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Posts Tagged ‘schools’

A Different Education Math

Minnesota spend about $8500 per student each year. It fails somewhere in the middle among the states. So for a class of 30, you have a pool of $255,000 to work with. What could you do with that kind of money?

Well first thing you’ll need is a classroom for 200 days. I’ve booked a lot of meeting rooms and you can get a nice space in a nice hotel for about $250 a day. That’s $50,000. But that includes all the clean up and AV. Average teacher salary is $50,000. So let’s take two of those. We’ve spent $150,000 so far. What to do with the rest?

I know, let’s get them a health club membership. Let’s do $40 per month per student for 9 months. That’s about $10,000.

While you wouldn’t get everyone a new laptop every year, you can get a nice one with software for about $500 each. I got one just like that on my desk. That’s $15,000. Some hotels let you use their internet for free.

So know we only have $125,000 left. We can buy a lot of educational stuff like books for $2000 a student. Now we only have $65,000 left.

I know, let’s get two teacher’s aids at $30,000 each. Now we’re left with only $5,000 for other stuff.

So we have a nice airy classroom that’s always clean. We have two teachers and two teacher aids. Every kid can go to the health club every day. Everyone has a laptop and new books. Must be funny math. I wonder what we could do with the $14,000 per student Washington D.C. spends.

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]Learning how to take tests makes school a lot easier. I remember testing out of fourth year French in College because I was great at taking multiple choice tests. Look at this test. Does it look familiar?

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I’ve been writing bits and pieces of things trying to come up with the right approach to a new book.  Here’s an interesting thought:

Imagine a different type of school.  Take away the boundaries and focus on getting results as quickly as possible.  Focus on how people actually achieve high levels of performance and not preserving or even improving the status quo.

Here’s the announcement on the first day of school:

“Welcome to your first day and the New School.  You are about to embark on a headlong journey to excellence.

As you’ve probably heard, we have only two courses out our school.  First, you’ll be taking communications.  You’ll start today and complete this course when you can effectively communicate with anyone about anything.

Second, you’ll be taking problem-solving.  You’re going to learn to solve problems big and small.  And of course, you’ll be asked to convince others that your solutions are correct.”

Our teaching method is simple.  We will be driving to our goal as fast as we can.  There won’t be any true and false tests, no multiple choice, no fill in the blanks.  We aren’t teaching test taking here.  We will be evaluating your performance by watching you work, listening to your presentations and reading what you write.

Good luck and let’s get going…thank you for your attention.”

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I founds this to be an interesting and odd video.  However, I thought it might be a discussion starter.  I’m going to reserve my comments to hear yours.  Hope you enjoy.

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Uploaded by Tambour_Unit

 I don’t know if you’d heard the expression, it’s like polishing canon balls.  It goes back to the old quality improvement and reengineering days.  In other words, you’re making improvements that really have no benefits.  Nice shiny canon balls are still obsolete.

So the question is, are the improvements to the education system really meaningful or are we just polishing cannon balls.  Is it a matter of making incremental improvements or trying something completely different? 

At your next meeting where this is discussed try asking the group, are we just polishing canon balls?

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Uploaded on by Image Zen

I was once told that there are two kinds of people in this world.  Those who divide the world into two kinds of people and those who don’t.  Anyway, I’ve heard the discussion a lot about the different between education, training and learning.  Some see sharp distinctions and other see them as the same. 

I remember someone recoiling at the idea of being a training department.  “You train dogs not people.”  To that I always say, “Do you want your surgeon to be well trained or well educated?”

It’s seems like the academic world is more focused on education and the corporate world is more focused on training.  You are statements like, “the purpose of an education is to become a critical thinker and well rounded.”  “The purpose of training is change what participants will be able to do after the training is over.”  Maybe it’s the difference between knowledge acquisition and skill development.  

In schools, paper and pencil tests are mainstays.  Standardized tests which are mostly about knowledge acquisition and comprehension seem to be the level of measurement.  In a corporate environment, those tests are usually meaningless.  It’s more the rule than the norm that doing well on a test indicates results on the job.

So to sort all this out, you often see the word Learning substituted for both education and training.  Think about the advent of the Chief Learning Officer or Elearning, etc.  I look at learning as something that a student or participant does.  It’s not what the instructor does.  It’s good in a sense that it doesn’t suggest a particular approach or methodology. 

What do I use or prefer?  I tend to use them all and use them interchangeably.  I actually don’t think is a very productive argument.  When people argue about terms, I often say let’s just pick something or mayble make something up.  How about calling it “Bob?” 

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Uploaded by :: SL Emerick

 Most of formal education is still focused on knowledge acquisition.  But there really has been a dramatic change in the last 50 to 100  years which makes this less important.  First, there’s been an explosion in knowledge.  You can know something about most things but it’s difficult to know a lot about everything.  Take the example of medicine.  There is now so much to know that a generalist has to turn patients over a specialist because they don’t know enough to treat you and often times diagnose you.

How about music.  I remember when most people knew all the popular tunes.  There just weren ‘t that many.  Now there are almost as many types of music as their were songs.  “Name that tune” is a lot harder than it used to be.  This goes on subject after subject, topic by topic. 

Take the champions on Jeopardy.  All you have to do to throw them off is give a lot of questions about popular culture or things out of their generation.  You could also take something like history and ask questions from out this country such as Nigerian leaders of the 20th century. 

Second in the past, this information wasn’t readily available so if you didn’t learn it, you were out of luck.  Now on almost any topic, you have instant access to information.  The emphasis switches from knowing to being able to find.  So what this suggests is a different paradigm in education.

I know in the corporate world this is a shift from knowing to doing.  As your boss, I really don’t care what you know, I care about what you can do.  If there isn’t an application of knowledge, it has very little value in this setting.

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