These are my notes from Andrew Thomson’s closing keynote presentation “Education 3.0: A Framework for Change in Teaching and Assessing 21st Century Skill” at the 21st Century Learning @ Hong Kong Conference on 18 September 2009. MY COMMENTS ARE IN ALL CAPS. The official description of Andrew’s session was:

Two major reform movements have shaped late 20th century learning: the “education-for-all” agenda and the “accountability” movement. Today however, at a time of stagnation in assessment outcomes and increased pressure for new skills to drive productivity and competitiveness, we see new forces impacting our schools and classrooms. This presentation will look at how the teaching and assessment of 21st century skills will enable and drive change in our schools from a perspective that makes them more relevant to learners, more responsive to communities and more results oriented.
In so doing, it will ask: How is globalization impacting Asia’s economy and how do education systems need to change to ensure they remain responsive to community and economic needs? How can better use of technology help maintain quality, access, and relevance to today’s learners? What are 21st century skills , how can they be effectively assessed, and what will schools need to do to keep pace? It will also look at how assessment will be used by policy makers internationally and across Asia to change classroom practice and drive the next generation of learning: Education 3.0.

Andrew’s bio in the conference program is:

Andrew Thomson served 12 years in elected office in Canada in a variety of Cabinet posts that included the ministries of finance, learning, information technology, public safety, and energy. Today, Andrew is advising CISCO’s Global Education Group to help improve access and outcomes for students.

Taking stock: newspaper headline from London Telegraph summarizes where we are in education: “Majority of pupils failing to masters three R’s”

I TOTALLY DISAGREE. YES WE HAVE STRUGGLING STUDENTS AND SCHOOLS, NO DOUBT, BUT WE DO NOT HAVE A CASE WHERE “A MAJORITY OF PUPILS ARE FAILING”
– THIS TYPE OF THINKING IS WHAT HAS AND IS BEING USED BY POLICYMAKERS TO DISCREDIT SCHOOLS, DISCREDIT TEACHERS, AND IMPOSE A DESTRUCTIVE AGENDA OF HIGH STAKES ACCOUNTABILITY
– (REMEMBER ALL COMMENTS IN CAPS ARE MY OWN THOUGHTS, AND NOT ANDREW’S)

Ralph W. Tyler invented modern education, book “Basic Principles of Curriculum and Instruction”
– what is the educational purpose
– what experiences help attain this objective
– how can it be organized for instruction
– how can it be evaluated for effectiveness

Tyler’s work started in 1927 with his Master’s thesis

A curriculum based focus has brought us to our current picture: kids in rows, curriculum delivered, assessed via tests

movements that started to change education: access and accountability movements
– NCLB as an example
– school reform movements of mid-1980s

Looking at a graph of attendance in schools across the world

MY TWEETS:

wfryer #21chk So who actually understands this complex graph about “accountability?” This is very difficult to decipher.

AND

wfryer #21chk what are the measurements for this graph of accountability? what is this measuring?

Learners today are very different

3 things we’ll talk about today
– demographically, fewer kids are enrolling in schools today

Now showing demographic population pyramid graphs from 2000 for China and Hong Kong
– showing predictive models for the future

Many countries are facing problems with a Gerontocracy

A gerontocracy is a form of oligarchical rule in which an entity is ruled by leaders who are significantly older than most of the adult population. Often the political structure is such that political power within the ruling class accumulates with age, so that the oldest hold the most power. Those holding the most power may not be in formal leadership positions, but often dominate those who are.

growth will come from technology and skilled labor
– this means teachers will be even more important
– high skilled economies require high skilled workers

By 2015 we are going to be short by 18 million teachers

Old system we used in the 20th century is broken

WHAT EVIDENCE AND ARGUEMENTS HAS ANDREW PRESENTED TO SUPPORT THIS CONTENTION THAT OUR SCHOOLS ARE BROKEN?

It is not just about creating better employees

Now let’s think about about what new education looks like
– can’t just be about 3 three R’s
– now we need the New 3Rs of Education: Responsive communities, Relevant to students, Results Oriented

we have a chance to reinvent the educational system
– how can we make school more relevant to students
– people want access to education anywhere, anytime, and throughout their lives
– not just in schools: also in formal and informal sources

Next generation results:
– acquisition model: looks at how much information students take in
– move to an application model: how students use and process information

The Knowledge Ladder by Bob ____

Cisco has done a lot thinking about what this new education system should look like
– we see most technology use up to this point has been used to automate existing processes

We have broken down the Education 3.0 agenda into 4 key pillars
– worked with EDC and Center for Children and Technology

144 leading indicators of change have been identified

Holistic system transformation
1- 21C Skills and Content (collaboration
2- Pedagogy and Practice
3- Infrastructure Technology
4- Reform Agenda

Suggestion: turn off you wifi switch today, and see how useful your computer is today?
– connectivity is essential

Change is really enabled by:
– policy initiatives
– knowledge management and sharing
– school facing change and classroom initiatives

We’ve gotten very little agreement on what 21st century skills
– creativity, curioisity and metacognition
– communication
– collaboration
– core subjects
– comparability
– complex problem solving

most of the problems we’ll face in the 21st century won’t fit neatly into a discrete content area

I AGREE THAT MULTIDISCIPLINARY APPROACHES ARE CRITICAL

Jim Davis: “Online access to content is allwing us to be answer rich but question poor.”

Trends:
– virtualization of information
– integration of data: we are looking at students as integrated human beings

I WOULD DISAGREE AND SAY IN MANY CASES WE ARE VIEWING STUDENTS AS DATA POINTS AND STATISTICS MORE THAN EVER

How do we make sure lessons in schools are interactive

I SHOULD HAVE SHOWN THE “TEACH NAKED” VIDEO DURING MY KEYNOTE.

As individuals we can be very fragile, but our systems can be very resilient

We need seamless/secure, unified environments

Now showing Education 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0 definitions
– 2.0 he defines as “participation”
– I MISSED 1.0 AND 2.0

Assessment is the biggest lever to change education today

WELL CISCO IS NOT ALONE IN THAT PERCEPTION. THAT’S WHAT OUR POLITICIANS HAVE BEEN SAYING FOR YEARS. DRIVE THE REFORM AGENDA WITH MANDATED ASSESSMENTS. I PERSONALLY DON’T THINK THAT IS A CONSTRUCTIVE PATH FORWARD.

In Jan 2010 Cisco will release 5 working papers about what technological, methodological, classroom learning response approaches should look like
– we have asked OECD to test this
– we are looking to roll this
– we’ve asked OECD to do this with PISA to assess 21st century skills

“We are looking to drive change this way with Congress”

We really can’t measure, test and track 21st century skills
– you can’t improve what you can’t measure

We have a very messed up accountability system now, using data to make punitive decisions

How are we going to change assessment?

US is starting to explore “EdSteps
– how do you measure competencies using eportfolios
– going to use comparative pairing approach
– this will be open

question we are working on: who should have the ability to “judge” quality in this system
– thinking now is anyone with a .edu address should be able to give input

THIS MAY BE A GOOD IDEA – NOT SURE, NEED TO LOOK INTO THIS

Need
– realtime learner response systems
– real time formative and summative assessment
– HE IS TALKING ABOUT ELECTRONIC RESPONSE SYSTEMS HERE

Summary
– next generation learning will change systems, change practices, and change outcomes

All of this will happen in a networked and collaborative environment
– so where does this leave you in your system?
– how are you scaling your innovations?
– what barriers do you have to replicating success?
– who is working to implement and sustain your vision beyond your tenure?

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  • Nancy Pratt

    Wes,
    Thanks so much for stating what I believe about the state of schools at this point. No, I was not present at this conference, but as a virtual participant, I got an eye and ear full.

    I must say that the claim our schools are “broken” and that the majority of our kids are being failed in some way, is off the mark, and very detrimental to our forward movement.

    I believe the focus on data and differentiation is at an all time high, at least here in my state. (Arizona). We have a focused attention on razor sharp learning targets for our students on all edges of the spectrum. We are poised now more than ever to maximize our resources (Technology and otherwise) and help our students achieve.

    Thanks for bringing the focus back to the positive (and in my view, to reality).

    Nancy

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