help you tailor your learning methods to suit your needs better. If you are struggling in school, try talking to your teacher or a tutor about how you can adjust your learning style to fit your needs.
- It is within every student's potential to grow and improve
During my summer course sessions, we had the great opportunity to review the work of Carol Dweck and to listen to her talks which are based on the concept of a developing "growth mindset" - that is, having the belief that intelligence and ability can be developed through effort and practice. As opposed to hanging on to a "fixed mindset," which holds that intelligence and ability are static traits that cannot be changed, I was able to reflect and make key changes in my life to become a better version of myself. Dweck argues that adopting a growth mindset leads to greater motivation and success in life, allowing people to see setbacks as opportunities for learning and improvement rather than failures. I can attest to that argument. I also think that her message is important for all students, regardless of their age or level of achievement. It is within every student's potential to grow and improve, but it is up to the individual student to muster the belief in themselves and do the work required for those improvements. There are many ways we can help our learners develop a growth mindset. One is by taking advantage of affordable, online programs that provide targeted feedback and allow for customization based on each student's needs. Another way is by starting with programs that enable students to learn at their own pace without feeling pressure from classmates or teachers. And finally, we can use programs that assess students where they stand versus forcing them to be assessed where some perfect student stands. Doing so has the potential to foster a sense of confidence and motivation when taking on new challenges allowing students to navigate their own path to learning. Another tactic that educators can not overlook is taking the opportunity to give praise. Praise that emphasizes effort rather than intelligence or ability, such as "Great job trying hard on that assignment!" instead of "Wow, you're so smart/talented!" can go a long way! It sends the message that success comes from meaningful work ethic and perseverance rather than raw talent alone, which sometimes can be discouraging for those who are not gifted. Dweck, C. (2014, December 17). The power of believing that you can improve. YouTube. Retrieved October 1, 2022, from https://youtu.be/_X0mgOOSpLU
- Communication is key to education!
In a world where education is centered around checking off the boxes, regurgitation, and memorization, we often forget the importance of fundamental communication with others. However, the next generation of educators is working to change that by emphasizing collaboration and communication in their classrooms. Next-generation education prepares students for the real world, not just academic success. By teaching students how to communicate with others effectively, we stand to equip them better to handle the challenges they face both in and out of the classroom. This shift away from traditional educational methods is essential in today’s world. With technology constantly changing and evolving, it’s more important than ever for students to be able to adapt and think on their feet. Communication skills are key in helping them do that. So what does this mean for the future of education?
- How can we become effective digital learners in the 21st century?
When we look at all subject matters across life, we are often drawn to the things that inspire us the most. Our inspiration could come from anything in this world, whether it stems from good or bad intentions. It can often come from the most unlikely places and when you least expect it. For me, inspiration comes from the yearning to create efficiency and simplicity in the lives of others. Giving someone back a little bit of the time they may have spent doing something that robs them of happiness means a great deal to me. In education, inspiration can come from a simple conversation with a student about their goals in life or just watching groups of students interact with one another to solve problems. Hence, the importance of a teacher's "Why!" In the video Rethinking Learning: The 21st Century Learner, John Seely Brown proposes the question, how do you catch students that have a question for curiosity and a questing disposition? For educators to spark inspiration, they must model inspirational behaviors that foster and inspire curiosity and exploration within their learners. For example, by asking provoking questions or pushing students to be curious about the world around them, educators invoke a growth mindset in their students, showing that it is okay to question things and to seek answers even if one may be available. In addition, providing opportunities for students to explore on their own and discover new information will help create a love of learning. So how can we become effective digital learners in the 21st century? One of the most critical pieces to this puzzle is one's need to be inspired by someone already proficient in the 21st-century skills required for real-world success. Unfortunately, this component can be a significant Achilles' heel when implementing innovation within public education. MacArthur Foundation. (2010). Rethinking Learning: The 21st Century Learner. YouTube. Retrieved September 28, 2022, from https://youtu.be/c0xa98cy-Rw.
- How can you connect what you have yet to collect?
I find myself asking the question, how can you connect what you have yet to collect? In today's world, the dots are all around us. I can pick up my phone and search for almost anything that I need the information to make a solid connection. Twenty-five years ago, I could not make that statement due to the lack of information made available. Today, I feel that it is more about how creative, savvy, or innovative you are when utilizing the abundance of information available. There are often many paths (or "dots") leading up to any given solution or understanding. It's essential for students not just learn HOW TO find these individual pieces but critically examine which ones are most relevant and promising before even starting to put them together into something new. I often approach problem-solving with the mindset of the most efficient way to proceed and ask myself what the first principles of thinking should be in this situation. In a world that's constantly changing and evolving, it's more important than ever to be able to think through problems with an efficient mindset. I'm actively working to recondition myself to apply first principles thinking to find creative and inventive approaches to significant challenges. By breaking a complicated situation down by its component parts, I can better comprehend how it works and how to solve it.
- Who Owns the ePortfolio
Most learners are very familiar with the concept of ownership. How many children have you heard say, "THAT'S MINE!" Even as adults, we own our car, our clothes, and our house. Ownership is a fundamental human right so to speak. Yet, when it comes to learning and education, we go against the grain. In the grand scheme of things, it only makes sense that students would want to have ownership over their learning experiences and progress. Right? When it comes to student eportfolios, the power of ownership can't be understated. By allowing students to take control of their own learning, we give them the power to develop a stronger sense of agency and responsibility for their education. Most importantly, it's something that belongs to them - not their teacher, not their school district, nor anyone else. So why is ownership of the ePortfolio so important? Well, it’s important because it gives students control over their learning process - something that is often taken away from them in traditional educational settings. When students have ownership over their portfolios, they are more likely to be engaged in the process and take pride in what they produce. Student eportfolios can provide a wealth of data that can be used to inform instruction and improve outcomes. Something that can be very difficult to implement is the overhauling of the assessment process to take into account creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. Creativity and out-of-the-box thinking are important for a number of reasons. For one, they allows educators to better engage with their students. When students are encouraged to be creative and think outside the box, they are more likely to be engaged in their learning and less likely to become bored or apathetic. With that said, our students own the ePortfolio. Education as whole just needs to stop trying to dictate what is written.
- How a lack of dominance can create better students
"No voice dominates and no one is the passenger" Tesla and its way of operating come to mind when pondering this quote. Tesla is an organization that does not have a hierarchical structure; instead, it relies on teamwork and collaboration to get things done. While this can be a very chaotic way to conduct business, it's proven to be the catalyst for Tesla's ability to move quickly and make decisions without having to go through layers of bureaucracy. I argue that students and their ability to connect, value, and communicate effectively amongst one another are what drive social and emotional learning. To be successful academically, students must be able to connect with one another other on a social and emotional level. Having a growth mindset is key to the social and emotional learning process also. It fosters risk-taking and perseverance regardless of potential setbacks. Students who are able to connect with each other, share values, and communicate effectively are more likely to succeed academically. In the case of Tesla, it is clear that social connectedness drives social and emotional learning and greatly benefits overall creativity and product advancement. If it works for the business of creating innovative products, why can't it work for the business of creating academically sound students?
- Our kids are inheriting a world that's in a constant state of change
There is no doubt that our education system needs reform. We are not adequately preparing our students for the real world or the world they will graduate high school into. We must understand that today's Pre-K students will graduate in 2034-2035. We can't define the jobs that await current students because those jobs are for a world destined to be totally different from today. However, simply reforming the education system will not be enough. Public education is crying out for a revolution to match the needs of today's society and fast-paced workforce. The current education system was designed during the Industrial Revolution to prepare workers for factory jobs. Tech leaders are actively working to replace human workers with robots that are not subject to fatigue, are much less prone to making errors, work much more quickly and precisely, do not take breaks, do not present issues for HR departments, and will not need monetary readjustment in the event of employee injuries or accidents. For example, Elon Musk recently revealed that their Tesla Bot is part of the development of the next generation of automation, including general-purpose, humanoid robots capable of performing tasks that are dangerous, monotonous, or unpleasant for humans. Think about how many jobs fit that category. Let's face it, we now live in a global economy, and our students must be prepared for that environment. Everyone, no matter the location, is connected. Devices remove language barriers in real-time. As a result, students need to be able to think critically, solve problems, and communicate effectively, regardless of the language barrier. The new approach to education must be one where students are given more opportunities to explore their interests and discover their passions and not force-fed those of someone else or policymakers. We have to shift our perception of education from seeing it as something done TO students to viewing it as done WITH them as partners in their own learning. I think that students should be given the opportunity to lead their own education and that teachers should act as facilitators rather than simply dictating what topics to be taught.
- Modern school reform's biggest hurdle: too much emphasis on one teacher
One of the most significant hurdles I observe in modern school reform is the emphasis placed on a single teacher to educate a pool of 15-24 students. Of course, the student-to-teacher ratio varies, but I often think about how many challenging issues can be complex for one person to bear when the situation is not properly resourced. Consider the elementary level: teachers usually take on the planning and instructing of all subjects for their students. At a minimum, that's four core subjects. If the teacher wants a class of 20 students to have a differentiated lesson plan, at minimum, they need to create 80 different lesson plans (20 for each subject area) to satisfy every student's needs. This is only academic planning. Another component of classroom management is where the teacher adjusts the classroom environment to address the needs of a wide range of students. What can we learn from using automation to strengthen teachers, so they can focus on their core duty, teaching? I think we are in a time where those making educational decisions should embrace the fact that technology implemented in the correct manner has the capacity to promote a more efficient environment. An environment where teachers are more efficient and timely in adjusting to the needs of each individual student. I believe that artificial intelligence can enhance the ability of teachers to help their students achieve their full potential. For example, A.I. could be harnessed to track students' progress and recognize areas where students might need additional support. Additionally, A.I. could be used for individualizing recommendations for resources that benefit student learning.
- A new culture of learning
Douglas Thomas argues that the way we currently think about learning is outdated and no longer effective. He suggests that we need to create a new culture of learning, one that is based on collaboration, creativity, and experimentation. If memory serves me right, most of my upbringing revolved around the belief that learning only occurs when you actively do something. For example, when I wanted to learn how to ride my bike as a kid, I was made to get on and then pushed down a hill. As someone who tends to understand best by doing, my idea of learning has dramatically shifted since those days. Learning does happen even when you are not actively doing something—for example, watching someone else ride a bike can teach you how to do it yourself. Most of my unfamiliar undertakings around the house are understood from watching YouTube DIY videos. I feel that a new or modernized education system must be one that includes on-demand learning and augmented reality with the goal of serving all types of learning methods in a meaningful way. There are many learning methods, each with its own set of benefits. People who learn by listening to lectures may better remember facts and information. People who learn by reading books may be better at understanding complex concepts. And people who learn by doing hands-on activities may be better able to remember how to do something. The naturalistic approach to learning, which emphasizes allowing students to learn in their way and at their own pace, can significantly improve education overall. This type of learning is more effective than traditional methods, as it allows students to retain information better and apply it in a real-world setting. Naturalistic approaches can also help reduce behavioral problems in the classroom, as students are less likely to become frustrated or bored when actively engaged in their learning.