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Uploaded Ms. Kathleen

This is my salute to presidents on presidents day posting.  I remember people talking about history when I was growing up.  They said it was much harder to know history to day because there was so much more to remember.  In fact, when my father was in grade school, he only needed to know the presidents up to Hoover. 

I think it’s really hard to compare an education today with an education from 30, 40 or 70 years ago.  It’s a different world and in a lot of cases all the facts have changed.  The worlds of medicine and science are completely different.  A  lot of what people thought was right turned out to be wrong and there’s also a lot of stuff that noone every dreamed of that has become common place.  Here’s to quick examples.  If you studied Einstein in physics, you would have heard that the universe is curved.  Turns out that last year they proved that the universe is perfactly flat in all directions.

If you graduated from Harvard with a Ph.D., in communications in 1960, you would have no idea on how to text message or do a simple Google search.  You won’t find it in any curriculum for another 30 years or more.

How about geography, try comparing a map from 1980 and 2007?  You’re straight As in 1980, become an F today.  You even have to change your 2007 map to make Kosovo an independent country.

Are you keeping up with your reading?  In 1900, only a few thousand books got published.  Today, it’s over 100,000.  And your vocabulary?  In 1960, there were about 200,000 words in the English Dictionary.  Now there are over a million.  Can you define “woot” and use it in a sentence?  Most 10 year olds can. 

 As with many things, the good old days often aren’t as good as people’s memories.  It’s tough to measure new world oranges against old world apples.

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This is a great video.  Ignore the guy singing about 1/3 the way through it goes on to better stuff.  It presents the greatest picture every taken.  It’s what the hubble telescope sees when it looks into blank space. 

It shows the first real proof of what deep, deep, deep space looks like billions of light years away. 

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I’m doing more consulting these days which means we have a lot of brainstorming sessions and working through documents.  As an alternative to filling the room with unreadable flip charts, I’ve started to do all the recording of information in something like Microsoft word, projected onto a screen.

 This allows us to easily change and rearrange information, delete stuff and best of all read it.  If you’re attached to a printer, you can also continously print out copies for all attendees.

 Finally, when you’re all through you can email everyone the work from the session.

 We’ve also done this during training when teams work on case studies or other things that require a presentation to the class.  In every class there are always several people who have laptops.  The teams then create their report outs and presentation on their laptops.  Then use a flash drive to gather up all the reports so you can show then from the computer you are using to project your PowerPoint.  It’s really an upgrade from flip charts.

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I’ve used the show “Are you smarter than a 5th grader?”  to talk about knowledge retention and how to eliminate was in training.  I’ve run across a number of clips that basically speak for themselves.  This one is about science education.

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There’s always a lot of controversy about our public school systems.  Part of the crisis comes from the fact that it’s part of the political system where the money goes to the loudest squeeky wheel.  All the focus goes to failing schools instead of the stand outs.  There’s also a lot of nostalgia.  “The old days were better.”  I think I heard this outside the second little red schoolhouse.

 Anyway, I’ve put together a short list of questions I have about schools.  Maybe you’d like to add a few.

  1. Why is k-12 the only time in your life that you’ll spend all your time with others of the exact same age?
  2. Why do we have k-12 instead of some other number of years?  I know the historical reasons, but haven’t things changed?
  3. Why do we teach subject by subject, in silos, rather than cutting up and sorting what needs to be covered in other ways?
  4. Why are teachers basically at the top of their profession the day they start?  (There’s a very short career path for teachers.)
  5. Why are schools all inclusive, one-stop shopping?  Couldn’t kids go to multiple schools at the same time?
  6. Why don’t schools teach life and work skills? 
  7. Why do we have homework instead of having kids finish their work in school?
  8. Why do schools need to have their own buildings?  Couldn’t they rent out space in the community?
  9. Why do schools promote a social system that is so clickie and unlike what people experience out of school?
  10. Why is it so hard from one school to learn from and adopt the best practices from others school?

I think asking a lot of whys is a good process.  In fact, that process may be more important that the actual questions.  I think a lot of the answers to the “whys” are, because that’s the way we’ve always done them.

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We offering two more dates for thos who want to learn how to dramatically reducing the time it takes to ramp up new employees.  The webinar give an overview of the concepts from the Learning Paths book.  This site gives an overview of the book and the whitepaper provides some important background.

The dates are December 19th at 10 CST and January 10th at 1 CST. 

 To sign up, simply send me an email at learningpaths@gmail.com.

 For more info, you can also go to my website at www.learningpathsinternational.com

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eduscene1.jpg   Singapore is really become a model of change and innovation in education.  I’ve run across a great website that provides a lot of good information and links about public and private education in Singapore.  It’s worth a look.  www.eduscene.com

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