Hands-on learning in a sixth-grade museum class was showcased during Education Nation.
In Keil Hileman’s sixth-grade class last month, students were digging into their individual dirt piles searching for archeological artifacts, and trying to identify what they found. Did it come from land or sea? What does the shape of the artifact indicate about its origin?
Hileman’s class was on display in front of millions of online viewers at the Education Nation summit last month. Hileman has been teaching for 19 years, but his classroom is far from traditional. He teaches museum studies at Monticello Trails Middle School in Shawnee, Kansas, and thinks the key to getting his students hooked on arcane historical facts is not the text book — “that’s just the diving off point” — but by connecting them to the artifacts associated with those events.
“My students need to see how things work in the real world.”
When they studied slavery, for example, he brought in metal shackles for students to see and hold. “Holding those shackles gives them an understanding immediately,” he said. “To hold Continue reading
I had the pleasure of spending time with The Innovative Educator blogger Lisa Nielsen at Education Nation conference in New York earlier this week. In addition to the insightful questions and comments she posted on her prolific Twitter stream, Nielsen wrote a great summary of the last panel of the two-day event. Here it is:
By Lisa Nielson
It’s rare for education reformers, policymakers, and funders to listen to those at the heart of education reform work: the students. In fact Ann Curry, who hosted Education Nation’s first *student panel, admitted that folks at NBC were a little nervous about putting kids on stage. In their “Voices of a Generation” discussion, young people provided insight into their own experiences with education and what they think needs to be done to ensure that every student receives a world-class education. After the discussion, Curry knew these students didn’t disappoint. She told viewers: “Students wanted to say something that made a difference to you (adults) and they did. Now adults need to listen.”
Below are the sentiments shared by these current and former students during the segment.
- I have to critically think in college, but your tests don’t teach me that.
- We learn in different ways at different rates.
- I can’t learn from you if you are not willing to connect with me.
- Teaching by the book is not teaching. It’s just talking.
- Caring about each student is more important than teaching the class. Continue reading
A week after the intense media spotlight of Education Nation, NBC’s foray into the education reform movement, conversations in the robust online community are going full force. Though there’s broad criticism of the event — of teacher-bashing, of political duals trumping important issues, of grandstanding and finger-pointing, of media’s fickle attention span — the topic of education has inarguably bubbled up to the top spot of public dialogue.
That’s the good news. But as the parent of a public-school student, I wonder how all this talk is going to shape the classroom, and by extension, how my daughter learns.
Will Richardson eloquently addresses this topic in his post “The Wrong Conversation.” His main point is, without intending to oversimplify it, that educators should invest their finite time and energy in innovating and pushing boundaries on a day-to-day basis in their classrooms, rather than trying to hash through the loudest and most controversial fight du jour. That fight, he says, is not clearly defined, changes moment-by-moment depending on who’s holding the bullhorn, and above all, distracting to the public and those who are doing the heavy lifting in classrooms. Continue reading
Pictured (l-r) NBC Nightly News' Brian Williams - NBC News hosts an educational summit on Rockefeller Plaza
Brian Williams,with his typical off-the-cuff humor, brought the Education Nation events to a close today by gathering constituents from all over the education spectrum: parents, teachers, students, members of congress, governors, mayors, and even the odd musician (John Legend of the Roots).
After a few intense days of naming many of the ills of the American public education system, passionate disagreements about the roles of teacher unions, effectiveness of charter schools, political fallouts, and feelings of frustration that the U.S. has fallen so far behind in this critical space, participants offered their thoughtful observations about what to do next.
Here are some splices.
- George Miller, Congressman from California, and Chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor:
“We have to have buy-in from the community. We can’t [make changes] to our schools, principals, and teachers — we have to give them greater say.
The world is becoming more collaborative, employers are looking for people who can work together to bring solutions to complex problems. That’s the challenge. To have people ready with those skills to step in.
The intensity of focus [on education] has waned. All of a sudden we didn’t see that the world had changed, our education system was this huge economic engine, others were also participating in it…This is a policy you have to invest in over and over again.” Continue reading