Future of Learning Top Reads for week of Sept 24 2018

Photo by  Kiana Bosman  on  Unsplash

Is The Big Standardized Test A Big Standardized Flop?” by Peter Greene, in Forbes

“[I]f test scores were going up, wasn’t that supposed to improve ‘life outcomes’? Wasn’t the whole argument that getting students to raise test scores would be indicative of better prospects in life? After all, part of the argument behind education reform has been that a better education was the key to a better economic future, both for individuals and for the country. Greene looked at the research and concluded that there was no evidence of a link between a better test score and a better life.”

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

The only teachers I have ever known to argue for standardized testing were also making money teaching test prep classes--in other words, those with conflicts of interest.

What if we took the millions and millions of dollars devoted to the standardized-test-industrial-complex and invested that money in teacher professional development and educational equity for all learners? How much human flourishing could we produce?


“Beyond ‘Pure’ Mental Models of College: Parallel Versus Intertwined,” by Jeffrey Robinson, on the Howard Gardner Blog

“For the most part, students approach college with one of the four mental models that we have identified: inertial (after high school, one goes to college); transactional (one goes to college and does only what is required to get a degree and then secure a job); exploratory (one goes to college to learn about unfamiliar fields of study and try out new activities, academic and/or social), and transformational (one goes to college to think about and question one’s own values and beliefs, with the expectation, and presumably the hope, that one may change in fundamental ways). […]

“In our review of individual student mental models, we have identified two mixed types—parallel and intertwined. In the case of parallel, the mental models exist simultaneously but rather independently, leading these students to compartmentalize their goals, courses, and activities throughout the college experience. For others that we term intertwined, the mental models interact; this combination can either enrich the student experience or cause conflicts—for example about priorities or the structuring of time.”

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

Which of these mental models is most closely aligned with your school’s mission?

Which of these mental models is most closely aligned with expectations of your school’s parents? How much diversity in perspective might there be among the parent population?

Which of these mental models matter the most to your students? How much diversity in perspective might there be among the student population?

Where is there alignment—or misalignment—among these different constituents?


“Schools are banning smartphones. Here’s an argument for why they shouldn’t — and what they should do instead,” by Pasi Sahlberg, in the Washington Post

“Blanket bans are rarely the most effective ways to fix human behavioral problems. Today’s children were born in a world where technology and digital gadgets were already a normal part of life. From an educational perspective, banning smartphones in schools would be an easy solution but not necessarily the smartest one.

“Instead, we should teach children to live safe, responsible and healthful lives with and without their smartphones and other mobile devices.”

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

“Schools can’t do this alone,” as Salhberg goes on to say. Schools and parents must partner to ensure that kids:

  1. Sleep more.

  2. Play more outside.

  3. Spend less time with digital media.

  4. Read more books.

  5. Write letters to loved ones.

These are all measurable things. And what gets measured gets managed. When it comes to the wellness of the kids at your school, what are you measuring?


Question of the week:


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