TLC in the 21st Century

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For my professional career and life interests, I have traveled a unique journey that is reflected in my blog post title, TLC in the 21st Century.  The ambiguity existing in the use of TLC has several possibilities...my wife immediately thought I was going to be writing about teaching and learning communities, pathways I’ve shared with a number of school administrators, teachers, and paraprofessionals.  Other possibilities include 'tender loving care' that is associated with the TLC acronym, or perhaps an ‘ethic of care’ philosophy that is hopefully integrated into school environments.  The intent though is to write about technology, literacy and collaboration, whose intersections ironically impact the nature of learning communities in schools as well as the quality of relationships and care we see in a variety of 21st century school constructs such as brick and mortar schools, blended school communities and virtual schools.



21st Century Schools…Transform or Reform?

 

Following up my last post regarding binary choices decisions made in today’s schools, I had an opportunity to review Newburyport Public School’s recently launched Strategic Plan that is in the beginning stages of implementation, but holds promise for students and the district going forward.  Considering that the current kindergarten class will graduate in 2028, and babies born this past New Year’s Day will graduate post 2034, it is time for schools to shift their thinking from one of fixing or reforming schools to the bigger question of how to best transform them. Newburyport’s Strategic Plan leans in the direction of transformation; was developed by a full range of stakeholders; but more importantly that  diverse group of stakeholders including students, educators, community members, businesses and non profits will continue to guide the process going forward.

As my previous writings have addressed, it isn’t simply about getting the latest and greatest technology in the hands of students and teachers regarding 21st Century Learning. It’s more about understanding how to use technology as a tool to create the flexibility for learning essentially anytime, anyplace and perhaps most importantly, any pace. However…

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Moving Schools Beyond Binary Choices

Some tweets reveal; and one that caught my eye recently stated, “ We have to deprogram teachers from their own K-12 experience… to create student-centered classrooms.” That tweet was right on target, but another tweet needed to follow that parents also need to be deprogrammed from their own K-12 experience in order to create schools that are more flexible and eliminate time as a barrier for both students who can accelerate and students who can be successful if given more time.   However, even with technology that allows us to break the 20th century modes of delivering teaching and learning, students seem to still experience a ‘one size fits all’ environment for the most part. In many cases, technology is simply used to fit into old systems of “school” that has everyone start and end at the same time of day for 180 days each year for 13 years.

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Paradise aka Humanity Lost

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My daughter moved to San Francisco 17 years ago as part of a job opportunity; ultimately got married and started a family; was fortunate to be able to purchase affordable housing in the Pacific Heights area of the city; and seems to have settled in for the long haul. It’s not difficult to see why, given the weather and general laid back, relaxed atmosphere of the west coast. For me, having a good reason to visit San Francisco regularly is a bonus, especially with opportunities to escape the New England winters for some respites of warmth and sun…the fog always seems to burn off in some part of the city as the sun takes charge of the day. Recently though, …

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Shifting Views; 21st Century Schools

Gordon Brown, former Chairman of the MIT Faculty and Dean of the their School of Engineering once made the claim that ‘To be a teacher you must be a prophet – because you are trying to prepare people for a world thirty to fifty years into the future.’

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Wildly Creative Fiction aka BS

An editorial cartoon in the 10/21/16 edition of the Newburyport Daily News by Jimmy Margulies brought forward a few intersections that this year’s election is providing as I reflect on teaching and some of the research in which I’ve invested my time. I am not meaning to make this post a political commentary; it’s not. Rather, this election season has illuminated a few areas of concern that I’ve had in general regarding some shortfalls in some of the core issues that must be better addressed and integrated across curriculums and classrooms in our schools.

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Teaching - Gary Tirone

A Few 21st Century School Transformation Questions

In a 21st Century world, teachers, students and families are considering increasing numbers of choices for what we call “school.” Whether it’s the traditional school that most of us grew up with; or perhaps one offering extended blended opportunities using technology; or the array of choices ranging from private and public charters to home school to fully virtual schools. As technology becomes a larger part of the teaching and learning equation, one set of central questions concerning relationship seem to emerge consistently from parents and adults who determine school funding across sectors. Those questions include:

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‘Writing to Learn’ in the 21st Century

“…in the meantime, we are going to concentrate on writing itself, on how to become a better writer, because, for one thing, becoming a better writer is going to help you become a better reader, and that is the real payoff.”

Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird; Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Several years ago while co-teaching a tenth grade humanities class,…

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Ecotones, Disintermediation, & and Educational Crossroads

An ecotone is a transition area between two biomes. It is where two communities meet and integrate.It may be narrow or wide, and it may be local (the zone between a field and forest) or regional (the transition between forest and grassland ecosystems). An ecotone may appear on the ground as a gradual blending of the two communities across a broad area, or it may manifest itself as a sharp boundary line.

The word ecotone was coined from a combination of eco(logy) plus -tone, from the Greek tonos or tension – in other words, a place where ecologies are in tension.
From Wikipedia     9/29/16

One of my favorite observations while a Teacher in Residence at the University of New Hampshire was…

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